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my journal

5 Things I've Learned As I Celebrate 5 Years In Business

5 Things I've Learned As I Celebrate 5 Years In Business

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. As I write this week's journal entry, grace + hudson is about to celebrate its 5th birthday. I opened the virtual doors to my grace + hudson e-commerce shop on June 14, 2017. Many new businesses never see the 5-year mark so I'm definitely experiencing some big, overwhelming feelings of gratitude and awe. Awe for just how much my life has changed in 5 short years. Gratitude that I get to show up every day to do something I love, in a space I adore, in a city that's the perfect match for me and my brand. I started grace + hudson in Chicago, with no plans to move to Charleston and no plans to ever open a brick + mortar shop. But the universe had some interesting things in store for me that I never could have planned! In tonight's journal I'm sharing the top 5 things I've learned in 5 years of business:

1. I had no idea how much personal growth work would be required to succeed.

When you start your own business, all sorts of stuff comes up for you. It's a challenging journey so that shouldn't have surprised me, but I was so focused on the nitty gritty details of things like my website, logo, and products that I totally neglected how much mindset work would be involved. Thankfully this came quickly to my attention and I've been a loyal student of mindset work ever since. The job is never done. It's like peeling back an onion. You master one area, and then lurking behind it is yet another. For example, you've probably heard of "imposture syndrome" and that's definitely come up for me at times. Imposture syndrome is having persistent feelings of self-doubt despite education, experience, and accomplishments... you know, the good ole "who am I to think I can succeed at this while everyone else toils and sweats in a 9-to-5 job?!" Feelings of lack (as opposed to abundance) and fears around money also came up BIG for me and required some real growth work. You see, if you believe you'll never make as much money selling jewelry as you did in your 9-to-5, that'll be true for you. But just the same, if you believe you can make just as much or even more selling jewelry, that'll be true for you too. It's amazing how much power our beliefs have on the experience of our reality. It truly is "all in our heads." Yet another thing that came up for me is control and perfectionism. Having practiced law for 11 years, it should come as no surprise that I'm a bit of a type A control freak at times, striving for perfection. Well, I had to learn how to let some of that go. I had to learn how to channel the good, positive side of that character trait into a more productive form. I had to let go of always having every single detail right every single time. Why? When you do that, you lose focus of the big picture. You spend time getting the margins and font on that email just right, instead of spending time on the important revenue-generating functions. There were countless other things I've learned and grown through - so many that I should probably write a book about them!

2. I understand the concept of "service" on a level I never understood before.

When you start a business always make service your top priority, not revenue. "How can I serve?" has taken me out of some whicked funks. Business ebbs and flows and, especially in the beginning, it's really easy to get tied up on that daily revenue number (and to freak out when it doesn't seem to be moving upwards). But the energy around that is complete lack, and it causes you to push and "hustle" in ways that never work. I learned early on that if I'm in a revenue slump, all I have to do is get back into the beautiful energy of "how can I serve?" and in no time, I see a turnaround. Why is that? I believe we are here on this earth to be truly helpful to others with the gifts we've been given, and it doesn't need to be fancy. You don't need to be volunteering in a homeless shelter to be of service. Sure, that's wonderful, but service is much, much broader than that. You merely have to extend your unique gifts to the world to be "of service." How can you help another? Maybe you are helping solve world hunger and that is your passion, or maybe it's much smaller than that. Maybe you are helping a bride desperate for a nice, classy gift for her bridesmaids that costs around $50 to show her appreciation for all the time, money, and effort they spent on her over the last few months. So, what problem can you solve? How can you be of service? How can you use what you were given to be useful in the world and provide a solution to someone else? Focus on service, not money, and you're much more likely to succeed in the long run. People can feel that.

3. Starting and building a new business is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, it's a long, long, long marathon.

This one came as no surprise, but I wanted to mention it now that I'm rounding the bend on 5 years in business. A lot of online courses and teachers have popped up over the past few years and be very, very wary of the ones promising "quick ways to double your revenue" or "increase your social media following 10 times in 10 days." Nothing lasting and permanent is built that way. The people who succeed in business show up every day and make a little progress every day. I know that sounds simple but I know SO many business owners that started out around the same time as me but gave up years ago. They wanted instant results and, frankly, weren't willing to put in daily, consistent work for multiple years. "Sticking with it" has so much power and, I've learned, is something few people are willing to do.

4. When you create an authentic business, meaning one that is a true expression of your natural gifts and talents and experience, you will have few competitors.

I wrote about this one in detail last week so I won't expand on this a lot here. But when you create a business from your soul - you know, one that is a pure and true expression of your gifts, your talents, your personality, your experience, all wrapped up into one, you really distinguish yourself in the ever-increasing marketplace and have few direct, one-to-one competitors. For example, there are no other former lawyers designing dainty jewelry, specializing in weddings and writing weekly journals about career change and small business ownership every week. I'm the only one. And there's a business that each of YOU can create that is just as unique. Are you curious enough to find out what that is? It takes some digging and maybe even some coaching from a business coach, but it can be done. You can read more about this in last week's journal entry linked here.

5. Your friends will change when you make massive changes.

Maybe sad, maybe not, but the people in my circle right now are completely different than the ones that were present in my life 5 years ago. I attribute that to all the change I have gone through. I'm not the same person. And consequently, my friends have changed. This wasn't a terribly big surprise to me, but it might be to you. I can only think of maybe two lawyers I still keep in touch with, whereas five years ago almost all of my friends were lawyers like me. We're just on totally different paths now and share little in common. I find it's natural for people to want to spend time with people who can relate to them, and perhaps are experiencing similar things as them. So now I find myself surrounded by people with alternative careers like my boyfriend, or running their own business like the deli next door owned by a family from Massachusetts, or the wedding photographer who rents the office next to me, or the hair salon owner that set up shop in the space behind my store. These are my "co-workers" that I share daily chats with now. People come into our lives for a reason or a season, and if you accept that, this part will be a lot easier. And maybe you've already experienced this when, say, you got married and spent less time with your single friends or when you got pregnant and spent less time with your friends who don't yet have children. There will always be those few people that stick with you over a lifetime, but it's okay for the daily people we interact with to change every so often. It grows us.

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 have 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 Best Piece Of Business Advice I Ever Received

The Best Piece Of Business Advice I Ever Received

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 sharing the best piece of business advice I ever received. There is no shortage of business advice out there - both solicited and unsolicited. When you're just starting out, everyone wants to give you their two cents (and most of the advice you'll receive isn't even worth that much!). Hopefully though, you'll stumble upon a few nuggets of wisdom that just stick with you over the years.

For me personally, the most valuable nugget of wisdom that I received came from Marie Forleo. If you've spent any amount of time researching entrepreneurial advice online, you've probably come across her name. I took her B-School course online before I started grace + hudson and it was worth every single penny. I'll just say that the business I was going to start before I took B-School and after looked very different. There were many nuggets of wisdom in that course, but the one that stuck with me the most is Marie's advice about branding and marketing. The beginning of the course is really devoted to finding your niche in the marketplace. And the key is to niche down, niche down, niche down to a super specific market. Many entrepreneur coaches will tell you that - it's not unique to Marie. It sounds kind of counter-intuitive though because the tendency of an entrepreneurial novice is to want to "be everything to everyone." You know, if you try to sell something that appeals to everyone, you'll sell loads of it because your market is so big. Well, when you do that, you end up appealing to no one. Again, this point is not unique to Marie, it's just who I happened to learn it from. And that is the best nugget of wisdom I ever learned early on in my entrepreneurial journey because it's where I found my voice - it's where my brand became "dainty jewelry designed by a former lawyer pursuing a happier life." How many former lawyers do you know who sell dainty jewelry and share their journey about pursuing a happier life? I would bet I am the only one. And that's Marie's point. When you find your authentic voice and get really specific about what your brand is, you no longer have direct competition. There are no other former lawyers selling jewelry and writing weekly journal entries like me. And that's how you identify yourself in a sea of jewelry companies. Do you know how many people have come into my store and said, "Yeah, wait, aren't you the former lawyer who makes jewelry now?" It's my identifying, distinguishing mark. It's something that allows me to stand out from the crowd. And it would be pretty darn hard for another former lawyer to come along and do what I do, and do it better than me. It's just too specific. So in that way, you make yourself competition proof to some degree. 

So if you're looking to start a business someday soon, I highly encourage you to first educate yourself on marketing and branding especially as it relates to the social media space. And then second I would spend a LOT of time on finding your niche. When you think you've gotten specific, niche down again. And again. Find the way(s) in which you can distinguish your brand from every other in your industry. I promise you, this will be time well spent. And I promise you, if you don't do this, your business journey is going to feel like an uphill battle. There are just too many shoe stores, clothing stores, apparel brands, pet stores, etc, etc, etc  already out there - and if you plan on just doing what they're already doing, you're going to have a hard time. How is your brand different? That's the key. And don't stop there - you need to communicate that in your branding and marketing every single day. Heck, I've got a sign outside my store in Charleston that says "dainty jewelry designed in Charleston by a former lawyer pursuing a happier life." Do you know how many people come into my store because they read that? So many. And I know it because they tell me. They'll tell me they saw my sign outside and it brought them in. So that's what YOU have to find - what is going to bring that customer through your front door or your virtual door if you're solely an e-commerce business?  

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 have 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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Does Your Current Career Feel Out Of Alignment With Your Personality? Read This.

Does Your Current Career Feel Out Of Alignment With Your Personality? 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. If you have been following grace + hudson or my personal journey for a while you might already know that I am a pretty positive and optimistic person, usually able to see the good even in supposedly bad situations. I would say that I strive to live a peaceful and joyful life and, on most days, I truly feel that way. I wasn't always this way though and in this week's journal entry I want to share a little about that. It's important that you know that I wasn't always in a good place - in fact, things got pretty dark for a while. Maybe that's where you find yourself now and, if that's the case, maybe it'll give you some hope to know that I was there once too and reached the other side where a much better career (and life) was waiting for me.

I was an attorney for 11 years and I hated every second of it. Every. Second. I knew very early on - within a year or so - that I had made a really poor career decision. I mean, really poor. We're not just talking the typical, "I don't like my job." A legal career is obviously ridiculously demanding and very grueling. Long days and nights at work (and often weekends too), urgent emails all hours of the day, very demanding bosses, constant arguments. It's not a very "happy" career. By nature, I'm pretty optimistic, reserved, and gentle. But at work I was asked to be critical, argumentative, and aggressive. If someone had said to me before I went to law school, "Your entire life is going to feel like one huge argument," I definitely wouldn't have enrolled. But I didn't look at it that way. I was smart and capable of getting into a good graduate program and I just thought it's what I was "supposed to do." We're all pretty much taught to get the best, most stable, well-paying job we can, right? That's certainly the message I heard throughout high school and college and I bet you, too. No one ever sat me down and talked to me honestly about career choices. We pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to attend college and no one ever sits down with you to take an inventory of your natural skills, talents, and areas of interest to help you pick a career that might be fulfilling. Sounds crazy when you put it that way, doesn't it?

Anyways, I ended up in the legal profession and it was really out of alignment with who I am as a person. When that's the case, it's really hard to find any happiness at work. I felt so disconnected in so many ways, and I felt I was being asked to do things (like argue in court) that just really didn't fit my personality type in the least bit. I almost had to put on a fake facade to even make it through the days where I had to "turn it on" and be argumentative in court. Because of this internal struggle, I wasn't the gentle, optimistic Stacy you know today. Not at all. I had a pretty miserable outlook on life, a touch of depression, and little hope for a better future. Was my life just going to be about working long hours in a job I didn't like with hardly any personal life? Year after year went by and I could really sense this disconnection, this mis-alignment if you will, in my body. I was always sick. Nothing serious thank goodness, but I always had a stomach ache. I always had a cold. I often got 24 hour viruses. I even got mono in my 30's and I still to this day have no idea where I got it from. Looking back, I know that my immune system was weak because of the stress. This wasn't just the natural stress of being in a demanding profession - this was also the stress of being in a career that felt really contrary to who I am. And that stuff builds up. I look back at pictures of myself from ten years ago when I was a young attorney and I look older back then than I do today. It's a little scary. I hate to think about what my body would feel like five, ten, twenty years from now if I had stayed in the legal profession. Stress is real and it has a real impact in terms of your immune system, cancer, and countless other health issues. Your body simply can't operate in that state for your entire life without real impact. 

So fast forward to today, where I've found a career path I love. I'm pleased to report that not only am I really happy at work, but I am SO much healthier. I don't get constant stomach aches, I don't find myself sick with colds or minor ailments all the time, and I feel healthier at age 42 than I did at 32. So what's my point in sharing all of this? If you can identify with this story - and again, we're not just talking "I hate my job," we're talking a true misalignment - then I want to be honest with you that it doesn't get better. It doesn't. I practiced law for 11 years even though I knew it was wrong for me in year one. I tried different jobs in different cities and nothing worked. I knew switching law firms wasn't the solution. I knew I had to leave entirely. But hey, I can sit here today and confidently say that I tried a few different jobs in the legal profession before I gave up on it. It makes me feel more confident in my decision to leave. If you know you're in the wrong career, trust that. Sure, try a few different things to confirm your decision, but don't be surprised when they don't work out.

And the other message I would leave you with today is this: it gets better. You deserve better and better is out there. You just have to have the courage to make a change. Think of it like a poor romantic relationship. We've all experienced them in life at one point or another, right? Whether it was in high school or later in life, chances are you've heard the phrase, "You deserve better." And the same is true here. If you find yourself in a real misalignment, if you find yourself in a career that you know without a shadow of a doubt is never going to bring you fulfillment, you deserve better. I don't care how much the job pays you, it is not worth it. I can say this because I was earning well into the six figures and I can tell you without a doubt that the money was not worth it. It's not worth poor health. It's not worth the mental struggle of constantly having to be someone or something you're not, like me trying to be aggressive and argumentative when a court battle required it. It is not worth it. And trust me, you CAN find a new path. Maybe you'll have to "pay your dues" for a few years like me, and sacrifice a bit like I did during those first initial years of grace + hudson, but then you get established in your new career, start to earn more money, and you find yourself in the beautiful position of having career fulfillment AND stable finances. It IS possible. I am a living example of it.  

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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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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