Have a dream you want to turn into reality? Go for it!
From experience, I know that following your dreams takes courage, belief in yourself, and the right support. When I started as an entrepreneur and blogger, I knew no one who was on an unconventional route, so I started seeking a community of fellow women entrepreneurs to empower me on my route. Early on, I realized that you can’t do you your dreams alone. You need a supportive crew to help you along the way.
Along my path, I discovered the movie, Dream, Girl. When the movie’s Creator and Director, Erin Bagwell, reached out to me recently about the movie’s recent free release online, I had to invite Erin to be back on The Self-Discovery Retreat. For those who may remember, Komal Minhas (producer of Dream, Girl) and Erin were on the site back in 2015.
Erin made Dream, Girl “for the high school version of myself - a sensitive artist who wanted to know it was okay to be ambitious, to want to be your own boss, and definitely didn’t want to follow the rules.” Sound familiar?! I wish I had this movie when I was in high school. Now, as a psychotherapist, educator and creator of digital media, I found Dream, Girl to be inspirational as I loved seeing the portrayal of strong, powerful, smart women entrepreneurs on the main screen who were taking unconventional routes to go after their dreams. But it’s also a how to film that teaches others how they can do it – achieve their dreams. Dream, Girl provides practical resources, as it models how to make your dreams into reality. Since Dream, Girl is about the power behind dreaming big, I asked Erin Bagwell to share her experience. I thought many of you could see yourself in Erin. My hope is that by reading the interview and watching the movie, you will move your forward in the direction of your dreams!
Arianna Merritt: Hi Erin. Thanks for being here. Congrats on the release. First off, how did you find your confidence and your voice?
Erin Bagwell: When I was being sexually harassed at my 9 to 5 (before I launched the Kickstarter that would change my life), I didn’t have much confidence. I felt really unseen at my job and felt like the harassment I was experiencing was my fault. I’m too young, too ambitious, and too blonde to be taken seriously.
However at the same time I started to read Jezebel, a feminist blog that talks about the gender norms and social constructs that shape our culture. Understanding that what happened to me happened to other women and wasn’t my fault. It changed my perspective and allowed me to fully see myself and who I wanted to be in the world.
AM: What advice would you have for someone who wants to share their story and is not sure where to start?
EB: What’s the smallest thing you can do to move in the direction of your dreams? Do that. Do one small thing every day. It may not seem like a lot; but believe me, everything starts small and the momentum will continue to build and give you confidence to keep pushing.
AM: Why is it important to believe in yourself?
EB: This is such a powerful question! I think when you believe in something, it adds energy to it. And that energy allows people to see the passion you have and it magnetizes opportunity.
AM: What support do you wish you had when you started as an entrepreneur?
EB: I started seeing a therapist about two years into building and producing Dream, Girl and it changed my life. All of a sudden, I had a safe space to vent, cry, and refuel. Also, when you are an entrepreneur, you talk about your business 24/7 which can be exhausting for the people around you. It was really helpful to walk into the room, say it out loud, let it go, and go back to my life giving me the opportunity to create more space for my loved ones.
AM: Lastly, how can someone start being an advocate for gender equality?
EB: My brother always says your dollar is your vote, and I totally agree. Only 3% of venture capital dollars go to women-run businesses. Which means our consumer dollars are important and influential. Challenge yourself to buy from women or people-of-color-run businesses.
I would also suggest to make sure you are listening and understanding the stories of marginalized people or communities. Read their stories, listen to their experiences, learn but don’t lead. If you are interested in learning more about the struggles women and women of color face, you can check out my feminist storytelling blog feministwednesday.com.
Thanks, Erin, for speaking from the heart and for your leadership. You are empowering us all to go after our dreams! As a young blonde myself, I can totally relate to your experience of “I’m too young, too ambitious, and too blonde to be taken seriously.” Instead of waiting for the world to change, we hold the power inside ourselves to create a better world!!
What are you waiting for? Go For Your Dreams! Don’t let anything stop you! And you have a supportive crew by your side.
Watch Dream, Girl for free here and share it with someone who would love it.
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