Have you ever been afraid to do something?

Have you ever been afraid to do something? | wepropelle.com

Have you ever been afraid to do something?

I have. 

Actually, I've been afraid of a lot of things. Public speaking and being on camera are two of them. 

Last year at Alt Summit, I was talking with the fabulous Kara Kull of Fabulistas about the importance of video and how scary it is to put yourself out there. We swapped horror stories about our first experiences of getting on stage and waxed poetic about the sheer courage it takes to put yourself out there like that.

I wanted to share it with you today because, a.) it's hilarious NOW and b.) courage isn't always a quiet roar, sometimes it's simply the ability to keep yourself from puking on stage.

Allow me to paint the picture.

11 years ago, I took a job that moved my husband and me to Pittsburgh. When interviewing, I was told that public speaking was a very small portion of the job (so not true). I squirmed in my seat at the very mention of public speaking but figured, what the hell. We really wanted to be back in the 'Burgh, so it would be worth it.

A few months in, I was sent to a local school district to give my very first presentation. I was told what time to be there and where to find my contact. Armed with my note cards, I got in the car and drove to my destination.

I stopped in the bathroom when I got there to (hyperventilate and) calm my nerves. When I felt steady enough, I stepped out and found my way to the meeting spot. My contact greeted me and gave me some background information about the district.

And then...

I was taken to the High School auditorium, where 350+ teachers, aides, and other school employees were listening to speaker after speaker talk about their benefits. 

It took all of 2 seconds to realize that I was in over my head.

They brought me to the stage (THE STAGE), handed me a microphone, and gave me the thumbs up to begin.

I froze.

Like a fucking dear in headlights, I froze.

I wasn't sure whether I was going to pass out or throw up. Or both.

When I finally opened my mouth, I squeaked. So I stared down at the note cards in my hands (which were trembling like an 8 on the Richter Scale) and read without looking up. I'm pretty sure I could have rivaled the Micro Machine Man with how fast I was talking.

The teacher's — who are notoriously the worst audience to speak in front of — were rapt with attention for fear that any movement would cause me to burst into tears.

When I stepped off the stage, two kind women came up to me, patted me on the arm, and told me that I did a great job. (Out of pity, of course. Because even I knew that I was the worst speaker of the day ... maybe even the year.)

Why am I telling you this?

Because 11+ years later, I am approached after every presentation, event, and workshop I run and am complimented on my ability to get up in front of a crowd and speak so eloquently.

It always makes me laugh, knowing how my journey into public speaking started: with panic attacks, speed talking, shaking hands, puking, and all.

But. BUT.

I had the courage to get up there and do it. 

Even though I couldn't look up. Even though my hands were shaking so badly from nerves that I could barely read the cards. Even though I legitimately sucked.

I got up there. And I DID IT.

Have you ever been afraid to do something? | wepropelle.com

Where in your life (or work) could you stand to infuse a bit of courageous action-taking?

Send me an email and let me know. I'll cheer you on from the sidelines and encourage you to put one foot in front of the other. And if you have a similarly embarrassing (and empowering) story to share, I'd love to hear that too.


Rockstar of the Month: Leslie McAllister of Juju

Leslie McAllister of Juju | wepropelle.com

We are excited, as always, to welcome in a new month because that means we get to introduce you to a brand new Rockstar. 

Leslie McAllister is the witchy woman behind Juju, a local Pittsburgh boutique that caters to the modern mystic. Inside you'll find a beautifully curated selection of vintage goods, candles, crystals, tarot and oracle decks, horseshoes, feathers, sage bundles, and more. Leslie is also a gifted tarot reader and offers several different options for readings through Juju. (You can hear more about Leslie's journey into tarot if it tickles your fancy.) 

We have a feeling you're going to love getting to know Leslie as much as we have. And if you're in the Point Breeze neighborhood, make sure to stop in and say hello. You won't be disappointed.  She has so much joy and wisdom to share. 

And if you want to hang out with Leslie on the regular (or hear her talk about the power of intution), you may want to consider joining the Rock It! Community. #justsaying


Leslie McAllister of Juju doing a tarot reading | wepropelle.com

Name: Leslie McAllister
Business:  Juju
Instagram: @juju_pgh
Facebook: ShopJuju

For those that may not be familiar, can you share more about who you are and what you do?

I am the owner of the lifestyle general store, juju, located in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I am a tarot and oracle reader, cat lover, vintage hoarder and all around enthusiast. I have an associates degree in songwriting and arranging from Berklee College of Music and a Bachelors of Science in Fashion Merchandising from Mercyhurst University.  

I was born and raised in Erie, PA but have lived and traveled to many places in the USA and Europe. I lived in Pittsburgh before from 2000-2002 and always wanted to move back. So in 2014, I returned with my boyfriend to begin a life here. My goal was to open Juju in 2016 — I achieved that in March opening the doors to a spiritual community who continually amaze and inspire me. I am blessed. 

It has been so exciting to watch your business evolve from an idea to a beautiful boutique. What has that journey been like for you?  

I learned a lot about faith and intuition during this process. I learned what it meant to feel trapped, what it meant to not be living up to your fullest potential, and how to break free. I did this by paying attention to what was being shown to me — intuitively.  

Some call these 'signs.' I felt the nudges to move, jump, take a chance. I fought with the unknown. I cried a lot. Things weren't opening up. Things were falling through my hands. I meditated every day. I visualized and manifested and wrote exactly how I wanted my life to be. One day, I gave it up to faith. I just let go of it. No longer struggling. Trusting. I went home to my family and then got a phone call that a potential space was available for me. Alas, Juju was creatively birthed into this world.

She always existed. She was simply brought to life. 

Inside juju, a vintage and metaphysical shop in Pittsburgh | wepropelle.com

Talk to us about how you stay inspired and how you infuse style, creativity, and wonder into your store and brand. 

Wow, thanks! I'm glad that translates for you. For me, it's spinning nonstop. I can't stop. I am forever looking at the shop to better it, make it prettier, make it home.  

I love Pinterest, where I get quick visual inspiration. I rarely read magazines anymore (except the Anthropologie catalog that is jam packed with inspiration). Really, no crap.

I listen to my guts. What makes sense. What needs love. What would make me say 'awe.' Not 'aww, cute,' but 'holy wow.'

I think my folks respond well to my changing shop. It always looks different and there is always something new. We like new. We love new. So my aim is to keep Juju fresh. My style is evolving and I carry that into Juju.

I think of seasons as well. For example, Spring + Summer are cottons, linens, wovens, fresh — this season is my bohemian female.  Fall + Winter is luxe, lush, fabrics, velvets, tapestry, sequins — she's my witchy female. 

As far as inspiration, it's in fabrics, textures, aromas, ritual. I keep the image of these women in my mind, a kind of demographic, and I am playing at hitting that target. What does she listen to on a rainy day, what does she smell like, what does she wear to lounge around the house, who does she collect?

Drake the Cat | wepropelle.com

How do you utilize your intuition in your business as you curate products and offerings?

I think about what we are all spiritually hungry for what will satiate us. It's a definite case of trial and error, but I think I'm close. This is brand new to me and I love the process. Best described by practical magic (not the movie).  

I ask these questions: What makes sense? I consider what juju means, which is, good vibes. So, then, I have stuff that reflects that — horseshoes, smudge bundles, crystals, talismans, protectors. As far as the vintage clothing, I try to stay on trend by maintaining a bohemian-gothic style. 

How did the pieces of Juju come together for you? Tarot, metaphysical products, vintage, essential oils, etc ... 

Juju is, sort of, me. These are things I can't live without; they complete me. Tarot found me at 12 years old. I bought my first vintage gown at 13. I fell into a full on obsession with Sandalwood oil at 16. I found a cat at age 27 and named her Juju. If there was ever to be a shop, it must have these components and it was going to be called 'Juju.'  

After Mercyhurst, I was going to jet off to LA and become a 'one in a thousand stylist.' I knew that was a long shot.

Juju was born when I was suffocating under piles of vintage clothing in my home and then the concept of selling vintage clothing emerged. 

"Be the butterfly." Leslie McAllister | wepropelle.com

Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who want to follow their dreams — both in business and in their own lives?

if you feel trapped, break free. Let your true life emerge! Be the butterfly.