I realized the other day, as we’re reaching the end of September, that I nearly let the 19 year anniversary of DIANI slip by without much fanfare at all. I remember last year while hunkered down in the midst of the pandemic, that I had the time and bandwidth to really explore my feelings around having DIANI for 18 years, feeling immense gratitude for the experience, and the team and our amazing customers. And while the big 20 year anniversary will be next year, I don’t want this one to go by without a little reflection on what success has come to mean to me these past 19 years.
I believe that success is relative/subjective. When I think back 19 years ago to what success meant to me, it was hard work, dedication, having goals, opening stores all over the country, traveling around the world and having all the things I desired. When you're starting from scratch and you have relatively little by way of financial resources, it’s a natural thought that the goal should be working towards having more. Whist pursuing my dream, I realized at a certain point, success can only be enjoyed if I’m as dedicated to thriving physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s impossible to celebrate all that’s going well and build on that if I’m exhausted and depleted. Now, however, success to me means having at the center of my life as a businesswoman, good health, family, supportive friends and shelter where I can recharge. And on top of that, inspiration. I think if I’m inspired by my daily life, I’m successful. The size and scope of my business is only important in that it can sustain itself. Beyond that, it’s gravy. The richness in my life comes from the experiences I’m having while inspiring, being inspired and creating a community around me that I can give to and receive from. This kind of ecosystem is where I can thrive and where I’m putting my energy as I look to the next 19 years of DIANI.
If I was to talk to myself 19 years ago, I would say, “whilst you plot your vision for your business and what your life will look like, also set a plan for how you’ll maintain your joy and wellbeing.” It’s all too easy to go into high speed overdrive only to find the years evaporating, realize that I’ve lost sight of myself, and put off much needed opportunities to reset the priorities. If I'm a shell of myself after accomplishing my goals, I haven’t succeeded. I'm the embodiment of my own vision and my wholeness and vitality are essential.
To sum up what I’ve learned over the years in business, it's that there's an art to dedicating to one's craft, and that requires an equal measure of dedication to taking care of oneself. I never imagined I would be part of something continuously for so many years - same career, same level of dedication, same amount of love for it. And, if there’s one take away from this past year for me, it's that mental health is more critical than ever in maintaining equilibrium, and achieving the kind of artful living I dream of. And I hope I'm able to inspire that idea with friends, my team, and all those I care about so that we can continue supporting each other.
A great read! You’ve provided inspiration & insight to keep our own goals in check for our new business opening. Thanks, Caroline! ❤
Lovely post, Caroline. The wisdom that comes with experience and longevity is a gift….xo D
Love this Caroline, what a beautiful model and inspiration for women entrepreneurs. xoxo
Thank you Caroline for sharing such deeply personal insight. You are inspiring, thoughtful, honest – and that is why we love the business you created. Congratulations on 19 years of Diani. I remember when you opened (and I still have those 6 pairs of Bishop trousers that I collected over your first decade!). Thank you again for bringing your beauty and wisdom to Santa Barbara.
xoxo, Barb Maes