"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.
It will help you to live a happier, purpose-driven life.
Living a holistically wealthy lifestyle is one of the keys to living a happy, meaningful, purpose-driven life. When I wrote my new book Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, I outlined 32 different life lessons that form a framework for overcoming setbacks and living an intentionally designed life.
Living a holistically wealthy lifestyle will enable you to find prosperity in key aspects of your life, from financial stability and physical health to your emotional and spiritual connections with others.
Cultivating these strengths will build the mental toughness and grit you need to weather life's inevitable storms and setbacks.
Participating in a holistic wealth project group can boost your happiness and joy and enable you to have accountability partners. Accountability partners can build momentum and enthusiasm for everyone's goals and help each other to live according to their mission and to cultivate a holistic wealth mindset. A study by the American Society of Training and Development on accountability found that there is a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you've committed to, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
So start now to ensure that you can be successful and achieve your goals. For instance, when I decided to write "Holistic Wealth," I told my friends about my intentions to do it. They held me accountable, and each time I thought of giving up, I thought about my friends and how much they had been cheering me on and inspiring me, and I knew I had to go through with it – I couldn't turn back. Success requires a public commitment. It requires a cheerleading squad that will cheer you on and a team spirit that will push your forward so that even when you think of giving up, you know that you have to keep going "for the team."
This is what brings out the best in Olympic athletes and also helps them to perform at "superhuman" levels – that level of accountability, grit, and perseverance.
In the book "Holistic Wealth," I've outlined the steps to take to build personal holistic wealth portfolios such as:
- Your life purpose portfolio;
- Your relationship asset portfolio;
- Your financial independence portfolio; and,
- Your emotional, physical and spiritual portfolio
Each of these portfolios is very individual and can change over time, but are highly effective within a group accountability mechanism – especially if within the group participants sign an accountability agreement or contract to ensure that goals are carried out. Goals take hard work and commitment, and it's easy to give up when no one is around to hold you accountable or even just to give a word of inspiration and motivation.
If you're considering starting a holistic wealth project group, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I've created a starter kit to help you kick start your holistic wealth project group.