I brought my friend Cameron with me to Leon, Mexico last week on my product development trip.

Cameron and I go back since college and he hails from a tight circle of friends who are some of the most brilliant, conscientiousness and incredible people to grace my world. His best friend Paul is married to my best friend Kelly – hence the name of my signature bag. And we probably share 20 other super close friends — like Bob who is the artistic catalyst behind Soul Carrier and the guy who remodeled my condo, and Andy Brown who was at the very beginning stages of helping me build this brand.

Anyway, I knew Cameron would be the perfect person to help me navigate and translate my way through Mexico.

From the moment we waltzed into Sky Harbor Airport the conversation was on. We covered a multitude of topics, but the majority was spent analyzing Soul Carrier and where I want to take this brand.

I went into the trip with a zillion ideas, a ton of collaboration opportunities, and a very frazzled sense of being due to being over-extended in my “Yes’s”.

I am definitely a “Yes” girl. I am an extrovert. I am someone who loves to collaborate. I am someone who loves people. I am someone who gets a thrill from the synergy of teaming up with other creatives. I am someone who often bites off way more than I can chew because I want to be a part of every project that is presented to me. I am someone who says yes because I do not want to disappoint those that are requesting something of me.

And as Soul Carrier grows, opportunities are being bestowed upon me that I could never have imagined. It is humbling and at times quite overwhelming! And I often swim in a hazy state trying to decipher it all.

It took some intense, yet soulful conversations with Cameron, to pull me back from the edge. I was ready to spin in 10 different directions while in Leon. But by taking the time to holistically look at Soul Carrier, I came to realize that nothing will happen without building a solid infrastructure first. I cannot deliver an extraordinary product if I don’t have a fortified base for which it can stand.

I have big plans for Soul Carrier that go way beyond handbags. I want this to be a lifestyle brand. I want this be an inspirational entity. I want Soul Carrier to be a vehicle to encourage people to ask themselves “Where do I want to go? And can I be authentic to the journey it takes to get there!?” I want to throw epic fashion shows with other designers. Fashion shows that involve deejays like Avicii and are sponsored by Whole Foods and include yoga raves and film and art festivals.

However, these events and projects are going to take a lot of dedication, commitment and hard work  — and they can only come to fruition if I stay loyal to the course and build that rock-solid base first. Patiently, I must put down brick after brick, and lay that secure foundation.

And yet, every time I start to over-extend myself, saying yes to opportunities that reside outside MY vision, I end up losing my way, diluting my greater vision and eroding some of the foundation I am trying to build.

Cameron hounded into my head the concept of “True North”. Telling me to run everything through this concept whenever an opportunity was presented to me, or I had a choice to make.

It all made so much sense when I pony back up to myTrue North. I need to be crystal clear about my goals and my vision. Anything that isn’t moving me towards these goals needs to go into one of two categories “Maybe later, but not right now” or a gracious but firm “No”.

We all have a True North. We all have goals, a vision for our life, something we want to achieve.

But how many of us get off course by ignoring our true north? How many times have we side stepped where we wanted to go in order to please, perform or say “yes” to something that dragged us in a direction other than our TRUE NORTH!?

How many times have we compromised our greater goals for short term glory? The short term glory can be alluring, but it is never as rewarding as arriving at where you originally intended to go.

By the end of our trip, I had edited down what I actually was going to put into production, I had a clearer sense of the direction I was moving towards, and I pulled back from a couple of opportunities that were not in Soul Carrier’s best interest.

Thank you so much Cameron — you definitely helped me regain my balance and sense of direction! The way your mind works and the conversations we share are worth their weight in gold. Your actions have had a tremendous impact upon me and Soul Carrier, and I am truly grateful for your friendship and wisdom.

I want to stand for authenticity, contribution, showing up and shining bright. I want to live a life of illumination. I want to inspire people to ask themselves the question “Where do I want to go? And can I be authentic to the journey it takes to get there!?” And yet, the only way for me to lead this type of life is to answer those questions myself. Furthermore, being kind to others is an absolute must, but I also must be kind enough to myself, to know when it is time to pull back and say “No!” —no matter how tantalizing the offer.

To staying focused. To not being afraid of prioritizing. To staying cemented to my soul’s true north.

What is your true north? Are you willing to run all your actions, behaviors and choices through it? Are you willing to forgo short term glory for the arrival at your long term destination?

To living a life that illuminates and shines!

Jenn xo