“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
When I was growing up, my mom was a teacher and my dad worked for an insurance company. They still work the same jobs that they had before I was born, live in the same house that they bought 25 years ago and have never traveled more than 100 miles from home. My dad worked a lot, and missed some of my recitals and games in order to support our family. My mom lived for the summers off and always dreaded going back to work in the fall. We almost never took vacations because my dad couldn’t take the time off.
Granted, I had a great childhood. And I’m thankful for their sacrifices because they’ve given me the opportunities that have gotten me where I am today. But I want something different for my family. I want to be able to take a week off during my kids’ spring break to go on vacation. I want to go to all of their baseball games and recitals and show up at their elementary school lunches for no reason. I want to love my work every second and know that I’m doing something that I’m passionate about. And that’s why I’m an entrepreneur – I want to live my life the way I want to live it.
My husband Luke and I started Blue Ivory Creative in 2013. I was going to school in Columbia, SC, and moved to Nashville for the summer to really get our business off the ground. When I went back to school in August to finish my last two semesters, it was immediately clear to me that spending all of my days in the classroom, learning things that I was already getting paid to do wasn’t doing anything for my business. It was hard to be 500 miles away from my co-founder, my employees and my business and I found myself traveling back and forth every weekend for meetings and networking events. And so I decided that it would best for my business and myself to drop out of school, move to Nashville and finish my last two semesters online.
My parents, who define success in a very different way than I do, were understandably very upset and hurt. Entrepreneurship is a foreign concept to them and they’ve always thought that you’re supposed to graduate college and go work for someone else. As a result, they cut me off financially and told me several times that I was disappointing my family. I’ve always been very close to my parents; so to say that I was crushed is an understatement. Thankfully, two years later, we’ve rebuilt our relationship and are closer than we ever were.
I’ve been asked why I was willing to take such a leap of faith and drop everything that was safe in order to chase my dreams. Honestly? It’s because I believe in the future and know what I want my life to look like. And I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
You see, you have to do what others won’t to have what others don’t. So be willing to do whatever it takes to build the lifestyle that you want and follow your passion. Don’t let anyone hold you back; they may never fully understand what you’re doing. Follow your heart and be who you want to be, unapologetically. And you know what? Looking back, I absolutely made the right decision.