Going into business for myself is something that has always been of interest to me, this concept became even more appealing whilst on maternity leave with my first daughter. I wrote my first business plan, I researched the market but I stopped there. I never pursued it and instead went back to the corporate world after 12 months on maternity leave. Prior to my return I successfully negotiated a level of flexibility working 4 days a week with an increase in salary – I was content. Looking back now, it wasn’t my time and the pain hadn’t been great enough to create change.
It wasn’t until returning from my second maternity leave to a complete change in senior management that I began to truly feel pain. I experienced how soul destroying one person’s actions can be, I worked under someone who manipulated and intimidated and as a result I lost self-confidence, I hit rock bottom. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]I walked away from a 6-figure salary and I put trust in my ability to turn something negative into a positive[/pullquote]Through the support of my husband and my own determination and a desire to show my children never to settle for less and always strive to be the best you can be; a light was lit inside me, a desire to be in control of my own destiny, to have complete freedom and flexibility. I walked away from a 6-figure salary and I put trust in my ability to turn something negative into a positive that not only helped myself but helped other women who had similar experiences as me.
It is not whether you fall down, because it happens, but rather whether you get back up to your feet…and who is there to support you as you stand. Your ability to bounce back, to back yourself and prove your worth is a true test of your character. It requires mental toughness and a positive mindset. Your strength of character also comes from the people who surround you, who support your vision, who believe in you…surround yourself with people who challenge you in good ways.
Change can be unsettling, it can unnerve you and make you feel self conscious but change brings with it new experiences, it opens doors to other opportunities and if you truly embrace change it can invigorate you, provide you with a new lease on life and give you a direction and a purpose you didn’t have before.[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Learn from those experiences and use them to make you stronger, to make you more resilient – to live more boldly with greater purpose and greater passion.[/pullquote] Learn from those experiences and use them to make you stronger, to make you more resilient – to live more boldly with greater purpose and greater passion.
I learned that habits can be restrictive, can be suffocating and can hold us back. I let go, I took a leap of faith, I put trust in my ability and I realised I wasn’t prepared to accept someone else controlling what direction I went in, I wasn’t prepared to accept someone else dictating what sort of person I became. It isn’t always the easiest route to follow but it is the most rewarding and the most satisfying. It doesn’t happen by being lucky, it happens by being willing to work hard and work smart. It’s about finding your passion and finding your purpose. It’s about having a dream, getting started and never stopping.
My company, Meme & Co stands for all the values that are important to me. It stands for freedom, flexibility, and family, embracing life, having fun and enjoying the journey. We have partnered with talented New Zealand designers so that we stand for quality and we have partnered with other like-minded women to provide a community of support. We are all about taking a leap of faith, being empowered and being inspired.
Susan Stevens is the founder of New Zealand-based Meme & Co, a jewelry and accessories company with an innovative, woman-centered business model. She has over 18 years experience in sales, marketing and advertising, she climbed the corporate ladder and was committed to her career but her priorities changed when she had her children. Life became a struggle, trying to find a balance between wanting to retain her worth and independence in the workforce without compromising her ability to be a present and attentive mother.
Then, Susan made a terrifying leap – leaving a six figure income to no job and a big mortgage. With a very strong resolve never to go back to the corporate world, and through commitment, perseverance and a passion to succeed, she found as one door closed other doors opened. It was this journey that gave her the motivation and the drive to create an opportunity for other women who want to be in control, who value their independence, who want to be empowered. Her drive to keep a balance between work and family life ultimately resulted in `taking a leap’ into the unknown and embarking on a personal journey of self reflection, new challenges and growth.
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