“I want it, and I want it now,” sounds familiar? Needless to say that it is tough to resist the badly behaving inner voice, which demands an instant reward. Like that piece of magnetic chocolate in the cupboard that somehow telepathically stimulates your tastes buds or browsing aimlessly the social media to get an update on your imaginary friends. Of course, not being able to resist comes with a bold headline, featured as “the lack of purpose and meaning.”
While the previous statement is a significant blockage, brain chemistry is enormously responsible for reinforcing the unproductive feeling, such as instant gratification. Once you experience joy, your brain is exposed to dopamine, and deliberately the brain encourages you to continue doing what made you feel good. This is called the dopamine reward circuit, which involves several parts of the brain and fortifies good feelings. Hence, unaware of the joy’s source, anything that triggers the gratification releases the chemicals, and the brain perceives it as a pleasure source.
Now that you know the brain’s basic physiology’s reward system, the next step is to consciously bridge the way for your present self to reach your future self by taking advantage of the feel-good chemicals ferrying in your neural pathways. Having said that, your goals and your future self need not only a vision board but, most notably, a philosophical vision to overcome procrastination or curb instant gratification. That vision, or you may call it inspiration, must be ingrained deep into your values and aligned with your temperament.
Make a list of your goals, your resources, your talents, your shortcomings, and your inadequacies. Don’t be shy jot down all the self-descriptive adjectives to see what you need to improve on and what you could solidly leverage to reach your aspirations.
Once you have the list in front of you, start an inner-dialogue and try to convince your present self why your goals are important.
Attach meaning to your goals by re-examining your intentions. At this stage, the philosophical vision becomes crystal clear.
Choose the most challenging goal. Why? Since you have to work super hard to reach it. As Pluto said: “Do one thing and do it well.”
In full awareness, accept that life is full of agony, traumas, sufferings, and delays.
Tap into your higher intelligence to embrace the benefits of delayed gratification. As humans, we can exert self-control. Make use of it, consider your promise to your future self, know your “why,” and avoid temptations.
Every day remind yourself of your intended goal so that you stay on course.
Be consistent, even if you feel miserable, put as much effort as possible since a fraction of the required work is better than none.
Staying motivated is not an easy task, so don’t wallow on it if you slip up. It happens, we all struggle, rather than giving in to your impulses again and falling into a vicious cycle, the best way out is to know that new habits take time. With patience, you can put your abilities to work to reach your goals.
Trust me when I say nothing stays the same forever. Life has a way of untangling the mess and showing you the remedy. All the painful episodes, the wrong, the unexpected hurt and the loss are being made up for. You just need to believe that things will get better. You need to step out of the darkness. Of course, every so often, it is difficult to get out of the shambles single-handedly. Eventually, you will recognize wise and well-intentioned people that will pull you out of the abyss. The emptiness you feel inside will be filled with hope, joy, and purpose. And things will start improving.
Because you always have a choice to transform for better. You go through hell and let the bitterness melt, you take the dirt and polish it, you take the punch and you learn to fight for yourself with dignity. The key is to accept that everything can go wrong but eventually, it will resolve. You need to take the pieces, sharpen your good sense, quiet your inner-demons, perfect your virtues to shape your best version. The version that is stronger, kinder and forgiving. It takes time, but gradually, the traumas will become pale, you will heal, and you’ll bounce back guided by empathy and generosity. You’ll start with nothing and end up with everything.
From the humble beginnings of our ancestors writing symbols with a stylus, the flight feathers of geese to fountain pens, and nowadays, digital pen, this instrument “has been mightier than the sword.”An understated elegance that has been used by royalties to change the course of history. By enlightenment figures who shed light on reason and science, by freedom fighters shaping ideas, scientists that changed everything through their theories, by musicians that touch the soul the deepest, or by a hero soldier that seeks hope and solace by penning “remember that I love you.” A symbol of education, dreams, status, power, hope, affinity, unity, consolation, and purpose, a pen channels ideas and feelings to make a difference. Knowing that your words have an impact, protecting and managing your thoughts should not be taken lightly. As it happens to the best of us, our emotional wellbeing can provocatively be ruffled, and we lose perspective. To shield our reactions, we need a reminder, a protective gear that makes us examine the voice and the thoughts in our head before taking any action. For some can be a mantra or taking a walk, but how about a pen holder. Every time you are about to sign an agreement, write a letter of request, a to-do list, or create a vision, a pen holder serving as an amulet will remind your intentions, purpose, and how it all fits in with the common good.
I had the opportunity to interview Carla Martin, to learn about her creations and how she handles challenges. I invite you to read and explore her leather accessories.
Jupilings: Please tell us your story a.k.a. JEANNE.CHAVANY –
Carla MARTIN: I’ve built my background in the fashion industry working as a purchasing manager for several famous houses. My entire journey has started out of necessity. A few years ago, I needed a new handbag. I was looking for something distinctive, something that would make me stand out, and fit my personality. My husband suggested, as a joke, that if I couldn’t find the right handbag, I should create one. I was hooked on this idea, as I have always been in love with leather. From that moment, I got more interested in leather and started to visit tanneries to learn and understand this noble material while surrounding myself with amazingly skilled artisans to make my ideas and designs come true. Thus Jeanne Chavany was born.
Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-
Carla MARTIN: Drawing a self-portrait description might sound “pretentious”, therefore it would be preferable to mention that I have earned a reputation of being ambitious, passionate, generous, and competitive.
Jupilings: How do you describe your brand-
Carla MARTIN: JEANNE.CHAVANY is a cocktail of passion, integrity, boldness, ethics, innovation, and sustainability. A family-owned business, all products are handmade in our workshop in France. Each piece is made to order, unique in its own way. Customers need to pre-order and join the waiting list, it takes time to create the magic with a wait of 10, up to 18, weeks for a handbag to be made. This is one of our answers to reducing waste, whilst having transparency during production by sharing with customers the steps in the handcrafting process. Mass production does not fit our philosophy.
Here at JEANNE.CHAVANY we believe that creating by hand is more meaningful.
If something is beautiful and fair and made without harming people, that object has a spiritual dimension of dignity and appreciation of the work.
We are a Human Brand built on respect for each other. Our customers, partners, and artisans are our biggest assets.
Jupilings: Please tell us about the philanthropic aspect of JEANNE.CHAVANY –
Carla MARTIN: We all have a sense of social concern to support charities. It is the ethical importance of our social responsibility.
Philanthropy is not only the ‘right thing to do’ but also strengthens company culture. Helping others and giving back to communities is hugely empowering and rewarding.
From the creation of the brand, I injected all my personal values, principals and ethics. As JEANNE CHAVANY caters to contemporary businesswomen, it was obvious for us to support education. Education is the key to becoming an entrepreneur.
And so it made complete sense to team up with NGO Professors Without Borders, which relates directly to the brand’s values, to support education and empowerment in schools.
Professors Without Borders NGO was founded by HRH Princess Tessy de Luxembourg, whose mission is to provide free and equal access to quality education to all students, especially women.
Their vision is to create a global community of academics and professionals who want to share their passion for knowledge with students around the world.
Professors Without Borders aims to bridge the educational divide between countries, as well as between students and their teachers. They aspire to halt the brain drain by bringing teachers in rather than taking students out.
In support of this venture, JEANNE.CHAVANY has designed a pen holder aptly named “New Beginnings”. 10% of each purchase will be donated to support empowerment in schools.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. – Nelson Mandela.
Jupilings: Do you have a daily ritual to help you de-stress-
Carla MARTIN: What creates stress during the day, is that we try hard to find a balance between work, life, and family and this requires discipline and organization.
My daily ritual: I look after my mind through study, after my soul through meditation and prayer, then I focus all my attention on work.
Jupilings: The best piece of advice you have been given-
Carla MARTIN: Time flies by so fast, use it wisely as we do not have a second chance/life.
Jupilings: What challenges did you face when you were starting your business? 3 tips on how to avoid or overcome them-
Carla MARTIN: Starting and creating a business from scratch is an “up and down” journey. I call it a roller-coaster. Beware to those who are afraid of high adrenaline. The challenges are multiple: from finding skilled artisans to the supply chain, sales and production, from marketing to communication … we face challenges every single day. Some are easier to deal with, some are more complicated. And the more difficult it gets, the more I enjoy it as this requires mind-stretching, looking at situations from different perspectives and trying new things. I am a “scientist” who changes the “formula” again and again and again until it works. If it would be easy, it would be too easy.
Jupilings: 3 tips on how to avoid or overcome challenges-
Carla MARTIN: This is a tough question as it depends on so many criteria. Entrepreneurship is not a destination, it’s a long journey and its secret lies in the mindset. It is crucial to continuously push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and grow from both personal and professional perspectives.
I would say:
Patience: overnight success does not exist.
Become the best version of yourself
Believe in yourself as the way up to the top is a lonely and often painful journey.
Jupilings: How do you motivate yourself-
Carla MARTIN:“Be miserable or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice” Wayne Dyer.
On any journey, there are times of joy that make me feel like I can accomplish anything, which gives me strength and motivation to move forward, but also moments of hesitation, of doubts, of negative feelings and emotions that could easily take over. It’s simply human nature.
Never wait for motivation to get started. So I have created some “strategies” that work well for me:
Work out for at least one hour. This will give me a lot of energy, good vibes, and endorphins.
Listen to favourite music
Reward me with a nice and delicious meal
Meditate and express my gratitude for what I got.
Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-
Carla MARTIN: My way of getting through obstacles firstly is to start by acknowledging that they’re there, to be honest to myself. To put me back on track all I need to do is to remind myself why I started and what lit the fire…I am very fortunate to do what I love and I do it with passion, this simplifies the situation.
Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-
Carla MARTIN: There are so many amazing people out there who do and achieve so much in their lives. I look up to them with admiration as they inspire me so much. People like Melinda Gates,Michelle Obama, Lady Diana,Greta Thunberg, Nelson Mandela, Sheryl Sandberg,Serena Williams … just to name a few. If I had to choose only one name, this person would be Leonardo Da Vinci. He does not only inspire me but fascinates me. I would love to travel back in time to meet this genius and discover the “anatomy” of his creativity …
Jupilings: Tips on building resilience-
Carla MARTIN: There is no magic formula. Just be positive, be optimistic, be kind to yourself. And take action.
Jupilings: What is the issue you want media to talk about most-
Carla MARTIN: Most of the subjects are well covered by media. To answer your question I would say; Education, Education, Education.
“Education is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens the youth to chase their dreams”. Nita Ambani
Jupilings: What is your life motto:
Carla MARTIN: Well, I do not have a motto on which my life should be lived or built around. It is more like a personal philosophy: believe in myself, I am curious about everything in life; also dedicated and very patient, never rush the process of “creation”.
What patience is not is tolerance. It is wisdom to recognize that things unfold in their way, and there is always a motive or explanation behind crude incidences or maddening behaviors of people. Patience is to grasp that an act’s expediency, such as getting angry, does not clarify or resolve frustration encountered by unexpected circumstances.
The intensity of what annoys or displeases is how you perceive the intentions. Still, whether deliberate or accidental, it is up to you to fuel haste into a situation out of fear and anxiety or to realize that you will benefit from a strong pull on your impulses.
During your lifespan, confrontation happens, and on many occasions, your rage starts to mount. Although, knowing well that keeping your temper under control is the wisest choice, it is not an easy task. How can you interrupt the impatience and remain calm in the face of irritating people? Well, according to the French philosopher Emile-August Chartier (known as Alain): “Never say that people are evil, you just need to look for the pin”. Consciously assuming that some internal suffering drives others’ irrational behaviors that cause agony, surely will support your efforts to curb the anger. Switching your emotions from agitation to compassion and empathy allows you to control your thoughts and actions.
We can grow out of the habit of impatience, mindfully. Clearly, you are aware of nature, change of seasons, the harvest, or the metamorphosis of butterflies; the common thread is that the process has different stages and is on a different timetable. In nature, you wait for the full cycle with patience; maybe if you apply the same principle in all your endeavors, the course of action and the psyche during the undertaking will allow you to be in the moment and live a rewarding life.
Try these strategies to cultivate patience:
Set a rule: lean back, take deep breaths, and count to 15 if the tension is rising.
Scan your body and relax the tense muscles.
Consciously choose to be calm.
Act patient, talk slowly.
Practice empathy the same way you offer it to children
Remind yourself that unpleasant, frustrating, and dreadful circumstances arise, and it is out of your control. The only thing that you have full control over is your ability to remain patient.
Personal branding is important, and it is our responsibility to take charge of our image. We define how we present ourselves to others, express our ideas or cultivate our abilities and strengths. On this account, we should be aware and mindful of our development and illustration of our brand to fend off from misconceptions and to prevent others to shape our identity.
Many of us are taught to do our best and then let the world decide how to judge us. I think it’s better to do your best and decide how you want to be judged. And act that way.
Certainly, we must look at other grounds that are not only influential to our personal and professional development but urge us to establish a personal brand. Let’s examine them:
The unpredictability of economy – due to political and socio-cultural disparities or the unknown in human behaviour and nature
Globalization – accessibility to scores of skilled talents, opportunities, and competitions
Increase in number of solopreneurs, freelancers and the ability to work as part of a team in short-term projects
Social networking sites are more than casual sharing, they have become a ubiquitous influence in our interactions
So how to stand out?
Be mindful of your intentions. Names, style, voice, manner, skills, and expertise are part of self-packaging, but the building blocs of a personal brand are based on conscious recognition of the objectives. Nevertheless, producing values and having a positive impact on others are the fundamental motives that must be acknowledged in the process of introspection.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
To recognize your intentions and build the pillars of your branding consider the following five steps:
Decide on your destination – What are you excited about? Where you want to be? What do you want to achieve?
Leverage your distinctive capabilities – What people remember you for? How can you solve problems? What are the benefits of your proposition or personal trait?
Develop your story – your experiences, your memories, your assets are part of your narrative. If you are unsure of how to put your story together, think about a role model and try to convey why you admire this person.
Introduce yourself – make known your brand statement. In a couple of sentences state your unique values and why they matter.
Be true to your statement – Establish your expertise by sharing your knowledge whether face to face or through well planned social media presence.
Remember embracing your notable traits and expertise is “to be the real thing”and not to fit a mould. Conformity leads to disappointment and fake behaviours however authentic representation of oneself is attention-worthy and helps one to rise above the noise.