I have always been a fan of companies whose mission it is to give back and make a difference with every product they sell. Sseko (pronounced say-ko) Designs is one of those companies. I have been familiar with their products and mission for awhile, as they are a Portland-based organization and I have several friends who know the founder. They started with sandals, and have since expanded their products to fabulous clutches (I think I need the tan and creme one in the upper right corner). Their sandals and clutches are made by the beautiful women in Uganda who use this career to earn money to put towards their college tuition. The above collection is dedicated to the Sseko Class of 2012 who just graduated from their program and are now starting college. So just as these women are starting out and learning what it means to choose their own path, I was also asked to share how I am choosing my own path in life...
Tell us a little bit about how you're choosing your own path.
I still feel as if I’m in the beginning of choosing my own path. I have known for a long time that my passion is relationships and marriages and helping to create healthy ones and heal broken ones. As someone who is unmarried herself, and who has no degrees in counseling, I don’t feel as if I am quite in the place where I can begin to tackle that big dream of mine. Instead, I have begun to ask what that passion looks like at this stage in my life. The answer I’ve seemed to find is that my heart and mission can be directed towards young women who are in the stages of dating and singleness and are trying to figure out what it means to be a healthy, thriving, beautiful and confident woman before entering the world of marriage.
The logistics of what that looks like still aren’t complete. I am involved in the college group at my church, as well as the lives of several girls there, and have dreams of starting a blog directed towards young women that are navigating through the ups and downs of relationships, singleness, self-image, friendship, and all of the challenges that go along with them.
At times I have branched out from blog posts about style and nail polish and spoken about things from my heart, and it is in those posts that I am always reminded that having the opportunity to speak into other women, encourage them, and make a difference brings more life to me than anything else I do.
What led you to the decision to take a risk and pursue something you care about?
When you experience the exciting feeling of discovering what it is you were created to do, it’s hard not to keep coming back to that. I feel as if God has clearly placed a calling on my life to help mend and restore relationships and so I spend a lot of time returning to that thought when I’m not sure what my next step should be or where I’m headed in life.
What was the hardest/scariest part about it? What did you have to overcome to move forward?
The two hardest parts for me are fear and doubt and then the practicality of time and money. I let the “bigness” of my dream overwhelm me at times and wonder if it’s even something I’m able to come close to accomplishing. (Hearing people wish me a sarcastic, “Good luck!” when I tell them my dream is to help lower the divorce rate doesn’t exactly help either). And then I would love to have more time to devote to writing and meeting with young girls and going back to school, but the reality that I need to have a job and make money quickly gets in the way of that at times.
What would you say to other women who are on the verge of being bold, taking risk and choosing their own path?
At the risk of sounding ridiculously cheesy, my biggest piece of advice to other women is to follow your heart. Whether it’s conscious or not, your heart knows what things you feel most passionate and alive about and all you have to do is pay attention to that. When there’s something that you are incredibly excited about doing – don’t stop doing it! Pour your talents and passions into your hobbies and careers and this world will begin to change because of it.