Publisher - August 2023
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
I want to encourage you to take a moment and rise above yourself in your thoughts. Take an aerial view of your life. Look at it as though you are viewing it from an airplane window. From 5,000 feet it looks pretty neat and orderly, doesn’t it, like those plots of land and color that are perfectly squared off when viewing them from above?
Have you ever wondered exactly how your life got from there to here? Here where you are today in your relationships, your career, your satisfaction, your health, your happiness, your attitude? As the creator and owner of Pink, I am often asked how I started it, or what made me do it. My answer is the same every time: When I step back and take an aerial view of my life, the path is perfectly clear, and that path lead me straight to Pink.
Let me paint you a picture. My aerial scan has stepping stones carved out through a thick forest with all the milestones and setbacks I have encountered throughout my life. Each one holds lessons, failures, successes—everything one needs to keep on keeping on. The aerial view is one of clarity, unlike when I was actually living those stepping stones, when I felt like a pinball being knocked here and there, feeling as though I had no control of my next destination and scrambling to find my way. I have been fired even when I doing a great job; I have felt lonely when I was around people; I have been shunned and felt as though I wasn’t good enough to be included; and I have dealt with weight issues and felt self-conscious. I can assure you not all of my stepping stones have been easy or happy ones, but when I look back, and put a time and place to each stone, I can see so clearly why each stone was required. Each one gave me the confidence, the lessons, the abilities, the emotional stability, the strength to move to the next one.
When I was mid-20s, I had a wonderful job as a pharmaceutical sales representative; it was perfect. I only worked 25 hours a week, and made more money than most did who were working full time, much harder jobs. It was ideal. Unfortunately, I was about eight months pregnant with my first child, when the company permanently laid-off 1,400 sales representatives across America—me included. My plans were shattered. I was shattered. First of all, who would hire a really pregnant women who needs eight weeks off in about four weeks from now? Secondly, Why me? I did a good job and produced results. I wanted to hold on. I wasn’t ready for that not to work. Third, what now?
It was a full year and one-third the salary later that I found a job; the first job that was a clear stepping stone to the future of Pink Magazine. One more child, four moves, and seven jobs later, I started Millen Publishing Group, LLC. Was I scared? You bet! Was there a time I thought starting my own business was impossible? Absolutely! But to go back into aerial mode, this step was so bright, like the Park Avenue space in Monopoly, this was the one I yearned for all my life, but had to put in my due diligence to discover it.
As women, we work so hard to get where we think we should be going, to do what we think we should be doing and to act the way we think we should be acting. My first piece of advice: Stop “shoulding” all over yourself! Very few of us are sure of anything—that’s life. We tend to forget that the best-laid plans of mice and (wo)men often go awry. (John Steinbeck) Most of the time we lose sight of our aerial view. We get caught in the depths of the forest and can only see the stepping stones behind us and the vines, debris, and weeds ahead that keep us from moving forward. So unsure of where the next stepping stone is, or where it will take us, we often choose to hang on to the familiar stone instead of taking the next step toward possible greatness. If I would not have been fired from that pharmaceutical job, Pink Magazine may never have existed. So, now I thank God for letting me get fired!
Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
Want to see something interesting? Take an aerial view of your life. See the path. Know that every step along the way is connected and was the right one at the right time. Don’t be afraid to move forward to the next one. Your mission is possible! Just remember, you can never go wrong. If you get off course, you will find your way back! We’ll all be there cheering for you, too. Take that leap…and know for sure, the net will appear.