Bra in a Box launched yesterday! If someone told me five years ago that I would be launching this product, I’m not sure I would have believed it. Yet, one dreary night in 1982 (for some reason I remember the weather), unbeknownst to anyone, I drove myself to a Junior Achievement meeting like it was a secret mission.
As a sophomore in high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life but knew that I wanted to be my own boss, create something, and be successful. I showed up at the meeting in my cheerleading uniform, big hair and blue eyes blazing, to find four other kids sitting at a conference table. They were all boys, literally clones of Bill Gates. (I’m not making this up.) They stared at me with calculating eye as if I had infected their domain with a face that was not only too cute to be intellectual but also too equipped with social skills to fit into their secret intellectual society. Having poor self-esteem at the time, I felt like an impostor, an intruder who was somehow insulting them with my presence. How could I possibly belong with a group of super bright, nerdy boys who might be able to change the world through invention and business? I never went back and never forgot that I never went back.
That was on me. It was a defining moment in which I lacked the courage to be myself. I had a lot to learn.
More than 35 years later, I find myself launching my third business, Bra in a Box. Wow! How exciting is that? One of the fantastic aspects of getting older, if you’re open to it, is being finally able to see and experience all the “dots” of your life coming together. To that end, I’ve decided to share five things I’ve learned while developing the Bra in a Box brand with my business partner (and daughter) over the last year.
1) Finding yourself takes time and often happens in sstages. My life has been a series of curtains being pulled away, one by one, over many years. As each curtain has lifted, my vision improved. Every life is different. Those who had a rough start sometimes need more time. Imagine all the time savings for those who grow up loved and supported from day one? Whatever your life has been, I hope you can and will look back, see how the dots may connect, learn, and use it all, regardless of how old you are when you feel a curtain lifting.
2) I want to evolve until my last breath. An elderly relative said to me recently, “I’ve learned all I can; I’m not going to change now.” Not me. I hope to continue learning as long as I can. Sure, as we age our energy may (or may not) deplete, but if we keep our minds active, we can still feel the spark of life.
3) Working with family can be successful! My business partner is our older daughter. She and I have had an extremely special experience building Bra in a Box. Having managed people for many years, I realize that the same principles apply whether you’re related or not. If you seek to truly understand and focus on the skills, goals, and challenges of those who you work with you and/or for you, they will do a fantastic job!
4) Sometimes the journey is more important then the arrival. I’ve set out on numerous intellectual and creative journeys in my life with various outcomes. Some I've defined as wins and some as losses. As we developed Bra in a Box, I realized that a few of the journeys that I thought were failures were actually wins; I just didn’t understand the prize. The work was never wasted. The knowledge and skills I acquired were prizes; I couldn't have contributed to launching this business without them.
5) We should never let society, clichés, or our own fixed mindset define who we are or who we can become. Life is tough, but it’s also filled with endless possibilities and combinations. When I look back on the incredible amount of time I wasted as a young adult by simply not believing in or understanding the personal power I had to define myself, I sometimes feel a little sick. Why didn’t I resolve to bond with the four Bill Gates boys? Why did I run away and continue to be bored with my life in so many ways? The good news is that I evolved. I moved forward, at times painfully slow and at other times taking giant leaps forward. For this reason, I absolutely love what Bra in a Box stands for. It says to all women,
Who says it must be this way or that? We can enjoy every day on our own terms, whether it’s tossing out those bras we can’t stand wearing, going to a business class in a cheerleading outfit, or changing the world with a twinkle in our eye. We can build on who we truly are at the core. We can relax, and soar!
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