“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah aka #QUEEN
However you’ve been rocking out lately, I sincerely hope you had an extraordinary weekend! It’s funny how even 3 days out of NYC can seem like so much longer, you know what I mean? I don’t know about you, but I immediately realize how fast I’ve been moving once I leave the city. And once I slow down, time seems to slow down too. I spent all weekend upstate with new friends from Startup Island. Not only is this a real thing, it’s actually continuing to blow my mind how awesome this community really is. The Startup Island founders brought together a special gang of entrepreneurs to enjoy a weekend away at summer camp [full on Wet Hot American Summer style] with bunks, a dining hall and a lake – the whole she-bang! I wasn’t totally sure what to expect other than that I absolutely loved connecting with one of the founders the few times we had spoken. How did I find them? I forget how I stumbled upon their site, which is seriously worth a [long] lurk, but once I did I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of whatever they were building and dropped them a sweet line to say hello.
I knew I had found a cool crew when they responded to me immediately with an offer to grab coffee and see what else we share and how we might support one another. This has to be one of my favorite things about my new solo entrepreneur life – hitting people up who are doing fantastic things and offering to take them to coffee or grab lunch to rap about how we might work together or how we can help each other. In fact I’ve made it a point to try and have as many meetings like this as possible and so far I’ve done a pretty good job. Even better is when other people make the intros for me, which has happened a few times without even asking! I swear it’s the coolest thing to get an email from someone amazing, such as a client or friend or professional contact, making an intro between me and another boss entrepreneur. One of my clients sent the funniest note intro’ing me and this dude last week and now we are going to get matcha and talk about living on the moon, fashion e-commerce, podcasts and of course, starting up in style (these were all things mentioned in our introductions, seriously golden). I can’t make it up!
What comes to mind from all this is – why not? I’ve started doing the same for other people pretty often because why not do the same for others which has been freely gifted to me, and always in the most fun, surprising ways? So here’s a challenge– next time you meet someone, and odds are you probably will since you’re awesome and awesome people tend to attract other baller folks – rack your mind for whose day you can make by [sneakily] making an intro to a friend who might benefit from a conversation or new connection with said baller. See what happens. Then see what comes back to you ten-fold as a result of your thoughtfulness. Everyone is just trying to be seen. And who knows, you might help strike up some fantastic new creative swag or biz partnerships!
Now back to OPRAH’s magical quote that totally inspires this memo. I am all about ELEVATION lately. I mean, we hear and see LIT and LIFTED all over the place nowadays – it’s one of those fun hip-hop bits of jargon that actually means so much more than a simple smoking euphemism (at least I’d love to think so). What if getting lifted means getting elevated to such a high degree that you’re unstoppable – you’re accomplishing everything you’ve ever set out to and your team is rallying you on with never-ending support and love? Sounds like the kind of world I’m trying to create slash live in forever. Which reminds me – I recently overheard: “If I’m the healthiest, most successful, happiest person in my group of friends, it might be time to look into getting some new friends.” I definitely had to consider this one a few times, after all it didn’t sound too friendly at first. I mean, I love my friends! But then it hit me – this is so real! If I want to keep growing, evolving and expanding – it makes sense that the company I keep should in turn reflect (and embody) this exact sentiment. Note to self: keep actively seeking to cultivate relationships with fellow ballers, bosses, babes (bad ass beauties elevating society), conscious creators and change makers. If I am to keep growing and evolving at this rapid pace, I need my team of peeps who are farther on down the path and able to help me when I need guidance and support.
Which brings me back to Startup Island. These are the kinds of people I want to surround myself with – a perfect cross section of them, really. I’m a part of many different communities and this one surely stands out – it’s so inclusive and welcoming, like, the opposite of competitive or cutthroat. Everyone wants to help each other and see everyone succeed, and everyone is super genuine and transparent. It was such a good feeling to spend the weekend amidst such positive peeps all eager to grow, connect and learn – energizing! Plus the workshops were DOPE! Yes, we did some learning in between lounging by the lake, enjoying camp fire jam sessions and even a camp style relay race. I loved hearing workshops about Wholehearted Leadership (delivered by Rama, CEO of SkyHoppr, one of my incredible clients!), Turning Passion Into Profit (by Lyz Klein, a super smart “founder-friendly” CPA bringing $$ knowledge to the masses) and Empathy in Design(delivered by Firat Parlak, founder of AWESOME – a sweet UX/UI agency in NYC). I even got the gift of leading yoga for everyone on the dock overlooking the lake for a sunny Saturday morning flow. What a dream. So much inspiration coming off that weekend still – and more to come, promise!
The last thing I want to talk about that’s been on my mind for awhile now –maybe forever actually: imposter syndrome! Do you know what I mean? That feeling of: “I have no idea what I’m doing. I can’t believe these people hired me as an expert. Am I really an expert? I don’t know how to run a company, I’ve never done this before [until now]. Do I have enough experience? Do I know what I am talking about?” And on and on and on. I mean, this must come up on the daily, especially since starting my own company – the nagging imposter voice has definitely been on high volume at times for sure. The voice wants me to get all worried and back down, play small, hide and maybe even just give up and get another full time job at someone else’s agency. Wouldn’t it be so much easier that way? But then I play the tape through and that’s how I know the voice isn’t actually real. Because the evidence I’ve built up against it makes a pretty compelling case. I think yours is most likely similarly compelling, isn’t it? The fear has never turned out to be real. The worst case scenario has never really played out. In fact, you’re probably doing pretty well for yourself. I bet you’re showing up in big ways. You’re not just getting by, you’re doing your best – which is incredible. And no one ever said this life stuff was going to be easy. But it can be fun, deeply rewarding and full of epic opportunities to learn and grow. We can create our chosen experience (this is the magic of it all).
Take that imposter syndrome! For me, it’s been slightly over 3 months since going solo and I haven’t totally evaporated into the ether or manifested any of my deepest, darkest fears. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m completely thriving.I’m moving into my own apartment next week (never would have thought this would happen in YEARS, especially living in NYC!), I’m working with the best people ever who totally inspire me daily, and I run my own business 100% based on love and service. DREAMS for real. The point is, though, that I think everyone feels this way at times: that we are faking it till we make it, even the people we look up to the most. We all face fear, no matter what industry or position or circumstance we’re in. Queue human experience, perhaps a big old case of the ego gone rogue. But I find so much solace in that acknowledgement – if this is something we all go through, even the most amazing people you can imagine who you couldn’t possibly believe have anything to fear whatsoever, then maybe that’s all the more reason to be reaching out, connecting and sharing. I think so. Remember, we all just want to be seen.
Love Syd <3
PS::: Some other faves I’m sneaking in here for extra special fun >>>
- Did you catch me in NY MAG’s Grub Street last week? SOBER PARTY VIBES ARE HIGH!
- WHY “NO” IS MY NEW FAVORITE WORD – The Babe Collective’s brilliant blog on all things BABE (bad ass beauties elevating society, cannot get enough of this).
- OMG MUSIC > Magical Flexy Vibes. Playlist for yoga, dance parties, chilling out to slow jams, creativity brewing, cooking and of course, sprucing up your pad <3
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