I was always told growing up that I was a good story teller (a trait I inherited from my Grandpa Joe). In my college sorority I was voted “Best Story Teller” every single year. I look back at those times and those stories and they were full of love and humor and joy. They reflected my life. My “story” was only ever happy and my life was happy.
In 2009 when the recession hit and I was losing my business and home, my “story” changed. My new story was entitled “Poor Me”. Everyday was a poor me day. The more I declared life’s injustice the more injustice would appear to validate my declaration. It was a vicious cycle. I see it now, looking back on it, but I didn’t at the time. I didn’t realize that I was trapped in my story! I told myself this negative story over and over and over again and that exact story is what continued to show up in my life. I remember thinking, “How did I become so unlucky?” I was never unlucky in the past. The thing is, my luck never changed, my story did.
I finally had an AHA moment one day watching Oprah talk about negative stories. I realized that it was exactly what I was doing and I took her advice and decided to end my current story and write a new one. This one I entitled “Anything is Possible”. It says, “I AM light, I AM love, I AM peace.” It says that there is nothing I can’t do in faith. It says to dream big. I believed my new story and ended up having three “Sharks” fight over me.
What story are you telling yourself? Whatever you tell yourself will appear in your life. So many of us spin these negative stories and believe them. The truth is, it’s just a story, made up by your mind. If you have been telling yourself how unfair life is and how you get no good breaks, write a new one. Write a story of blessings and abundance and dreams come true. Sound silly? Not to me. There are things in life we can choose and others we can’t. YOU can choose your story. Write a good one my friends!
If there is something that you want, would you get it quicker if you asked for it or if you kept silent? Obviously the answer is to ask, correct? We know this, but so often we keep our hopes, desires and dreams to ourselves. We are afraid to ask. Afraid of judgment from others. Afraid of looking foolish. Afraid of not getting what we want. Afraid of disappointment and often we simply don’t feel worthy of asking.
Maybe you have asked before, not gotten what you wanted and lost faith. Boy have I been there before! Check out my AHA moment on Oprah’s Lifeclass
I have learned a lot since then. I remember being so broken and confused. I had always been able to turn situations around in my life. Why couldn’t I make this better? The answer, because Ionly had faith in me. I was asking in sadness. I was asking in desperation and expecting the answer to look like I wanted it to look. The answer came to me over and over again, but I ignored it thinking my way was better. It would say “let go”. I know now that “letting go” is a significant step in the asking process. Yes, I was “asking”, but I was asking with myself still in the driver’s seat. Here is the key… You must ask in faith. Don’t just believe a little. Believe in absolute faith and live in the joy of it already coming to pass. The last step is to let it go and not judge the way it is answered. It will always be answered and it might not look like you thought it would, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Say Thank You.
I’m in a couple groups on Facebook and one of them is a group of entrepreneurs with 200 members. Entrepreneurs by definition are dreamers and risk takers so one day I asked people to list their dreams so that we could dream them for one another. In this group of 200 dreamers, only about 4 posted. It was interesting to me and I realized that so many of us are just afraid to ask. I get it. I’ve been there, but I’m not there anymore. Don’t keep your dreams and desires trapped inside of you. ASK, ASK, ASK. You are worthy and you will always get an answer. Don’t be afraid of a NO. You could be 3 No’s away from your YES. Keep asking! Don’t be afraid of your light. You were brought here to shine!! What are you asking for?
It’s February 10,2013 and my Shark Tank episode aired one year ago today. What a year it has been! I will never forget waking my kids up for school that day and telling them “our lives are going to change today”. I really believed that. I thought that all the worries I had before my TV appearance would disappear and my life would be completely different. I sit here today, one year later, living the exact same life. One thing has changed. Not the world outside of me, the world inside of me. I have learned more in this one year than in any of my life. It has been a year of joy and a year of disappointment. A year of falling in fear, and getting back up in faith. A year of holding on to how I thought it should look and thankfully a year of letting go and allowing it to happen. What a journey! I am grateful for every second!
The night we aired was magical to me. I organized a viewing party with about 80 of my friends and family. We went to a local sports bar to watch on their big screen. I live on the west coast and couldn’t bare the thought if it airing 3 hours ahead of me and not being able to see it!!! I tried everything I could to get an ABC east coast feed with no luck. I finally came up with the idea of Skyping with a friend who lived in New Jersey and it worked! Watching it beforehand eased a lot of my nerves and I went into my viewing party full of excitement, ready to share my good news. Watching my episode surrounded by people I love was so special for me. The whole bar watched and cheered at the good parts, booed when the Sharks were critical and went NUTS when I got my deal! There was cheering and laughter and lots of tears. I will never forget it. After the excitement died down, I spoke. I told everyone that I had been quiet for 197 days and I had a lot to say so get comfortable. It felt so good to talk and get it out and share my journey with those that I love. I got the opportunity to introduce people who were instrumental in helping me start ShowNo and thank them publicly. All along, I ignored my phone and computer. I had no idea if my website was crashing, if I was getting orders, etc. I knew that in that bar, there was nothing I could do, and made a conscious decision to be present at my party and celebrate my accomplishment. After we left, I couldn’t resist and started checking email. I had quite a few emails come in, but very few orders. Then the panic set in. It was amazing to think how fast I went from bliss to devastation, but I did. I spent the rest of the night in absolute fear, panic and worry about what went wrong. I went from feeling like a tremendous success to a total failure. It was awful.
The next day my email inbox was jam packed. Orders continued to trickle in but not like I thought they would and I was so incredibly overwhelmed. My partner Lori called to see how it went and when I told her that sales weren’t what I thought, I felt like I let her down. The newspaper called, friends called, everyone wanted to know my “numbers”. I knew I had a TON of people on my site and due to an awesome hosting company we didn’t crash, but my sales were slow. Why? I’d had so many disappointments leading me into the Shark Tank that I was sure this was my “happy ever after”? I was comparing myself to other Shark Tank success stories and I didn’t measure up. I was so scared. I cried. I prayed. Why God? Why? I heard my voice within tell me to get up and go read my emails. I didn’t want to, but the voice came again and again. “Go read your emails.” I did and one after the next told me how proud they were of me. They told me they cried tears of joy for me! They told me that they thanked God that they watched me that night. They told me that they found a new confidence in pursuing their dreams after watching me pursue mine. It went on and on. I couldn’t believe it. Then it dawned on me… I was feeling unsuccessful because I didn’t sell a towel, but maybe I wasn’t on Shark Tank to sell a towel? Maybe I had a bigger purpose! I cried as I read. My inbox was full of love. I didn’t know how to receive it? I have never received that much love in my life! My heart was so full. I didn’t know where to put it? I decided I needed to send it back and share it and I spent the next two weeks responding to every single message. Some were so beautiful that where there was a phone number, I called. I spent the next few weeks making incredible friendships and connections. Spreading inspiration, and joy and love – it was amazing!
All the while orders continued to come in. I had 400 towels ready to ship when we aired. When it was said and done, I sold about 200 towels. I had to send 200 towels to The View as an audience giveaway. What was I given… exactly what I could handle. I was still primarily sewing these towels on my own from my home. I initially looked at my orders and said, “Is that all?” My voice within told me, “Shelly, you shined on a national TV show watched by millions. You spread hope and inspiration to a lot of people. You sold every single towel you had prepared. Are you really going to say “Is that all?” It was my AHA moment! I wasn’t going to say “Is that all?” I was going to say “THANK YOU”. I did and I haven’t stopped!!
(You Tube video I made 5 days after we aired)
Except for an occasional, “Hey aren’t you that towel lady from Shark Tank?” my life hasn’t changed that much. I have gotten a lot busier and thanks to my exposure from the show, my business has grown tenfold. I’m no millionaire (yet) and no celebrity. Just me. It always cracks me up when people treat me like I’m someone special. I’m no different than anyone. I’m just a mom with a towel who ended up on a tv show. For me, the best part of being on the show has been the connections I have made. I have become “instant friends” with people across the country and that has been really cool! I have made awesome friendships with other entrepreneurs from the show and call them my Shark Tank Pals. They are the best! Looking back over the year, it’s funny cause it looks nothing like I thought it would a year ago. I KNOW now in faith that that’s ok. Just because it doesn’t look like I thought it would, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. There are no mistakes. I KNOW I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to do. I am dreaming my biggest dream and believing it! I don’t really know what my future holds, but I wake every morning and Thank God for all my blessings. I am open, ready to receive, faithful and grateful. In that space ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
If you have read my blog before you know I am a HUGE Oprah fan. She has been a mentor to me since I was 14 years old. I have learned so many lessons from her like, "What you focus on grows. Focus on the goodness in your life"
"Dream your biggest dream. The universe has an even bigger one in store"
"Be thankful for what you have and you'll end up having more." These have all been tremendous lessons for me, but perhaps the greatest I learned on May 25, 2011.
It was the final episode of the Oprah show and she called it "her love letter". There were no guests. It was just Oprah sharing her journey and what she has learned over the years. She said that a common thread she has seen in so many people over the years is a feeling of unworthiness. She said that you must know you are worthy and feel you are worthy and open yourself and be ready to receive. As she said that, her words shot through the TV and went straight into my heart. I knew she was talking to me. I started to cry and couldn't stop. It was a true "AHA moment". I was bringing a lot of great things into my life, but none of the "bigger things" were manifesting. What I realized was that I hadn't "opened myself to receive". I am someone (like so many!!) who likes to give. I have a very hard time receiving. I have such a hard time receiving that I often push things away. I knew in that moment it was a missing piece in my puzzle. It was a lesson I needed to learn. I closed my eyes, got quiet and opened myself to receive. I said, "I AM worthy. I AM open. I AM ready to receive". It was amazing because so much peace came over me! I felt such joy and peace inside! A few hours later my phone rang. It was the Today Show. They said that they received the towel I sent them (3 months prior) and were doing a segment on "Moms with good ideas". Would it be ok to showcase my towel? Wow. How about that? Coincidence? No such thing.
My towel was on the Today Show one week later. My good friend Debi posted the segment on her Facebook page. She happened to be connected to a casting director from Shark Tank and I was cast on the show two weeks later. The rest is history.
My mentor Oprah told me, "Be open. Be ready to receive. Know you are worthy." I listened. I believed. It changed my life. I want to share the same with you. Get quiet right now. Say it. Feel it and believe it. I AM open. I AM ready to receive. I AM worthy. YOU ARE!! Let go and watch the magic happen...