BHANSALI’s philanthropic mission has been to educate and inspire the underserved youth of LA. Now, we have been given the opportunity to expand our impact through the introduction of a digital platform for our non-profit program START, called #STARTinspiring. Follow along as we feature original content from trailblazing creatives and industry leaders every week. Here you will find resources to get you going, inspiring stories to get you moving, and tips for self-care to keep you from giving up on achieving your personal and professional goals. We are here for you and want to see you realize your full potential, because that creates a beautiful world.
AB: Everyone wants to be successful. But, what actually defines success? For each of us it’s different. No matter your career, the path towards success is never a straight one. We choose Valerie because her journey lead her to find her up ultimate purpose, and to her that is success.
The SPARK, The SNAG, The SHIFT, all the way to SUCCESS. NO not always in that order, and YES sometimes the steps repeat.
We all have had one, or maybe even hundreds of them during the course of our lives. That moment when the flicker of a new idea creates a feeling inside that ignites you, and a warm sensation overtakes your soul. The excitement of the possibilities are always exhilarating in that specific moment, mostly because you haven’t had a chance to convince yourself yet of why the idea may not work. Poking holes in any idea is what naturally comes next. Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. When it does, it’s important you welcome it and relish in it, while it’s still a pure and perfect thought in your mind. Sure, most ideas may die fifteen minutes after they are born, but all it takes is one infallible epiphany to put you on the road to finding your true passion and calling. Whether it’s an article you read online, an unexpected moment with a stranger you meet at a coffee shop, or a conversation you have with a good friend where you tell him his idea of switching careers to become a therapist could not be more perfect, you never know when a single moment or person can convince you to change it all. I’ll never forget that one time I bought a beautiful vintage blue velvet chair at a flea market. I brought it home, plopped it down in my living room, and quickly noticed it matched nothing in my house. I loved that chair so much that it inspired me not only to redecorate my entire home, but to tear down some walls and remodel it, too. One simple $75.00 chair was the spark that changed it all.
20 years after starting my creative advertising agency (a result of a different spark), I listened to my very first podcast called Modern Love. I was so excited about this new medium of creative expression. Three episodes in, on a whim, I decided to start my own. Even though I was already struggling to find the time to balance my career and family, the insatiable need to make it happen was undeniable. I had long dreamed of sharing a space where I could interview and be inspired by successful women, then share it with others who were trying to find their way. Growing up, I didn’t have much guidance of what the future could hold for me. In fact, the only expectation from my family, who immigrated here from overseas, was to find a good husband, get married, and help him fulfill his dreams by being a good wife and mother. I’m proud to say, I think I have accomplished that, too.
I had zero experience in podcasting, but something compelled me to get in my car and take a trip to The Guitar Center, where I bought all the basic equipment I needed. I remember the sales clerk telling me I was probably the 20th person in the store that day with the very same great idea, it was only 1pm. Hearing that almost made me give up and walk out empty handed, but something inside me pushed forward, and $800 dollars and 3 hours later I was all set up and She Dynasty was born. And BOOM, just like that, after 1.5 years and almost fifty episodes recorded and published and ten more already scheduled, interviewing the world’s most brilliant and powerful women like Suzie Weiss-Fischmann, the founder or OPI nail polish or Michelle Jubelirer, the COO of Capitol Records, I can honestly say just being passionate about my idea, and jumping in without too much thought or prep made it a reality, fast. What has been even more amazing, are the incredible women (and men) who have helped me along the way. This experience has been nothing less than exceptional. I hope all will listen and be as inspired as I am by these women who rule!
When I first started out in my career anything and everything that could go wrong always seemed like an insurmountable problem that would end it all. The panic, fear and anxiety would paralyze me and make me sure that there was no way through.
Well, I’m proud to say, nothing ever ended, if fact those tough times and/or SNAGS have always been key defining moments that helped set me up for great success moving forward. Why? Because I tirelessly learned what not to do with each mistake and failure. And only then could I figure out how to do it right the next time. In fact, it now takes a lot to rattle me. I expect challenges and surprises at every turn, and I always just take a deep breath and say to myself, as long as no one is seriously hurt or dead, I got this. After all, it’s just advertising.
I remember that time early in my career when I didn’t do enough research to win the pitch, I lost — but I never lost for that reason again. That day when I decided not to invest in the technology to help my business grow and I learned my lesson when what I bought failed and ended up costing me 3x what it should have. The moment when I had to lay off eight people after we lost some business and know how disappointed in me they would all be, but later learned that because of that hard decision I was able to secure the future of my company and the jobs of my other awesome employees. It was all a lot of real grown up shit, which caused me many, many sleepless nights.
I have a good friend named Jennifer who has been an incredible force in my life since childhood. When I go to her for advice, she always says to me, “Valerie, you just need to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” I always think of that line when things get tough, it makes me smile and it truly works like a charm. I’ve even learned from her, that yes, sometimes it’s ok to have an accident and pee in my pants, because there’s always a clean pair of panties waiting in the drawer at home.
On this journey, these difficult yet defining moments just make me stronger, better, smarter, more compassionate and most importantly more humble and grateful. Remember, the snags are a necessary evil on our paths towards success.
We all need to dig deep and be BRAVE enough to change paths, and yes it should be done many times in our careers. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should change your job, though it can mean that. It’s more about finding your unique road to accomplish and even surpass your original goals in new and unexpected ways. We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is truly doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If this is true, why is being brave so hard for so many? Mostly because it pushes us to the unknown, gives us a sense of instability and makes us constantly question what if? I’ve had multiple shifts in my life, and all have been very scary. Starting with the moment I decided to turn down a job at a reputable advertising agency at age 25 to start my very own. I learned the key to success in a shift is to always surround myself with those who know more than me and lean on them.
I find when I am fearless and terrified at the same exact time, that’s where the magic happens. When it’s time to evolve, I try finding those two voices inside me, give them equal balance and respect, then just GO!
My yoga teacher read a poem last week at the end of class called The Dilemma, written by an unknown author. My favorite part reads: “The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave. He has forfeited his freedom. Only a person who takes risks is free.”
These words speak to me at my core.
How do we define it? An award? A corner office? Recognition from your peers? A big raise? Becoming a C-suite exec? Perhaps all of these things, or perhaps none of them. We all look at it differently. But through my work at The Woo and She Dynasty, I have learned that the 3S’s that precede the final S are really the crux of what makes this all matter. That moment when you have the strength to acknowledge your SPARK, no matter where it comes from and more importantly the determination and grit to see it through and make your idea a reality. The strength to overcome your most difficult SNAG and fiercely grow and learn each time one happens, then carry those lessons forward to your next challenge while teaching others along the way. And knowing when the time is right to make that fearless SHIFT away from your very steady and comfortable course, where you challenge yourself to do better, be better, then start the process all over again.
I have come to realize that success is really only one thing, a collection of experiences that you can talk about around the dinner table with family and friends and even strangers that truly inspire others and make them proud of who you are, the choices you make, what you’ve been through and all that you have accomplished thus far. In fact, my favorite success stories are navigating out of really difficult snags. And more importantly thinking about the awesome people who helped get me through them all.
So what if we all redefine success? Not necessarily as an end goal, but as an adventure or expedition where the bad, the scary, the good and the amazing moments all make great stories along the way that help and inspire others.
Every night at the dinner table, I ask my two beautiful daughters, Arielle and Jordan, to tell me their “rose and thorn of their day (best and worst part).” I love hearing their detailed answers to the seemingly simple wins and defeats they both experience. We have all established the fact that even though the rose has many thorns, it’s still very beautiful. I hope this ritual will help prepare them for their professional journeys, and give them a true understanding that ALL of it is an important part of this wild ride we call life, and how they will define their own version of success one day.
About Valerie Moizel
Valerie Moizel is Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of The Woo and Creator and Host of the She Dynasty podcast.