Case

Jennifer Elaine Moore, RN, BSN, MS & Pink Heels LLC
When Success Is No Longer Enough

Introduction

With tears rolling down her cheeks, Jennifer Moore had left work one evening completely exhausted and stretched beyond capacity. As the Director of Government Affairs for the most powerful health care industry in the world, the pressure and stress of her job was taxing. She was surrounded everyday by the quintessential old boys club, dodging innuendos and working twice as hard to be acknowledged for what was handed over to her male counterparts. While she had several positive male and female mentors outside of her employer that provided advice and guidance, the culture within the organization was impenetrable with no opportunities, or even interest, to create positive changes in the work environment. While society would deem Jennifer successful with her educational accomplishments, high profile position, large salary, and accolades for her professional achievements, she felt like a failure. She was miserably unhappy working amongst male colleagues that constantly belittled her, chipping away at the remaining self-confidence that existed. As a result of this hostile work environment she development serious anxiety issues; a common problem amongst her female colleagues and those in entry- and mid- level positions. She needed to get out of there but was unsure of her next step. Did she want to work for another large corporation or maybe a nonprofit? Did she want to start her own business? While the options were endless, she was too beaten down to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Background & Ah-Ha Moment

As Jennifer Moore was beginning her career in D.C., a co-worker had urged her to attend a yoga class as a form of detox from the hectic day. While she was a little skeptical about the whole yoga movement, she went along for the ride. As an extrovert who loves to meet new people, she decided that it would be a great way to get acquainted with people in the area. After three classes, she was hooked and religiously went to class every week when her schedule permitted. It became something that she truly looked forward to and enjoyed despite all of the stress from work. After a few months, Jennifer discovered that yoga's benefits were beyond that of physical exercise. She learned how to relax, let go and reflect upon the path she had chosen for her life; especially her career. Yoga became Jennifer's coach, consultant, counselor, mentor, and so much more. It was through silence that she received the greatest advice:

One of the most interesting revelations that occurred was the realization that I had always learned to accept society's version of success and therefore followed it without any reservation. Up until that point, I had no reason to question it. I had an executive level job in a major corporation with a great paycheck. I had, for the most part, broken through the glass ceiling but for some reason that was not enough for me. I needed more but I couldn't exactly articulate what 'it' was. Even when I left the hostile work environment for a nonprofit organization, something was still missing. It took almost five years before I had the epiphany. While sitting at the Tranquil Space Yoga Studio I realized that it was time for me to define and control success on my own terms. I wanted more from my career in the form of non-financial rewards.

As Jennifer sat waiting for one of her weekly yoga classes to begin, she rummaged around in her yoga bag hoping to find a piece of paper to write out her small business idea but came empty. The white napkin that she noticed on the floor would have to do. As Jennifer wrote on the napkin, she felt something remarkable occur within herself. It was at that moment she released herself from the corporate world and found true inner peace, balance, and happiness; the intention that she had set at the beginning of every yoga class for many years. She quickly stuffed her business idea sketched on the napkin into her bag and joined her class with the intention of returning back to it once she got home.

After class and fully energized, Jennifer immediately began to reflect more deeply upon her goals, passions, and intentions in life. She decided to explore starting the business that was written on the napkin. After spending a year running through more ideas and at least ten different mission statements, a clear vision appeared and Pink Heels LLC was born. However, even when she had a clear vision, she stayed in the corporate world. Jennifer felt secure in being employed by an established organization. The risk associated with leaving the comfort of her current career and entering into unknown territory created great trepidation.

Jennifer sat on Pink Heels for a few years, continuing to work in corporate and nonprofit entities before something remarkable happened:

One day, out of nowhere, I decided that it was time to officially resign from everything that was comfortable with my career and take a sabbatical to further refine my business without any distractions. To my surprise, that month turned into four months as I found that I needed two months to recover from years in the corporate world and then two months to slowly return back to the world around me. I hadn't realized how toxic my career had become until I had left it.

Professional Challenge

Jennifer was hesitant about starting Pink Heels LLC, spending years crunching numbers, strategically planning its start-up, and evaluating its sustainability.

Even once I had finalized my steps to start Pink Heels LLC, it took more time then I had expected to make my new business official. I was afraid of the unknown. I suppose it is only natural that an idea born out of yoga would need plenty of time, love, and support to expand and grow at its own pace. This was truly a new way of thinking and it felt great.

While Jennifer had extensive experience within corporations and nonprofit organizations, she found that there were several basic questions that needed answers:

Incorporating a Business: What is the difference between an LLC, S-Corporation, and C-Corporation? What are the pros and cons of incorporating in a business friendly state such as Nevada or New Hampshire?

Taxes: Is it a myth or fact that small businesses have extra taxes? If I sell products, how do I obtain a sales tax license?

Trademark and Copyright: Where do I begin? How do I obtain a registered trademark for the business name and logo? How do I obtain copyright protection on written material?

After spending countless hours on the computer and speaking with women entrepreneurs through email, in-person, and on the phone for a month, Jennifer found the answers to these questions through basic Google searches and constant networking. One resource would always lead to three more resources with various opinions and viewpoints. Without the administrative assistants that she had grown accustomed to having, Jennifer found herself learning to navigate through unchartered administrative duties. Despite this challenge, she discovered that the answers were readily available for free and used the collective information to make sound decisions.

Personal Challenge

Jennifer is the classic Type-A, overachieving junkie who admits that she needs to slow down and smell the roses more often. Aside from running Pink Heels, she is also pursuing her PhD, serves as a consultant to health and policy related organizations, and is an academic professor. On the side, she teaches yoga in her yoga studio and volunteers for various community activities. For her, balancing all of her personal passions and professional interests is a constant challenge.

Honestly, I don't think twice about the demands of my career and personal life combined. At the end of the day, I always find a way to make it work.

While Jennifer continues to pursue her Ph.D., serves as a consultant, teaches, runs Pink Heels, and supports her family, one can only wonder if she has truly understood the lessons of balance and success that she discovered through yoga. Will she have another epiphany and realize that she needs to further define success in an entirely new way? At what point will Jennifer be able to achieve the perfect balance of being successful in her personal and professional life?