3 Mantras Self-Starters Need To Tell Themselves ASAP 💬

Feeling a little drained? Looking for an extra dose of motivation? Check out the mantras I say when I’m reallyfeeling it. Because, sometimes, little words of encouragement will remind you that you’re a total boss.

“Become Your Dream”

When I was a freshman in college, I was invited to NYFW to cover Tibi’s Fall 2011 fashion show on my blog. (I even got to bring my mom as my plus-one!) At this point, it was the most exciting thing to happen to my budding career. I spent the entire taxi ride from Grand Central Station to Lincoln Center staring out the window to soak up this mega-moment. And, that’s when I saw a wooden board with “Become Your Dream” spray-painted on it it. (I know that sounds too cinematic to have actually happened, but it did!) Ever since then, I’ve scribbled those three words on everything from my calendar to a Post-It note that hangs on my monitor.

To see “Become Your Dream” at such a memorable point in my life felt like a rallying cry. Only you have the power to take your business to the next level. Only you have the power to become exactly the person you want to be. And, only you have permission to celebrate just how far you’ve come.

“Make it Work”

Yes, I borrowed this mantra from Project Runway’s Tim Gunn. And, yes, there’s definitely a “buck up and hustle” sentiment here. But, it’s one of my favorites. As self-starters, we are constantly getting work done, responding to emails, submitting invoices, and attracting new business all at the same time. (I always liken it to juggling a dozen porcelain plates, always fearing one will crack in the process.) And, let’s be honest, it can be overwhelming.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doubling down on your to-do list or having a plethora of projects hanging over your head, one thing’s for sure: one way or another, the work will get done. And, sometimes, all you need to bounce back from burnout is a push in the right direction. The good news is that you have the power to organize your time as you see fit. So, figure out your flow and make it work.

“I’m Doing the Best I Can”

As your own boss, it’s all too easy to be your own worst critic. No matter how much you do, there’s always that lingering feeling that you could do more. You could have more clients. You could be more on top of your projects. You could have more of a work-life balance. And, if you’re feeling a little burnt out, you might feel like you’re not doing enough.

If you’re really feeling drained, you might not be in “make it work” mode — and that’s totally okay. Instead, go easy on yourself and remember that you’re human. (No, we’re not bionic superheroes who can go for days without sleep or a proper break.) Even if I’m slowly chipping away at a seemingly never-ending to-do list, I know I’m doing the best that I can.


Hustler of the Week: Ashley Viola

What inspired you to become your own boss?

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and was one of those kids who was always starting businesses: lemonade stands, a greeting card company, [and] a neighborhood newsletter, to name a few. My parents, in fact, were both entrepreneurs! As a young adult, I think I spent a lot of time trying to be anything but my parents, so I went into the corporate world after college. I had a great career in media, and I loved the work I was doing — especially as a producer and director at Sesame Street. It took a few years, but I never lost the pull to do something else and be my own boss.

By the time I had a baby, I valued my time a bit differently than before, so I took the leap to start Meridian — and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made! (My baby is now 10!) Meridian is a social enterprise brand that partners with artisans around the world to create handmade home decor and gifts that tell a story. Our limited-edition collection is rooted in neutral hues and natural textures, and we abide by Fair Trade standards.

What is your favorite part about being your own boss? Least favorite?

Over the course of more than a decade in the corporate world, I grew to realize that I care deeply about my work and that I love to work. When you work for someone else, it’s not always possible to align your personal objectives with a corporation’s. Being my own boss has allowed me to take ownership over what I do and work hard to achieve my goals. My least favorite part of being my own boss is that I miss the social aspect of being in an office!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming your own boss?

Collaboration over competition! In the corporate world, there was so much competing for recognition and attention. In the world of entrepreneurship, there is such a different spirit and I’ve loved the concept of women helping women and collaborating to lift each other up. This is something I’ve learned by watching Meridian’s artisan partners specifically. Many are women who work with their hands to support their families and send their children to school. They’re working hard and teaching other women in their communities special skills to grow their small businesses and expand their impact.

Give Ashley some love by following Meridian on Instagram and shopping the brand’s wares.

(Psst…like what you see? You can subscribe to “Office Hours with Kelsey Mulvey” here.)

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