A Few Words on Learning, Leaving, and Living

Youth, especially in women, is touted as essential to success. We have this ridiculous idea of “past our prime” after we reach a certain age, as if our accomplishments have a “best before” date. But, I came across this interesting article on success after your 20s and it made me think…

When I was younger, probably about 23 to 27 (I’m 28 hah!), I felt an overwhelming dread that time was withering away. After graduating university, I had a hard time getting a job in my field, a heartbreaking case of writers’ block, and an inclination to Netflix binges. This led to anxiety for my future. I’d always been the type who impressed teachers with my wit and intelligence, but I couldn’t manage to extend that charm to the workforce, not to mention other areas of my life, like the romantic battlefield. I had all this time for creative endeavours, but my fear crippled me. Rejection crippled me. I wanted to be independent, successful, and famous.

At 24, I moved back in with my parents.

I now realize the importance of this growth period. In my early twenties, I had so much to learn, and still do. The quote below sums up my recent realization.

I am grateful I wasn’t given this opportunity at 25 as I believe my good intentions and passion could very well have done a lot of damage.
Christine Garde, Founder and CEO of CouldYou?

Happiness comes from within

Here’s what I mean, for example.

I’ve been writing one short story for the past six years. I’ve submitted it to at least five literary journals thinking it was G.E.N.I.U.S. It was rejected every time. This story is my pet project as of late and I am ecstatic at how much it’s morphed into a whole new monster. Back to Christine’s quote above, if this story had been published back when I was a wee 22, it could have never reached its potential. AND could have been damaging (obviously not to the same extent as her work, but still). I now understand the importance of giving the attention my story deserves without impatience for publication. Knowing how much this story has matured makes me careful to ensure I spend the needed time to craft every detail with intention.

Ahhh, it makes me so excited!

Anywho, my point is that I (*we) have our whole lives to accomplish our goals. If we rush through life, checking off our bucket list we may not be living up to our full potential and may forget to enjoy the journey. Goals are great, I have many, but I’m also busy with my life–creative writing, spin classes, dance, dating, dinners, laughs and laughs and laughs. It’s these experiences that I feel will lead to my a-hah moment, my I-can’t-believe-this-is-it project. Are you stoked? I am!

What do you think? Could your THANG be that much better later in life? Is there really that much urgency to your “success?” Leave a comment and let me know.

What a Terrible Teapot Teaches Us about Success

There’s a teapot that causes grief everywhere I go. Do you know the one I’m talking about? It’s the one you get at cafés and diners that does anything but what a teapot is meant to do. As soon as you tip the spout to fill your cup, water pours down the edge, burning your palm, pooling hot water all over your table. It’s ridiculous. It’s a f*cking teapot and it can’t pour properly. What’s the deal?

What a Terrible Teapot Teaches Us about Success

What a Terrible Teapot Teaches Us about Success

Success Does Not Equal Greatness

It’s not like I encountered this teapot once at some dive, I see it everywhere. Even in establishments that pride themselves on gourmet quality food/coffee/tea/etc. So, clearly this little terrible teapot is doing well for itself.

This got me thinking.

Success isn’t an indicator of greatness. “Success” can mean selling millions of cheap teapots that don’t even do the one task they are supposed to do. How is this happening—she says yanking her hair. How is it that restauranteurs are satisfied supplying their customers with malfunctioning utensils? It’s ludicrous.

It’s also frustrating. There’s this quote floating around the internet that says “good things come to those who work hard.” Yes, working hard is essential, but it doesn’t mean there are no shortcuts. Clearly these teapots are taking a mind boggling shortcut and are still being rewarded. But they’re always going to be that terrible teapot. Who wants to be known as the terrible teapot?

There’s that One Thing that Gives You Away

I’m not the only one who can’t stand this terrible teapot. People who like their tea, like it in their cup not on their plate! So, if you’re a business owner and you think you’re hiding this terrible teapot, you’re wrong.

When you hand me a terrible teapot with my meal, it gives you away. It tells me that, even if it’s just this one thing, you’re cutting corners. It makes me feel cheated because your food is so good, your atmosphere is so inviting, but YOUR TEAPOTS DON’T WORK!

I know you’ve invested a lot in your business, and you pride yourself on good food, and it’s true, it’s sooooo good, but the utensils we use to enjoy it are just as important to our satisfaction—and brand trust.

Of course, the terrible teapot syndrome can be applied to any business. What’s the terrible teapot in your industry?

Seven Resources for Entrepreneurs in Vancouver

Starting a business is hard, but luckily there are resources aplenty out there for you to reach out to for support. Here in Vancouver there is a bustling entrepreneurial spirit alighting our streets. I mean who wouldn’t want to work on their own terms, right?

As I’ve been reorganizing Stylings + Stories, I’ve been reaching out to a few of the resources for entrepreneurs in Vancouver. Here is a list of seven resources for entrepreneurs I’ve found out here, hope they help!

Vancouver Resources for Entrepreneurs

resources for entrepreneurs

Resources for Entrepreneurs 01 :: Women’s Enterprise

The Women’s Enterprise is a great resource for women entrepreneurs. They host free events + webinars where you can learn entrepreneurial skills, plus they offer group and individual mentorships. If you’re in the business planning stages of your company, they have a great business plan guide to help you get started. Not to mention all the marketing, budgeting and other resources. Have a peruse through the site, give them a call and attend one of their events!

Resources for Entrepreneurs 02 :: Small Business BC

Small Business BC is a resource centre for small businesses in British Columbia. They offer expert advice, free tools, seminars, events and business resources. They even offer support for registering your business. They have a pretty cool blog too!

Resources for Entrepreneurs 03 :: Futurpreneur

Futurpreneur provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. They have crash courses, templates, networking events and inspirational stories. Plus, they’ve got a few awards you can look into.

Resources for Entrepreneurs 04 :: This Open Space

This Open Space is a neat resource for entrepreneurs that offers pop up shop spaces in Vancouver and now Toronto. One of their coolest pop ups is the free co-working space they often host where you can bring in your laptop and work in a cool space with other cool folk, for FREE. If you want to get your brand out there in an original way, check them out.

Resources for Entrepreneurs 05 :: Van City Business Babes

I had the pleasure of meeting with the Founder of Van City Business Babes last week. She’s a cool Vancouverite who hosts monthly events for women in business in Vancouver. Check out their meetup and get on your networking game!

Resources for Entrepreneurs 06 :: Young Women in Business

Young Women in Business (YWIB) connects young business women together. They are a non-profit for emerging female leaders. YWIB offers mentorships, networking events and workshops for women in business. It’s a great resource for entrepreneurs who are women.

Resources for Entrepreneurs 07 :: Crave Business

The CRAVE Company is another resource for entrepreneurs for women. They host monthly events that each have a central theme around the trials and challenges of entrepreneurship for women. The great thing about their events is that they are small and intimate, offering an excellent opportunity for networking.

Have anymore resources for entrepreneurs in Vancouver? Let me know in the comments below!

Three Ways to Overcome Your Fears & Make the Jump Into Your Dream-

What is that one thing you are most afraid to do? It might be a sign of what your heart is aching for.

My biggest fear when I first started Stylings & Stories was that I had no idea how to start a business or how to get people to hire me. My business started out as just a website, I knew I was a strong writer but I was worried that my new design skills wouldn’t have worth against all the talent out there. To say the least, I felt really vulnerable showcasing my learning curve publicly.

But, with practice & patience I realized that my dream customers are the ones who are seeking my style. Voila! Fear conquered, for the most part.

This is a common fear, especially for most creative types. We’re perfectionists and we’re invested in the work that we create. In all honesty, a design or a story is never really complete with this mindset. You just have to decide that this is as good (*amazing) as it’s going to be for now.

Here’s why that fear was a good thing.

My fear & my vulnerability showed me how much I care. If I weren’t feeling connected to my work, I’d be feeling like a fraud. I’d feel icky about selling because I wouldn’t believe in the product or service I was backing. Vulnerability meant I was being honest.

Now, I realize vulnerability is like a rush, as if I’m about to jump off a cliff into cool deep water. I kinda want more of it. Since I’ve already taken a few risks, I’m familiar with the fear that follows and able to make a clear decision based on my gut and experience. That’s not to say I do every thing that makes me afraid. What I mean is that I make the effort to understand that fear and then make the best decision for myself based on that understanding.

Here are three things that help me overcome my fears:

1. Build a Solid Foundation

The problem with risk is that the result may not be what you were aiming for. This can leave you feeling like a failure or even more fearful to take another leap of faith. But, if you build yourself a solid foundation through your confidence, your drive, and your savvy business skills those results can be transformed into a valuable learning experience making you an even stronger competitor. Learn the tools you need to survive in the business world and set up a strong support network. Though you’ll still feel vulnerable, because hey this is your heart, you’ll have the support you need to continue onwards.

2. Make a Plan

If you’re feeling afraid to take a leap, it may be because you don’t have a plan. I know that when I have a clear outline for my next steps I feel confident that I can make my projects a reality. Take some extra time to set out your goals & work on outlining the steps it will take to say quit your job or start a blog. Big decisions should not be made flippantly but should neither be put on hold out of fear. Take action. And, yes, planning is action.

3. Follow Your Gut

Another tool I use to make decisions is my gut. I make most decisions based on a feeling and if the feeling isn’t right there’s something wrong. It could be that I don’t have the confidence in my skills or a solid plan or that I don’t trust the person I’m working with. But I’ve made enough poor decisions against my gut to know that those feelings aren’t to be ignored.

If you want to learn the tools to overcoming your vulnerabilities and setting a solid foundation for your business, check out Jump: Into Your Business, Your Life, Your Dream. We’ll give you solid strategies to building a support network, finding a mentor, creating a brand, and overcoming your biggest fears.