This semseter I was honored to teach a class to a group of students about 'How To Pursue Your Dreams'. One of the activities I came up with was a mini-exercise where students practiced writing their dream life in 90 words or less. For kicks, let's say an excerpt of my 90-word dream life were to show up on, perhaps, the back of a chocolate bar wrapper. The first sentence would probably go something like this:
"In Alex’s late 20s, she left a thriving career to chase her passion for all things beautiful."
Sounds sort of glamourous, right? You might want to buy that chocolate bar, but you'd probably want a little more information that might romance you more fully, right? Based on this first sentence, you could conclude that I left my predictable in order to be brave. In recent months, it has become my quest to live out of curiosity rather than fear and to venture into my personal hunt to uncover the jewels that are inside of me. I'm here to tell you a little bit about the process.
Because this is what’s true. “If you don’t live brave, you will live small.” At least that's what the author of Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, says.
Living Brave Part One:
Based on my excerpt's first sentence, we know that I left something in order to chase something. I made up my mind that this chase was worth it. My brave meter really needed to kick in when I officially decided to leave my career and chase after my passions. I found myself in my mid-ish twenties being sort of unemployed and now without the benefits that a typical 9-5 salary job provides. I needed to make some adjustments financially and grab some extra jobs. Through some connections I nabbed a job at Rising Star Coffee, which is - and I’m not biased on this one, it is completely true - the best coffee spot in Cleveland. A never-before-barista just snagged herself a job with a sexy, local company.
SIDE NOTE: Let me tell you what else is sexy. Those attractive doctor / work-at-home-types that would walk in to my downtown store. Oh my lanta - if I've slurred my sentences once I've slurred them dozens of times trying to flirt my way into these men’s manly good graces. No, sadly no sexy dates occurred, but man did they look sexy and that was enough for me (I guess. C'mon, let's be real. A date would have been nice).
SIDE NOTE AGAIN: You know what else is sexy? We’ll, me. I like to think of myself as the sexy-barista-entreprenuer, follow-your-dream type.
Plus, there’s something sexy about pursuing dreams, anyway.
Here I am working a typical barista position, but when hours unexpectedly dropped off there, Living Brave Part Two kicked in. I had to adjust even more and shift around to fill in a gap. Then came an opening at Cleveland Yoga, which is - and I’m not biased on this one either - voted best yoga studio in Cleveland. A newbie yoga practicer snags a job where she gets yoga perks and…well, here I am with jobs that get me free coffee and free yoga. I seriously believe with all of my heart that Jesus is up there laughing and smiling at me because if that’s not funny favor, then go back and read this post from the top. I'm pursuing my dreams and in the midst of some chaos I'm over here checking dreams off my list by getting some of my favorite things for free!
My chase as been albeit smooth. It currently looks like living under four or more sources of fluctuating income: Barista, entreprenuer, yoga mama, nannying, teaching sewing lessons, blogging, designing and doing events for The Sewing Workshop. There's no question that it would be a lot for one lady to handle, even if you are someone like me that likes doing a lot of different things. But you know what? I am confident because I know all of it is a part of moving in the direction of my creative dreams.
Please note: Living brave may need cause for serious hustle on your part. Next-level living requires hard work.
Living Brave Part Three:
Now, what’s really fun about all of this is that there's more than just this first sentence. What do the remaining 77 words say? What did Alex come to chase?
I came here to demonstrate something big and magical. The “pursuing personal passion” stuff - that’s what I was made for.
Here's a mini-glimpse into a most recent project. I submitted a fully-fledged business plan to the Cleveland Chain Reaction in which Slavic Village, my neighborhood, recently won. Our community has the opportunity to have new businesses be presented to investors who’d parter with your idea and provide you with a serious investment (100k to be exact). They'd put you up in the neighborhood and help make your dream come to life. Think Shark Tank for Cleveland. Well, I submitted my business (It’s Alex + Ikat in case you forgot what website you landed on) and, fingers crossed, we’ll see what happens.
When I say that I want to demonstrate something big and magical that means that I want to create a life of beauty. I think I was wired to wander, but I believe we all are wired to wander in the discovery of the treasure placed inside of us, to bring that treasure to life, and to live it to its fullest. I want to live a life that is bold and brave and kind and beautiful and wonderful. My desire is for my life to point you to something - maybe to point you to the Impossible, which is just another fancy word for God because the Impossible is something only He can do. A common phrase I’ve heard is that Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. And my form of RISK this season is to take these steps to walk in the direction of my dreams and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Let’s try that chocolate bar wrapper exercise again, this time getting a glimpse of that brave, sexy stuff that includes all 90 words.
In Alex’s late 20s she left a thriving career to chase her passion for all things beautiful, all the way to Paris, France. She followed her dreams back to Clevland, Ohio and discovered that it was made for building a revival of fashion and beauty all over the world. Her mission is to craft a creative experience that empowers every human to be and express themselves out of their true identity. She creates beauty with a story. She invites people into the process of creating beauty and joining in on the adventure.
This glimpse into my 90 words of brave stuff is so much stronger than my list of fears of how I’ll get there. Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Fear is boring,” and I couldn’t agree more. Fear only has one voice and once you recognize what it is, it’s pretty lame when you compare it to faith, risk and bravery. To make a list of the 'cant’s' and 'couldnt’s' would be no fun, either. Nor would they really be true.
Live your big, brave, 90-words-or-less dream life - the one that only you can live. Fear might say, 'No, don't go,' but you can just laugh fear away and run into your amazing, beautiful adventure. Leave your predictable if you have to. What does your next-level life look like? What does it look like to live your kind of brave? You were made to uncover your treasure. You were made to be brave. You were made for this.
Living Brave Part Four:
To be continued, but I know it will be sexy because remember: there's something sexy about pursuing your dreams, anyway.