Back in 2014 I started a series called the Inspiring Women Series and loved introducing my readers to women who I found not only inspiring but true heartwarming and encouraging souls. I wasn’t able to carry the series forward longer than that year but I’ve been yearning to start it up again and this year I am ready to introduce more women from around the world to you.
I’ve been sending out emails and scheduling the upcoming interviews but before I introduce you to these women I thought I should take the interview myself. These questions are from the heart and I believe allow the reader to see deeply into another person’s life and dreams and that is what I’m all about here.
Name: Lesley Stefanski
Occupation: Freelance marketing coordinator, writer, and dreamer
Tell us a little about you and what you’re passionate about:
I am passionate about many things but mostly about finding one’s true values and then living life intentionally while weaving those values into every single facet of daily life.
Share with us 5 words that would describe your values or how you want to feel each day?
warmth, connected, cultured, richness, symphony
We all have a magical story of how things brought us to where we are today. Can you tell us a defining moment of how you ‘felt the fear and moved through it’ anyway?
Other than birthing by two babies 😉 When my business partner and I first started Pemberley there was a lot of fear coming up for me: “will this work out?”, “will others think I’m copying them?”, “who do I think I am starting a fashion line” and a slew of other fears. However, I pressed through and we brought Pemberley forward. It was hard work and it was well received! I was so happy that I didn’t let fear take something so important away from me. In the end, it didn’t last long, 15 months, but we learned so much and I definitely learned so much about myself that I am extremely proud of us and all we accomplished.
Sometimes fear isn’t what is stopping us from moving forward, but our intuition telling us a path isn’t for us. Have you experienced this, if yes, can you share how you could tell the difference between intuition and fear and how you honoured your intuition guiding you?
The difference for me is that my intuition continues to nudge me in my chest with little flutterings while fear is a sticky panicked feeling that creeps up my neck and feels like snakes coiling in my belly. However, even though I know the difference, I tend to side with fear instead of following my intuition. I think that is why it continues to nudge me, like sprinkling the idea in front of me while whispering “remember this?”.
I am incredibly loyal, so even if my intuition is telling me to move aside or take a turn fear will oblige me to stay up with “you don’t want to make them unhappy”. It is probably why I am really passionate about living intentionally because it forces me to constantly check my own life and make sure I am living true to myself and not out of fear.
There is a movement towards living intentionally and slow living. How have you implemented this in your own life?
I have been living intentionally since 2010 when my husband and I decided to move to Europe. That was the moment that I knew that life needed to be filled with one’s true values and dreams to really feel at peace. I pay close attention to the items that are brought into our home and how they make me and my family feel, even down to the food we buy and where it is bought from. I’m intentional about how we spend weekends and how going to the playground is a drain for me but my husband completely enjoys it so we balance the weekend by going on adventures to new places or places that excite me and then a trip to the playground for the routine and consistency. I could keep going, but I also know what intentional living and slow living means for me, does not look the exact same as someone else. We all have to find what our values are and then implement them into our lives.
Was there a specific moment where you knew that you needed to change from living the hustle and rushing down the fast lane to being more conscious of how you were spending your time?
This is something that I’ve always struggled with, not with getting out of the fast lane, but how to get in it! I’m much more attracted to slowness and comfort and being connected with others than the hustle and drive of sacrificing one’s self to getting ahead, lack of sleep, and neglecting family and friends. That has never been how I wanted to live life so I always felt like I was lazy or had zero drive.
For me, it is way more important to be available and open to my family than to be jumping on a client call. I have set up my life to reflect that and have left the guilt at the door.
How has this impacted you personally, professionally, and within your family?
Being attracted to slowness has definitely made me feel lazy or unmotivated and I sometimes shame myself into telling myself stories that other’s view me that way as well. But when I truly listen to how they talk about me, I know that they are all proud and happy of all of my accomplishments and that in their eyes I am not a failure at all. And that makes me more proud of myself more than anything else.
What resources would you recommend to someone if they wanted to live intentionally but they weren’t sure where to start? I would recommend reading Danielle LaPorte‘s “Firestarter Sessions” and “Desire Map“, dive into what your Myers-Briggs personality, your Enneagram, what Tendency you are, and even your numerology number is. These don’t give you all the answers but they will help highlight what is important, what values you align with, what dreams you have that you can’t let go of. Once you have a real understanding of who you are and all your perfect flaws and quirks I suggest start writing out your core desired feelings (like question 5 of this interview) and then every time you’re faced with an opportunity to align with your value you follow that instead of doing what is expected of you or what you’ve done in the past.
Slow, tiny steps, will lead to great change.
Has there been a moment in your life where you did something just for yourself because it brought you immense pleasure? Not because it was trendy or cool, but because your soul jumped up and said: “YES, that!”? What happened?
I’ve always wanted to write a book and I kept putting it off because I kept on putting a box around it of what I needed to write about. Then one day a friend sparked an idea and next thing I knew I was writing a very erotic novel with steamy love scenes. It was exciting and nerve-wracking because I kept on thinking “what will people think of me” but kept writing anyway. It was such an exciting time! I’m still in the process of writing it, but people keep on asking to read it and when I tell them it’s quite erotic I expect to get a “never mind” in response but it almost entices them to want to read it even more. It’s fun to see people’s reactions.
Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?
My first go to is Pinterest. I have so many boards on there that make me happy and images that jump out at me that make me say “I want that”. The second is reading, I’m constantly soaking up novels and finding inspiration between the lines of characters or places or situations. To give an example I read the Outlander series and with the setting taking place in the highlands of Scotland and her knowledge of plants and herbs for natural remedies I found my own heart fluttering at the idea of spending time in the country and foraging. I started planning trips to the countryside and made a date with a friend to forage for Elderflowers and it spurred a new way of living for me. I’ve always been a city girl at heart but spending time in the country really grounds me. Inspiration can be found anywhere and I’m learning to not close the doors on things because I’ve never been interested in it before, but letting myself just be curious.
In a world where we are fighting for equality, justice, and love, what do you wish people knew more about? This past summer my eyes were truly opened to the injustice in the world and I’ve now been studying and having hard conversations about what white privilege looks like and how that plays out in my life. It was an extremely uncomfortable couple of months as I realised how blinded I was but I’m so happy that I was “told off”, in a way, because I never want to be that person again. I hope more people learn about how to be inclusive of everyone this year and start to make changes in their daily life.
I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards?
This year I’m working towards being brave and asking for what I want, and setting up systems so that I succeed. This means I am asking for way more help than ever before and relying on others because I’ve recently come to discover that I’m great at showing up for others to help them achieve their dreams but mine get left in the dust because of that.
I’m not good at making time for my own dreams, so this year I’m asking others to help me achieve them.
If you have any questions, please comment below!