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Inspired Learnings—Words of Wisdom from our Inspired By Series
The 2020 heroines of Inspired By, our interview series with friends of SteamLine who inspire us with their work and lives.

“That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.”

Willa Cather, My Ántonia

"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions. I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching."

Portia from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

Dear Readers,

To honor the promise of 2021 I am proud to share some especial words of wisdom that emerged from our Inspired By interviews. Let me start by thanking all eleven remarkable women for participating in the maiden voyage of our blog and for taking the time to dig into your thoughts, to find the words, and to lend your gorgeous images. It's an honor to know each and every one of you.

Before sharing these gathered sentiments, I'd like the start with a mini confession of my own! The advice I provided Thrive via Dreamers & Doers "way back" in October, (below) has proven harder in the practice than the preach. As Shakespeare's Portia says, it is easier to know than to do. In business I think often about systems and habits—actions that can make a difference. But I have also learned that the practice of "knowing" your desires and beliefs will help you make the best decisions. One can't do everything at once, and reminders are critical to resolve.

So please view the below as gentle reminders you can return to for a moment's meditation or encouragement. Some are simple, obvious even, but as with Cather's definition of happiness above, the truth so often is.

My word for the year is "space." While it's not always possible to control how much physical space one has, especially at home these days, it's always possible to work on expanding one's interior space—for thoughts and dreams, for breath, for presentness, and for calm.

Wishing you an inspired 2021!






Words of Wisdom: Inspired excerpts from our 2020 interview series

Sara Banks—SteamLine Founder

Start with the deep work. Instead of checking my email first thing in the morning, I first do “deep work”—projects I’m working on, or anything that requires more concentrated attention—and then at 11am I can turn to tasks of the day. If I accidentally check email first, I can’t help but react to whatever is there and then have lost the morning. This is based on a book by Cal Newport, and by changing to do deep work first, I feel I have actually accomplished something by noon.

—From "Trailblazing Womxn Share the Work and Personal Boundaries That Have Completely Changed Their Life"

Annie AtkinsGraphic Designer for Film

I think that because my parents were both artists there seemed no question that I would also go that route. But I know that most young designers don’t always have that support; in fact, they can often face opposition to a career in the arts. I try to encourage everyone I meet at design conferences to go for it. There are so many industries that need artists—filmmaking, animation, theatre, advertising, gaming... it’s not the risky career path that it has a reputation of being! 

"People think it is selfish to put yourself first but the truth is when we take care of ourselves we become better partners, friends, and colleagues because we are better equipped with the mental, physical, and emotional capacity to show up for others."

—Rosa Barney, Model and Self-Love Advocate

Courtney HalversonPhotographer and Blogger

In the early days of my husband and I traveling, we didn't always check on local customs and travel advice for foreign countries. Now that is something we do in the early stages of planning so that we can make sure that we are informed and polite travelers. We make sure that we know how to dress, how to tip (if at all), and key phrases and sentences in the native languages. I don't even want to be that American who expects everywhere else to be just like home!

Clockwise: Annie Atkins  | Tracy Foster | Rosa Barney

Jeralyn GerbaWriter and Fathom Founder

In some ways, the important things in life have become much more clear, and that clarity has radically changed my idea of what the possible and necessary next steps are. During the pandemic and protests I've also been pregnant—a third kid will most certainly alter the way we travel, especially if we want to travel in a responsible, sustainable, low-impact way, which matters to me. This strange time has given us a chance to slow down, recalibrate, break habits, and hopefully change for the better. I'm looking forward to my next chapter as being one of progress.

Brook DanielsonAthlete and Social Media Expert

Experiencing quarantine certainly accelerated my hope for a more simple and meaningful life. I hope that it will help me remain present and appreciative in the moment. 

"If you’ve got an idea that you feel confident is viable, go for it! Register the business, buy the domain name, create the logo... start! Those small initial steps are actually very empowering and so important to helping you get the momentum needed to get your idea off the ground."

Tracy Foster: Founder and Brand Consultant

Juliet IzonFood, Travel, and Design Writer

It’s been incredibly illuminating to spend this much time with my young daughter. I've learned so much about how she perceives the world. My whole family has gained a deeper understanding of each other during this strange break from our normal lives and I hope that will continue in the future.  

Clockwise:  Juliet Izon | Onyi Moss | MaryKate Boylan | Eugenia Kim

Onyi MossPhotographer and Blogger

I tend to power off by catching up with friends and family, reading a good book, and more recently focusing on my music as I spend time in the studio. Basically, just placing more emphasis on real life and whatever is actually going on at that point in time. 

MaryKate Boylan—Senior Fashion Editor at Town & Country

This time has made me slow down a bit which is a really good thing. Living in New York and having the type of job that I do, it’s sometimes hard to take a step back and take time for yourself and the things you really want to do. I hope it’s something I take with me whenever we return to “normal.”

Eugenia KimFounder and Milliner

As a CEO, I always welcome ideas coming from every individual in my company and encourage collaboration. I think it creates ownership and empowers everyone... In my family dynamic, hard work was the standard, but praise and encouragement were not. I have worked on developing this quality in myself for my employees. 

Clockwise: Brook Danielson | Courtney Halverson | Whitney Leigh Morris | Jeralyn Gerba 

"In becoming more connected and reliant upon localized and collaboratively managed resources, we can potentially alleviate much of the burdens carried by our planet, and better provide for everyone—not just those who can afford it."

Whitney Leigh Morris: Environmentalist and Blogger


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