I wrote the below article on Confidence for Mary Kay in 2018.
What does confident mean to me? Sometimes, it’s as natural as breathing. Other times? Phew! Why do I feel fear?
Am I afraid of being judged? Perhaps. Am I afraid of looking stupid? Yes.
As people have told me, I appear confident. After all, I had another business before Mary Kay. I owned and operated a better women’s clothing store. Women came from all over to get my fashion advice. Yes, that did give me confidence.
So…confidence in relation to my Mary Kay business… that’s a loaded subject. Didn’t Mary Kay herself say to fake it until you make it? There are times I have to push myself out of my comfort zone to offer the facial, to ask for the party, and to offer our amazing business opportunity.
The past two months have been particularly challenging for me. My wonderful Dad passed away on December 23rd…just after we moved him to my home town in Burlington, Vermont. I moved him out of his home of 62 years…my childhood homestead. That was so difficult…both emotionally and physically. After being at his new senior residence, he was profoundly unhappy. My brother and I decided to move him again so he could see us daily. Before we could move him to his next residence, I had him in my home where he recovered from pneumonia.
Dad’s house in Queensbury NY.
Getting “back in the saddle” has not been easy. Even before his death, my focus was Ben, my father’s name. He just turned 90, and it was difficult to introduce him to his new community. I was his advocate, his cheerleader and always his daughter. Nine days before he died, he fell and broke his hip. Then, for the first time in twenty seven years, my Mary Kay business got put on the shelf. I did fill orders…but that was it.
Since my father’s death, I have spent hours talking with friends and family in person and on the phone. Frankly, all I have wanted to do is to immerse myself in memories. I have poured over photos and letters. I did not even want to go skiing…which is my crazy passion.
Dad and I around 2008.
After the new year, my head has started to clear, a bit. Ben Patrick was a consummate business person. He was bold. He did not worry about looking stupid or being rejected. He always said, “Make your calls”. He was in the wholesale tobacco and candy business and then expanded to vending and commercial cafeterias. I always wished he could see the huge general lunches at seminar. He would have been fascinated. I would try to explain it, but one has to see it to believe it. This is a diversion…back to confidence. I wonder if he really always felt confident, or like Mary Kay said, “Fake it until you make it”.
When my Dad and I would drive to Vermont to ski, he would have so many stories. He made his calls all right! He would stop at every mom and pop store to see if he could be useful to them. As we passed these stores, his stories emerged. One day, when he was new in business, he complained to his older neighbor, who was in sales. My father was frustrated because he couldn’t make a sale to a prospect he was working on. The neighbor told him, “Ben, everyone wants to buy, you just haven’t found the key to unlock his door!” Brilliant! I have thought of that story so often when I was frustrated in my own business.
In the last year, I have been made more aware of my father’s generosity. I knew he helped other people to start a business in his home town throughout my lifetime. I heard the stories. He also loaned me the money to start my retail business in 1977, at the very old age of twenty three. As wonderful as he was, he was also scary. He was much scarier than a bank, and, I made sure that I paid him back on a monthly basis! He wasn’t scared…he was confident that I would do well. His attitude was that if I lost money the first year, it would be like my first year of graduate school…my personal MBA.
P.S. I made money my first year.
My original store in 1977.
In June, I was in my home town visiting my Dad, and I had my bicycle with me. I popped into a bike shop to get a few accessories for the bike. When I gave him my credit card, the man behind the counter asked if I was Ben Patrick’s daughter. He told me that my father loaned him $5000 to start that bike shop twenty five years ago. He refused to charge me. Again…my Dad had confidence. He believed in this guy, and it seemed very simple to help another young man out.
I am a lucky woman, to have had a mentor like my father, Ben Patrick. He certainly led by example. Speaking of examples…one day, after skiing we were having lunch. He loved lunch after skiing. As we were waiting for our food,he said, “If I were a beauty consultant, I would go up to every woman in the restaurant to introduce myself”. Well, the gauntlet was thrown! I MADE myself get up to give the waitress and the women at the table next to me my card. I did book a facial. Thank you, Dad.
Ok, Mary Kay inc. … You have asked for twelve hundred words. My original article was one hundred and twenty seven words. I haven’t written a twelve hundred word document since I attended college in the early seventies. I do thank you! I have gotten the opportunity to talk about my brave father and the confidence he instilled in me.
In conclusion, I have experienced two shifts. One happened this summer. I watched the movie, “If you haven’t seen your name in the obits, eat breakfast”. It was a Carl Reiner documentary. The movie featured dozens of people in their 90’s being productive and fulfilled. I am currently 63 and earlier this year, I was losing confidence. My self- talk went something like, “am I too old for my business?” “Are younger people relating to me anymore?” Well! After watching the movie, I knew I was fine. I will be in this business until I can’t remember what moisturizer is. Thanks to Mary Kay, I know I look great. I also know that I have experience, knowledge and prospective to share.
The last shift is generosity and love. I am happiest when I am working from that space. To wrap my business around a makeover contest for a charitable cause makes my heart sing. To raise community awareness of the good work our local women’s shelter does, makes my heart sing. To raise community awareness that Mary Kay has given Vermont shelters hundreds of thousands of dollars makes my heart double sing! All of that is not new…it’s been a big thread in my business for years.
Now, what will give me confidence? When I think of my Dad, he always said he had enough. I have plenty, and there is so much to spare. The confidence to know…all will be well if someone says no…I have enough. I have always had enough. I have had the ruby slippers on all along. Generosity and love…it’s what it’s all about, Dad. I’ll spread it as far as I can, it will be enough…and I will gain peace of mind…with confidence.