How might someone describe you? What has helped you — a person, an experience, a place — embrace this definition?
One thing I have been thinking a lot about recently is how from when we are young we frame our existence though the idea of work, of what we want to be. But lately, I have been really thinking about who I want to be. You can sort of zoom out and look at the mosaic of your own character from this neutral place, and examine how you want to relate to the world. Maybe you say, ‘oh I’d like to be kinder or more patient or be more feminine right now.’ Then you can just imagine the quality of those attributes, what they mean to you, and just by practicing them you can become more a certain way, or less another. You know, at times it’s served me to be very tough, and I’m sure people would say that I am so; but at other junctures it's been a harmful approach. That’s also true for being generous and forgiving; there are circumstances where being that way has been a setback, and in other cases it’s been the most redeeming. I like the idea that we can choose.
What has working in multiple roles and having your hands in a lot of businesses/projects taught you about letting go of needing to be one "thing”?
I have always tended to move fast, hard, fearlessly, and have been decisively independent. I think when you achieve some small recognition or successes, that fuels the idea that, ok that’s how I have to be all the time. That’s how I can be in control. I have to fight and push and demand. But work and life are multi dimensional and fluid. So when you become too singular, it reaches into other areas of your life and you know, maybe it isn’t that sustainable, or that enjoyable, or even that interesting. There is tremendous grace and patience required for meaningful collaboration. Doing the work to develop that side of myself has work itself more harmonious and balanced. Rather than pushing my own agenda and thinking of myself as independent, I have to actively find a compassionate place to listen from—not only to my partner (I work with my husband), but also to the people who we employ, who we consider our team and also, in a way, family and rely on for success.
I also recently wound down my first business to make room for other creative pursuits and new things to come. I felt so light once I took that action, but I struggled with the decision for a while because I felt that iteration of my work was linked to my identity. Letting go of that idea was very liberating and it freed up so much energy. That's a great lesson, that you don’t have to lug everything you do around forever, that no single project defines you for eternity.