33: How to listen to your inner voice & follow your dreams. Interview with mama, author, and professional photographer Leela Cyd
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Today we are speaking to Leela Cyd, artist, new mama and self made entrepreneur. If you’ve met Leela, you instantly feel her authenticity, hilarious self-deprecating nature and witness her stylish flare and adoration of all things colorful.
Leela grew up in a family of artists-her parents university professors in photography and writing, and have an eye for beauty and creativity that has also always come naturally to her. After going to art school, traveling the world, writing and teaching photography, and being a personal chef, Leela came back to Santa Barbara with her husband to pursue her true passion-photography.
She had to make the tough decision to quit her “day job” and blindly take the leap into her true passion over ten years ago, after working overtime to pursue her dream for years. When she received a phone call from the NY Times that they wanted to feature her work, she knew she had to follow that as a sign. Eventually she went on to author and photograph her own cookbook, Food With Friends: The Art of Small Gatherings as well as Tasting Hygge.
Their newest and most spectacular adventure has been the birth of their 19 month old son-the sparkly and adorable “Iggy” . Leela talks to us today about creatively managing her time so she can still work in her studio daily, and playing this new and role as mom. She is the first to admit that stepping into this role isn’t easy or seamless, and that it can take a while to get used to new and unknown self-identifications, fitting into gender roles, and often putting self-care aside.
Leela is a wonderful example of a mom who truly does what she loves for a living. Her challenge? Finding the time and space to work with a toddler in tow. She is also a co-director at “Stop Motion Studio”. After publishing Tasting Hygge when her son was only four months old, an admittedly ambitious feat, this mama knows what it’s like to hustle and lead with passion and ferocity. She is also quite humble, raw and authentic in all facets of her life, and is always first to admit that there is not such thing as the “perfect mom”.
[05:48] . Leela’s advice to new moms-LET PEOPLE HELP YOU WHEN THEY OFFER!
[10:39] There was a distinct moment that she had to choose to leave her “day job”. This is when she didn’t receive the raise she asked for, and got a call from the NY times in regards to an interest in her photography the same day.
[18:30] Have a “fake it until you make it” attitude about things and you will go far! Learn as you go is Leela’s advice.
[23:37] Having parents that had the attitude that they could do or be anything really translated to her and her ability to bring things into her life that she wanted to manifest.
[27:05] Leela advises to not wait for the exact “right time” but pursue your dreams in the evenings or weekends until you can make it a full time gig. Learning from experience was a huge asset for her.
[27:33] Listen to the inklings that we have when we’re kids! They usually are what we are still passionate about as adults!
[41:32] Leela’s guide to success in communication with her partner? Make plans, put them on the calendar and really try to stick with them!
[45:50] Leela suggests not taking on “everything” as a new mom and allowing your partner to help so you can establish that both parties play a role in taking care of the baby.
[48:46] Being a “soul mamma” to Leela means honoring exactly who her baby is and who she is at the same time, and not allowing herself to get depleted while living a full life.