We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Growing up, I was almost always a risk-taker when it came to trying new things. I am 100% an experiential learner, so in order to find my place in the world, I knew I had to to absorb as much experience as I could when it came to friends, hobbies, sports, spirituality and travel. My family was a huge catalyst for this and I have them to thank for always giving me the support to follow my dreams – even if that meant trading my ballet shoes for hockey equipment within a day’s notice! As an adult, my fire for adventure has not gone out, but I have become more mindful about taking risks, especially when it comes to my business. I have spent a long time relearning how to listen to and trust my intuition and knowing what’s worth taking a risk for. I firmly believe the biggest risk we can take is not taking one at all, and on a deeper level I trust that going after what truly aligns with my goals and my beliefs is far worth taking a chance for. But that doesn’t mean taking big leaps is always easy for me. Starting Shakti Creative and diving into it full-time in 2019 was a huge risk in itself. I live in Breckenridge, CO where the living expenses are extremely high and a lot of people my age have to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. I had been working as Marketing Director for 3 years at a local property management & vacation rental company where my pay was comfortable, but I was unhappy and knew in my heart that position was not meant to last for me. Facing the fact that I had to move on in order to build my own dream career was terrifying, yet liberating all at once – and to me, that was worth risking everything for! Owning a business means putting a lot of trust in myself every second of every day and coming face-to-face with risk more than I’d like to admit. There is always an internal pressure to move forward, make decisions (big and small) and continue growing. To grow means to change, and in my opinion there is no change without some sort of risk involved. Taking risks means looking beyond my own limiting beliefs, opening up to trust in possibility and believing that when I decide to take that big leap there is somewhere to land. When what some may call “failure” arises, I take it as a lesson and I figure out how to pivot. With risk comes maintaining trust in my process, my support system and myself, even on the hardest of days.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being the sole owner and designer for my business means I have to be the wearer of many hats. Behind the scenes, I find my biggest battles are balancing the workload of running Shakti Creative which includes seeking new clients, writing proposals and onboarding, maintaining client communications, finances, carving out time to build my website and market myself and planning for growth, while still maintaining the ability to stay creative and focused on all my wonderful clients! In the first year of running my business I worked insane hours and was consistently pushing through burnout which eventually caught up with me. So now, I make sure that my mental wellness is top priority which means I now have strict times when I cut myself off from work in order to decompress, get outside and spend time with loved ones.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I lived in Denver for 3 years while attending the Art Institute of Colorado, so most of my time was spent on Cap Hill or in the mountains where I now live! City O’ City has an awesome plant-based menu and delicious cocktails. Snooze – always a classic for brunch! Linger and Rootdown are always on my list to visit, as well as Queen of Sheba for Ethiopian cuisine. Going to a good concert is always a great time, no matter which venue it’s at! Since my heart stays in the mountains always, we’d head up to Summit County to spend the rest of the week. Coffee + Brunch spots – Unravel Coffee (best coffee in Breck), Cool River, Cabin Juice, or The Crown. Lunch + Dinner Spots – Bold, Piante Pizzeria, Aurum. For Wellness – Meta Yoga Studios for all the yoga! Happy Hour – Broken Compass (dogs + beer!), Blue River Bistro (tapas + 2-for-1 martinis), RMU (great outdoor seating and cocktails). Other – I live at Gravity Haus these days whether it’s going to their great group fitness classes, taking a soak in the cold + hot tubs, working in StarterHaus co-working space, enjoying a Cafe au lait at Unravel Coffee, or avocado toast at Cabin Juice, so we’d surely spend some time there. Go-to hikes with stunning views: Willow Lakes Trail in Silverthorne; Mt Royal to Peak 1 in Frisco/Breckenridge; Mohawk Lakes in Blue River; I’ve also been loving finding hidden gems in Alma where I live with seasonal lakes, excellent backcountry and stunning views.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m confident that many of my successes are thanks mostly to my community and the people I surround myself with on a weekly basis. To my family, friends, and clients – you are my inspiration and I am eternally grateful for your endless support. In particular, I’d like to give a shoutout to my husband, life adventure partner and fellow risk-taker – Jack Lee. Without you believing in me and having the willingness to get uncomfortable, I don’t know where I would be in this journey. Thank you for your continued encouragement, perspective, and helping me check myself time after time. I love you.
Timber & Stone Photo