Interview with Lauren Shipley- mental health research leader and co-founder of Artisan Global.
Lauren is the Co-Founder of Artisan Global and a Program Coordinator for mental health research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She received a BA from the College of Charleston in International Studies with a concentration on Africa.
She is most passionate about supporting global entrepreneurs and promoting mental health.
Sarah Kukie: Tell me about yourself at twelve years old? What dreams did you have? What challenges were you facing?
Lauren Shipley: At twelve, I was very social and energetic in school. My dreams were changing regularly – (my brother can confirm) I wanted to be something different when I got older every other week! I was dealing with a lot of anxiety about my mom’s health that distracted me academically and was putting myself in pretty negative situations at that age to cope.
SK: How different is that from where you are now?
LS: Finding my purpose and the way in which I wanted to contribute to the world changed everything, I know exactly what I want to do now! As we grow, we become more aware of our gifts and passions that allow us the opportunity to be more confident in the path we are taking. Along the way, I have also learned ways to cope with life’s challenges – we all need tools we can use when we are struggling whether that’s through exercise or other outlets.
SK: What was one of your most defining moments in life?
LS: When my mom passed away when I was 14, it shaped my life completely from then on – I learned that we all have a choice to make when we go through difficulties and I wanted to choose to use it make a difference somehow.
SK: I largely believe in designing every aspect of one’s life to the best of their ability. What steps do you take to ensure that you live your ideal kind of lifestyle?
LS: I prioritize time for activities that I know bring me balance in being able to take care of myself and rest, such as reading, yoga, and finding places in nature to explore. I realized without prioritizing that time it became very easy to burn out. I also firmly believe in the power of living in deep, meaningful relationship with those around you – so I also ensure I am always spending quality time with friends, family, and those that I work with to continue strengthening those relationships.
SK: Do you have a morning/evening routine or ritual?
LS: Every night, I typically read and then I turn on Insight Timer – a free app that has so many meditation soundtracks. I have found that these two things help me to de-stress from the day and allow my mind to slow down.
SK: What’s one habit you had to shred in order to proposer? What habits did you have to adopt?
LS: I have a habit of over-committing to things and filling all my time with busyness – I had to begin to adopt the ability to say “no” and know that it is okay to put ourselves first, especially our mental health. This is something I am still working on!
SK: What accomplishment do you feel most proud of so far in your life? Why?
LS: I feel most proud of working with Artisan Apparel in Gulu, Uganda to develop fashion design jobs as they are the most talented, innovative individuals I know and I’m so happy when I see their incredible work celebrated by others.
SK: One of the most common things people, including myself, face daily is impostor syndrome- suffering from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success. Have you had this? How do you deal with it?
LS: I deal with this every day, and often battle the feeling of being inadequate to the point of just wanting to remain silent on topics that matter so much to me. I put myself in situations that challenge me to speak more confidently on the subjects I am passionate about and continue to dedicate myself to education and always keeping an open mind to learning more. I also surround myself with people that will encourage and uplift me in those times of self-doubt, but that I can also trust will be honest and hold me accountable (my brother is my go-to).
SK: We have now started a whole new decade and, thank goodness, people are more aware of their power and the importance of intention. I’m curious, what’s your word for the year? What’s the intention behind it?
LS: My word is abundance, I think a lot of my life I have lived out of fear – financially, relationally, spiritually, all of it. And I want to step into my full capabilities this year knowing that my thoughts have a lot of power of how things unfold in my life and so I want to choose a mindset of abundance that attracts things that are healthy for me and my future.
SK: Any big plans for 2020?
LS: I am planning on going to graduate school in September to further study Sustainable Development – I am so excited for this!
SK: Do you often reward yourself after an accomplishment?
LS: After I’ve worked really hard towards a goal and accomplished it, I try to reward myself in little ways like grabbing my favorite dessert (pie!) or going on a small trip – I think it’s important to have a “rest” period after accomplishments to give ourselves time to process and rejuvenate.
SK: If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
LS: My passport, letters from my mom, a book, laptop, and a journal.
SK: How do you normally spend your free time?
LS: Running, yoga, reading, traveling, nonprofit work (Artisan Global), spending time with friends and family, being anywhere by water.
SK: What would you tell twelve year old you, now that you’ve got all this knowledge through growth and experience?
LS: The depth of life’s difficulties is matched by the depth of its joys – don’t lose sight of that in the midst of it all and know that if you choose to – you can turn any painful situation into purpose and passion. An open mind and a willingness to listen will be your greatest tools in life.
SK: One piece of advice that you live by…
LS: May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. – Nelson Mandela
Thank you so much Lauren for sharing with us.