For our February Hustle Spotlight, we had the pleasure of speaking to author, mother and fellow-hustler René Syler. René is a powerhouse woman who cohosted CBS News’ The Early Show from 2002-2006, where she interviewed political figures, celebrities and even former President Jimmy Carter. In 2007, she published her first book, Good Enough Mother, the Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting. We caught up with her and got her take on the hustle that it takes to run a business.
How do you define your hustle/business? I think it would be easier to say what I DON’T do! I create content under my parenting/lifestyle banner, GoodEnoughMother.com. I also am part owner of a women’s online, fitness and nutrition company called Ladimax Lifestyle and I manage my family’s rental property on Kiawah Island, SC.How do you dig deep to work hard and continue your hustle? Can I be really honest here for a moment? The last year or so has been incredibly hard for me. The confluence of events, personal and professional, have conspired to kick the crap out of me. I keep going because that’s the only option and I’m not a quitter. But I am tired. The other thing that keeps me going is knowing that nothing stays the same forever, good or bad.
What are some of your greatest professional successes? Hmmm well I would say making my way to the pinnacle of broadcast TV as one of the anchors of CBS The Early Show is certainly one. But I am probably most proud of what happened after I got fired (yeah, I got fired.. it’s TV it happens and I refuse to be ashamed of that). So just as I notified my bosses at CBS that I was going in for a preventive double mastectomy, I got canned! The bright side was my book, Good Enough Mother was on the verge of being published. I asked the publisher if they had a website, which they did but it was basically a landing page. At that moment I knew I was going to have to sell these books myself. That was when I created GoodEnoughMother.comwhich became less about the book and more about the brand. And lastly the professional success that brings me the most joy currently is the work I am doing with Ladimax Lifestyle. We are changing women’s lives, urging them get active, educating them on myths and facts on body fat loss and helping them get healthy and strong so they can live the lives they are capable of and deserve (hint: ladies, you need to eat real food and do more than walk……)
Where do you find inspiration and motivation? I wish I could say a book or a piece of music but honestly my motivation comes when I give my brain a chance to cool off! I am always running, always thinking, planning etc that there are hardly any times where I am just staring at my navel. I need that so that I can be still and think a minute.
What’s your secret sauce? Give us one tip that you think has added to your success? Tenacity. Like the energizer bunny, I just.keep.going. There are times I move in inches, sometimes miles.. but it’s almost always forward movement. The other secret is to surround myself with friends. In life, we have friends (little f) and FRIENDS (all caps). When things get tough, I have a handful of FRIENDS who, sometimes quite literally, hold me together, keeping the pieces in place.
When you’ve faced obstacles/roadblocks – what do you do? How do you get past them? I have a pretty decent long-game. By that I mean life is long. You cannot judge success and failure (which I would rather call learning experiences) by the day, week, month or even year. We all have great days and horrible days. We have phenomenal weeks and those that suck. Sometimes we have a year of growth and that’s painful. But those things need to be looked at on the whole, not in small segments. I am going off of a DECADE of growth (read: get fired, build, fall apart, get up, fall back down, rethink, retreat, heal myself, fight again and so on); it has literally been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have had to dig deeper than I ever thought; deeper than I knew I could. But there is one thing I tell myself that keeps me going; I repeat to myself, “It’s all part of the story.” And man.. what a story it is and will be.
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you? “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs. Dhirubhai Ambani. I have my own version, “Be the architect of your own life or the carpenter of someone else’s”
How would you love to hear someone describe you? I would like to know that I made a difference, that what I said and did mattered in the grand scheme of things. To that end, I guess I would love for someone to look at me, warts, wrinkles, successes and struggles, and say, “If she could do it, so can I.”
When we were talking; you mentioned failure not being fatal. What does that mean? Every success has its roots in failure. We have GOT to stop thinking about failure as fatal. One of my favorite stories is that of WD-40. WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, 40th attempt. In 1953, there was a small company (3 employees) called Rocket Chemical Company. Founder Norm Larsen and his team were trying to come up with a line of rust prevention solvents and degreasers to be used in the aerospace industry. They tried. They failed. They tried again. They failed again. They tried so many times that they finally stopped naming each subsequent formula and just gave them a number. They tried 39 TIMES before they finally came up with the formula, called WD-40, which is still used today and can be found in 4 out of 5 American homes. 39 TIMES! Can you imagine if they had given up on 3? Or 12? Or 24? No, they kept going until they succeeded. Keep. Going.