Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

my journal

Are You Striving For Stuff Or Are You Striving For Peace And Personal Fulfillment?

Are You Striving For Stuff Or Are You Striving For Peace And Personal Fulfillment?

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I wanted to talk about a shift in mindset that happened for me when I quit my lawyer job and started grace + hudson. It's something that is so simple, I can't believe I didn't notice it sooner. This shift has had a huge impact on how I look at my goals and how I prioritize my time. If you're stuck in a job you don't like (even if you're really good at it!) this journal entry is for you. This might be one of the keys that can help you unlock the door to your next, more fulfilling career.

Let's get right to it. The mindset shift that happened for me was this - am I striving for STUFF or am I striving for PEACE AND PERSONAL FULFILLMENT? Now, let me back up for one quick second before we dive into this. I wouldn't call myself a materialistic person or someone who owns a lot of luxury items - in fact, I don't think I own even one item from Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc. But I still found this mindset shift to be life-changing for me. So before you say, hey, I'm not really into "name brand" things and therefore this isn't applicable to me, keep on reading.

Back when I was a lawyer, just a few short years ago, I unconsciously was striving for STUFF. A good job, a promotion, a pay raise, a nice apartment, savings in the bank, contributions to my 401(k), etc, etc. I say unconsciously because I never really stopped to think about why I was working so hard. I just followed. Followed what everyone else was doing, followed what people in my profession were doing, followed what I was "supposed" to do as a graduate of a top law school and Ivy League college. 

When I left that world - you know, the world of corporate America and traditional office jobs - and started doing things on my own, I had to start forming goals and making long-term decisions for myself. Meaning, I no longer had a figurative "checklist" handed to me by a boss or superior as to what I was "supposed" to be striving for (i.e. a promotion, pay raise, etc). It wasn't long before I noticed something that felt pretty pathetic and sad - I had never sat down and really thought about what I want for myself. Instead, I was just adopting these figurative checklists as my own. I thought, "Could this be why I've been so unhappy?"

You'll notice something on these corporate America "checklists" - they're all about STUFF. Acquiring the best performance review score, the biggest pay raise, the next promotion, the internal awards, etc. There is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING about acquiring personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Think about it, when was the last time your boss asked you, "Stacy, do you feel in alignment with your career? With the path you're on? Do you feel a sense of personal fulfillment? If not, how can I help you get there? Do you feel at peace with your work-life balance and feel like you are at a good place in your work and personal life?" For me, that was a big fat NEVER.

This leads us - often blindly - to pursue a lot of material goals to the exclusion of intangible, often more important goals. I don't know about you, but I worked at some pretty big law firms and the checklist of goals involved getting a promotion, a nice car, a house in the nice part of the city, getting married with a big engagement ring, etc. And when you "grow up" sorta speak in this world and haven't been exposed to any other career or job, it's hard not to fall in line and strive to acquire these things, too. I mean, afterall, it's what I'm "supposed" to do, right? Everyone else is doing it. I guess that means it's what I'm "supposed" to be striving for? 

When I left the legal profession, I realized how highly inaccurate this was. And I felt pretty sad about it. How had I missed something so glaring? How had I gone down this path without even realizing it? How had I not realized sooner that I was so unhappy because I was (a) pursuing mostly tangible things to the total neglect of more important internal things and personal goals and (b) pursuing someone else's version of "success" without even knowing what my own personal definition of the word meant?

I slowly shifted into a new mindset which, I can basically sum up as this: a shift from focusing on tangible things to intangible things. Instead of working towards getting that nice, new car I now want to work hard towards achieving an awesome work-life balance that leaves me feeling energized, fulfilled, and at peace in all the right ways. It's funny, but now that I do work that fulfills me on a soul-level, I find that I don't need the after-work shopping trips (and other purchases) quite so much. Looking back, I think I "treated myself" to all that stuff because I felt pretty unfulfilled on the inside. You know how it goes - I was trying to fill that hole with things like new shoes - and we all know that thrill only lasts for a short while. The only thing that can fill that whole is doing the inner work and finding out what truly fills it up in a healthy manner. For you that might mean a new position, or a new career, or maybe just a shift in goals. The answer is different for everyone.

This brings me to my last point. We go to these great schools, and get these great degrees, and we are programmed to choose from one or two or maybe three different career paths. There's different reasons for this which I won't get into here, but remember that we're all different. No two of us is built the same. Not even twins! Think about that. Yet we're all supposed to fit onto these narrow career pathways? It's not right. And it's what has a lot of very talented people feeling very trapped, very unfulfilled, and very unhappy with their day-to-day lives.

So, I challenge you to a sit down like the one I had. Where you truly unplug from the career goals you're programmed to have and write down what YOU want for your life and how your career fits into that. I bet you'll find some things on that list that you can't buy. You can't buy work-life balance at the store. You can't buy a sense of inner peace at the mall. You can't buy personal fulfillment online. But yet I believe those are the things we should be striving for most and, when you do, you'll find you need less and less stuff in your shopping cart to help fill the hole.

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Role Models: Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With

Role Models: Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I wanted to take a minute to talk about role models. Two weeks ago, I wrote about breaking out of your traditional office job to do work you love, and this journal entry falls right in line with that concept. The "leaders" we work with have a lot of influence over our perceptions of our career, and their power often goes unnoticed or unacknowledged. Role models shape how you see your career and what you desire for your career. Sometimes for the better, but also sometimes for the worst. So let's take a minute to become aware of the role models in our life and to consciously decide whether they represent what we want for ourselves. If not, the first step to breaking out of your current career to do work you love might be to get some new role models. 

I was prompted to write this journal entry for two reasons: 1) it's something I really struggled with as a lawyer as I'll explain below and 2) there are some famous women that people are idolizing these days and it just seems so misplaced to me. Often, I feel people "worship" other people just because everyone else is doing it. Not because they've actually stopped to think whether this woman is a solid role model for their own goals and is truly representative of their values. So, I guess you can say that I see this problem playing out on a macro level (with famous women) and on a micro level (with the women we work with in our own career on a daily basis).  

We've all heard the phrase, "If you don't want the job your boss has, it's time to move on", right? The idea is that if you don't like what your boss is doing, you should probably reevaluate whether you are on the right career path. Makes a lot of sense. But there's something missing here. Everyone focuses on the actual tasks and responsibilities, and no one ever talks about the kind of person your boss is - whether he or she has a good life outside of work, whether he or she is truly happy, whether he or she seems at peace with life, whether he or she is healthy and thriving, etc. 

Let me illustrate this with my own experience as a lawyer. There came a time in my legal career - and it was quite early on - where I couldn't help but think to myself, "These people are miserable. I don't want what they have. I don't aspire to be them. I don't even like them." I've always been an observer and this was such an obvious, glaring, punch-you-in-the-face kind of observation. But it seemed that a lot of my peers didn't even notice this, let alone care about it. It really disturbed me. If you've worked at a law firm before, you know. A lot of the partners (the highest level you can achieve at a law firm) were still working until the wee hours of the morning, a lot of them were divorced, all of them were stressed, most rarely went to the gym and often ate unhealthy meals because they were always working late. They seemed to never have time for their kids for the same reason. For example, I worked at a very large law firm in NYC before I went to law school and I worked under a few female attorneys. They had babies and their nannies would literally bring the babies to the office around dinnertime to say goodnight, while the female attorneys stayed at the office until 8, 9, 10 o'clock at night or even later. I thought to myself, "Why did you even have a child if you never even see her?" It bothered me so much. Here's another harsh reality I observed early on - some attorneys I worked with did drugs. I hate to break it to you, but this stuff goes on at high levels. I'll tell you a little story that happened during my first or second year as an attorney. My office was next to the "visiting attorney's" office - you know, if a lawyer from another office came to work with us for the day, he or she would use this office. There was a partner from our NYC office that would frequently come and use this office. He was always sniffing and snorting - kind of like he had a bad, bad case of allergies. Well, one such day, one of my co-workers was in my office with me and we heard the partner making all these noises. I said, "Geez, that guy seriously needs to go to an allergist or something." And my co-worker said, "Stacy. Are you serious? That guy doesn't have allergies. He does cocaine." That was the first time I really had to acknowledge what kind of profession I was working in. Just a year or two before that, I was in a position where I observed attorneys snorting cocaine at a party. It's a big problem in the legal profession, in addition to alcohol abuse. The number of times I was pressured into drinking at a work event is too many to count. This is reality, guys. I've seen it and experienced it. Let me share another harsh reality - some women sleep their way to the top. It happens. More than it should. I can think of two women in particular at the law firms I've worked at who achieved partner level this way. So, needless to say, you can see how I was always questioning the "leaders" and "role models" I was supposed to aspire to be in the legal profession.

My point here is to illustrate for you something you really need to consider - are your role models and the "leaders" in your life actually exhibiting the characteristics of a great leader and a great person? It's okay to answer with a big fat "NO" even if everyone around you seems to admire them. There are a lot of good apples out there, but there are a lot of bad apples out there too. The fact of the matter is, we become what we aspire to, and if you aren't consciously choosing great role models, you might end up like the people you are blindly surrounding yourself with.

Similarly, have YOU decided what you want for your own life, both in and out of the office? Or are you blindly following the path your career sets before you, without giving it any thought? I think this gets a lot of people into a lot of trouble. You work and work and work, get to the role you've been desiring (such as partner at a law firm) and find yourself miserable. It happened to me. At the age of 34, I got what I felt was my "dream job" and I was miserable. Why? Because I spent much of my time working towards a job title, and neglected other areas of my life as a result. At the time, I defined "success" very narrowly to basically include my job title, salary, and concrete work achievements. When I got to the "top" I felt empty. This is also probably because I ignored the signs (i.e. the things I described above) along the way. As early as my first year out of law school, I questioned whether I wanted the life that my superiors had, yet I ignored that. It's my own fault that I got so deep into a profession I should've left a lot sooner. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess! Today, I define "success" to include my health and wellness, my peace of mind, my relationships, how much time I'm able to spend doing things I enjoy, etc. It's a very different ballgame. 

So, I caution you today to choose your role models wisely and consciously. Don't blindly follow. Have the courage to be honest with yourself - to admit to yourself that maybe you don't want the type of life your superiors have created. Awareness is half the battle! Once you are aware, you can choose differently. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do, who are living the way you want to live, who seem genuinely happy and at peace, who are healthy and radiating good vibes, who got to where they are today because they deserved it and worked for it. Today, it's easier than ever to find like-minded people -- with social media, there are so many people available to you to learn from. Sure, it's not as good as having a real life role model in your office, but it's the next best thing! 

xoxo,

Stacy 

 

Continue reading

Selling Wholesale: What It Means

Selling Wholesale: What It Means

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I'm talking about selling wholesale. If you'd like to start a business selling a product someday, wholesale sales will be something you'll need to consider. What is wholesale? It's when you sell your product to stores instead of directly to customers, and then those stores sell your product to their customers.

When you plan to start a business selling products (instead of services), one way to get your product into the hands of customers is to sell directly to them. You can do this by setting up a storefront in your town, setting up a website and driving customers to your site through advertisements on social media, or participating in local fairs and shows where you can rent a table and sell your products to the attendees.

Another way to get your product into the hands of customers is to sell to stores that already have a customer base. These stores then sell your product to their customers. If you do this, both you and the store need to get a cut of the profit. Therefore, wholesale is less profitable than direct sales. And you'll, therefore, need to be in a lot of stores in order to realize the same profit that you might ordinarily realize through selling directly to customers.

When you sell to a store, they'll usually buy your product outright and then display it on their shelves. The store is going to expect a significant discount so that there's room for them to make a profit. The price they pay is usually called the "wholesale price." The standard discount varies from industry to industry but in fashion and accessories, stores usually want a 50% discount. Yep, that's right, it's very high. Let's look at an example:

A company based in Maryland called Sweet Fashion sells sweaters for $50. Sweet Fashion wants to have their sweaters in shops around the U.S. so they attend a trade show (which is a fair or event connecting sellers, like Sweet Fashion, and stores that might want to carry Sweet Fashion's products). At the trade show, Sweet Fashion meets the owner of a shop in Vermont who wants to carry their sweaters. This Vermont store places an order with Sweet Fashion for 10 sweaters at the wholesale price of $25 each. This means that the store in Vermont will receive 10 sweaters from Sweet Fashion and sell them in their Vermont shop for $50, keeping a profit of $25. 

What about Sweet Fashion, what's their profit? Well, they must ensure that they've already built a profit into the $25 wholesale price they're giving to the Vermont shop. So here's what you've got:

The retail price: the price the customer will pay, here $50

The wholesale price: the price the Vermont shop will pay, here $25

Cost (sometimes you'll hear someone say they're selling "at cost"): what it costs Sweet Fashion to make the sweater, including no profit (let's assume here it costs them $15 to make the sweater)

So, selling wholesale means that Sweet Fashion will make $25 minus $15 or $10 on each sweater it sells to the Vermont shop. Do you see what a huge difference in margin you've got selling to stores versus selling to customers? When Sweet Fashion sells directly to customers on their website, they make $50 minus $15 or $35 per sweater. When Sweet Fashion sells its sweaters wholesale, they only make $10 per sweater.

So why would anyone sell wholesale? Well, the answer is getting less clear as the years go on. With the introduction of social media and, more importantly, social media advertising, it is not necessary anymore to sell wholesale in order to get exposure to people around the country. Think about it - 30 years ago, how would a customer in Vermont find out about Sweet Fashion's sweaters in Maryland? There was no social media. Sweet Fashion would have to get their sweaters into a shop in Vermont. That's no longer the case. Furthermore, in-person shopping is growing less and less popular over time so having products in shops is also becoming less and less profitable. Nonetheless, some people still decide to sell wholesale in order to grow their business and get their products in the hands of customers all over the country.

Another reason you might sell wholesale is volume. When you sell wholesale, the shops that buy from you usually have to meet some sort of minimum. For example, the shop in Vermont needed to buy at least 8 sweaters minimum from Sweet Fashion in order to get the 50% wholesale discount. They decided to buy 10 sweaters, so they met the minimum. When is volume important? It's most important when your product is low in price. For example, if you sell a specialty peanut butter for $8 and it costs you $2 to make it, even if you sell 25 jars of peanut butter in one day on your website, you're still only making $6 multiplied by 25 or $150. That's not a huge amount of money, but it takes a lot of work to find 25 different customers in one day, especially when you're a new business. Contrast this with someone who makes leather bags by hand and sells them for $300. Let's say it costs him $150 to make the leather bags, so his margin is $150 per bag. Unlike the peanut butter seller who needed to find 25 people to buy from him to make $150, the leather bag seller only needs to find 1 person to buy from him to make $150. It's a lot easier to find 1 customer than 25 each day. Therefore, wholesale is often very wise in situations where your product is low in price.

A caution on wholesale: you have to get your product into a LOT of stores to make a LOT of profit through wholesale sales. And, as you might imagine, it can take a lot of wooing to get stores to sell your products. It's a lot different than making a direct sale to a customer. The owners of these stores can often be high-maintenance and require a lot of your time. You also have to spend time making wholesale catalogs, line sheets, order forms, etc. Here's the other issue: just because a store orders from you once doesn't mean they'll order from you again, or even in any consistent manner. In other words, it's not very predictable and consistent so you need to have your products in a LOT of stores to ensure a steady flow of income from wholesale sales.

I'll end on a personal note - I experimented with wholesale sales in my own business for about 3 years before I decided it wasn't for me. I attended a big trade show in NYC (which cost way too much money and didn't pay off) back in 2017 and it opened my eyes to a lot of the things I shared with you above. To me, wholesale requires way more work and comes with way less reward. I didn't enjoy dealing with shop owners - frankly, I found some of them to be annoying, entitled, and even degrading in their communications with me. I enjoy dealing with actual customers - the women, brides, and bridesmaids who wear my jewelry - far more. Some of them have even turned into Instagram friends! Here's another thing - by not having my jewelry in a bunch of stores around the country, I'm keeping my jewelry "special." Does that make sense? You can't get it anywhere and everywhere. I never want to be like Kendra Scott for example, where my jewelry is sold in hundreds of stores around the world. I always want to keep it "small batch" sort of speak and I always want to keep it feeling unique, special, and handcrafted. Every business owner has to make the decision that's right for them, but for me, I have decided to keep my business a direct-to-consumer business.

P.S. - If you enjoy my weekly journal, I encourage you to check out my IGTV series on Instagram! Each week, I post a short video elaborating on my journal entry. You can find me on Instagram @graceandhudson.

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

One Simple "Key" That'll Help You Break Out Of Your Traditional Office Job

One Simple

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I'm talking about a very simple "key" to breaking out of your traditional job and pursuing your own business. It's so simple but it's a blind spot for a lot of people. It was for me! But once I realized it, I'm not going to lie, it kind of rocked my world in more ways than one. It touched not only my career, but my relationships, my finances, and my health and wellness.

What's one of the simple keys to success? It's taking responsibility. So many people want to "live the dream" and be their own boss and live a beautiful life, but they are unwilling to spend even 30 minutes on the weekend working on their dream. It blows my mind! You see how it's so simple yet such an issue for people? I experienced it myself! I previously worked as a lawyer and my hours were really long and included weekends. The last thing I wanted to do was devote 30 minutes each day, or even once per week, working on my dream. Looking back, I see how I was my own worst enemy at times. I expected the world for myself, yet I was unwilling to do much to get there, and then I sat there in misery feeling trapped at my lawyer job. Umm...hello! This is not rocket science, yet I failed to see my situation through that very simple lens. I complained and whined, feeling like a victim, trapped in a career I hated, yet I wasn't willing to take any responsibility to get myself out of it.

I see this vicious circle play out over and over again. People want things but aren't willing to work for them. And then they complain that they don't have them. Right? I bet there's at least one area of your life where - if you got honest with yourself - you'll admit this is true. It's like the girl who downs a bottle of wine at night and then wonder why she feels awful during her workout the next morning. Or the woman who eats Chik-fil-A for lunch five days a week and complains that she wants to lose weight. Or the guy who drinks 8 beers at night and then wonders why he can't get up for work the next day. Or the guy who wants to live life on his own terms and wonders why all of his relationships fail. 

So what's the key to moving beyond this? It's so simple. Once you recognize it, the answer hits you in the face. Take the examples above: the girl at the workout class limits herself to one or two glasses of wine the night before her workout, the woman who wants to lose weight starts eating the Chik-fil-A salad for lunch instead of the greasy sandwich and fries, the guy who can't get up for work limits himself to 2 or 3 beers, and the guy who can't hold a relationship starts taking into account his partner's perspective and learns how to compromise on decisions. Awareness is half the battle. No, it's MORE than half the battle.

The rest of the battle is snapping yourself out of the vicious mental loop. Back when I was a lawyer, I'd catch myself in this vicious circle, feeling sorry for myself, and then I'd say, "Hey, hold on a minute." I'd recognize the downward spiral and I'd call myself out on it. I'd recognize that I can do something about this and affirm that I'm willing to do something about this. I'd also say to myself, "I have no permission to whine right now if I'm not willing to do anything about this." Take responsibility! Be the adult you are and start recognizing that your actions (or lack of action) have a consequence. Recognize that you are in control: you can do something about it or you can whine, the choice is yours. Stop giving up your power so easily to this vicious mental loop that doesn't even make logical sense. Empower yourself. It really isn't as hard as it seems.

What's one area of your life where you're falling for this trap? Don't beat yourself for it! Just become aware of it, so you can change it the next time it happens. Cheers to recognizing where we're holding ourselves back!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

The Hardest Thing You'll Encounter On Your Path To Entrepreneurship

The Hardest Thing You'll Encounter On Your Path To Entrepreneurship

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. This week's journal entry is for you if you're longing to quit the traditional path you're on and pursue the calling of your heart. I want to give you my honest, personal opinion on the hardest thing you'll encounter, the biggest hurdle you'll need to clear, as you try to embark on this awesome, fulfilling journey. 

First, let's start by defining what I mean by "traditional path." It varies to some degree for everyone, but I like to refer to the traditional path as the "life checklist" path. People on this path generally have accomplished the following or are somewhere in the middle of accomplishing the following: graduated high school and tried to get into the best college, then the best grad school, then the best workplace, and then they found someone to marry, got a dog, bought a house, had 2.5 kids, got promoted and - BOOM - finished the checklist only to find that happiness was not waiting for them there. I noticed this at my first job when I was 22. At the time, I was working in NYC at a law firm as a legal assistant (before I went to law school) and I noticed that all of the attorneys there went to like Harvard or Yale, got a lawyer job at one of the best law firms, got married, bought a beautiful home or condo in NYC, had a child or two, bought a Lexus, got promoted to "partner" level, went on extravagant vacations, yet they seemed miserable day-to-day. "What's that all about?" I wondered. These people - on the outside - had all the hallmarks of a "successful" life yet they often didn't have much happiness, peace, joy, or light in their eyes. Why is that? I think it's because people on this path put too much energy and effort into acquiring all of these things and accomplishments under the misguided perception that happiness, peace, and joy would be waiting for them at the end of the journey. And in the meantime, they've neglected their own growth, self-development and the real inner work that leads to maturity and authentic peace and happiness.

If you identify as a person on the traditional path, here's the biggest hurdle you're going to encounter when you try to quit or change careers and follow the calling of your heart: challenging the "life checklist" mentality and enduring the judgment of friends and family who are firmly rooted in this mentality. In my opinion, nothing is more difficult. The nuts and bolts of starting a business are relatively easy compared to constantly having to battle this idea that you're somehow wrong for wanting to follow your heart and create a good life for yourself that has meaning, depth, and joy. In addition, many times these judgments will come from friends, co-workers, and family members and if they don't believe in you, how are you supposed to believe in you? It can throw you for a loop.

I can still remember all the judgments I endured when I quit my lawyer job. I quit that profession not once but twice, so believe me when I tell you I remember the criticism, judgments, snide remarks, and insulting comments. The comments that still stand out are these:

  • You really think you can make enough money selling jewelry?
  • How are you going to pay for your living expenses?
  • You're just going to waste your law degree like that?
  • Have you ever thought about trying a different field of law instead? (Oh my gosh, this was my pet peeve. You really think I haven't thoroughly examined this idea!?)
  • What business experience do you have to run your own business? (Said in a very derogatory tone)
  • So, like, when are you going to go back to being a lawyer? (Again, said in a very derogatory tone)

Here's the deal. At the end of the day, these comments say more about the person making them than they do about you. They're coming from people who have bought the life checklist mentality hook, line, and sinker. These people get really uncomfortable when they see someone they know challenging that mentality. You know why? Because they have to face the possibility that maybe there is another way. That maybe they have chosen incorrectly. And, boy oh boy, these types of people don't like to be wrong about the way they've approached things. Trust me, I've met lots and lots of them in the legal profession.

The easiest way to deflect these negative comments and go on about your day is to remember this: the people throwing these negative comments your way are firmly rooted in a perspective that you don't agree with anymore. You are not the same. They think "small" and you do not. Meaning, they think everyone should be on the straight and narrow "life checklist" path and anyone who veers outside of that is crazy, naive, weird, strange, etc. Don't let them deter you. Don't let them steer you off your path. You'll be the one living the good life in a few years, while they stay trapped in a life checklist mentality. P.S. - it's great fun for me to talk to the people who previously judged me! Some of them can hardly believe that I never went back to law. Most of them are supportive, but I can tell it kills some of them to say nice things to me now. You know why? Because I'm hitting that little nerve inside of them that wonders whether their own life can be different. Some people are just not ready, and might never be ready, to really put in the mental work to pursue a life they love.

But you can! You can pursue a life you love. And you'll grow so much along the way. Whether your business ultimately takes off or closes down, you'll move through the rest of your life with a grace and an ability to endure any type of judgment or criticism. 

xoxo, 

Stacy

Continue reading

Feeling Like Your Dreams Will Never, Ever Become A Reality? Here's How To Pull Yourself Out Of That Hole

Feeling Like Your Dreams Will Never, Ever Become A Reality? Here's How To Pull Yourself Out Of That Hole

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. This week's journal entry is a follow up to the two that came before it. We already tackled the big, complicated question, "How much money do I need to quit my job and start my own business?" And then we explored the feelings underneath the moans and groans that followed my answer to that question. This week, I want to talk about how you pull yourself out of that place - you know, the place where you feel stuck and helpless and like your dreams will never, ever become a reality. It is possible, and the power rests in you. Shockingly, it can often be quite easy to pull yourself out of that place of helplessness. You just need to have the discipline and resolve to consistently do it. So here it goes...

You have GOT to change the way you think and speak about your circumstances. There is power in your words. There is even greater power in your thoughts. I've talked about this before in prior journal entires so I won't repeat myself here. But let's talk about the ways in which you can turn around your victim-oriented thinking. Remember that from last week? Victim mentality is when you're the victim of your outside circumstances. It goes something like this: "I'll never be able to start my own business because I will never have enough money" or "I already work 80 hours per week! I don't have time to work on my own business so I am stuck at this job forever it looks like" or "Even if I cut my expenses, I still wouldn't have enough money to start my own business so it looks like that option's off the table." We sometimes secretly like to get stuck in victim mentality because it "protects" us. We don't need to get out there and do anything or make any changes. We don't need to take any risks, and we don't need to take any responsibility. We can just blame our circumstances for the reason we're not where we want to be. It's safe and comfortable in that zone.

But, no sir! Not under my watch. While victim mentality might feel comfortable, it actually requires you to give up your personal power. How do you get that power back? You start changing the way you think and speak about your circumstances. You stop yourself when you start to say or think a self-defeating thought like the ones I've already mentioned. And, instead, you start saying things like this:

  • If I make a budget, I know I can save up enough money to start my own business. It might take me two years to save that money, but I know it'll be worth it. Plus two years goes so fast! And in the grand scheme of things, two years is nothing.
  • I work 80 hours per week and, you know what, that's no longer acceptable to me. Something's gotta change and I know I have to be the one to change it. Since this job/career is not a good fit for me, I'm going to find a job with better hours so that I'll have time during the evenings and weekends to work on my dream to start a business. 
  • I know if I cut my expenses back, I'll be able to save up money that can go towards my business. It might not be enough, so what else can I do? Well, I can pitch the business idea to my family and see if they might donate some money to me. I can promise them a return on their investment. It might not be a huge percentage return, but I have a feeling my uncle would love to support me in this endeavor. This weekend I'll also schedule some time for me to brainstorm other ways to fund my business, such as a small business loan for women.
  • Starting my own business is going to feel challenging at times, but boy I know it's going to pay off! I am going to learn so much and meet so many new people.
  • I'm not sure where to start, but you know what? I've tackled big projects at work and in school before. I'll just put everything I think I need to do down on paper. Then I'll take those tasks and try to divide them into smaller parts. And then I'll pick a small task that feels really doable to me today.

On and on the list can go...

It's actually kind of fun to take negative thoughts and flip them around. It becomes sort of like a game.

Just watch and see how quickly you can flip your victim mentality around starting your own business. Be consistent and you can see results in a matter of days. You'll start feeling better, meaning you'll start feeling more empowered to accomplish your goals. You'll start to tackle the small tasks that'll get those dreams of yours on the path of progressing forward. Don't underestimate the power of all that good energy and all that good motivation! Of course, it'll be up to you to use it, but it'll be yours for the taking.

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

The Likely Reason You Feel Stuck

The Likely Reason You Feel Stuck

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. This week's journal entry is a follow up to last week's entry where I talked about the question, "How much money do I need to quit my job and start my own business?" If you grumbled and moaned, sighed and cringed at my answer to that question, this week's journal entry is a must read. I want to tell you that you're not alone in your feelings. So many people want to start their own business but they get hung up on the money thing and never even try. I'd venture a guess that at least 90% of the people who want to start a business but don't cite money as the reason. They get blocked and overwhelmed and they stay stuck in their present circumstances, feeling like their dreams will always feel out of reach and that it's almost silly to think they could live a better life. What's behind all of these emotions? They are so incredibly common, yet not too many people write about them. I want to warn you ahead of time that I'm going to get really blunt and really honest in this week's entry. But I'll also be speaking from a place of love because I want to see you bust through these emotions. I've been there. I've experienced it, worked through it, and come out on the other side, and you can too. 

What emotions come to the surface when you stop and think about starting your own business but feel blocked because of money? I bet there's some - ok, a lot - of overwhelm. And I bet that overwhelm sort of leads to this "throw your hands up in the air and throw the towel in" kind of feeling. Phrases like "this is never going to happen" and "this is silly to even think about" and "I'm never going to be able to fund this business idea and make this happen" and "this is impossible" probably come to mind, right? Maybe you also experience feelings like "I don't know what I'm doing" and "I don't know anything about business" and "who am I to try and start my own business?"

What's at the root of these emotions? If you dig and dig all the way to the root, I bet you'll find helplessness and a sense that things are out of your control. These feelings are, most likely, evidence of a victim mentality. What is victim mentality? It's this sense that your life, your career, your destiny is based on external factors rather than your own effort and desires. It's this sense that things are outside of your control and that you are helpless to change them. Sometimes it might involve blaming another person or circumstance for your hopelessness, sometimes not.

I had a BIG case of victim mentality back in the day (notice I said "I had a case of victim mentality" and not "I was a victim" - don't own that crap! It's not you, it's just a mindset that can be changed). I didn't like my career, I didn't like my life circumstances, one bad thing after another seemed to be happening, and I felt so helpless. I felt unable to pull myself out of my current situation and make changes. Everything felt like it was happening outside myself and I was the poor victim of it. I even felt invisible at times. Some people blame another person when they feel stuck in this position - like an ex-boyfriend or parent - but to be honest, I blamed God (which eventually led to a strengthening of my faith and belief in God but that's a story for another day). I was in a pretty dark place, in full-on victim mode.

Long story short, I transformed beyond this victim mentality after I lost my father to cancer in 2014 and found an amazing therapist. I initially booked appointments with her to work through my grief in a healthy manner, but I ended up staying on to work through my victim mentality. Through this work, I shifted from an external to an internal focus, meaning that instead of believing my life was subject to forces outside my control, I started to believe that I had full control. It's a total change of perspective, a totally different way of looking at the world. Here's a great description of the difference between these two perspectives:

"Victim mentality is a psychological term that refers to someone with an external locus of control. They do not believe that they are in control of their successes or failures, and often feel helpless or without blame. They are driven by pessimism, fear and anger. In extreme cases, they may even believe others are deliberately out to hurt them. At the other end of the spectrum, someone with an internal locus of control believes that they control their own destiny and will attribute their success and failures to their own actions."

(Credit: Jody Michael Associates, "Victim Mentality Stands In The Way of Accountability". Click here to read the entire article)  

 Looking back, I can honestly say that one of the reasons I stayed in a job that I hated for so long (11 years!) was because I was firmly stuck in a victim mentality. And what happens when you have that kind of mindset? Your life hands you more and more experiences to help you prove you are indeed a victim! I didn't know this at the time of course, which is why I wanted to write about it here.

Victim mentality is a deep-seated issue and maybe, like me, you'll need a therapist to help you work through it. But I can tell you this - if it's not the number one reason holding you back from pursuing your own business, it's likely in the top ten. Victim mentality is absolutely rampant in our culture. Most of us were raised on it. Most of us had parents that consoled us by saying something like, "It's not your fault. It's [insert name's] fault that [insert event] happened."  Victim mentality is an easy way to disclaim responsibility for just about anything. It's a lot easier to say "they did it to me" than to find ways to accept your situation and begin to turn it around. That takes work, and - let's be honest here - most of us feel more comfortable complaining about why something can't happen (like owning your own business) than rolling up our sleeves and getting down to business. I wish I remember the name of the book or article I read this in, but author Marianne Williamson once made the bold, blunt statement that many of us don't want to heal the wounds and hurts that are holding us down and keeping us back because, once we heal them, we can't rely on that excuse anymore. As an example, if you can no longer blame the issues you have with your mom or dad for your failure to get into grad school, to write that book, or to start that company, who will you blame? You will have no one to blame but yourself. It's so much easier to be a victim and blame your perceived shortcomings on someone else. 

This naturally brings me to my next point. When you do work on victim mentality issues, you're almost definitely going to hit on self-worth and self-confidence issues. They are all related. I experienced this as well and worked a lot on these concepts. It's tough. But geesh, when this trio of self-empowerment (the opposite of victim mentality), self-worth, and self-confidence come into alignment, you will be unstoppable. When this happens, I think it's the true passage from childhood to adulthood. That's when true maturity happens. Sadly, some people never make this mental shift into adulthood - they never are able to stand in their own power and favor the childish behavior of blaming others instead.

If you want to explore victim mentality more, I suggest starting simple. Google it and read some of the articles written by psychologists. Then perhaps get out your journal and honestly examine the ways in which you have experienced victim mentality. If you meditate, perhaps do a 20-minute meditation on the question "How am I currently clinging to victim mentality in my life?" If you hit on some valuable things, you might want to get the help of a therapist. Or, if getting a therapist seems overwhelming or unaccessible right now, perhaps you can just start reading some books on the topic and see where that takes you.

To me, the opposite of victimhood is self-empowerment. That's when you truly understand that while you might not be in control of external forces, you are ALWAYS in control of how you react and respond to them which - at the end of the day - is all you need to feel empowered in any circumstance. This is not easy work. It takes a lot out of you and it takes some time. But at the end of the day, the concept is pretty simple - it's simply a shift in how you frame the world around you. It's simply a shift in how you frame the events and things that happen to you. And I'll tell you what - while there might be a ton of bright people practicing as lawyers (like I once did) or working in corporate America, there are a ton of people stuck in victim mentality there, too. Intelligence absolutely does not equate to mental maturity. Once you are aware of it, you'll see it everywhere. AND you'll be able to choose differently. And those blocks of overwhelm? You'll begin to see how you can take those challenges on. One by one. And, what's more, you'll begin to see how you never needed to stay trapped. 

I hope you feel empowered today. 

xoxo,

Stacy

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

You Asked, I Answered: How Much Money Do I Need To Save Up To Quit My Job And Start My Own Business?

You Asked, I Answered: How Much Money Do I Need To Save Up To Quit My Job And Start My Own Business?

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I want to address a question I get all the time from aspiring business owners and that's this: how much money do I need to save up in order to quit my job and start my own business? My answer has two layers to it, so let's try to peel back the layers together in this week's journal entry.

First, let's talk about how much money you might need. The answer is: it depends! I know. Sigh. You just hate that answer, don't you? But it's the absolute truth. Businesses vary in the amount of money they require and it's not hard to see why. For example, let's say you want to start a consulting business offering digital marketing services on Instagram to businesses owned by older adults who do not have a lot of experience with (or desire to learn) social media. What is required to start this type of business? Probably very little. A computer, a phone, a place to work (at home is just fine), you get the idea. Service-oriented businesses like this often require less to get started than a product-oriented business. Let me illustrate this with an example. Let's talk about grace + hudson. I required much more to start my business because I needed to invest in stones, chains, an e-commerce website, boxes for shipping my jewelry, etc. You'll have to take a close look at the type of business you'd like to run and then decide from there what might be a realistic amount to save up as an initial investment. Did you groan at the sound of that? Does that sound overwhelming? Well, welcome to one of your first activities as a start-up business owner! Your journey as a business owner is going to be FULL of overwhelming activities like this, and your job will be to break them down into digestible parts that can be accomplished. If you made another groan, you might want to take a harder look at what entrepreneurs and business owners actually do on a day-to-day basis. For instance, do you think I make jewelry all day long? Wrong! I spend maybe 10% to 20% of my time as a business owner making jewelry and the rest is spent working on growth and development, marketing, solving problems, etc. That means 80% of my time is spent doing other things besides making jewelry. I think a lot of entrepreneurs will tell you the same thing, regardless of the field they're working in. Make sure that's something you're ok with because, if you're not (and that's totally ok), you might not like being an entrepreneur.

Let's get to the second part of my answer to the question, how much money do I need to save up in order to quit my job and start my own business? You might not like this answer either but you can always count on me to deliver some truth! I want you going into business ownership with eyes wide open, not with some fairytale idea of what it's like to run a business. If you have a truthful, honest outlook about business ownership, you can make an informed decision on whether it's something you really want to spend time, energy, and money pursuing. So, that said, the second part of my answer is this: there's a major flaw in your question! In most cases, you can't just save up money to quit your job and start your own business. You're going to have to start your own business THEN quit your job. I know, another groan, right? This is the reality for most people unless you (a) just won the lottery or (b) come from a wealthy family or are married to a wealthy spouse that can fund your business and take care of your living expenses. Most people start their business while they are still working their regular job. If you're groaning, let's examine why. I think the reason most people absolutely hate this answer is because of the world we live in today. Everyone expects everything to be instant these days. Many people feel social media and the Internet have created this false expectation. But you can't just leave your nine-to-five salaried job that you've been working at for several years, start your own business the next day and be making the same amount of money. It just doesn't work that way. If it did, everyone would start their own business! But here's the "pro" to this otherwise "con." It connects to the first part of my answer. When you begin to really work on starting your own business while you have your regular job, you'll begin to get a REALLY good idea of how much you'll actually need to save up in order to quit someday. You'll get a good idea of the expenses you're going to incur in your business, the investments you're going to have to make, etc. This information will allow you to run some decent forecasts and come up with some reasonable estimates. Some people might be able to afford to quit in a few months, others might require a few years.

Let me end this week's journal with this thought: owning your own business doesn't come with a checklist or a set of instructions. I can't tell you that you need to save up $50,000 to be able to quit your job and start your own business and have guaranteed success. This is an unsettling concept for some because the jobs we've held in the past - they've all come with clear job descriptions and clear goals that need to be met in order to be promoted. There is no such thing in the entrepreneurial world. You're the only one who knows the answers and can chart the course. But if you want it and are willing to work hard for it, you can definitely do it. It's a matter of making up your mind!

Cheers to starting your own business!

xoxo,

Stacy 

Continue reading

Go Your Own Way: The Importance Of Differentiating Your Business From All The Rest

Go Your Own Way: The Importance Of Differentiating Your Business From All The Rest

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am talking about the importance of "going your own way" as the famous Fleetwood Mac song tells us (they're one of my favorites!). When you start your own business, the temptation is so great to follow the crowd. However, if you plan to achieve a high level of success, you quickly learn that you need to differentiate yourself, create your own lane, and stray from the "normal" path now and then. Why? Well, due to social media, competition is larger than ever before. With the stroke of a button, I can buy earrings from a designer in London just as easily as I can buy earrings from a designer in California. You need to stand out from the crowd in order to gain customers, sales, and even followers on social media platforms. If you plan on following the crowd in your aesthetic, design, and branding, it's going to be really hard to convince a lot of people to buy from you (as opposed to others) and growing your business is going to be just plain difficult. Your chances of success exponentially increase if you differentiate yourself in some way, whether that's in design, branding, or your marketing efforts. Let me give you a few examples of how I've tried to differentiate myself. And, before I start, let me say that I learned this concept from a business school course I took before I started grace + hudson and this is widely accepted knowledge in the entrepreneurial world. It's not rocket science! So if you're thinking of starting your own business, one of the things you should do in the initial stages of developing your idea is brainstorm ways you can stand out from your main competitors.

When I started grace + hudson, the main way I decided to differentiate myself from other jewelry businesses was to develop a brand that focused on bridesmaid jewelry that could be gifted and worn again after the wedding. There are a LOT of bridal jewelry companies out there, but almost all of them focus on jewelry for brides, not bridal parties. Notice I said jewelry that could be gifted and worn again after the wedding, which means although I'd be primarily targeting brides needing bridesmaid gifts, my jewelry styles could also appeal to non-brides who happened to find my website and liked the style of my designs. So many wedding jewelry companies use weddings SO heavily in their branding that a non-bride doesn't even bother to look at them twice, even though there might be a style in their collection that they could wear to work or out on a date. Sure, I talk about weddings quite a bit, but it's not the ONLY thing I talk about, unlike some of these other wedding jewelry companies.

This brings me to the other main way I differentiate myself from other companies. I talk a LOT about how I left my job as a lawyer to pursue a happier life and start grace + hudson. I mean, I talk about it so much you're currently reading a journal entry about it on my website, right? It is a HUGE part of my branding. It doesn't seem 100% intuitive, so let me tell you how I knew talking about my career change would be good for my jewelry business. If you've been reading this journal for a while, you know I quit being an attorney not once, but twice. The first time was in 2010 when I opened a brick and mortar jewelry store in New Jersey, where I grew up. It didn't work out and lasted only about a year, but I learned so much from that experience. One thing I learned was that telling my story was a way to really connect with people. My store was down the street from the county courthouse so I naturally had a lot of customers who worked as attorneys, legal assistants, etc. Many of them wanted to hear how I managed to escape the legal profession (because, let's be real here, it is a TOUGH profession and a lot of people don't end up liking it very much). To them, I feel like I served as just one example of what might be possible for them too. And so many of them ending up buying a piece of jewelry which, if I had to bet, probably served as a visual reminder of what might be possible for them. Every time they wear the piece, they'd remember our conversation. Now that is some powerful stuff right there! I just love telling my "lawyer escape story" so it was something that came very naturally to me. I love to talk about career, and life purpose, and career change, and all that good stuff. So it's also something that's very authentic to me. And it's something that's pretty darn unique at least for a jewelry company! 

Those are the two big ways I differentiate myself, but there are a lot of small ways too. For example, I don't do wholesale anymore. What's wholesale? That's when you agree to sell your jewelry in other stores. The store buys the jewelry from you in volume (so they get a lower price) and then they sell it in their store. So many jewelry brands think they "should" do this and that this is the only way to grow and "get big." But I've decided, after some experimentation, that I don't want to do wholesale. I don't want my jewelry to be in 100+ stores. I want my jewelry to always feel special and made-to-order, and you definitely lose that factor if you're in hundreds of stores. Plus, in my opinion, I don't think wholesale is the way to grow a fashion business anymore. It used to be necessary before social media (e.g. how else would someone in California find out about my jewelry shop in Charleston?). But nowadays, I can get WAY more exposure through social media than I ever could by putting my jewelry in stores across the U.S. 

As another example, I don't work with fashion bloggers. Again, I think fashion brands think they HAVE to work with fashion bloggers but I've decided against it. Why? After some experimentation, I decided it doesn't work for me. I don't enjoy it and I also feel that it doesn't pay off. It's very easy to understand why - my main customer is a bride-to-be and there is no bride-to-be fashion blogger. Sure, there may be a fashion blogger who is getting married and decides to share her wedding planning, but for the most part her audience isn't going to be full of brides-to-be. Therefore, for me, it's way more effective to run ads that target brides-to-be.

If you're thinking of starting your own business, how can you differentiate yourself? What's special about you? What can you emphasize or talk about that no one else does? Think of at least two or three ways you can really nail this, and run with it! Can't think of anything? Give yourself some time to brainstorm it - it might require some effort - but each and every single one of us is unique so I guarantee you there is something special about you that you're overlooking.

Cheers to being different!

xoxo,

Stacy

 

 

 

Continue reading

If There's One Thing I Want Aspiring Entrepreneurs To Know, It's This

If There's One Thing I Want Aspiring Entrepreneurs To Know, It's This

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am sharing the one thing I want all aspiring entrepreneurs to know. I have so many tips, tricks, and information to share with aspiring entrepreneurs, but if I had to boil it down to one thing, it would be this: in order to be successful at leaving behind your day job and starting your own business, you have to be willing to completely change your thinking. 

If you've been reading my journal entries for a while now, you may have noticed that I sometimes say, "You need to work on your mindset more than your website in order to be successful at owning your own business." Today's journal entry expands upon that. 

So what exactly do I mean by "changing your thinking?" Well, let's start with the present moment first. Most likely, today you find yourself in a job (or perhaps you recently left a job) that you don't like very much. Or maybe you like it, but it's just not fulfilling and you can't imagine spending the rest of your life doing it. Well, how did you wind up in this situation in the first place - working at a job you don't like or don't find fulfilling? You have a set of internal beliefs that played out in real life and brought you to the now. Most likely, those internal beliefs go something like this:

  • Work isn't supposed to be fun
  • The purpose of work is to earn a paycheck
  • I'm supposed to work until age 65, give or take, and then I can retire and enjoy my life
  • The right thing to do after college is to get a stable job with good income potential
  • I work an office job because I need health insurance
  • I stay at my stable job because I need the benefits
  • Having a regular paycheck makes me feel secure  
  • I work a 9 to 5 job during the week and I countdown to the weekend. Friday at 5 pm is my favorite. They say TGIF for a reason!
  • Who am I to think that work should be any different than this? Everyone else feels the same way. That's just life. We all have to work to pay the bills.

Do some or all of these beliefs ring true for you? And do you find yourself at a job you don't particularly love? If your answer is "yes" then you, my friend, have created the exact set of real life circumstances to support your beliefs. 

Therefore, it naturally follows that you can create a new set of beliefs. And those new beliefs will create a new set of real life circumstances that support those new beliefs. Do you follow me? If not, read this over again a little more slowly. The "big picture" logic of it all is actually quite easy. It's getting from here to there that's not so easy.

So how do you get from here to there? You begin by changing your thinking. You have to, have to, have to change the way you think about work and career. Please believe me when I say this. I am speaking from 100% real life experience. You see, I quit my lawyer job not once but twice. And both times I left to create a jewelry business. The first jewelry business (which happened in 2010) failed after one year. The second one (grace + hudson) is in its fourth year and thriving. When people ask me what the major difference has been, I always tell them that it's my mindset. The first time I quit, I had the beliefs that are listed above. I actually felt guilty and naive at times for trying to make a living doing something I enjoy. I'm not sure if it was (a) the guilt or (b) the doubt that I could go against the grain that killed my dream first, but I was back working as a lawyer within a year. I truly was not in alignment with my dream. I was in alignment with working in a career I didn't really like. It can be hard to examine your beliefs and have enough self-awareness to admit that. But looking back, gosh it was so clear. I honestly didn't believe I deserved better.

The second time I quit I was in a totally different headspace. Part of that was the wisdom that comes with growing a little older, and part of that was some real transformational work I had done with a therapist after I lost my dad to cancer. I was in a dark place at that time in my life. Everything was going wrong and it was just one thing after another. I was finally in enough pain to say, "Ok! Enough is enough! Something's gotta change here!" And that desire for change propelled me to work on myself and really challenge myself to grow beyond this dark place. It didn't happen overnight that's for sure, but slowly and surely I worked on a little tiny aspect of myself, and then another, and another, and another. And soon enough the momentum was great enough to make big changes. I'm quite a different person than I was back then, doing a different job, living in a different city, with different friends. Making big changes like that are never easy, but I can honestly say, looking back, the journey was a pretty beautiful one!

So what's the next step for you? I'd say it's taking 30 minutes of true self-reflection and writing down your honest beliefs about work. Maybe it resembles the bullet point list above, maybe it doesn't. Then, write down your ideal beliefs about work. Chances are, it looks like the opposite of the statements above. For example (again going off of our bullet point list above), the first item can read: "Work can be fun and joyful - it doesn't need to be painful and boring." The second item can read: "The purpose of work is to use my gifts and talents in service to the world around me. Money is a natural by-product of sharing my gifts. When I do what I am called to do, what I was put on this earth to do, money is going to eventually start naturally flowing from that." You get the idea.

If you find your current beliefs and your ideal beliefs about work don't line up, you have to start changing your internal beliefs to more closely resemble your ideals. How do you start doing that? Well, maybe it's as easy as reading your list every single day before you leave for work and, on your walk or drive to work, you allow yourself to really imagine what it might feel like to have a job that fulfills these ideals. If you're doing it right, it won't be long before you arrive to work with a huge smile on your face. And then it won't be long before you use this new positive energy to make some transformational changes in your life. You'll know the right steps to take, just be open and aware.

Or maybe it's not going to start that easy. Maybe it's going to require the help of a therapist because you have some tougher issues to work through. For example, perhaps you grew up in a home with food insecurity which led to the deeply held belief that "there is never going to be enough." Maybe that belief has infiltrated how you think about work and money, and you need some assistance developing healthier thoughts around these topics. Whatever path is yours, honor it and know that the obstacles you have been given were given to you for a reason. If you overcome them, you are going to grow and evolve into a higher version of yourself. Trust me, it won't be for naught.

If you still aren't getting this, if you just aren't buying it, let me give you a very simple analogy of how your thoughts can really change your experience of a thing. I have a dog. He loves to walk. You know what he loves even more than walking? Sniffing. This dog loves to sniff anything and everything as we walk along our path. I mean, he can sniff a tiny uninteresting patch of weeds for 6 minutes straight while I stand there feeling unproductive and thinking of all the steps we could've gotten on my Fitbit if only my dog would walk quickly. I'll admit it - our difference of opinion on how a walk should be walked had me a little irritated at times when he was a young puppy. But you know what changed? Me. One day, I had this thought seemingly out of nowhere - we do not take dog walks in order to rack up steps on a Fitbit. That's not the point. We take dog walks so that my dog can empty his bladder before I go to work and get a little fresh air and smell the weeds and grass and fire hydrants around the neighborhood (I once had a dog trainer who referred to this as the human equivalent of reading the morning paper - they want to know what's been going on in the neighborhood!). When I changed my thinking away from "this should be a productive walk with lots of steps" my experience of our walks changed with it. I didn't get restless. I didn't look at my Fitbit with dismay to see we had only taken 30 steps in 9 minutes. I even started to use this time to say little silent prayers over the day ahead of me, listen to a podcast, or catch up on the texts on my phone. And ever since then, our walks have been just lovely. 

You see how your thoughts about a thing shape your experience? You see how changing your thoughts about a thing can drastically change your experience? Big or small, it's no different. Thoughts help shape and create your reality, so use them wisely.

p.s. If you enjoy my journal, I will be doing an Instagram Live on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 8 pm eastern over on my Instagram account which is @graceandhudson. It's a little Q&A time together where you can ask me anything about career change, starting your own business, or growing a new business. I hope you'll join me! If you can't make that time, feel free to send me a question at stacy@graceandhudson.com. I'll answer it on the Live and you can catch the replay. 

xoxo,

Stacy

 

Continue reading