I had just finished writing my letter to my daughters about my hopes and dreams for them, about the lessons I’ve learned on my journey so far. I hadn’t had a chance to pass it on when my 8 year old daughter passed a letter to me. It read:
I ♥ You
I can’t wait to work with you, you are the best mum ever.
I can’t wait for you to tell me stuff about company’s for the Aquarium.
My daughter has a dream, her dream is to build and own an aquarium with dolphins and turtles, penguins and seals including a resident dog. She has spent hours researching dolphins, spending time with her friends figuring out what jobs need doing and who will do what. She has chosen a plot of empty land close to home, she has contemplated who will build it for her, parking for the visitors, having a movie theatre to play Dolphin movies, a café, and ensuring the enclosures are big and spacious. She’s asked me `how much will I charge people,’ `how much money will I need,’ `where do I go to get the money’ and `how old do I need to be before I can do this.’
I sit back and reflect on how open she is to dreaming, how open she is to dreaming big. She is not discouraged when told by others in the school playground that it cannot be done, she is not discouraged when I tell her she needs to finish school and get the correct qualifications. At what point in our life does our passion and our ability to dream waiver when the person who says it can’t be done isn’t others but rather ourselves… when we become our biggest hurdle?
In my letter to my daughter, I told her that her attitude and mindset will provide her the greatest opportunities in life, that anything is possible if she has the courage to follow her heart and conviction to see it through. Through my journey I’ve learned that I can’t just tell her, I need to show her, I need to hold her hand and lead the way.
My daughter’s letter has shown me the sacrifices I make, consciously driving myself forward even during times of adversity and doubt, striving to be the best version of myself both personally and in business is noticed and is valued. Like any mother building a business I get completely immersed in my work, from time to time I hope it doesn’t over-shadow what I ultimately set out to achieve… to be the best possible role model I can be for my children. My daughters letter reinforced that what I’m doing does count, what I’m doing truly matters.
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.