You know that feeling you get after reading or seeing something that leaves you feeling completely inspired? It could be a book, movie or a piece of art. Either way, these inspirational moments should be taken seriously. Just ask Lindsey Parry, founder of 4Love Clothing.
In 2012, Lindsey read the book that would change the course of her life – Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book suggests that women are the solution to breaking the cycle of poverty – an idea that captivated Lindsey. When she finished the book, Lindsey knew that she wanted to play a role in this growing revolution by finding a way to empower women. And with that, she made the decision to follow her dreams.
No matter how often you feel fear or self-doubt – and believe me when I say that it’s going to happen anytime you venture out and try something new – it’s important to keep moving forward, knowing that your dream is worth the effort.
Lindsey shares how her inspiration became a dream, and how her dream became a business. Read on:
My company is based entirely on my dream to empower women. 4Love Clothing is a socially conscious business that uses fashion to employ and educate indigenous women from Panama. We utilize the tribe’s traditional clothing style as a point of inspiration for our unique dresses and accessories. And all of this – every part of my business – started with an idea that wasn’t initially easy to grasp.
Deciding to follow my dreams has been anything but easy. I’ve had more ups and downs than I ever anticipated and cried more tears than I thought possible. But through it all, I never let fear stop me. No matter how often you feel fear or self-doubt – and believe me when I say that it’s going to happen anytime you venture out and try something new – it’s important to keep moving forward, knowing that your dream is worth the effort.
As Oprah Winfrey has said, “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” I couldn’t agree more.
Whether you’re still trying to pinpoint your passion or working to execute it, use these five tips for hope, encouragement and guidance in your journey to follow your dreams:
1. Take time to dream
“ When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.” – Greg Anderson
I believe dreams are the pure expressions of our soul, so I encourage everyone to take time to be still and to tap into that inner yearning. Discover what it is that you are here to express. To help prompt this process, ask yourself what you would do if nothing stood in your way. Make a habit of creating space to be silent, so you can connect with this inner impulse. Keep a journal nearby so that you can write down any inspired thoughts.
2. Look at the “big picture”
It’s important to be clear about your “big picture” plans throughout the course of starting or running a business – whether you’re writing your business plan, planning short and long term goals or taking steps to ensure you remain clear on your vision. However, to avoid “big picture overwhelm,” I suggest setting daily goals. This will help you prioritize for each individual day and it will help you stay in the present moment – focusing on today’s actions will lead to tomorrow’s accomplishments. Stay motivated by reading your short and long terms goals daily, but remember to avoid overwhelm. You’ll get where you want to go, but it will take some time.
3. Remember that you’re not alone
I have no background or education in fashion design or retail, but I do have a huge passion and love for it. Regardless, I didn’t let my lack of formal fashion education stop me. I read as much as I could about design, fabrics and manufacturers in an effort to soak in everything and get a good grasp of the industry. I also reached out and allowed myself to be connected to as many people in the industry as I could. People love to share their wisdom so don’t be afraid to let them know what you’re pursuing – you never know who you’ll meet or what it’ll lead to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and be sure to listen with an open heart and mind and always thank all who help you along the way. Sometimes gathering information can be overwhelming, so just remember you choose what advice and suggestions will help guide you further on the quest of your dream.
4. Take action
Baby steps are key to maintaining a forward momentum. If you’re just beginning on your journey of following a dream, start by writing your business plan, short and long-term goals, identifying your target market and establishing a budget, etc. There are a number of free resources that offer advice, training and assistance, and specifically SBA.gov is a great place to look at to find local resources. If you’re further into the process but feel like you’ve hit a plateau, it’s important to continue moving forward by setting daily “mini” goals to slowly break through the proverbial wall. Regardless of where you are in the process, remember that you’re running a marathon, not a sprint.
5. Be true to yourself
Whatever it is that you pursue, make sure it’s your dream and not what you think “others” (family, friends, society, etc.) think you should do. I was always motivated by the dream itself. It was never about proving anything to anyone else – it was just about seeing my dream to empower women come to fruition. When fears of failure and defeat entered my mind I recalled all the small successes the women had along the way, from learning to read and write to helping them open up their first bank accounts. Witnessing their tremendous courage and growth will always be a source of inspiration for me.
No matter what your background, I’m giving you permission to chase your dreams with aggression, persistence and hard work. Life is all about the adventure, so remember to keep growing and keep dreaming.