I had the honor of sitting down with Meagan Ayres, the founder of Project You based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Project You is a movement of women coming together to consciously elevate themselves and the world.
“It’s more than just an organization or a business, it’s a way of life,” says Meagan. From being a shy, timid girl and someone who initially lacked self confidence, Meagan decided to put her foot down and break out of her own ways. Through personal development courses and other resources as well as experiencing her own breakthroughs, she discovered her purpose and founded Project You. It later became a well sought after organization and community that was much needed in the city of Vancouver. Ladies, meet Meagan!
Meagan, thanks so much for being here today and for taking time out of your busy schedule. Can you give us a little background on yourself? Who you are and how your organization came to be?
Thanks for having me! I’m Meagan and I’ve lived in Vancouver for 5 years now, though I grew up in Ontario. When I moved to Vancouver, I really felt that people in Vancouver in general were more active with their lifestyles and were doing things to live a more purposeful life. Many people I initially made connections with had huge aspirations, big dreams and goals. I found that to be really inspiring. Believe it or not, I used to be a very closed off person. I found it difficult to speak up in larger groups and have my voice heard and I was always very timid. I often lacked confidence and was often quite nervous.
Then I thought to myself that I should really be doing something more with my life. A friend of mine at that time introduced me to Landmark a few years ago. Landmark is a global enterprise committed to the fundamental principle that people have the possibility of success, fulfilment and greatness. This program made me want to be more committed to personal growth and figure out what I wanted to do with my life and figure out what my purpose was.
That’s when I created Project You. Toward the end of the course, I had to create a project in my community that would impact society in a positive way. At that time, I was more focused on feeling a lot more confident with myself and my body, as I’d suffered through many body image issues that many young women go through. I really wanted to build a community where women could come together to feel confident in their own skin and know who they are. I also wanted to use it as a safe haven where they could figure out what they wanted to do. That was the initial idea, and since then it’s really transformed.
Initially this was a passion project for myself which developed into something for the greater community. I didn’t realize how much of an impact it would actually have. It’s interesting how quickly things can change!
How long have you been operating your organization now and would you say entrepreneurship was something that had always been of interest to you?
It will be two years in August. I feel like I was always entrepreneur focused. Even as a child, I was always trying to find ways to make money and to raise money or sell things. I always wanted to run my own business. I just didnt find the core thing as to what I wanted to do. I always had these ideas to start something, but then they would always get delayed. It really just comes down to taking action and just doing it and it took me awhile to realize that you CAN do anything you want and what your heart desires. You just have to take the necessary steps or just that ONE step to move forward.
…but it really just comes down to taking action and just doing it and it took me awhile to realize that you CAN do anything you want and what your heart desires. You just have to take the necessary steps or just that ONE step to move forward.
What does a regular work week look like for you? Is scheduling down time important? What do you enjoy doing during your spare time?
For the most part, my schedule is pretty standard. I work in fashion full time from Mondays to Fridays; as a wholesaler and doing sales for different fashion brands. That alone is a committed schedule from 10am-6pm. Typically, I wake up and get my man ready and out the door. He’s an entrepreneur himself so one of our common goals obviously is to help each other grow and succeed. In the evenings, I sometimes take other courses and immerse myself in other personal development resources. Right now, I have committed to Monday evenings being dedicated to Project You. I am incredibly grateful for my team that I have working with me on Project You to help with the workload.
Sundays are the one day I take off and I don’t do anything else. It took me awhile to figure that out in terms of just being able to schedule “me” time. I actually don’t have a lot of spare time, but one of my goals is to learn to dance more. I want to be more active, especially in a city like Vancouver where we can enjoy the scenery. I love going for walks and working out. If anything, I’d love to do more of that. Right now my boyfriend and I have a vision board project set up together so that takes a lot of our time. But I love it! We’ve pretty much envisioned our lives at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years and 5 years for ourselves and together. Finding pictures in magazines and other inspo to constantly add to our boards can take a lot of time! I also enjoy browsing through social media and various blogs to be inspired for creating my own content. I don’t really get to do that everyday.
Meagan, what has been your biggest hurdle throughout this entire journey so far? How did it affect you and how did you handle it?
I get this question a lot in different interviews and I feel like the answer has changed everytime. You start to see things differently all the time. So much is involved with Project You from the various social media channels to running events, you really dont know how much it takes until you’re fully immersed in it all. It’s easy to get carried away. The biggest thing lately is recognizing what I actually want to be and asking myself where I want to go. The coolest part is so many people appreciate this project and want to be on the team, but at the end of the day, I need to feel aligned with where the project is going. One of my own challenges is being able to recognize my own desires and really truly honoring my own voice and what I want. I’ve become a lot better these days saying “hey, this is the direction we’re going in and I would love for you to feel aligned with it too, but if you aren’t, maybe this isnt the best opportunity for you at this time.” You have to take in and consider everyone’s opinions and ideas on the team too. Most important thing in my honest opinion is to just stay committed to your core values and mission of what you’re doing.
It can actually be very difficult sometimes to stay fully and truly aligned. But like I said, I’ve become a lot better at speaking up and having my voice heard especially when it comes to what Project You stands for.
The most important thing, in my honest opinion, is to just stay committed to your core values and mission of what you’re doing.
So with all of that in mind, how would you define success?
For me, success is just being so devotedly committed to what your overall purpose is and actually doing whatever you can to make it happen. It’s different for everyone, but if you’re not staying committed to YOU, to me that’s not success. I also think about success as being able to boldly step outside of your comfort zone and continually doing more and playing a bigger game and showing up more and pushing yourself….
…if you’re not staying committed to YOU, to me that’s not success
It’s very easy to fall into the victim mentality. You know, “I cant do this, poor me.” NO, you actually can! You just need to be committed to what you want and not let anything else get in the way to get to your end goal. You have to stay focused. You have to practice self discipline. You have to think differently and know who you are FIRST and that I believe will bring you success. You have to know it’s going to take work.
Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I really admire Elena Cardone. She is such a powerhouse! My boyfriend is heavily involved with Grant Cardone, Elena’s husband. Grant Cardone is a best selling author, sales trainer, speaker and entrepreneur who has worked in real estate and the auto industry. He is also the owner of Whatever It Takes, a digital network for entrepreneurs, business owners and success minded people. They have this massive empire that they’re building together, which I love. She is just so committed and disciplined. She’s all about being responsible for your own role and owning it. She is boss babe goals!
If you had advice to give to someone who was just starting their own business/organization/passion project, what would it be?
I would probably say…..just go for it. Honestly, JUST DO IT. That’s what im realizing myself. There are so many beliefs you have about yourself that can stop you in your tracks. The more you can take action and push through that, you’ll figure it out! We are so much harder on ourselves than anyone else is on us so just go for it. And be ok with something not working out. Learn to adapt and change, if need be. Be able to speak up during the entire decision making process. Be able to confront things and people and push forward. Have an open mind. Even if you’ve been in business for ten years and it’s the most amazing thing, you can probably always do more.
There are so many beliefs you have about yourself that can stop you in your tracks. The more you can take action and push through that, you’ll figure it out!
Leaders In Heels is all about nurturing, inspiring and empowering female leaders. In your own opinion, what are some qualities you think a Leader In Heels would naturally possess?
Someone who is very bold and willing to be out there and be a changemaker. Also someone who is genuine and ethical and actually cares and someone who has high standards and lives by their words. They have high integrity. Leaders In Heels are also bubbly and fun! Being able to willingly be vulnerable is a great quality too. Vulnerability means you’re real and doesn’t mean weakness. Vulnerability portrays strength and I feel a great leader would have no problem with that.
Check out Project You (Instagram: @iamprojectyou). You can also follow Meagan’s Instagram: @meaganayres
Marica Morales is a lifestyle coach for women focusing on self-development & financial education. She is also the founder of Inspired by Marica, an online blog created to inspire readers to continually attract abundance and confidence into their lives. As an interviewing contributor to Leaders in Heels, Marica hopes to provide value, inspiration and really empower those who cross her path.