You Don’t Need Permission to Pursue Your Dream

with Sivon Pichoto

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Sivon Pichoto and I am a creative entrepreneur from South Jersey. In 2016 I started my own creative agency called TRU57 Creative Partners, and I am also the co-host of the Philadelphia based podcast, “Wait, Am I An Adult Now?” In addition to developing my own businesses, I also mentor and consult young adults who want to start their own businesses as well.

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Most people don’t realize when they first meet me that I have a hearing impairment and wear a hearing aid in one of my ears. It happened when I was 21, and although at the time I was highly self-conscious about it, I’m pretty open to talking about it now and helping people understand more about the link between hearing health and cognitive ability.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One word: Consistency. Most people give up way too soon, but as long as you’re consistent and keep moving forward and putting your work out every day, you will start to see the results.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
I would have told myself to invest in personal development sooner and to really get to know myself and realize my worth. I would have also encouraged myself to take more action toward my business sooner and to make more connections in college.

What is your greatest fear?
Bugs. Having them crawl all over me would literally be my worst nightmare.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Always. Even if people don’t outwardly say it, you can tell by the way someone looks at you or their body language if they doubt your ability to succeed or to accomplish a big dream. I’ve realized that typically it’s because they’ve never dreamed that big themselves, or they don’t believe it’s possible in general. It used to make me really angry and frustrated, but now, if there is someone who doesn’t believe in me or makes a rude comment, I don’t ask for their opinions. I associate myself with people who build me up and encourage me instead.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You don’t need permission to pursue your dream. A lot of times, we feel the need to ask our friends, family, boyfriend, husband, etc. for advice or permission to try something new. I want to encourage those women to ask for support as they pursue their dreams rather than permission. You deserve and owe it to yourself to accomplish something you’ve always wanted to do; whether it ends up being successful or not.

Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Definitely not! I was one of the most shy kids you could imagine. I would barely talk to anyone going through school because I was so afraid that people wouldn’t like me and I was often afraid to voice my opinion if it was different from someone else’s. I had a very small friend group, and it wasn’t until halfway through college that I started breaking out of my shell more and got into personal development. The more books I read about self-improvement and self-discovery, and the more I surrounded myself with other people who also wanted to better themselves, the more confidence I gained in who I was. I still consider myself more reserved, but I’m no longer afraid to strike up random conversation or make myself or my opinions heard. The person I am today is completely different from the shy girl I was in high school.

What do you love most about yourself?
I love how self-aware I am and how much I’ve grown in confidence and finally realize my own worth. I love the kind, generous person I am and who I am becoming because although success is always a work in progress, I enjoy every day and am finally content and happy with where I am.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
There have been times when I’ve seen negative numbers in my bank account and it’s taken every ounce of strength I’ve had to continue to believe in myself and my dream and push forward despite what I was seeing in the numbers. I remember there was a period of two days that I became so depressed about my financial situation that I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I felt like I was so lost, and that maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be successful. Then something just clicked inside of me and I realized that feeling depressed is a choice, and I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. I reached out to get advice on finances and budgeting and started meditating again and brought myself back to a positive state of mind. I think the biggest adversity you can face is overcoming your own fears, doubts, and limiting beliefs. When you can master your thoughts, you can really start to make positive changes in your life.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
To be impatient with my actions but patient with my results. This is something my friend Shelby talks about a lot and it’s so true. Taking action, making connections, and always doing even just 3% more than you did the day before creates momentum toward success, but it doesn’t mean you’ll see the result of that right away. It takes consistent, forward action day after day knowing fully that you may not see the result of those efforts until a year or more later.

What motivates you most?
What motivates me now is very different from what motivated me 10 years ago. I used to want to reach success for all the material things that could come out of it and the lifestyle that would be associated with it. Although the lifestyle is still a motivator for me, I’m more motivated by the impact I could make for others through my success. My motivation/purpose now is to show others that they can accomplish their dreams as well and to teach others how to do it. My motivation for reaching financial success is so that I can use it to give back to not only my family and friends in order to help them reach their dreams, but to help other entrepreneurs as well.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
Between 2016-2017 I really struggled with this concept and I did nothing but work all day and even most weekends. I had an office space at the time and would go in early in the morning and usually stay until 10 or 11 at night, and although I loved the work, I increasingly became more and more unhappy and finally realized that I needed to take a break and fill up the other areas of my life that I was neglecting. When I started transitioning and taking a day or two off on the weekends, I remember snuggling with anxiety and feeling like I wouldn’t have enough time to complete my work if I took breaks, and sometimes felt guilty if I did take time off. I still have those days sometimes, but now I have a mantra that I say to myself when I start feeling that way which is “I always have more than enough time to do everything I need to do.” I have to constantly remind myself of that and I’ve realized that the periods of rest are just as important for growth as the actual work. I feel so much more creative and happy when I give myself the permission to enjoy the other passions I have outside of work.

What is your favorite meal?
Tacos all the way.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I read and listen to audios every day that relate to business or personal development. I’m always trying to learn from other people who have more experience than me or who have the level of success that I am working toward. I also meditate in the mornings to get myself in a positive state of mind for the day. To me, growing means not only growing yourself internally, but growing your network, so I’m constantly trying to talk to and meet new people because you never know where it could lead.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I have several mentors who all teach my different things. One of my mentors I met randomly at a Starbucks one day, and he gives me advice on how to structure and grow my business while keeping the bigger picture in mind so I’m prepared for different levels of growth. Another one of my mentors is actually a couple who are highly successful at their young age of 28. They mentor me not only on business and how to build assets for myself, but also about what it takes to be in a healthy relationship. I also consider the co-host of my podcast, Shelby, a mentor as well as a friend. She’s coached me and has helped me get more clear on my path and because she is more extroverted than I am, she brings that out in me and gives me the courage to allow my voice to be heard.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
My dad’s side of the family lives in Israel, and I’ve traveled there about 8 times to visit them.

Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
I always knew that I was a creative person, but I never knew what that would look like in terms of a career. When I was 17, I taught myself Photoshop, and started practicing graphic design for fun. Throughout high school and college I would pick up small jobs here and there and slowly built up a client base, but the weird thing is that I never thought about starting a business from that. I always had the idea that starting a business was something you did when you were older and had more experience. I went to Temple for Marketing and Business, and started taking Entrepreneurship classes that really sparked my interest in doing it sooner, but I still doubted myself and thought that it was best to get a job first.

My dream was to work for an advertising agency once I graduated, but when I got turned down by every agency I applied to, I started to feel less confident in my abilities as a designer. I ended up getting a job in the auto industry, and even though my position was in sales, I was using my talents in design to create graphics for the company’s website, marketing materials, and advertisements. I was still freelancing on the side of my full-time job and would look forward to every evening when I could just come home and design something for someone.

Were you scared to start the process?
I was terrified. I was so scared that it took me two years to actually make the jump. When I graduated college in 2014 and got my first job in the auto industry, I knew from the second I accepted the offer that I didn’t want to stay there. I continued to apply to other jobs but nothing ever came of it, and every day I would feel a heaviness in my heart going to work because I knew that I didn’t fit in the 9-5 world. I wanted to do something exciting, and have the freedom to travel and work from my laptop. Around this time I was introduced to personal development and started surrounding myself with other people who had dreams just as big as I did. This slowly built up my confidence and belief in what I wanted to do, but I still had so much fear. It seemed that every 4-6 months I would tell myself “This is the day I’m going to quit my job!” And then I would talk myself out of it every time.

It wasn’t until 2016 when a family tragedy led my to finally make a change. On a random Tuesday in the summer, my mom when into the hospital due to a brain aneurysm that ruptured. Most people never survived this kind of injury, and at the time it happened the doctors told us she would have a 30% chance of living and even if she did survive, she might not have a good quality of life. That moment was the day I decided to finally quit my job. The fear of dying myself before I ever lived my dreams became bigger than my fear of failure. I realized how short life could be, and the next day I reduced my schedule to part time hours so I could be with my mom in the hospital and I gave myself until the end of the summer to find a client who could pay me the equivalent of my full time income, which at the time was $2,500/month. I ended up finding that client and quit my job completely at the end of that summer. I’m happy to report that my mom not only survived, but she made a full recovery and was able to go back to work one year later. I never want anyone to have to go through a tragedy to make a change, but in order to move forward, your fear of never living your dream and staying in a life of mediocrity has to be bigger than your fear of potential failure.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I think ultimately I still would have been led to something within the creative field. If I didn’t have the courage to quit my job, the honest truth is that I would still probably be stuck in a job that devalued my skill and left me feeling hopeless. But if it wasn’t graphic design, I most likely would be pursing a career as an abstract artist or writer in poetry.

What is something on your bucket list?
Skydiving, traveling to Sedona, and traveling to Australia to hold a Koala.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration through experiences and people. For the past couple years of my podcast, I’ve heard so many different stories from people who have gone through failures and confusion only to end up on the other side and create a life they love. It encourages me to stay on my path and humbles me to that fact that everyone goes through hardship in order to reach success. Experiences through traveling and being in nature give me inspiration as well. Traveling usually gives me such a fresh perspective and renewed sense of energy to take on new challenges.

What are your biggest passions?
I love to write, paint, and explore new places. I’m also slightly obsessed with snowboarding.

sivon pichoto

Sivon Pichoto is the founder of TRU57; an unlimited graphic design service that gives back to small business

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