It was such a joy to speak with my friend & fellow business owner Julia Nethersole of Glass Full for this episode. We cover a lot of ground in our conversation: what it means to truly practice both self and community care, how we can start to curate our attention more intentionally, being present in our own lives, and why we need to give ourselves (and our businesses!) permission to change.
Julia also shares some of her favourite self-care activities, her noticing practices, and the next steps she’s taking to build ritual and celebration into the fabric of Glass Full. It’s a wonderful exploration of what it means to build a business in alignment with your values and strengths, and what it looks like to have a community that you both support and are supported by on a daily basis.
I think Julia is an incredibly special person, and I’m excited for you to get to know her better too.
- Thread from Clarinda T Braun about elevator pitches
- More on toxic positivity and love & light
- Examples of Julia’s Nice Things practice here and here
- Julia’s Daily Soak practice
- Examples of my colour walks here
- People Change by Vivek Shraya
- I believe that Liz Gilbert quote is from her podcast
- Glennon Doyle’s podcast
Welcome to Slowpreneur, a podcast about building a business without the busy. I’m your host Stephanie Pellett and I’m a coach for thoughtful, values-based entrepreneurs just like you. On this show, we talk about creating a business with intention, heart and sustainability in mind. Join me as I connect with my friends and clients and share my own reflections on why slow and steady entrepreneurship will always win. On today’s episode I’m talking to Julia Nethersole of Glass Full about practicing self and community care, creating rituals and giving ourselves permission to evolve.
Hi everyone and welcome back to Slowpreneur. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m really excited about this episode because I sat down with my friend Julia from Glass Full. And we talked about so many things. We talked about ritual, we talked about attention, we talked about self care, we talked about community care, we talked about how we necessarily are cyclical seasonal beings that change over time, and what we need is going to change over time and that goes for our businesses as well. It’s a really rich conversation. It’s very deep, because that’s what we like to do. We like to skip the small talk and just go to the deep end of the pool as Julia says, at some point in this episode, so I really hope that you come along for this journey with us because I think some of the ideas that Julia is sharing and the way that she looks at the world, the way that she’s living her life and building our business, is the kind of inspiration that I think we all need to give ourselves permission to change, to respond to what’s needed in the moment, to bring our unique and special light to the world. And I think that Julia is doing that in her very Glass Full way. I’m so excited to know her and to be able to follow along as she’s building this business. And I think by the end of this episode, you will love her too. So without further ado, let’s get into the episode and hear from Julia.
S: Hi, Julia.
J: Hi, Stephanie.
S: I’m so happy to have you here on my couch.
J: I’m very happy to be here. I love this couch. I think it’s worth mentioning, it’s a perfect couch.
S: It’s a pink velvet couch, and it has a whole story. But yeah, I’m so happy to have you here and to talk about your business Glass Full. I wanted to start by just reading something about elevator pitches, if you’ll allow me. I saw this recently and I was like, this embodies everything I think about elevator pitches. So this is from Claudia T. Braun on Twitter. And it says “the only reason why crafting elevator pitches are so important is because they live in a colonial business framework that doesn’t allow time for the building of authentic relationships and pass me in two minutes, or you’ve lost me. It comes with a focus on what’s in it for me, a forced expectation that way you share has to centre the other.” So I hate them. The whole tweet like the whole thread is amazing. But it just solidified for me that when I’m interviewing people, I don’t want to force them to do an elevator pitch to explain their business. We got time.
J: That speaks directly to my long winded soul. I’ve been trying to like nail down an elevator pitch and I just can’t, I don’t think I am by nature an elevator pitch person. I don’t want brief. I want deep, I want more, I want to know, you know both with my relationships and in business, like let’s go there. So I really love that and I feel like that was like a nice permission slip for me to talk for a really long time and for maybe for you to do a lot of editing.
S: No, bring it on. So I wanted to give that context because I do want you to introduce yourself and your business but yes, permission slip granted, tell us about you and Glass Full.
J: I’m Julia and I didn’t think as much about how I would introduce myself. I was thinking more talking about Glass Full, but I guess off the top of my head some of the ways that I would situate myself in the world, in my world is as an older sister, as a girlfriend, a very loving girlfriend of somebody that I love very much. Mr. Glass Full as he is lovingly known. I am a Leo Sun, Virgo rising, Capricorn moon.
S: I’m a Capricorn moon!
J: Are you? We’ve never talked about that, how have we never talked about that? Next podcast. And I guess I’m just somebody who cares a lot about stories, yours, mine, ours collectively. And I think that that is very much of where Glass Full l started is through the desire to figure things out together from a perspective of wellbeing and self care and that kind of deeper, messier shadowier work of unraveling, what it feels like to truly be well in a world that requires us to shift our definition of well all the time.
S: And the togetherness part, I think is what you bring so much to the forefront of all your work. It’s not just about going inward, it’s about connecting outward as well with what you find on the inside.
J: Yeah, that’s really big for me because I think at the beginning and I think this is kind of often a lot of people who are starting to start your kind of deep dive, whether it’s through therapy or through just growing up and maturing in the world or through this nudge that’s telling you to look deeper. Go further. And it’s so egocentric in a way, not necessarily with any kind of negative value judgment attached to that, but it is literally figuring yourself out and making your way through the world and having you’re coming of age moments at whatever age you happen to be as you’re doing this and I think that in those moments of going so deeply into ourselves, we forget that everyone is doing this. Everyone has their own thing that they’re uncovering, their own puzzles that they’re putting together about themselves and it just like helps you to zoom out a little bit of your own experience and realize like, oh, this person is hurting. I can have compassion for that because I felt this and that experience is being mirrored somewhere else and it’s also like we can help each other.
S: Yeah, that if we’re jus inside ourselves, it’s not enough to be uncovering every lesson of our souls if we’re not using that to build relationships.
J: I just realized we’re literally not even two minutes in and we’re so far into the deep end of the pool.
S: Listen, this is a deep end of the pool kind of podcast! Let’s keep going. Let’s keep wading, shall we? I really want to know how you came to choose the name Glass Full and what it means to you, because obviously it’s a very famous phrase. But it probably has a specific significance to you.
J: So glad you asked because I think a lot of people see it and their immediate impression is that it’s glass half full, or that kind of optimism phrase of, you know, are you a glass full or glass empty person. And what it actually means is that it’s a riff off of that expression, you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s usually cup, but I like the word glass better than I like the word cup. It doesn’t ring as nicely so I took some poetic liberties and chose glass full and it really comes from this place that you cannot show up in the world, you can’t meet others deeply, you can’t give fully, you can’t really be the fullest expression of who you’re meant to be in this world if you’re not giving to yourself first. So it all comes entirely from this place of filling yourself first.
S: I love that because it feels to me like it’s sort of what we were just talking about. But it’s been baked in from the very beginning that it’s about this inward to outward like self to community. And actually, I have your tagline here. Which I got off of your Instagram and so I’m just gonna read it because I think it ties in so well. Glass Full was founded to encourage each of us to seek that feeling of fullness that we are better equipped to pour into others because self care and community care go hand in hand.
J: Did I write that? It’s funny because you sometimes have those flashes and moments of like writing things that you like and resonate with and you hear it reflected back to you. And I’m like, yeah, I love that. I still stand for that. That’s how I feel.
S: It’s really cool because I think on an intuitive level, we get that. Yeah, you can’t you can’t pour from an empty glass. But I do think that sometimes we forget, we think that we have to be doing everything for everyone else. Or we have to be doing everything for ourselves. And it’s this really beautiful balance that you’re talking about. It’s like one for the other and then the other feeds back.
J: Totally, it’s a circle and it’s interesting too because it can so often be one of those sticky lessons in life that you are consistently learning. Like you can know it in practice, or in theory, and then in practice, when life throws at you these various different situations that make it hard to practice that knowledge, it does bear consistent reminding for myself as well, like I created a whole business off of this idea of pouring into yourself and making sure that you are well so that you can feed into others and I so often find myself neglecting my own needs or betraying my self and it’s just this you know, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think that’s part of it, but it’s just this kind of desire to always be thinking about it and make it a priority.
S: It strikes me too as you’re talking that I feel that there’s kind of you’re either good at one or the other in some ways, or one is your tendency. So maybe as you’re saying when things get harder, it’s harder to practice. I think some of us have the tendency to just be pouring and they might be pouring from an empty glass. Whereas sorry, outwards is what I mean, so pouring into others and doing things for other people, running around helping others with things. Whereas other people have the tendency when things get hard to just go inward and be like, I can’t deal with any of that. I need to make sure I take care of myself. And I think it’s kind of important to know which you are. I think I’m more of the second when things get hard. I’m like let me go to hermit mode, let me just take care of myself and not think about anybody else. Whereas my partner is definitely more of the first, where he’s going out to the world, he’s going to help other people. And then he might struggle to fill his glass.
J: Yeah, yeah, totally. And I think it’s good to be always consistently reminded not to create these false dichotomies around anything, you can take care of yourself and you can pour out you know, like there can be that space in between and that I think is very much the sweet spot and not penalizing yourself for when you naturally slip a little bit further into whatever your natural groove, you know, that happens, but it’s like, okay, how can we just consistently recalibrate and remind ourselves like, okay, you’ve got to find your middle ground.
S: I really would like to talk about how this shows up for you because I think what I love most and why I wanted to talk to you for the show is that you really embody this mission of your business because you pour into others and you pour into yourself and you show both of those things. You model both of those things, because your Instagram account is a pouring out it’s a here’s a prompt, here’s the thing I learned, here’s the thing I noticed, and it’s here’s the thing I’m doing for myself, here’s a ritual I’m trying, and here’s a practice I’ve started in my mornings. And that balance that you’re constantly finding, that tightrope that you’re walking between sort of these two elements of life, the inward and outward is really, really cool to see and inspiring. And I think probably a lot of people in your community that’s why we follow you, because you are sort of embodying that. So I would love to talk about both of those things. But let’s start with the filling your own glass like what do you do in your life that helps you fill your glass the most?
J: First of all, thank you. It’s really an honor to be seen in that kind of way and to feel that sort of reflection of what I’m putting into the world is being perceived in that way. So I appreciate that. And what I’m doing and the biggest thing that I often say about filling your own glass is that we are cyclical beings. What we need is never going to stay as this static thing. I can’t imagine 2019 me needing what I needed in March, April, May June 2020, right? Like we are always going to be products of the environment around us. And so I would say there are some things for me that are constant and they are the kind of bigger things like I need to be getting fresh air, I need sun, I need walks, that doesn’t really change based on the season. Some seasons I neglect that a lot more than others and I fight it and I don’t want to get it and I haven’t quite figured out why that happens sometimes, and I don’t really know that I need to or am meant to but that resistance is always part of it too. Walks are big for me, reading is one of my greatest loves that we share and I feel like we could have a whole episode on reading and books. But reading has always been my safe space to go into another world and feel replenished and writing does that for me too, journaling.
Lately my mornings are I love going out into the living room in our place. And the second I wake up, I open up all the curtains and the light just spills onto my desk and I use that time when the sun is shining like perfectly on my desk to write in my journal in the mornings sometimes I’ll make tea. I’ll have room temperature water with lemon for my liver. And I really do, I love that time, I’m a morning person we were chatting about this earlier. It just feels like that space and time is time for me to fill myself, to charge in the sunlight, to get my thoughts on the page and the journaling that I’m doing right now in the mornings is actually big dream journaling. So not my actual dreams that I have during the night but big scary, far flung dreams that I have, every single day I take a page and just write them down. And so many of them are just like I wake up in the sun at a tropical place and do yoga, but some of them are like I’m on a podcast with Brene Brown and like these wild things that are just, that feel sometimes almost embarrassing to write because they just feel so audacious, like, how dare I think, you know, but I think it’s important to start the day with something that feels exciting.
And so doing that in my little sunlit desk is my current glass filling ritual.
S: There’s so many things I want to say from what you just said: big dream journaling sounds so amazing. Do you ever repeat them and just give more detail or is it almost always a new one?
J: I do repeat them a lot. Like for example, there’s one recurring one that’s basically just pages of describing the house that I’m going to own one day, so sometimes it’s the room that will be kind of like my special space and I talk about the bookshelves and then sometimes I talk about on another page or another week or another month I talk about the kitchen. I need to do a better job of going back and reading through past entries so I can see more of the links but there was one that was like I would say from when I started on January 1 to like mid February. It would happen once a week where I just talked about sun. I talked about waking up to the birds in a tropical place, I talked about waking up with Shain, my partner, in somewhere, like just beautiful, it was always usually Jamaica, just like somewhere that felt like home but away from home, and then we did end up having that trip. So it was one of those things where it was just like I woke up on the first day of our trip and I was like this is straight out of my dream journal. That was a nice experience.
S: You got to hang on to that because when you have that house you’ll look back at all the things that are exact same, it’s going to be so amazing. I also love what you said. And just thank you for that reminder about the fact that we’re cyclical and seasonal and the rhythms that we find in our days are going to change depending on the season that we’re in. I have this phrase I like to use because I struggle with this a lot, which is that you are not a robot. That phrase is something I have to remind myself a lot, both in terms of going through my day trying to get the same level of productivity out of myself every day. But also, in this conversation it’s reminding me you’re also not a robot in terms of what you need to recharge. Like you don’t just have a plug that you plug into the wall and you’re charged up again, you’re an organic human living, your needs will change. Your energy levels will change. Everything will change. So I like that you’re pushing back against the question like it’s not that there’s one thing it will fill your glass. It’s a, it’s a presence, I think, a presence in your life, to notice what you need in any particular moment.
J: Absolutely. I love how you put that, it is exactly that, a presence in your life. And it really just comes down to mindfulness. It comes down to giving yourself the space to really hear what you need. And that’s a scary thing to do. That it is a scary thing to do especially because sometimes you’ll stop and listen and realize I can’t give myself that right now. Sometimes I’ll stop and listen and like feelings of guilt and shame will overwhelm you because you’re like hey, how long has it been since I haven’t been giving myself that? It’s not an easy thing to really listen to what you need. And I think that that’s okay. You know, like it’s okay to have that sort of fear around it. But I think also you allow yourself to do that really creates the space for you to bring those rituals into your life.
S: Absolutely. And what I love so much about your work is that you can acknowledge the shadow, you know, we’ve been having these jokes in our personal lives recently, that none of us want to be just like a white woman’s wellness space, or in my case, business space or whatever space we might be holding. And that’s just a shorthand for the kind of sort of toxic positivity like love and light situation. If I see one more post signed love and light. I have no problem with love or light, but I was talking about this with my partner recently. And I was like, what annoys me is that it doesn’t take into account that love also has so much darkness in it. You know, love when things are hard, love when things are challenging, the kind of love is sort of confrontational and forces you to look at your shit, or light, you can’t have love without shadow, without darkness, without all these other things and so, why I meme-ify that in my mind, this like love and light situation is because it’s so ironic to me that the same people that sign things love & light also make no room for the dark or for the challenging parts of love, and so I think you reminding us that it is also difficult to do this for ourselves, that it does come with fear, that it does come with shame, that it does come with guilt or anxiety. And it strikes me with your big dreams, right? It’s a way of acknowledging that this is something I want that I can’t have. How can I still make space in my life to want it? And that’s vulnerable.
J: It was actually my friend Divya first taught me about this practice years and years and years ago and she has so much wisdom and I wish I had adopted this sooner because it does really help you. I do kind of love what you said about this meme-ification and love and light and looking at that from a space of realizing that like, it’s okay to be more. You know, like I do think there was for a very long time, especially in the wellness space like and I think especially in the wellness space as it shows up on social media, especially on platforms like Instagram. It’s hard to know how to be your full self there. It’s hard to know how to show, especially when you’re supposed to be quote unquote, an expert on some kind of things. You’re supposed to be speaking to a topic. I think that’s the way that I had to come at this because I had so much impostor syndrome when I was starting. I was obsessed with talking about the fact that I just didn’t have the qualifications of a wellness practitioner. I’m not a therapist. I’m not somebody who is trained to coach or, or professionally be hired to like bring people to these wellness spaces. So I was really intentional about always saying like, this is me on a journey and I’m just bringing you along and if this works for me, I want to share it in case this works for you too.
I just really value when other people have that level of vulnerability and authenticity and are able to say I don’t have anything figured out. I am not you know this guiding light that’s going to take you from here to here, like I have never been in the business of trying to promise results or healing or if you do this journaling prompt, you’re gonna change your whole life, and here’s how you can manifest…you know like, that’s just that’s just not how I have been able to look at the world because I’m just a human figuring it out. I’m trying to share what’s been helpful for me along the way. And that’s what the outpouring is. That’s what that part of what I can give to the world is, like okay, if I’m doing this for me, if I’m noticing, if I’m just showing up and doing the things that make me feel good as a human in the world, then maybe there is something in my human expression that could be valuable to someone else.
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S: This is making me think of the FULL part of the business name, Glass Full, that it’s also about the fullness of who you are. Right that your Instagram, which is beautiful, it’s also not like this overly curated thing where every single photo is staged.
J: I mean, I did try that for a little bit. It didn’t work for me.
S: It wasn’t full enough to capture the real contours of your life and everything that you live in your everyday! And I’m not trying to say, like nobody go to Julia’s Instagram thinking that it’s ugly, it is not ugly, it’s just not fake. It’s not fake to this level of perfect curation that we see. But as I was thinking about what I wanted to talk to you about, I think what that represents to me, your Instagram, what you choose to share, all of the photos that you take, everything. It all represents, to me that idea that we were just talking about having presence in your actual life, and the fullness of your actual life. And I wanted to talk to you about what I think you do curate really well, which is your attention. You’re really really good at cultivating your attention and curating your attention. My word of the year is present, ironically, and I’ve been noticing how much presence just has to do with where my attention is. And I’m noticing when I’m not present, it’s when my attention is divided. So if I’m on a walk with Bruno, and I’m trying to be on my phone at the same time it’s a worse walk for him and it’s a worse walk for me. It’s not as good of an experience. And I think you do you have so many attentional practices that I am obsessed with. I love watching them. On the way here, you told me about a conversation and you were present for, you were walking behind a dad and his son, and you were so present in that. So I want to talk to you about your noticing good things practice and also your daily soak that you started this year because both of those I feel like are, they’re practices, they’re practices in cultivating what you want to pay attention to. And then pulling that out and having a way to share that.
J: That’s a good question. I feel like the noticing nice things, I think I…well I don’t think, I will say with confidence that I’m a writer. And the thing about writers is that we observe, we participate the world and we reflect the world through stories and narration and I’m a reader so I’m always living in stories. And I think that my noticing nice things in the world has just always been a part of who I am. Before I had Glass Full, I found my first nice things post which was actually just a note that I wrote to myself in 2014 about something cute that I saw or a smile exchanged with a stranger. And someone recently asked me like are there any books I can read to kind of notice these things or cultivate it, and I wish I could have offered more substance or more direction. But this is something with you know, I don’t really know how to say it without outright saying, this is just who I am. This is just something that I have always done and it’s just part of how my unique signature blueprint of who I am looks at the world and experiences the world. And I think that one thing that I’ve finally accepted is that for all of us, there’s magic in that. There is so much to be said for recognizing what we innately are, who we innately are and how that is something that can be offered to the world, how that in itself has purpose.
This noticing is something that I have always done and written about in my journals and collected and sometimes not even gathered anywhere, just observed. And I think that finally realizing like oh, this is something you could share, or maybe this would be a nice thing for people to read. It wasn’t really until I started sharing them on my personal account a couple of years ago and I just would get so many messages about it and people love to read them and I think it was one of those things where a lot of the time it’s hard to be aware of your own special thing. And I think for me, it’s just this practice of mindfulness and the way that I see the world and want to experience the world which is being involved. And I think part of that is just kind of being an extrovert and being nosy and curious and just wanting to kind of have the tea, like oh these people are having conversation. My boyfriend like talking about this often like he would go to cafes to work like really, really noisy cafes. And I would go to this like, we both went to McGill, so you probably know about Birk’s library which is like, it has this like characteristic angry man with a long beard who would silence you for whispering and that’s where I had to work because if I was working in a noisy cafe and I would know about everything that’s going on around me, I would have made stories up about the person, anyways, I’m going on a tangent.
But all of this to say that I like to be in the world around me. I’m curious about people. I’m curious about humans because that’s my passion. I love people and want to see us well, and I want to know what that looks like.
S: It’s really cool to talk about it because I do think you’re right, like in some ways, it’s your personal gift and that’s what brings such a spark to everything you share, the way that you see the world is so special. It’s so Julia. And it also strikes me that’s why it’s so inspiring because maybe it’s not something that the rest of us are as attuned to, but it might be something that we could learn to be more attuned to or take inspiration from the way that you walk through life. If you’re walking through life with a note on your phone that says nice things that I observed in my neighborhood and in the world. That is something that strikes me when I read it as, oh that’s something I could also have, it’s something I could also do. And as an introvert, it also makes me think of ways that I could choose to be more present in the world, because I’ll often walk around, I’m guessing that on the walk here, you weren’t wearing headphones, you weren’t listening to a podcast, you were walking slowly behind…
J: Very slowly, always very slowly!
S: You walk slowly, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, I mean that like, you’re here, you’re there. So you’re walking behind this dad and son and then you have this little story to tell me when you got here of just delight, and just a conversation that just brought you interest and joy and curiosity. Whereas I’m usually walking around with headphones, and I’m listening to something or I’m rushing or I’m not walking slowly or I’m trying to deal with the dog, like I think there are ways that we can take inspiration from how you see things.
J: I, I love that and I think that it can be ritualized, like what you said like it can often just be oh, it’s a note in your phone. And when you when you start thinking about how there is opportunity for magic everywhere, you start finding it. It’s very much one of those things that finds itself when you’re looking for it.
S: Yes, it reminds me of how when I was in university, and when I went to Korea, I would do these colour walks where I would take my camera and I would choose a colour. And I would just walk around and only take pictures of things that were that colour, and at the end I would have a whole blog post of just purple. And when you leave the house you think oh, I’m not going to find anything purple, how many things are there that are purple on this block? And then you start to see all the things that are purple. So sometimes I think it’s just about creating the context for yourself. Like I’m looking for good things, that’s my orientation to the world.
And so once I have that box in my head, of things that I’m looking for, then I can start to fill the box, I can start to find those mini moments and opportunities. Or, with your daily soak practice. Soak is your Word of the Year and now you’re looking for a moment each day to just soak it in, is that it?
J: Yeah, absolutely. It’s that deep sense of presence – our words are very similar, essentially soak is about presence. It’s about taking something and being fully alive in it. And I think that, honestly, it’s so easy to spend, and I do this all the time and I catch myself, like just spending hours, mindlessly scrolling, or even escape reading which I do a lot too and I have to be mindful of, mindful of my reading, because how much am I just not being present when I’m trying to read. There’s balance for everything I think, even though it took me a long time to admit that.
S: Reading is perfect! No criticism can be made! But no, it’s true.
J: But yeah, this idea of soak is really just how can I be fully alive in just one moment of every single day and today it was, I was leaving to come here. I was getting all of my things, doing my last check, making sure I had my keys and I just stood at the corner of our front door facing out into our living room and it was that sun, again, it’s always the sun for me. But it was coming in at such an angle that it just like felt like such a hopeful day. It was a morning, I was excited to come have this conversation with you, and I just felt good and happy and well, and I was like this is my soak moment. Just looking into my living room and being grateful for where I live and the opportunity to have this.
And it will say a lot of this disposition comes from the level of privilege that I have too, like, I have certain things that I don’t have to worry about. There are some, you know, things in life that were set up for me that allowed me to feel optimistic in a lot of ways, and that’s in a huge way how I was raised as well. I did struggle with that concept of toxic positivity that we touched on before like it was easy for me to, and I had to learn how to not go into that area, but I was raised with optimism as a value and as something that we sort of spoke about regularly. It was like, I remember being scolded for saying I couldn’t do something and I think one of my parents said, well, if you think you can’t, then you definitely can’t. And it was just very much the mentality that we were raised with, of like positive thinking.
S: Right. So it comes from all kinds of contexts in your life.
J: Yeah, exactly.
S: And it’s something you’ve practiced.
J: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
S: I think that’s really neat. And I think that’s shown up, a lot of the ways that I have tried to do this for myself have also been these practices, where I create that box we were just talking about and then I try to fill it. I know you in the past have also done One Second Everyday, which is something that I love to do, where you take a video every day and then play them back. And I think that’s also another noticing practice in your life.
But it gives this really beautiful context to everything you share on Instagram. Because when you’re sharing that daily soak, when you’re sharing those nice things, I see it as you creating an invitation for people to start to see their own lives in that way of searching the world in that way. Is that kind of how you see your Instagram presence?
J: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s what I hope for it to be. And sometimes I get away from that. And sometimes it’s easy to just like, get lost in the business of Instagram and feel like you have to be posting to be posting and it could look like that, you know, like oh, daily soak, it’s like a way to get on stories every day. It’s a way to be interactive. Quite frankly, becomes like every once in a while soak because I often forget to do it, or I forget to post it, which kind of there’s a whole other pocket of how I use the app itself. However, I do think that it just comes back to this. This is what I’m doing for me. Let me share this if it resonates with you, try it on.
S: Yeah, and as a result, you’ve really built quite a community on Instagram I think. People who are following along and noticing what you’re posting, being inspired by the prompts that you’re sharing. Has that turned into something in your life now where you’re very conscious of that community, is it something you’re excited about? How do you feel about the community that you’ve created?
J: I first of all have to shout me Neighbour Becky. Yeah, because I do feel like a lot of people on Instagram have found me through her sharing my posts, supporting Glass Full in every single way. And I think that that’s a real gift because it’s allowed me to connect with like minded people and to even view myself in a different light. When somebody is seeing this kind of value in you, and you know, it’s easy to have those impostor-y moments, especially when you start an events based business going into a pandemic and then I just like, often don’t use the app and forget that I have a business. I do I work full time so like Glass Full is very much for me, started as something that I wanted to do on the side just with retreats and events and then I think having the space to still build community has been such a gift and I have I’ve literally you know a lot of people on Instagram, mostly people who have very large followings will often make note of and reflect on a lot of meanness, and sort of like the harsh hurting humans that come to their inboxes with unkindness. And I have never experienced anything like that on Instagram. Like I’ve just been very lucky to have found some people that I would call friends, you know, like, there are people that I DM with that live in different parts of the world that we know a little pocket of the internet and I’m very, very grateful for I’m very grateful that people want to share in these conversations and that we are building this community of care that feels to me like a way of music with pretty quick, maybe a little bit of counterintuitive in there, however, I just Yeah, I just really feel lucky. Yeah, I feel lucky to get to have built like minded friends and hopefully there will be some more times for us to be IRL soon.
S: Well, it’s it’s like you’re lucky but also you built it. You said it in that same sentence. You’re lucky to have built it. Yeah, it’s like we’re lucky but also: that’s you. That’s what you put out there. That’s the beacon you know, sometimes I talk about like being like a magnet. So having a strong yes for people and also a strong no for other people. And I do think that by embodying that place of messiness, and that place of wholeness and fullness and all of the things that you bring to bear. You’re very honest, you know, when we read your Instagram, I feel like I have a sense of what you’re going through and even the ways that you don’t show up, or the times that you don’t show up, yes, but long gaps. It’s the same thing we were talking about earlier. We’re cyclical seasonal creatures. We do not need to be in the exact same way every single day on this app. And you have still managed to create a community that really actually has a presence in your life. I think that’s so beautiful. And you know, often in business, the hardest part is finding the audience, right? You can have your offerings all day. But if you don’t have people who are true fans of what you’re doing, it’s a little bit of a harder path. And so you, out of necessity, had to kind of pivot to creating this online community, but I have zero doubt that with the community that you’ve built around your shared values now, no matter what you choose to do next, you’re going to have so many options for what you can offer, and/or you have a two way relationship. So it can also be about, what am I seeing that these people would want or need from me? What can I ask them that they want or need? One of my favorite things you do is when you like poll your community and ask them the question and then you share the answers on your stories and it’s always beautiful reflections or suggestions or thoughts. It’s just really cool.
J: It really really is, and you know, and I often think this like when people unfollow, I’m like, okay, that’s good. I don’t have to feel the pressure of like somebody’s eye rolling at my 10 year long captions, or my lack of pictures of my face which I’m trying to get better at. You know, so I do feel that like I feel very much that the people that are there are aligned, that we are on this little figuring it out life journey together and we’re friends.
S: So cool. I did want to talk about the business part, so the retreat and the thing and the thing. Because, I want to talk about it in like the opposite way that you might be used to, my friend Or was talking about this recently, where she read Vivek Shraya’s book recently, People Change. And in that book, they were talking about how our culture in general sort of frowns on change and sort of is suspicious of people changing their minds. And I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t speak to it directly. But that concept that people like it when you’re in one lane, and you just stay in your lane and you keep doing your lane and that’s it. But I think as we’ve been talking about these feelings of fullness and wholeness and evolving and pandemic and your full time job and your needs and your cyclical nature. Your business has changed and so I want to talk about that but not from a place of shame, not from a place of guilt that it started with one thing and now it’s something else, but more of a place of evolution. So how have things shifted for you and then as a result, what has that turned into for the business of Glass Full?
J: I’ve been slowly understanding and learning that I am my business. Glass Full is not separate from me, it is very much a mirror of what I’m experiencing what I’m putting into the world. I have changed so much over the years. I mean, my close friends will laugh, like hearing this but I’ve been a lot of people. I have, you know, had various beliefs and ideologies and like things that I’ve held so dear that I no longer do that I’ve released and I used to have so much shame around that. I used to feel so much like I couldn’t be a person of integrity if I was able to change my views, change my ideological beliefs, change how I was about something. And I think that releasing that shame has allowed me similarly, as it relates to Glass Full, to release the shame of feeling like my business is changing, has necessarily had to change. That’s not to say I don’t still struggle with it, but I’m going to evolve like of course, this thing that’s an extension of me is going to do the same and how could it not in the environment that we’ve been in in the last few years? If you haven’t changed in the last two years then I feel like you must have your head in the ground. You know, like there’s, there’s not I don’t think it’s possible to experience the collective trauma that we have in a global pandemic and not come out a different kind of way. And I think that should go for our organizations, our societal ways of showing up, and for our businesses and ourselves.
So more specifically, Glass Full started as: the tagline was bringing people together in the name of self care through events, retreats and workshops, and it really started because I wanted to have a retreat. And I did the retreat and it was incredible. There were 25 people there and we did all the things, and then the pandemic hit and the spring, spring 2020 retreat that I had planned, had to be canceled and then I was quiet for a long time and then started getting into Instagram and building things there. And then I started to think like, okay, I do work in events and communications in my nine to five and I have done a lot of bringing people physically together. And I have been trying to figure out what does that look like now? And how does Glass Full bringing people together especially now that we’ve like held hands and gone a bit deeper together? Like we don’t necessarily want to just do yoga and eat plant based food and you know, I think and I hope we want to uncover some layers a little bit and figure out what connection looks like in a way that feels more intentional and maybe less about feeling good. And coming out of that finding your bliss and you know, the neat manicured like florals on a table and the vision of an event from like, an aesthetic perspective. Yeah, that’s still cute and I love all that stuff, and it still matters but it’s not…
I think when I was going into Glass Full I had a lot of that in mind, I was like oh, and then there’ll be little notebooks on bed for when they all come in and there’s this like, I was picturing it, but I wasn’t feeling it. And now, as I’m thinking about what it’ll be like to bring people together again, I’m coming at it from this perspective of like, how do we need to truly, it’s about presence again, it keeps coming back to that. Yeah, it’s like, what does it look like to be fully present as ourselves and fully embodied? Yes, exactly. It’s like a embodied and also being honest, looking at like, okay, we’re all coming out of this like a little hairier. A little like not literally hairier but maybe we are. Probably. But you know we’ve been through shit like yeah, how do we sit together now and not ignore that? We’ve talked about this. We’ve talked about this before, and it’s just like, showing up with honesty and, and connection that feels like yeah, it’s just been hard. Let’s talk about it. And also like let’s still figure out what feels good to us despite this hardship.
S: That’s It’s so good. It’s so good. Julia. And this is why I think your business feels like such a beacon to me because you’re asking the hard questions. You’re asking those questions right now. How do we do this? How do we come together? How do we show up with honesty? We don’t necessarily have the answers. None of us have done this before. But it’s exactly what you just said. If we have not been changed, and we aren’t honest about actually, then we are living in a fantasy world. We are living in a fake version of reality. And I think that I’m not interested in that, you’re not interested in that. Most people, even if they want to just quote unquote go back to normal, which we all know is not really a thing that is possible. And our version of normal was ignoring a lot of the systemic inequalities and everything that was wrong with our culture. But if we want to go back to that place, we’re basically saying, I want to just ignore what’s actually going on and I just want the pretty flowers and the pretty notebooks and all the things. And so yeah, I think it’s just really beautiful. And like this bittersweet like poignancy of what you’re talking about that it’s like, yeah, sure. We all want the sort of manicured version. That’s like La La La plug my ears, put my head in the sand. There’s a part of us that wants that, there’s a part of us that’s like, that’s kind of appealing because the other stuff is hard to look at. But it reminded me of what you were talking about before about even on an individual level, what do I need right now, and sometimes that’s gonna come with pain, or regret or sorrow or frustration. What we need right now on a collective level, also might come with pain, and regret and sorrow and frustration. Absolutely. But if we want to live honestly, and we want the medicine that’s actually going to work.. because the flowers are not going to work for very long, they might work for a moment. They’re not going to work forever. So we need to be asking these hard questions and trying to find new ways.
J: Absolutely, and that doesn’t always need to be as like deeply dark and scary as like every moment of the day we’re just answering these hard questions. No, that is not how I live my life. Like, you know, give me the depth but also like, give me the memes. Like it’s acknowledging that like when we show up next, we have to show up with the recognition that we are changed. We have to show up, choosing to be aware that… some people like I’ll talk really specifically like if I were to have a gathering. Now or in the next little bit I would want it to feel like permission to be anxious if that’s how you’re coming to this space, maybe this is the first time that you show up somewhere. I want you to feel safe. I want you to feel that the safety of your emotions is honored. I want you to feel seen. I want you to feel like you can still connect with people, even if it makes you nervous. Or if you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you’re like I am ready to get back in there. I want you to feel held too, and I don’t know how that looks. But I think that’s the kind of thing like on a very specific level where it’s just an almost kind of like a smaller layer of things. It’s like okay, this is just as simple as being in a space together physically, but it kind of speaks to this larger impression of like we’re all coming at this now. From different experiences. How do we gather again in a way that allows us to feel still connected?
S: And I love that you pointed out that it is not like we’re saying you have to show up and be anxious or you have to show up and be excited. It’s about holding space for multiple realities, multiple lived experiences, which is what we should really all be doing all the time. Right. That’s what I think many of us are aiming for is how do I create a community whether virtual or in person that allows people to show up in the fullness of (J: reggae horn!) who they are. And that’s kind of what you’re getting at is, is the ability to cultivate that space. But I think it’s really, really important what you said and I hope people who are listening to this can really absorb the permission giving that you’re that you’re offering, not it’s actually beyond permission giving. So when I’m saying permission giving I’m saying the permission to like change and evolve over time. But it actually goes beyond permission. And it’s more like: how do I want to say it? Like living in the real world. Like recognizing that you’re not a robot, recognizing that you are impacted by things. And I do think that business wants us to be in a very masculine state of being where there’s like one right thing and we do it in one way and we charge forward no matter what and we leave the personal at home and we just bring the ideal worker to the workplace, and that people don’t want to see our messiness. So we leave that at home, no crying at work, all of these things. And I think what you’re kind of getting at for me is sort of more of the feminine approach to business. Which is like allowing for our wholeness, allowing for our emotions, absolutely, allowing for our evolution, and that that’s not something you need permission to do. It’s just more like we can’t ignore that that’s the reality of how it actually is to be a human in the world.
J: 100%. In fact, it actually, when you say it that way, it seems strange that we would ever operate in a way that’s the opposite. Like why wouldn’t we show up as exactly how we need to be like, why wouldn’t we live intuitively to what you know, it just feels like we actually started the opposite. And now we’re working our way back to what feels more natural. But there’s dissonance there.
S: There’s dissonance because we are very well trained. Yeah. I think Elizabeth Gilbert says that sometimes like you’re like a well trained like Calvinist worker, where you’ve been raised in a culture that told you that that’s the way to be and so a lot of us even if we’re creating these brand new ways of being in the world and new businesses because we don’t fit into other types of businesses that we see, we still think we have to operate the business from that place of you know, just show up, just just do it, just always be consistent (J: hustle culture) We perpetuate the things that we’re trying to avoid. One of my favorite questions always is like, How would your business build your business? So like, how would Glass Full build Glass Full? And I think you’re doing it. Intuitively, you’re saying well, Glass Full would say it’s about the messy middle, it’s about the evolution, it’s about the fullness of who I am into it. So it’s okay that those things are part of the process too.
J: Thank you for that. It feels soothing to hear that because so often, it’s easy for me to get away from that and for me to go myself and say like, okay, you basically just have an Instagram blog with no real offerings, you don’t have a business right. You know, like, I get in my head about that a lot. And I put a lot of pressure on myself. Like I don’t even have a website up right now. And I feel this kind of pressure but I think the reason that it doesn’t stress me out more is because deep down I know that that’s not coming from me. That’s not coming from who I am, that’s not coming from my soul fueled work that I’m meant to do in this world. That’s coming from this societal expectation that I need to operate in a certain way. And yeah, I think you’re right, I think Glass Full would build itself with this kind of like, messy toddlery steps while also holding space for it and giving myself that gentle compassion that I would give to somebody that I love that’s just trying to figure out how to do something. I think Glennon Doyle also has a similar expression. I think she calls it The Uniform. It’s this idea that you step into this suit and mask that you enter the world in and that’s how we’re trained like you said it exactly. It’s this social conditioning and these behaviours that are learned at such a young age in order to function optimally in society that are now necessary to question. What’s actually served us?
S: And I think another really important part for me and I hope for other people who are trying to figure out their businesses, and what they want to offer is to also remember that like, the value that you’re going to give or the outcome that you’re going for doesn’t only happen at the end point of when you’ve figure this out. You have given me so much value. I mean, I’m also your friend, but like from your business, right, your business Glass Full on Instagram has provoked thoughts and insights and new ways of seeing my life and conversations that I have with friends and everything. That all still counts, you know, even if you haven’t figured out the perfect structure for all of your offerings, but you’re still offering value and you’re still getting something. But I think we have this sort of endpoint mentality that like, we have to get to the endpoint before we’re legitimate and before that counts for anything.
J: That’s such a, such a good point. And it’s also worth mentioning that value is quantified by you. Like value. Like maybe, maybe value for me is really just touching one heart. Maybe value for you is defined by helping one person in this world. And if that’s what you do, then that, you know, like we get to decide that, it doesn’t need to be having like, I honestly feel terrified at the fact, at the idea of having a bunch of followers or people like in that community space, like I think it gets scarier the bigger it gets. That’s maybe part of me having that fearful attitude around growth but also knowing realistically, like, I can’t connect with people, like I reply to every single comment on every single post that I have, I reply to every single DM that I get. We have conversations, I put thought into everything that I communicate with the people that are there. You can’t do that when you scale in like a giant way like that. And I think that we are conditioned to believe like, more is better. A million followers, maximum this, even when it comes to earning and financially like it’s like, I have to be at the most and this and it’s kind of like, well, what do you actually want and need? Like, what do you like, how can we readjust that and I think, you know, that is part of this larger conversation of like what we’ve been taught to expect but value and what we assign to that is ours to decide, especially as we’re creating these slow businesses that that are intentional and that are looking at everything from a perspective of like, Does this need to be this way?
S: Right. Re-evaluating. That’s so beautiful. We define our own, we define value for ourselves. We define what makes our business a success for ourselves.
J: Yeah, and it’s not always easy for me to live in that. It’s so easy to get caught up in like, oh, I should be having more followers and whatever it is insert any ad infinitum. (S: Any external marker of “success.”) 100% Yes, it’s very easy, but like there are moments where I’m able to fall back and be like, you just had a nice conversation with that mom in, I don’t know somewhere, anywhere in the world, that felt they had a moment of pause because you… you know, like, that is enough sometimes like, that’s me being a citizen of the world and caring and extending my heart and sharing and I think that that’s what matters.
Pause: This is not an ad, it’s a pause. I’ve decide to build an intentional break into every episode of Slowpreneur because I know I’m throwing a lot of ideas and hopefully inspiration your way and I wanted to give you a moment to integrate it, to not have to pay attention, to not have to absorb any more, to just marinate in what we’ve talked about so far. And take a breath before we continue. Now let’s get back to the show.
S: Okay, the last thing I want to ask you about before we go to our Relaxed Reflections, because I didn’t want to do like a speed round obviously. Aka, the name of the podcast. I’m not going to do like rapid fire questions. (J: The turtle wouldn’t appreciate a speed round) Yes, the turtle would not appreciate it. So before we do that, I just want to give me the opportunity to talk to us about the training that you’ve been doing, which I think represents a new chapter for Glass Full as well.
J: Yeah. So this is actually kind of my mini debut in talking about it. I haven’t fully gone into it in detail anywhere else, but I am training to become a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant, which means that I will be able to officiate ceremonies. It started with weddings, and then it evolved into ceremony in general and in the very Glass Full way, in a very, I think authentically me way, it evolved a little bit more into what does it look like to create ceremony and ritual out of the moments of our life that require ceremony and ritual but that maybe aren’t met with the reverence that they deserve? So I will tease it out a little bit. I haven’t fully launched anything yet, but it’s coming down the pipes in the way I kind of see myself and when I write it out myself in my big dream journal, I am a ritual artisan. I am a creator of ceremonies. I am somebody who helps people by creating custom ceremonies for the moments in their life that are maybe not the big shiny ones, but the ones that when they look back, were deeply meaningful and impactful to them and needed to be celebrated and needed to be honored and needed to be marked with ritual. So that’s what I’m moving into and I’m really, really excited about it and I can’t wait to have more concrete offerings to talk about. We’re doing a rebrand that kind of comes along with that, so lots kind of quietly in the works and it has been incredibly slow. It’s not been a hustle to get there. I’m still undergoing this certification to get there and I’m you know a lot of days not thinking about it with that full force of it. But even now just describing it, it feels exciting to think about and I can’t wait to see what that kind of work allows in the community that I have and also in me because I’m sure that that’s going to be really life changing for me too.
S: I just need to like let it land for a second because I just think it speaks so much to what we were talking about this whole time of how do we notice, right? How we notice and pay attention to the moments of our lives that need noticing, how do you bring your special magic dust that you’re so good at noticing to those moments? And then how do you create rituals that allow people to be fully present in those moments and meet the moment? Right? Because, you know, we’re talking about coming out into the world after a period of hibernation and in global trauma. We might need rituals for that right? We may need rituals for all kinds of things that have happened over the last few years. And it just strikes me that you’re so beautifully positioned to offer that as a gift to us. So I’m so excited about it.
J: Thank you. I have never been somebody that has really ever known what I was meant to do. And Glass Full honestly was born out of this like obsessive search for my purpose. And I did a lot of career hopping, like worked in three different industries within the first like 10 years of my career. And I just really, I felt like it should be a louder voice like I felt like it should be stronger and felt like it should be like, this is what you’re here to do. And it never was like that for me. But what I did sort of step into is just learning how to love myself. And learning how to know who I am and letting my authentic Julia-ness – sorry for cringily referring to myself in the third person, I will never do that again but however it felt necessary in this time. (S: It’s true, your Julia-ness!) My person-ness, which is unique just as you are unique, just as every single other person is. I’m not like incredibly special compared to other people. I’m just special compared to me because we all are and letting that shine and letting that be what guides what I offer to the world, and the second I was able to figure out like, oh, that’s where the magic is. The magic is in you following your interests and like sharing more about the things that you like and care about. That’s where as I started to follow that these things sort of fell into place. And also I’ve met people like you, like Sonja from Nurture, who were able to sort of, and you know, also friends that have known me forever, who were able to kind of like, see that in you and maybe give words to what you’re trying to do. You know, like I think the more you’re uncovering that it becomes this big cycle of like, well you’re meeting people that are meant to be in your space at this time, even like the neighbor Becci’s of the world who see you and in a way that maybe you don’t always see yourself but you follow that, and the light that they shine on you and the light that they hold you in, allows you to kind of flourish, really.
S: Oh my gosh it’s all coming back full circle because that reminds me of your your whole thing about you going inward but then as you pour out, people then pour into you because the people around you are getting their glasses full and then they’re pouring into you and helping you see yourself in a new light.
J: We just we just really wrapped it up a nice little bow didn’t we?
S: But what you’ve built is so beautiful and I’m so excited to see what comes next, but for now I’m going to ask you my Relaxed Reflections, which Sonja was responsible for the name, actually I think she said Relaxed Responses and I said I want it to be a reflection because they do still want it to be like your first sort of reflex, but it doesn’t have to be fast. So the first one is how do you take your tea?
J: Okay, depends on the tea. But if we’re going for herbal I just like it with a little bit of honey. My Timmies order is two milk one sugar for my tea, and I like honey, I like a little bit of honey and some milk.
S: We take it the same way! We just had so I was cheating because I already knew. Okay, what is your favorite place on Earth?
J: Okay, I don’t actually have one specific place but I have a couple of feelings that are like my favorite place to be in. And I think one of them is like when Mr. Glass Full is not working on like a Saturday morning. We can just cuddle in bed for like half an hour and be silly and just like enjoy each other’s company like that’s one of my favorite places on earth. Which is really just a feeling like safety. Another favorite place on earth is like the loudness of my family, Jamaican thyme, the smell of Jamaican thyme, onions and like dad cooking, music inevitably on, usually reggae, like cackling siblings background like, like you know, like just everyone being in the same place. Wherever that place is. Just like the energy of loud, fun, like bubbly sibling family-ness. That’s one of my favorite feelings. And also just like Chapter One of a really book. You just know okay, you just know. Let’s set the scene here. Let’s set the scene here, because I know this is going to speak directly to your soul. Yeah. You’ve just started Chapter One of a really freaking good book. You know, it’s an enemy to lovers romance, you know it’s gonna be steamy AF. You already have a crush on both leads. And you have nothing to do for the day. There’s no sunshine guilt because it’s a shitty day outside. And you’ve got the coziest chair in the world. All the snacks. Your tea is made to perfection. And no one’s home so you don’t have to feel bad. You’re just ready to go, ready to go with your book. You’ve got a little light on. Yeah, no, that that could be anywhere but like a little reading nook. Yeah. And also just like watching the sunset. It doesn’t matter where it is. I don’t really get great sunsets where I am, I’m like northeast facing. However I get like teasers of them, but I just love the feeling of sunset. So yeah, I don’t I kind of didn’t really answer the question, but I sort of did.
S: I loved your answer. It was a great answer. And I love most of those feelings as well. What is the best book you’ve read lately?
J: Ooh, okay. The best book I’ve read lately is it’s actually two books by the same author, The Lost Love Song, which I know you’re reading right now. Yes. And the other book by her is Star-Crossed. I can’t remember being so affected by a book. They’re not necessarily sad, but I cried so much in both of them just the way the author Minnie Darke. I don’t know if I’m saying her last name correctly. But yeah, the way that she weaves a narrative together and brings all the disparate parts that seem disconnected, but they all come full circle like I just felt so much reading these books in a way that I hadn’t in a long time. And yeah, they they sat with me for a while, like I felt sad when they were done. I felt angry that she doesn’t have more. And I’m like, absolutely going to be reading everything that she writes. And those were recommendations from our book club, actually Seiler sisters.
S: Yeah, you gotta love the Seiler sisters, great taste. Okay, and then the last question I have for you is what something that you’d really like to buy yourself as a gift. Like, have you had your eye on something that you’re not pulling the trigger or does this ptompt you to think about something you’d like as a gift?
J: Ooh, that’s a good question. Actually can’t think of something off the top of my head for that. I think maybe, like a nice experience. We’re going on vacation in June. We’re going to Portugal and the Azores and I think like a really cool experience while on vacation, like something like maybe whale watching, like I’ve been kind of looking at the whalewatching opportunities there as well. Or like just like one of those like, dinner type situations where it’s like this perfectly special location and you splurge a little bit I think that, like I’m looking not, less for things and more for like, those like core memory moments.
S: Yeah. Such Julia answers. I loved the Julia-ness.
J: I am nothing if not consistent.
S: Well, Julia, this has been so wonderful. Thank you for having this conversation with me and for being on the podcast.
J: Thank you. This is one of my favorite conversations that we’ve had. It was delightful.
S: Thanks so much for listening to Slowpreneur. If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend or reach out and let me know at email@example.com, I would love to hear from you. As always, you can find show notes for this and all episodes at stephaniepellett.com/slowpreneur. Thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you soon.