Last night, Jen and I sat on the beach watching the sunset in Mokuleia with Jeff and his new bride, Maite, whom we have grown super close in a very short time. We stayed until dark to catch the rising stars. My ritual with Jen every time we do this, we stayed until we saw a shooting star so that we can make a wish. At 8:47p I finally caught one out of the West. I made my wish and we slowly packed our tent in the dark and drove home in my beloved 1989 Vanagon. The usual playlist is on: my Pandora- Ambrosia radio.
We have been working feverishly to finish our Holiday Collection. Our partner, Joe, the design genius is in Dubai thus he can't design the collection. My beloved Gabbi took on the role. With tons of changes and many late nights, she finally finished the collection. I have to admit, it looks amazing. I am sure we all drove her crazy!
We did our first charity event Project Karma. It was awesome. Mahalo nui Valentina and Maite. I can't believe the support we received from our customers, friends and our OHANA. I am humbled. Now we have a small funds to donate to the families in PR and to all the firemen and firewomen in NorCal. In the middle of all this, we attended a black belt promotion for one of the most amazing women in jiu jitsu on the island. I cried just like everyone that was there. The leadership from her professor and his influence was easily seen through their students and the academy. Aubrey and I looked at each other with weepy eyes. We love it when we see great leadership in affect.
Our Monday meeting at 8am where Jeff, Aubrey and I review our " to do list" and always, it ends with a financial recap. As a young start up company with no working capital or investors, we have exhausted our savings and credit cards. Thank god for Jeff, we were able to keep the light on and moving forward with our vision. I made a mistake this morning by not making the two most creative persons in our company a part of this decision process, thus we made their work more difficult. Every photos and everything videos you have seen from the Brand were being made by Brett, Nick and Chris. Chris is away in college, therefore Brett and Nick have been working arduously to carry on the creative torch for the company. I stared into Brett's eyes this morning, I saw frustration and disappointment.
Tonight I celebrate one of my best friends birthday but the whole time at dinner I was mad at myself. What I have re-learned from Jock Willink on leadership is that I own every thing in our company. I am responsible for everyone that is in touch with the Brand and it is my job to move, communicate and influence everyone towards the vision. If anyone falters then it is my job to get them back on track.
I have kept this email from one of the most brilliant District Managers I use to work with from the old company. He wrote this to the CEO/Founder when I was being laid off. It took tremendous courage on his behalf because he was still employed and he has 3 kids. From time to time I re read it to remind myself of his courage and my role as leader. The stress of finances can easily move you off course. Stay calm, surf and train! As a leader you set the tone and the environment for your people to strive.
In short, leadership is about love. It comes from the heart. It can be easily lost or wandered when fear is present. It is up to us to share our fears and include our people in the process. Vulnerability & transparency are what drive our team to become stronger, more engaged and more resilient. This is what I learn this week.
Have a great week everyone and much love. - Dewey Doan