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WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Moving on From Catastrophe

How one entrepreneur is dealing with tragedy, and bouncing back.

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I am a planner. I like to be in control of our strategic moves, our financial future, and our destiny. When I decided to go into business with my husband--as a newlywed--we both agreed that waiting to have children was the most responsible approach. Nearly seven years went by before we decided it was okay to start thinking about expanding our family. And then one day, I got pregnant, only to miscarry after 14 weeks due to a rare chromosomal abnormality that is unequivocally incompatible with life.

You can plan out your life and think you have it all figured out, and then suddenly, abruptly, life surprises you.

It took me a while to make some sense out of this heartbreaking tragedy, but here's what I've learned:

Listen to your body.
How often do we stop to check ourselves when we are consumed with making something work? After numerous conversations with doctors, I understand this was a random event with no reasonable explanation or genetic trigger factors. However, I know that physically, I was going 24/7, running on empty, consumed (and obsessed) with keeping up with the demands of my business. I didn't have time to enjoy my success because I was too stressed to feel anything but pressure. With my healthy conscience on mute, I was unable to see the impact that chronic anxiety--and overworking--was having on my life.

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
When unexplained misfortune occurs in your life, you may wonder why bad things happen to good people. Or why undeserving people get things that responsible people work so hard to achieve. But in business--and in life--you can't plan obstacles. What if, through calamity, you discover a better way to roll with the punches? A peaceful approach to cope with adversity is born out of that perspective, which may make you more versatile in how your run your business.

A new purpose is never a bad thing.
From our natural need to find resolution out of great adversity comes purpose. This particular phase in the grieving period can be vital to your growth as a leader, and as a person. If I am not a healthy, balanced, fulfilled individual, I cannot be a good leader. Finding balance and fulfillment in spiritual, emotional, and family goals is important, just as important as working hard. It is a simple truth that was key to bouncing back, and bringing new ideas to my business, and life.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 23, 2013

In 2007, MAYRA JIMENEZ and her husband founded The Orchid Boutique, which specializes in designer swimwear made in their native Colombia. Today, Orchid Boutique is a multimillion-dollar business.
@mayra_j




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