How to Practice Intentional Living as an Entrepreneur

Aug. 8, 2018When the world pulls you in ten different directions, when the answers are needed now, when there’s barely time to shower much less to meditate, you have to wonder: does life ever slow down?



As a former law student and current business owner, it’s a struggle Ali Heiss knows all too well. Between the social pressure as women to do it all and the pressures we put on ourselves internally, inner peace has become a luxury most people think they can’t afford the time for.

Meet Entrepreneur Ali Heiss

Ali Heiss is a former law student, current entrepreneur, co-founder of Amarilo, and Haati Chai, two exquisite jewelry companies she built with the help of Haati Chai co-founder Stella Simona.

I spoke with Ali about everything — life, parents, self care, business, you name it, and one thing I got from our morning chat was this: Ali is always growing. She’s still in the moment, fully present and attuned, but always growing and adapting.

Ali tells me she’s a firm believer in intentional living, the art of being selective with how you spend your time, energy, and money. Her practices in self care, how she does business, even how she cooks, is rooted in one thing: do what brings you joy.

I laugh as we chat — “So you’ve Kon Mari’d your whole life then?”

I can almost hear her smile on the line. “Basically, yes.”

Take a walk through Ali’s blog and you’ll find a peaceful spirit that speaks with the calm and honesty of a person genuinely trying to live her best life.

Consumerism is Cheap

Before she was a jewelry designer, she was a consumer. Ali tells me with a laugh that she bought her jewelry the same place every teenager did: Forever 21 baskets, clearance racks at Target. Cheap, costume jewelry that fell apart within a few months, that she would inevitably wind up replacing.

“I started to realize that the type of jewelry I was looking for — simple, modern, minimalistic jewelry that was high quality — simply didn’t exist,” says Ali. “High-end jewelry designers were only interested in creating the really ornate stuff, and that just wasn’t my style. I wanted something timelessly beautiful that would actually last.”

So she got to work. Ali wanted to create jewelry that looked good with more than one outfit — stackable, layering pieces that were interchangeable and compatible with a wide range of color palettes and styles. From there, Amarilo Jewelry was born.

When she met Stella Simona, Stella had already launched Haati Chai. Haati Chai was based on the same basic principles as Amarilo, quality above all else, something that was truly made to last. Haati Chai took it a step further though, inventing a jewelry line that was designed to be stylish and modern but also passed down as an heirloom piece.

The two entrepreneurs hit it off and decided to join creative forces, collaborating on both brands together.

The Defiance of Doing What You Love

It wasn’t always Ali’s plan to be a jewelry designer and entrepreneur. She spent years in college obtaining her law degree, tirelessly applying herself to her studies. She was the first in her family to attend college, much less graduate, so she felt some pressure to accomplish what she had set out to do there.

When she graduated and went to take her exam, something clicked: she realized the fast-paced world of law wasn’t the life she envisioned for herself. She saw the long hours ahead of her, and she had a realization: this career wouldn’t bring her joy.

With a leap of faith that her parents supported, she started Amarilo and put the practice of intentional living into everything she undertook.

“So many people are in a position where they are required to do what they have to do and their reality offers limited options.” says Ali. “My mother raised us working long hours to put food on the table, she did everything to support us. There weren’t the opportunities then that there are now. Reflecting on my childhood and the sacrifices my mother made for me further inspires me to live intentionally and I feel extremely thankful having the ability to implement the life I want.”

Now, Ali says she doesn’t want her life to support her work, she wants her work to support her life. Instead of building a lifestyle around a business, she’s built her business around her intended lifestyle — one that affords her time to take pause and enjoy what she’s worked for. Her work doesn’t feel like work to her, even when it is, and it doesn’t overtake her life like an encroaching weed.

The practice is known as lifestyle design, and the premise is simple: if you don’t design your life, someone else will do it for you.

Like a ballerina focused on a central point as she spins pirouettes, focusing on the life you want helps you to make the right choices to support that dream. It keeps what you do every day aligned with what you want and builds happier lives.

Living intentionally is an idea that Ali Heiss has built her businesses and life around, and she showed me there’s more to it than just career moves and meditation.

Self Care Isn’t Selfish

“What would you say to people who claim they can’t make time for self care, that there just aren’t enough hours in the day?” I ask Ali guiltily — it’s an excuse I’ve used all too often myself.

Ali sighs, and there’s a note of empathy and commiseration in her voice. “I think, by nature, it’s hard to prioritize oneself and putting pressure with unrealistic expectations isn’t going to help. I think people over complicate self care — it’s just self love. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? You have to care enough about yourself to make it a priority. It’s a conscious effort.”

I think of all the times I’ve tried to take a bubble bath only to have a kid pound on the door. Or when I have ten minutes to put on makeup and wind up looking like a raccoon (because rushing mascara is never a good idea).

“So what’s your non-negotiable each week — what’s one self care practice you always make time for, no matter what?”

Ali’s answer totally surprises me — “Food,” she laughs.

“What we put in our bodies is so important, and I just love food. My boyfriend and I go grocery shopping together, really taking our time, and it’s the highlight of my week. We come home with all of these amazing foods, and I really take my time preparing it. I love cooking, and for me it’s almost a ceremonial process, something ritualistic.”

I ponder her words, bemused at first, but then I feel like I’ve had some kind of spiritual revelation because she’s right — food is the epitome of self care, and taking time to enjoy it and prepare it is the height of self love.

“I think the hardest thing for most people is that we’re not used to sitting still. Multitasking has been built up so much as the standard, now it’s hard for us to do just one thing with our full attention.”

“People feel like self love and self care makes us selfish. They feel guilty for doing it, especially women, and especially moms. But self care isn’t selfish, it makes you a better person. It builds a better world. By taking care of yourself, you’re in a better place to take care of others.”

 

What practices in self-love do you engage in every week? Tell us (and Ali too!) on Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the post: @AvocadoMattress and @AKHeiss

 

Destiny Hagest

By Destiny Hagest

 —  Destiny is a freelance writer with a background in sustainability and natural health. She lives in the mountains of central Montana with her husband and young son. When she's not writing or chasing her toddler, you can find her wandering the quiet wilderness in search of wild herbs and antler sheds.

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