One thing you can do right now to be more confident.

One thing you can do right now to be more confident. | wepropelle.com

Want to start blazing a trail? Stop paying attention to what everyone else is doing. (Tweet this)

Can we talk about something personal today?

It's about the kind of people you've been letting into your inbox (us included). Yes, they may be stand-up guys and gals. And yes, they may have some amazing nuggets of wisdom to share with you. But they may also be stripping you of your confidence.

The gurus and the mentors and the coaches and the experts. The barrage of content, tips, and must-do's is clouding your vision and preventing you from showing up in the world as you're meant to show up. They are making you question your abilities and causing you to feel like it's all been done before. 

It's also possible that information overload is making you feel like YOUR voice isn't powerful enough. That people won't like what you have to say because _________ (insert favorite person here) has already said it a thousand times better than you ever could.

Which is a big steaming pile of horse poop.

Your experiences, and the way in which you interpret those, are needed. Perhaps you're words are meant to heal one person, or perhaps they are meant to inspire thousands. But if you spend all of your time second guessing yourself, it won't matter.

I know it started with the best of intentions; to learn something, to be inspired, and to help you find your way.

But it's time.

To step away from the safety net of others and to blaze your own trail.

You have permission to unfollow, unsubscribe, and unlike those who aren't serving you. If it makes you feel guilty, less than, or a twinge of jealousy, get rid of it. And instead, fill your inbox, timeline, and podcast queue with the things that inspire you, make you laugh, and get your brain firing in a thousand different directions. 

You've got this.

X+O,
Emily

An interview with Chief of Everything Optimist, Eva Lin of Eva Lin Photography

An interview with Chief of Everything Optimist, Eva Lin | wepropelle.com

Eva Lin is one of those people who make the world a better, happier place simply by being in it. A few minutes talking with Eva and you will leave feeling like you can take on the world.

And don't get us started on her photography. With an exquisite eye for detail and composition, Eva's photos are bright, airy, beautiful, and imbibe a whole lot of love. We could (and do) get lost in her archives on the regular. 

But that's not where Eva's story ends. In fact, it's almost where it begins. She's also passionate about yoga, her adorable french bulldogs, and travel. The way those things play out in her life make for a unique blend of amazing.

We hope you enjoy getting to know Eva as much as we have. And if you're looking to go down a rabbit hole (or three), make sure to follow Eva on Instagram. 

X+O

An interview with Chief of Everything Optimist, Eva Lin | wepropelle.com

Name: Eva Lin
Business: Eva Lin Photography & Yoga Teacher

Links: 
Photography: evalinphotography.com@evalinphotography
Yoga Universal: fb.com/yogauniversal108@yogauniversal
Dogs: @yogafrenchie

For those that don't know you, tell us about yourself and your work. 

I have a hard time answering this question because I feel like I wear a few different hats, which is at times overwhelming but when I step back and look at the big picture, they are all just different platforms for me to express creativity and spread joy and love!

After I graduated from college, I felt so much pressure to take the path of my peers — corporate job, big salary, promotions, etc. But I also wanted to work in a completely creative field. I worked as a buyer for a few big clothing retailers until I realized I was unhappy and stressed and, at the end of the day, all the things I was striving for were things I didn't actually want. After a lot of self-work and hustling for a few years, I found my passions in photography and yoga. 

One of my hats is that I am a wedding and portrait photographer, and get to help people feel beautiful through photography and also capture one of the biggest days in their lives. My work is bright and airy, and I love the use of natural light. I also have a severe case of wanderlust, and two years ago set the goal of getting paid to travel for my work. Since I set that intention - photography has taken me places like Greece, Austria, Martha's Vineyard, and Big Sur and this year we will be heading to Arizona & The Catskills!

As a yoga teacher, I get to help people find some calm in the crazy world we live in through breathing, movement, and meditation. I really am passionate about everyone being able to "practice yoga" in some form, whether it's just sitting and breathing for a few minutes before a big meeting or actual asana. There are still stereotypes that yoga is only about physical exercise and that you need to be female and flexible to do it, so last year I married my two passions with a personal project called Yoga Universal. Inspired by Humans of NY, it highlights and interviews different yogis of all ages, races, physical ability, income levels, and occupations "doing yoga" and how it's changed their lives in different ways. My goal is that people who might have hesitations around trying yoga end up giving it a shot, knowing that it doesn't have to look a certain way.

Lastly, I have two adorable French Bulldogs named Lola and Stella and created an Instagram account for them so I could share all of the thousands of photos I took of them. In addition to just being cute dogs, they promote positivity and self-love and have recently started getting some sponsorships! So I'm newly a dog mom agent and navigating the very interesting world of dog Instagram (it's real and it's mind blowing)!

We love your philosophy on life. How do you manage to stay grounded and full of gratitude on a daily basis?

I grew up with a lot of optimism from my parents. My dad is the most positive person I know, always finding the best in every situation. So part of it is how I was raised, but I also do a lot of things to keep myself in check. I surround myself with like-minded people who are incredibly encouraging and supportive. I meet monthly with a "tribe" of awesome women entrepreneurs, and we talk through a myriad of topics - personal, work-related, spiritual. 

My yoga practice helps me notice when my mind is going to a place of fear and doubt, and by noticing I can make the conscious choice to shift to a place of love and gratitude instead. My husband and I started meditating together using the Headspace app. Every night, we also share what we are grateful for from the day - even if it's been a rough day, we can always find so many things to be grateful for. I also read a lot of books that keep me centered and motivated. Some of my favorite ones include: 

An interview with Chief of Everything Optimist, Eva Lin | wepropelle.com

How do you think that shows up in your work? 

I'm a pretty easy going and positive person, and I think that's helpful to calm nerves during a shoot or wedding day. I sometimes even teach yoga to brides the morning of their wedding. With yoga, I think it's important to live what you preach, and we preach all of these concepts in yoga — grounding, acceptance, gratitude, love, forgiveness ... the list goes on. It's great if you go to a class and feel good for an hour, but it's what you take off your mat into your life and relationships that will have a bigger impact.

I like to think there's no difference between yoga teacher Eva, photographer Eva, and Eva in her personal life. The actual words I'm saying to clients or students may be different, but the way I communicate is the same. And it's the same as when I'm talking to people in my life that I love. I used to get SO nervous going into big meetings because I would maybe have to talk or act in a way that wasn't really me. Now, even when I have a meeting with a high profile client or am teaching a big yoga class to a few hundred people, I might have one little moment of nerves and then remember that I just have to be me!

What has been your biggest blessing about being an entrepreneur? 

I absolutely love working for myself. I realized in the corporate world that I actually hated "managing" people. Luckily, I don't really have to do that anymore! I also LOVE the flexibility. I can take time off whenever I want, and for as long as I want. I can work more some days and work less others. I don't have to jump through a million hoops to get something executed.

I am pretty self-motivated, so it's allowed me to create things quickly and put them into place. I love that I can go to yoga every morning, spend time with my dogs during the day and meet friends for coffee in the afternoon. I really love all the things I do, so none of them really ever feel like work! And I get to wear yoga pants all day, every day!

What has been the biggest challenge? 

Sometimes working for yourself can get a little lonely. So I make sure to schedule lots of coffee dates as well as friend and husband time, so that I'm not just talking to my dogs all day. This is really important for me, since I'm pretty extroverted and have noticed that spending too much time by myself will sometimes lead to my mind taking me down those dark alleys of self-doubt that I don't want to go! 

Our taxes are also extremely complicated, but I'll take complicated taxes over a 9-5 any day.

An interview with Chief of Everything Optimist, Eva Lin | wepropelle.com

Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who are struggling to find balance — emotionally and physically — as they navigate the wonderful world of entrepreneurship?

We create the world we live in and have 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. Once we start blaming external factors — not enough time, too busy, etc. — we lose control of our situation. If you want more personal time, take it. Prioritize self-care. 

Also, happiness is a choice. When we think, "I will be happy when I have X," usually once we get there, it's just onto the next bigger and better thing. When things are tough, look for all the good around you and soon you will find more of that because we always find what we are looking for.

It sounds cliche, but gratitude is the single thing for me that shifts anything from not enough to enough. 

And, finally, trust that you are enough. Just do your best, and that's all you can do.

"Do your best. That's all you can do." Eva Lin | wepropelle.com

Who do you gather inspiration from?

Whenever we're feeling a little down and out, or that the work we're doing is having the kind of impact that we want, we take to the interwebs and read stories about other women (and men) who have forged their own path and done things differently.

You know, the trailblazers.

People who aren't afraid to try new things, to get uncomfortable, or break the rules every now and then. People who use a bold font when everyone else is using a hand-lettered looking one. People who go left when everyone else is trying to go right. People who stand on the edge of what's comfortable versus staying comfortably in the middle.

Some trailblazers that come to mind:

  • Martha Stewart. She made being a domestic goddess cool when it was seen as the only acceptable option for women. She brought entertaining, cooking, and crafting to the forefront and created a billion dollar company with that skill set. And just when it looked like things were over for her, she managed to turn a doozy of a mistake into something that made her even MORE popular.

  • Oprah. She was one of the first African-American faces on television, in a time when Phil Donahue was king. She stayed true to her calling and didn't follow suit when other talk shows were becoming more and more ... trashy. She is a dedicated activist and is passionate about creating programming for women.

  • Ellen DeGeneres. Falling into comedy accidentally, Ellen quickly rose to fame with her debut appearance on The Tonight Show in 1986. In 1997, Ellen became the first character on a nationally syndicated television show to be openly gay. Her love for pant suits, fun socks, and dancing combined with her wit, humor, and generosity make her a standout in this day and age.

Who are some of your favorite trailblazers?

What women (and men) do you look up to and gather inspiration from? Who is top of your field and doing some really cool work? Is it you? If not, how can you begin to embrace this quality in your own life and work?

Here's to blazing trails and taking names.

X+O,
Emily and Kate