Click here to read the full article: http://purplevineclub.com/guest-blogger-tanea-smith-how-to-stay-motivated-to-pursue-your-dream/
By: Claudia Chan
As many entrepreneurs can attest, sometimes your business can take over your whole world. One of the biggest goals for my own business is planning S.H.E. Summit Week — a week of women-led events culminating in a transformational leadership and lifestyle conference for women on June 14 and 15.
In February, I woke in the middle of the night panicking about S.H.E. Summit for three consecutive weeks.
In April, my husband had an intervention with me because I was talking about S.H.E. Summit morning, noon and night. I talked about it over dinner with friends, during chats with local shopkeepers and even with our mail woman. I was out of control and he was losing his mind.
Then it hit me. I had become completely OBSESSED with this event. Given the fact that I’m a self-funded entrepreneur pursuing a massive undertaking with limited resources and a very small team, this isn’t difficult to understand. But I knew there was a deeper reason behind my reaction, so I started questioning WHY S.H.E. Summit had taken control of me this way.
The answer is very personal.
Since I got married last September, many friends who know my age (full disclosure: I turned 38 in April) have asked me, “Do you want kids? Because NO time is a good time, so you should just start trying.” Every time I answer with a gut response, “Oh absolutely, I want three kids… but I’ll start thinking about that after June 16 when S.H.E. Summit is over.”
I started ClaudiaChan.com and launched the annual S.H.E. Summit to celebrate and inspire women in leadership and lifestyle. In recent months, S.H.E. Summit has taken on a much deeper meaning — it has metaphorically become my own personal mountain to conquer, my own personal #SHESummit. Climbing toward a huge achievement that will have a positive impact, on all women and myself, is exciting. But it’s also more difficult than I ever imagined. The success of S.H.E. Summit is critical to the long-term viability of the business that I have risked so much for (from finances to fertility!). As a result, it’s success has become inextricably linked to my own self-worth and self-image.
The sooner this event is “successful:”
- The sooner I can justify the risk of starting this business when I could have taken a more secure path;
- The sooner I can confirm to my mother that I made the right decision to leave my last company and start from scratch;
- The sooner I can justify to myself that my purpose of empowering women is more important than having conventional security;
- The sooner I will have more time to spend with my 83-year-old father and thereby feel less guilty for prioritizing my “too busy schedule” over seeing him;
- And the sooner I can justify putting off having children!
Sharing this with you is scary, but it is also cathartic. Moreover, it’s core to what June’s S.H.E. Summit is all about. It’s an event designed to ignite women to reach for new, bold heights –while also encouraging us to celebrate our successes (what we ARE getting done) more. I continue to build this business because I believe women deserve to FEEL amazing about themselves more often. And the more we can convene to share our stories (and struggles — which if we’re honest, come from the criticism and judgment we inflict upon ourselves), the easier and more transformative the climb up will be.
EVERY WOMAN on my team, along with the women we know, has climbed or is climbing her own #SHESummit. Whether it’s building a business, becoming a parent, triumphing over adversity, doing a mix of all three, or simply conquering the weekly to-do list, we all have goals upon which we’re hanging the next phase of our lives. We often say to ourselves, “If I can only achieve ‘X,’ everything else will be amazing!” The challenge is great, but we need to be kind to ourselves in the process. It’s not getting to the top of the mountain that’s the win, it’s the journey that is the win.
Sisterhood can be very powerful. So, from now through June 16, as we share more about the Remarkable Women who will speak at S.H.E. Summit, I invite you to share your own personal #SHESummit stories, or those of others who have inspired you, with our community. No matter how big, or small, I would love to hear from you. Tell your #SHESummit story — the trials and triumphs that are dominating your life right now — and share it with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SHESummit. Together, we’ll create a conversation about the incredible things we as women are doing every day and encourage each other to keep climbing towards our goals.
For more by Claudia Chan, click here.
For more about S.H.E. Summit, click here.
by Tanea Smith
From the time I was a little girl I have been groomed for something. My mother gave me solid morals and work ethic. To this day I mimic her strength, calm under pressure, and dogged determination. My sister gave me a single piece of advice that changed my life and that was “Just Follow Through.” But my grandmother, who recently made her transition, taught me etiquette. The basic things. Little girls should be seen and not heard. How to make a bed, hotel style. How to set a table. And then, there’s her signature piece that serves me to this day, “How to Write a Thank You Note.” My grandmother believed that sending a handwritten thank you was an absolute must. It is classy, thoughtful and above all, it shows that you know “how to do.”
Here are several ways to send meaningful thank you notes in a modern world.
1. An interviewer: Things were very different in Corporate America 17 years ago when I started as a temp receptionist. Once upon a time you got the New York Times, perused the classified section and went in for an interview face to face. Gasp! While I do realize that time and technology has intervened there is still no substitute for the personal touch. Always have a box of thank you cards in a desk drawer. Stay ready, and you don’t have to get ready. Once the interview is arranged, pre-address the envelopes. Find a quiet place to sit once you leave the interview and jot down a few key parts that stood out. Did you attend the same college? Do you share an interest in the same hobby? Find a common thread and cement the connection. In closing, reiterate your appreciation of the time you spent together and your interest in the position. Voila! Put a stamp on it, mail it and head home for a cocktail. You have done all you can do.
2. A Mentor: My coveted “Front Row” includes 4 mentors. My professional advisors whom I can call on for guidance as I navigate the rough terrain as an entrepreneur. Scheduling can be tight and at times they may give me quick answers through email, I always express my appreciation with a note. I am sure to detail how much I grateful I am for their willingness to share their time and experience with me, how they have helped me and more importantly how I plan to pay it forward.
3. A Caregiver: Towards the end of her life my grandmother was unable to care for herself. She was feisty to the end and refused to move into a nursing home. To strike a fair balance she remained in her own living quarter but did have a home health aide. Diana was a godsend. We repaid her kindness with a huge thank you note signed by our entire family as well as a monetary gift. A job compensates you in cash, however Diana was brought to tears when she read our note. I know that made my grandmother proud.
4. An Assistant: Many moons ago when I first became an Executive Assistant my supervisor wrote me a note that read, “You are such a great assistant and I am grateful for all that you do. You have made my life so much easier.” This was one of many jobs that I’ve had over 17 years. It did not pay nearly as much as what I’m earning now, however the sentiment touched me deeply. I still have the note.
5. A Teacher: 31 years ago, my 2nd grade teacher Ms. Bolden taught me that I was beautiful and unique and that there was nothing I couldn’t do. Each year I write a note to the teachers of my 2 children and thank them for their efforts. A note of recognition to a teacher makes the entire year worthwhile.
Always remember that even in the digital age we live in there will never be substitute for a handwritten note. The most successful businesses must first make a connection.
May you rest in eternal peace.
Welcome to our “Spread the Love the Write Way” campaign!
It is all about Love, Appreciation and Thanks! Our vision is for you to become more familiar with all that She’s Got Papers has to offer in terms of our products, but also it is all about your “experience”.
Each week we will feature a different card set/product, which will be offered for a discount of 25% for the length of the campaign, which ends on February 28th. Just add coupon code SGP25 at checkout. You will be able to purchase these products throughout the month, not just on the week that they are featured on. You will also receive tips and resources on how to prepare your note cards via our blog, so check back often.
This week’s card is called “Be the Giver“. The set comes with 6 folded notes and 6 envelopes. Its the perfect card to share with that special someone who is so generous with themselves and their time – who needs to learn to love themselves a little bit more.
Etiquette plays a large role in your decision to make a card purchase. If you are like me, I was raised to send a written thank you note upon receipt of a gift from a relative. It was just what was done.
Nowadays, we tend to rely on e-mail and have gotten away from the personal touch which comes from selecting just the right card and handwriting that special message. Our cards have an inspirational tone to them, which helps make selecting just the right card or message easy.
So join us for the month of February – and let’s “spread the love” this month!
I’ve heard that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When I started on my journey as an entrepreneur 4 years ago I didn’t have an inkling as to what I was in for. I had an idea, an uber fabulous name, She’s Got Papers, cash to begin, the support of my family, stacks of research that I printed from various websites and a pint of Prailines n’ Cream from Baskin & Robbins just in case things got sticky. My plan was simple. I was going to design stationery, market it to women via my website and it was going to sell. It took 2.5 seconds for me to learn that was not the case. And boy did I try. And try. And try. Then came the day when I hit the wall. I had come home from my day job. Fed and burped my then 8 month old daughter and put her to bed. I watched as she lay in her crib surrounded by all things Strawberry Shortcake and had a complete meltdown. Tears, and more tears followed by 3 scoops from my pint of Prailines and a very lengthy journal entry. I laid all of my burdens on those pages. I wrote about how She’s Got Papers was the legacy that I wanted to leave for Jada Jasmine and her older brother. About the sacrifices our family had made in order for me to attempt this, the long days and nights I had been working to make something of it, how badly I did not want to fail but more than all of that, I thought about how much I absolutely loved what I was doing. The designs were beautiful but it was the message and the experiences that inspired them that were so empowering to me. The issues that I’d been having with my weight since giving birth, the spirit in me that helped me fight the stigma of being a teenage Mom, my declaration of self love and especially the pink motorcycle piece that recognized this life as being one hell of a ride. Well, I pulled it together. First I ate every drop of my ice cream. I then shut my book, and called my sister Chermia. She laid it out for me in these 3 words “Just Follow Through”. And with that I moved forward.
Here is what I learned:
- If you build it they will come exists only in the movies: Building it is just a minute piece of the puzzle. There’s nothing new under the sun. You must get clear on what makes your new twist on an old idea oh so wonderful and then fish where the fish are.
- Identifying your target market is extremely important. I was simply naïve to think that every single woman in the universe would be my customer. To some, note writing is antiquated and a lost art. My customer is the woman who still believes in the beauty of the postage stamp. I had to first identify, then find her. Age, socio-economic status, occupation, shopping profile. Details. I needed details!
- Reading Is Fundamental: I educated myself about the path of entrepreneurism and devoured all of the books by or about female entrepreneurs that I could find. “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months” by Melinda Emerson is a favorite of mine. Also, “How To Run Your Business Like A Girl” by Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin and “Miracles Happen” the story of Mary Kay. Whether you’re selling chicken wings or cocktail dresses, the rules of the game are the same.
- Without teamwork the dream will not work: I say this often and it’s because it’s the absolute truth. I have the best team in the stationery business. I know my strengths. What I cannot do I have hired or bartered with someone who can.
- Seek the positive elements and build on them: No matter what was going wrong there were always 1 or 2 things that were going right. A positive testimonial from a customer, my parents picking up my daughter for the day so that I could get my packaging done, a great piece of press. Those things kept me encouraged and motivated to keep going.
- Work while you wait: Building a successful business is tough on a good day and it takes time. Even while I was promoting a collection, doing countless craft fairs and trunk shows I continued to design and do lots of brainstorming for extensions of my brand. Keep yourself busy and productive.
Lastly and most importantly, I am passionate about She’s Got Papers. To have built this into something from absolutely nothing has given me some of the greatest joy of my life. For my children to work alongside me in my studio – Brandon in fulfillment and shipping and Jada Jasmine in packaging teaches them the importance of a strong work ethic. To the emails that I receive from women as far away as Jamaica telling me how my story has inspired them to pursue their dreams. And then there was the feature in Essence Magazine that has my grandmother blushing to this day. God has given me the gift of creativity and my passion is what has made me successful.