Diary of a Founder #4

This week has been another whirlwind. The best way I can describe it is as if you’re surfing. Imagine there is wave after wave and you’re not really able to catch them… you just have to keep going under and not fall off your board until there is a break in the set. It was a new moon this past week so I used that energy to set my intentions and stay true to what is meant for me. 

The hardest part is to have to experience the bevy of emotions you experience as each wave cascades over your body and not react. 

To remain still and manage the ups and downs is one of the hardest things I have learned how to do. You can’t attach to the high or the low but practice being steady and trust that the right people, the right sales channels, the right investors/advisors/mentors, and the best path are happening for your best interest. And whatever you do, you don’t give up. 

I learned how to do this after I read Ryan Holiday’s book “The Obstacle is the Way.” I resonated with the bit about Ulysses S. Grant and his ability to face life or death circumstances and still perform at his highest and remain focused on what is in front of him. 

Truth be told, I found it extremely attractive and hot. If Ulysses was alive today, I’d be interested. 

This trait is something I know that I am personally looking for in a partner. Someone who doesn’t react, but instead chooses their response and executes with a quiet confidence. This feels so rare these days. But if there is anything that I have learned, it’s that if you hold yourself to a certain standard, you’ll be disappointed if you pick people around you who don’t hold themselves to that same standard. Which is why the people who know me, like really know me, are a quite small group. 

In my mind, if I have these standards for myself, then someone out there with those same standards exists too. That’s why I almost lost my marbles when I was preparing for a busy day this past Wednesday and received a text (that was well intended) about setting up an appointment to freeze my eggs. They wanted to have the conversation about what happens to career oriented women when they don’t invest in their dating life. In hindsight, I should be honored that people who love me want to see me pass down my lineage. 

But what upsets me the most is that no one asks me any questions before they project their own experience onto me. Instead of wondering what has happened to me in my life, they think, what is wrong with her? 

I’m well aware that a majority of my friends have one, maybe two kids at this point, and are spending their weekends at birthday parties and gymnastics practice while I sit here and write this journal and build towards my vision and my goals. But what no one realizes is that I have had many opportunities to get married and have kids but due to previous trauma (I only recently started healing from), I was unable to trust myself to commit to anyone who showed interest because I didn’t really know myself. **I also think that many peers in my generation haven’t been able to pursue non-traditional career paths because of the predatory nature of the American education system and the debt one more incur at such a young age and be beholden to for decades to come like an anchor on your ankle before you have even set sail. 

I’m a ride or die girl so when I ride, I ride, which is why I have taken my time. 

It’s only been in the past couple of years that I can say I fully trust myself and my ability to commit and build with someone. The timing has been wonky with the pandemic and a jam-packed schedule with Anact. I also believe that when the flower blossoms, the bees come. So I just keep blossoming and trust the process and my own timing. It’s that Kim K energy for me… the only thing I can control is getting hotter, smarter, wealthier, and kinder. Vroom vroom. 

I’ve also realized that I’m a bit of a wild horse (I suppose I always have been). I’m unconventional in my thinking in so many ways. I want to grow my own food but I like to eat holiday themed double stuff Oreos because they remind me of my dad. *I laugh so hard it hurts when I think about my dad inquiring to his local grocery as to why they didn’t have his favorite oreos in stock last month.

I’ll build a sustainable company and then want to fly private because I hate the experience of commercial airplanes. I have no problem going head to head to create policy and legislation and advocate for a better textile industry with a childlike innocence that disarms most but I too want to be held and told everything will be alright when the going gets tough. I let myself be a contradiction but always with good intentions. I love the unlikely twists and turns because it keeps the funnel open to meeting new people and having new experiences and makes me feel like a treasure chest to myself and to others. 

To be dynamic and versatile in today’s society feels like a tall order. It’s like people need you to fit in one box or another to feel comfortable, but if you live your life as a product of your experiences and your desires then it throws everyone off.

I will choose the latter even if it makes me feel lonely at times because at least it’s authentic and at least it’s me. And the more that I do this, I realize I give permission to others around me to do the same and it warms my heart big time.

For me this week, blowing off some steam from Anact means going to work out and then heading to events to network and learn about others. On Tuesday, I went to the Irish consulate Christmas party (where I proclaimed my love for Texas’ come and take it energy) followed by an event on Wednesday to meet paddle boarder and activist Chris Bertish. I first heard about Chris in 2016 from my good friend, Mark Cappa. Mark owns Stay Covered, a surf gear shop, and had his operation set-up across the street from my little studio apartment in Oceanside, California. I used to see Mark and the other surfers walking barefoot to catch some waves while I was getting ready for work at prAna. I was in awe at how chill and calm they always were. 

One day, Mark mentioned he was following a paddle boarder who had just paddled across the Atlantic Ocean. He told me I had to check him out. Seven years later, I got to meet Chris in person. I loved how inspiring, daring, and connected to nature he is. It’s refreshing. 

I ended up inviting Chris to check out Barton Springs and went swimming with him the next day. One of the things I have always associated with Austin is the notion that, regardless of your social status, that no one is above getting a taco and hitting the trail together. It’s how I was introduced to Austin and it’s something that will always stick with me. This is important to me because the tech industry's culture is atrocious and transactional which is the antithesis of the Austin that I know and love. Any way that I can preserve the culture and the values of the city, I can and I will. Even if I wasn’t born here.

Hanging with Chris made me realize that I missed working at prAna and how we got to learn from the yogis, surfers, and climbers after their expeditions and trips. There was a wholesomeness and peacefulness about it all. I also got to relive my South African days and talk about my working under Archbishop Desmond Tutu and living in the local townships. I would love to get back there and visit. 

The part about hanging with Chris that I almost didn't include was that while walking into Barking Springs (the counterpart to Barton Springs, which happened to be closed for cleaning) I slipped on several mossy rocks and went flying into the cold spring water. Luckily, Chris was talking to several people when this happened and he didn’t see it so it was just a little moment for me! 

The biggest realization that I had was that I do Anact because I believe in it, I see the opportunity, and I want to make it happen. I have no interest in being in stuffy restaurants and bars drinking and commiserating with other start-up founders on this journey. I want to be hiking, camping, swimming, meditating, and building campfires to release steam and reconnect to my why. That has been hard to find. 

In my dream world, Anact’s European business takes off such that we can open an Irish office and I can spend my time between the US and Ireland. I love the idea of getting to raise my family in Ireland in a culture that celebrates poets, literacy, strong work ethic, team sports, family, and community. I want to wake up in the morning and go for a chilly swim or surf and take a hot shower followed by a hot tea with a fireplace going and my family around me. All while executing big visions like Anact. 

It’s the paradox and the simplicity. 

Hemp-clad Tigín Tiny Home by Common Knowledge

This is my current inspo for that vision.

I also really love the talent in Ireland. I keep getting frustrated with how disconnected everyone is in the United States and how the younger generation is obsessed with social media. They are addicted. Hell, I find myself a bit addicted sometimes. But I think it’s almost gotten to this point where people have turned into robots and can’t think or act out of their own accord. It scares me. It’s part of what drives me to do as many in person events at Anact as possible so we can make people feel something and zap them out of their zombie state and remind them this life is here to LIVE baby. 

It’s funny, when I let myself really dream… I sometimes get this tingling sensation in my fingers that tells me that I’m on the right path and to keep going. I can’t explain it. It’s electric. Someone once told me that when everyone goes right, you go left. And when everyone goes left, you go right. As long as you maintain that mentality, you’ll always be alright. I’m grateful he said that to me years ago. 

Cool content I have created and consumed this week. 

  • I am living for Deion Sander’s Instagram account. If you are looking for inspiration and motivational quotes… check him out! 
  • I saw a bone broth hot chocolate recipe that I want to give a whirl. 
  • I watched Angela’s Ashes one evening. I’ve read the book before but I had this weird feeling that I needed to rewatch the film. In case you didn’t know, my dad’s family is from Ireland. My grandmother is from Co Mayo and my grandfather is from Co Sligo. They immigrated to the United States after World War II. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand my dad and where he’s from so consuming content helps me understand him better. One of my biggest pet peeves is how Irish culture has been rebranded in the United States. If anyone has the tiniest bit of Irish, it means they can drink all they want and have some claim to the land. They don’t possess the most beautiful aspects of what it means to be Irish in my perspective and when they visit the *motherland* they act as if everyone is a fairy or leprechaun there for their amusement. It gives me the ick. 
  • I went to the community gym class with a good friend of mine, John Estrada, who went to my alma mater. 
  • I attended a very cool tamale making party hosted by my friend Shayda and Sage in their home. It was the definition of community and had such a good vibe! 
  • Still reading Principles by Ray Dalio. I really need to finish that bad boy! And now I have a slew of books from the library that I just want to sit down and read for a week straight. 

As we prep for the last week before Christmas, I urge you to find peace in the chaos but not overwhelm yourself and carve out some you moments. Whether that’s a walk in the park, a coffee/matcha at your favorite spot sans phone, writing a homemade Christmas card, or going for a cold plunge. Do it. 

As someone who lives a year in a day and feels like she has lived many past lives (and in the 34 years that she’s been on the planet), I too have to remember that abundance and opportunities are always right around the corner. 

Quote of the week that I’ll leave you with: if 10,000 people are doing the same thing, why would you choose to be 10,001? 

Until next time! 


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