Destiny and Hope

Florence Nightingale Graham was born in Canada to parents who had emigrated from the United Kingdom.  As befits her name, Florence decided to become a nurse.  But she found nursing to be too depressing and dropped out of school.  She then went from job to job as a receptionist, bank teller, and secretary.  But none of these worked out.

The only thing that was of interest to Florence was working with the lotions for burn victims when she was in nursing school.  She decided to emigrate to the U.S. where she landed a job with Elizabeth Adair, a beautician.  After gaining experience with Adair, she started a salon with a partner on Fifth Avenue.  The business failed.

She decided to try again.  She also changed her name to match her new business name:  Elizabeth Arden.  She had an interest in lotions from her nursing days.  So, she hired chemists to develop face cream and hand lotions.

Since makeup was mostly used by prostitutes, she had to develop a marketing campaign to convince women that make up was respectable.  Her approach focused on movie stars.  In effect, she pioneered the use of influencers as a marketing strategy.

Elizabeth was an advocate for women’s right to vote.  At a suffrage march of 15,000 women, she gave each woman red lipstick which they wore as a sign of solidarity.  She was a pioneer in other ways.  She developed a line of cosmetics for women in the military.  She operated spas and provided in store makeovers.  She was also a devoted owner of racehorses with one of her horses being the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Elizabeth Arden found her destiny and became one of the most influential women of her time.  Her destiny began as a failure, but she never gave up hope.  She hated the thought of being a nurse, but she enjoyed working with lotions.  She was no good at traditional women’s careers at the time.  Her destiny was to become an entrepreneur and pioneer.

What’s the key to destiny?  Destiny is not something pre-ordained.  It’s a journey of self-reflection as to what you can excel at. You can’t achieve your destiny without taking risks.  For many, the moment of truth in fulfilling your destiny is the willingness to move outside of your comfort zone, even if it involves taking financial risks.  For some, fulfilling your destiny may not be career related.  It may involve a passion outside of work.  As an example, many outstanding professional athletes did not fulfill their destiny until their playing days were over.  None of us can achieve our destiny until we ask ourselves:  “What unique contributions can I make to society?”

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“The quality of our thoughts determines our actions, and our actions develop our habit.  Our habits create our character, and our character forges our destiny.” – Stephen Covey (Author and motivational speaker)

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