Sunday, November 30, 2008

Inspirational Women

This weekend a lot of my friends were working or out of town for the holidays, so I had a lot of time to myself. I have to admit, among other things, I did watch a good deal of TV and I have been newly inspired by two women: Suze Orman and Sara Blakely.

I've always liked Suze Orman, she's an awesome financial advisor and while she can be a bit much at times, I really trust her advice and like her straight talk. I never knew her story until this weekend. Suze got a BA in social work and was living in a van in Berkley, CA for the first 3 months after college. Then she got a job as a waitress and worked at the same place for 7 years waitressing until she was almost 30! (its never too late to start ladies!) At that time she decided she wanted to start her own restaurant, and a long time customer of hers gave her a $50,000 loan to get started... talk about an angel investor! She took the money to Merrill Lynch at the advice her customer and four months later her stock broker had lost ALL of her money!

But this was no defeated woman. She decided to become a broker herself so that she could earn the money back. She got hired at Merrill Lynch and started training to become an account executive (despite the fact that there person who hired her told her that he believed that women belong barefoot in the kitchen). Through her training, she discovered that the broker who lost all of her money had done so illegally and so she SUED Merrill Lynch WHILE she was WORKING FOR THEM and WON! She got all of her money back PLUS interest! Clearly this woman doesn't take shit from anyone!
And that is how she got on the road to becoming a top earning account executive. Three years later she was a VP of investments at Prudential, and 7 years after starting at Merrill Lynch she owned her own investment firm. Now she is a best-selling author and TV personality and very wealthy. This woman is an inspiration.

The second woman who inspired me this weekend is Sara Blakely who started the company Spanx (which makes footless body shaping pantyhose and a host of other undergarments) just shy of her 30th birthday. After flunking the LSAT twice, Sara became a chipmunk at Disney World before getting a job selling fax machines door-to-door (what a shitty gig that must have been!).

One day she couldn't think of anything to wear underneath her white pants that wouldn't show any lines so she cut off the bottoms of her pantyhose... and the rest is history. She set off on a mission and now owns a multi-million dollar company. She has also started her own nonprofit, The Sara Blakely Foundation, to help women around the world become educated and independent. Wow... another inspiration.

I know that I can be like these women. I can work for myself and I can be very successful. I do believe that I have a lot of potential. And, although I have no idea what the future holds, I'm excited.

The one big problem right now is that I currently have no idea of how I'm going to do it. Lightening has not struck yet... but I'm young, right? I have a lot of time to figure things out and I'm hoping that I will have a stroke of genius in the next couple of years! Even if it doesn't happen right away, I do have big plans for myself. I want to be an inspiration to young girls one day. And I want to have the ability to help other women achieve the same things.

I do have to say though, that it really is easy for self doubt to creep in. Even right now, as I'm about to post this, I'm thinking... what if I post this blog and then I'm a big failure or I just end up being average and working in sales for the rest of my life, or I never come up with a good idea and never end up starting a business... and then I have this post to look back on and think "O how naive I was," or "wow what a failure!"

Yeah... its definitely scary to say these things out loud, but I really want to do something awesome with my life. I've always believed that I can do anything that I want to do (thanks to my parents) and this is what I want for myself. Financial freedom and entrepreneurial success. So, instead of being scared to post this for fear of failure, I am trying to be excited to post this as a public statement of my goals in life.

It's not that I necessarily want to be rich, it's not about the money (although having money is great) its about having freedom. Freedom to travel. Freedom from the burden of making ends meet. Freedom from worrying about retirement (yes, I'm already worrying about that!)... It's about doing something that I'm proud of and working for myself. And its about the ability to be completely in control of my own destiny and to be able to help other women do the same thing. Yes, that is what I want....freedom and control.

So, like I said... I have big plans for myself. And I am thankful for the women in the world who have been an inspiration and have helped me believe that I can do it. The world is my oyster!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting info about the Spanx woman, I had NO idea!

    I'm also stuck reading a bunch of different financial blogs by women. Suze Orman is like a goddess.