Day #94:The Mary Kay Ash Story

Mary Kay Ash banged her head on the corporate glass ceiling one too many times.  Working for several direct sales companies from the 1930’s until the early 1960’s, she achieved considerable success.  She climbed the corporate ladder to become the sole woman on the board of directors of the World Gift Company – quite an accomplishment for a woman in the 1950’s.

But life wasn’t rosy at the top. Even though Mary Kay had the title and the track record, she was not taken seriously by her male peers. In board meetings, her opinions and suggestions were ignored, dismissed, or even ridiculed. Male board members minced no words in their judgment – pronouncing her guilty of “thinking like a woman.”

Since the sales force was almost entirely female, Mary Kay thought that thinking like a woman was an asset. But her fellow board members disagreed.  Finally, in frustration, she retired in 1963, intending to write a book to assist women in the male-dominated business.

Sitting at her kitchen table, she made two lists: one list was all the good things she had seen in the companies where she’d worked, and the other list was all the things she thought could be improved.  As she re-read her lists, she realized that what she had in front of her was a marketing plan for her ideal company.   In just four weeks, her “book” had become a business plan, and her retirement was over.

Both her accountant and her attorney did their best to discourage her, warning that she would be throwing her money away on this venture. But Mary Kay had heard enough male nay-saying in her corporate years – she ignored her advisors.
Her husband, unlike her accountant and attorney, was very supportive. With his help, Mary Kay developed the cosmetic products, designed packaging, wrote promotional materials and recruited and trained her female sales force.

Then the unthinkable happened; her husband of twenty-one years died of a heart attack. Another woman might have dropped her plans, or at least delayed them, but Mary Kay was a strong Texas woman. She stayed on track with the help of her twenty-year-old son, Richard Rogers and rolled out her new business in September of 1963.

Beginning with a storefront in Dallas and an investment of $5,000, Mary Kay Cosmetics earned close to $200,000 in its first year – quadrupling that amount in its second year. When Mary Kay took her company public in 1968, sales had climbed to more than $10 million.

Mary Kay’s unusual corporate motto, “God first, family second, career third,” was unconventional, to say the least. But she understood the need for women to have balance in their lives, and she was committed to providing unlimited opportunity for women’s financial AND personal success.

Mary Kay authored three books, all of which became best-sellers. Her business model is taught at the Harvard Business School. She received many honors, including the Horatio Alger Award. Fortune magazine has named Mary Kay Cosmetics as one of the Ten Best Companies for Women, as well as one of The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.

At the time of her death in 2001, Mary Kay Cosmetics had 800,000 independent beauty consultants in 37 countries, with total annual sales of over two billion dollars. Never underestimate the power of a woman with a mission!

 

Day #93:Scientific Proof: Happiness is Love

Harvard conducted one of the longest and most comprehensive studies of human development – the 75 year old Grant Study – that’s reached some fascinating conclusions regarding the recipe for leading a happy life. The sample group was comprised of healthy male Harvard college students who, over the course of their lifetime, agreed to meet with an array of scientists and researchers who measured their psychological, physical and anthropological traits. Though all identities are confidential, it was recently discovered that John F. Kennedy was a sample participant.
Following these men through times of war, their careers, parenthood and old age, the Grant Study has amassed an exorbitant amount of data that deeply reflects the human condition.
What can be concluded from seven decades of data? It is quite simple actually; warm relationships between parents, spouses, children and friends have the greatest impact on your health and happiness in old age. The study found that 93 percent of the sample group who were thriving at age 65, had a close relationship with a sibling when they were younger.
As George Vaillant, the lead director of the study states, it can all be boiled down into five simple words: “Happiness is love. Full stop” [Source: Business Insider]

Day #92:Why Now Is the Best Time to Do Something

In this short, inspirational speech from Creative Mornings, entrepeneur Michael Tavani explains why right now is the best time to start a new project – be it a company, a nonprofit, a film or something else completely. From the benefits of social media to what makes the perfect idea, this is 90 seconds which will get you well on your way to starting something great.

 

Day #91:The Story of Post-it Notes

The 3M Company encourages creativity from its employees. The company allows its researchers to spend 15 percent of their time on any project that interests them. This attitude has brought fantastic benefits not only to the employees but to the 3M Company itself Many times, a spark of an idea turned into a successful product has boosted 3M’s profits tremendously.

Some years ago, a scientist in 3M’s commercial office took advantage of this 15 percent creative time. This scientist, Art Fry, came up with an idea for one of 3M’s best-selling products. It seems that Art Fry dealt with a small irritation every Sunday as he sang in the church choir. After marking his pages in the hymnal with small bits of paper, the small pieces would invariably fall out all over the floor.

Suddenly, an idea struck Fry. He remembered an adhesive developed by a colleague that everyone thought was a failure because it did not stick very well. “I coated the adhesive on a paper sample,” Fry recalls, “and I found that it was not only a good bookmark, but it was great for writing notes. It will stay in place as long as you want it to, and then you can remove it without damage.”

Yes, Art Fry hit the jackpot. The resulting product was called Post-it! and has become one of 3M’s most successful office products.

 

Day #89:10 of Gandhi’s Memorable Quotes

October 2 marks the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi. The Indian luminary, famous for leading the Indian nation to independence in peaceful means, is deemed an inspirational figure to this day, over 60 years after his death in 1948.
As a tribute to Gandhi ahead of this day, here’s a collection of some of his thought-provoking quotes.

1.ON LIFE
“My life is my message.”
2.ON BEING A SOLDIER
“I regard myself as a soldier, though a soldier of peace.“
3.ON FAITH IN HUMANITY
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
4.ON NONVIOLENCE
“Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.”
5.ON THE SEVEN SINS
“Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.”
6.ON TRUTH
“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.”
7.ON THE “STILL SMALL VOICE”
The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.”
8.ON LIBERTY
“I’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours.”
9.ON FORGIVENESS
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
10.ON THE NATURE OF MAN
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

Day #88:Life’s about Choices.Stress is a Choice

A few day ago, I wrote about how life is about choices and I chose to be happy. As I looked into this more, I realized it is not just about happiness. It also affects how I use my time,how I manage my energy and what I decide to give attention to. In the past 6 months I have taken steps to consciously chose not to be stressed and to tried to live the kind of life I really want. The funny thing is, these days I started feeling bad that I wasn’t stressed and my life wasn’t so ‘busy’ as usual.  I started feeling weird for not really worrying about anything? Now, that’s scary as I think of it.It seems good things could be seen as bad once we are used to the bad things.

Many of us hurry through life going from one place to the next, focused on conquering the next mountain, making the next deal, running the next errand, and believing we will never have enough time to do all the things we need to get done. Yet, there is all the time in the world if we just realize that we are the creators of this life we choose to live. That’s right. Life is a series of choices and being free from stress is one of those choices.

Whether your business life is overly complicated or your personal life (or both), you have chosen this current system of chaos. The world is a tantalizing swirl of getting the next “fix,” tempting us to fit more and more things, people and processes into our lives, personally and professionally. And because we are so busy being busy, it’s easy to be lured into the fray, with our lengthy to-do lists. Yet, the greatest achievements have often come from the simplest of ideas and in the simplest forms.

To experience a simplified life, we first have to learn to slow down long enough to see through all the clutter. We need to realize that we are powerful magnets that attracted this life to ourselves—no matter what—good or bad. More importantly, you have to realize you have a right not to be stressed.