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Monday, August 19, 2013

The Power in Being Broken

     My personal development plan includes many areas of study. Worship is a large part. This week's area of study came in the form of a class at Grace Church. The theme of the class is Masterpiece, We are God's unique work of art and He has a specific plan for your life to have an impact on others. Today's lesson was entitled Leading with a Limp. About how even in our most devastating weakness and brokenness we gather out strength. Exposing and embracing our weakness breaks the chains of bondage over our life. So many times we focus on the mistakes, the failures and don't allow ourselves to heal past them, to use them as a springboard to conquering our fears. As an opportunity to move forward wiser and stronger. We all have our own brokenness, whether we choose to admit them or not. I wrote a segment a year ago, about my own brokenness. For one reason or another we decided to not use it, but after today's lesson it was a reminder that in sharing my weakness I may be able to impact another, in the same struggle that can see there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not an oncoming train.  Many of you know I owned a salon for ten years. What you may not know is that I was forced to close it and declare bankruptcy. There it's out. My salon was very successful for the first 5 years. We were even named first runner up for AVA's  Salon of the year  2004 and I racked up a few other awards along the way. It grew very fast and I had a hard time keeping up with all the clients.
     My first location was 500 square feet, very efficient and very profitable. But I knew going in I would most likely not be able to renew my lease. So 4 years in I started looking for another location. I found a spot that had been a salon that could be resurrected with very little investment. So I jumped, maybe a little early, but any other space would have cost me 10 times that to build. The first year went really smooth and I put it on the market to sell. I wanted to get back to teaching and writing, my first loves. What my plan had not included was the economy to tank. So yes, Millie the marketing guru struggled. Getting clients was never a problem, getting the right staff was. 9 years in I had struck a deal with two women who were going into a  partnership to buy the salon. About 6 months later, one week before the sale was to close, one of the women pulled out. I also had my other half walk away from my life at this time as well. I had my own share of mistakes I made along the way. Through all the sleepless nights, stubborn pride issues and delusions of keeping going, I chose to close. It was heart wrenching.  I felt I had no choice but to cut my losses and move on. So many of us struggle and don't walk away from a situation when we should for so many reasons. Bankruptcies are a tool  in place to help a person or business restructure and restart. I have been given the chance to fail, and restart. Many business leaders have at least one bankruptcy under their belt and while I am in good company it still will resonate within me for many years to come. Will this change the way people view me as a business leader? Perhaps. I hope my transparency will encourage you to not view your business as your entire world, like I did. To try and fail was better than not trying at all. In this brokenness I have gathered strength. 
  I choose not to let this one aspect of my 37 year career define me.  Failing is an opportunity to learn how not to do something, what you should have done. Did I make all the right decisions? Heck no.  No one has a crystal ball and we make decisions to the best of our ability and knowledge at the time. I choose to look at my business as a successful one. I learned so much, about what I can do and what I can't do. That vision is worth millions. Many never discover their limits because they never push them. Success may not be the best teacher, don't we all know someone that is successful despite themselves? But ask someone that had failed, and they can tell you exactly what happened.   Would I do it again? For all the lessons and the strength I gained, in a heartbeat. So I urge you all to not let your brokenness keep you trapped in fear. Embrace it and grow through it.


  1. I say bring on the mistakes! I learn so much from them! I too have had several salons over a 30 yr. Span. I learned that no one cares about your biz as much as you!. Everytime I reinvented myself, or changed things up to stay above the standard in my area, I thought I wanted to expand! So I would hire and train, and then regret it all again! So, my final stance on the idea of employing people is NOT!!!!
    But that is not to say that others should refrain from doing so. But you Millie, are the one I hope those eager to operate a salon will come to for advice! You will always be our Guru! (for many things)

  2. Its so true Millie! Thank you for this very well written article. My business life is so much of the what you are stating, not bankruptcy, but personal and business attacks however the feelings Im sure are the same. I had to find my trust and learn to do just that, TRUST! Trusting in my faith and being brought through a journey that I would, at that time, have rather missed, but then that would have been like missing "the dance"! Accepting this journey I have found internal peace and now I feel stronger than ever.

  3. Awesome Barb :) Faith=Trust. Thanks for your kind words!