“Share, share share. It’s not about how much you can keep, it’s about how much you can give. That’s truly where our souls soar and feel, you know, you feel the best about yourself is what you provide and give back to the world …”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Star, for agreeing to be part of this Project today, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Star Lee Ladin: Absolutely. Toni, I just want to say I’m so excited to be a part of the Get Inspired! Project because you inspire me.
Toni: Thank you.
Star: Yay! It’s so exciting that you’re doing this. Yes, I am Star Lee Ladin, and I’m a brand strategist and have worked in marketing for 20 years. And I love business and entrepreneurship, and my passion is female entrepreneurs and working with heart-centered, balanced businesswomen that own businesses that like to work with life balance and they are true to their values.
Toni: Thank you so much for being here, and what a great … gosh, what a great passion that is. When you think of that word inspiration, Star, who do you inspire, and how does that happen?
Star: Well I think inspiration is such an interesting and magical human part of our world, right? And inspiration is all around us, and I think that when we are truly our best selves and we’re living in our authentic self, we inspire … we are a source for our own inspiration.
You know, I’m an artist, and I grew up in a very artsy household with open thinking and possibility thinking, and I think that is absolutely inspiring to witness other people going through that process, but also allowing yourself to go through that same process. I like to do things that, you know, create joy, so whether that is being with my kids … they inspire me, my kids inspire me because they say things that are so true and they’re curious and they create a sense of wonderment about things because their little brains are trying to make sense of the world around them. And if we really are listening carefully, they’re very, very inspiring.
I think I inspire people – that’s such a fascinating question – I think I inspire people because I am joyful and I am positive, and I like to see the benefit out of everything, the positive, you know, whatever people call like the glass half full. I believe that, you know, we’re here on earth, and we’re here to learn.
We’re here to experience and be curious and discover and explore, and that means allowing us to be our best self and giving yourself permission to be human and understanding that our mistakes or our failures are most beautiful teachers. And if we look at them in a positive way, we really can develop ourselves and inspire ourselves to make more mistakes and kind of fall forward and pick yourself up and say like “Okay, I guess I won’t do that anymore,” and try something else.
Toni: As long as the fall isn’t that far, it’s okay.
Toni: So how do you think by having that mindset and having people witness that by example with you, how does it help other people explore their own potential?
Star: Well, I think it gives people permission to not be perfect; like, nobody is perfect, right? Like Mrs. Erickson, my son’s amazing second grade teacher. And she inspires me, because she absolutely loves what she does. She’s like “It is a privilege to, you know, teach these 19 children in this classroom,” one of which is my son, Spencer. She teaches them that – she says this all the time – she’s like “Pobody’s nerfect” and it’s hilarious every time I say it, but it’s true.
It’s like our imperfections, our quirks, and our things that sometimes we want to change about ourselves are the things that are what make us unique and what make us special and what make us different and stand out. And when we embrace those things, you know, we … like when people see you embracing your quirkiness or the things that aren’t perfect about yourself, it gives them permission to accept themselves without judgment as well.
And judgment is negative, right? Judgment is something that holds us back from living the lives that we desire, and I believe that we can have success on any terms that you set for yourself in business, in life, as a … you know, I’m a mother and a wife and a friend, an artist and a speaker and all these things, right? A publisher. But I am doing it because that’s what brings me joy, that’s what brings me inspiration, that’s what fuels me to live my happiest life, my joyful life. And I think that if we all allowed ourselves to really feed that part of ourselves, then we would all be happier. I think when people witness it and see it in me, it gives them the ability to see it in themselves.
Toni: Absolutely, because there’s living proof that it can be done.
Star: Right, absolutely. So I mean we are our own worst enemy. We are our greatest cheerleaders. We choose to be either. We have a choice, and we are … every single choice that we’ve ever made is why we are all where we are today. And if you don’t like where you are today, then look at the choices that you make on a very small daily basis, and anyone can make different choices.
Toni: Absolutely, and thank you so much for that. You’ve already spoken about this a little bit, Star, but I would love to know what else inspires you. You said your children inspire you and other people do inspire you, but what else? What do you need to be inspired?
Star: I think that I need to have a proper mindset to be inspired. It’s not like a formula, right, but it’s a thinking and a mindset, so for me I love to ride my bike by the beach. I love to be outside. I live on an avocado farm in Southern California, and I love to be down, you know, in the orchard or cutting roses or … artists, you know, like going to an art show is really inspiring. Or reading a magazine and seeing the different visuals in the arts. Like I think artists are making a point, and they’re sharing their inspiration. Whether people like it or not, it doesn’t matter, but this is their art.
So I think inspiration is all around us, and what I need is the right mindset and the consciousness that it can happen anywhere, anytime. Whether it’s my kindergarten, you know, or my son’s second grade teacher, or it’s someone that I’m, you know, working with or interviewing for the magazine, or coaching or whatever, it’s like it’s all around us. We just have to be open to receive it.
Toni: Absolutely. Well, that brings me to wonder about yourself. Have you always been this way? Have you always shown up to the table this way, full of passion and joy and life and wanting to turn that into your passion to give back to other women, or even just people around you? Is that something you’ve always come to the table with?
Star: I mean, I think it’s a learned … it’s like a muscle that gets stronger as you practice it more. That’s an interesting question. When I think back as a child, how I was … like first of all, I had great, wonderful role models. My mom is an artist and extremely eccentric, and my dad was an incredible businessman. And you know, my mom was far to the one side politically, and my dad was far to the other, so I learned that you could agree to disagree, and you could have ideas and think, and think for yourself.
In the process of growing up, when you suffer … and, you know, as a child I had a very difficult time reading and learning, so I would observe. And I think it was the guidance of, or the coaching if you want to say, from my parents that just said, you know, “Try your best, do your best, and if it doesn’t work for you, figure out why and then do that.”
And so I think I was almost … again, my uniqueness and maybe my pain or my suffering of learning was very difficult as a child, but that was my greatest gift, because it was my teacher. It taught me to be open. It taught me to be in the moment. It taught me to connect my head and my heart, and really say “Well, what works for me? Just because this person or this way works for someone else doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for me,” and really connect with yourself, right?
So I think it’s a process and it can be started at any time in life, but it’s a choice. I don’t really remember it. I know that when I’ve been successful, it’s always been because I’ve had that positive attitude and the openness about things versus closed and fearful, but open and joyful, and that when I … if at any phase in my life I got fearful or didn’t have that open mind, it didn’t work for me. I had to recognize that it didn’t work, and then I had to make a choice to change what I was doing to get back to where I needed to. I think it’s an ongoing process all the time, because life happens.
Toni: Absolutely, it does. What I find interesting as I’m listening to you is that due to the challenges that you had growing up and it fine-tuned that observation muscle that you have and the tenacity is what I’m hearing. It’s that tenacity to keep going and find different ways to learn, and walk through the possibility door, you know? That is … that’s pretty cool, and what you’ve done is now, you know, you’ve created that for other women. They may have their own set of challenges, but you know, what you’re saying is “I get it. I’ve been there, I get it. But be tenacious and walk through that door, whatever door it is.” That’s what I’m hearing you’ve done.
Star: Absolutely. I feel like … you know, again, I think oftentimes in our society specifically that it’s like things happen to us and we can fall into a victim mode. And I feel like what if you had the audacity to turn that around and really face the thing that you feel you’re being victimized by and saying “How is this my teacher? What am I supposed to learn from this so that my life will be better and I will have less suffering, and that I will be more joyful?”
Inevitably, that is … the thing that is the worst thing for us – usually there’s one main one – it’s like there’s a gift in there. There is. It’s just making it full circle and doing the work and the realization in ourselves and the self … you know, holding the mirror up is really … you know, there’s no shortcut. And if you do it, the rewards are huge on the other side for you. That’s just my philosophy and what’s worked for me.
Toni: So what do you do now to explore your own potential so that you can keep moving forward?
Star: I think that one of the main things I do now is look at … when I meet people anywhere, I look at everyone as a possibility of learning and making a connection with someone and seeing the goodness in them. When you’re able to have that, it’s like every interaction that we have in life becomes like this exploratory-like discovery. So whether it’s little kids or people that I’m working with or in any project that I have and any business that I have, to me it’s like it keeps fueling, because learning comes from so many different places.
It’s also, in business, to stay connected with like-minded people and give back. Share, share share. It’s not about how much you can keep, it’s about how much you can give. That’s truly where our souls soar and feel, you know, you feel the best about yourself is what you provide and give back to the world, and that’s really what I continue to do.
Toni: Star, there are people who are listening to your interview all over the world or reading the transcript, and you have given such great insight into not only how you inspire others but what you need and how those two are so closely related. And for giving up your time today for the Get Inspired! Project, we cannot thank you enough.
Star: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m honored to be a part of it, and thank you.
Toni: You are quite welcome. It has been a pleasure.
Star: Love and light – you take care. Thank you so much.
For more information about Star Lee Ladin: www.starleemagazine.com