I’ve been home from Guatemala for a little over a week and I still catch myself smiling as I think about all of the amazing experiences I got to have and the people I got to meet there. 🙂
I know I shared some videos and photos from the trip on my Instagram Stories, but I didn’t really explain what I was there to do. I belong to a group of female entrepreneurs and this year, one of our big initiatives was to go on a group service trip to Guatemala.
We teamed up with Fundamaya to build wood stoves for families who need them. I’ve never done anything like this and I was worried whether I would actually be able to help. But during the week we were there, we installed stoves in the homes of four families in San Antonio Palopó. It was a beautiful experience meeting them and hearing their stories while we worked!
In a different group coaching program I belong to (yes, I belong to several 🙃), one of the coaches was talking to us about the concept of Misogi. This is an ancient Japanese practice where you bathe underneath a waterfall to create a more harmonious relationship with yourself.
The modern version of it is to do one really hard thing each year that fuels you for the remaining 364 days. You want to get yourself used to taking on challenges that alter your worldview and push you to do more. He refers to it as “adding more life to your life” (which I love).
I consider this trip to Guatemala to be my Misogi for the year. 💙 I had a beautiful opportunity to serve. I got to meet strong and resilient families that live in challenging circumstances and I saw how kind and generous they were, even in the middle of their hardship.
I gained so much perspective from these families and I came back to the states with a renewed drive to grow my business. I want to be able to take more of these opportunities to help more, give more, serve more, and be more.
Of course, I wanted to share my experience and these beautiful photos with you but I also wanted to make sure I said “thank you.” If you’re reading this, that means you have supported me and my business and without support like that, I wouldn’t be in a place where I am able to do these things.
Do you dream of closing your laptop for a week to do something like this? Have you done something like this before? If so, I’d love to hear about where you went and what you did!
If this experience I shared inspired you, check out Fundamaya and all the amazing work they’re doing! Fundamaya was born from the vision of a group of indigenous Guatemalan, Australian, and American friends who wanted to help those most in need.
On their site, you can find different ways you can help (some without even leaving your house) so I urge you to check it out!
In early February, I found out that I was selected by Graphic Design USA magazine as one of the “People to Watch in 2023.” I posted about it over on my Instagram page, which I’ll be honest, felt a little uncomfortable because I don’t want it to ever sound like I’m bragging.
But, part of being an entrepreneur is talking about yourself and your achievements because if you don’t do it, no one will! It doesn’t come easy, but it’s something I’m working on. 💞
My journey to full-time designer hasn’t been a straight line and I’ve had many moments of doubt. So, it feels surreal that a legitimate publication would choose me as one of their people to watch!
I know I’ve talked about this elsewhere, maybe on this blog, but moments like this help me feel more validated in my career choices. My mom and my dad were both engineers – two very analytical people who always seemed so sure of themselves and their purpose in life.
Then you had my brother who was always on the honor roll in school and my sister, who is also super smart and well, I felt a little bit like the odd one out. It wasn’t until I discovered the world of graphic design that I started to feel like I knew what I was good at.
It’s tough being a left-brained person in a family full of right-brainers! For a while, my parents didn’t even understand how someone could make money doing graphic design. 😄
I know for a fact that I would never have made the leap to go full-time with my design business or become a mentor for people who want to learn design if it weren’t for my dad. Watching him teach students and make a difference in their lives was transformative. When he passed in 2020, I knew it was time to really get serious and push myself to go after these bigger goals I had.
I am somewhat risk-averse by nature, so it wasn’t a comfortable experience in the least. I remember the first few times I got in front of a camera – even just to do an Instagram Story on behalf of my business – my voice would shake and I would rush to get through it. But I knew that I wanted to be proud of myself and I knew I trusted in my skills as a designer and as a mentor.
And you know what? Pushing myself and going through those uncomfortable moments paid off. It led to so many new opportunities, projects, and clients. And it also led to this amazing feature!
I know it sounds like I’m giving an acceptance speech, but it kind of feels that way to me! 💗 I never thought I would be chosen for something like this, and it’s a real “pinch me” experience.
I’ve hit the limits of my comfort zone in talking about myself, but the whole reason I wanted to write this post is to thank you for supporting my business and my design work. It means EVERYTHING to me and it’s the main reason I was even able to be considered for something like this.
As a designer, I can love everything I create. But if other people aren’t loving it, I’m not going to get very far as a business owner. Your support, encouragement, engagement, referrals, and just general cheerleading means more than you know.
Are there ways you’re holding yourself back because you’re scared of putting yourself out there? I know it’s way easier to stay in your comfortable lane, but going off the paved path can bring you to some pretty beautiful places. I’m always here to chat if you want, and you know I’m going to be 100% real with you. 🙂
Karla is an award-winning designer, branding expert and mentor. She has designed for brands including BRIT+CO, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, Facebook, and more.