Karen Lee is a serial start-up creative, passionate lover for events and a storyteller in the brands she creates. In 2015, she co-launched nationally accredited Luxe Proposals, Canada’s first luxury proposal planning company providing full service design and coordination. In the same year, she co-launched Future Mrs Planner, a contemporary bridal stationery line sold internationally across Canada, United States, and Australia. In 2016, she teamed up with a few strong-willed women to create Project You, a raw and honest women’s empowerment workshop, in hopes of shedding light on struggles of self-love, wellness and business.
That all sounds pretty spectacular, doesn’t it?
Truth is – behind those words of “accomplishments” and “success” brews a plethora of constant fear, uncertainty and doubt.
2 years ago, I would have never thought I would try this whole “business” thing. I have no business background and have always followed the path of least resistance that my parents set me on – get a degree, get a good-paying job and save for retirement (albeit, I wasn’t very good at the last part).
After 3 years in real estate development, I found myself walking around with an unfulfilled frown; my creative juices were running dry thanks to calculating property tax numbers. As most stories go, there is a tipping point. Mine was reading 3 chapters of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.
Now, I wouldn’t advise doing what I did, which was quit my job after reading only 3 chapters (at least read the whole book!). Nevertheless, when I realized I had no back-up plan or a plan B, I set out on my start-up journey, knowing 100% that the beginning will anything but glamorous.
Even though I thought I was mentally prepared, you don’t realize how hard it is until you’re in the thick of it. When you’re sitting at home in the same pajamas for the past week, your hair permanently tied in an unruly bun, and you’ve been staring at a blank excel sheet of your finances – shit gets real fast.
That’s the glimpse of what it’s like starting my own business. I’ve never felt so lost, discouraged, and deer-in-the headlights in my life. If you have serious control issues like me, not being able to plan and determine my future absolutely terrified me.
Eventually, I learned to remind myself that numbers are not a reflection of success; it’s only a factor in it. I finally understand that success is not measured by the amount of winnings you have, but how many times you stand up after you fall. The life experience that you are gaining from this venture is absolutely priceless.
I also learned that I will never stop being scared, but I will be a little less scared. The things you were once terrified about have been put in rest, because you’ve figured out solutions to them. When new fears arise, you will continue wracking your brain for new remedies. I have always been told that when you’re at the point of wanting to give up, it’s a good sign – it means that you are closer than you think.
At the end of the day, self-doubt is the only thing holding you back from dividing and conquering. Whatever your thoughts are will undoubtedly shape the world around you. When you find yourself comparing yourself to others more “successful than you are”, let me say this to you:
Be equivalent to a person wearing crocs… proudly. Express yourself in the way that you truly believe in. Don’t know who you are? Then find quiet time to dig deep within yourself, so that you can put into words exactly where you want to be.
If you’re reading this, then maybe there is something that you’ve always wanted to do, but was too afraid to try it. Maybe if you’re reading this, you have been looking for a sign.
This is officially your sign.
Go get ‘em, tiger.