What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far in life?
I know what you’re thinking - this is a loaded question. For me, “alignment” is the biggest life lesson I’ve had to master while building Soul Carrier. As it’s such an important life concept to me, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Aligned Tote is my largest bag.
The challenge to authenticity
It’s easy for us to get off track and we often trade our authentic vision and values in certain situations for the promise of instant success or wealth. From my own experience, I can tell you trading your long term view for short term promises of glory doesn’t pay off. There were times I ignored my intuition when it told me certain mismatched values and contrasting visions would eventually impact the brand.
Facing the crossroads
We all come to these crossroads where we need to choose between the short, easy, and instantly gratifying path or the one that’s long, difficult, but extremely worthwhile in the end because we know it’s the one that aligns with our vision. When these situations arise, we must remind ourselves we either have an aligned vision and values – or we do not. As daunting as it may feel to pick, there is something wonderful about choosing the longer path. If our vision and values are truly aligned with our souls, the long path forward will seem fast and smooth instead of rough and bumpy.
The ability to choose alignment pulses through every aspect of life, however, it’s up to us to choose which path we will take. Every time we are faced with a choice, there is the opportunity to follow through on what we stand for, or to move in a completely different direction. This is where our values come into play to help us make that aligned choice.
I use one of my best friends as a perfect example of this. He used to write in black Sharpie across all of his credit cards, “Every purchase is a vote.” It served as his constant reminder when making a purchase to choose his values over instant gratification.
What values do I choose?
Especially in terms of Soul Carrier, how my bags are produced is everything to me. I can’t stand for integrity, alignment, or kindness and then have the product made in poor factory conditions. Like my friend who takes the opportunity to follow through on what he stands for by writing that message on his cards, I do this in my own way by walking the warehouse floor where Soul Carrier is manufactured. Because I value the fact that my bags are made ethically within a great company culture, I make sure the employees are treated with respect and kindness, and that there is zero child labor.
Not only does this value align with my soul, I’ve come to realize that implementing this value within my business matters. For example, whenever I Skype with my artisans, it brings me joy to hear American pop music blasting as they banter and giggle with one another, and birthday cake and balloons appear in the background honoring someone’s special day. When I visit, they invite me to partake in lunch with them in the employee cafeteria where we are all fed mounds of food.
Looking past that delicious lunch I can’t wait to eat comes an epiphany. Would all of these things happen if I traded alignment and integrity for the fast track to success? What about cutting corners to reach more wealth? I refuse to compromise, even if that means I take a longer route to arrive. In the past I’ve touched on the concept of being present in the moment and here, that’s exactly what I’m doing. And you know what? It’s these moments that outshine any short-lived golden ticket promises and make me realize the patience and solid strategy is worth it in the end.
The takeaway? Staying true to your authentic self must show through reality, not just the abstract. It’s not just what you say, but what you do.
When you think about your own values and what you stand for, do you challenge yourself to continually ask, “Is this particular choice, situation or decision aligned with my values — or is it pulling me off course?” If not, I encourage you to do so. If you have trouble finding your values and what you stand for, start by squaring everything with your True North. Let that be your own personal guiding light. Realize that alignment with your soul and authenticity surpasses all else.
With all my soul,