Pursuing My Goals Nearly Cost Me My Dreams

The relentless pressure to succeed became too much

Photo Credit: Preben Nilsen/Unsplash

I came to win, to fight, to conquer to thrive….Nicki Minaj – Fly ft. Rihanna (Lyrics)

Ever since I was little I had goals for myself, by this age I would be…by this stage I would own…by this time I would have…. Specifically at 21, I would be the CEO of a multi- million dollar company, sing on Broadway, and be married to the love of my life with kids.

Born and raised in Manhattan, a city kid- from a family of hard working, warm, compassionate giving entrepreneurs, my mind was set on success and nothing less than that. My parents have always been supportive of me, no matter what I set my mind to. They wanted me to be content more than monetarily successful. I remember my mom telling me “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” I watched my mom (a well-known fashion CEO) work very hard, long hours, and highly stressed out, all the time. She is invincible. If you don’t know Amy, she is a major Jewish bulldog. My father Jack; the humble super success; dressed in Sims started his real estate empire traveling on a boat from Israel, post-playboy days he worked for the future of his family, because that is everything to him.

Instilled with values, education, and support I was set up for success. I was the one to always push myself because I wanted something to be proud of, self-esteem. I cut coupons, worked summer jobs and had unlimited internships. A few to mention include working in the closet at WWD-“Devil Wears Prada,” for Joe Zee and Patrick McMullan and at CBS Sports, NFL Today; for Deion Sanders, Mike Ditka and Jerry Glenville. I graduated high school (Ramaz/Hillel) at 16 and Stern at 19. I started working in the real estate advertising field. I sought out the most successful Real-Estate CEO’s from all over NYC, putting a new spin on the word “hustle.” I prided myself on not working for the dollar but for relationships, which were key and long standing. Relationships have no price. I would ask my clients such like Jack Guttman how they became successful and how they got to where they were. I learned from their success and hard work. I still have those relationships today because it wasn’t about “closing the deal, making the dollar, sending the DM, and tagging the post”. It was about trust and authenticity. They said to me, one day you will too have the opportunity to teach and help people like we with you.I never stopped learning.

The NYC night-lights got to me, or maybe I got to it…. At 21, I needed to stop, press pause. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. My life looked like a dream on the outside; successful young cutting- edge club kid entrepreneur. Frequent at Pangea and Bungalow 8 with a 6:30 wake up call. I was empty, broken on the inside. I hated myself. I grew up too fast, pushed myself too hard. I learned later that nothing shiny on the outside could fill that void inside.
I kept thinking to myself, if I take this time to get better, slam on the breaks, what would happen to my goals? Would I fail? Would I be behind on my self-imposed schedule? I had to. I had no choice.

In the warmth of Sunny Florida, I found the yoga community. I walked into my first yoga studio and was immediately greeted with love and reassurance. During my first class, my teacher Jon told me to “look in the mirror, and see myself as others see me.” Gradually, I learned to have self-esteem, to be grateful for what I have. It was there that I decided to create my company, Phat Buddha.

Phat Buddha, a fashion forward fitness brand was born in 2010. My first intention was taking the size out of the equation. I created a, one size for all, brand made of high- tech, seamless material that moves with your fashion forward lifestyle.

My motive was to create a company with impact. To achieve that goal, my brand is one size for all and our material molds to movement making you feel good from the inside out. This raises confidence in the individual. As someone who has struggled with self-esteem issues, I became the “poster child” for my brand. No matter what shape or size you are, you too can look and feel good. It is all an inside job!

Taking $500 and my inspiration from the couture world of fashion and genuine life experiences, I created my first collection. After one month Phat Buddha sold to 600 stores and within 7 years we have partnered with over 10,000 of the most successful studios, boutiques, hotels and .com’s including Carbon38, Rumble, Peloton, Shopbop, Waldorf Astoria, Saks, Tracy Anderson, and Stitch Fix. We have graced the covers of Self, Shape, Vogue, NY Times to mention just a few. And we have dressed influencers including Man Repeller, Something Navy; A-list Trainers and celebrities alike including Madonna and the Kardashians. Phat Buddha is now a global household name.

You may think to yourself, she “has made it.” Don’t let famous names; influencer posts or magazine covers fool you. It is all hard work, constant perseverance. Blood, sweat, tears, lack of sleep, anxiety, prayer, meditation, workouts, and wellness cryotherapy. However the most important thing for you to know is that in order to thrive you must give back! You must share your experience and give back to those who have given to you.

Today, I am exactly where I need to be. Building Phat Buddha and it’s new venture, going steady-unpinned yet, singing at Manhattan School of Music (preparing for a concert)…

I am learning to take some time for myself. And in the words of Ariana Huffington “taking some ME time,” “shutting the phone off.”

I am grateful for every obstacle; challenge, the ups and the downs because I learned from them all and in the end these challenges have made me a better person. I am truly grateful for where I am today and appreciate everyone around me who helped me along my way.

Excited for what the future holds.

You’ll just have to wait and see whats next @phatbuddhawear

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