Saturday Essay: From Barefoot To Stilettos - Finding My Yes
Being an entrepreneur, or as I like to consider myself—a serial entrepreneur, one that has tons
of ideas—I have to be a dreamer. I’m a dreamer who starts up a company and goes sailing with it. And then I have another dream. And then, another and another. The key is staying focused and that means not listening to the naysayers who tell you that you can’t or create the drama majority like to create when you try to follow your dreams.
Being an entrepreneur comes equipped with the ‘Naysayer Package’. They do not teach you about this in school—well, at least not that I can remember. There are no instructions about this part of the system, so to speak, when you’re trying to build a business. You
have bullies in school during childhood, and from my experience, it is the same in business too. It’s not easy, let me tell ya…
No one really tells you that when you first start a business that you actually make less money or no money at all. No one tells you that basically anything and everything you try to do you will have people coming from out of nowhere — even some people you don’t even know
—throwing punches at you, talking behind your back, and ripping your ideas apart. No one told me there would be people trying to steal my ideas and take off with them, along with my contacts too. The hardest thing is when it happens with the ones who say they love you. You think they will all support your ideas, well, think again
. It seemed from the moment I came out with my company, the daggers started flying at my
back—and sometimes even, cold-heartedly at my face.
There were women who loved to tear me down at any chance they got, about anything — from criticizing the way I looked, to spreading rumors and lies about affairs I was supposedly having, to saying that I was crazy, etcetera. They would tell their successful husbands not to do business with me, even though most of them never even knew me and none of them had ever done business with me in the first place to know the first thing about how I operated. With everything I have gone through to get this company off the ground, I have been in tears at times and spent many sleepless nights wondering what in the world was I thinking. I faced constant No’s
and was afraid at times that I would fall flat on my face. It’s enough to make someone pack up and leaving for another country somewhere to hide under a rock. Still, I was determined. Every time I heard something negative, it became fuel to my fire — my passion to succeed. Clearly, these naysayers do not know what they are talking about and the majority of the attacks all comes from their fears, envy, jealousy and insecurities. Actually, once we all heal our inner child, we are set free to follow our dreams and focus without any worry about naysayers.
All the negativity and engird you spend worrying about them takes away from your life and you can just keep moving forward, we are not here to carry everyone's trauma but we can be kind to others and ourselves and rise up over the naysayers and be the example for change.
I say this with sadness, but unfortunately, it is the truth: there is a lack of inspiring people, mostly because so many are living with fear and seem to tear each other down and talk behind each other’s backs—not to mention , some have thrown really big stones
at others. The people who inspire and motivate me are mostly those from history. One woman in particular whose strength resonates with me is Rosa Parks. I love that she refused to move from her seat on that bus and move to the back simply because someone had the ignorance to say she couldn't sit there because of the way she looked and because of what others thought shouldn't be.
Many women have taken a stand to do what they feel was right and were fearless, and that is how they made history. Some even wore stilettos
in the process! I’ve been inspired by many stories and by many people, and in this day, I have found the courage to say, "Move it! I don't care what you say. Deal with the way I look, with who I am, with what
I am, because I like me!
When I first completed the manuscript of my book, I was about to reveal every scar I had ever received in the words on those pages, but I remember being
encouraged by my parents and those counselors when they told me, "You might just help someone else." I had a burning desire to have a voice for once and to let the truth come out—and yes, a small part of me maybe wanted to punch back. I had so many emotions, so much I needed to release! I had words of encouragement of my mentor, Richard Sandor, dancing in my head along with the voice that everyone knows—the voice of Morgan Freeman—reminding me that the T-shaped scar on my leg stands for Tough. Well, hell, that was all I needed. I took the leap off that cliff, fear and all—I did it! I landed on my stilettos and took off running!
I also had people who hadn’t even read my book yet who were asking me, "Who the heck are you? What makes you think anyone would read about you? You must think you’re something special.” My family kept encouraging me to move forward. We must remind
ourselves, people can sometimes be jealous or have differing opinions, or maybe they just don't want to see anyone succeed. Most people may not understand you. so I just straightened out my imaginary cape, and I continue to go on my way to finding my Yes!
I stumbled at first, sure. I even had to be reminded at some point by one of my financial advisors to focus and take on writing my book in order to accomplish what I wanted to in the bigger picture overall. I can say for sure, I think we can all agree, it’s not easy in this
From Barefoot to Stilettos, Finding My Yes
Publisher: WaterSide Publishing
Fear has no place here—I stomp right over it in my stilettos, demanding my YES
with each step, and now I have a second book to show for it, so how about them apples? Have no fear—just go do it!
This whole journey of life—especially starting my company—has been one heck of a ride. From being inspired to feeling horrible, then back to being passionate and on fire again, from moving and forward feeling great to getting hit again and feeling like it’s
never going to work, then to getting back up and starting all over—some days I feel like Rocky Balboa, getting hit and knocked down repeatedly. I felt the pain of each hit from those naysayers, and at times, I truly thought I was out for the count. What I finally realized was that it was as simple as this: no matter what you do, who you are, or what you say, someone out there will be offended by you, intimidated by you, or envious of you — or maybe all of these things. But it’s not really because of you at all — it’s because their own unhappiness within themselves, and oftentimes, they take it out on others. People like this are insecure of the status of their own lives — some feel some sense of
entitlement, or some feel as though they are better than you are, but remember, that is just their perception and their ego.
Everyone in this world has a unique journey, a unique form of healing, and a unique form of self-expression. I would rather take a risk and jump off the cliff at this point in my life anyway. Even when I'm out of my comfort zone and beyond anything I thought I had in
me, I go for it. I know that if I can find a YES,
then anyone do it. My dad always told me, "Kid, what works for me, may not work for you. It's not all about love. It's about what you can handle.” In my mother's words, "There are two roads you can take: you can play the victim, or you can do something about it." Well, I choose to do something about it. I am human, and I do sometimes hear my ego trying to tell me what I can’t do, along with the echoes of those naysayers, but then I simply turn the channel and focus on the fuel that sets my fire ablaze so I can move forward on my mission. I can and will go find my YES!
You can too!
Marie Pizano, a native Chicagoan, has called Memphis, Tennessee home since 1999. Marie has served on several charitable organizations since moving to the Bluff City. She served as a board member of the International Children’s Foundation and the Women’s Foundation for Memphis, and The Commission on Missing & Exploited Children. She was co-founder of the Tiara Tea Society and was the Chair for Go Red for Women.