Lisa Price and Jenna walk through her incredible 25-year journey leading Carol’s Daughter, beginning with launching the business with $100 out of her kitchen, taking risks without a safety net, and learning to humanize fear so we can free ourselves from it.
Lisa opens up about the process of overcoming some of her greatest challenges, including the moment she realized she lost her voice at her company and how she reclaimed it, as well as how she relies on her mother’s advice, the True Carol, to gain clarity and perspective in her life and business.
Key Learnings and Highlights
- On how to stop asking ‘What If’?: “Every time I would feel like: ‘Oh my god! What am I doing? This is insane’ What am I going to do if? How will I survive if?’ I’d realize: ‘I got this far. ‘What does it mean if I stop? How does it fix something if I stop? If I stop, I will never know what it could have been. Look at where you were yesterday, last year, three years ago, 10 years ago — Do you really want to give all of that up? Do you really want all of that to be for nothing? What do you really have to lose if you just keep trying?’ Do you want to live with ‘What if?’
- On taking risks without a safety net: “The best analogy I have found is the last Batman movie. Batman is in that deserted island and you have to climb out of the pit. All of the prisoners in the pit can see daylight and freedom, they just have to climb out. The pit walls are lined with the scars, bones, teeth, blood and nails of all of the prisoners who tried to climb out and failed. There is a discussion within the film of having to climb out with the safety of a rope or a net. The passion and the will to survive, because there is no safety net, is actually what will get you out of the pit…Ultimately, that is how Batman gets out…It was a Saturday night outing with the kids but I was having an epiphany: You have to do it without the safety net. I believe that happens to entrepreneurs all the time. We are put into situations where we cannot go backwards. We have to go forwards and we might die but we gotta go. And, you go and you don’t die. The next time you have to go you remember that you did it before…At the time I saw that movie, there were some decisions I was making within the company that were very critical. I remember having that feeling of ‘I’ve got to climb out without the safety net but I’ve got to get out and I did.’”
- On humanizing fear and not letting it own you: “If you run from fear like this mysterious thing that you know is there, like the boogeyman, you are giving it all of the power. You can take some of the power away by walking up to it and saying ‘Yo, what’s up? You’ve been bothering me a lot and it’s causing me stress and making me uncomfortable. I don’t want to be uncomfortable. I know who you are. I see you. I got a deal with you. You are in front of me and you are blocking me. I need to figure out how to get around you so I figured I would just step up and say hello, let you know who I am. Get ready for me to get past you because I am not allowing this anymore.’ It diffuses it. If you think of fear as an actual person, if you were to walk up to someone who is stressing you out, not saying it’s easy because it isn’t, but if someone is bullying or taunting you and you actually have the courage to walk up to them and say: ‘This is going to stop today because I can’t deal with this. You are interfering with my life and growth. You are causing me stress and this is unnecessary.’ You have taken power away from the bully because they no longer have the shadows to hide in because you have brought them out. You have to do that with your fears. Figure out what they are and can you deal with them? Do you need help to deal with them? Do you need to talk to a therapist, a life coach, or a pastor and work through the issues? Don’t let it own you. It’s not worth it.”
- On losing and reclaiming her voice: “It was the next level of the business and I suddenly had people around me who had experience in the beauty industry. Prior to that, it was a group of us figuring these things out and doing our own research…I chose to take the position of sitting at the table not sitting at the head of the table. I mean that figuratively and literally. I felt that I was putting myself in the position to be a team player with the team to learn from them and guide from within, if you will. That posture, given the dynamic of the company at the time and the aggressive goals that we had, was perceived as passiveness and maybe nonchalance. Coupled with rumor and gossip that goes on in those environments – ‘Oh you don’t have to worry about showing that to her she doesn’t care about it. I’ll take care of it’ – you kind of look up and realize ‘Oh crap, they’re not listening to me and they’re not taking me seriously. How am I going to get this back? What am I going to do?’ That was the first part, realizing I was in this situation and how did I get here. The interesting thing about how I realized it was: I was in a meeting, and it was a difficult meeting, and there was an individual being very vocal about how effed up things were. He was very vocal about his opinion that the situation landed at my feet and I was responsible for it. If we could just press a button and go back to that conversation, you would look at that situation and say ‘Oh my goodness, Lisa! This is so unfair. I can’t believe that someone spoke to you that way. That is so mean.’ I started to think like that when I was in that moment and then I remember hearing this voice in my head saying: ‘This is your fault.’ And, I was saying to myself: ‘This is not your fault. This person being disrespectful to me is not my fault. This is inappropriate. I don’t know exactly how I got here but I shouldn’t be here. But, this is not my fault.’ Then, it was like: ‘Remember, the last time this happened? The room is not the same except for you. This is your fault because you are allowing this.’ That moment was so hard for me to accept and own because I really was in a situation where there was abusive behavior going on but I had allowed it. I had to take responsibility for what I did and didn’t do that put me in that situation. That was the only way I was going to get out of it From that day, as hard as it was, and believe me it was not easy and it did not happen over night, it was something that I had to keep going back to, and back to that memory and that moment and the difficulty of ‘You allowed this to occur.’ But, I had to look at myself in the mirror and I had to look at: What is it that you need to do so you can be a better person that will in turn make you a better leader? What are the things that you aren’t taking care of in yourself? My health wasn’t great. My diet wasn’t great. I wasn’t exercising the way that I should. All of that was effecting how I was functioning. There were things that I was allowing to happen because I simply couldn’t find the strength to fight them. It started with looking in the mirror. It started with changing things about myself that I needed to change, physical and spiritual things. Later, it grew into someone coming into the company who I had take the leap of faith to trust. When I had gotten to that point of realizing: ‘I lost my voice. People aren’t listening to me. How do I get it back? Oh my goodness, they perceived me sitting at the table to be weakness but it doesn’t mean I am weak.’ When new people were coming in, I wasn’t trusting. I had to take a leap of faith and trust this new person who had come in. They came into the brand and took the position of teaching me and made it appropriate for me to have the seat at the table and then I was able to sit at the head of the table I sat there very comfortably and I didn’t ever move from that position. Whether I felt strong in that seat or not, I did not get up. It was a process that took nearly three years to go through.”
- On being in it but not of it: “It is very easy to get caught up in: ‘Oh my god! How did I get here? What did I do wrong? Let me just go back and think about everything that I did in these last five years. It was the dinner, Thursday, December 13th. I should have never shook that person’s hand!’ It is not about trying to go back and find where you screwed up. It’s more about: This is life. Nobody’s life is perfect. Who does everything correctly every single day? It just doesn’t happen. Let’s recognize that a mistake has been made. Let’s assess the damage and how do we get out of it? Are we in two years of shit or are we in two hours of shit? Let’s get out of the shit. Let’s not beat ourselves up…The part of being in it and not of it is so critical. Whether you are an entrepreneur or not, there are times in life when there are things that you have to do, that you don’t want to do, but you have to do them. You can do them and you can do what you need to do but you don’t have to become it.”
- On detaching from our emotions: “When you sell on TV, you might have 10 shows in a day. That’s hard. Maybe you are having a day where the shows aren’t going so great. You still have to go on air with a positive outlook and an upbeat voice because the person who is tuning it at 4 is not the same person who was turning in when you were on at 2. So, you have to still be that new, fresh and exciting voice. I have found a way, even through my fatigue and whatever it is that is going on, that when that light goes on the camera, I am not there anymore. The Lisa who has a job to do steps in and takes care of the job. The Lisa who feels sick or tired or like she can’t talk anymore, she goes inside for a little while. The other one comes out and sells. I am in it, but I am not of it. I am in there and I am allowing the work to get done but I am still able to pull back that part of myself that I have to pull back to keep getting up there and doing it.”
- On lessons from her mother Carol: “I believe the biggest lesson I learned from my mother was to look at the glass as half full. I remember calling my mother more than once and saying: ‘Oh my gosh, Mommy. I don’t know what to do. I have all of these orders to fill and I need to get them done so they can ship by this date.’ Because my mother knew me so well she would know that I was focused on everything I had to do and I hadn’t taken a moment to breathe. She very cleverly would say: ‘I need you to do me a favor. Go make yourself a cup of tea. After you make the tea, call me back and we are going to figure it out.’ The act of going to make the tea was my mother’s trick because then you slow down. You think about the pot, the water, the type of tea you’re going to drink – Am I going to have chamomile, peppermint, lemon zinger? Do I want honey? Then, you make this tea. And, to drink the tea and talk to her I have to sit down. I’m not going to be able to work and multitask while I’m drinking a cup of hot tea and having a conversation with my mother. Then, I would sit down. What all of this did was slow me down. By the time I would call her back with my tea, she would say: ‘Okay, while you were making the tea, I was thinking: What do you have to do today and what’ stopping you?’ She would dissect the issue, break it down, and she would determine that maybe I needed her to cook dinner or that my sons needed to come over to her house for a couple of hours to free up time or she would figure out that I needed to ask one of the girls to come in for an extra five hours on Saturday and she would say: ‘They always like to get over time. They’re young teenagers. They always like to get extra money. See if they can come in on Saturday and work on the baskets so that frees up your time to do something else.’ She would figure these things out and help me time manage and I would get off the phone and have a solution on how the work was going to get done. The other thing she would do is put the situation in perspective. I would be worried about how I was going to get orders filled in time. My mother would say to me, ‘What you have to do is really the easy part. You have the orders so you potentially have the money. When you go to fill the order you are processing their credit card number. You have the money. You just have to figure out the time to get it all done.’ At the time that she said it, I remember thinking ‘She’s probably right. I do have the money. I just have to figure out the time to get it done. And then when I get it done I get the money right away. It’s like instant gratification.’ Now that I have been in business way longer I wish I could go back to my mother and ask her: How did you know that? What business school did you go to and not tell me about it? Because what she said was so true and so profound. That is the hard part. What I was stressing about really was the small stuff. I have never, ever, ever forgotten that. When I approach difficulties I try to approach them in that way. I will stop and make myself a cup of tea or get a glass of water. I do something to make myself stop, sit down and breathe and look at it and think: ‘How would mommy pull this apart? What would she tell me to do?’”
- On creation as meditation: “You’ll find in my kitchen with some Shea butter, cocoa butter, and some avocado, jasmine and rose oil mixing something with a cake mixer or a Nutribullet with some music playing and some incense burning. That is just where I feel like I will always forever be. It is my meditation. It is how I breathe. And, how I function. I have to be creative and I have to do things with my hands. I still get pleasure from making things. That is always going to be me in some form or another. That is always where you will find me.”