Photo Courtesy of Outpost Natural Foods
Lifestyle 25 April 2018
When it comes to starting a successful business, there is no source of inspiration more powerful than our own personal challenges. Though it can be a vulnerable place to start, when we overcome a challenge or obstacle, we are taught valuable lessons that can be worth sharing. The ability to persevere and emerge from the trying time in a positive way connects us to the problem in a meaningful way and creates an authentic and enduring passion for finding a solution.
My mother, Amelia Kirchoff, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. It was devastating news, but I remember thinking at the time that there had to be a reason that this was happening to our family – and that some good would come out of it. Rather than move forward with the doctor-recommended five-year regimen of Tamoxifen – and its potentially harmful side effects, my mother opted for an all-natural remedy. She chose to make the lifestyle switch to a macrobiotic diet featuring healthy, whole foods grown mostly on her farm in Wisconsin. I joined her in solidarity and, eventually, the diet helped her achieve recovery. We chose to remain committed to the macrobiotic diet, but began incorporating special, macrobiotic cookies and bars that my mother homemade. One day my husband suggested that we sell them and that was the moment it clicked – this was the good that would come from our struggle.
I joined her in solidarity and, eventually, the diet helped her achieve recovery.
At the time, I was living my dream designing and implementing a Latin program for grade school children in Chicago. I would have never imagined willfully walking away from the career I had worked so hard to achieve. The thought of walking away from my schoolroom had never crossed my mind. With a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and a master’s degree in education, I took a chance on taking the homemade macrobiotic snacks to a local health food store. That store became GoMacro’s first retail customer!
Today, more than 13 years later, my mother and I are co-founders of GoMacro, a 100 percent privately-owned and funded, clean nutrition bar company. We have successfully expanded to more than 20,000 health food stores, grocery chains and fitness centers both in the U.S. and internationally. Along the way, we have seen first-hand how powerful a diet full of plant-based, wholesome nutrition can be and have worked tirelessly to bring those benefits to more people through our bars. Our goal is to ensure that we make the nutritional benefits accessible for everyone to experience what we are so thankful to have discovered. As female business leaders, we want to encourage all women to think about their own struggles or challenges, what they have learned along the way and how they can use those lessons to bring something good into the world. While this is easier said than done, I’ve outlined a few helpful reminders that help keep me grounded and focused on along the journey.
You are not what happens to you
When faced with a setback in life – a sick parent, financial loss, personal rejection, career disappointments, and so on– it can be easy to let what happened to you start to define who you are or detract from your self-worth. It’s important not to fall into the trap of feeling like we are a victim of our circumstance! Keep these things separate and constantly remind yourself that you are valuable and have a lot to offer. If we let outside voices drown out our own, it can be impossible to listen to that voice telling you what can be gained from this experience.
Take time to meditate
One way to quiet those voice is through meditation, which both my mother and I practice regularly – both through stillness and the meditative exercise of yoga. Whichever method is most beneficial to you, try to carve out at least 10 minutes each day to focus on breathing, being still and noticing your thoughts without judgement. It will help you recenter yourself so you can direct your energy toward positive growth and keep your focus on your ultimate goal. It’s so easy to become distracted by internal battles and external disruptions in today’s world. A brief moment to realign can make all the difference in making the most of the remaining hours in any given day. Again, each of our experiences have vested us with the knowledge and power we need, meditation just helps us tap into the everything garnered along the way.
Meditation will help you recenter yourself so you can direct your energy toward positive growth and keep your focus on your ultimate goal.
Stay focused on helping others
Once you discern how you can best utilize what you have learned to create a solution for others facing similar challenges, it’s important not to lose sight of the gift you can now pay forward. Human beings are social creatures and it comes naturally for most of us to want to help out in our community. If we lose sight of that goal as our careers grow increasingly more demanding, we will lose sight of what we need to be truly successful – and equally fulfilled. With a foundation the rose from adversity, we understand the impact positivity can have on lives. For us, it remains of utmost importance to remember our root as we grow to affect change in an increasing number of lives. At GoMacro, in addition to creating better access to clean, plant-based nutrition for more people, we remain committed to donating proceeds of our various “Give Back” MacroBars to certain philanthropic organizations we believe in. In 2017, we were fortunate enough to raise $53,000 for a variety of charitable causes and we hope to continue to increase that number in the years to come.
In my experience, remembering these simple guidelines has helped me turn a negative moment into a lifetime of positivity. It has been a life altering change that neither of us could have predicted – and a profitable one at that! Businesses born from struggles and setbacks are the ones most able to connect with consumers on a human level and create real solutions to real problems that can affect our world.
3 Min Read
Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.
It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.
At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.
So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.
Before You Dial The Ex...
First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.
What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?
You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.
Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.
Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.
Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.
If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:
- Do: exercise — taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
- Don't: be a couch potato.
- Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
- Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?