I’m Not a Success Story—I’m a Slow Story

When I think about slowing down, I often refer back to a moment in my early twenties. In the first years of developing my business, I found myself sitting in my dad’s apartment in Queens, tired and completely frustrated. There was momentum around what I was doing, but I couldn’t seem to find solid ground. I was young and still didn’t know all of the questions to ask, yet somehow my dad provided me with the answer of a lifetime: “It’s going to take about 10 years,” he said knowingly.
At the time, the “it” he was referring to was the inflection point that we had grown used to seeing in the founder community. There would be a collective awakening to a founder’s entrepreneurial prowess that would cement their status as an innovator, expert—a success story. If I’m honest, that defining moment never came in the way I had expected. But after nearly a decade of running (toward incredible opportunities, and sometimes into walls), I have only recently started to catch my breath and actively recalibrate my perspective in all areas of life.
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As I write this, I’m 10 days shy of my 28th birthday, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s actually happened in the 10 years since I first catapulted myself into adulthood. While the way I view my work has changed, my gradual shift in pace has also revealed what’s remained constant in an age predicated on speed: creativity, connection, stories.
From Tumblr blog to boutique content company, my business ultimately morphed into something that feels all-too-fitting for the situation we currently find ourselves in. (You can read a little background here.) The most recent (and perhaps most important) addition is a podcast and platform called Slow Stories, which features conversations about slowing down and telling stories in our digital age with creatives and founders—like Glitter Guide’s own Taylor Sterling. So when Taylor asked me to write a piece about slowing down in honor of Glitter Guide’s November theme, I revisited our Slow Stories conversation. This soundbite from Taylor struck a chord: “If you have the ability to slow down, you get this time and space to pay attention and to recognize things around you and within yourself—that maybe before with all the noise, and the busyness or things that you’re consuming, made it hard to hear and to notice.”
Do you feel your chest rising and falling with each breath? Do you purse your lips as a thought passes quietly through your mind? When you look in the mirror, what do you notice? When you step outside, what do you want to see?
Like Taylor, I’ve been learning to pay attention and ask myself critical questions about what it means to build a life with longevity. Slowing down has undoubtedly played a role in this with a reminder to prioritize pace over performance, expression over ego. However, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that “slowing down” transcends any one action or lifestyle—it is a conversation. It ignites curiosity. It creates space for question marks to emerge in places that periods used to occupy. Slowing down is a story with no ending.
We’re taught to look at life in chapters, but I’m now beginning to see that in reality, it’s one long, run-on sentence—the trick is knowing when to read between the lines. But if you find yourself stuck on the page or unsure of where to turn next, I’ll end this piece with where my story first began: It’s going to take 10 years—maybe more. Whatever you’re pursuing might even take a lifetime, but if you ask me, I can’t think of a better way to spend it. So slow down, and make the most of every moment.
Thank you, Rachel.
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Author: Taylor Sterling

Taylor Sterling is the founder and creative director of Glitter Guide. When she's not working on all things GG, she can be found reading and sometimes art directing photoshoots for @LolaJayne. She enjoys spending time with her family and eating french fries (not necessarily at the same time, although that's definitely the best combination). Follow her at @TaylorSterling