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"If you Don't Grow Yourself, you Won't Grow your Business" - Mindset & Money Talk with Chris Lavish
All photos by  Cassell Inc.

All photos by Cassell Inc.

Never under the influence, always influencing
— Chris Lavish

When I heard of Chris Lavish for the first time, Global Digital Director at Fashion Week Online, I thought “Not only does this guy unapologetically say what he thinks, but he has a style that’s impossible to copy. And he escaped the 9/5, And he’s woke. And vegan. And spiritual…”

#Tribe!

I wanted to investigate more about the Lavish signature and learn:

-> What led the self-called “intergalactic tattoo module” to stop caring about people’s opinions to become his true self,

-> How he unlocked the money energy and the mindset that allowed him to access the traveling & influencer lifestyle that "many dream of, but few work for”.

The conversation turned into a podcast with one of the most genuine and fun persons I’ve met, filled with inspiration and motivational quotes.

Find your Way in the Episode:

0:30 - How making money affects your biochemistry

3:00 - Why you have to know how much you’re worth

6:30 - Morning & evening routine

9:45 - Chris’ fashion journey

11:30 - Pleasing yourself comes first

13:00 - Truth in the media & why how much you care will dictate how far you go in life

17:00 - How the universe rewards you for living freely

26:00 - Can you work AND be happy? + Why you should avoid the 9/5

“The way you start your day is the way you start your life”

Chris Lavish’ tips to conquer the day:

  1. Wake up as early as possible

  2. Stretch, foam-roll

  3. Exercise to get the body active

  4. Drink water

  5. Take a really cold water

  6. Kill the day!

Some delicious quotes from Chris Lavish, for when you need a little extra motivation to crush your goals:

MONEY

“Which language am I fluent in? Money talk”

“Money is the only way you’ll ever free yourself from both yourself and what other people think”

SELF-LOVE

“If you want to be everybody else, you’ll never be yourself”

“Caring will dictate how far you go in life. If you care too much, you’ll kill yourself out of money.”

“It’s impossible to make someone happy - You’re better off trying to please yourself, at least you know you better.”

“You can’t please everyone, but as long as you please yourself you’ll be alright.”

VALUING YOURSELF

“You have to know how much you’re worth, or else you’ll always get underpaid”

“I’m close to priceless, or to some people im just completely free.”

MENTAL FREEDOM

“I escaped that mental prison a long time ago and never looked back”.

“Mental freedom is the first step and then you just pick your path”.

HUSTLE

“The way you start your morning is the way you start your life”

“You expect too much and work too little”.

“I’ve never met anybody who works 24/7 and never got somewhere”

“If you don’t grow yourself, you won’t grow your business”

Find more of Chris on Instagram:

Chris Lavish Instagram

Chris Lavish Instagram

Why the 24 - 24 - 24 Rule Could Be Your New Best Advice
Estimated reading time: 5'

Estimated reading time: 5'

At my last job, we used to have this LED sign that said "Get shit donel".

If there's one guy that would fit most that description, I'd say it's my former co-worker Victor, who I had originally met in NYC.

He was in his twenties and he is an executive, with over 30 people under him.

He was incredibly dedicated, he worked really hard and when he taught you something, he was crystal clear and left no room for misunderstandings.

You always saw him running everywhere in the office, and you better plan ahead if you want to set up a meeting because his days are fully booked to the minute.

Of course, it raised my eyebrow.

 

"Back in New York, I was always really good at school, inspired by my very busy and successful dad. 

I always had shit to do, and that's where I got my work ethic from.

A typical day for me between 14 and 18 was: waking up at 4 AM, going to practice till 6, going to a different practice till 7.30, coming back home, making my sister breakfast, packing her lunch, taking her to school, going to school from 8 to 3, then going home, checking my sisters homework, making dinner, going back to practice, coming home, putting her to sleep, finishing my homework at midnight, then getting up at 4 AM to do it all over again.

At 21, I became the Founder and COO of an organic ice-cream shop.

I had studied Management, Finance & Marketing so my co-founders who did not go to school relied on me to create the revenue model, the business plan, organise events, deal with suppliers, vendors and distributors...

I had to do all of this myself while studying full-time, and when I did not know certain things that they don't teach you at school, like negotiating a distribution deal, I had no choice but to get on the phone and work it out.

Also in business, you gotta be quick. It's not school anymore, you don't have all the time in the world to Google around, or ask your classmates for help. if you're not fast, you're potentially losing thousands of dollars every day.

I was trying my best but I was young, inexperienced, and did not get any help, so we ended up losing all of our original investment.

I then started another business in the food industry with three of my best friends.

Same situation, they relied on me for every single thing, but that time, I knew exactly what I was doing and had make clear and reliable financial projections.

Thing is, after a year, we still weren't making any money and my co-founders lost patience and refused to stick to the original plan, which was to wait another couple months and see the results come to life.

They did not understand the numbers, they did not get the point of investing in marketing and operations, and because my previous business had failed, they were scared to see the same thing happen before their eyes and their savings go up in smoke. On top of that, they were coming from a low-income neighborhood and this was basically their only chance to have a better future, so they decided to fire me. My own best friends.

I did not want to go through that hell and mediate with lawyers. I had to pay back my salary and worse, completely disassociate with the company.

My name was erased from every single piece of paperwork, my face was scratched off the pictures, etc, when I'm the one who made every single business decision. From the color of the sofa to the items on the menu, that are by the way still unchanged today.

Years later, after following my business plan and projections to the letter, the business turned to be a success and my old friends and partners admitted their fault. We reconciled and they sent me a check with the money I had to pay back. I really needed it at the time, but I ripped it apart. 

They still call me every once in a while for business advice, and we hang out..."

Surprised, I teased him about his calm and mature reaction.

"I am not mad. i have a lot of emotions, but I am not easily mad.

Growing up, my mum used to teach me to breath and calm down before making judgments or decisions in the heat of the moment. I learnt to put my ego aside, move on and not carry bitterness around. 

My friends got my back two hundred times, but when there was 6-figures of money involved, they turned their back at me, that's completely understandable. I forgave them, even though I always want them to remember what they did.

In the book The Art of War, Lao Tzu says that if you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Thinking about the past is a waste of time and energy. I like to figure out what I've learned from tough moments but I don't need to know why. I just care that I'm doing the right thing."

 

Interesting. I ask what he means by "the right thing".

"The biggest learnings that I've made sure to implement since then, were that:

1. I have to separate business and friendship. When I talk business I care about the money. 

2. I cannot do everything by myself. I need a team, and a team that's involved.

3. Transparency is key: you show your team how you do things, they understand it and you can move on. i always make sure to communicate.

4. It is about the journey, I have learned so much, grown so much, and despite rough times, my life had evolved so much since then, and turned into a blessing. So I am thankful for everything.

5. When something really bad (major) happens to me, say I get dumped by a girlfriend or fired from a job for example, I use the first 24, next 24, next 24 rule:

During the first 24 hours, after my raw emotions come out, I reflect on my mistakes, my learnings, what I have to do to move on, my biggest takeaways, and then I don't think about it again for the next 24 days, then I do the same thing 24 months later!"

 

A week later, something major happened against my will and I had to put that saying into practice.  

Are you ready to try to first 24 - next 24 - next 24 rule, let go of your grudges and live in the moment?
Always Dare to Be More!

I met Tatiana at a women-only networking event in LA. 

We instantly vibed as she also is a big believer of female empowerment. 

What she taught me however; was that there's a pretty common misconception of the definition of a successful career among us ladies : indeed; the path is very much different for each gender, and copying males can very much lead to unfulfilment; feeling the need to constantly prove ourselves, or being perceived as a bitch.

Rather; she taught me the importance of embracing who we truly are, taking into account our specific gifts from nature and embracing our differences: Listen to her story and how she came to those realisations after having hit the wall herself. 


Sum-up of the episode:

-  Feminine Vs Masculine energy

- Embracing your gender-specific power or taking it away from yourself

- Achieving the society-defined success but hitting the wall at a Tony Robbin's event

- Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure

- Western women will heal the world

- How copying men can turn you into a bitch

- The right way to use your guns as an attractive woman

Reading time: 1'

Reading time: 1'

Be Yourself
Estimated reading time: 1'

Estimated reading time: 1'

I met Gitele in my friend's house in the Hamptons. Which turned out to be a swingers house... But that's a story for another day.

She was stunningly beautiful and extrovert.

She kept observing and analyzing me, wanting me to get out of my shell in social environments.

"I was born and raised in NYC, but my origins are Russian, she said.

At home, my parents always made a point to preserve our culture so we'd speak, eate and breath Russian.

When I was small, my mum would pack my lunch bag for school with traditional Russian food such as Borscht or Golubtsy, but since all my schoolmates were American, they used to make fun of me and tease me for eating differently than them.

So after a while, I'd throw my food away on my way to school and at the cafeteria and because I had no other food, I'd sneak under the table and pick up the fries that had fallen down to the floor. My brother used to do the same thing and we quickly ended up getting caught.

I realized that I couldn't go on like that and slowly learnt to embrace my uniqueness, despite my crave for fitting in.

I am a major Kardashian fan and yes, when I go out, I do like to wear extensions, colored lenses and a lot of makeup.

But during daytime, you'll see we with savage hair, glasses on and a jumpsuit. And that's okay.

I know some girls who'd workout or go to the pool with a plastered face and for me that's a sign of insecurity.

It used to be me too, though. I worked hard on building my self-confidence. I am proud of saying that I am Russian, and I am more confident in my personality. I am slowly starting to express my artistic side through painting and sculpting and already have a 5 figure bid for one picture.

I am convinced that if you let your true self shine and 100% BELIEVE in yourself, you will achieve success. if you pretend to be someone else, are your friends really your friends? If I ask you what your greatest skill is and your answer hesitantly, would anyone invest in you?" 

Life is a Domino Effect
Estimated reading time: 2'30

Estimated reading time: 2'30

As I was visiting LA for interviews, I caught up with a friend who had just directed his own short film.

We chatted about his passion for movies.  

- "I have always been interested in the movie industry, but originally on a superficial level. I did a couple plays in high school, and one day a friend introduced to a photographer who took some model shots of me, which led me to job opportunities. He was showing the pictures to agents who would say "Who's that guy?'. It was a snowball effect, that contact led me to participating in dating shows, commercials, a telenovela... Until I acted in a movie. I realised this was what I wanted to do with my life.

At that time, I was 29, about to turn 30, and felt that I was drowning, back in Miami. When I decided to leave for good, my girlfriend wouldn't believe it because I was talking about it for so long, and she had been holding me back. But I did not have the patience to wait for her to follow me anymore, so I packed everything and drove away.

At first I was naive, shy and not acclimated to the Californian culture. I did not have this laid-back mentality as I came from Miami where people have the latino blood. I did not know anyone and did not know about the bar diving culture as a way to meet people. One friend introduced me to it, and from then on, I created my network, which led me to more opportunities, by word-of-mouth.

I started to take things more seriously and work towards my goal: I took acting classes, got myself an agent and decided to move to Hollywood. But it wasn't it. I did commercials for 10 years, and nothing major happened,

I wasn't focused. I wasn't trying hard enough.

So as things evolved and as I started to believe in myself more and try harder, I got into a couple more movies and music videos, first as an extra, and then as small parts. Now, just like Ben Affleck and Matt Damond did, I've decided to take it to another level and show Casting Directors a product. So I drafted my own script, and teamed-up with friends to do a short film, in which I could display different facettes of my acting skills.

I truly believe that everything in life happens when it is supposed to. There is a domino effect. I worked in a certain bar, met certain people etc, which led me to where I am now. I still have a long way to go, but if you had told me that I would be an actor in Hollywood when I was 18, I would have thought you were crazy.

There is an expression saying that if you keep looking at the sky, you won't see obstacles. My dream is to have an Oscar, and that's what I keep in mind everyday. I won't give up, no matter difficulties, and no matter the time it will take, until I finally hold it in my hands".

Speak Up!
cat calls of New York

There are few guerrilla street art projects that can catch your attention and trigger emotions in you like Catcalls of NYC does. Just imagine walking down the street and reading the sentence "come blow me" or "I deserve to touch that ass"  in rainbow colors under your feet... Impossible to remain impassive.

Sophie Sandberg started chalking pavements in New York shortly after puberty, when realizing that not only men were catcalling her on a regular basis despite her young age, 15, but that passersby weren't paying attention to it.

She decided to dedicate her studies and past time learning about gender equity and raising awareness on sexual harassment, in the hope of empowering both victims and witnesses to speak up.

Listen to her inspiring story and share your experience of sexual harassment in the comments below.

Find your way in the episode:

1:00: How the project started

2:00: Compliments or harassment?

4:00: Feeling powerful by making someone feel uncomfortable

4:50: The #metoo movement

6:00 Tips to learn to speak up

8:00: Why women should be empowered