"She was powerful, not because she wasn't scared but because she went on so strongly despite the fear" - Atticus
I am excited to introduce my first Shine On Sister! Readers meet Beth Dunphy. Beth is a long time friend that has quite a story to share. We met in 2000 when we both worked for BCG. Over the last 17 years, I have witnessed her navigate some BIG life circumstances. Some of her choosing and some chosen for her. She says everything has been chosen for her by God - the good and bad. Love it!!!! Three monumental life changes come to mind that highlights the incredible being that Beth is in this world.
One important note...through all of these significant life events, she was not married and did not have a spouse's support or income to rely on. Now that's a trust in one's own ability.
Besides the fact that Beth is insightful, grounded, and someone that I could talk with for hours, her positive mental attitude is what I am so attracted to. Read as she shares how she cultivates her inner and outer beauty.
How do you stay in balance?
I don’t think I do. I have learned to manage my stress though, which for me, means saying a big “F-you” to the world when I’ve had enough, and just curl up on my couch and binge-watch When Calls The Heart on the Hallmark channel for an entire day…very satisfying, especially if it’s a work day! Seriously though, I try not to chase “balance”, and just realize that life is very cyclical…there will be times when I’m stressed to the max and other times will be more relaxing…and I’m okay with that!
What is your beauty philosophy?
I believe beauty comes from within…period. I have known women who are stunningly beautiful on the outside, but just not very nice people…and so, to me, lost their appeal. On the other hand, I have known women who by our society’s standards have ordinary looks, but they are strong and kind and gutsy and fabulous moms and talented entrepreneurs…and to me, that is BEAUTIFUL. I’ll say it again: Beauty comes from within….I can’t think of one exception.
Who or what inspires my style?
Honestly, it’s my roles in life that inspires my style. I work with a lot of artsy interior designers, so it’s important to me that I’m stylish (but not trendy…I’m 54 years old, for Pete’s sake). My second role is Mom to a 12-year old, so I have some “fun mom” clothes”. I never, ever, ever read beauty and fashion magazines though…I create my own style, thank you very much! And working with Traci McBride, my stylist, really gave me permission to be true to myself!
What is your daily skincare routine?
I currently wash my face in the morning and at night with Rodan + Fields’ Reverse regimen. I was a sun worshiper back in the day, and Reverse is fading my freckles and age spots. I will eventually switch to their Redefine regimen, which tackles wrinkles and such. Shameless plug: I have become a consultant for Rodan + Fields…because I love the products!! My skin has never looked or felt better! I started using it after my chemo treatments, because frankly, when you’re bald as a cue ball, your skin better look damn good.
What is your makeup routine?
On the days that I am meeting with clients, I use the teeniest bit of Clinique foundation around my nose, then my Rodan + Fields mineral peptides, throw on some eye shadow and mascara, and that’s it! I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to makeup.
What is the most drastic thing you have done with your look?
The most drastic thing was done to me. Chemotherapy made me lose my hair, my eyelashes, and eyebrows this past year. Not real fun. I bought two wigs to wear….had them on my head maybe three times total, and I found them hot and itchy….so I rocked a bald head for about eight months. Talk about a test of your confidence! At first, I stayed home most of the time….but after awhile, I mustered enough courage to go out in public…totally bald, or sometimes with a ball cap on. I’ll tell you what…if you can do that, you can do anything!
How do you stay in shape?
I watch what I eat A LITTLE BIT, but I don’t obsess over it. After being faced with a potentially life-threatening breast cancer diagnosis and coming through treatment, I decided that I wasn’t putting more mental energy into food than it absolutely deserved. I eat healthy sometimes, and I go have ice cream sometimes…..I don’t fret over 10 pounds one way or the other.
Do you follow a specific diet?
Nope. For the most part, I eat what I’m hungry for, trusting that my body knows what it needs. I ate strict Paleo for a year or so, way back when, but found it wasn’t sustainable (or desirable) for me!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream…without the guilt. 😊
What is your productivity hack?
I have developed a bit of entrepreneur-ADD. So to combat the urge to jump from one fire to another all the time, I set a timer for 30 minutes and I work on only one project during that time. When the alarm goes off, I decide whether I want to set it for 30 more minutes for that same project, or work on another project for the next 30 minutes. By chunking my day up like that, I move several projects forward and don’t feel so overwhelmed.
What is the best thing you’ve done for yourself in the last year?
I took a much-needed vacation to Marco Island, Florida. I took Olivia out of school, and we left the day after Thanksgiving. She swam the entire time and I sat by the pool or ocean with a good book, and we ate great food. Exactly what I needed!
What is your parenting philosophy?
I choose to DELIGHT in my daughter! As a single mom, it’s sometimes hard…but I CHOOSE to enjoy her, appreciate her, and love her! She is wildly funny and has a great heart and disposition, but the girl knows what she wants! I believe in saying YES to everything that I possibly can (short of her juggling knives), and that has built so much confidence in her. Those of you who know her, know that Olivia is a FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH! She challenges me and has made me a whole lot less selfish.
What do you value most in your friendships?
My friends are SMART, GIVING, SUPPORTIVE and COURAGEOUS! Just by being themselves, they continue to inspire me more than they will ever know! I find the more people are real and transparent, the more I adore them. I love that my women friends are people who GET THINGS DONE, regardless of setbacks and I love that about them! They are TOTAL BADASSES.
What is the favorite thing about your home?
First, that I’m sharing it with Miss Olivia! My home is always a work-in-progress, and this year I have added COLOR!! Soft, summery, happy colors!! My home is a lovely creative outlet for me, and I love how it has evolved over my lifetime.
If you were to sum up your life so far in one word or one sentence, what would that be?
I’M NOT FINISHED YET!
You have taken some big leaps of faith in your life, one of them being adopting a baby as a single woman. How did you make that decision?
I didn’t. It was made for me, and I just went along for the ride. I absolutely believe that “decision” was a calling from God. One day, I was saying no way to adopting a child because I didn’t have a husband, and I was up to my eyeballs in running my business, and paying my mortgage. It was the most illogical thing I could ever have done. The next day, I KNEW (and I mean KNEW) that I was adopting a baby, and I was going to China to do it. A year and a half later, I brought Olivia Noelle LuDu Dunphy home, and my life has never been the same. Makes me bawl like a baby just thinking about it!
You have said “cancer is no joke” and everyone knows how devastating the diagnosis and treatments are. How did you maintain such a positive attitude during your treatments?
I’m not entirely sure I did…. There were times that I was anything but positive. Chemo kicked my butt. I was dog-dead tired most of the time, and if it hadn’t been for my mom and my aunt cooking for us, helping Olivia with her homework, running errands, and dozens of friends bringing food, I wouldn’t have made it. My friend, Renee, made a very astute comment to me one day. She said, “You know, many people say how brave and courageous someone is going through cancer treatment. It seems to me that it’s less about bravery, and more of just an endurance race.” And I found that to be true. I felt a lot like I was hunkered down in a foxhole, waiting for the artillery to stop. Two very important things are worth noting though of what got me through that horrible time: First, is that I serve a big God who has a big story, and a big plan for me…I don’t understand all of it, for sure, but I trust the One who does. And second, I HAD to get through it, because my baby girl was watching.
As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you offer to other women considering launching a business?
I would say don’t wait until the time is right…it will never be just right. I’ve launched two businesses so far, and I was not totally prepared for either one of them, but I did it anyway. I have to laugh, because I know what a chicken-shit I really am, and yet here I am running two businesses and raising a daughter on my own. And my second piece of advice is: There’s nothing wrong with being too stupid (or stubborn) to quit! Be a bulldog who just won’t let go! Go out, stumble your way around, and make it happen!
There you have it! I hope Beth has encouraged you to take chances and trust all that occurs in your life happens FOR YOU and not TO YOU.