Ayme Sinclair greets me with an ear-to-ear smile the moment she sees me standing in the lobby of her coworking space in Midtown Manhattan. It’s a seemingly quiet and light-filled space just one block from Grand Central Station, where hundreds of thousands of commuters charge through on their way to and from work each day. From her corner office, Ayme sits above it all — floating above the chaos of New York City — in a space that reflects her deliberate pace of life.
Living among the hustle with a general sense of radiance and lightness is Ayme’s natural way of being; Its how she maintains her balance as an entrepreneur. After leaving her secure corporate job of 11 years to start her own digital marketing agency—which required taking a huge leap of faith and trusting her instinct—she’s learned first-hand the ebbs and flows of being a small business owner. But in this last year and a half alone, Ayme has hosted six entrepreneur meet-ups, contributed to the Greta Thunberg SDG campaign for Climate Action and launched the first female-only sailing team in Africa.
To counterbalance long hours at the office and cultivate mindfulness into her everyday routine, Ayme uses nature as fuel for her spirit, creating regular moments to find peace and stillness on the water. Every Wednesday evening, she can be found with her sailing team on the Long Island Sound; the weekly ritual is the most important thing in her life, she says. “Being on the water feeds my soul….it has a very healing quality.”
We recently caught up with Ayme to learn more about how being on the water has allowed her to thrive in other areas of her life and her mindfulness routines for staying grounded all the while chasing her dreams.
SS: I know both entrepreneurship and sailing are major parts of your identity. Is that how you describe yourself
AS: Yes, I have a digital agency and I’m also a competitive sailor. I race competitive boats, and that has been a passion of mine for the past five years. It was this particular passion that inspired me to start my own business, so I guess it is a true story of me living my passion.
SS: Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
AS: My father was an entrepreneur. I watched him grow a business and I knew that was always an option. It didn’t feel unattainable, but when I left school, I first got a job just to gain experience. At one point or another I realized I wasn’t happy with the culture I was in and I had new ideas on how I could change that. Once I felt confident in my ability to make money and actually do the thing, I took the leap and jumped.
There is a story I tell other entrepreneurs about the moment I knew I was ready to go. I was having these dreams that would almost take me over of running on the edge of a cliff with large drops into the ocean and lots of rocks. It looked really treacherous down below. At some point, I start running and jump off the cliff, and instead of going to my death at these rocks, I start soaring. That feeling kept taking me over when I was sitting at my office desk, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, at my hallway at my job and realize it was actually my body telling me ‘Ayme, you must go. You have to leave.’
I can’t let go of the things that bring me joy.
So the idea that I could jump and actually soar was an indication that it was time to leave my job. That’s actually what carried me down the hallway when I had my resignation letter for the job I had been at for 11 years. We have to listen to our bodies when they’re telling us stuff like that and we’ll know when it’s time to go.
SS: You’re working on a lot, from your project with Greta Thunberg and the SDG Campaign to your large client list to growing your business. How do you stay grounded with all of the things you’re working on?
AS: I have an amazing support system of great friends and people who I look up to who keep me feeling motivated. Outside of that I’ve learned I can’t let go of the things that bring me joy.
For me, sailing and being out on the water is the most important thing so I make time for it every week. It feeds my soul. There is something about looking out at the horizon as you’re sailing, especially during a sunset, that has a very healing quality. You have nature surrounding you and the only reason the boat is moving is because of the wind and what you’re doing with the wind. There’s also an incredible amount of teamwork and coordination that has to happen for us to move the boat successfully, so that also nurtures me because I love working with other people.
The business itself is focused on helping other companies achieve social change so part of what we do is activate communities to help them make a difference in the world — that could be a campaign around gender equality or around climate action, so my soul is fed by providing a result that I think is going to impact a large amount of people.
SS: You mentioned being on the water feeds your soul. How do you think that nature can feed our soul and heal us?
AS: It can in so many ways. When I think back to a time when I was really unhappy and feeling quite depressed, the only thing thing that brought me out of my depression was getting out on the water once or twice a week and really experiencing what it was like to be in nature. It was such an impactful period in my life because I realized how important it is to really feed the things that I love, and I needed to venture out to discover them.
There are studies that show how being out on a boat and being on water improves mental health and also creates positive endorphins in your body to work against things that normally keep you in depression.
SS: How about a day in the life of Ayme. Do you keep any morning rituals?
AS: Part of my morning ritual is to surround myself in darkness, find a quiet environment, close my eyes and concentrate on nothing. For me, that’s a hard thing to do but when I get to a point when I’m completely centered, it makes me much easier for me to move through the day. I do the same ritual at lunch, away from my desk, as a way of inviting a mindful moment into the busy-ness of being an entrepreneur.
SS: Do you have positive affirmations that you tell yourself throughout the day?
AS: I have things that I do to uplift me — one of them is playing a song called I’m Conceited by Remi. The whole song is about telling yourself you’re on top of the world, you got this, you’re beautiful. You look in the mirror and you tell yourself you’re beautiful. She’s rapping and there’s a beat but you really feel it in the moment. But as a woman and as an entrepreneur, there’s moments when you’re questioned in ways that others might not be so you just have to have this confidence in yourself that you can do it.
SS: What does living in your full potential look like?
AS: Living in my full potential means I really trust myself. There’s a confidence in that. If you are in a dark place, you can’t really unlock it and get to your full potential. We have to have other things in our lives that make us feel whole and complete. If we have these moments where we keep telling ourselves that we’re amazing and great, keep finding things that feed our soul, and going back in time to remember the things that got us through hardship, that is really how to unlock our full potential. And as an entrepreneur, that’s a difficult thing to get through.