As any business owner will tell you: Desperate times call for desperate measures. The difference between such measures and playing it safe can mean, especially during a recession, the difference between walking away and finding a lifeline. In a world where anything left of center can either be labeled "cutting edge" or "has she lost her mind?!" what constitutes a decision made out of sheer terror... or one made with hopeful optimism?
There have been numerous decisions I've made to keep my company alive that, in hindsight, may not have panned out the way I'd hoped. While it still pains me to admit such mistakes, I've made the decision to trust that (despite dashed hopes and a few sleepless nights) they've unfolded exactly the way they should.
I know, I know. Cue the incense and chanting, and pass me a healing crystal (or six). But humor me and hear me out, because despite the enormously challenging times I've endured with my company, it's still here (and only mildly smelling of patchouli).
I started Sir Alistair Rai like so many other entrepreneurs: I was bored with my 9-5 job and craved a career that would afford me autonomy, financial gain and creative expression. It began, as they say, as an idea... just a girl with a dream and a love of fashion. I spent countless hours sketching, staring out the window, wishing it would happen. Eventually, my Capricorn restlessness kicked in, and I got tired of wishing. So I started pretending like it already happened.
For those of you not versed in New Age vernacular, this is what we zodiac-following, karma-believing, evil eye-wearing folk like to call "manifesting." To clarify, manifesting is like a big game of make-believe for adults. Delusions of grandeur? Check! Complete break with reality? Debatable! Hiding your newfound "practice" from friends and family to avoid being mocked? You betcha! The line between what I'm suggesting and Jimmy Stewart's character in "Harvey" is a fine one. Tread carefully.
I like to think manifesting is about reclaiming power over your own life. When things feel out of control (and in business, as with life, they often do), manifesting gives you focus. It gives you a sense that the Universe is heeding your call, and the answer is just a finite time away from revealing itself. Simply think of your goal and begin acting like it's already happened. Practice introducing yourself by your new job title. Imagine what your office space will look like. Picture your new commute route. The more details you can add to your manifestations, the better. Pay attention to how your body feels when you're in the throes of visualizing success. Pretty soon, you start seeing your ducks lining up in a row. Trust me -- you've never been so happy to stare down a duck, let alone a row of them.
Starting my business was just one example of how I've manifested success in my life. I've used this practice to assemble a team of employees who have created a symbiotic relationship with me, and with each other. There are retail stores I spent years courting such as Henri Bendel and Bloomingdale's; after manifesting that our line was carried there, their buyers started calling seasonally. There are stylists I dreamt of working with and now order regularly -- Rachel Zoe even picked my styles as her top picks on Piperlime.com, I die. When I wanted to expand our reach to Europe and Asia, I created vision boards with pictures of their most bustling cities. It's worked. Sure, we've stumbled. Like everyone else, we've lost money along the way. Without fail, though, when the darkest of clouds start to descend, there's a break on the horizon and along comes a new opportunity -- often, one that I've been ruminating on.
I'm not suggesting that you surrender your business degree and let the fates decide the future of your company. Good sense, hard work and a lot of luck play equally crucial roles in successful business. But if manifesting is free, harmless and it brings good things your way... why not give it a try? The worst thing that can happen is nothing at all. Well, that... and a giant invisible rabbit that wants to meet your parents this holiday season.