Packing My Bags

I inherited droopy skin over my brow bone from my mother. She and I have the same gravity targets: brow bone, jaw bone, and belly.

Flashes of memory from childhood, looking at her reflected face in her table-top, lit vanity mirror as she applied her makeup, I was mesmerized at how she painted that brow bone various shades to diminish the puffiness, how she created the illusion of uplifted brow bone skin and larger eyes (her eyes are narrow, almost slits): deep colors in the skin folds above the upper eyelid and pale powder under the eyebrow.

Duplicating that process in my late twenties, when the brow sag started, I wasn’t as successful at creating the illusion. My mother has hazel eyes, mostly grey-green, shot through with speckles of emerald. Mine are chocolate brown. The glitter in her eye shadow crystallized those sparks in her hazel. Mine, not so much.

I’ve never been one for makeup. In the 80s, a restaurant manager fired me for refusing to wear any. I could say I was making a statement about authenticity, but it’s more likely ignorance and laziness.

I’m pleased with my eye cream eyelift. Practically speaking, I appreciate money spent well (eye cream’s only about 50 bucks). But on a deeper level, I’m happy to lose the puffy eyes that paint the picture of haggardness in the mirror and to others.

The truth: our story is in our faces. If we look gravity-ravaged, people treat us with a different kind of deference, slightly pitying or patient, than if we look alert and youthful. Bright eyes, framed in taut skin, reflect the vitality that bursts forth from within. That life energy is no illusion. It’s simply masked by gravity’s heavy hand.

Lucky me, I also inherited my mom’s optimism–mostly. She would be tickled to know that I’m finally taking care of my face. I like to think that even through her misty, mostly clouded over eyes now, she looks into my eyes and inwardly smiles.

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Five Things I’ve Learned About Entrepreneurship

I launched my business officially in June of this year. In a mere not quite four months, I’ve learned a lot about business, myself, and people.

Unlike practicing law, people don’t seek me out for what I’ve got to offer. You either need a lawyer or you don’t–and hopefully you don’t. But turning people onto something as personal and seemingly non-essential as skincare is another story. It’s been eye-opening, to say the least.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. It’s hard.

Duh. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but I don’t mean just lots of work and time doing stuff.

The company business model is pretty simple: reach out to family and friends and spread the good word about how great my and my family’s faces look using the products. The skincare line works great, so no need to make it up or enhance something mediocre. But I was totally unprepared for the resistance most people put up immediately to what they perceive as “being sold.” You’d think I was trying to get people hooked on crack or to buy a used car.

I’m the same. I’m on guard as soon as a salesperson approaches. So I don’t blame people for going on stealth mode or shut down when I tell them about my wares. And maybe the guardedness is more the result of my insecurity than their sales phobia. It takes time to build a competent, confident, and collected sharesperson.

And that’s what’s hard. Changing my attitude about what I do has been the most difficult. Every day is an adjustment, digging deeply into my heart to remember why I chose this path. And I did choose it. Sharing I’m comfortable with, listening to human stories I adore, and giving gifts I love.

It’s been hard remembering each day that those who want what I’ve got to share will take it. Those who don’t won’t. And all of it–every inch of it–is just fine just as it is. My equilibrium gets tested.

It’s hard being me most days.

2. I’ve got to be me.

It’s not just Sammy Davis, Jr., who belted out that tune last century. We all gotta be us.

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Image source

My company offers tons of information, training, teams, inspiration, incentives, and tools. They offer, more importantly, awesome skincare. Those of us hooked on the brand love how our skin feels and radiates freshness and clarity.

It’s simple. Tremendous company leaders remind us how to best get the message out, how to share and represent a company built by hard work, ingenuity, and brains of two successful doctors and business women. Men and women from all walks and geography–U.S., Canada, and Australia–represent and succeed by following the path designed by smart people.

Problem is, I’ve fashioned myself as a non-conformer, individualist, lone wolf, and anti-establishment woman. My initial reaction to teams is “I can do this better alone–my way.”

That’s both wrong and right. Like an unconscious, knee-jerk reaction to “sales,” the same unthinking response to teams and teamwork is just me missing out on a helping hand and reliving tedious memories of working on group projects filled with one or two worker bees carrying the load for the non-starters and free-riders.

Again, attitude adjustment. Not everything’s a competition, and if everything is a competition, then the win must be redefined. I’m competitive. I can’t even attend a Yoga class without keeping my eyes closed to avoid watching what others are doing better. Not very yogic, for sure.

Going back to what’s hard, I’ve struggled to make this biz my own without falling back into idols or false images of myself I’ve created or impulse reactions to ingrained prejudices. The constant vigilance and testing out what feels right and wrong tires me out by the end of the day. But it’s a good fatigue, something like growing pains.

Like most things, it takes constant learning to figure out what works and doesn’t, and what rings true for me, what’s authentic.

3. Consistency.

That’s nothing new in my world. If I know one thing, I know how to plod on. It’s how I got through decades of non-stop academia and a law practice I didn’t love. It’s how anyone gets through working a job, running a business…living a life.

There’s comfort in the rhythm of sameness, rituals of daily practice. I like to wake each day opening my bedroom door to let the dog jump into bed with me while I check my morning inspirational messages (I save the rest for after coffee). I savor my morning coffee and meditation. Starting the day in pattern helps fight the nighttime despair that all is chaos and battle (drama queen that I am).

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So getting up each day–dog hugs, warm coffee, breathing in silence–is followed by sitting down at the computer to see what’s going on in my world. Doing business.

Here’s where consistency challenges. Not every day is a “let’s see what I can learn” day. Some days I wake up listing to the left or right, like a pirate with a peg leg. The world seems off kilter. I don’t feel like walking the straight path to success. I don’t feel like working this biz, but can find lots of other things I feel like doing under the pretense of getting shit done.

For instance, I’ll procrastinate or do weak tasks, not the challenging ones, just to pacify myself that I’ve worked the business. So, I’ll write one-liners to people I’ve sent product samples to like, “How did you like the mini facial?” and call that a productive contact. It’s not.

Consistency means quality, not just going through the motions. People deserve more of me than I’m willing to give on too many days. Engaging, giving, and reaching out means being there, mind, body, and spirit. If it’s not with full heart and interest, I shouldn’t be reaching out.

I ‘m fond of humanity. I want to know what makes them tick. Connection makes us all feel less lonely. The greatest benefit of my 24 years in lawyering was hearing the stories of lives like and unlike my own. Gifts.

To be consistent means, once again, remembering why I do what I do.

4. Patience.

This goes along with everything else. Patience with myself and others takes monumental strength. When a conversation goes like this, I want to scream:

Potential client: What I’ve been using for years hasn’t worked. I hate the lines in my forehead and around my mouth. The anti-aging products I’ve used for years don’t work.

Me: What do you think about the changes in my before and after pictures?

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Potential client: Fantastic! You look like you’ve had a face lift! How much is it?

Me: Regimens cost between $130 to $199 for a sixty-day supply, depending on how you buy it.

Potential client: Oh, I don’t know. That’s kind of expensive.

Here’s why I want to scream: Throwing away money for years on skincare that doesn’t work is okay but spending money on what does is too expensive.

Where’s the logic? Okay, so not everything is logical. Maybe logic is overrated.

The more depressing part of that exchange is how we’re so programmed not to love ourselves. The desire to feel good about ourselves is certainly there. Just look at advertising, what sells–whatever makes us feel and look good about ourselves, whether we’re deluded or not: makeup, health food, alcohol, fashion, you name it.

The patience is in knowing we’re all just doing the best we can with what we are and have. Even me. That is all.

5. Zen.

When I’m present, accepting, and detached from results, I’m good at what I do. Those days aren’t often, but if ever there was a life goal that meshed with a business goal, a why am I doing this goal, it’s this.

Being zen to me is nothing more than learning to be a good human, the best I can be to myself and to others by allowing us to be.

People are streams, rivers, and cascades drifting, running, and crashing by. They just are.

Accept them, I have to remind myself. Accept myself and keep going, keep learning, growing, and emerging til I can’t.

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So much joy in action without too much expectation and contemplation, I believe. “The root of suffering is attachment.” The Buddha knew.

 

Everything Old is New Again

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Day 2 of this week:

I came back to this product, the microdermabrasion paste, after first using it in a trial size packet along with a couple of capsules of lip serum and night hydrating serum. When my now sponsor first handed me this sample packet, dressed up pretty in a small paper bag brush stroked with soothing pastel mint greens and whispery pinks…

I instantly fell in love.

The paste left my face feeling clean and smooth, almost slick with sheen, and then the night hydrating serum…silk. That’s the only word that came to mind. None of the three items were greasy. I hate greasy.

Maybe because I never invested much in my facial products. Maybe I don’t get around much in the skincare world. I don’t know. But I loved these three items, especially the paste.

I’ve experienced a number of scrubs, ones I’ve picked up here and there, always knowing my face needed something more. Reps from various companies have crossed my social and familial paths, and I’m always happy to help another human make a living. But none touched me quite like this paste.

It goes on gritty yet gentle–hard to phrase it. You know it’s scraping off those dead skin layers, like 60-grit sandpaper would, yet it doesn’t scream your skin into submission, like some chemical peel (not that I’ve had the experience but I imagine it).

And it has a subtle scent, barely perceptible, which wins with me. I’m not big on scented products. I get nauseated smelling even lavender, which I love, all day long. I don’t like scent assaults. My nose thanks me for avoiding overpowering aromas.

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And what’s more, the jar of paste is a bargain! You use the paste three times a week, replacing the exfoliating wash of your regimen (mine is Reverse in the morning). So you preserve your wash and your jar lasts for months–because a little dab will do you.

I went back to the paste earlier this week and relived the love at first sight I experienced over three months ago. It made me happy all over again that I’m loving my skin just like I’m loving my mind and body with Yoga and walking the dogs.

No one (especially me) has to tell you life is balance.

The first thing most people notice about their lives out of balance is diet. I’m no exception. I changed my diet to increase my energy, reducing carb intake and sticking to whole foods. ┬áThen, exercise naturally follows. I, like most others, have focused on the body internally and externally.

I think we forget about our minds.

Who knew that caring for my face with a morning and night cleansing ritual, could be such a loving, mindful act? I didn’t.

 

This Stuff is a Miracle!

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Jordyn said that to me the other day. “You know, mom, Rodan and Fields is kind of a miracle for me.” I get it. Her skin looks beautiful. When you’re a 21 year old woman with noticeable acne scars, yes, it’s a wonderful gift to see them slowly disappear, your skin look healthy and clear.

So I asked her, “Why aren’t you getting into the business too?”

“Oh, I’m not a salesperson.” She looked at me with that wince that I sometimes have inside me, like this pushes the boundaries of who I think I am.

She doesn’t realize that she already is a walking sale for the miracle.

This business is challenging. It requires getting over myself, all my limiting beliefs and fears about who I think I am and who I think others think I am–all speculation.

I went to a meditation retreat this past weekend, meditated for hours. There was no cell service, only trees, fellow devotees, and the lovely gentle old soul who spoke about truth, love, compassion, and service to others.

Taking time out of the world and my usual thoughts about “the way things are” resets my old, habitual, tedious thought patterns.

And when my daughter beams with the love of her new, emerging skin, we’re both open to new possibilities about “the way things are.”

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Jordyn at 2.5 months on Rodan and Fields Unblemish

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