I shared the Fearless Women Summit stage in Toronto and Barrie (you can see links to my talk on my speaker page) with women who had incredible stories. Listening to them, I realized that I had the definition of fearless wrong.
I thought fearless meant that you never felt nervous, anxious, or nauseous about ANYTHING! I had never really thought about it but, as one of the speakers pointed out, to be fearless, that definition of fearless, you are dead!
What does fearless mean then?
These women shared stories about overcoming illness, death of a loved one, poverty, oppression, and injury. They were hit by some of life’s biggest challenges. Yet, they persevered without any guarantee that things would get better.
That is fearless!
Fearless isn’t feeling confident and bold, it is about feeling nervous, anxious, and nauseous and still moving forward. The confidence and boldness comes after the throwing up and then taking action.
The trick to a successful life is to take action even when you are terrified.
My new definition of fearless is not living less because of fear. It has nothing to do with not feeling fear. It has to do with not letting fear stop you from living the life you want.
Fear + Action = Success
Sometimes we wonder “why.”
Why did this happen to ME?
Today’s plan: fly to San Diego via Chicago.
Reality: 3 hour mechanical delay, get off the ground finally for Chicago and they close O’Hare due to weather, we get diverted to Milwaukee for fuel, and the crew times out.
Bonus trip: Milwaukee!!!
Bright side: I am not travelling with small children, I have water and food, I do not HAVE to be in San Diego today like those who missed birthday parties, wedding rehearsals, and a funeral.
But, I wondered why me falling asleep in Milwaukee instead of San Diego.
Most times we never get an answer to a question like that.
I sat on my flight to Phoenix ( best option to get to San Diego on day two) between two good friends. They did the old “book the two outside seats because no one wants to sit in the middle” move. They were wrong as the flight was full and so I sat there. I gave them an option to sit together but they said no.
We talked about everything, as three women have a tendency to do. It came up one of them just lost her job and she was reeling from the impact and confused as to what to do.
I told her my story and told her she needs to give herself permission to live her life for her. She started to cry. She needed to hear those words and I got to deliver them because I got diverted yesterday.
I believe the Universe is constantly conspiring on our behalf. I am not sure if someone else would have sat in my seat and did the same thing. I’m not sure if there would have been anyone sitting there at all if there hadn’t been dozens of us put on the plane to Phoenix because of the grounded flight. What I know for sure is that my 36 hour travel time to San Diego was easier to take knowing I had a positive impact on a stranger sitting beside me in the airplane.
I wish I could promise never to ask “why me” in the future when things go wrong after seeing such a clear reason this time. I can’t. I do hope that this will take the sting out of it next time knowing that everything has a reason, we just sometimes don’t get to see it.
I am at the Global Influence Summit in San Diego and Brian Smith, the Founder of UGGS, just finished his talk. He as an AMAZING story!!!
Seeing every type of person wearing UGGs around the world, you only see the success. Brian Smith climbed a series of mountains and slid down into the darkest valleys, including at one point not even owning the company due to a legal snafu, on his crusade for every person in the world to want a pair of UGGs.
I would highly recommend you read his whole story in Birth of a Brand but I wanted I wanted to share my top five nuggets of wisdom (there were plenty to choose from) that I gleaned from his story.
- Never advertise the product, advertise the benefit. When you read this statement you think, of course you advertise the benefit, yet, how many people in the last week have tried to sell you a product. People want to know what is in it for them. What kind of lifestyle will they live if they use your product? Will they look and/or feel younger, more attractive, or smarter? Will life be easier? That is what you need to talk about.
- Be a benefactor, not a salesperson. Brian talked about how he didn’t just sell UGGs to the surfer stores. He helped them design their merchandising for more sales. He helped them come up with new marketing ideas that not only affected the sales of UGG’s but everything in their store. When the UGGs got into trouble, these store owners supported Brian because he was more than just a salesperson, he was a partner looking out for the best interest of the store owner.
- Your brand is what your customers think of you. Billions upon billions of dollars are spent on branding every year. In the end, how your loyal customers think of you and your product is YOUR brand. Therefore, you need to promote yourself and your products in a way that aligns with what you want your customer to think of you. A disconnect can spell disaster.
- Go looking for what you want, don’t wait for it. When Brian graduated as an accountant, he immediately started looking for business opportunities. He realized that all of the cool stuff was coming out of California so he moved there from Australia to find something to bring back home. He was a surfer and from a magazine ad for sheepskin boots he came up with the idea of starting UGGs.
- Defeat is not real until you give up. Including losing ownership of the company and suffering business losses to a copycat, Brian had several moments when it looked like failure was inevitable. But, he couldn’t give up. So, even though on paper there were a lot of defeats, he never let them become reality. He fought back every challenge doing what he could to make UGGs a global brand.
You may be like me and just assumed that UGGs went from zero to the over a $1 Billion in international sales every year in an instant and without much drama. You would be wrong. And, the story of Brian Smith and UGGs is similar to a lot of stories of companies who are international conglomerates. The road to success is not paved with gold. It is paved with blood, sweat, and tears and requires tenacity, commitment, and a belief in the business and oneself that obliterates what is seen in reality.
By following Brian’s tips, you might be the next UGGs!
This morning, when I got to Pearson airport, things were a bit grim. The day before there was the big Air Canada debacle and then today the Nor’easter so flights were delayed, bumped or cancelled all together and this is March Break. You can imagine….right?
But a baggage guy, full of joy with a big toothy smile, wasn’t having any of it. Instead of droning on like his co-workers, he sang all of the instructions to me to a Reggae beat and ended with “have a beautiful day” and then erupted into a hearty laugh. He was filled with joy and some spilled over onto me.
I needed every bit of it. Three hour delay to get out of Toronto, flight diverted to Milwaukee because of bad weather in Chicago, ready to take off again for Chicago after fuelling up (in time for me to make my connection to San Diego) and the crew timed out and we were stuck in Milwaukee. We had been on the tarmac for over an hour. Most of us had been up early to catch the flight. And then it took over an hour to get our bags off the plane. No food, no sleep, no way to get to my destination could have turned me into full-on bitch.
Instead, I thought of the baggage guy and how he helped me in the morning. So, I became the passenger advocate, getting information, talking a poor girl off the ledge who has a major speech to give tomorrow with lots riding on it and she wasn’t sure if she would make it, or helping others get hotel and food vouchers.
There was a man on my flight that was, let’s say crotchety before we even got on the plane because it was late. When he came down to get his bag in Milwaukee, he was complaining for all to hear. I told him that in the big scheme of things this isn’t so bad. We started talking and he asked me how I could be happy about this. I said I am not really happy but I am trying to make joy my default. He said, and I am not making this up, that aggravated is his natural state and he likes it. Then we both laughed. And the people around us started laughing. And then we all started to share the few good things that came out of it all. That area of the airport became joy full.
And it all started with that baggage handler in the morning.
You have a choice every day, regardless of what happens to you (I’m in Milwaukee instead of San Diego for goodness sake…no offence Milwaukee but you are no San Diego) whether you are aggravated or joy full. You think it is complicated, but it is not.
You also have a choice whether to share joy with others so they can be joy full too!
Can you imagine if we all had joy as our default?
It is International Women’s Day today! I want to celebrate all of the women who came before me and paved the way so that I can choose any career I want, that I have every right that a man does, including voting, owning property, and being able to wear pants, and that I have dignity and respect for who I am, not based on what chromosomes I am born with.
I also want to honour all of the women who have impacted me directly. All of my great, great grandmothers who moved to a foreign place called Canada, often with children in tow, with nothing but what they could carry, to allow me to be born in this great country.
I want to thank my Grandma Gudrie for being such a strong and stubborn women in a 4′ 11″ body that was such an example for me of not being afraid to voice her opinion or choose the life she wanted.
My Mom had seven children…seven…with six of us being girls!!! And, when we ranged in age from 5 to 18, my father passed away. This woman, who battled horrible rheumatoid arthritis since her thirties and had a grade three education did not fall apart because she was left alone. No, this woman kept it together and raised seven children that are strong, successful, educated, kind, caring, compassionate, and loving and who still all love to hang out with each other. Now THAT is heroic.
And my sisters. I think of my sister Deb and her strength and faith she displayed with her battle with cancer. Cancer took her body but her spirit remains and continues to inspire anyone who knew her. And my four other sisters exemplify what a great woman is. Each chose their own path and have been such a positive impact on their families and communities. Being second youngest, I learned so much of what it means to be a great woman from my sisters and sister-in-law.
Then there are all of my soul sisters out there, who are too many to name but you know who you are, who are just kicking ass in their world, as well as supporting their community, and being great moms, sisters, aunts, daughters, and friends. I see all of you and am inspired to do better each and every day. because of you.
I also want to mention the two men in my life who made me a better woman. My father believed in education, whether you were male or female, and in a time when a high school education was enough to get a pretty good job and there was pressure for women to just find a husband as soon as possible and start having children, he pushed us girls to go to post secondary school and be more. His expectation that there was more in me turned into my own.
And, my husband is my greatest source of support and encouragement. His, “you do what you got to do and I will be right behind you” attitude has been the wind beneath my wings for over 35 years. I’m a better woman because of him.
And last, but not least, I want you all to know that the next generation of women coming up has got this covered! My daughters make me proud to be their mom and proud to be a woman. They are both strong, talented, beautiful, heart-centred people and I know the world is already a better place because they are in it. And my nieces, who I have watched grow from children into independent, smart, and amazing women, makes me honoured to be their Auntie.
We have been given one day to celebrate all of the women in our life and in this world. What if we do it every day? What if we start stretching out our hand to women in need? What if we collaborate instead of compete with other women? What if we support rather than judge? What if we stand up for women who are being marginalized rather than worry it might affect us negatively so we shrink away? I would like to start a new movement, a #wegotthistogether movement that spurs us on to help one woman every day get a little bit further on her journey.
Don’t let midnight be the end of this celebration!
Every single one of you have the ability to change the life of a woman, let’s do it!