We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Leiby and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sarah, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Finding the ideal work life balance has been a lifetime goal… and what feels like a lifetime struggle. For several years, I found myself stuck in the mentality that if I just worked and worked and worked, one day all the work would pay off and I would finally be able to enjoy my time and do what I wanted to do. I was working service industry jobs that brought me no actual joy, aside from being able to trade my time for money. Probably the easiest and most thoughtless way to actually make money. As the cost of my life began to go up every year, I started having to work more… and more.. and more. Until it felt like I was forced to spend the majority of my time at work in order to even put food on the table, much less invest in myself and my true passions. I see this exact same pattern in so many of my friends and family, It is the hidden trap of the corporate American Dream. I stayed stuck in it for years, but some stay stuck for their entire lifetimes. My heart is too full of dreams and desires to waste away my life working for someone else’s goals and not my own. I truly do believe everyone can and should start their own business, and we would live in a much more abundant and free society with everyone making their living by sharing their gifts. Realizing the need to escape this system is one thing, but putting a practical plan into place for how to achieve it is another. It usually involves a lot of trial and error, and a good attitude because you WILL fail. You will loose money, and you’ll waste time. Letting these things go and accepting them as learning experiences is a huge key to finding success in building a successful business. I feel very thankful that this past year, me and my partner have begun to put in many steps to get our business off the ground. We were both unemployed in March, as many were as well, and although this did bring about many challenges, it ended up being a huge blessing. It finally gave me the time I had longed to have for so long to devote to the things I actually want to do, which led to me being able to make a living and stay busy through making art. We were able to get what would have taken years done in a matter of months. This was really eye opening, because I had previously held onto my job because it was safe. Being thrown into a situation where I no longer had work forced me to step up to the plate and get resourceful. I used my creativity to figure out how to do what I am good at and make money from it as well. And although a situation like what happened to us in March may never come around again, I do believe that everyone could take bigger risks than they feel comfortable taking, and be surprised at how things may work out for them. I really do believe the key to finding the work life balance is to find work that makes you excited. To pay attention to your passions and what you enjoy doing day to day, to think about ways you can use that to help and serve others, and to take a leap of faith and go for it! When you love your work, you no longer have to create a work life balance because your work and your life become one and it no longer feels quite as excruciating as the work we previously knew.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art career began through painting. Thanks to the encouragement of my friends and family, I began to showcase my work in art shows and sell prints. This was quite successful from the start, and I had a lot of plans to continue to show my work at festivals until 2020 rerouted those plans. This year gave me more time to focus on commissions, and on a huge goal of mine, to design custom apparel. I started hand painting on denim jackets, and working on designs for a clothing line which I plan to launch in 2021. This year also brought me to an unlikely career path, but one I am so excited and thankful to be pursuing; tattooing. I recently started my tattoo apprenticeship and am diving headfirst into learning how to translate my artwork onto skin! This is very exciting for me because it gives me a chance to truly touch people by bringing their memories or ideas to life in a piece of art that they will carry with them forever. I’m incredibly thankful to be in a position where I get to do different kinds of art every day, from designing clothes and paintings, to doing art on people’s skin, this was a truly transformational year and I am so excited to see what the future holds!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Dallas is a city full of many hidden gems! On the surface, it is not a huge tourist destination. We don’t have beaches or mountains, but after living in Dallas for several years, I found a few spots that touch my heart and that I love to share with others! One of my most favorite places to take people is the Green Elephant. For those who have never been, the Green Elephant is a wacky place where every Wednesday, music lovers, artists, weirdos, hippies, and unsuspecting SMU students alike come together for a night of dancing, laughter, and good vibes. Outside you’ll find vendors and fire spinners, as well as a drum circle which is usually mostly improv and features guest artists often. Inside is where the electronic music resides, and the resident DJ’s keep the energy high with house music. There will often be dance circles where flow artists and dancers will show off their stuff. It’s always a good time, and always something different. For a nice relaxing morning after a night of dancing, you definitely can’t beat tying up a hammock at white rock lake with a good book. In the summer, me and my friends love to lay claim to a cluster of trees and enjoy the calming energy of the lake while we read. You really can’t go wrong. By lunchtime, I’m usually hungry for something nourishing and something I love about Dallas is the wide variety of healthy food options. One of my favorite places to frequent is Cosmic Cafe. Their menu is fully vegetarian, and you’ll find nourishing dishes like curry, pita wraps, veggie burgers, and one of my favorite things ever, SAMOSAS, but also incredibly delicious takes on dishes like enchiladas and pizza. There’s something for everyone and as soon as you walk in and see the beautiful decor, you’ll understand why it’s such a magical place. Another thing I love to bring friends to are yoga classes! You’ll definitely find plenty of studios to choose from in Dallas, but the studio which has the most special place in my heart is Black Swan Yoga. There are classes for people of every level from beginner fundamental classes, slow healing flows, or power flows which will kick your butt but make you feel amazing. I especially love to bring friends to power flows because they’re often surprised that they’re capable of more than they thought they were. It’s always a good time!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The most influential person in my life in every area would have to be my lifetime partner and soul mate, Weston Dawkins. We share our vision and bounce off each other so well, while still maintaining our individual goals and perspectives. We’ve always worked very well together on projects because we often see things in different but complimentary ways, which allows us to create things that neither of us could have came up with on our own. Whether it’s through music, art, or any of the many different business ideas we’ve tried over the years, we inspire each other to give it all we have.

Instagram: chrysalis.studios
Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/SarahLeibyViolin
Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChrysalisStudiosShop

Image Credits
Sarah Leiby

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