After Nearly Bleeding to Death, This Founder's New Perspective on Life Helped Redefine Her Business

When Lauren Coles was diagnosed with a life- threatening condition called ectopic pregnancy, her life was full of regrets. Once she recovered, she decided to make a change.
After Nearly Bleeding to Death, This Founder's New Perspective on Life Helped Redefine Her Business
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I was in bed, light-headed, feverish and bleeding to death. A few weeks earlier, I’d been diagnosed with a life-­threatening condition called ectopic pregnancy -- a fertilized egg implanted in the wrong part of the body. The treatment was risky and involved multiple terrifying medical procedures. Now my recovery seemed uncertain, and in what I feared might be my final seconds of consciousness, I began to count my regrets. There were many. I’d settled into an easy life, taking a backseat to my husband’s career while I lost my sense of self. I’d had ambitions, but they’d shrunk to cooking us dinner and teaching yoga part-time. If I ever escape this bed, I decided, I’ll prove to myself that I can do more. I’ll never settle for less than what I’m worth.

Related: 7 Challenges That Will Make You More Successful

The doctor was called. I was stabilized. Weeks later, in the spring of 2016, I rose up -- and looked at life with an unsettling freshness. So much needed to change.

Here’s what I had to work with: I was 30. My little company, Daisy Yoga, was just me teaching yoga in office spaces. My husband was a genius and kept me financially comfortable, but our marriage didn’t work. To leave him, I’d have to make more money. And to do that, I needed to think bigger about my company, including how and where I taught yoga. In the months that followed, I started a brand called Yoga Yacht, throwing yoga parties on boats. And instead of just teaching classes, I created Office Yoga Teacher Training, a professional curriculum I could sell to other teachers. Then I hustled, cold calling everyone I could think of and drumming up business. By the summer, I initiated my divorce.

Mistakes were made along the way. Once, a company committed to every slot on a Yoga Yacht trip, so I plunked down $1,500 for a boat deposit. Then the company pulled out -- I hadn’t made them sign anything! -- and I was stuck with an empty ship. Soon after, as I left an office yoga session, I stumbled upon an event called Fuckup Nights, where entrepreneurs share their screw ups. I explained my blunder to one of the organizers, serial entrepreneur Peter Sinkevich, and he soon became a mentor.

Related: 5 Steps to Handle Any Unforeseen Challenge

In the half-year since, my company has taken off. I have investors, students paying as much as $675 for my office yoga curriculum and many big plans. And I believe my openness helped all this happen. I love saying to people, “This is what happened to me.” It’s my way of moving on. And I’ve found that the more transparent I am, the stronger I feel, and the more people want to join my journey. This March, Peter even agreed to sign on as my business partner. I’m overjoyed, and he knows what he’s getting: a partner who is transparent about her strengths, weaknesses, and goals, and who responds well to adversity. I’m never stopping. I want everyone to know it.

Edition: June 2017

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