When you were starting out in your career how did you know you were making the right choice as far as pursuing that career for yourself? 

When I began Dayna Lee Collection, it wasn’t something romantic like a woman with grand dreams who gave it all up to pursue design. It was a desperate young mom facing great financial difficulties desperate to build a different life for herself and her family. I felt like not only was it the right choice, it was the only choice. Sometimes when you hit rock bottom, it’s the best time for risk and rebuilding ... you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s the point I was at when I started out in my career. It was built from the very bottom and I had no business plan or direction. I just got to work and hoped for the best and am in absolute awe of what it is today. 

Who were you biggest influences growing up? 

I had always admired both of my parents for their opposite traits. My mom was an easy-going, spiritual, go-with- the flow woman who loved art and my father was a very hard-working and determined military officer. I had no idea that when I grew up, I would be pulling from everything I saw in them to build my own business and life. 

When you faced obstacles or fears along the way how did you overcome them, and move beyond them? 

I face a great obstacle every day and that is severe generalized anxiety and social anxiety. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say to myself “You aren’t a good designer. This isn’t going to last. People will get tired of your work anytime now.” Every single day. Even though I’m at this amazing point where success has been achieved ... it will never go to my head. And it isn’t as simple as just getting over self doubt and self-deprecation. Anxiety doesn’t work like that. So I am self-aware and my desire to prove myself wrong is so great that I just keep going. I challenge myself to get better, to get uncomfortable, and to keep growing my business and hope for longevity as well. 

Sometimes I read quotes about how you can’t be successful with doubt... that we should get rid of it completely etc etc. and I just don’t believe in that. First I want to know... how can we never question ourselves? Self-doubt and fear can be an asset. We just can’t let it paralyze us. It can be what pushes you to move forward to bigger things. It can make you stronger. 

What or who inspires you and why? 

Through these last 5 years on instagram, this network of women who support me and continue to follow along inspire me. I feel like I know them personally as I recognize their insta handles pop up. They’ll share with me stories of their leaps of faith, their struggles, and how my work may have provided some much needed inspiration. I want to design for these women. I want to write that they need to hear, make them smile, and just let them know I’m rooting them on! 

If you could go back in time and change anything about your life would you change anything? If so what would you change and why? 

There’s so many mistakes I’ve made. There have been some big ones too. But my fight wouldn't’ have been as strong if I had it easy. I wouldn’t change a thing. 

What do you feel is your greatest achievement? 

I started out with nothing a month after I quit working the drive thru of a coffee shop and built something so amazing. To see my hard work pay off... how I’m able to help my family... how people may see my work as inspiring. It’s such a gift! The fact that I never gave up when things got hard... that’s my greatest achievement. 

What are the most important lessons you have learned along the way? 

-  There will be rejection. It’s part of the game. You will get excited and your heart crushed and it’s completely normal. Better things are coming!

-  Watermark artwork

-  Be true to yourself

-  I know it’s hard, but try not to compare yourself to others

What do you hope others will remember most about you and your life?

That I was kind and genuinely wanted to inspire women to live their best life.

What is the best advice you would give other women who are not sure what path to choose in their life?

Don’t pursue what it is you think you should do, what you think will make the most money, or what will be easy. Listen to your inner voice and try different things that you feel compelled to try. And when you decide on your path, make sure that you follow that path in a way that uniquely represents you. The world needs what YOU’RE offering. 

What does success mean to you?

To be living my best life - a life of travel, dreams come true, and not settling but truly living a happy life where I feel fulfilled and excited for what’s next. 

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did.

Dayna is the amazing talent behind the Dayna Lee Collection. Her products have inspired and empowered women all over the world and you can find her products in TJ Max, Marshalls, on Amazon and many other stores around the world.

You can connect with her on her Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/daynaleecollection

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