I grew up in the small, but picturesque town of Seal Beach, California.  With palm tree-lined streets, and the good kind of “everybody knows everybody” mentality you only get in small towns, it was a great place to grow up.

My family owned the local hardware store, and I started working there at the age of eight.  We helped our neighbors beautify their homes, we helped celebrities who were escaping Los Angeles build walls around their beach homes, and we were privy to all the gossip.

I lived in many homes in this small beach town, and there was only one thing most of them had in common:  large windows in the front that allow everyone passing by a look inside your life. People would walk by and not even pretend to not see you there, lying on your couch watching tv.  They’d wave hello as they passed, and if you knew them well, you might pop out to chat.  It’s just the way it was, and I never thought anything of it until later in life when I moved away.

I now live in normal suburbia, with my office on the other side of a large picture window that looks out to my front yard.  People pass by daily with their head down, focused on jogging or walking the dog or checking their phone. 

What does this have to do with business?

For me, everything.  Growing up where you can’t hide anything about you, you learn to live with a certain level of transparency.  You have relationships with people that are built on openness and authenticity, you pass this transparency on to your kids, and you build it into your business.  I feel like my business, even though it is 95% online only, also has huge windows that anyone can peek in at any time.  Transparency is at the core of your business.

People talk a lot about being “authentic”, but what does that really mean?  It’s different for everyone, but for me, I am open with my team, my clients, and anyone who wants to know anything.  Want to talk about money?  Sure!  How many clients do we work with?  No problem.  What is it really like to run a business that makes you equally happy and crazy?  Let’s chat!

And maybe it’s just me, but when I work with businesses who pretend like everything is easy, or they keep their “virtual curtains” drawn, I want to run away.

My client (one of my favorites even before she wrote this) Mindy Crary, wrote a great blog post yesterday that I think inspired this post.  In it, she openly mentions all of the people who help her be so damn fabulous.  It’s called Reflection, Gratitude, and the People Who Help Me Build My Business.  You should definitely read it, and we should all take some time to reflect on how we got to where we are now, no matter where we are.

And me?  I have lots of gratitude.  For my clients, my team, my business friends who allow me to feel ungrateful and don’t judge me for it, my husband and my kids…. there are a lot of them.

Who are you most grateful for?

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