Interview with Wonder Magazine

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I did an interview with Wonder Magazine that I thought I should share it with you on my blog. Read on to learn more about myself and my musings on living your best life. You can find the original article here.

Interview written by Alice Tucker

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Southern California, so I love the sun. I studied business and communications at USC and thought I would go into marketing in the entertainment industry. During my senior year of college (and after many unfulfilling internships), I realised that I wasn’t happy with the direction my life was headed — I knew in my heart that I could do something more worthwhile, something better aligned with my talents and strengths. Thus, I set out to find a career that I was truly passionate about and it led me onto this greater journey of learning how to create my dream life: doing what I love and making a positive impact.

In the next couple of years, I explored my creative passions. While working part-time as a PR manager for a food festival, I also pursued music and film: performing, writing, acting, and producing. In the meantime, I read lots of books on personal development, spirituality, and entrepreneurship; I was studying how to create a meaningful and impactful life.

This new lifestyle taught me so much and changed my mindset completely. I was so excited about the new concepts I was learning through books and life experiences that I was compelled to start a blog to document and share all that was happening. This is the short story of why I started Lavendaire, my blog about personal growth and lifestyle design. Through Lavendaire, I hope to empower others to embrace their true potential and create their dream life.

What does it mean to be an artist of life?

An artist of life is someone who owns her power to envision and create her dream life. To her, life is an art — it is the ultimate form of self-expression. With this freedom, she sets out to create a life unique to her — one that she absolutely loves.

She starts with what she is given — her gifts, talents, skills, network, resources — and creates from there. Thus begins a journey of exploring, growing, making mistakes, healing and learning to love. She may not always know where she’s going or what she’s doing, but she lets her heart and intuition lead. Uncertainty and risk are just part of the creative process.

As her life unfolds, so does her masterpiece. One stroke leads to another, and the painting comes to life.

Young people today are under more pressure than ever. How do you deal with external pressure and how do you remain ambitious without putting too much stress and pressure on yourself?

I think a lot of that pressure comes from worrying about what others think of you — whether you are considered “successful” by your peers, family, and society. So much of that pressure is relieved once you genuinely stop caring about what others think of you, and only care about what you think of you. It’s all about self-confidence and self-love.

Regarding external pressure, I realised that no matter how much someone else wants me to do something, at the end of the day I’m the one who has to live with my life choices, so I should only make the choices that I truly believe in. Live for yourself, not for others.

Regarding the pressure we put on ourselves, I’m learning to practice forgiveness. I used to place such high standards on myself and compare myself to others, wishing I could do better or be further ahead by now. But now, I trust in the timing of my life, and I’ve learned to forgive myself whenever I make a mistake or feel behind. Forgiveness comes from loving and caring for yourself. You forgive yourself because you love yourself too much to let yourself hurt over anything.

Do you think there is any harm in being overambitious?

Well, the term “overambitious” already hints at a negative connotation because the prefix “over” means too much. But one person’s “ambitious” can be another person’s “overambitious,” so it’s really subjective to the individual’s opinion. Of course, it would be harmful to be overambitious if you’re ambitious at the cost of your health, the wellbeing of others, the wellbeing of our planet, etc. If your ambitions are hurting yourself or hurting others, then you’re probably going too far.

If you meant “overambitious” as dreaming too big, then no, I don’t think there’s any harm in having colossal dreams. Because even if it ends in disappointment, the journey there is well worth it.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to decide on a specific ambition but doesn’t want to settle for a career they don’t feel passionate about?

Follow your intuition. Keep searching, keep exploring, keep trying new things until something sticks. I love this quote by Marie Forleo: “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought,” meaning you will find clarity through engagement (the act of trying the thing), rather than sitting around thinking about it. Most importantly, don’t settle. You will find what you’re looking for.

How do you strike a balance between setting goals and building habits, and preserving a sense of flow and spontaneity? I think there can be a risk of making life a little too structured when you’re goal and habit orientated.

For me, building a set of desirable habits is essential for creating flow and balance in my life. Habits are the foundation to your lifestyle, and everything else — your energy, your creativity, your inspiration — flows from there. I’m more creative and productive when I’ve done morning pages, meditated, and exercised in the morning, because I get into the right mindset.

I also set goals to guide and remind me of my bigger picture, but I’m softer with my goals because things are always changing. It’s good to have basic structures in place — morning/night-time habits and goals — to act as a framework for your lifestyle. Even with an outline, you still have plenty of room for spontaneity and creativity to fill in the middle.

What could our readers start doing today that would help towards leading their dream lives?

Make a list of the things that get you really excited, the things that make you come alive, the things that you feel most joyous doing, the things that make you feel most deeply and passionately, the things that you don’t ever get tired of doing. Keep this list with you so you remember to surround your life with these often.

Now, choose an actionable activity from this list — whatever makes you feel the most excited and passionate.

Make time to do this activity everyday — whether it be for 15 min, an hour or more. The keyword here is “everyday” — consistency and commitment are incredibly important. Start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Do this for a week. Then a month, two months, six months, then a year. See where that takes you. You could develop a skill or craft. You could build something really cool. At the very least, your life will richer and fuller because you’re making time to do what you love most.

Be sure to check out Lavendaire for more inspiring personal growth tips and advice from Aileen. You can also follow her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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