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  • Do you desire a life where you know and live your inner purpose? That instead of floating through life you know exactly what your true desires are and living to your fullest potential? Do you feel like what you are longing for is just hidden under the surface and once you discover it there will be no holding you back?

    Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of.

Inspiring Women Series Jennifer Wilson VONBON

I am so excited to introduce Jennifer Wilson of VONBON to you. I fell in love with her products while pregnant last year and have since become inspired by her business mindset as well as her desire to parent intentionally. Here she shares how in 6 months she went from being overworked to living intentionally.

Name: Jennifer Wilson
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Website: www.vonbon.ca
Blog: http://blog.vonbon.ca

Please tell us a little about you:

I am a 32 year old, mom to be, come November. I live in downtown Vancouver with my husband of three years. I was a dental assistant for 7 years, went back to school to become a dental hygienist and then gave it all up last December to follow my dream of running my own business. I now own and operate VONBON, an organic cotton baby and children’s apparel and accessory line. I have a hand in every part of my business, from designing prints and patterns, to branding, social media management, and packing/ shipping orders. No job is too big or small.

I love being outdoors, and am an avid sun seeker! Travelling is a passion of mine and I hope to scratch many more places off my list. I am a girly girl at heart and love dressing up and putting on a pair of heels! I am a new entrepreneur and still trying to figure out how to balance my personal and business lives. It’s a daily struggle, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

1. If I can push myself to do it, an outdoor workout first thing in the morning is the best! I take to the seawall with my resistance bands and soak up the scenery while I sweat it out.

2. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but since the summer hit I am addicted to iced vanilla lattes. Decaf for me with a babe on the way!

3. And Instagram, of course!

Who are you inspired by, and why?

Honestly, I am inspired daily by so many around me. I have created an amazing network of hard working, determined, intelligent young women who inspire me on a daily basis. Whether it’s a personal attitude or a brand strategy, I’m inspired to be the best I can be in my personal and business life. My sisters are also huge inspirations to me and I am so lucky to be able to have them as part of my team at VONBON.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply, quit?

It wasn’t until I started my own business did I realize that most people’s lives are run by fear. Every decision they make is based on a fear, whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the work required. Some are even fearful of success! Over time I learned to remove fear from my mind and keep a positive attitude. I use positive affirmations and thoughts to visualize what I want in my life and for my business. Of course, that doesn’t mean that just because I think it, it will happen. I have had plenty of road bumps along the way and definitely felt like “maybe I should just quit”.

For example, when our demand grew too large for me to continue hand making my products. I had no choice but to hire a local production company to continue growing. I was so fearful that my standard of quality wouldn’t be met, or that there would be great errors made that would cost me time and money. I had to let go of the fear of loosing total control and take a chance that it would all work out. There were definitely some learning curves, but it was the best decision I made.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

Such a great question! I think these days social media gives us all the perception that people’s lives are “perfect” and they are able to balance it all and look fabulous while doing it. Let’s be real…some days are better than others and it’s a constant push/ pull to navigate the game of “balance’” in our lives.

Over the past 6 months I came to realize that my passion, VONBON, was taking over my life and my relationships. It was so easy for me to work 24/7 because I love what I do and want to be the best at it. All of the really important things started to slip away while I burned the midnight oil. My health was starting to decline, my marriage was suffering, and the relationships with my family and friends were taking a toll. I had a massive “awakening” once I became pregnant and realized that you can have balance in your life, it just doesn’t look the same from day to day.

I sat down and made a list of all of the changes I wanted to make. Now, I stay on top of my game by putting myself first instead of my business. I make the time to eat right, be active and spend quality time with the ones I love. Because I work from home, it’s easy to always be working. I no longer work around the clock, I let emails wait until tomorrow if need be. I make sure to eat dinner and spend the evenings with my husband. We started writing to each other each night to keep our communication open, and to be conscious of what’s working, what’s not and what we are grateful for. It’s something we look forward to every night. Weekends are for friends, family and having fun!

If you can truly accept that some things just have to wait and won’t get done today, tomorrow or even next week, then you can be much happier. You really just have to take things one day at a time and congratulate yourself for even the smallest daily accomplishments.

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

I couldn’t live with out my Sugar Paper Planner. It has a monthly calendar that I write all my projects, plans and events in. It sits open on my desk and is a great snapshot of what I have going on for the week and the entire month. I also schedule a bi-weekly meeting with my business manager to keep VONBON on track by creating new lists of goals and deadlines we need to meet each week/ month. If you fail to plan, plan to fail!

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life? How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

Living intentionally does take action and dedication and it isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It also looks different for each individual.As I mentioned before, I had an awakening about 6 months ago as I realized that my marriage and level of happiness was suffering because I was so focused on my business and unconsciously shutting out everything else that had value in my life. It is a daily exercise for me to live intentionally and in the moment. We natural gravitate towards what was comfortable and easy and sometimes living intentionally is not. The changes I have seen in myself, my partner and our level of happiness since I started consciously living has been life changing for me.

I feel like I have much more balance in my life and I have never been happier. I feel more in tune with myself and can make clear decisions.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

I am so blessed to have a very strong group of long time girlfriends who I can share anything with. They know the good, the bad and the ugly and have helped me to get through some of the hardest times in my life. They are a constant source of support and encouragement. Often they are just a sounding board and help me to clarify my feelings and thoughts.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

I think the entire concept of living intentionally can be very overwhelming and people think that they need to overhaul their life to do it. You don’t have to start with drastic life changes, even the smallest daily intention can get you going and make you realize your potential to grow and build an intentional life.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

It is very easy to get caught up in gathering inspiration from others on social media, who appear to have perfectly styled homes and fashionable families. For me, I gather inspiration from anything and anywhere. It’s all about how something makes me feel. I really like daily reminders, so I gather and collect phrases that remind me to live intentionally and what is important to me. We all need a reminder. Pinterest is great for this and it’s an easy way to organize it all.

I also keep “The Happiness Project” on my office shelf and will go through and reread it time and time again. It offers such great reminders and no matter how many times I read it, it re-inspires me to live a happier life every time. The smallest things can have the biggest impact!

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

With our baby on the way in just three short months ( AHHHHHHHH!!) I have many things I want to make happen! I am looking to move my studio out of my home and create a new office space where we can expand over time. I have an organic cotton bedding line I am currently working on that I want to launch for the holiday season and I have goals of expanding our team at VONBON while I am on maternity leave.

What is really exciting for me is the possibility of how the brand will evolve once I have my own child. I have always been my own muse, the gift giver, so it will be very interesting to see how the brand / product lines expand with a new mom holding the reins!

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your heart and words with us, I’m so inspired by what you have shared!

To be the first to know when the next Inspiring Women Series publishes, subscribe to the newsletter.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

I stood in front of my mirror with my fitness clothes fitting snuggly to my body and I felt the tears threatening to spill over. At 7 months postpartum I saw breasts that were smaller and not as firm as they were a year ago, a belly that was soft and seemed bigger than my breasts, arms that swayed when I waved good-bye, and a waist that wasn’t as trim as I remembered it once was. I saw a body that was unfamiliar as the laugh lines hugging my eyes.

I wanted to fight and teardown the body staring back at me. I felt hatred towards the body that housed and grew a precious baby for so many months, that made me soft and squishy all over.

I quickly spiralled into negative thoughts about how fluffy and fat I was. How I had ‘let myself go’ and I would never obtain my pre-baby body so what was the point in working on it.

The image staring back at me wasn’t even my true body, it was smoothed over by my fitness clothes so my lumps weren’t even showing through to the fullness that they actually are.

7 months postpartum

I broke down and finally cried.

I had a beautiful baby to live for every single day, but pregnancy and post pregnancy body were nothing like I imagined it would be. Where was my Kate Middleton body and the beautiful Isla Fisher hair?!

The truth of the matter is that I’ve allowed myself to be completely swept up in my new role as a mother that fitness and scheduling time for me has become a task at the bottom of my to-do list. I constantly compare my fitness skills to where they were prior to becoming pregnant and hate that I can’t squat like I used to or lift the same amount of weights. Don’t even ask me about running, my hips are still fighting it, I walk a molasses pace.

At 7 months postpartum I’m still learning to accept my new body, to find clothes that fit the fluffier me, while also working on eating better and taking more care of myself instead of always giving. My hormones are still balancing themselves, and I know this because crying over my body has never been something I’ve done in the past, it took a lot to make me cry. Now I cry. A lot.

At 7 months postpartum I’ve fallen even more in love with Mister that I’ve never known to be possible, but I’ve also lost my temper more than I have in the past due to not sleeping as deeply as I once did. I am constantly saying “I love you, and I’m so sorry”.

At 7 months postpartum I have a daughter who has taken up my whole world that I finally understand what it means to loose yourself in your child. I have an identity outside of her, but I feel more confident when she is with me. She gives me more reasons to smile and be proud of who I am.

At 7 months postpartum I feel the love that is being etched on my heart become deeper every day, how I struggle to want space but never want to leave their sides. How I long to stop time but also enjoy the moment, while also dreaming of her future.

At 7 months postpartum I realize that everything is just as it should be, and it’s imperfectly beautiful. Fluffy body and all.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_WomenSeriesImage Credit: Mikaela Ruth

I am so excited to begin the Inspiring Women Series with my dear friend and wedding photographer, Jamie Delaine! From the moment I started reading her blog, what feels like a decade ago, I fell in love with her warmth and her heart. When I first envisioned the Inspiring Women Series she was one of the first people I asked because I couldn’t image it without her. She has been such an inspiration to me from the very beginning. I hope you are inspired by what she shares with you, it is such an honour to have her here.

Name: Jamie Delaine,
Occupation: Photographer & Writer
Website: www.jamiedelaine.com  Blog: www.jamiedelaineblog.com

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

Three of my favourite things to get me through the day are my Bible – inspires everything I do and centres me. Reminds me I’m not the most important element of my day and it’s not all about me. When I take the time, I also love going for long walks alone, it’s refreshing and often provides new ideas. Oh, and probably green tea. Because it keeps me going.

Who are you inspired by, and why?

I’m inspired by creative, outside-the-box thinkers. I love seeing people of any age living life to the full. I love learning from those who have dedicated to their lives to serving others, with their gifts, talents and money. TED talks inspire me. Photographers inspire me. Entrepreneurs inspire me. Missionaries inspire me.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_Women

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply, quit?

There are so many of those “feel the fear and move through it anyway” moments in life and business. In my writing, I often feel that fear. Can you write authentically if you don’t? I’m learning, no, unfortunately – to write well, you need to write truth. To write truth – you need to be sharing a vulnerable part of yourself. The times where I have dug deep, I have shared something real and honest, the response has always been a beautiful thing.

I feel like quitting a lot, to be honest. Not so much in my photography world, but in my writing world, yes. It’s easier to not share. To not take the time to write, laboriously deciding which words to put down on a page to describe your feelings inside. But I keep going.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

There are some serious pros and some cons to working from home. I’m a “do everything I see right now” kind of woman. If I see laundry, dirty dishes, dust on the coffee table, I will do it then. Or use my will-power to “ignore” it because I’m working. I have to focus on work during the day – even if it’s an hour of dedicated work, then clean for 10 minutes. And repeat. The mind break helps me.

What gets left behind is unfortunately the things that shouldn’t. I work on my business rather than writing. I clean the house rather than writing. I work on my business instead of going to the gym. The older I get, the more I realized there will always be something on your to-do list. So call it quits, transfer the list to tomorrow and do what you need to do.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_Women

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

My to-do list is a must-have. I love having the Teux-Deux app handy on my iPhone to jot notes as I think of them. I also use my Google Calendar religiously, marking most hours of my day with tasks. Finally, a moleskin notebook, to write down scribbles of thoughts.

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

Living intentionally was something in my bones from a young age. I’ve always been Type-A and never been into wasting time. My summers as a teenager were spent writing letters to friends at camp, making scrapbooks, playing with my camera, going for jogs, cleaning the house. I’ve always loved to see things accomplished.

However, there’s a difference between an intentional day and an intentional hour, I’m finding. I can have productive days – but there are moments I wish I spent differently. Less time on social media is a big one. Or in a business world where social media is vital, targeted time on social media. Have a goal, achieve it. Log out.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_Women

How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

I’d say it’s a continuing journey. It’s neat to have goals and work towards achieving them.

How have family/friends been supportive?

My husband is very like-minded. It’s been an easy thing for us to dream together.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

Absolutely. My husband and then also my friend Kristen. (http://www.imkristen.com)

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_Women

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

Write out your goals! Where do you want to go? How will you get there?

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

Honestly, to my faith. I’m not living an intentional life for myself and my own dreams. I want everything in my life to reflect God. I want to use my time and energy to love people and to make a difference.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_Women

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

Oooh boy. That’s a good question. And as a newlywed, one my husband and I are trying to figure out together as we do life as “one person” now. I recently updated my website and checked that huge goal off the list – but I’d say continuing to develop my blog into a really fun place to visit + stay an hour. As well as write my heart out.

Images from Jamie Delaine.

To be the first to know when the next Inspiring Women Series publishes, subscribe to the newsletter.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

  • August 13, 2014 - 8:09 AM

    jamie delaine - thank you lesley! appreciate this so much.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 4:03 PM

    Jennifer Wilson - I really enjoyed reading the first of many in the inspiring women’s series. What a wonderful way to celebrate and learn from one another.ReplyCancel

I am so excited to bring this interview series to you. I envisioned the Inspiring Women Series last year while enjoying a cup of tea and scrolling through my Instagram feed. I realized that in one tiny app, and in real life, I had surrounded myself with Inspiring Women and I wanted to know more about them. This past June I started reaching out to these women who inspired me and asked if they’d like to be featured as part of the series, and the response has blown me away.

One of the reasons why I was really motivated to introduce the Inspiring Women Series is because as a life coach and blogger it can be easy to write about life and say things like “if you live life like me, you can find happiness” but I don’t want to be that type of person. I’m passionate about women creating and living an intentional life that authentically reflects them and their dreams.

And because of that desire for women to live in a way that truly reflects them I want the interview series to showcase other women who are living intentional lives, dreaming big, and working hard to achieve their dreams. I want to showcase women from all different walks of life, who are living life the way they feel most lead to live it, and are happy – truly happy living life this way.

I honestly didn’t think that these women would say yes. I assumed their lives were too busy and that I was too little of a business for people to want to participate. I had big dreams in the Inspiring Women Series but didn’t actually believe in myself – that my vision had a purpose. I started small by reaching out to a few women who I knew in person and who I originally approached with the idea last year. The moment I received my first yes is when things started changing for me. I then saw that my mindset of playing small was limiting me and that if I allowed myself to let go of my own fear and restrictive mentality that I could reach further than I ever imagined.

I felt the fear of feeling small and insignificant and moved through it to reach out to inspiring women who had bigger audiences, who own successful businesses, who know what they want and desire, and who live life differently than I do but live it intentionally. I did all of this while thinking of you so that I would bring the best women who would inspire you to live your life in a way that truly reflects you.

I truly believe that there is a group of women who want to collaborate, inspire, and encourage one another. And I’m working to gather them together here for you to learn from and be inspired by the way they live their lives.

As I read through each response I myself am already inspired and implementing certain ways that they live their lives into my every day. Every time I read through the answers I am almost in tears because I am so thankful that each woman has taken the time to answer the questions in such detail so that we can feel supported and encouraged to live our lives intentionally and create the life we WANT to live.

I’m so incredibly excited and thrilled to bring you the Inspiring Women Series, which begins next Wednesday!

To be the first to know when the Inspiring Women Series launches and all subsequent features subscribe to the newsletter.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-15
The dream was there. I could envision every flavour, floral, lit candle, the music and the draped fabric before me and it was beautiful. I  knew I wanted to create a beautiful and luxurious event and have it focus on ‘pursuing the truth of who you are to create the life of your dreams’. All my senses were engaged in this dream and I so wanted it to happen, right then and there. I also knew that I didn’t have the skills to actually make it happen.

I’m a dreamer, a visionary. A creator and an artist. I can dream and see visions of smaller and larger scales. I can I work backwards and forwards and I circle around to see the full scale picture. I can see everything come to life.

When I envisioned these beautiful events where women gathered to gain inspiration and make changes in their life, I knew without a doubt that as much as I wanted to host them, I didn’t have it in me to actually make it happen to the full extent that I wanted them to be.

But I felt the fear and decided to do it anyway.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-01
Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-05

My first group coaching soiree I did it all. I created the content, I designed and coordinated, I ran all over town to find the perfect flowers and the perfect cake and the perfect cake stand for it to sit upon. The night of the event I laid out all the food, lit all the candles, arranged the flowers just so, and pressed play to start the soft piano music. Before the evening had begun I was already feeling exhausted from pulling everything together. And yet, I wasn’t done giving.

The evening was beautiful and we all fully enjoyed the ambiance as well as the discussion. But I knew I wanted to deliver more, and that meant I needed to concentrate on what I was good at.

Dreaming and delivering engaging and evocative discussions that connect people - that fills me up and leaves me energized.

Coordinating and organizing, while running around town finding the best products (as much as an accomplishment I feel when I finally find it) leaves me drained and dry.

I knew I needed and wanted an event planner to help me pull the events together to allow me to fully step into my desires and live life to the fullest.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-07Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-08

It’s amazing how when you open yourself up to living a truly intentional and authentic way how life responds to you. When I first started dreaming of these events I knew I wanted someone to do all the coordination for me, but I didn’t think it would be possible until later in my career – perhaps when I was more established.

My first event a woman came and mentioned that she dreamed of being an event planner. I felt the stars align.

I got her on board to coordinate and design my events for me, and it’s been the best decision ever!

While she coordinated and planned I was able to spend time putting together the content and delivering in ways that I didn’t know was possible. I didn’t have to worry or stress out about last minute details, or worry that the candles weren’t lit. I was able to get ready and prepare myself mentally, emotionally, and physically in a way that allowed me to slow down and catch a breath. I was able to fully release myself into what I’m naturally good at and release myself from what I’m not.

For me, the second Group Coaching Soiree was even better than the first. I was able to be present and aware. I was able to connect and prepare myself for what I needed to bring to the table. I was able to stay filled and energized and be fully give to the women who came to pursue their truth and create the life of their dreams.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-10Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-12Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-13

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

  • August 1, 2014 - 10:18 AM

    Nicole Calla - Thank you, Lesley, for giving me the opportunity to work with you. It was such a pleasure to design and coordinate the details of your second group coaching soiree!ReplyCancel

  • August 9, 2014 - 11:01 AM

    Jennifer - Things and persons come to our life for a reason. This story shows to wonderfully that everything is possible and we just have to follow our desires and everything else will be taken care of.ReplyCancel

    • August 12, 2014 - 9:43 AM

      Lesley - Exactly Jennifer!ReplyCancel