Finally. It’s here! A way to share the answer the most common question I get asked about being a therapist:
Isn’t it depressing?!
Heck no! It’s uplifting and affirming. Usually clients seek my help when they are at their lowest, in crisis and crumbling. People don’t really come to therapy to say, “Hey my life is awesome, I just wanted to pop on in and pay you to tell you all about it!”. Some days it is challenging to sit with people as they sob, witnessing their anguish as we try to figure out a path through their worst nightmare. But we do figure it out. I have the great pleasure and privilege of seeing them carry on, make great choices, and thrive. I get to see the stories behind the facades. Now there’s a way for you to read about similar experiences of real women facing real struggles.
The One Red Lipstick project offers a sneak peek behind the curtain of women’s lives. Twenty-four courageous, humble women volunteered to tell the stories of their route to becoming entrepreneurs. Hang on, hang on, before you say, “Meh, I don’t wear red lipstick, and I’m not an entrepreneur so no thanks” let me explain. It would be short sighted to assume that this is a project about make-up or even about creating your own business, it’s far more than that. These are stories that include profound struggles and survival. It’s not really about the lipstick , the lipstick is a symbol, a metaphor for getting on with it and doing what needs to be done.
The struggles include some of the most difficult challenges we can face: losing a partner, a child, a parent, a sibling. Being a teen mom and being raised by a teen mom. Domestic violence and addiction. The C word (cancer). Near death experiences and caring for a severely disabled husband. A teen forced to grow up and assume adult responsibilities in the blink of an eye.
Two main themes stand out for me in these stories:
- There is no time for self-pity and blame.
There is a world of difference between having compassion for ourselves and self-pity. There is not a whiff of ‘poor me’ in these pages, no whining about life not being fair (it’s not, so ditch that expectation) or comparisons to people who have it easier, as an excuse to shrivel up and remain stuck. When faced with these types of challenges, some women and men become saturated in bitterness and anger. They use blame as their crutch to remain hobbled. Rather than using a shovel to dig themselves out of the hole, they use it to dig a deeper hole – blaming their partner or their ex, their parents, situation, friends, or boss. They develop the super power of looking at the world through a filter of cynicism and rage. The One Red Lipstick stories are free of blame, these women just get on with it, doing the best they can (which is pretty damn awesome).
- Not everyone will like what you’re doing – and that’s OK
During times of struggle, some friends will disappear, and some casual acquaintances will step up to the plate. Stacy Maynard writes, “I was so afraid that someone wouldn’t like what I said or did; it prevented me from talking to anyone or doing anything.” It's almost guaranteed that someone won't like you're doing. Not all of your friends or family will understand or be supportive. These women didn’t let that be an excuse to stop moving forward and making progress. If you’ve ever volunteered on a committee or PTA, you know that naysayers – who are not giving up their time - come out of the woodwork to critique and criticize from the sidelines. That’s okay, stay the course, maintain your integrity, and don’t lose sight of your goals.
We all need mentors and role models. The inspiration of these courageous women is a launch pad for understanding that we all have a story. Spenser Chapple, the young woman responsible for One Red Lipstick says it best, “Everyone is going through something, and when we are honest and open about what is happening we find strength and support from others”.
One Red Lipstick is available for pre order now through Amazon by clicking here and will be released International Women’s Day, March 8. The documentary will be screened May 17, at the 10th annual Journey 2 Success Conference.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite lines from One Red Lipstick:
Whatever had to be done, I did it.
When you find yourself the main breadwinner, with a disabled husband and three children to support, you just have to get on with it
Ignore the people who are saying, “Who does she think she is… “
When you are faced with a life-threatening prognosis , what is important to you becomes really clear.
For me it was never about making tons of money. Making a difference is my driving force.
If what you are doing fails, ride that failure like a gift because it will take you somewhere. Accept it graciously and doors will open.
My biggest fear had just become my scariest reality. And in an instant my whole world crumbled.
You can choose how you want to show up, who you want to be and what you’re going to do about it.
Success to me is being happy and enjoying what you do. It is important to support yourself with positive individuals who are open to new ideas.