Lina is the host of Creative Mornings here in Vilnius. Her professional journey combines passion for creative thinking and strict management skills - she has the best of both worlds. Linas story is also a constant struggle - when you are really good at many things, it’s hard to know what exactly you want from life.
We first started recording this conversation almost a year ago - the city was covered in snow and the river was completely iced over. Now, when the snow and freezing temperatures are back, it’s about time to finish it.
I know you have a crazy career path, it’s like you always go in through the back door.
I started doing things I truly love around 3 years ago. Before that, I was mostly working in different offices as an administrator, not that happy about life. I craved something else… So I joined a food and events studio. I was there mostly on weekends, which was really tiring - it made me think I have to find a way to turn it into a full time job or I'll burn out.
We usually tend to learn more from challenges rather than smooth sailing… Was it the case for you too?
In order to leave my job, I had to rediscover my confidence and self-belief. After having a clear and structured schedule, it was hard to adjust in a new place and start planning my own time.
During events, I would assist chefs, make food and take care of guests. I also had a few projects – I curated a wedding magazine, worked on the traditional Lithuanian food event, took care of Christmas celebrations. During my time assisting chefs, I also got invited to join „Open Kitchen“, a food fest that happens in „Tymo bazaar“ every summer. I thought I can manage different responsibilities, especially when it comes to things I enjoy doing. Once again for a good half a year I worked at two jobs.
Creative Mornings has also been a part of your busy schedule for quite some time. Every month you organize inspiration filled events attended by more than 100 people. How do you juggle it all?
Running ,,Open Kitchen’’ was like running a marathon! Towards the end of the season, one of my colleagues Jure told me about Creative Mornings and suggested organising it in Vilnius. We soon sent an application, filmed a video and received a reply from their US office.. We signed a contract in September and already had our first event in November!
The way you work is… mental! How can you do so much in so little time?
The experience I got at ,,Open Kitchen’’ proved very handy, I learned how to work fast and focus on the things that matter. There is a big difference between being all over the place and focused- altough both feelings are deceiving and make you feel busy… Also, it was easier to get funding for Creative Mornings since I already had a portfolio.
Work work work. When did you start feeling that it’s becoming too much to handle?
I was swamped with work... I would wake up at 5/6am every morning, answer my emails while drinking coffee and run to early meetings that would consume most of my day. I won't lie, eventually, I had to spend a few days at a hospital.
Our bodies are so mysterious – you feel unstopable when hit with the adrenaline rush, yet after a while the body refuses to keep up with you in order to simply protect you … I had to stop and take a break, to rethink life a little. Good questions to ask yourself are: where am I going ? What is my work philosophy and who do I want to work with?
Do you do work over the weekeend?
Never! My other rool is not to work on Sundays. When you work 7 days a week you realise that you need at least one day for yourself. I keep my computer turned off, I never respond to emails or browse much on Facebook, only Instagram and Pinterest (smiling). These are the little rules my husband and I follow.
I love to work and I enjoy having responsibilities. Yet, I had to learn that work won’t go away if you have some time for yourself. I also try to earn money from the things I enjoy doing, in this case I don’t get bored and new activities bring excitiment to my life and help to stay motivated.
What do you do when you lose motivation?
I think it’s important to take a break. Sometimes it’s enough to have a day off to just be lazy and recharge. When I am in need for motivation and it feels that I haven’t achieved much, I look back and see how much I have actually managed to do in 1 year… I think that we start lacking motivation when it’s hard to measure the results.
It’s hard to let go and relax. There were times than it was hard to take my dog for a walk – I would constantly think about unanswered emails, calls, and stuff like that.
How do you deal with the constant urge to be successful? Our generation seems to be obsessed with it - we always want more because there simply are so so many possibilities out there. At least I personally strugle with it, it’s never enough.
Everytime I came back to a stable stage, I started wanting to learn, to do, to see new things.
I never thought that I will be freelancing - I always wanted stability and clarity. When I started to do what I really love and enjoy, I realised that I don’t need stability anymore.
So I never counted how many hours I work each day. I know that if I won’t do it, no one else will, so I take a full ownership of my projects, and so naturally my responsibilities and work titles change. I want to do the best I can and success to me is to not look around at others but focus on my own work.
I am still learning not to compare myself to others; my friends, colleagues, classmates… It always seems that they have figured it all out. And then my husband tells me that maybe they think exactly the same thing – maybe I live their dream life. Comparing yourself to others takes the joy of celebrating little and big successes.
In short, success is when you feel happy to wake up and do what you love.
Photos: Juste Kulikauskaite & Akvile Marciukaityte
Translated: Akvile Marciukaityte
Written: Rasa Jusionyte
Special thanks to Jurgita Babilčiute