One of the things we’re most proud of over here at The Select 7 is our dedication and commitment to keeping everything we post and everyone we feature real and authentic. While we are, of course, interested in the aesthetics of our site and our feed, what we’re not interested in is making things look pretty at the expense of keeping our feet firmly planted in reality. We think our readers feel the same way, so we decided that it would be nice to talk this week about how to keep it real — whether at work or in life. With that in mind we turned to Aimee Kestenberg, a true leader of the authenticity movement, and someone whose advice is sage and well crafted and well worth heeding. Because honestly — who has time for BS?
After many years of feeling the need to project a certain image in order to excel in my industry, I finally reached the point where I realized that the “fake it until I make it” mentality was just not for me. I believe that the insecurities tied to thriving in what you do is just a matter of self-awareness, defining goals and working towards being the best version of yourself so that we can “keep it real” by being our true selves in all aspects of our lives.
1. Be You
I believe there is a better way to be satisfied and achieve your professional goals, and it requires you to bring your real self to work each and every day. It is essential to be uniquely you by using your gifts and talents while maintaining your values and a sense of life balance.
2. Define Your Goals
What makes you happy? What inspires you? Ask yourself these questions, and if you don’t have the answer, work towards finding it. You can do this by being self-aware and journaling your thoughts and feelings daily. When you can define your life goals, career goals and personal goals, you will become aware and confident in the direction you need to take and the person you are. Remember that each decision you make daily is leading you towards a particular path: Does this morning’s choice align with your end goal? Remember, your goals may change over time — I have realized that by writing down my intentions, purpose and life goals and checking in with my list weekly, I became accountable to the direction my life leads. For me, I put my goals into categories of personal development (includes health, fitness, mindfulness, friend time), career and family.
3. Self Love
Learning to love yourself is an art. It took me 31 years and a certification in Wellness to realize that this is THE most important part of being a healthy human being and living the life you want and deserve. It’s kind of like being on an airplane and watching the safety demonstration where they instruct you to put your oxygen mask on before your child’s so that you don’t faint, and then can’t care for your child. We, as women, are designed to put ourselves second and constantly focus on taking care of everything and everyone around us. The more you focus on being the BEST version of you and realize there is nothing selfish about caring for yourself, the faster you will thrive and grow in all areas of your life and career and the clearer decision making will become.
4. Be Authentic
Each one of us is unique, literally. What makes us interesting is our differences and our individual thoughts, feelings, beliefs and talents. When you work towards self-love, you become the most authentic version of yourself and the world becomes your oyster. It can be intimidating to stand up for the things you believe in or to be heard in a meeting, but know that being authentically you is your superpower. Align your time, energy, and work efforts with like-minded companies and communities and you will naturally thrive in your environment.
5. Block Out the Noise
You will always be faced with roadblocks, challenges and people around you who are threatened by your internal light. With roadblocks, try to think of a door being closed in front of you as a sign to look for open doors nearby that will help you ultimately get into the room you’re trying to enter. There are always multiple ways to achieve the outcome you want, so think creatively because you are your only boundary. When it comes to “Debbie Downers” or what we refer to these days as the “haters,” try to remind yourself that where your mind goes, energy flows. Try not to give energy to people around you that don’t bring you joy and bring light into your life. Feel sorry for them that they don’t possess the awareness you do to be a better person, nor operate out of kindness and are so insecure. Approach everything with a sense of love and empathy and try not to be sucked in by negative energy.
6. Love What You Do
There are so many people out there who are in jobs they hate or are working for people they don’t respect; time to change the game. There are two types of people: those who use their pain, trauma and challenges and let them define them, and those who use it as their fuel to guide them towards achieving greatness, whatever that may be. Use the lessons you have learned to recognize what you don’t want, and what you do want, and make sure not to stop until you love what you do.
7. Practice What You Preach
Don’t be the person who gives advice on what to eat to a friend and then goes home and eats a pizza. I know you know what I’m talking about… It’s time to be REAL, and to encompass everything you believe into your own state of being. Pursuing a passion, taking tangible steps towards learning and conquering your biggest fears in the process.
about aimee kestenberg
An entrepreneur at heart and a disruptor in the world of fashion and design, Aimee Kestenberg has redefined the meaning of ‘affordable luxury’ with her Australian inspired line of handbags and accessories. Aimee’s “keep it real” attitude and distinctive, casual and free-spirited approach to design and innovation has deemed her an industry leader.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Aimee’s entrepreneurial spirit developed at a young age inspired by her grandparents, three of whom were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust and one who had fled war in Iraq and became a seamstress.
As a child, Aimee would travel to her local Salvation Army store to collect a number of trinkets to help her grandmother sew and knit to create dresses and accessories that they would sell to the local community.
Her entrepreneurial spirit was undeniable at a young age. At age 9, she travelled throughout Asia with her father, a self-made businessman who taught her the world of business and trade during her younger years. At 18 years old, she went on to study Industrial Design & Engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology before making the bold move to New York City upon acceptance to Parsons The New School of Design.
While attending Parsons, Aimee was hand picked to apprentice with various luxury brands including Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren and Sass & Bide before going on to become a two-time winner, and now sponsor, of the InStyle Independent Handbag Designer Awards where she was sponsored by companies such as Swarovski, Kipling and American Express.
In 2011, Aimee was honored by the Singaporean Government to represent America at the prestigious luxury tradeshow Blue Print and traveled to Singapore to showcase her thesis collection to the world.
By 2012, Aimee had become the industry’s go-to ghost designer for luxury designer labels and celebrities’ alike, bringing a unique creative vision to all that she touched. Aimee launched her namesake brand with a small collection of handbags in early 2013 and immediately caught the eye of American retailers including Nordstrom, QVC, Shopbop and Lord & Taylor. Forbes immediately took notice by including Aimee in the prestigious “30 Under 30” list in 2014. Most recently in late 2018, she received the prestigious honor of landing the No. 55 spot on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, as well as No. 6 on Crain New York’s Fastest Growing Companies in the state of New York.
Aimee has successfully expanded the brand to include footwear in 2015, Luggage in 2016, and Jewelry in 2017. Recently inspired by the arrival of her first child she will be launching baby bags and baby apparel, which is set to hit stores in early 2019.
“Every category expansion is intentional. We enter into categories we are passionate about with a key point of difference to the products we create for our community”, says Kestenberg.
A designer, mother, wellness-certified expert, and serial entrepreneur, Aimee has become a leading voice in the industry and is dedicated to helping women around the world become their best-selves while overseeing the evolution of the Aimee Kestenberg brand.