I ran a 10K in Boston this past October because sometimes you just have to put yourself out there—way out there.
Through podcasts, self-help books, and countless articles, I have always heard, "We all have the power to make a positive change!" I love it; we all do! It's inspiring. But I thought it was up to other people to do it. I mean, I was very busy.
I had a big career, a great husband, two healthy kids, a dog, a fish, six chickens, and a home in a beautiful seaside town. It's a lot to handle, but how could I have been unhappy? Well, I was in a soulless job with a fat paycheck and a pension. I was more empty than unhappy. If anyone at a party asked what I did for a living, I quickly changed the subject; it just didn't interest me.
Oprah once said, "There are only two emotions in this world, love, and fear. Which one do you want to come from?"
I was at a job that had me traveling two or three nights a week, working insane hours, and becoming more and more detached from my family. And it was all driven by fear.
But, what if my career choice came from a place of love?
It worked for Oprah. So, what if I can do something I love and make a positive change? Why not me? It was my brother who finally convinced me to take the leap into entrepreneurship. He believed in me more than I believed in myself, and for that, I am forever grateful.
My first website didn't even have a photo of myself as the founder. I was too afraid to put myself out there. At the advice of a friend, I started by adding my story to the website. I slowly became my brand—speaking endlessly at every sporting event, meeting, and party about the importance of organic menstrual hygiene products. I hosted period parties at my home, and even now, I can't believe people came!
Then my friends started to host period parties (Titos, Tacos & Tampons, it's a thing!), and the buzz began to grow. Women have realized that when we lift each other up, amazing things can happen. It was for this reason that shortly after my launch, my cousin Denielle, who I had not seen in over 25 years (long story), found me on Facebook and asked what she could do to help. She is now my co-founder and magical unicorn. I cannot imagine doing this with anyone else.
She also had a big career and was at a crossroads in her life. Could we really leave these high paying jobs to see if we can make it as social entrepreneurs?
The regrets people have in their last days are the things they did not do, the risks they did not take. We decided to swing for the fences and change the narrative around menstrual hygiene. It is a category that has been controlled by two big companies in the US with little innovation, no transparency, no environmental or sustainable choices, and no one speaking up for the one in five US women who experience Period Poverty.
We are mothers of daughters, and we were going to do something about it—for our girls and for all girls.
As a self-funded startup, we nearly decimated ourselves and our bank accounts, building our direct-to-consumer business. Blissfully naive about fundraising, we spent several months on the venture capital circuit and didn't raise a dime. We almost closed our doors, but something about our purpose and the momentum we could feel from the women around us wouldn't let us give up.
Denielle bought a pink glitter unicorn headband, and I bought a Tampon costume from a Halloween website. It was time to dig deep. The unicorn headband brings us good luck, and Denielle wears it every day in the office. The tampon suit is just really funny, and luckily other people thought it was too.
First, we posted photos of me in it.
Then we made YouTube videos.
Then I ran the Reebok Boston 10K for women in the tampon suit.
And then we got noticed by retailers, by investors, and (most importantly) by women everywhere.
Denielle and I both had strong Mommas, who were trailblazers met with a lot of criticism for working outside of the home. We were very fortunate to grow up in the next generation, where many women went to college and had great careers. However, the women we came up with professionally were, simply put, mean. They were mean girls competing for board seats. Why weren't we working together? The men didn't tear each other down to get ahead. The guys laughed all the way to the board room, slapping each other on the back.
Our daughters are growing up in a time where women are supporting each other. We can be role models and show them the magic that can happen when women build each other up. We are not just changing the narrative about menstrual care. We are changing the culture of how to build a business for good.
You have to believe in the power of unicorns; you just have to put yourself out there. We can all be that person who lifts someone else up, and we all have superpowers to make a positive change in the world—sometimes, it just takes a unicorn headband and a tampon suit to start.
We are living in a time when women are rising to new heights which means they are regularly being confronted with the fear of being "too much". For women in business this is pervasive and costly.
A few ways women can be perceived as "too much" are:
Speaking up about their successes and achievements.
Sharing one too many photos of their cute kids.
Telling one too many people about that date night.
Looking a little too good in that swimsuit.
These can lead to being publicly attacked on social media or privately slandered which in turn leads to women dimming their light and walking on egg shells in hopes of avoiding conflict and judgement.
The minute a woman feels it's unsafe to shine she will begin to overthink, worry, and fear how she shows up in the world.
Forgetting to announce the book is done and the interview is live.
Choosing to focus on what's still on the to-do list rather than what's been checked off.
Many female entrepreneurs are subconsciously altering their behavior in an attempt to not attract too much attention to themselves, rather than focusing on allowing authenticity and magnetism to attract their ideal clients and community.
Women are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, and abandoned by other women for simply being who they are. This leads to quite the quantum when being who you are is simplest way to accelerate the growth of your business.
New research shows men are far more comfortable with self promotion than women are. Researchers found that men rate their own performance 33 percent higher than equally performing women. What we know is that self promotion pays off and this is where women are missing the boat.
The world needs more women to step into leadership roles and no longer be intimidated about creating six and seven figure careers.
Here are five ways to release the fear of being "too much":
1. Approve of yourself.
While it feels good to receive outside validation it will never be enough if you don't first appreciate yourself. The key to having a healthy support system is to make sure you are part of it. Being your biggest critic is what your mother's generation did. It's now time to be your biggest cheerleader. Becoming aware of self talk will reveal what belief is ready to be re-wired. Create a simply mantra that affirms how incredible capable you are.
2. Connect deeply to those you serve.
One powerful way to shift out of people pleasing behavior is to get clear on who actually matters to the wellbeing and success of your life and business. Leadership is not about being the most popular, instead it's a decision to be brave for those who can't be. Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate on those your business serves and supports. See your future clients moving toward you every time you choose to stand in your power and use your authentic voice.
3. Remember the legacy you wish to leave.
Having your life purpose and legacy in writing is one of the most transformational exercises you can do. Reading this often will keep you focused on what matters. Knowing what you wish to leave in the hearts of those you love most is incredibly grounding. You didn't come here to keep your mouth shut, dilute your truth, or dim your light-you came here to make a difference.
4. Forgive those who have been unsupportive in the past.
The past has a way of informing the future in a negative way when there is unresolved pain. Take a few minutes to get quiet and ask yourself who you have unforgiveness towards or maybe their name came to mind as you read this article. Listening to a forgiveness meditation or writing a letter to the person you are ready to forgive are both simple and effective ways to process and heal.
5. Be part a community of bright, successful women.
Meaningful relationships with others who have similar aspirations is what will keep you out of isolation and playing small. These connections can happen in a networking group, online community or a local Meetup. Thriving in every area of life is depend on you knowing where you belong and being celebrated there. Don't wait to be invited, go actively seek out people and places that support your dreams and desires.
6. Accept you can have it all.
Women have been fed a lie for generations that says, you can have love or money. Decide you can have it all and allow it to flow to you. You can have a successful career and an amazing mother. You can balance motherhood and loving marriage. Don't let anyone write the rules for you. This is the time to create the life you desire on your terms.
7. Celebrate everything!
The fastest way to leave the haters in the dust is to celebrate everything! At the end of each day lay in bed and recall the best moments. At the end of each week, publicly acknowledge and celebrate what's good in your life. Once a month, have a celebration dinner and share it with those who have helped you in the journey. If there's something good happening, talk about it with everyone who will listen!
May you be a woman who chooses to shine so that others may be reminded of all they can be and do.