FIELDTESTED | Anna Grace Stulb, Designer And Community Engagement Coordinator

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Anna is an energised, passionate, multi-disciplinary designer and a community engagement coordinator at Penn Foster, an online school based in the States. She talks to us on her journey so far and shares with us her contemplative view on the world.

What are the three to five values that form your inner compass?

Love more than you fear ­– There are lots of unknowns and mysteries in life. My deepest, darkest, fears all come from what I cannot control. It seems that the more I surround myself with and face the things that frighten me, the more power I take back from them. The expression “love more than you fear” resonates so strongly with me because it places love and fear as choices, rather than things that happen to you. The more comfortable I get with the unfamiliar, the more I open myself up to experiencing a higher level of peace.

Trust yo’self – In the particular lies the universal. Slow down, listen, and respect what’s inside you. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up being jerked around by the opinions and philosophies of others. Learning to turn up the volume on my emotions, instincts, and feelings has allowed me to develop a more honest dialogue with the “real” me, and in turn, has allowed me to to share the most authentic version of myself with the world. – trust yo’self!

Seek balance; accept imperfection – One of my favorite perspectives from the documentary Tiny is: “ Treating life as an experiment, rather than a series of dead-end decisions” The idea of doing it ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ has been a crippling delusion for me. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and taking risks has been much more rewarding than simply playing it safe.

We love your travel photos and how it captures moments. How do you keep the wonder of a new destination?

For me, traveling is a conscious activity to explore and build connections with people different than myself, no matter what the destination is. I love the process of learning how things that are so visibly different around the world can be so relatable and personal. Some of the wonder also comes from the personal growth I make when stepping outside my comfort zone (patience, communication, attitude.)

What motivates you everyday?

That life is miraculous, and it can get even better each day.

We love your philosophy of life by design. What are the steps to get started on designing a life you love?

Let me start by saying: I’m no expert but this is my current working theory…

Know where you stand – Do some yoga, go to the doctor, find some people to tell it to you straight, go to therapy, stop talking for a while or maybe talk to more people if you’re recluse.

Surrender to the experiment, not the product – I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up and I know that the
only way to get what I ‘want’ is to not pretend like I do. Staying open is unnerving, yes, but brave and rewarding as hell.

Laugh more than you should– Don’t get to hung up on things. The worlds still turning so you have to keep moving.

Take the time to reconnect – Work soooo hard. Stop. Reevaluate. Strategize. Work more. Run away for a while. Work some more. Play. Stop. Rest. Work. Continue.

In summary: Diversify – the more you try, the more you know about yourself. The same thing applies to diet and exercise. Keep things fresh and varied and pay attention to what’s working for you.

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As a designer, how do you think design has changed your life and your ways of seeing?

I have always struggled with labels like artist or designer because I think we all are creative/designers in some
capacity(life by design…). I’m just a person that has followed topics that interested and challenged me consistently – visual problem solving, communication, fine arts, etc. Design for me is in the thoughtfulness and consideration of what most people see as generic elements. Thinking like a designer has allowed me to see each moment, person, project, job, etc. as meaningful pieces of an ever changing composition. These shifts in composition are what make life, ‘life’. Understanding design has given me a reverence for all things and above all, a sense of peace knowing that there is some continual purpose for working, changing, learning, and even staying still.

Famous last words?

See the world. Zoom way in, zoom way out. Revel inside yourself – open yourself up to as many people, places as your years allow. The more you experience, the closer you will be to yourself and everything around you. The little spark of life that you are is far too short to feel alone and powerless. See the world.

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We are inspired by Anna’s vision of design, life and keeping things real, and are proud to have her as Fieldtester, a group a group of inspiring friends that regularly test MATTER products in their workplace and travels to help us improve durability and design. Anna wears The Classic Wideleg+Leharia Watermelon Pink, Size 1.

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