Behind social media.
Trips for two I’ve earned in the last three years with Stella & Dot: Mexico, Hawaii, Mexico, Italy. Not only that, but for Hawaii – I was a TOP points earner. Like I think number two in our entire company. Little old me.
I’ve walked the stage at our annual conference as number one in sponsoring (sharing the S&D opportunity and helping them start successfully) in our company.
Earned “Style Council Elite” – for selling over 100,000 in S&D in a year.
I was asked to speak on stage in front of a thousand women.
That list sounds pretty impressive. The pictures – have those to back up the “instaworhy-ness”.
I was asked to speak in 2 breakout sessions at our conference in 2 years.
I was invited to our Pop Up Shop in Dallas and our exclusive Dress for Success Event in NYC.
Oh social media. You make it all look so pretty, don’t you.
She’s “one of those people from one of those companies that wins white cars and trips.” That one always makes me laugh.
Let’s go behind the scenes, shall we?
I can’t take you through the story without sharing how it all began.
The day that I joined – super pregnant with Liv!
I joined Stella & Dot 8 months pregnant with Olivia – because it looked like fun – and well, I wanted the free product. At that time, honestly, money wasn’t my driver – I didn’t have to work. But I had just finished teaching, was about to be a first time mom, and I wanted and needed something fun – something for me.
8 months pregnant with Steven!
Fast forward a year later – Olivia was born and I was pregnant with Steven (yep – they’re 13 months apart). We moved to NY, our house in Baltimore was still on the market, we were living in my parents’ basement, were renovating a house with Property Brothers. Let’s just say things were wild. So I deactivated. Took a hiatus for a couple years.
Then, Steven was born, our new house was done, and I was lost. New mom to two, new house, former full time career plus grad school – I was ALWAYS a worker – lots of feelings of loneliness and overwhelm now, making “new” mom friends. SO much change at once.
Man oh man. I needed something for me. Signed up again for Stella&Dot just for fun. Did not intend for it to turn into anything at all long term.
In fact, I went back to school for a second Masters degree – this time in School Counseling – because that’s what I thought I *should* do. I thought a normal schedule with a pension would make me happy. Really though – I just needed a plan. I needed direction.
During that time I could recall two specific conversations…
One with one of my closest friends, and one with a therapist that I sought out because I WAS so lost. I wanted them to “talk out” with me what I should do with my life long-term.
When we discussed Stella & Dot – both of them said that wasn’t a “real” career and income. They meant NOTHING by it. In fact, it was well intentioned. But looking back, I realized that that’s how I skewed the conversation. I presented it in a way that made it seem like it wasn’t realistic – because how could I go to the University of Michigan and then have a Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins University – and then go on to get a second masters – and be in direct sales for my “career”?
What would people think of me?
Also – my background was in Special Ed. I worked with kids and with behavior – I knew zero about sales, had zero interest in “sales”, do not have a “sales personality”, was not very confident at ALL – very afraid to put myself out there – and did not in any way think I had a “business” mind for me to do something that was so self-driven.
What a common theme in my life. Wondering what other people would think of me. Man – it’s a tough one. I admire people SO much who simply “don’t care” what others’ perceptions of them are. That must be so nice.
Well – while I was back in school AGAIN, I needed something fun AND to make money – so I stuck with Stella&Dot, too. It’s the only thing I could think of that allowed me to also be home with my two young kids. And then something happened.
You see – in addition to always caring too much what other people think of me – I also am very sensitive. VERY. To a fault.
At this time is when I started to notice that I was being left out. It was never on purpose – never mal-intent at ALL, but while instagram can be a wonderful place to connect, it can also be a place that punches you in the gut when you realize you weren’t invited to something.
Time after time, I’d see my friends having playdates or going out together – and AGAIN – I do NOT have to be invited to every little thing – and I also know that while I try to be as inclusive as possible at all times, it’s also not possible for me to invite every person to everything I do – but somehow when you’re on the other side of it – it feels so personal.
It felt like people didn’t want me.
And I know that it’s probably because I didn’t have a baby their baby’s age or something like that – or they assumed I was too busy – but man did I get caught up in it in my mind.
I was SO focused on it. I allowed it to bring me down and down and down. It was a spiral of these negative thoughts and it contributed to my self-esteem. It didn’t feel good.
You know I’ve never admitted this to anyone – not sure I’ve ever said it out loud, but the reason I dove into Stella&Dot so hard – I honestly just needed a distraction and a goal and something to drive me – something that would distract me from feeling bad for myself.
I had too much time to think about everything I was being left out of (and when you have too much time it does always feel worse than it actually is). And to this day, it still happens all the time. I have so many friends and I’m SO lucky and grateful for that, but in my every day life, it can feel like I sort of just don’t have a place. And that’s when I fall into this community that’s become a safe place for me.
I wanted to create a community where no-one had to feel the way I felt – that they had an outlet separate from their other “friend groups” and family dynamics – a place they felt safe and at home. I’m not sure I realized it at the time, but THAT is why I loved building this local (and non-local!) community – a team that is so close and bonded.
In those three years, my team of Stella & Dot grew from just me to over 200 women – over 100 of which I personally sponsored. And beyond my “team” – I’ve immersed myself into this community where I’ve found lifelong friends.
I wish I could say it was all butterflies and rainbows – that every day was so happy and exciting, but man – that couldn’t be farther from what it was. Don’t get me wrong – there have been many butterflies and many rainbows – and to me, those outfly and outshine any negative situation, any failure, any feeling of not good enough – but it wasn’t an easy road.
When I attended our first annual conference in Las Vegas, I went on my own. I met a friend at the airport and she could NOT have been sweeter or more gracious to take me under her wing – to make me feel included.
In the airport with Jamie, who took me under her wing that first trip when I didn’t know anyone!
But that first conference – as much as everyone was so welcoming, relationships had been established for a while – and I totally felt like an outsider.
It was likely in my mind, but it was a FEELING. A feeling that unfortunately, many of us know too well.
That experience was life-changing for me because for the first time, not only was I SO out of my comfort zone going there pretty much alone, but I was in front of these people I admired from afar, learning from them, and in the midst of this energy I couldn’t explain – watching people speak on stage that I saw all over social media and our company trainings, but I’d never seen them in person. It was SO cool to me.
It motivated and inspired me so much. And I think from there, the reason I became so successful is because my heart was always in the right place. That makes it sounds easy, doesn’t it?
I’m not saying that’s the only thing, BUT I can relate to women who feel like sales isn’t for them, that feel like an outsider, that are more shy – and I can help them break out of their comfort zone like I still do day after day – it’s relatablity and connection.
The perception? I’ve earned all these trips and won these awards and it all comes easily. I mean – that’s what I always thought when I looked at those people up on stage and on those trips.
But really – it was the choice to show up and put in the work and stay true to who I was the entire way.
It was listening to people instead of doing all the talking.
It was getting to know them and their concerns and helping them through those.
And plain and simple – just working really really hard on days when I didn’t necessarily feel like it – on days when it felt hard or uncomfortable. Sometimes to a fault – I have a hard time “shutting off”.
Has it worked out amazingly well for every single person I’ve helped bring into our Stella&Dot community? Of course not! And I’d be lying if I said I don’t take that personally. Like I’ve admitted – I pretty much take everything personally. And I’m not proud of that.
Do I feel that for the people it doesn’t work out for that I’ve somehow failed them? Of course I do.
But I know deep down that everyone’s situations are different and I also remember there was a time when this business didn’t work for me – remember – I deactivated!!!! And then I came back and turned it into a full time income and it ended up changing my life.
Every day I do things out of my comfort zone – STILL. Exhibit A – this post right here.
Truth be told? I get nervous reaching out to pretty much anyone I’ve ever reached out to about anything that has to do with my business – all the things. Afraid of how I’ll come across. I get nervous posting pictures of myself.
STILL. After all this time. But every day I’m reminded of this beautiful life I’ve been able to create and the lives that have been touched in the process – and that feeling overrides my insecurities almost always. Because I know I’m sharing authentically and I know that the only person who can really get in the your own way is yourself – usually your mind trying to rationalize whatever is making you feel uncomfortable.
But I can relate to almost every single stage of feeling that anyone feels when they do something new. Because I feel ALL the feelings and WAY too much. Ask Adam – or my sisters – lol. They’ll tell you about “the feelings” 😉
I have a lot of feelings.
So with me – the people I coach don’t get that picture perfect, do this this and this and you’ll be successful by following this specific formula – they’ll get a lot of coaching though difficult feelings and doing things that are different and might seem hard. Because I know it so well. Those feelings. It’s a process of growth. And it’s so cool.
So now – I’ve started something new. This blog. Being an “influencer” if you will. Referring to yourself as that is uncomfortable for me, but like I’ve learned – if you have one follower or one person in your life who has ever asked your opinion on something or where something in your household is from or for a recipe – you are an influencer. So thinking of it that way always makes me feel better. And whatever you’re doing that you’re passionate about – you’re supposed to own it. So I need to work on owning it.
But remember that feeling I talked about when I went to my first conference for Stella & Dot? Feeling like an outsider. I feel that feeling all over again – and not because anyone makes me feel like that – because I’m starting something new that feels really uncomfortable.
Any change is uncomfortable so I KNOW it’s part of the process. And if you never feel that way, you’re never growing or changing, so it’s actually a good thing. I have perspective on that now.
But MAN is it uncomfortable.
Man I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.
MAN it’s hard to keep up with all. the. things. And not feel like you’re failing left and right.
Building a “following” is hard.
Instagram is hard! At least for me it is. I LOVE stories because I can be myself – but my “grid”, my “captions” – most of the time, I feel stupid so I get so paralyzed when I go to write them that I don’t even post.
I wonder every day if I do a good job on social media, sharing things, sharing my life, and staying authentic to myself.
It feels so out of my comfort zone to build this newly found passion into my every day life.
But MAN do I love it. I LOVE sharing. Outfits, finds, vacations, life – all of it. It’s so FUN. It’s thrilling. And how cool to be doing something that gives you that feeling. Connecting with people through DMs is SO fun! It’s the coolest. It’s bizarre to say that out loud, but I love talking to followers through DMs!
But man is it hard not to compare. I feel so inadequate. So embarrassed a lot of the time. I have so many friends in the industry that are SO successful, and I adore them and look up to them, but man do I feel those inadequate feelings when I’m with them. Again – NEVER because they make me feel that way. Quite the opposite. I know it’s in my head – just like Stella & Dot was always in my head. And I know I need to build it the confidence the same way I built my business, work super hard day after day, consistently, give it all my heart. But doing both does feel hard because my business gets most of my attention, because right now, it’s my main income – it is what pays my bills.
I’m always wondering what my audience thinks of me. And always so aware that I never want to try to do it the way someone else does. I always want to do it my way and be myself- but when you’re watching and learning from people – those lines can get blurred.
After all – aren’t we supposed to look at others who are successful and emulate what they do? It’s a fine line between drawing inspiration and flat out copying and it bugs me so much when someone takes my words or screenshots my work and doesn’t ask me if it’s ok and then shares it. It takes so much time to craft those instastories (which sounds so stupid, but it’s true!), to create those posts, and when you’re not credited – the feeling, quite frankly, sucks. And that’s why I do my very BEST not to do that to others that I’m learning from.
So in summation, you’ve pretty much learned that I’m insecure (although I’ve come a LONG way!) and sensitive and have a lot of feelings lol. But I am a work in progress every day and I’ve come so far and I LOVE the life that I’ve created so much and the people that have been brought into my life that are forever friends I never knew I needed.
other dreams? that I eventually won’t feel awkward taking pictures like this one lol
What are my dreams for my future? Quite honestly, I would love to build an online community so big that I can touch so many people’s lives in some way every day – and I continue to weave that in with my passion for my Stella & Dot world and my team and sharing and coaching. It’s a new dream that I’ve created for myself – because I always want to be dreaming bigger. I didn’t get to where I am now by dreaming small – and by letting my feelings/insecurities get in the way of my dreams.
I get knocked down every day. I get told no every day. I fail and I wonder if I’m doing good enough every single day because many days – unfortunately, I feel not good enough.- still. I feel left out – still. I put myself out there every day with fear of what other people are thinking of that, but knowing in my heart that the people who love me and support me are the ones that actually matter.
Regardless of the awards and the trips – it’s a feeling and one I’m constantly working through. I hope one day it all truly feels like it’s enough. Like I’m working hard enough and fulfilling my potential, making enough of a difference in the world and on others.
I’ve run into situations that make me feel really really bad about myself, people that don’t treat me so nicely – or who don’t respect my time and my effort – but that’s all part of it. It’s all lessons I can look back on and teach my kids. It’s not supposed to be easy. You’re supposed to learn a lot along the way – and we don’t learn and grow if it’s all rainbows and butterflies every day.
But man – on the days where those rainbows are shining and those butterflies are flying – it is so damn worth it. The dips and highs of a roller coaster.
I hope this gave you some insight behind the scenes – behind the instagram square, behind the vacations earned and awards and the speaking on stage and walking across the stage at number one in the whole WORLD (CRAZY to me STILL!) and I hope it inspired you in some way.
We are all the same. We really are. Would love to hear what you relate to that you read here today. If you left a comment, it would be so appreciated. Sharing this with the world is not easy and it always provides me some sort of comfort when I hear from you. Thank you for following along and thank you so much for listening. I’ve had this on my heart to write for a while. In the sky on the way to a family vacation with Adam and the kids in a different row, with no internet, felt like the perfect uninterrupted time to do so.