Guest Blogger Kristen Brown – Bestselling Author | Speaker | Founder of HappyHourEffect.com
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” Mother Teresa
Success isn’t magic. Sometimes it seems like it is. You know – there’s always that person who seems to have it all together – a thriving career, genius kids, a happy relationship, vibrant health and a perfect life. Ugh! Why can’t you just get it together too?
But success isn’t magic – and luckily it isn’t some elusive state of being that only others can have either. We can all have it if we know how to get it, how to see through the barriers of stress and create a focused strategy for taking our work and life to the next level DESPITE the big and small challenges we face every day. Want proof that it can work?
I was widowed unexpectedly in 2007 when my healthy, tall, skinny, former college athlete husband, Todd, died of a heart attack in his sleep the morning after my sister’s wedding. He had no pre-existing condition and had just been given a clean bill of health at his annual physical. On top of the grief of losing him, I was also a new parent with a 10-month-old daughter, working in a high-pressure corporate job and worried about a single income during a crashing economy. I lived in a cloud of indecision, stress, worry and sadness for months until a revelation pulled me out of the pit.
The Turning Point
While on a trip to surf camp in Costa Rica, the fog began to lift. I realized that I never wanted my daughter to look back and see her mom as sad, depressed, angry or stuck. I only want her to ever think of me as someone who is happy, engaged with life and moving ahead even though we were dealt a crappy hand. This prompted my journey of self-reflection, education and experimentation to figure out how in the heck to manage all the stress I had going on personally and professionally. My daughter was my key motivation to pull myself out of my own head and back into life again.
It was during this period of research and reflection that the idea for a business began to form. I had been trying different herbal supplements to help support my body during stress. It is crazy what stress does to us – insomnia, illness, makes pre-existing conditions worse, overeating, mood swings, headaches, stomach issues, weight issues, skin problems and the list goes on. My body was in turmoil and I knew I needed help getting it back on track while I healed my mind, but I didn’t want to go on prescription anti-depressants. I tried many vitamins, supplements and herbs that worked great but didn’t want to have to take 10 different capsules of those every day either even if they were natural.
Thus was born the first iteration of Happy Hour Effect – a health supplement that supports multiple body systems during stress. I worked with an FDA-approved lab to create it, sold it into GNC and felt on top of the world! During that time I also wrote a memoir called The Best Worst Thing that hit the bestseller list. I went to celebrity events in Hollywood spreading the Happy Hour Effect message and thought everything was finally on track again.
Crash and Burn
Life has funny (and painful) ways of reminding us not to get too comfortable when things are going well and this high point was no exception. I quickly found that running a health supplement business was not easy, fun or inexpensive. I had to have special software, storage, insurance, shipping, legal elements and financial obligations that I wasn’t prepared for or interested in doing on my own. I also wasn’t interested in hiring someone else or taking on a partner. So when GNC came to me asking for additional marketing support of thousands of dollars or they would pull my product from the shelves, I was stuck.
I didn’t have extra money to pay for more marketing support. I didn’t have time to manage it. I didn’t have the desire to work 90 hours a week to figure it out. So I pulled the plug. And to make matters worse, I had to write off a whole lot of inventory that couldn’t be sold anywhere else giving me a big financial burden to deal with too. I felt like a failure. I felt like a loser.
The A-HA Moment
When I finally told my story at a small speaking event I had been invited to near my tiny hometown in western Minnesota, I was a blubbering mess of tears. And yet, the line-up of people who wanted to speak to me after was long. At first I thought they just felt sorry for me, but they thanked me for being so open and making them feel less alone on their own stressful journey through change and setbacks. A light bulb went on!
I can help people! Even at my worst, those stories of failure, sadness, stress and change inspire others to make their own changes! Well I’ll be darned – there was a little light that came out of that dark time!
After the GNC flop, I continued my speaking and writing and the world opened up to me. I received my Master’s certificate in Integral Theory (the art and science of multiple perspectives), a holistic health coaching certification and wrote another bestselling book. All the while I continued to spread my message of spinning stress into success eventually landing on the stages at big companies like Cargill, Boston Scientific, Mayo Health and Regis and on media outlets like “Live with Kelly & Michael,” HLN, Psychology Today and many others. My Stress Less Revolution is actually happening!
There are still days when life is hard and stressful and scary. There are days when I am overwhelmed by being a business owner (I left corporate America a couple of years ago). But I always go back to my initial motivation of my daughter and how I want her to see me. That motivation is what pushes me to spin stress into success. What she sees inspires me to be a happier, healthier person for others to see. Who she is becoming drives me to be the person I want her to be now and in the future.
You know who I want her to be? Simply someone who makes others happy by being happy herself even when life is hard! And so that’s my goal too!
TALK TO ME: What do you aspire to? How can you spin stress into something that propels you forward instead of a force that roadblocks you?
Connect with Kristen:
Check Out Kristen’s Bestselling Books:
The Happy Hour Effect: 12 Secrets to Minimize Stress & Maximize Life http://www.amazon.com/The-Happy-Hour-Effect-Minimize/dp/1936636107/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350493167&sr=8-1&keywords=the+happy+hour+effect
The Best Worst Thing: A Memoir
Kristen Brown helps people create fresh ideas for personal and professional growth as a Speaker, 2-time-Bestselling Author, Widow Mom, Podcast Host and Strategist. She is the founder of Happy Hour Effect and has been seen on stage and screen over 300 times including Live with Kelly & Michael, Mayo, Regis, Forbes and more. She lives in Minneapolis with her daughter and will do just about anything for bacon. Learn more at: HappyHourEffect.com