Thursday, September 18, 2014

what divorce has taught me about business

It's funny how you can go about your daily life, constantly trying and convincing yourself you can make it all work, no matter what. I've been doing that for (gulp) 11 years, and recently just admitted it. I've had a huge realization the past 6 months that while you certainly can do this, you also have the power to make changes to create a better, more fulfilling and joyful life.

It can be downright amazing the opportunities that unfold around you when you break down those walls and face change head on.

I got married a year before I started The Grapeseed Company. I was in my mid 20s, fresh off a year+ adventure sailing a small boat from Boston to the Caribbean with my future husband. I figured if we could make it for almost 2 years on a 30ft sailboat in high stress, life threatening situations, we could definitely make it as partners for life! We had a common goal on that boat, and we both used our strengths and assets to make it the best experience it could be. We had amazing adventures, went to some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and met wonderful people I will never forget. It was really a time of living life to its fullest and also is one of the biggest accomplishments and most positive memories in my entire life. I'm so happy I shared that with Pete.

We built a great life in Santa Barbara after we sold the sailboat and decided to move back to the USA and get married. Pete started grad school at UCSB. I started teaching and pursuing my passion for making products, and launched The Grapeseed Co. selling scrubs and lip balms at the Sunday Arts & Crafts Beach Show. I had no idea 10 years ago that Grapeseed would turn into what it has today.  
Passion is an extremely powerful thing. It's the secret sauce in keeping the drive going, which is essential in successful businesses, and relationships. As I built Grapeseed, each little victory and success became fuel for that passion, and drive to do even more. But Pete did not share that with me; it took a long time to realize and admit that. I'd be on cloud nine about a new deal, and he'd be looking up in the clouds. It was a very different feeling and experience then our sailing adventure, but just as exciting and wonderful (for me, at least, minus the pain of not having someone share in that joy!)

After a very long time trying to make things work and see the possibilities this was opening for us, we realized it was a losing battle. We had been on different paths, pursing different passions for a very long time. There was a lack of support; someone having your back and sharing your dreams or at least appreciating them... It just was not there, no matter how hard we tried.

When you are an entrepreneur, and especially a maker, you need to have a solid relationship with your business in order to be successful. You have to be in love with it! The passion and drive you convey are what make buyers stop and notice you amongst a sea of others... much like finding that certain someone. Relationships are not easy though, and can strain you and those around you at times. You have to give first to that relationship in order to get. You need to be committed, devoted, passionate and constantly working on making it succeed. Every. Single. Day. It can be exhausting, but you do it because you love and believe in it. You can't just have the pretty picture on the outside, it has to resound within, to truly be authentic and thrive.

Many entrepreneurs talk about having a supportive partner as a key to their success. I think this is another secret and deeper ingredient in that sauce... When a partner is bringing you down, or making you doubt yourself instead of believing in you and lifting you up, it can be debilitating. I've realized through the process of divorce that my business is so much stronger and incredible opportunities keep opening up because that cloud of negativity is now clear in my world. I've grown as a leader in all aspects of life through divorce.

So many great new things have blossomed this summer and our team is stoked-- they believe it will happen, there are not dark clouds and negativity around us. It's not a "$#*!, how are we going to make this work?" kind of vibe, but a "Wow we did that! On to next big thing!" There's hope, joy, growth and dreams to reach for, every single day. I'm thankful that has resulted in part from my personal journey, and honestly, it's quite unexpected. I keep telling friends, "it's downright amazing what can happen all around you when you take action to remove negativity from your world."

While change is hard, and sometimes can be difficult to see when it needs to happen, the most important thing to remember is that you (yes, YOU!) are ultimately in control of it. You just have to realize that first and foremost, and sometimes make tough and painful decisions to move forward and create a better life.

Here's to appreciating that there is always a silver lining, and valuable learning experiences through challenging times. It's how we grow and become even better versions of ourselves. It's how we change. I'm excited for what the future holds, and pursuing it with unbridled passion!


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