LIFE IS WAITING
“Life is waiting for you just one step outside of your comfort zone.” I’ve been going to the same yoga class for the past ten years and at the end of every class the instructor reminds us of that fact. They were words that had always resonated with a part of me but weren’t something I truly began to apply in my life until just this year.
Although I had heard that reminder almost every week for the past decade it wasn’t until I came to the final stages of launching my company, Moon + Lux, this Spring that I was forced – partially by myself, partially by the Universe – to apply that simple yet profound sentence to my own life.
I’ve always considered myself a go-getter, a freethinker and on my best days relatively confident but vulnerability and risk taking was always something that left my stomach in knots and my spirit anxiety-ridden. My desire to strive for perfection, balance and of course, as a true Virgo - a plan - equaled a woman who didn’t like the cards that uncertainty and risk taking dealt me. What if something doesn’t go according to plan? What if this isn’t the right decision? And the greatest What if? – What if...I fail?
Regardless of my fear of taking risks that usually confident, go-getter spirit of mine lead me to the idea of starting my own health, beauty and grooming business in early 2017. Aside from working for myself as a certified private yoga instructor for a few years prior I knew hardly anything about developing a business, starting a business or running a business but my confidence at the time pushed those facts aside because what I did know were oils and their boundless benefits. Having used both carrier and essential oils almost my entire life as well as creating personal products for myself I was confident in the fact that I could create all-natural and wholesome oil-based products that achieved real results and could make a positive impact on peoples lives. For two years I worked on developing my business model and the perfect product for that business. I began working with a manufacturer and was excited about the future, my future, my products, my company.
Two years flew and by January 2019, after almost a year working with the manufacturer on my product research and development, we were ready to go into mass production. Everything was lined up on my end, I had the launch date set for February, social media launch promotions were going up and during what was supposed to be our last meeting with each other before production I took one of the biggest risks I had taken since deciding to start Moon + Lux – I fired them.
When faced with staying true to myself and my brand or compromising everything that I believe in and had envisioned Moon + Lux to be I chose to step outside of my comfort zone and take the road less traveled – the bumpy, windy, uphill road that leads to who-knows-where.
Although it felt like the right thing to do and was empowering to stand up for what I believed in I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel somewhat defeated. I went home and to even my own surprise I didn’t cry or freak out or get angry. Instead, like the true millennial I am, I turned on my Apple TV, opened up the TED app and started searching for some inspiration, an answer, a reminder that there is always a silver lining, that life requires that we all take risks, eliminate our comfort zones and face our fears to truly live it. I came across a TED talk called, ‘What I learned when I conquered the worlds toughest triathlon’ by Minda Dentler, an activist and record-setting triathlete who also happens to be a polio survivor and whose mission is to “[inspire] people to move beyond their fear of failure and achieve their goals.” I sat on my couch in the dark watching Minda standing on the TED stage in her leg braces and crutches telling the story of how she, although disabled, completed one of the most physically strenuous and longest triathlons in the world, the Ironman. By the time Minda was done with her story of risk taking, standing in the face of fear and coming out victorious I was sobbing tears of inspiration. That 13 minute and 7 second story was exactly what I needed to remind me that firstly, I was not alone in being faced with challenges, setbacks and coming face-to-face with fear and secondly that I could achieve my goals regardless of the trials and odds against me. It was that night that I knew that not only had I made the right decision but that I was fully capable of achieving everything I set out to achieve - and it was then, stepping far outside of my comfort zone, that I truly started living.
Regardless of being blindsided by the drastic change of plan, within the months that followed I continued to remain with a tunnel vision focus on launching Moon + Lux and independently bringing my vision to life, creating products that I believed in. And within a short amount of time it became clear to me that what had at one time seemed to be one of the biggest setbacks in my life turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
During this time I came across a quote that said, “Feel the fear. Do it anyway.” One night in my apartment I got a white board marker, went over to my white board and wrote those exact words in big, bold caps - a daily reminder that although at times the unknown can feel scary chasing after your dreams will always be worth it because there will always be blessings and abundance in eliminating that fear and taking those risks.
Entrepreneurship is all about risk taking and is nothing short of a rollercoaster of ups and downs. One day shortly before Moon + Lux launched I was taking a ride on that coaster when I crossed paths with an elderly woman and we began talking about life and living it to the fullest. It turned out that she had been a world-renowned interior designer and architect. I told her about Moon + Lux and how it would be launching soon and she looked in the eyes and said, “Mi’Chele, one of the most important things I learned as a business owner and entrepreneur for many years is that with patience and perseverance you can achieve even your wildest dreams.” Those words were exactly the reminder that I needed at that time and will always ring in my head and heart for the rest of my life.
On May 22ndof this year I finally launched my company, the company I had been working on for years, the company that seemed like, at times, would never come to fruition, the company that took me down that road of uncertainty, that forced me outside of my comfort zone, that made me finally, ultimately courageous enough to take risks, especially when those risks involved being true to myself, Moon + Lux.
I had expected that after launching Moon + Lux I would be faced with even more potential risks and that I would have to make the decision to courageously take those risks or cower away from them in fear and that expectation was more than correct. Although as an adult I’ve always considered myself social and personable I always shied away from selling myself, networking or what some like to refer to as “shameless self-promotion.” But I quickly realized that when you truly believe in what you do, the positive impact you can make and what you can and will achieve shame is not an option or frankly even valid. I reminded myself why I created Moon + Lux in the first place – to bring people closer to practicing self-love through self-care by providing them with wholesome products that are not only good for us but that also achieve real results – and that purpose overwhelmingly outweighed any fears I had about taking the risk of getting Moon + Lux out in the ether and ultimately into the hands of the people, the brands ultimate inspiration.
Being a one-woman show with little to no experience in marketing or branding or professional networking I did my research, strategically planned and took several huge risks and leaps of faith and within a month of the Moon + Lux launch I landed a Beauty & Wellness feature in British Vogue. I love the saying that “luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity” and felt at the time that was a testament to that fact. When opportunity arose I was prepared and that preparation involved being vulnerable, belief in myself, my vision and taking risks in the face of fear.
Within just three months of launching I found myself getting together hundreds of bottles of product to ship to London for Fashion Week between emailing back and forth with Beauty Editors of publications I have admired for years and years. Currently just four months in of Moon + Lux being a working and growing business it all seems so surreal at times but I realize its truly the exact opposite – this isn’t surreal, this is life and finally, after 29 years on this planet I feel as though I’m truly living it – living the life my yoga instructor has always talked about, the one that had been waiting for me all along.
- Mi’Chele Daniels, September 2019