For the past 2 weeks I have been holding one-on-one meetings with every person that is employed at our RuffleButts headquarters to discuss their feedback and goals for 2016. One of my many goals for 2016 is improved and increased communication with those in my life, both personal and professional. This is step one. As I have been processing all of this communication, which has been totally wonderful by the way, it brought me back to my own goals for this year. The post below may sound a little cheesy to some, but those who know me well know exactly what I am saying here. So anyhow, I am sharing publicly and ignoring any fear of judgement that lies within. At 36, judgement has lost most of its power (most, not all). While I likely thought most of this ten years ago, I definitely would not have published it.
For 2016 this is what I pray here at RuffleButts...
Please use me, every part of me, to do Your work. To help those around me in whatever way I can. To notice those who need the attention; empower those who may need the confidence; to teach those who need the wisdom; to lift up those who experience doubt; to push those that may need the motivation; to challenge those who may need the humbleness; to listen to those who need to be heard; to share Your love in everything I do.
Please help me to show my gratitude to You and to those around me on a daily basis. I am eternally grateful for my life, my family, this business, for the people in my life, for the comfort of a heated home, for the daily use of running water, for the gift to impact others, for the blessing to pay it forward, for your grace when I make mistakes and most of all for Jesus.
Please continue to guide me in this business to do with it what You have always intended. I can not put into words my gratitude for RuffleButts, a literal answered prayer. For the amazing people You have sent into my life to walk this journey with me, to challenge me, to inspire me, to teach me. I only pray that I have given them a small faction of what they have given me. Thank You most of all for blessing me with a built-in business partner to make it all happen. Lord, You know our story would be so very different without him!
God, please guide us in communication, the communications with our customers and the communications with each other. It is so often we assume someone knows something that we have not said. Please lead us to share the joy of this business with as many people as possible. Help us to touch our customers with happiness; to make a grandmother smile with joy; to give the gift of precious memories to many, many mothers; to make a little girl sparkle with confidence in her new ruffles; to shower little boys in the compliments that will lead them to strong young men. We are so extremely grateful to see these smiles coming back to us in photos and letters from our customers. There is no bigger joy!
Please continue to guide me in how to use this business to help others. Please lead us in our efforts with Cooks Children's Hospital and multiply our gifts. We are so very grateful for the blessing to bless others. I know Your plans are very big in this area and I just pray that I am able to fulfill them to the max!
Lord, please prepare us for this AMAZING year ahead, because I know we are ready to take it on!
Most people read me as fairly non-emotional at 1st interaction. I'm not super social, but consider myself to be friendly. It is certainly rare that I get emotional in front of others. I want to say it is because I have spent the last 8 years as a CEO that has to pull it together and put on a brave face while we conquer goals bigger than ourselves. In an honest retrospect, I guess I've really always been this way, just mostly even keel, and ready for a challenge. When my closest friend heard that I started RuffleButts, her response was "of course you did." At the time, her response caught me a little off guard, but after a short explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. In a way, my life path prepared and led me right to this journey. In a way, I always knew what I wanted to do, without having any idea what that was...if that makes any sense to anyone!
Anyhow, there are many things about this journey that I completely expected and many more that I did not. One of the things I didn't really see coming was how much I would be impacted by those that signed up to walk along side me in this RuffleButt journey. They affect and impact me more than I ever knew possible. Back to my non-emotional statement earlier, while I may come across fairly non-emotional, I am actually affected quite deeply by those closest to me. As an only child, I don't have a large family, so in a lot of ways, this company has become my family. They are certainly the people that I spend the vast majority of my time with.
Today, these people truly made my day! I had no idea it was bosses day and quite frankly, what is "bosses day" anyway?! While I may technically fall under that definition in some ways, I don't ever considerate it my title in any way. While I may come across as bossy...let me try that again...while I do come across as bossy in many ways, I never think of myself as "the boss". I mostly think of myself as the captain, but a ship without mates would certainly not be a successful one. I carry the responsibility of captain quite seriously, considering that more than 25 people have trusted me enough to put their career in my hands. And, it goes without saying, that I absolutely could not do it without my co-captain (and hubby).
So, this morning our team told me that something was serious and we were needed in the conference room. When we arrived, this incredibly creative creation awaited on the table. As I looked up, our team joined us in the conference room to celebrate "bosses day". I was not only touched by the kind words, but also by the obvious effort that went into such a gift. I have to say I have never seen anything like this candy bar poster before, but what a great idea!!
To my team, THANK YOU!! Thank you for making this dream possible. Thank you for your loyalty to our vision. Thank you for your commitment to helping make it happen. Thank you for your forgiveness that I am far from perfect. Thank you for your understanding when we make mistakes. Thank you for your determination when our goals seem out of reach. Thank you for making us laugh with your clever slack commentaries. Thank you for the in-office entertainment. Thank you for your positive attitudes. Thank you for your lack of drama (seriously, this is a big one!). Thank you for all that you do!
No matter how long I do this, it is always surprising to me when people look to me as an 'expert' in the industry or entrepreneurship. Although I feel like I've been doing this forever in some ways, I still feel like a total newbie in others. I remember so clearly in the beginning...
I sat at my little make-shift desk in my little make-shift office in our 2-bdrm Ft. Lauderdale condo. I was in full blown fake-it-till-you-make-it mode. I don't think I would have survived otherwise. Completely intimidated, but even more determined, I picked up the phone and pretended to know what they were talking about...I had no clue! Sure, a full package manufacturing quote is what I wanted...no idea what full package meant. Was there a partial-package? Oh sure, HTS codes, of course I knew what category I was producing...not really! Interlock vs jersey...yes, that one. I just rolled with it, and then as soon as I got off the phone, I would scour the internet and books trying to figure out what the heck they were saying.
Is this you?? Do you sometimes question whether you are good enough, know enough, or are strong enough to pursue your idea? I may not know you personally, but I am telling you, dig deep, you already know the answer. When it comes down to it, you (and no one else) know if you are strong enough. As for the good enough and know enough, that is up to you. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out?? Then you know enough! Here's the fact...for every single expert out there, at some point, they were a newbie. At some point they didn't know as much as others in their industry. They were willing to put in the work. Are you?
Although I have come a long way when it comes to what I do, I still know that I have miles and miles to go on my journey to becoming a successful business leader and entrepreneur. I am really just like so many other people out there. I have a dream; I have faith in God; I have love in my heart; I am determined to create something bigger than myself; I want to pay it forward; I yearn to leave a legacy for my children. The only thing that makes me a little different from some is that I am willing to sacrifice and work more hours than some to make it happen. If this sounds familiar. If you are one of those people, don't you dare let them make you feel like a newbie.
I am constantly inspired by other successful people. Mark Cuban is often one of them. I met him at the Dallas W Hotel launch event I worked back in 2006, and as I have pursued my dream of entrepreneurship, I often turn to him to figure things out (of course I don't mean personally...I wish!).
What he says usually just makes sense to me. I think we're both stubborn as all get out. He's got the gift of being social, which I missed out on, but I think we're alike in various ways...minus the billions of dollars and private jet ;) Anyhow, in his book How to Win at the Sport of Business, he tells the story of when he was a newbie. He just dove in, determined to know more than the people he was selling to, so he read the manuals. Seriously, he would spend hours pouring through the manuals that come with the software. Seems basic right? I think it's genius! He took the information that was available to him and put in the hours to learn it. It is just my opinion, but I think that is a characteristic of many successful people, they are just willing to work and put in the hours to figure it out. So, we're all newbies in one way or another and it repeats itself over and over again. Life is boring if we aren't challenged. It's the only way to grow, so embrace being a newbie, but don't ever allow yourself to feel not good enough just because you may not be as tenured. Put in the work to become an expert, go for your dreams, and love what you do.