Jennifer Styer is a wife, mother of four, entrepreneur, designer, and former corporate climber in high-end fashion. I asked her to share her story so we could learn some fundamental leadership principles from her and her journey. What follows is a great story of passion, purpose, positivity, hope, and overcoming obstacles. Jenn’s boundless optimism and joie de vivre should inspire us all. I hope you enjoy and learn as much as I did from her story!
- Be open to opportunity and have the courage to pursue new avenues of growth
The first leadership principle we can learn from Jenn is to have our eyes open to the opportunities all around us. Some people complain about their lack, other people see that the world is their oyster. We need to step out of our current circumstance and into something that may be completely unknown. Not to say there is no fear in that action, but leaders step into the void despite that fear. They hope, have faith, and do the hard work – knowing that something good will come of the pursuit. That is where courage comes into play. We can never succeed where there is no courage to take a chance.
“We have to keep our minds and hearts open for opportunity to present itself. We must be brave enough to make educated leaps of faith if we are going to G-R-O-W in this life. We also need to realize there is no absolute perfect time for anything. More often than not; it’s best to just go with our ‘gut’ when making our most life altering decisions.”
“Sometimes we build our own ladder to climb to success and other times the ladder is presented to us if we are brave enough to climb.”
- Be passionate about people and serving their interest above ours
Here is another great takeaway from Jenn’s story. This is great advice for all leaders in all situations. Some leaders have to deal with external customers daily. Some don’t. Leaders can treat their team like customers and strive to serve them well every day. This dovetails nicely with the concept put forth by Southwest Airlines. They know that if they treat employees right the employees will treat the customers right. This mentality is in stark contrast to the recent PR debacles of other airlines.
“I set my sights on retail management and landed a heart racing buying position at a large department store. It was there that I learned I had a passion for people and not just working behind the scenes making magic.”
“I’ve been given a gift to share.”
“For the first time, I can channel my positivity and management skill set to empower other men and women”
- Be a learner and never stop improving.
This is a vital lesson for all leaders. They day we know everything is the day we begin to lose effectiveness as leaders. Arrogance and pride are the enemies of great accomplishment. Practice learning every day. Seek out those to learn from. Submit to the fact that we are not experts. I cringe a little bit when I hear someone describe themselves using this word. Even if we reach the pinnacle of the mountain in our profession, a learner’s mentality can keep us from falling off that mountain.
“I really studied my craft and began to adopt mentors and best practices along with a hunger for self-improvement.”
“I’m forever grateful for the leadership, coaching, and opportunity to shape others. I discovered the rewards of developing high-potential staff members and learning what first class customer service was all about.”
“During those 4 years [with Tiffany & Co] not only was I surrounded by diamonds but I was being polished like one with an outpouring of coaching and mentorship. My business acumen, interfacing with senior management and delivering white glove service unknowingly prepared me for my next level.”
- Be positive and grateful for the opportunities, the life lessons, and the people we meet along the way even in the midst of turbulent times.
This is a concept that is so huge and one that I can attest to its importance. I admit that I am not predisposed to being positive. For years I was one of these people who veiled my negativity and skepticism of people in the name of “realism.” What I found is that it didn’t help me one bit when it came to tough times. Further, all I attracted was negative and cynical people who reinforced all that doom and gloom. I had a choice to make back then and I still have to be conscious of making that choice today. I can choose to let every small obstacle become a major burden. Or, I can pause and reflect on how I have an opportunity to grow. Re-framing the situation has helped me. Jenn honed into a critical reason why she is able to be such an achiever.
“WHY did I decide to build a Rodan+Fields business of my own? I left an incredible income and 12 years of corporate ladder climbing in Luxury Retail Management to be home with my 4 kids. I changed everything; simplified and got back to good old fashioned basics. Then my son’s [Type 1 Diabetes] diagnosis at 6.5 years old hit us like a city BUS! Once my head came up for air and out of some serious darkness – I vowed I would NEVER feel powerless again. I would NEVER feel weak. NEVER feel helpless. NEVER feel hopeless or dependent again. The mirror reflected the stress too. After brushing it off, my [best friend] from [high school] introduced me to Rodan+Fields. My research was overwhelmingly positive. I don’t believe in coincidences. The timing was just what I needed to push myself, grow, learn, change, be uncomfortable, hope, dream again, believe in myself, inspire and BE inspired and build a real financial future with my family right by my side.”
Such great leadership themes! I hope this post blessed you. Don’t read though; find ways to incorporate what you learned here today. You will be a better leader for it and the world needs great leadership. I want to express my deepest thanks to Jenn for sharing her journey. We can all learn from and use it to “sharpen the saw.” If you want to connect further with her about skin care or anything else, you can find her on:
Let me leave you with this quote from Jenn:
“I can still remember the very first time I felt truly alive.”
When was the last time you felt truly alive? What are you going to do about it?
If you want to work with me to be a better leader personally and professionally, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org