When was the last time you stood on a stage and spoke about your biggest insecurity?
For me, it was yesterday. Sassy Pants has, for several months, been competing in the George Washington University New Venture Competition. It is one of the Top 10 unrestricted funds entrepreneurship competitions in the US. 137 teams submitted themselves for the competition. 36 teams made the semi-finals. And just 9 teams made the finals.
All along the process we were challenged, guided, supported, and pushed to be our best selves. We refined and articulated our message better and better and all that hard work culminated in 12 minutes in front of judges on April 19th, 2018.
I was nervous. Not nervous about our idea or our business plan or our community. I knew our idea and product was viable, interesting, and pushed an industry based on shaming women to be more inclusive and functional for all of us. I knew what to say and I believed every word of it.
Ever since I was little, I have struggled with my body. The self consciousness I've felt about my weight or shape or size has regularly stopped me from talking to people, networking, or pursing activities. While I know it's irrational and no one really cares except me, I've not been able to truly shake the feeling that, not only do I not fit in any clothing at a department store, but I also don't fit in with any group of people.
So yesterday, I stood on a stage in front of an audience of my peers, judges, friends, family, strangers, and doubters in a pair of running capris and a blazer (and some sick pink heels). Not only was Sassy Pants as a company and a product on display but so was my biggest insecurity: my body.
And I discovered something I knew intellectually but could now fully feel: that place inside you that feels too raw or hot to touch is the source of your power.
Sassy Pants placed 4th out of the 137 teams and that's amazing. We won $5,000 and consulting from a legal firm. We saw incredible support from our friends and colleagues, family and strangers. We were even approached by a couple of venture capital firms at the reception following the pitch!
But beyond all that, each of us walked into work or school this morning with our heads a little higher, our shoulders a little further back, and our smiles a little wider.
It's amazing how right people are when they say, "just be yourself!" and just how hard that actually is to do. Especially on stage.
Sassy Pants wants to thank our significant others and work teams who have put up with our late nights and crazed looks, our mentors and guides on this journey, and above all YOU as our incredible community of supporters!
We love you and can't wait to share what's next!