Having breakfast, with my friend Mike Veny, we were laughing over eggs at all the ridiculous obstacles we’ve experienced in our lives.  I told Mike I
believe a bumpier ride in life helps you achieve true success, as opposed to perceived success. Upon Mike’s insistence, I decided to dedicate a blog to the subject. Mike, this one’s for you.

   We live in a voyeuristic world where too much of our time
is eaten up by perceived success.  It chips away at our self esteem and, suddenly, our achievements are no longer good enough. 

  When I started my handbag company, Solas, in 2004 I had one thing on my mind,
"Oprah".   I believed in order to be considered a success, I had to be
on her show.

I literally had a picture of Oprah in my bedroom. As you see, she is welcoming me with open arms.
My first big press hit was The Today Show.  Katie Couric said, "My friend Kara invented these bags" and my mom was elated! 
If I had Facebook back then, I am sure I would have received 100
"likes" from high school friends who would have thought I was really

 The reality was, I only sold 8 bags from that segment.   When a mutual friend of Katie's and I found out I was going to be on The Today Show, she rang her up in hopes that Katie would give us a bigger "shout out". 

 In the fun banter of Matt jabbing at Katie, playfully, for saying I was her "friend", Cojo never mentioned where to buy my bags. However, my mom called everyone she knew to say that Katie said my name.

 As time went on, Solas graced the pages of People, Us Weekly, In Touch
etc…  I was on Extra, E! News, Fox, but not Oprah!!!!!  We were
selling thousands and thousands of bags, but I never truly celebrated because the "mothership" refused to answer my calls.  Ok, that's a lie. I might have had a glass of Champagne or two (or three, lol,) but the next day I would always wake up to this little voice in my head saying, "It's not good enough. You're not good enough." 

This pic is for the .10 percent of you who didn't know this was the "mothership".
The year Entrepreneur magazine considered doing a feature about me, Solas was finally considered for Oprah's Favorite Things. The article happened. Oprah didn't.  Clearly, I was a loser.  In the end, the closest I ever got to Oprah was when I, embarrassingly, did the "Oprah ugly cry" during my documentary when I went from a potential deal with HSN and Dillards… to almost having to claim bankruptcy.
Kara crying

Come on! You have all done it… you just weren't stupid enough to have the cameras rolling.
My Oprah obsessed journey taught me there are two sides to
the coin of success.  The head is how the world interprets your
achievements and your attachment to that perception. The tail is your
heart string. It is your calling and it’s driven by your soul, not
others'. The key to happiness is finding a way for both sides to live
harmoniously.  I missed the boat on a few things, those years I was chasing
the big "O". First of all, the Katie Couric moment was not a failure. 
My soul knew it was not about selling bags it, was about giving me
credibility so I could achieve my dreams.  Plus, my soul really likes
making my mom happy! 

My head made it a failure by tying it to money. Even when I did start to achieve monetary success, I
never saw myself as successful. So my tail side said, "Grrrlll didn't
you learn anything?!?!? I'm about to wake your ass up!" (Cut to Oprah
ugly cry and having to start all over.)
    Before I wrote this article I asked my friends, "What is the
meaning of success?"  Some people had very specific goals in mind.
However, universally, people wrote about balance.  Whether it was
juggling motherhood and career or work and spirituality, everyone seemed
to want to balance life's mishaps with life's achievements. 
Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 11.30.42 AM

I thought it would be fun to post some of the comments as a reminder to all of us to stay focused on real success.
I think at the core we all know about the two sides of the
coin. We struggle with it. We feel guilty to admit we have a head side
that cares about perception. We wish we always came up tails and lived
our lives 100% driven by our hearts.  I am here to say
both sides are OK.  In fact, you need that balance to achieve happiness. 
Just make sure your perception of things isn't clouded. It's OK to have
lofty goals or aspirations in life. It's OK to be aware of what your
neighbor or children or the world thinks of you, just don't let
it guide you. Keep it in your peripheral vision and make sure you are
always checking in with the "man in the mirror." (or should I say goddess?)
Love and Light- YOU ARE A SUCCESS!!!
Make sure to follow me at @lifebykk on twitter for daily inspiration!

*Lifein2lemonade is edited by Ryan Howard

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1 Comment

Mike @

about 6 years ago Reply

Kara, I am honored that mentioned me. It was great to meet you for breakfast. As I thought about our conversation more and more, I realized how clouded my mind gets with perceived success. I am committed to pursuing the real success - the one that is about serving people. Thank you for being a good friend to me.

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