“I think there is freedom when you take off pre-conceived notions of what you think you should be doing”
Monica Lee has come a long way from her first job scooping ice cream, a vice president of student activities in college and an international flight attendant. However, on the side of her many previous career positions, one thing has remained consistent- her love of art. Monica always had a project on the go, for example on the side of her flight attendant job, she also juggled a successful greeting card company.
“People really need to take the time to listen to their spirit..you need to ask yourself ‘how do I show up in my own unique way?’ ”
Monica began interviewing other inspiring women who were successful in their own entrepreneurial endeavours, simply as an experiment to gain insight into how they were bringing in income working on their passions and what she could be doing herself to earn money doing what she loves. This saw the birth of “Smart Woman Creative”, a podcast to help women take off in their entrepreneur adventures, focusing on each woman’s unique creative expressions. She also took off with her own personal coaching business, recognising repeat themes of what each woman’s individual needs were. She has met these needs by creating educational online e-courses. Monica also has her own line of leather clutch bags and t-shirts under the name of “XO Monica Lee” in homage to her creative passion.
How do you really figure out what you want to do and when do you take the plunge?
That’s a process I led myself through a couple of years ago when I was interviewing lots of creative woman. Then I thought ok, now it’s my time to be creative, I got over my little burnout! I thought what does creativity look like for me? I was walking around the house in my PJs with my camera in my hand (I know that sounds weird). But it was a sunny morning and I started taking photos of everything in my house that I liked and I saw a theme that popped up. I was then able to unearth what my creativity looked like. I then developed my course Smart, Creative Style and went to launch my line XO Monica Lee (obviously not overnight!).
What trophy would you want on your mantle?
That’s a tricky one, probably a Celine handbag!
What is your guilty Pleasure?
I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure but I’m really into dining out-plain air dining. From my years of travelling Europe, Europeans eat outside and I live in New England and get so bummed that we’re inside so much of the year. Any chance when they say “do you want to sit inside or out?” of course I’m sitting out!
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading that book the Art of Tidying Up-The Mastery of Tidying Up, that girls a psycho, but I love her and I’m so into it. I’ve got to get rid of stuff! It’s an interesting book- she went into her brothers and sisters’ rooms and started tidying all their stuff away. My sister would have killed me if I did that!
What is your productivity hack?
I stop working in the evenings and I don’t answer emails on weekends which is my creative time. I’m just not a girl that works until midnight. I had too many years as an international flight attendant without sleep and I can honestly say it takes a toll on your body and it’s a very unhealthy thing to do- so I’m done at 6-630pm.
What is your personal motto?
“If it’s not fun why are you doing it?”. The other part of that is “you’re meant to flourish!”, I really believe that sometimes when we slog around, we really need to pick ourselves up and find things around us. Get people in place to encourage you, get things that really motivate you and stay inspired and encouraged. Because I really think that we were all meant to shine bright and flourish in our lives.
What would you do differently, if you were given another chance?
Well I am on my second marriage! Don’t marry a man that can fit into your jeans- that’s bad! No really, I think I would have flown internationally, right from the beginning I spent a lot of time with American Airlines but when I started flying to Paris it was a lot better.
Best way to reach Monica:
XO Monica Lee: www.xomonicalee.com