Name: Jamie Ridler, MA, CPCC,
Occupation: Creative Living Coach
Business: Jamie Ridler Studios
Where does work fit in your life? How do you relate to the concept of “work”?
In my life there are very few things that click easily into only one of these two categories. Coaching clients and leading classes is “work.” Having a lazy Sunday with my husband is “life.” But what about when I’m making art and Instagramming it? What about when I travel to France for my wedding anniversary and then write about becoming a more confident traveler? What about the YouTube show I host with my sisters, stART: Creating as We Go? It’s our kitchen-table conversations about what we’re creating and how it’s affecting us. The only difference is we record it.
I think the line is so fuzzy because though my work is work it’s also my mission, my purpose, and so I’m living it every day. I honestly don’t go anywhere or do anything without thinking about how this moment, this insight, this resource, this song, this place, this idea can help people bring their creativity to life. I try to show up and be of service to this mission every day all the time. It may sound a bit obsessive but it actually lights me up and keeps me engaged, curious and creating. I love it.
For more about the #FCRoleModels program and what it’s all about, click here!
What do you find meaningful about your work?
A lot of people underestimate the value of creativity. They think it’s frivolous play for those with the luxury of time but what I know is that it’s the lifeblood of the human spirit. Engaging with life, constructively working with what’s available, imagining better, opening up possibilities and bringing ideas to life, all of this creativity has the capacity to not only transform our lives but also the world around us. We can develop these skills, along with the courage and confidence to use them, by engaging with the arts, activating and expanding our creative capacity.
Every day I get notes and emails from people around the world whose lives have been changed because inspired by something they’ve found at Jamie Ridler Studios, they gave themselves permission to finally paint or dance or write or sing, to spend time in coffee shops and art galleries, to wear the clothes they love and hang out with people they love, to finally, after all these years, create a life they love. Nothing means more to me than that.
Dress: Simpleton Dress by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Necklace: Torched Studio available at 692 Queen Street West.
This eternal question of work/life balance… what’s your attitude toward it?
I think work/life balance is only valuable if you define the word “balance” in a way that is deeply personally meaningful. For me, when I hear “balance,” I think “boring.” I don’t want equal parts of this and that. I don’t want the volume dial set to 7. I want passion and vibrant aliveness. I want to finish my days completely spent on good work well done and then I want to sleep well and fully. I want to wake up in the morning refreshed, full of creative fire and ready to do it all over again.
For me, balance is about embracing the natural energies of day and night, sun and moon, summer and winter, with times to be exuberantly alive and in action and times to embrace the power of retreat and rejuvenation. If I’m feeling good, vibrant and alive, I know I’ve struck that balance. If not, it’s time to recalibrate.
Top: Yasmine Louis; Skirt: Typewriter Denim Skirt by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Necklace: Colleen Poitras
What parts of your personality have changed as you have learned to become a successful entrepreneur?
As a highly sensitive person who is creating work straight out of my heart, it’s taken me a while to learn that my work and my self are not the same thing. I used to take everything so personally. If I sent out an email with a mistake in it, I was mortified. I’d be quaking with embarrassment and have tears in my eyes as I sent an apologetic correction. If someone criticized something I’d created, I’d be hurt or I’d be defensive. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to make a mistake or let anyone down. I had to be all things to all people and respond to every situation perfectly or my dream would turn to dust.
But I’m just a person and trying to live up to that impossible standard is exhausting, unhealthy and ultimately defeating. People are allowed to have their own response, good, bad or indifferent, to what I put out in the world and though that response may rock me, it isn’t going to stop me. If anything, paying attention to the truths in the message will make me better at what I do.
What I’ve come to know is that I am resilient and my dream is too.
How do your family and friends feel about your career and your commitment to it?
I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive circle of close friends and family who believe in me and my dreams 100%, many of whom have been right there cheering me on since I left graduate school to begin this journey. I honestly think I would have exploded if I hadn’t built strong friendships with other creative, entrepreneurial women who are as interested in talking about ideas, possibilities and strategies as I am!
I think the one thing that my family and friends would wish for me is that the road to success wouldn’t be so hard or have taken so long… oh, and that I’d get a book deal, like, right now.