Anine Bing Co-founders Anine and Annika Meller discuss the key components of creating the life you desire – Crafting your life vision, embracing your becoming, and cultivating positivity – and share practices that can help you take the next step on your path right now.
How To Create The Life You Desire
In the past 12 months, Anine Bing and Annika Meller have celebrated the seven year anniversary of their fashion brand Anine Bing, opened their 11th store, and raised $15 million. And, yet when it came to sharing their fondest memories on the podcast they reflected on sharing a Subway sandwich, with their co-founder and Anine’s husband Nico, on their garage floor in the early days. At the time, the trio was doing everything from crafting the vision for the brand to shipping packages, but they were grateful to be building something they cared about. Their gratitude is one of the most inspiring parts of their story.
Anine, Annika, and Nico have made a conscious effort to be present for each phase of their journey; Setting their intentions and building the brand organically, one step at a time. Their strong belief in the process, and trust not rushing it, is precisely what enabled many of the dreams they shared working in that garage to not just come true but exceed their expectations. I was delighted to sit down with Anine and Annika to discuss the mentality and approach that shaped their success and am grateful for the habits they shared that can help us all realize our own. Read on to learn about a few of them, and then tune into our podcast for a behind the scenes look into Anine and Annika’s inspiring journey.
Make goal setting a routine
When Anine and Annika first shared the important role goal setting plays in their life I took it as a reminder to check-in on my goals more often. I certainly wasn’t expecting to learn that Anine has been writing down her goals every night since she was nine years old! Beginning with hopes of new friendships in elementary school to buying her first apartment, the practice has been a foundational part of her life, and is now similarly ingrained in Annika’s.
It’s not uncommon to hear stories about successful leaders setting and reaching their goals. I found Anine and Annika’s approach particularly inspiring though for their emphasis on creating an ongoing vision for your life and the person you want to be rather than focusing on specific milestones (although, those may of course be included).
In a broader sense, this may inspire asking yourself questions like:
- Who do I want to be as a person? As a parent, sibling, partner?
- What are my hopes for my family?
- What is my optimal state of mental and physical wellbeing?
- What do I want my life to look like?
- What are my professional dreams?
Anine and Annika visualize the answers to these questions in a few ways.
First, they start each year with a vision of what they hope to experience and set goals that will lead them on that path. Anine also creates a mood board on New Years Eve to visually depict what she wants her year to look like. To create your own, cut out photos and words from magazines that represent your happiest life and then paste them on a poster. Hang it in a spot where you can see it every day.
Annika then takes a quarterly approach, setting aside time at the start of each to reflect on what will make the next three months meaningful and designs her goals around that vision.
Over two decades later, Anine is still committed to her daily goal setting practice and sets her intentions every night by writing down the following:
- 3 things you’re grateful for
- 3 things you did well today
- 3 things you need help with or want to improve tomorrow
“Writing down your goals helps you set your mind in the right state to be a better, happier person,” she says. “Especially when you go through hard times, it helps you move away from anxiety, stay centered and focus on the positive. It’s amazing when you look back and see that you’ve achieved everything you’ve written.” Observing Anine’s life — She’s done everything from be in a band to launch her label and create a happy family — it’s definitely a practice worth adding to your routine.
Acknowledge the significance of the now
I appreciated Annika’s inspiring take on leaning into the creation process as a valuable reminder that, regardless of how small it feels, the step you’re taking right now to achieve your goals matters.
“It’s like a building a house brick by brick where every little piece has its own important meaning,” she shares. That individual meaning doesn’t solely go on to form the collective; Perhaps more importantly, it roots your relationship to what you’re creating. “We’re very appreciative for the early days because that’s when you really develop the love for what you’re building,” she added. “Like any relationship, the longer you’ve been together the more you’re willing to fight for it to be great.”
Make positivity the cornerstone of your relationships
One of the insights that stood out to me most from our conversation is — “Surround yourself with people who give you energy, rather than take your energy” — and how deeply Anine and Annika live it.
“You have to surround yourself with positive people at all times,” they shared. “There are people we don’t spend time with anymore because they don’t make us feel good.”
It’s worth following their lead and asking yourself: Who is adding positivity to my life, and who isn’t?
“Becoming that selective is hard but it’s definitely beneficial in the end,” they added.
It’s also important to remember that cultivating a positive life is always a dual effort; The only way to surround yourself with positive people is to be a positive person yourself. “If you respond to a bad day by complaining about everything nothing gets better. There are people who live their whole life that way,” Anine shared. “When you have a good day, are in a good mood and give other people compliments you’re spreading that positive vibration. It comes back to you a million times.”