#SWAAYthenarrative

How Lisa Opie Made A Splash In Swimwear

People

Lisa Opie, founder of Vizcaya Swimwear, the official swimwear sponsor of the Miss United States National Pageant, has a background story few people believe.


“I ended up being bullied because I was so socially awkward [that] I didn’t know how to talk to people because I was homeschooled, so I had to drop out of that. I went back to homeschooling.”

When she re-enrolled in school, the bullying continued, but she decided she wasn’t going to take it anymore. She started competing in pageants because she wanted to prove her bullies wrong. “I can be better than this; I can be beautiful.” Pageantry prevented Opie from going down a self-destructive path that most people take to cope with bullying.

"Pageantry helped

me build confidence"

- Lisa Opie

“It helped me build confidence. It helped me stay in shape. It made me just focus on what I wanted out of life, and not what other people thought.”

Lisa Opie posing in her Vizcaya Swimwear

While she didn’t place in Miss Virginia, she had such a good experience that she wanted to continue competing. Because she couldn’t afford to buy one, she designed her own swimsuit, and then was asked to design a national swimsuit. She realized that this was an excellent business opportunity, and that’s how Vizcaya Swimwear was born.

Vizcaya Swimwear supports women that are actively promoting a positive lifestyle.

“It was the bullies. I really have to thank the bullies out there because I just wanted to prove them wrong. Just being up there on that stage and showing them that I can be confident– even the opportunity to share my story.”

Listen to our exclusive interview with Lisa to learn more about how she’s taking a unique promotional and marketing approach by launching her Miss Vizcaya campaign. (Available on iTunes)

4 Min Read
Career

Using COVID-19 To Build Emotional Intelligence

COVID-19's impact on the world economy was virtually impossible to predict and fully prepare for. Governments balancing citizens' immediate health and safety vs. their financial needs resulted in emergency regulations that have hurt businesses worldwide. Today, the cannabis industry is considered essential, but as we entrepreneurs know, operating any business is a challenge. The entrepreneurial spirit burns brightly in tough times as we constantly look for ways to survive and improve our business while overcoming hardships.

But how do we do it? Especially with the growing rate of anxiety and depression?

Resilience and Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence means the ability to adapt to the stresses, tragedies, and discomforts that happen in everyday life.

Lao Tzu once said: "Strong is he who conquers others, but powerful is he who is able to conquer himself." Being an entrepreneur is liberating but at the same time requires great responsibility. Being emotionally intelligent will help you think rationally, make clear decisions, and deal with people better. Being smart in the emotional field is a skill acquired over time. It takes consistent practice and dedication. It's similar to building a fit body through exercising; you will realize that the more you exercise, the more you are able to achieve your aim. The steps to building emotional intelligence include:

1) Understand what it means to be emotionally intelligent

You cannot achieve what you don't know. Before training to be emotionally intelligent, understand what it means and why it is important.

Emotional intelligence means the ability to adapt to the stresses, tragedies, and discomforts that happen in everyday life. Being emotionally intelligent does not mean that you will not suffer or be upset, rather it means that you will be able to recognize and evaluate your feelings and others' feelings and plan on how to deal with them. It is also important to understand that achieving this is a gradual process and that people learn in different ways. Regular practice is necessary.

2) Think before making decisions

A lot of times when we are pushed to the wall or completely stressed out, we tend to act irrationally and end up regretting our actions. The best way to address this is to think before acting. Thinking before making decisions bring clarity about the situation and helps to avoid conflicts and unnecessary regrets.

3) Be empathetic

Everyone is in the same boat, and we never really know what's going on with the others around us. It is important to know how to put yourself in others' shoes, try to understand their behaviors, and always be open to new ideas!

4) Learn to relate to people

Good leaders are characterized by their good relationships with people. Having a genuine interest in people and encouraging their growth creates happy environments, and happy people are naturally more productive.

Seek not only to speak but to listen to people and try to understand what the other person is saying. This might be difficult, but it is a skill that produces a long-term benefit when you learn it.

Be open to receiving feedback and accepting diversity. The best way to grow professionally is by investing in relationships, as no one is or does everything alone all the time.

The entrepreneurial spirit burns brightly in tough times as we constantly look for ways to survive and improve our business while overcoming hardships.

5) You are in control of your reactions

Everyone has feelings, and we feel different things every day. The key is to know how to act on those feelings.

For example, I can feel angry and:

  • a) Keep it to myself
  • b) shout and attack someone
  • c) understand the reason for the anger, express what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling it

In all the reactions listed above, what triggered them is the same - anger. The reactions show that you might not be able to control what life puts in front of you, but you will always be in control of how you react.

6) Act with intention

Be in control of your focus, understand what is happening, and take action consciously. Mindfulness helps you focus on the present without letting the past or future affect you; it helps the mind to become healthier and happier.

7) Identify your strengths

Make a list of your best strengths and qualities and read them aloud. Remember that knowing your qualities helps you to become more focused and confident. This helps to increase your strength and emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is a process. Give yourself time to practice these steps, and gradually you will see improvement in your business and personal life with each day that passes.