May, 2005. At the exact moment the gavel came down to close the shareholder’s meeting that officially voted me out of the company I had created and turned into a multi-million dollar business, I looked at my phone and the time was 11:11 am. What could have been my perfect Joan Crawford “Don’t f&ck with me fellas…” moment, turned into an equally awkward moment for those who had voted me out because at that very instant a very peaceful smile took possession of my face. It was actually funny to watch their faces go from a victorious, “hell yeah! we are sticking it to you!” to a completely baffled “WTF!? Uh oh, why is he smiling?!”
What, you ask, could bring a smile to my face when I had just been voted out of my own company? I am not sure that I can fully explain it, but I will try.
This was a company that I loved very much; I often referred to it as my baby. It was the culmination of all I had learned in the wonderful world of candles. It was with this company that I introduced soy wax to the nation. We were selling millions of dollars worth of candles each year, I was at the top of my game and had recently been featured on CNN News Night with Aaron Brown in a featured segment for up and coming entrepreneurs, called ON THE RISE. The piece was beautifully produced. It was a priceless advertisement for my brand. Though, while I was with friends in Seattle watching what should have been the pinnacle highlight of my career, my gut was telling me it was all about to end.
My face, my name and my newly developed cartoon image/mascot (which was heavily featured in the CNN piece), was about to become, in the eyes of the majority shareholders, too important for the company; think Colonel Sanders and KFC. If this happened, I would gain more power, even though I didn’t hold the majority of the shares, because my name and image would become permanently linked to the business. I knew this group of investors could not and would not let this happen. Approximately 3 months later, the gavel came down at 11:11 am. Why is the time so important? Let me explain.
In the last months of my participation in the company, it was becoming very clear that the group of majority shareholders had intentions on moving in a direction that, not only was I not included, but quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in going. During these last months I began to see the number 11 everywhere. Every time I would look at a clock, it always included an 11; 2:11, 3:11, 6:11 and twice a day for months I happened to look at the clock twice a day at exactly 11:11.
I mentioned this to a friend and she told me that it was the universe trying to let me know that I was on the right path, like a thumbs up. I liked this idea and so that is how I looked at it. As I would see an 11, I would let go of my stress and think to myself, “I am on the right path…”
So, by the time it came to that fateful meeting and gavel came down at exactly 11:11, officially removing me from my company and my company from me, I was flush with peace. I can’t really explain it, but in that moment I knew I would be OK and a smile, a very genuine and peaceful smile brightened up my face. And again, in that very instant, I began to let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go!
And that is what I did. At the end of that week I was on a cruise ship, to who knows where and it didn’t matter, to clear my head and let it all go. Many times before I have created from an inspired place and knew that I needed to remain as present as possible in order to do so. I had to let go of all the drama that had just taken over my life for the past several months as well as let go of trying to figure out where I was going next and what I was going to do. I knew that if I could remain present long enough the answers would come to me. I knew I wanted to stay in the candle business, though I had no clue as to what I should do. And let me tell you, a cruise is the perfect place to do this. I surprisingly remained rather present on that cruise and by the trip’s end, it was as if a huge bubble of information enveloped me with the complete concept of my new company. The only caveat, we were fast approaching the major gift show season, and it was only 5 1/2 weeks away. We had to be ready to go by then.
5 and 1/2 weeks after I stepped off of that ship, I was at market with my new company. We launched 17 new fragrances, designed new catalogs and had them printed as well as new packaging, we were set up in 6 showrooms across the country in all the major markets, along with 50+ sales reps. All of this happened in 5 and 1/2 weeks. This is a feat that still astonishes me!
The only way this could happen is because I was able to let it go, let it go, let it go… and I remained present in the moment. The amazing part to all of this is the lack of stress during this period. Yes, I worked long hours and a lot had to come together in a very short period of time, though somehow I had remained at peace throughout the process. I have come to realize over the years that when I am experiencing a lot of stress, if I stop and take a step back and look at the cause of my stress, it is usually because I am focused either on something from the past or worrying about something in the future. When I refocus upon the present moment, my stress mysteriously goes away.
11:11 was simply a tool I used to help stay present. As I see them now, it is simply a reminder for me to let go of the past, let go of worrying about the future… and remain focused upon the present moment.
I am coming to realize that all good things happen while I am present in the moment; the experience and expression of love, the appreciation of beauty and of course the experience of peace. All of what I was learning would ultimately help me in creating a life that I now describe as peaceful. Ahhh, nothing beats a peaceful life… and I mean nothing.
To be continued…
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