Well with a post title like this, I could go on forever, but I'll try to keep this short and sweet! It was 10 years ago this month that RuffleButts was officially born. I actually started working on the business in March, but it was April that RuffleButts was officially my 1st born. In the past 10 years, to say I have learned a lot would be a bit of an understatement. Entrepreneurship has been a journey of growth, more than I ever could have imagined. A journey of both personal and professional growth! So, here's my quick summary of 10 lessons I've learned over the years:
1. Be thankful. I have learned that when I live and work with an attitude of gratitude, it makes me happier. When you're young, it feels like everything will be here forever and time goes slow. It will not and it does not. Don't take anything for granted, it can change in an instant.
2. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I have operated from this philosophy from the time I was little, but I find that not enough companies apply it to the world of business. I attempt to treat our customers and our team members the way I would want to be treated and I believe over time, it has helped our business earn their trust.
3. If you are not outside your comfort zone, you are not living up to your full potential. I think this one comes with age and experience. If life or work seems easy, you are not growing. If you are not growing, you are just standing still. For me personally, I am bored when standing still.
4. The things most worth having do not come easily. Marriage, kids, business, friendship. The things most valuable in life are the things that take the most effort and commitment. They are also the things totally worth it.
5. You have to give a lot to get a lot. Applies to everything listed in #4.
6. Perspective is a beautiful thing. If you look at everything through a lens of negativity, that is exactly what you will see. Look for the positive and find happiness. Sometimes you need to allow yourself one day of pity-party and then suck it up and deal with it. No one controls your perspective other than you.
7. If you haven't failed a lot, you likely aren't going to win a lot. If you want it, you have to work for it. I have never met anyone super successful that has not failed. I fail daily and I try again. Quitters never win, simple as that.
8. This business means the world to me, but my priorities are #1 God, #2 Family, #3 Work. #2 and #3 are gifts from #1.
9. I can work my tail off, but I can not do it alone. I am so fortunate to be surrounded daily by kind, caring, compassionate, supportive and hard-working individuals. I absolutely could not do this without them. Although, I am still learning how to ask for help when I need it.
10. Always give more than is expected. To your customers, to your boss, to your family. I have been shocked over the years in business by how many people only deliver the minimum and then cross it off their list. It is easy to stand out, go the extra mile. There is a great quote about that...go the extra mile, it's never crowded. This is so true!
I can not put into words the journey that I have experienced over these past 10 years, but I can say that I am beyond grateful to have experienced it! ~Amber
The fact that we are able to use this business to share blessings with others is not one I take for granted. It was a goal from the very beginning. I honestly struggle with how much of our "pay it forward" initiatives to share with you, our readers, as I never want goodness to come in the selfish form of "what's in it for me" or from a place of boastfulness. Although, with that said, I have also learned that sharing the joy of giving with others is inspirational in more ways than one. It truly does just that, shares joy...and then I'm totally selfish for not sharing!
Ok, beyond my personal issue here, I am so happy to share a recent RuffleButts moment. One of our team members by the name of Tristan Lazor visited Haiti on a mission trip this past year. Tristan is a gentle but wise soul who inspires me daily by the foundation of her faith and commitment to others. So when a sweet letter from a Haitian orphan randomly appeared in my mailbox one day, I knew just who to enlist for help with this project! Tristan pulled together the perfect RuffleButt's gift and sent it on its way down to the country that is close to her heart.
We do this type of stuff fairly often around here, but once it's sent on it's way, we don't hear much about it. This time was different. We received the sweetest email from the organization and saw a link they posted to their own blog sharing the story. While we already had the simple joy of giving, their thank you made the experience beyond rewarding. Seeing a blind Haitian orphan jumping with joy in our ruffled creation..it just doesn't get much better than that!
So, I'm sharing our joy with you today. Watch the video, then count your blessings. It's also a great teachable-moment tool for your kiddos. My daughter talks about Angeline and this video almost weekly. It's pretty amazing that such a simple thing could bring someone else such a big smile, especially when our kiddos take these good fortunes for granted. When I started RuffleButts, my initial motto was "spreading ruffles and sharing smiles". While we don't use that so much today (while totally genuine, it sounds a little cheesy), it is still very much ingrained in who we are. And what a beautiful smile she has!
Three Angels Blog -- read here
I'm not sure when exactly it happens, but there is a day post-parenthood that you open your mouth and your mom comes out! The 1st time I noticed it, I giggled to myself and then realized my mom had a few great sayings that I have carried forward into my own parenting. I have compiled a list below, gathered from my mom and the moms of those close to me, in no particular order. Would love to hear your top mom-faves too!
- Treat others as you want them to treat you. (Not how they treat you, how you want them to treat you...my kids somehow get confused on this one often!)
- Sharing is caring.
- Always wear clean underwear (then my mom would elaborate with the "if you get hit by a bus and have to go the hospital, you want to have on clean underwear...I don't think I needed the explanation looking back!)
- It's less about words and more about actions.
- You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family.
- Don't judge a book by it's cover.
- Give more to your community than you take from it.
- Anything worth having is worth working for.
- Before making a decision, do the newspaper check...would you be proud to have your decision/action on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper.
- No matter who comes in and out of your life, always stay true to yourself.
- Things are much more enjoyable when you have earned them.
- Drink lots of water and use moisturizer daily.
- Put the seat down.
- Be a person that builds others up, not one that tears them down.
- Always tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, even when they drive you crazy.
- It's not what you say, but how you say it.
- Sit up straight.
- This too shall pass.
- Smile at people, it's a free gift that goes a very long way.
- Be kind & have courage (this was borrowed from Cinderella's mom)
- People who seem the least lovable, need the love the most.
- Always have your own money.
- Live life with gratitude.
- When you feel alone chat with God.
- Find the positive, it could always be worse.
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