I've Been Lying To You

For the past 3 years I have been healing an area of my life and, as a result, not putting myself out there to my fullest potential. Here's the fully story... and why I know it's time to quit hiding it, and give myself permission to shine.

“Are you kidding me?! I had no idea!” This was the response I got from a new friend of mine recently when I told her that I built a global premium fitness and yoga bag brand and successfully exited and sold the company in 2015.

We were sitting together at one of my favorite coffee shops here in Santa Monica, getting to know each other beyond our mutual love of barre workouts.

She’s a feisty, successful go-getter entrepreneur herself, so she was even more surprised when I told her that in addition to that, I also left a cushy corporate job (right after I got a promotion and my OWN office with a door and a window) to move across the country to Southern California to follow my dreams.

The truth is, a lot of people don’t know this about me and I get this reaction a lot. Most people know me as a women’s health and body-image coach.

On a FB live I did a couple days ago on my Fan Page, I talked a bit about why I haven’t shared much of this side of my journey. The reason is because parts of me were still healing related to how all of this went down.

I hope you’re comfortable, because it’s story time…

Good Bye Corporate, Hello Entrepreneurship

Like I mentioned, in 2008 I left the corporate world. It wasn’t an overnight decision, but I do distinctly remember sitting at my desk one day, staring at my computer screen thinking, “This is it? This is what I have worked so hard for?”

I enjoyed some of the creative parts of my job, and I loved that I had just been brought onto a new team where we were basically building a whole new department because “Green Building Design” was ramping up (my B.S. degree is in Interior Design).

However in many ways, I felt like I wasn’t able to use my creative genius to the fullest capacity. I was bored out of my mind and was exhausted by “the drama” of office life. So, I asked to be included in a big layoff that was coming. My Vice President thought I was crazy, but after a long talk, she understood.

I walked out of the building a few days later, grateful for so many of the awesome experiences I had with the company, excited to be done with the things I didn’t like, and also a bit like, “Omg, I have no idea what is next.”

Fast forward about 6 months, I had read the 4 Hour Work Week like so many others with entrepreneurial dreams and thought, “I can do this, no sweat! I want freedom and flexibility so I can travel the world... so I will launch a product and solve a problem in the market.”

I was married at the time and together, my ex and I began putting together ideas on what we would create. We loved health and fitness and we ourselves always wished there was a better fitness bag option besides a duffel bag. (At the time, that was literally the only option.)

So, we set out to create THE BEST fitness bag we could design. Easier said than done. I think our naivety was helpful because without it, we would never have embarked on the journey.

We learned a lot of very expensive lessons along the way. We got funding, produced our first bag working with a manufacturer overseas (because we couldn’t get anyone that could produce the quality that we needed to pay any attention to us here in the States). And over time, we expanded our line and grew a loyal tribe of fitness enthusiasts that loved what we stood for.

I was even able to get us featured in a bunch of popular fitness magazines, as well as, curate a group of Ambassadors that were incredibly successful, influential and happy to promote our line.

The Wound that Took 3 Years To Heal

From the outside looking in, things looked great. However, behind the scenes, our marriage was not doing so well. It wasn’t the business’ fault that at the end of 2013 we began the process of divorce, however one of my biggest life lessons is you cannot be business partners with your spouse unless you have very clear boundaries on how you will separate “business time” from “relationship time”.

And that right there is the wound that has been slowly healing over the past 3 years.

That company was my everything. I LITERALLY jokingly called the bags my “babies.” I put my heart and soul into it, and as a result, created a giant gap in my marriage.

I felt like a complete failure. There were several other reasons for the divorce besides the business, AND... that said, it was tough NOT to blame the business.

All in all, we met when I was 19 years old, during a time in our lives where we both wanted more. We helped each other expand so much and then we reached a point where our individual desires for our lives began taking different paths.

We were no longer a match, and that was okay. But that didn't make going through the divorce any easier. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I didn’t want to feel the pain, I didn’t want to see someone that I cared about so much go through so much pain. I didn’t want to admit that I met a man that I later fell in love with WHILE I was still married (which is a story for another day).

And then… I had to go through the pain of the aftermath of the process of separating our lives while trying to run a business together. Which didn’t work for us. So, we ended up selling the business because we couldn’t come to any other compromise.

Again, deep down I felt like a failure. I built this company from nothing and now I was just giving up? I was depleted and resentful to the business because of the arguments and pain, and I just didn't have anything left to give it. We sold the company and successfully exited, which is every entrepreneur's dream. I even went on a cruise with my mom to Australia and Fiji and bought myself a fancy purse to celebrate. But in all honesty, it didn’t feel like a victory.

It took me about a year after the business sold to come to a place of forgiveness, for myself, for him, and the whole experience. And at that time, was when I began attracting business coaching clients.

I never planned on becoming a business coach. I had recently done a few interviews where the hosts had asked me about the business and the success we had with branding, marketing, being at the forefront of the “premium fitness apparel" category, and as a result of those interviews, I had a handful of people reach out to ask if I offered business coaching.

We talked and I knew I could help them, so we set up a package with specific goals on what we planned to accomplish together. Then, we got to work. In 6 months, they surpassed their goals.

That was when I started to realize what I had actually accomplished. I hadn’t really allowed myself to own the success and what a big deal it was to build a global brand, online, in a category that previously did not exist, with a few loans, and a lot of guts. I did that.

I had the vision and the courage to go do something that a lot of other people would have said was impossible.

I finally started to feel proud (privately) of what I had done. And, no surprise, I attracted more and more business coaching clients.

Fast forward to today, I have business coaching clients from here to Dubai, doing amazing things, believing in themselves, sharing their creative genius with the world. They are rockstars and it's my honor to support and guide them.

Which leads me to the reason I am sharing this very lengthy story with you today. I’m no longer hiding who I am. In fact, in this post, I share about another aspect of my creative genius that you probably don’t know as well because… I haven’t shared it publicly either.

My mission and passion in life is to be an example of what is possible when you shed the layers of doubt, self-judgment, worry, and shame and step into the version of YOU, that knows who you are and believes in yourself.

And the best way I know how to do that is to continue to show up, as transparently as I can, with my own journey. 

I help people give themselves permission to do, have, and be all that they can dream of and more.

My creative genius goes far deeper than helping someone achieve optional health. That is part of it, because after all, if you don’t feel amazing, then you really don’t have the energy or confidence to do the things that matter to you most in life.

I see myself as a lighthouse (as cliche as that sounds), shining the light for those that are ready to release their old stories, baggage, and excuses so they can step into greatness (as cheesy as THAT sounds) in all areas of their life — health, wealth, relationships, and spirituality.

It’s a 360 degree picture, and for those of you who know the name of my previous company… it really is beautiful how literally, everything comes full circle.

If you read this far, I’d love to hear what’s coming up for you as you read this.

Thank you for reading and for holding space for me to share this fully.

Much love,

Sheila