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The Power of Risk-taking

By: Jane Wurwand
Posted: January 28, 2011, from the February 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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A pushy woman is, by definition, a pariah in American society. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a classic example. She’s direct, to the point, sometimes a bit blunt and not frilly or giggly—and for this she has often been derided by the American press. Men who behave the way Clinton does are called straight-shooters; instead, she is critiqued not only for her manner, but also for her hairstyle and the cut of her pantsuits.

This kind of thinking persists within the spa industry. For many women in the world, luxury might be defined as having enough safe, clean water to last more than 24 hours. They are used to pushing—pushing back. Doing so every day is the only way they have survived. In many places, women literally must scrape for scraps. These women have much to teach about courage and perseverance, and their fierceness is what spa professionals need, in far more privileged terms, in order to create their own success. Take and own your power, even if this bold ownership of yourself and your destiny upsets some people.

Stay hungry, and be willing to sacrifice something—maybe a lot—in order to get what you want. The first thing to sacrifice: the dangerous cultural fallacy of balance; the fantasy that it is possible to stay comfortable and perfectly calibrated and ever get anything done. Your work and your ongoing education may have to trump all other demands.

When you walk the edge, you will occasionally slip. It is inevitable. What I’ve learned from more than 25 years of building and running a business is that the process of falling and landing is when you begin to understand your power. When everything’s smooth and easy, you have no idea what you can do if you have to.

If you are serious about making tracks, just be sure that whatever you’ve got on your feet makes you feel powerful and ready to step over the line like it’s not even there.