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my journal

Getting Honest With Yourself About Small Business Ownership (Part One)

Getting Honest With Yourself About Small Business Ownership (Part One)

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 want you to get a better idea of what it means to be a small business owner. So many of you want to start your own business someday and it's important that you have a realistic picture of what that entails. Show of hands... how many of you think I spend 8 hours per day in my shop in Charleston making jewelry next to my sweet dog, Cooper? You might be surprised at how little of my schedule is actually devoted to jewelry making. Read on to see what I mean.

I think one of the problems aspiring small business owners encounter is that they don't know what the actual day-to-day entails. You can actually say this about any career, right? Take my former career as a lawyer for example. So many people think I spent most of my days in court. That's not the case at all - most lawyers spend most of their days alone, researching and writing the documents that need to be submitted to the court. And, many times, the court doesn't even ask you to show up! Instead, they make a decision from the documents you spent so many hours writing and researching alone in your office until the wee hours of the morning. Well, the same can be said of small business ownership. Take my business for instance. I bet some of you think I spend most of my time making jewelry. That couldn't be further from the truth. In an average week, perhaps 30% of my time is spent making jewelry. The rest of the time is spent on business activities, such as marketing and advertising, inventory, planning, and so on. For me, I personally love that. Again, I used to be a lawyer and so that part of me loves to strategize marketing ideas, plan about inventory numbers, and nerd out behind my computer categorizing business expenses. If my job entailed making jewelry 8 hours per day, I would have quit a long time ago. I need that mental, intellectual stimulation every day and I'm so glad about 70% of my time is spent doing things that give me that. The creative side of me is very happy spending 30% of my week making jewelry and doesn't want or need more than that.

If you go into business ownership not knowing these things, you might hate it! You've got to be honest with yourself. If you love to make beautiful handmade soaps at home, for example, and you're thinking of starting your own business but you hate the idea of marketing and advertising, managing higher levels of inventory, maintaining a website, hiring and managing a team, processing payroll, and all the countless things that business ownership entails, don't do it! Start an Etsy shop and leave it at that. I call that a glorified hobby. That's not meant to be derogatory, it's just calling a spade, a spade and getting clear on what you're doing. And by glorified hobby I mean this: you love to make soap so much that you have run out of friends and co-workers and family members to give your creations to. So you start a little shop and sell a bit of it to strangers on Etsy with no real pressure to run and scale a business. That's totally fine! You can make a little extra cash from your talent and never worry about whether you'll have enough money to pay your employees, or whether you'll hit this month's revenue goals, or whether you should hire a marketing coach to help you run a successful advertising campaign on social media.

Now, for others of you, you are lit up by the business side of things. You want to learn how to scale a profitable business, you love taking online courses on business (such as a social media advertising course), you might even like the idea of business tax planning and inventory/supply chain management. Once you get clear on which side of the aisle you fall on, you can either pursue that business with gumption or you can pursue that small Etsy shop with gratitude. You get out of this zone of uncertainty, where you are continuously debating whether or not you want to start that e-commerce website. You feel me? There is no shame in having a little side hustle that remains a side hustle. There is no shame in saying, you know, I love clothes, but I'm not good at business and so I'm going to be honest with myself and not start that online clothing boutique. That is being mature. And you know what else being honest with yourself does? It stops wasting your time and energy! You can free up that space in your brain that was constantly hemming and hawing over whether you want to start an online boutique. You know what I mean? Being unclear about what you want to do takes up a LOT of brain space, time, and energy. Once you get clear, you can either push full steam ahead or admit it's not the right fit and focus your energy elsewhere.

This week, take some time to get clear. Realistically, do you think you'll love running a business? Or would you rather keep your love of soaps, or jewelry, or art, or clothes a fun, happy hobby? Because I'll leave you with this food for thought - I've known people who've tried to turn their passion into a business and it entirely killed their love for that thing. For example, I knew a yoga teacher who opened a yoga studio and it basically killed her love of yoga. All the business things (such as annoying and troublesome clients) really ruined yoga for her and that's a sad thing. You see what I'm saying? You owe it to yourself (and you owe it to your passion!) to be realistic about business ownership. Otherwise, you might find yourself hating the very thing that used to bring you so much joy.

If you noticed the title of this week's journal entry, this is part one. Part two is coming next week! So look forward to more ways to think realistically and practically about potential business ownership. It's so important to get clear on that stuff before you invest a lot of time and money into your business idea.

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own journey and 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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Embrace The Idea That Your Current Job Is Temporary

Embrace The Idea That Your Current Job Is Temporary

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 this big, amazing shift I see in people who want to start their own business and consciously embrace the idea that their current job and career are temporary. Let's dive in because this is a good one and might really serve you in your day-to-day life moving forward.

Let's face it, most people (not all) want to start their own business because they don't like something about their current job situation. So they complain and complain about their current job, and while they might have a really well thought out business idea, they are scared to take the leap. Does that sound like you? It was me for a while. But there can be this big, huge shift that happens when you embrace the idea that your current job is merely temporary. That it's a means to an end. That it can actually "fund" your business idea. This shift is so powerful because it takes you from this place of complaining and moves you into this place of gratitude. All of a sudden, you can appreciate your job because you can use some of your paycheck to fund your new business expenses. And you know what else happens? You will probably stop taking your job so seriously because you realize it's temporary. Sure, you'll still show up every day and do your best, but you realize you won't be there forever and that provides a wonderful sense of freedom. You don't get so hung up on all the office politics. You almost emotionally disassociate from all the office drama.

Doing this frees up so much mental and emotional energy and space. I often hear a certain complaint from aspiring entrepreneurs and it's this: "I work a lot so I have no time to work on my business idea or make it a side hustle." Believe me, I can identify. When I was a lawyer, I barely had the energy to walk my dog after work let alone work on a business idea in front of my computer. But when you embrace the idea that it's all temporary, a lot of mental and emotional energy frees up. It's amazing! And you might find you have enough energy to work on your business plan for an hour after work.

So if you're stuck in a job or career you don't like and you want to start your own business, try embracing the idea that your current situation is temporary. At first, you might have to repeat that phrase to yourself under your breath all day long - "This is only temporary. This is only temporary. This is only temporary." But after a few weeks, you might notice that you really begin to believe it. You might notice that you don't feel as drained. You might notice that you do have the energy to work on a business idea after work, even if it's only for 30 minutes in the beginning. You may notice that you have more mental space to think about your business idea because that space is no longer occupied by office politics and office drama. Give it a try! I bet you'll notice some, or all, of these things.  

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own journey and 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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Surround Yourself With Powerful Examples

Surround Yourself With Powerful Examples

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 people who are doing what you want to be doing with your career. 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? But what else could you do? 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. What's a girl to do if she finds herself in this position? I was there for a long time, so let me help you.

A few 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. WRONG! Let me be the first to tell you that the skills you've acquired in your current job can translate nicely into another career field. I promise you. This is true no matter your career level. There are, for example, transferrable skills from working entry level positions at Starbucks or The Gap (that was my first job in high school!). Customer service, team work, organization skills, and in the case of Starbucks - reporting to work at an incredibly early hour shows a huge level of dedication, discipline, and hard work. All important character traits to have for any job. So the first key to getting out of your "stuckness" is identifying the skills and character traits that you possess and listing them all out on a piece of paper. Be as general as possible. For example, instead of saying that you're proficient in a certain computer program that only lawyers use, write on your list that you successfully learned how to use a unique and complex software program and became quite proficient at it. Do you get where I'm going with this? Start generalizing your skills. If you learned that lawyer software program, you can probably learn the software program at a doctor's office or in a big corporate office, you feel me? When you start generalizing your skills, you'll see that they aren't only suited to your current career field.

After you've done this, my next recommendation is that you get 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." WHAT?! 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. And, these days, most lawyers need to be pretty good at technology too. A lot of digital documents and emails need to be analyzed before going to trial and there are a lot of complex IT concepts involved with that process.

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 "surround yourself with powerful examples." 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 year or two 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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When You Want A Big Dream But Your Mind Says "Yeah that sounds nice, but..."

When You Want A Big Dream But Your Mind Says

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 addressing that little voice in your head that says, "Yeah, that big dream of yours sounds nice and all, but here are all the reasons why it can't happen..."

Let's start by doing a little experiment. Think about that big thing you're wishing for - is it starting your own business? Switching careers? Being in a serious romantic relationship? Getting married? Having a child? Take a moment to picture it in your mind. Now, what does your mind say when you do that? Does it say "yeah, but..." and then list reasons why it can never happen? If you said yes, please read on. This journal entry is for you.

When we have a big dream but our mind says "yeah, but..." that means we don't believe it can be ours. We might say we want this or that, but deep down we don't believe it can actually happen. There is a disconnect. It can be painful to be in this stage because we're out of alignment and often don't know why. We might be hustling to make that dream happen, but we're encountering a lot of struggle and frustration in return. We can do "all the right things" but still not see it come to pass. So let me propose a new idea, a new storyline, for you to consider. Could it be that your dream is not coming to pass because your desires and beliefs do not match up? You know that quote, "You'll see it when you believe it?" That's kind of what I'm talking about here.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, "BUT I DO BELIEVE IT'S POSSIBLE. I REALLY DO!" If that's you, I ask you to get silent for a few moments. Lay down on your back with one hand on your heart and one hand on your stomach. Think about the dream you so badly want to see come to pass. Get still and silent as you think about that dream. Gently ask yourself the question, "Why hasn't this happened for me yet?" Be still and let some answers gently flow to you. Listen carefully to what comes up. There may be some hidden beliefs lurking in the background that have been holding you back. If the tears start to flow, let them come out. 

You might be thinking to yourself, I don't meditate, I don't "manifest", and this is "woo woo" kind of stuff. I respectfully disagree and I ask you to consider a different story. One need not look any further than the Bible to see evidence of this principle, this universal law - and I'm sure you don't think the Bible is "woo woo", right? Mark 11:24 says, "I give you my word, if you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you." It goes on to say, "Whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea, and has no inner doubts but believes that what he says will happen, shall have it done for him." I love this passage so much because it hints at another really important principle -- the ability to receive. Women in particular sometimes have a hard time receiving. Underneath that is often a feeling of unworthiness - we don't believe that we are entitled to receive the dream, we don't believe we're worthy of it. Or sometimes we think it's more important to be selfless and care for others more than we care for ourselves, and this can block our ability to receive too. There was a point in my business where I really had to work on my ability to receive. I was doing everything "right" and working hard at my dream, but still something was off. I wasn't seeing the abundance I desired and believed I deserved to receive. And voila! One day it clicked. My desires and beliefs were in alignment, but my ability to receive was out of whack. I needed to examine my self-worth and do some work around that. Sure enough, a short time later I had cleared some blocks around receiving and abundance started to flow more easily. For example, one of the blocks to receiving I had to clear was, "Who am I to make money doing something I love while the rest of the world struggles in jobs they hate?" I replaced that with "I deserve to do work I love and money can flow to me easily when I use the gifts and talents God gave me."

If you find yourself today in a place of frustration because you're working hard at a dream but it's not coming to pass (or you haven't even started working on it because you believe it's impossible or you're not worthy of it), I highly recommend you think about the ideas I've written about today. Even though you say you want your dream so badly, your inner beliefs might be doubting it. No amount of hustle is going to fix that. Rather, some internal work needs to be done.

I hope you're able to learn something from my own experience. 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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People Want To Change Their Circumstances While They Remain The Same

People Want To Change Their Circumstances While They Remain The Same

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 writing about a simple yet profound sentence I heard the other day: "People want to change their world while they remain the same." It was said by one of my favorite authors and teachers, Michael Bernard Beckwith. If you read and follow my journal entries because you dislike your current career path and want to do something different, I encourage you to really think about and digest this sentence. It is not easy to make a big career change and many people give up before they've even started. You know why? I believe the answer lies in this very sentence.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that making a big, massive change requires a different, higher version of yourself. In fact, you have to first change things on the inside before you'll ever see real lasting change on the outside. Many of you already know that I quit my lawyer job after 11 years so let me ask you this. How do you think it happened? Do you think I got up one morning, said "I had enough of this!!!" and quit? Do you think I thought about it for a few weeks or a few months before I tendered my resignation? Well, from my perspective, I "started" to make my big career change when I enrolled in therapy in the second year of my legal career. That's when I really admitted to myself that my path was not sustainable. That I needed to make a change. My career was really out of alignment with my values and priorities, I was always sick with a mild cold or mild stomach ache (it's amazing what stress can do to you), and I just knew that I could not do this career much longer. But after investing about $150,000 in my law degree, I sought out the help of a therapist to talk things out. I wanted to make a solid decision, given the time and money I had spent to enter the legal profession. I didn't want to do anything I'd regret later. 

Well, those therapy sessions really set me on a path of self-discovery and self-awareness that I was not expecting! I was led to books and lectures and podcasts and all sorts of things over the following years. All of these things helped me become aware of the issues holding me back and the areas I had to work on. Everything from seeking the approval of my father through high achievement, to people-pleasing, to perfectionism, to victim mentality, and a few things in between. 

When I cleared some of these blocks (which took years) and became more in alignment with myself, things on the outside really started to change. Long story short, some old friendships left and new friendships entered, I quit my lawyer job, started my own business, moved from Chicago to the beach in South Carolina, went from single to in a serious relationship... and on and on the changes came. And what I can tell you from this journey is that Michael Bernard Beckwith is 100% accurate. You're not going to see your circumstances change unless YOU are willing to change.

Change is scary. Trust me, I know. But it's a necessary part of creating the life you want. I see it all the time - people want SO badly to change careers or some other aspect of their life, but they give up the second they realize it's going to be difficult or uncomfortable. They don't want to give anything up. They don't want to change their patterns or their routine. They don't want to change the way they think about career or money. Think about it this way - your current beliefs, your current way of being in the world, your current choices, got you to where you are today. Right? If you don't like where you are today, you've got to change some of those things, right? You've got to make new choices and perhaps change your beliefs around career and what you deserve in terms of a job, and the way you think about money, and you need to show up differently in the world in order to have something different. Does that make sense? It's so simple, yet so profound. 

If you want to make a big change, chances are you want to see that change ASAP. In that case, I highly recommend you work on the internal blockages and obstacles holding you back more than you work on your resume or new website. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Because here's the deal - if you are able to force and hustle your way into that big change without first fixing the internal "stuff" it's probably not going to last long. It's not going to have staying power. The world is pretty predictable like that - your inside and outside need to line up. Your inner world and your outer circumstances need to be in alignment and, if they're not, your world will self-correct. The thing will usually be taken away. Think of it this way - you know how many people win the lottery and end up bankrupt two years later? It's the same principle. You can't hand $4 million to someone who isn't in alignment with it - to someone who has all of these issues and negative beliefs around money and their being worthy of wealth. You see how that works? It's pretty amazing how our inner beliefs really do dictate our reality and our experience of the world.

I hope you're able to learn something from my own experience. 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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Feeling A Sense of Desperation In Your Current Career? Read This.

Feeling A Sense of Desperation In Your Current Career? Read This.

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 want to speak directly to those of you who desperately want to make a change in your job or career. It's not just a case of "I don't like my job" but rather a deep knowing that you are not in the right place. You also have a deep knowing that there's something more out there for you. You likely feel physically drained. Perhaps you even feel you're in a toxic environment at work. If these things are resonating with you, read on. 

I understand the desperation. I have been there. In fact, I was there for almost all 11 years of my 11 year career as a lawyer. I knew almost from the very, very beginning that it was not the right career for me. It felt like I was betraying my soul by staying in that career. That might sound dramatic but if you've been in my position (or currently are in that position) that phrase probably resonates deeply with you. Like I said, this isn't merely a case of "work stinks" but a much deeper issue. A complete and total mis-alignment that tugs at your heart strings and your soul each day. You feel lost. Misplaced. Like an outsider.

Here's the problem with desperation - it can result in rash and extreme behavior. You need only look to a dictionary to see that is true. "Desperation" is defined as "a state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behavior." So my message to you would be this: resist the urge to pick another job or career and jump to it. Instead, make your mental health a priority first. Work on the issues around career that are coming up for you. Again, and I can't say this enough, this isn't merely a case of "I don't like my job," It's far, far deeper than that. And those issues need to be brought to the surface and addressed first. In fact, just like in a romantic relationship, if you don't understand the issues that led to your breakup, you're more likely to repeat them in the next relationship..errr I mean career. You get the point.

Let me give you an example from my own journey. One of the reasons I believe I was attracted to the legal profession had to do with my father. My father was a bit difficult to grow up with, and he rarely gave encouraging, kind words unless we did something great at school. I grew up thinking that "in order to make dad happy, I need to get an A on my exam." On a deep level, that translates to "I am worthy of love if I am a high achiever." Of course this conclusion is incorrect, but as a child, you don't know any better. You don't realize that your dad has issues of his own that are causing him to withhold love from his children (in my case, my dad had some mental health issues). This belief carried throughout my life and led me to be an A+ star student and perfectionist. I went to an Ivy League college, went to a top 25 law school, graduated in the top of my classes, and got a big fancy lawyer job with a high salary. Sadly, my dad's love was not waiting for me at the finish line. Nor was my own happiness. I am so incredibly glad that I worked with a therapist before I quit my legal job. I was able to understand my journey much more clearly. In particular, I was able to understand the reasons why I picked law as a career. This newfound awareness ensured that I didn't pick another career based on the same subconscious motivations. Instead I was able to get in touch with my true gifts, talents, and skills and pick a career based on those things. There's a much higher chance of success when you take action from that grounded, practical place, rather than from subconscious beliefs you don't even know are running (and ruining!) your life.

I hope this journal entry was enlightening. If this sounds like you, make your mental health your first priority right now. Changing careers can be a dramatic change, depending on your circumstances, and you want to make sure you're setting yourself up for success. Maybe you don't have deep-seated issues around career like I did, but you'll never really know unless you pause and explore it. You don't become desperately unhappy in a job by accident. That feeling of desperation is deserving of being explored. There might be important information it's trying to tell 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 from my experience and also my mistakes!

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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How To Empower Yourself When You Feel Hopeless or Overwhelmed

How To Empower Yourself When You Feel Hopeless or Overwhelmed

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 overcoming hopelessness and overwhelm. If you don't like where you are currently - whether that's in your career, in your relationships, or in some other area of your life - but you're feeling hopeless that it'll change or overwhelmed at the prospect of making a change, this journal entry is for you.

In my experience, the way through these feelings of overwhelm and hopelessness is self-empowerment. How do you empower yourself? Dare I say it has never been easier? No matter what your problem is these days, there are resources available to you through the click of a finger on your computer. You can research absolutely anything online. I'm not saying all you'll find will be valuable (hence the word "research" which requires some analysis and critical thinking about what you find), but there is a wealth of information out there waiting to be found. That information can help educate you. Through that education, you can develop a plan forward. Perhaps that plan includes purchasing a certain book, hiring a coach or therapist, taking an online course, finding an in-person or Facebook group with like-minded individuals for support, etc. Trust me, you are not alone. You are not the first person to have this problem. You don't need to reinvent the wheel (and don't make your life difficult by thinking you need to do so). Be willing and open to learn from other people who have already "figured out" your problem. Gather the potential solutions or paths forward, then decide which one is best for you. But you have got to be proactive. You've got to do something. Wallowing in self-pity and "this is too hard" is not going to fix anything, yet many prefer to put on Netflix, numb out, and stay there. Depending on the magnitude of your problem, take a night or a week or a month to chill out, but don't let yourself get stuck there.

For example, say you want to start your own business but you're feeling so much overwhelm about setting up a website. There are so many different providers - how do you know which one to choose? Well, hop on your computer and start looking for articles that have compared and contrasted the various website providers. If you do that, you'll probably find a nice chart that lists the most popular options and compares them. From that chart, you'll probably be able to narrow it down to a few providers that meet your needs and price range. Then you can hop onto the websites of those providers and - chances are - you'll find a free webinar or video diving more deeply into their offerings. Watch them. That'll help you further narrow down your list of options. Maybe you'll be left with two choices at that point. Then search the internet for articles comparing these two choices. Also, do you know anyone in your family or circle of friends who has a website? What do they use? Are they happy with that choice? Have they done research on the various platforms that they can share with you? Then make a decision. I know people who've gotten paralyzed for months on their start-up-business journey because they can't choose a website provider, or a logo color, or something even more simple. You can always change your mind down the road.

As another example, let's say you've been wanting to lose weight but it's just not happening even though you believe you're eating properly and exercising. I encourage you not to get stuck in feelings of frustration and hopelessness. You can see a nutritionist or hire a personal trainer. If those things aren't in your budget, you can go online and do some research. Be open to the possibility that you aren't eating healthy for your particular body, age, activity level, or medical condition (eating "healthy" doesn't just mean less calories - there is a lot involved). Be open to the possibility that your exercise routine might be outdated. For example, as women age, it's really healthy to add some light weight training. But how would you know that unless you did some research? Through your research, maybe you'll find a health coach that resonates with you online and her Instagram is full of free tips and tricks you can put into practice. You can learn so much from diving head first into your problem, rather than sitting on the sidelines complaining about it. Again, you are not the first person to experience this problem and you won't be the last. Be open to expanding your mind. Be open to the possibility that you don't know it all. Through educating yourself you'll start to feel empowered and that'll give you motivation to move forward.

I'd be remiss not to include one other point in this journal entry: pray. Pray to a God of your own understanding. Ask for help. Ask for guidance. You don't need to do this alone. I'll admit, even though I've believed in God my whole life, prayer wasn't a big part of my life until the past 5 years or so. There was this moment when I realized I can call on help. I don't need to do it all alone. And some things just can't be done successfully without divine intervention in my opinion (such as grieving the death of a parent). So don't hesitate to surrender your worries and hopelessness through prayer.

I wrote this journal entry because it's so easy to get stuck. It's so easy to say "I tried and it didn't work" and stop there. It's so easy to wallow in "this will never happen" or "this is too hard." But there is another choice available to you. You can choose hopelessness and overwhelm or you can choose to be proactive about resolving and changing your situation. Big problems will obviously require more of you than small ones, but the same principles apply. You can do this. You can figure it out. And I am cheering you on as you take the first step!

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 from my experience and also my mistakes!

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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Three Must-Read Books For Making Big Change

Three Must-Read Books For Making Big Change

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 sharing my top 3 book recommendations for making big change. If you want to make a big life change like I did, it first starts in your mind. It starts with an idea or a desire or a dream. So how do you make that idea in your mind a reality? You have got to change your mindset around that topic. You can't create a different reality with the same thought patterns. Makes sense, right? Well, these books will help you do that:

1. Know Yourself, Know Your Money by Rachel Cruz

The number one reason holding people back from doing what they love is money. No surprise there. So if you'd like to make a big career change or start your own business, you must first get a grip on your finances. A lot of people feel overwhelmed by that so they just stop there, whining about how they'll never be able to break out of their current career because "I just don't have the money." But there's another choice available to you! You can feel secure and confident around money when you start educating yourself about it. This book is a great place to start because it helps you discover WHY you handle money the way you do. Once you understand your thoughts and habits around the topic of money, it becomes a whole lot easier to change them and move forward into healthier money habits and practices. This book is definitely much more about mindset than it is about personal finance tips and tricks. The tips and tricks mean nothing if your mindset isn't in the right place. This is why some people who win the lottery end up in bankruptcy. Throwing money at the problem doesn't help if the underlying beliefs and habits don't change. You feel me? Get the mindset right first, and then focus on the nitty gritty of personal finance (and the author Rachel has a great You Tube channel with tons of information on that).

2. A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson

This book is based off another book called A Course In Miracles, which asserts  that everything we do, think, and say either stems from love or stems from fear. In other words, we only have two choices in life - take action from a place of love or take action from a place of fear. And the choice we make dictates our reality. This  concept was very eye-opening for me because I realized that so many of my actions were coming from a place of fear. "Fear" encompasses all sorts of negative emotions, like doubt, worry, and the thought that we're not good enough or not worthy of something. It was no wonder that I was in a job I didn't like and not experiencing all the joy the world has to offer. When I learned how to make choices not from fear, but from a place of love (which encompasses all sorts of positive emotions like peace, joy, and personal empowerment) my life truly did begin to change. And it changed dramatically.

If you find this book overwhelming (it is pretty deep!), I encourage you to head straight to the chapters on work and career, and also the one on love and relationships. These chapters are the most relatable because Marianne is great at giving real life examples we can all relate to. In turn, that makes the principles she discusses a little more understandable. In particular, I find the chapter on relationships to be incredibly enlightening. I found myself saying over and over again, "I never thought about it that way before" and it's helped me greatly in my own personal relationships. Once you get through this book, I think you'll agree with me that there is ALWAYS another perspective. There's always another way to look at something. There's always a choice to see good in something that we'd ordinarily label as "bad." And once you understand that it's YOUR choice how you view a situation, you'll catch yourself reframing all sorts of ideas in your head. That is absolutely critical to making big change. You can't create a different career or a different life for yourself with the same old thought patterns that got you to where you are today. It's not easy, but once you understand and grasp that, you'll gain so much power. The rest is easy in comparison.

One more thing to note - the book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero covers a lot of the same principles but in a very funny way (as you can gather from the title). So if you just can't get through A Return To Love, try Jen's book. If you read enough of these books on mindset you'll come to realize they are all saying the same things - it's just a matter of finding which authors resonate with you. For example, Gabby Bernstein is another author that writes about the same principles and her style is different from both Marianne and Jen. So keep on searching until you find the author that connects with you.

P.S. Try the Audible version of Jen's book. Her dry humor in her own voice is pretty hilarious at times. Marianne's though is a little too deep to listen to on Audible, in my opinion. I needed the words in front of me so I could reread them over and over again.

3. May Cause Miracles 40-Day Guidebook by Gabby Bernstein

Speaking of Gabby Bernstein, my third book is written by her. None of the information in these books is going to be useful to you in real life unless you apply it in every day life. Easier said than done! This guidebook helped me do that. I reached a point in my life where I had all this knowledge from so many books and webinars and videos, but nothing was really changing in my own life. I was aware of the patterns and habits that were holding me back, but they weren't really changing. Well, this book sparked the change. It taught me how to practice the principles I learned on a daily basis. It taught me how to incorporate them into my own life. I recommend the Audible version over the written version so you can listen to each of the 40 days during your commute to work or while you get ready in the morning. This makes it much easier to stick to the 40 days. 

Once you finish the 40 days, you have the freedom to pick and choose how to create your own daily practice. Mine has evolved over the years, and yours will too, but I think you'll agree with me that tapping into these principles on a daily basis is critical to your success. 

These books helped me to see myself and the world differently. And changing my mindset - especially as it relates to career and money - was absolutely critical to my success. I continue to read books in this area because each new growth phase of a business requires something different from you. It truly is a journey of personal growth, not just business growth! If you're thinking about making a big change like I did, I hope you'll pick up these 3 books and see just how possible it is to think differently about yourself, the world, and your dreams.

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 from my experience and also my mistakes!

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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One Of The Most Critical Things I Did In The Early Stages Of Grace + Hudson

One Of The Most Critical Things I Did In The Early Stages Of Grace + Hudson

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 sharing one of the most critical things I did in the early stages of starting grace + hudson. There were many critical things of course, but this one thing was critical for remaining focused and positive even when things got tough. When you first speak about starting a business, people will tell you you're crazy. Maybe you've experienced this yourself. They'll tell you all the reasons why it's a waste of time and money and too risky, even though they've never done it themselves. And they don't stop - you'll hear comments from this negative crowd throughout the first few years of your business. People are so quick to point out the reasons a dream can fail. The other day I was speaking with a friend who's starting her own business and we talked about this. In speaking with her, I realized there was one critical thing I did almost every day during the early stages of grace + hudson, when the negative crowd felt the loudest. It's simple, accessible to everyone, and can even be done for free. It's working out. I know, not very glamorous or magical, right?

I am not someone who's always been athletic or always worked out. I dabbled in basketball in high school, running in college, and yoga when I first began working as a lawyer. Months might go by before my next run or yoga class, depending on how busy I was. I didn't really discover the power of working out until I was about 35, dealing with the grief of my father's death. He had a short 10-month battle with cancer before passing at the young age of 65. As anyone who's experienced the loss of a loved one can tell you, grief is a complex thing. It comes in layers and requires much time to process. To help process my grief, I started seeing a therapist. She suggested I pick up a regular exercise routine to help my mental state. Exercise endorphins are a real thing, she said, and as someone who has mental illness in my family, I really couldn't afford not to do it. I thought that was an interesting statement. She viewed exercise as a sort of medication or preventative measure. Think of it this way - when there is mental illness in your family, therefore putting you at higher risk for developing mental illness, the release of endorphins is a non-negotiable. Done on a daily basis, it can actually act as a sort of "insurance" against developing mental illness (or lessening its impact). I felt so bad at the time, I decided to give it a whirl. Why not? I felt pretty horrible, processing all of this grief, that I was willing to try anything. Right around the same time, a cool app for your phone called Classpass rolled out in my city. Classpass is a very affordable way to attend fitness classes in your area at a discounted rate. You can go to any fitness studio on the app without a membership or pricey "per class" fee. I thought it was a good way to really give this exercise routine thing a try. And as you might guess, I never looked back. From that point on exercise has been, and always will be, first and foremost about my mental health. The physical benefits are just an added bonus for me. Moving my body clears out the junk running through my mind. I'm not sure how that works, but it's true. Endorphins I guess! 

About 2 years after this new "health kick" of mine, I quit my lawyer job to start grace + hudson. Due to my schedule, I found it best to workout in the morning. I was never big on morning workouts but, oh my goodness, I found magic! An early morning workout never failed to get me into the proper mindset to battle all the demons that come out when you start a business.... doubt, worry, lack of self-confidence, etc...they fight you hard! Add to those demons the negative comments from family and friends and, whew, you have a battle to dodge each day. As if starting a business isn't hard enough, right? But when I got those endorphins running early in the day, those demons slid right off my back. They had no power. Those workouts gave me a "can do anything" attitude and even though I didn't realize it at the time, that "can do anything" attitude transferred over into my business. Looking back, 5 years later, I can honestly say my morning workouts were one of the critical things I did in those early stages.

Listen, starting a business from scratch is HARD. I don't have to tell you that, I'm sure. It plays mind games with you because it demands every last ounce of you and it digs up old negative stories and thought patterns that need to be overhauled. Namely, your stories and practices around money, your stories and views about career, your views about "success" and what that means to you, and your beliefs around self-confidence, just to name a few. Focus and a positive mindset are crucial to getting through the tough initial period. But oh how you grow! Oh my goodness, I've evolved and grown so much as a person since I started my business. It's been truly amazing. I cannot say that about my legal career. Sure, I learned how to be a better lawyer during those 11 years, but a better person? No. Actually, I think I became a worse person during that time, sadly.

If you are starting a new business or thinking about it, I highly encourage adopting a workout routine especially in the morning. Experience those endorphins and what they can do for you. I've written many times that mindset is key to succeeding as a small business owner, and endorphins really do naturally help you get into that empowered state of mind. When you intentionally choose a "can do" attitude each morning, you will be able to endure the trials and tribulations of small business start-ups.

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 from my experience and also my mistakes!

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. I have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, and I'm adding more on a weekly basis. 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 read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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Strive for Happiness, Not Stuff

Strive for Happiness, Not Stuff

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 reflecting on an important question: are you striving for material things or are you striving for happiness and peace? When evaluating this question, it's important to look at your actions. They speak much, much louder than your words and thoughts. What are your goals? What do you spend your days working towards? Be honest. Do they reflect a person who is trying to achieve happiness and peace in her life, or do they reflect a person who is more concerned with buying a designer handbag, a nicer car, a condo, etc? Let me be clear - none of these things are bad or wrong - it's perfectly fine to desire them and they have an appropriate place in a well-rounded life. But what is your driving force? The chief motivator for getting up each day? What are you working so hard for? Is it stuff or is it happiness?

I'll go first. Back when I was a lawyer, I was 100%, without a doubt, absolutely not striving for happiness or peace. I mean, the idea never even crossed my mind. I worked in a law firm and the people there strived for the job title of "partner", a Lexus or Mercedes, a home in the nicest part of town, a Louis Vuitton bag to carry to work, a big diamond ring, a husband, 2.5 kids, and so forth. "I guess that's what I'm supposed to strive for too?," I thought. I was 26 years old, easily influenced, and eager to please my managers in my very first legal job. "Happiness" never really crossed my radar. I bet a lot of you can relate to this. Looking back, it's quite amazing that the corporate world still works this way. In eleven years of working as an attorney no boss or superior ever asked me, "Are you happy? Does your work make you happy? If not, how can we make you happy?" Those questions are almost laughable if you've worked in corporate America, aren't they? They are not even a consideration. 

What about you - has the idea of working towards happiness, instead of job titles or things, ever crossed your mind? Have you even stopped to think about it?  

It seems so obvious, but perhaps this is one of the reasons many people are unhappy at work. If you're old enough to know anything about life, you know that you've got to get intentional about the things you want to achieve. If you want X, you have to determine what will get you to X and actually try those things. So if you want happiness, you have to determine what will get you personal happiness and actually try to make those things happen. Happiness does not fall out of the sky. We have to be intentional about it, just like anything else. And humans are designed to want more than nice cars and fancy homes - we're designed to want connection and meaning and purpose through our work. So it's no surprise that a large portion of America is unhappy in their careers when the focus so clearly remains on external things like job titles and the accumulation of stuff. 

If you're feeling empty at work, this might be why. Have you ever considered what would actually make you happy and what it might take to get there? Don't be embarrassed to say no. To be honest, in my 20's and early 30's, I had a hard time identifying feelings in general. I saw a therapist after my dad passed away and I distinctly remember her showing me a big long list of emotions because I rarely responded with more than the basics. You know, happy, sad, lonely, that sorta thing. Through my work with her, I realized how disconnected I was with a lot of emotions, not just happiness, and she really helped me evolve in that way. I don't think this is an uncommon problem, especially in high-achieving professions. Those professions often attract a certain type of people-pleasing person, where your own emotions or feelings about a thing don't necessarily matter per se. If you've lived with that people pleasing habit for a long time, you might be really disconnected from feelings in general. I mention this to say, you might need to take a couple baby steps back before you truly are able to identify what will make you happy. You might first need to get in tune with your feelings overall before you are really able to hone in on what will make you really, truly happy. I can tell you it's work worth doing - it leads to a more vibrant experience of life in general. 

So this week I challenge you to get honest with yourself. What are your actions revealing about your priorities? Are you working hard to reward yourself with a designer bag, or are you working hard to achieve a level of happiness and peace in your life? When you reflect on this question, what you find out might help you make some important changes or shifts in your career and in your life.

I hope you've found this week's journal entry enlightening. 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 from my experience and also my mistakes!

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. I have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, and I'm adding more on a weekly basis. 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 read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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