The earth rotated around the sun once again bringing another birthday my way. The ageless reality I face is that the older I get the more I realize that if I were to meet my younger self today, I would absolutely not be able to identify with or recognize who she is! I would not want it any other way! I celebrate that fact every birthday. It suggests growth, it champions change, and it screams legacy and success!
Younger me would not have had the tenacity to endure 5 years of entrepreneurship. She would have gotten frustrated and lost focus. Older me gets it. Being a founder is about change and appreciating the nuances of running a business when it is perfect, as well as when it is not.
Younger me had a lot of excuses. She spent vast amounts of time waiting. She thought she had forever. Older me appreciates that my time, my best time, is right NOW. I am richest when I invest in what I can do today.
Younger me lived with fears unrecognized. The me of the moment challenges fear, not to be fearless but to fear LESS so that I can accomplish and DO more of what I love.
Younger me spent time in yesterday and tomorrow. Today I am in TODAY. This alone is an energy life hack that drives choice and purpose in ways that I never knew were possible. Every year we add to our birth brings us closer to the reality that the time we can impact is not what was or what will be, but what actually is. This small tweak drives your legacy and shifts your energy allowing you to pivot toward what you most want rather than away from what you do not. Instead of backing away…you are pivoting with purpose and moving ahead.
Younger me thought that she could only handle one thing or another. This OR that. Current me realizes the impact of replacing the word OR with the word AND then completing my thought. Today I resonate with the opportunities and possibilities this supports, something that a younger version of me simply could not, and would not, explore.
Younger me was resourceful because she needed to be. Older me is creative and curious because she wants to be.
Younger me thought she knew what she wanted in life. Older me knows what she is saying yes to in life and she gratefully celebrates that.
Younger me made mistakes. Older me makes mistakes that lead to discoveries and opportunities to renew and shift course. Failure does not exist because perfection does not exist.
Younger me imagined that she knew everything. Older me knows she is always learning something.
Younger me believed that you made choices that lasted forever. Seasoned me realizes that nothing lasts forever other than the relationship we have with ourselves. This is the one thing in life you can control. Everything else is subject to change and interpretation from a new perspective.
Younger me would not have had a meaningful and intelligent conversation with older me. She would not have seen the advantage. Yet, today I cherish the relationships I have collected, connections and conversations with people who matter, which incidentally includes accessing my own wisdom! I seek all of this out for the insight and human spirit it provides.
Yes, I was numerically and biologically younger yesterday. Yet today I am actually ageless. Today I am rich with opportunity and perspective that is steeped in what I CAN accomplish now.
Now is my new next!
Now is your new next as well! Today is a 24-hour window to invest in a 2020 vision. It is in today that we each have a unique-to-us chance to live our legacy, to engage in what inspires us, to seek the unknown and make it known. Today, we can challenge who we have been in favor of pivoting toward who we have not yet allowed ourselves to become.
It makes little difference where you are in the cycle of birthdays. What is important to remember is that you are not adding years, you are increasing experience. If every birthday is a marker of growth, then by extension, every day is a barometer of action steps, decisions, opportunities and ownership. Where will you challenge and own individual accomplishment? Where will you seek out the next step? What makes today different from yesterday?
So…in the 365 days ahead in the everyday of today what changes?
Don't wait. Do.
Don't quit. Pivot.
Don't juggle. Balance. Begin with your relationship to YOU!
Don't overthink. Think it over.
Grab your control back and choose.
Grab your success back and celebrate it.
Grab your life back and live it fully.
Set the tone for 2020 impact! No birthday needed!
- Why Self-Awareness Isn't Doing More to Help Women's Careers ›
- The 3 Levels of Self-Awareness | Mark Manson ›
"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.