From the US, to Byron and several countries in between, artist and 2015 Pursue Your Passion attendee Alexandra Matthews tells us how embarking on the adventure of a lifetime and following her heart's calling has changed her life forever.

Can you briefly tell us about Soul Paper Art and why you created the business?

Soul Paper started from my passion and love of creativity and art. If I could do one thing for the rest of my life it would be exactly this! I am very drawn to minimalism so I aim for simple, clean, and eye-catching illustrations. I aim to create art that is fluid and alive. But most importantly I create art that has soul. Meraki is a Greek word that means to do something with soul, creativity, or love. It is when you leave a piece of yourself in your work. There is no better word to describe exactly what I do or why I do it.

You attended our original Pursue Your Passion when you were in Australia in 2015. How has this event helped you on your journey?

My life forever changed after I left my day job and bought a one-way ticket across the world. This turning point led to a year and a half, 7 different countries, and countless memories that I would not trade for anything in the world. While I was abroad living/working in Byron Bay last summer I came across an advertisement for the Pursue Your Passion Event while browsing through the gorgeous clothes & accessories at Spell Boutique. I spontaneously bought a ticket that night because I have always been passionate about entrepreneurship, small business and creativity.  

All of the beautiful women who spoke that night at Pursue Your Passion (Shelley Craft, Michelle Merrifield, Elizabeth Briedis and Lisa Fitzpatrick) were absolutely incredible. Hearing each of their stories of how they got to where they were in their businesses was overwhelmingly inspiring for me. I definitely left having experienced that “lightbulb moment” of what I wanted to spend my life doing which was creating beautiful art for beautiful people all around the world. 

I made a promise to myself after attending Pursue Your Passion that when I returned home to California I would take my dreams seriously and pursue what I love doing. So in September of 2016 I opened Soul Paper where I sell my art, illustrations, greeting cards and other paper goods. I am taking this little dream of mine and running with it!

How important is staying true to yourself in following the path of your passion?

It is absolutely everything. Personally this means being authentic to who I am as a person and maintaining relationships with the people that are closest to my heart. I can’t imagine life without the support from my loved ones and their ongoing care for who I am and what I am creating with Soul Paper.

It’s so hard sometimes to not compare yourself to other creatives in similar fields as you but one thing that I have learned is that the only person that you should try to be better than is the person that you were yesterday. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you come from you can always become a better version of yourself. I try to work on that each day.

What is your favourite mantra or quote?

I am such a quote person. I love the simplicity, rawness, and inspiration that they bring me. Recently these are two of my favorites. 
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it” – Steve Job

“Yes, I’ve made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it…I have written because it fulfilled me...I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” –Stephen King

What advice could you offer others looking to follow their soul’s calling and embark on a passion project, business or new career direction?

  • Don’t wait for opportunities – create them. Never stop believing that you will make it, and you will. Continue to persist and persevere and don’t be afraid of failure because it will only make you stronger in the end. 
  • Start where you are. Use what you can. Do what you can.
  • Find out what life is like without comfort. Traveling taught me a lot about being out of my element and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I don’t think that I have ever grown more as a person or had my passions become so clear until this point. 
  • You are what you do – not what you say you’ll do. If people like you they will listen to you, but I people trust you they will do business with you. 
  • Lastly I have found the most successful entrepreneurs that I admire have at least one common thread; they’re always looking to learn. They are looking to better themselves and their business; and to make improvements for their customers. Stay curious and never stop learning.