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my journal

Searching For Career Happiness? Be Motivated By Growth, Not Money

Searching For Career Happiness? Be Motivated By Growth, Not Money

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am encouraging you to be motivated by authenticity and growth - not money - as you decide upon your career or ponder a career change.

I think the root cause of the rampant career dissatisfaction in our country is that we're taught to be motivated by money. Ask people why they're working at a job they don't like and I guarantee you that they'll all give you an answer relating to money: "I can't afford to quit" or "I can't make this kind of money elsewhere" or "I'll never make money doing what I love." We all know that "money doesn't buy happiness" but many of us make decisions based on money and then wonder why we aren't happy. This is why my biggest piece of advice for you is this: be driven not by money, but by what will grow and evolve you into a better version of yourself.

I can already hear you saying, "Yeah, that's a nice idea, but I've got bills to pay." Paying bills is important. Obviously. But when did financial security become the only goal that matters? It's like, we think if we have financial security, all of a sudden we'll be happy and our life will be perfect. Spoiler alert: that's not true. I had financial security in my job as a lawyer and I was a hot mess. You wouldn't even recognize "old Stacy" as I like to call her. Sure, you can wear nice clothes, drive a nice car, buy a nice house, but if you aren't happy, those things don't make you happy either. So I'm telling you - if the only thing that's driving your career decisions is money, you are in for a big disappointment over the course of your life. Even if you make all the money and get all the promotions, you are going to feel pretty empty at the finish line. And then what?

My father was a real life example of this. He worked hard, saved religiously in a 401(k), budgeted his finances like a pro, bought us a large family house and worked on his beautifully manicured front lawn so that the "outside" picture of his life was nearly perfect. But he was quite unhappy on the inside. And I think it was a big disappointment for him when he "checked off" all the things on the checklist of life, and happiness wasn't waiting for him at the end. I think he strived to "do all the things" and achieve and be perfect, hoping that inner peace and joy would be waiting at the end. Not so. Life isn't about how much money you make, your job title, and how big your house is. Life is much deeper than that. My dad passed away fairly young - he had just turned 65 - and it was a glorious experience to see him soften at the end of his life while he fought a short 10-month battle with cancer. He learned during that time that friendships, your children, quality time, and laughter are priceless and really make up a life. Not the type of house you live in or how green your lawn is each summer. He spent a lot of time obsessing over the "outside" details of life, and not enough on what mattered.

Listen, I don't deny that money has to be a factor in the career decisions you make. But let it be just that: one single factor in the overall decision-making process. Let me encourage you to be driven less by money and more by what is going to grow you and evolve you into the next highest version of yourself. What were you put here on this earth to accomplish? What gifts do you have to share? What do you feel called to do? When you line up with those things and start living YOUR authentic purpose, life has an entirely different flavor. Your life becomes about serving others with the unique gifts that only you have. And when you're in alignment with that, life just flows. I can happily say I live in this space now, after 11 long miserable years as an attorney. I was put on this earth to be the former lawyer turned jewelry maker pursuing a happier life. I was meant to share my gift of jewelry design and to show people that you can make a massive career change that benefits you in ways you never could have imagined. What were YOU meant to do here? What gifts or message or story does your life tell?   

Let me leave you with this idea. It's great if the career path you're on will lead to both more money and personal growth. But when you're given a choice between the two, choose growth. Think of it as a long-term investment. When you become a better version of yourself, the money follows. It won't be immediate, but if you stick with it, it comes. It really, really does. And earning money from something you enjoy even feels a lot better than money earned from doing something you don't particularly like. It's temporary sacrifice for long-term gain.

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own experiences. My wish is for everyone to know the feeling of doing work that brings them joy. It truly is an unbelievable gift to not dread Mondays and hope for Friday's fast arrival. If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. 

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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The Power Of Role Models

The Power Of Role Models

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm talking about the importance of surrounding yourself with role models. More specifically, with people who are doing what you want to be doing. If you've been working for a little while, you've probably heard the expression, "If you don't want your boss' job someday, you might want to think about a different career path." It's true. Why would you work so hard if you don't want to progress on the path you're on? That sounds kinda silly, doesn't it? A lot of people have identified that they don't like their current career path, but a lot of people haven't figured out what's next. So they stay stuck. And stuck is often an unhappy place to be. I was there for a long time, so let me help you.

Five years ago, I was a lawyer living an unhappy life, struggling with the prospect of making a career change. I was highly educated - with degrees from both Cornell University and Emory Law School - yet I felt my career options were limited. WHAT?! Yes, it's true. And I bet you can relate no matter your career or education level. We get pigeon-holed into a certain career and we think there's no other options available to us. Let me be the first to tell you that this is highly inaccurate. And all it takes is getting outside your little career bubble.

You see, when I was a lawyer, I often spent 70+ hours a week devoted to work and my (very little) free time was spent running errands and, you know, just keeping my life together by paying bills, walking my dog, grocery shopping, and going to a yoga class or two. When you find yourself in this position, your exposure to other people is pretty limited. In other words, it was hard for me to see beyond my little career field, beyond my little bubble. There are millions of people out there performing millions of jobs, but I was so trapped in the legal profession that - when I wanted to look for other career options - my mind went blank. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you're a nurse or a teacher or in the IT field - whatever your field, it's easy to get a little stuck there. It's easy to become pigeon-holed. We often make friends at work, so perhaps many of our friends do the same jobs as us, too. We get so comfortable in this little world (even if we don't particularly like it) and it becomes difficult to see beyond it. I know so many lawyers that dislike their jobs, but they all say to me, "I just don't know what else I'd do with this degree." There are literally thousands if not millions of jobs they'd be qualified for. Lawyers have so many transferrable skills. Just to name a few, most lawyers are great writers, amazing researchers, and very skilled at analyzing data, negotiating, and critical thinking. 

So how do you get outside this little bubble? It can be as easy as Google! Do some searching. I bet you'll find articles and maybe even podcasts and interviews. For example, if you get on Google and search "former lawyer," you'll actually find a podcast with tons of interviews of former lawyers who are now doing something else (click here to listen to mine!). If you listen to one of these podcasts per day, in just a couple of weeks you will have expanded your mind from "I don't know what else I can do with this degree" to "there are so many other possibilities for me." That's pretty powerful stuff. There is huge power in surrounding yourself with examples of people who have already done it. That's why I named this journal entry "the power of role models." When you're in this state of possibility, good things start to happen. Opportunities start to arise. That good energy of "I can do this" and "there are options" and "I don't need to stay stuck here" really can propel you forward. It replaces the negative energy of "I'm stuck here" and "I don't have options" and "I'll never be able to do something else." If you've been following my journal entries for any length of time, you know I'm always emphasizing mindset. This is no different. Expand your mind. Find proof that there are lawyers {or insert your current job} doing other things with their lives. There is TONS of it. You just have to look for it. And then this proof will naturally expand your mind as to what's possible for YOU. 

Let's talk about some other examples, just to get your mind going. Did you know a nurse can work in the legal profession? Yep! Nurses are needed in medical malpractice cases. So maybe you don't like the day-to-day work of being a nurse, but maybe you'd like lending your expertise in a legal case. Or maybe you're a teacher. Did you ever dream of starting your own business one day? How about creating an online course in something you're proficient at? There are tons of people teaching all sorts of things online and you, my friend, are leaps and bounds ahead of them because you already have some real life teaching experience. Plus, online courses have exploded during the past few years and it's an awesome business to start as a side hustle. 

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own experiences. My wish is for everyone to know the feeling of doing work that brings them joy. It truly is an unbelievable gift to not dread Mondays and hope for Friday's fast arrival. If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. 

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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What Utlimately Made Me Quit My Lawyer Job

What Utlimately Made Me Quit My Lawyer Job

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am answering a question I often get in my shop in Charleston. It goes something like this, "Ok, so you practiced law for a long time and someone doesn't just quit law and start a jewelry business. What happened? Something big must have happened to you. You know, to have the courage to take such a big leap." And they're right. One doesn't just quit an 11-year career as a lawyer and start a jewelry business without making some major shifts in life. Something big did happen. There was a major catalyst. It all started 8 years ago tomorrow, on May 3, 2014. That was the catalyst. That was the turning moment for me...although I didn't know it at the time.

Eight years ago on May 3rd I lost my father to cancer. It was a short battle - lasting only about 10 months - and he had just turned 65 years old. His side of the family lived quite long - into their 90's - and I thought my dad would be around forever. In fact, my grandfather (my dad's dad) was still living when my dad passed. But we never know what's in store for us, do we? It's a question I think about often. If my dad had known he would only make it to 65, would he have spent so much time and money and energy on saving in his 401(k), hoping for a retirement by the beach, etc? Would he have lived more during his life, and not saved up all his living for some distant future when he can finally relax? I hear a lot of lawyers say, "Well, no I don't like my job. But I'm just going to work hard and retire early." And maybe for a time I thought that way myself. But what a cruel, cruel joke - to live your whole life with your eye on the prize of retirement, only to die one month later. Believe me, this happens more than you care to think. When I share my dad's story with others, so many people respond with a similar story that happened to their family member. 

So, as you can already tell, watching my father pass in hospice care really changed my perspective on life and the things we're taught to believe and do. I questioned the things that are deemed "normal" such as saving in a 401(k) and planning to live by the beach when you're in your 60's. None of it really made sense to me through this new lens. What if I never made it to retirement? On the flip side, what if I do make it to retirement? Most older folks don't even like to be out in the sun for very long, so how does living by the beach in old age make sense? I mean, you don't want to move to an island in the Caribbean when you're in your 70's - the medical care on an island is horrendous! On and on my thoughts and observations went... I just didn't understand why so many people had bought this storyline of "work hard, retire, then live" without questioning how some of it just doesn't make sense. 

I didn't make any major leaps in 2014. I sorted through these thoughts and feelings, and grieved properly with the help of a therapist. It wasn't until February 2017 - so not quite 3 years later - that I made the big leap to quit my lawyer job. In addition to changing my outlook on the world, I had changed views about my finances. I was 37 at the time and could've purchased my first condo in Chicago, where I was living prior to Charleston, with a nice downpayment. Instead, I felt pulled in a new direction. I could always buy a condo, but I wouldn't always have the opportunity to start my own business. I was single, no kids, no mortgage at the time and I was going to take FULL advantage of that. If it didn't work out, I could just go back to being a lawyer. But here I am, 5 years later, and it absolutely has worked out. And much better than I ever could have imagined...

If there's anything I wish for you, it's the ability to truly understand that we are not here forever. Life can be taken away from us in a heartbeat. Be smart about it, but do what you want to do. Experience what you want to experience. Life is really, really short. And it shouldn't be spent planning for some distant day in your 60's when you can finally start to live.  

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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You Are Never Too Old To Switch Careers

You Are Never Too Old To Switch Careers

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to stress the importance of "you're never too old." I speak to a lot of women who want to make a big career change like I did, and sometimes I hear, "Yeah but I'm already 30 years old and I feel like I'm too old to switch careers." No, no, no. And another no. You are NEVER too old to change course. 

Think about it - we're asked around the age of 20, give or take, to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. I had NO idea who I was at 20. I thought I did. But I had no idea. Some of us are lucky at that age and pick a beautiful career right out the gate. But most of us don't. The average person does change course at least once in their lifetime and - even if you don't make a huge career change - the average person holds 12 jobs during their working life. That's a lot of change! And that's a good thing. You should never feel trapped in a job or so stifled that you are no longer growing and learning.

When I quit my lawyer job, I was 36 years old. I practiced law for 11 years. Sure, I could've said, "Oh I have already invested so much in this career, I can't leave now." But I put my mental health and wellbeing first, and I have to say it was the single best decision I've ever made. I am so much happier, but also so much healthier. When I was a lawyer, I was miserable and because I was so unhappy, I was often sick. Thankfully with nothing serious, but I always had a stomachache. I always had a cold. I never felt good. Looking back, I now know that was my body trying to tell me something. I wonder what kind of condition my body would be in today, or ten years from now, if I stayed in the legal profession. Literally, I look younger today at 41 than I do in some pictures of me as a lawyer when I was age 30. It's a little scary to be honest. I tell you all of this because you should never feel too old to change careers, especially when your mental and physical wellbeing are at stake. Staying in a toxic career or job will take years off your life. No one can endure that for too long without consequences.

Over the years, I've met so many former lawyers (and other career professionals) doing different things with their lives now. You see, I have this sign outside my shop in Charleston that says "Jewelry designed in Charleston by a former lawyer pursuing a happier life." And that sign brings a lot of people into my shop. I hear the best stories from people who've made similar career jumps. Some left their professions when they were young, some left when they were much older. The stories really do run the spectrum. There is no "right" time and there is no "I'm too old to make a change now." Sure, it stinks to have "wasted" time in a career that didn't work out in the long run, but I equate it to a divorce. Sure, it stinks to have "wasted" time in a relationship that didn't last a lifetime, but I'm sure with some time and space both parties to that relationship can look back and see all the ways they grew and changed and learned during that relationship. It did serve a purpose. It wasn't a failure and a waste. And that's how you have to look at a career that just isn't working out for you. You learned from it, and chances are, the skills you learned in that job are going to be crucial for success in your next job. It's funny how things work out like that. 

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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The Importance Of Getting Clarity On Our Dreams

The Importance Of Getting Clarity On Our Dreams

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. This week's journal entry is a continuation from last week's where I wrote about the sacrifices that are required when you start your own business. So many of you tell me that you want your own business someday but, at the end of the day, very few are willing to do what it takes to make that dream a reality. It can be scary, uncertain, and risky to take real steps towards your dream. It also can require a lot of work, a lot of long nights, a lot of discipline, and a lot of sacrifice. In writing about this topic and sharing with you what it's really like to pursue a big dream, I hope you can get honest with yourself. Am I willing to do these things? Or am I comfortable where I am and want to stay here? There is no right or wrong answer - it depends on you, your current circumstances, and what you want to prioritize both right now and in the future. But what I do want to offer in this journal entry is the encouragement to get CLARITY on what you really want and what you're willing to do.

Why is this important? Well, if you've had a strong desire to start your own business, I bet that you've had a running conversation in your head about the pros and cons, the shoulds and shouldn'ts. This conversation probably takes up a LOT of your mental head space...and therefore your time and energy as well. Am I right? I thought so. Getting clarity gets you out of this space where lots of energy is expended but literally nothing gets done. It's all in your head at this point, and if you've been in this space long enough you know how exhausting it eventually gets. Striving for clarity on what you really want and what you're willing to do to get there allows you to free up this mental space so that you can either (a) start taking the first baby steps towards building your own business or (b) start enjoying life a little more right where you are, in the here in now! In other words, you can admit to yourself this just isn't going to happen (at least right now) and you can use all that energy for other things or, dare I say it, nothing at all and just have more downtime for enjoying life or resting.

Don't get caught in the "should I or shouldn't I?" space for too long. I know people who've been talking about starting their own business for years and years. And I mean really talking about it - down to logo colors, spaces to lease, etc. Do you know how much mental energy that has robbed them of? They are always living in the "what ifs" of life. It robs them of the present time, the here and now. At some point, you have to get down to it and really decide - yes or no? If no, then embrace that and own that decision so you can enjoy other parts of your life. And - most importantly - let your dream go so that a NEW dream can come. Does that make sense? When you're stuck in "maybe" you're not realizing your current dream and you're also blocking new dreams from coming to fruition. Maybe the next dream will be better - maybe it will be one that you ARE willing to make sacrifices for. You see my point? Wishing you clarity as you mull over your dreams this week! 

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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Most People Aren't Willing To Do This, Are You?

Most People Aren't Willing To Do This, Are You?

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about what it really takes to make your dream a reality. Whether your dream is to start your own business or completely change careers, making it come true isn't so easy. It often boils down to this: what are you willing to do to make it happen? It can be scary, uncertain, and risky to take real steps towards your dream. It also can require a lot of work, a lot of discipline, and a lot of sacrifice. Few are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work, and many want it handed to them on a silver platter. But nothing worth having comes easy. And the bigger your dream, the more it's going to take. 

First and foremost, if you want to see your dream come to life, you have to make friends with the fact that some sort of sacrifice is going to be required. Most people aren't willing to sacrifice a thing so be honest with yourself - are you? Maybe you need to invest a lot of time into your dream. Or maybe it's money. Maybe you're going to need to get a little uncomfortable for a while. Maybe you're going to need to work really hard on your mindset to make your dream come true by changing the negative beliefs that are holding you back. Maybe you're going to need to spend less time with your spouse or partner or kids or best friends for a little while so you can work more. What is it going to be for you?

I think this is the main sticking point that most people can't get beyond. People want things to change and they want their dream to come to pass, but they aren't willing to change anything about their current situation to get there. Let me give you an example. I hear from a lot of lawyers who want to leave the practice of law and start their own business, but many of them say, "Well, I don't want to change my standard of living though." That's code for: I make a lot of money, I have gotten used to a luxurious lifestyle, and I'm not willing to give that up. Really? Not even for a little while? If it means seeing your dream come to life and being happier in the long term? If your business succeeds, you might make MORE than you currently make now. Here's the deal: making some sacrifices now could potentially add up to a lifetime of happiness and more money. Think of it like an investment. Isn't that worth the "pain" of giving up the lifestyle you're used to right now? Let me tell you from firsthand experience, it is!

When I left my lawyer job in 2017, I was at this crossroads in my life: buy a condo or quit my job and try to make my dream come true. I had saved enough money to put a decent down payment on a condo in downtown Chicago, but there was a nagging thought in the back of my head that I should use that money to quit my job and start my own business. I chose the latter, which means I still rent and I don't own a home. That's the main "sacrifice" I made to start grace + hudson (I use the term "sacrifice" loosely as I realize some people never even get the chance to buy their own home). I am so glad I made that decision for myself because it gave me financial flexibility - I am not handcuffed to a certain income level in order to pay a mortgage each month. And you know what else has come of it? The money I make now feels good. It makes me so proud to earn a living from something I love to do and I know it's going to feel so good to buy a home someday in the near future. The money I made when I was a lawyer didn't feel good, and I know the home I bought with that money wouldn't feel good in the long run either.

The point I'd like to leave you with is this: everything is a decision. Everything. When it comes to the dream of business ownership, what are you willing to prioritize? Is it more important to you to purchase your own home right now? Or to enjoy the small or big luxuries of life - anything from expensive coffee to beautiful trips? Or is it more important to you to prioritize saving money for your long-term dream? There is no right or wrong answer - it depends on YOU and what you want. But realize it's your choice and the power is in your hands. If you aren't willing to sacrifice anything, own that! Get clear on that. And then let your dream go because it's taking up space and energy that you don't ever intend to act on. Instead, fill that space with a new dream. For example, maybe you want to travel the world instead. In any case, decide and then fully own your decision. And stop wasting energy mulling over what you don't have. The grass is always greener...until you let yourself feel empowered by the choices you have made.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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Is Money Holding You Back From a Fulfilling Career?

Is Money Holding You Back From a Fulfilling Career?

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about money. Why? Money is the number one block to turning your passion into a career.

So...how do you feel about money? Is it a taboo topic? Yucky? Is money usually something that leads to arguments? When you think of your feelings around money, do words like "awesome", "a source of power", and "easy to manage" come to mind? I'm willing to bet not. This is no surprise! For one, we're taught ZERO about money in school and most of us grew up around parents that fought (at least occasionally) about money. This means that we grew up thinking money is something you (a) don't talk about and (b) when you do talk about it, it's likely to lead to a fight. No wonder our society grows up with negative beliefs and stories surrounding money. I believe this is the reason that money is the number one block to turning your passion into a paying career. But I've got good news for you! I've found that the most effective thing we can do to bust through our money blocks is easier than you think and will cost you nothing. It's this: you have to work on your money mindset - which is your feelings and beliefs around money - and turn off the negative stories you've been telling yourself about money and replace them with more positive, empowering money stories. Changing the way you think about money is more powerful (and certainly more long-lasting) than hitting the lottery or scoring a generous business loan. Those things are fleeting. If you don't have a healthy mindset around money, those things will leave as fast as they came. That's why so many lottery winners end up bankrupt in a couple of years. They don't know how to hold onto money, nor do they really, truly believe they deserve an abundance of it.   

How do you start working on your money mindset? Awareness is key. Most of us are not even aware that negative beliefs and stories about money are sabotaging our desire to pursue our passion. If we're aware of the things that are holding us back, we can change them. Let's start here: what kinds of beliefs and stories do you hold about money? Think about how your dad handled money. Think about how your mom did. What kinds of jobs did your mother and father and other relatives hold? Did you get an allowance? Were you told that you could only spend money on certain things? Was money a secretive topic in your home growing up? How did your parents respond when you needed to ask for money? Here are some examples of beliefs and story lines that you might identify with (spoiler alert: these are all taken from my own life): 

  • A lucrative career and a meaningful career are mutually exclusive. I can either be rich or happy, not both. Most of us grew up learning that you need to decide between the two. A job that you enjoy, that gives you purpose, and pays the bills? No way! 
  • I'll never be able to make enough money doing XYZ. We're continually told by our parents, "You'll never make enough money to pay your rent doing [insert your passion project]." But that's because our parents' generation, for the most part, sought out stable, secure jobs because their parents lived through the Great Depression. There was usually no joy, purpose, or meaning in these jobs but the pay was good and the pension was even better, and that was of utmost concern. The Great Depression has long since ended, but we are still prioritizing the stability of an office job with a good 401(k) at the expense of joy, purpose and meaning. 
  • I don't deserve to earn a lot of money doing something I love. This is a sneaky one, but chances are this resonates with you at least a little bit. Similar to this is "I'd feel guilty if I earned a lot of money doing something I love, while others struggle with their 9-5 jobs." This is the way our 9-5, TGIF, live-for-the-weekend American culture is set up, so who are we to challenge it?
  • "You work hard, then you die." Most of us have a relative or friend who prescribes to this theory on life. They work long hours, live paycheck to paycheck, and there's just no end in sight (except retirement or, you know, death). 
  • Money is the root of all evil. If your parents fought about money, you probably grew up with the belief that money is dangerous or evil. And I'm pretty sure the Bible says money is evil, too!
  • Rich people are snobs. What does a wealthy woman look like to you? Many of us think that rich women are bitc*y. Do you want to turn into a bitc*? Heck no! 
  • I'll start truly living when I retire. Did your parents save, save, save into that 401(k) or pension plan, and teach you that life begins at age 65, when you can retire from your dreadful job? That doesn't even make sense! Some of us won't even see age 65 (unfortunately, my father passed away one month after he turned 65). Plus, it's a lot more fun to travel and live near the beach before you turn 65 and start acquiring various illnesses and ailments. 

You get the idea. Once you identify the money beliefs that might be holding you back, you can call them out when they show up. This isn't easy, but it can be accomplished with some practice. When you see it happening, turn that negative money story around. For example, if you notice yourself thinking, "If I do what I love for work, I might be happy but I'll probably be poor" turn it around in the moment and say, "I can be happy and wealthy at the same time. I deserve to make an abundance of money doing what I love."  

Here's another way to practice a better money mindset. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love a daily mantra. So take your money mindset practice to yoga or bring it into your meditation or morning drive! During this time, silently repeat to yourself, "I can make more money following my passion than I ever have in my current job." Chances are, you won't believe it at first, but give it a few weeks or months, and you'll see the pathways in your mind start to open up to the possibility of making more money doing something you love.

Another way to practice a better money mindset is to make a habit of looking out for kind, awesome, rich women. How about one of your favorite authors, singers, or actresses? This practice is especially good if you believe most rich women are bitc*y. 

You can also read books on the topic. There are two books in particular that I've found invaluable. The first is You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (you can find it here on Amazon) and the second is Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks by Denise Duffield-Thomas (here on Amazon). I know, I know - the titles! Please do not be offended by the curse words, they are simply there to emphasize the light-hearted approach that both of these books take towards money. And boy is that a breath of fresh air! Both of these women are hilarious, so I highly recommend listening to these books on Audible. Play them over and over again until things start to click. I promised you'll have some "ah-ha!" moments that bring you new clarity and a new perspective on your relationship with money.

If I can do it, you can do it. I've had to overcome some serious mental money strongholds on my journey from type A-perfectionist-attorney to free-spirited jewelry business owner (it was quite a leap!). I've had to battle every single one of the examples in the bullet point list above plus more, and I'll tell you what: it's a daily choice to live with an abundance mentality. It doesn't happen overnight, but gradually the shifts will come. Some beliefs are easy to acknowledge and dispose of, while others show up time and time again and take a lot more work to get rid of. Money beliefs were one of my biggest blocks, but over the last few years I've transformed the way I think about it through reading books on the topic, journaling about my blockages, using daily mantras, and just plain being curious about the money fears that show up for me (I'm always asking myself, where did I learn this? Who taught me to think this way? Do I actually believe this, or can I disagree with it?). 

Once you clear your fears and doubts around money, you'll be so much more capable of turning your passion project into a full-time paying gig. Cheers to making money doing something you enjoy! 

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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Strive For Joy, Not Validation From Others

Strive For Joy, Not Validation From Others

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about seeking validation. If you're stuck in a job you don't like and you see no way out, this is a big topic to address. First and foremost, you are not alone. I stayed stuck in my job as a lawyer for 11 years even though I hated it from day one. What keeps us stuck? I can only speak from my point of view but I believe it's a view shared by many women - especially high achieving, smart women. 

As many of you know, I practiced law for 11 years. I went to an Ivy League college, a top 25 law school, worked at a couple of prestigious law firms, made a high salary, drove a Lexus before the age of 30, and seemed to have it all going on, as they say. But, inside, I was honestly a bit of a mess. Appearances aren't always what they seem! I was always sick (nothing serious thankfully, but I always had a cold, always had a stomachache, and I never felt healthy). The law firms I worked for pretty much owned me - if you are familiar with the legal profession, lawyers have to keep track of their "billable hours" and the law firms I worked at required me to keep track of every 6 minutes. Yes, every 6 minutes. Meaning, if I talked to a client on the phone for a short call that lasted from 9:00 am to 9:12 am, I literally had to write that down and bill 0.2 hours to that client (12 minutes equates to 0.2 of an hour). Talk about feeling absolutely controlled by my employer. And then, on top of that, partners at law firms are ALWAYS cutting your hours, telling you that the legal brief you wrote for court should have taken 7 hours, not the 13 hours it actually took you. So you are constantly being told you aren't fast enough or good enough. Looking back, this is an INSANE way to live and it's literally unbelievable to me that the legal profession still operates like this. As you can imagine, this wrecks your nervous system. And then on top of it all, lawyers are well, lawyers. I'm not going to sugarcoat it - most of them are awful people to work with. Lawyers have a certain reputation for a reason. In part, it's not our fault. Our life is one big argument. Every day. For years on end. And we are taught to always look for the negative. For example, when you're drafting a contract for a client, your job is to think of EVERYTHING that can go wrong and then draft legal provisions in that contract that protect your client if those things happen. Why do I mention all of this? Because a normal person would equate this to a toxic relationship and they would tell you to run the other way. Like, now. Not tomorrow, not the next day. Now. You deserve way better. But yet, I stayed. For 11 years. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I eventually escaped. Many do not. So, this brings me to my point - why on earth did I stay? Validation was a huge part of it.

Let me explain. When you are disconnected from your inherent worth and value - you know, good ole self-esteem - you strive for external validation. You look to other people and circumstances to affirm your value. A good job means you're smart. An attractive husband means you're loveable and pretty. You get the idea. Whether it's conscious or not, you're striving to make the outside look "perfect" with the hope that you will feel better about yourself on the inside. But let me tell you, it doesn't work that way. I had many hallmarks of a "successful" life before I even turned age 30 and I was a bit of a mess. Why? These external things are merely quick hits, almost like a drug. Sure, it made me feel good about myself for when someone told me they were impressed by the college I attended, or that I was able to get a job at a prestigious law firm. But that feeling lasted for about 5 minutes. The nice clothes I wore, the nice car I had... they didn't make me feel better about myself on the inside. They didn't make me feel that good, authentic, inherent worth and value that only genuine self-esteem can bring. There came a time when I felt really betrayed. This happened around age 34 where I landed the position I "should" have wanted to remain in for the rest of my life - the pinnacle of my career. And the story in my head went something like this: "I thought that if I strived for all these things, I would be happy. I have them all - why am I not happy?"

I was missing a big piece of the puzzle - I was never taught to work on the inside because what's going on on the inside matters a whole lot more than what you see on the outside. That's not my fault, so the first step was self-compassion for myself. We're taught in school and in society and by our families that we should strive for all these things and we are led to believe we'll be happy when we get them. This is what I mean by external validation. And if you haven't figured this out yet, it is a complete lie. And anyone being honest with themselves will tell you that. But this lie keeps us stuck in jobs we don't like because they pay high salaries. This lie keeps our bank accounts depleted while we try to dress up ourselves with nice clothes to look better than we actually feel inside. This lie keeps us in a bad relationship because we don't want to upset our families by getting a divorce. So the second step - after having self-compassion for yourself - is to examine the areas of your life where you're merely "keeping up appearances." Is there anything in your life that would bring a huge sigh of relief if it were gone? Maybe it's something big like a relationship or maybe it's something smaller like a car payment on a car that's a little too fancy for your income. Are you driving it because you love cars or the particular make and model? Or are you driving it because it impresses upon others that you are successful? These are the kinds of questions we need to be brave enough to ask ourselves. Because when you get rid of the things that aren't serving us - the things that we're doing or being for other people - then we get more into our authentic selves. And that's the path to peace and freedom and joy. So, start this week by thinking about what you have, why you have it, what's weighing you down, and what would feel like a release if you let it go. Those are the first steps on a path to leading the life YOU were meant to live full of things that YOU want and desire -- not merely the things you are taught you "should" want. We aren't all supposed to live the same lives you know... but you would think otherwise from schooling and the culture we live in. We're all meant to be different and serve different purposes. And a joyful life looks different to every single one of us.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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Why Did I Name My Shop Grace + Hudson? The Meaning Behind The Name

Why Did I Name My Shop Grace + Hudson? The Meaning Behind The Name

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am going off the usual topics and instead answering a question I get a lot: what's the meaning behind the name "grace + hudson?" No, they are not my kids' names nor my dogs. Although I must admit... I sometimes think about getting two dogs and naming them Grace and Hudson. 

When I was thinking of starting this business, I knew right off the bat that I would not name it "Stacy Mikulik Designs" or something else using my personal name. I just can't stand that. I think it's appropriate for some people - like real life artists who paint or sculpt - to brand their work with their personal names but I just don't like it when jewelry designers do that for some reason. I wanted something way more creative. And while I show my face a lot on social media and talk about my story of going from lawyer to jewelry designer, I didn't want my company, my brand to be named after me. I wanted it to be a living, breathing thing that can stand all alone on its own (p.s. anyone who's owned a business can tell you that a new business does feel like a living, breathing newborn baby at times!). In other words, I wanted it to have its own identity. 

"Grace" came to mind because it is my favorite word. I love the sound of it, the ease of it, the elegance of it, the beauty of it. It's just a lovely word in my opinion. And then, when you dive down deep and discover the meaning and definition of it, whoa - I'm just blown away. The Oxford Dictionary defines "grace" as "simple elegance or refinement of movement." You know, something like, "She gracefully walked into the theater..." It also defines "grace" as "courteous goodwill." Other definitions for grace are "a short prayer at a meal" and "pleasant and polite behavior (social graces)" - per Webster's Dictionary. And we haven't even gotten to the Bible yet! The Bible has grace written all over it. In religion, grace is generally thought of as the help and kindness that is freely given by God to all humans. Wikipedia defines grace as this (ok, I know, I know, Wikipedia is not a religious source but I kind of like the way they've summed up grace and I'm trying to make this accessible to all and not just Bible readers):   

Help given to one by God because God desires one to have it, not necessarily because of anything one has done to earn it. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to people – generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved – that takes the form of divine favor...

Ah, grace is a beautiful thing. We also see grace show up a lot in our relationships, right? In our relationship to ourself (giving ourselves grace when we mess up), in our romantic relationship (by extending unconditional love and giving him or her the benefit of the doubt), and in our family relationships (choosing to be loving when the other person doesn't necessarily deserve it). And surely grace is present in our friendships and co-worker relationships too. 

So you see, grace is a beautiful word with deep meaning! Now, I just needed a word to go with it. I played with a lot of different combinations but I eventually landed on "hudson." I once lived on a Hudson Street and that's how it came to mind. Once I thought of the combination, I couldn't let it go. "Grace and Hudson" just seemed elegant enough to represent bridal jewelry but not so elegant to be too formal or stuffy. I also knew that I'd be selling giftable jewelry that wouldn't necessarily be used for a wedding 100 percent of the time (although that's my main market) so I didn't want to include the word "bridal" or "wedding" somewhere in the name. 

Then, to make it a little different, I added a "+" sign instead of writing out the word "and" or using "&" and I also lowercased the "g" and "h." Truthfully, I just like the way the "g" and "h" look as lowercase letters. They aren't as pretty capitalized! And there you have it, the name of my company was born!

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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The Fear You'll Feel When You Start A Business or Make A Big Career Change

The Fear You'll Feel When You Start A Business or Make A Big Career Change

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am talking about one of the fears that can hold you back from starting your own business or making a big career change. And that's the fear of what everyone else is going to say about you. What will they say behind your back when you quit your current job? Launch your website? Go back to school for a different degree? Unfortunately, it's common for people to gossip and judge others - it's just a reality of life. Hopefully you have a small circle of supportive family and friends you can rely on, but sometimes judgments come from people we love the most. Why can't people just smile and be supportive? Well, I think there are two forces at work here. 

Do you remember that phrase from elementary school that goes, "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks onto you?" It's applicable here. The judgments people throw your way often say more about them than they do about you. When someone judges or criticizes you, she is revealing her own beliefs and her own fears (in other words, the judgment bounces off of you and sticks back onto her). Let me give you an example. Let's say someone at work says to you, "Do you really think it's smart to leave your stable office job to do something so risky like start a small business?" Through this statement she is revealing HER belief that a stable, corporate job is the only route to financial stability and HER belief that business ownership is too risky and therefore a poor decision. It has absolutely nothing to do with you. Unfortunately, someone like this is a bit small-minded. She doesn't realize that people are built differently. We are all put on this planet with different dreams, skills, personalities, and risk-taking levels. If we were all the same, the world would be boring - and it wouldn't function very well. For example, if we were all built like your co-worker, there would be no one on earth to take the risky jobs. Everyone would be working in an office (and let me tell you, once you quit an office job, you realize just how many people do NOT have a typical office job). So that's the first thing to keep in mind when you're the target of a judgment - remember their words reveal more about them and their beliefs, than you.

The second thing to keep in mind when you receive a judgment is that people often act as mirrors for us. Subconsciously, of course. Let's look at an example. Let's say your best friend expresses a lot of fear and concern when you tell her you are going to quit your job next month. You've been working hard on your business, have turned it into a side hustle, and now you're ready to quit and go full-time. But she goes on and on with her parade of horribles: "But what will you do if this happens? What will you do if that happens? Do you have enough money? What if you run out of money?" And on and on she goes. You get mad at her for reacting so negatively and you tell her you've got to go. On the walk home, you think about all she had to say and you realize that she's actually reflecting back to you all of your deeply held fears about making this leap. It's an interesting principle, but this happens so often in life (most often in romantic relationships and close familial relationships). We get so upset at someone for reacting with negativity and fear, only to admit to ourselves a few hours later that he or she merely spoke into existence the fears that we hold deep down. So, the next time someone reacts to you with fear and concern, see if this principle applies. It doesn't always, but it is really interesting when it does. And these people can actually help us confront our fears head on. For example, you can promise yourself that if you see your bank account drop below a certain amount, you will get a part-time job. And for each fear on the list, you will make a plan: "if this happens, I will do this." Write it down. Keep it in a safe place. When you feel the fears creeping back up, read your plan. You can't plan for everything, but you can plan for a lot. And taking a big leap is never going to be risk free. If you're waiting for the risk to go away, you're going to be waiting the rest of your life! So remember these two ideas the next time you're the target of judgment, and it'll slide right off of you!

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

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