Still your mind and move your body. Focus on these three aspects of your humanity: Compassion, relationship, creation. Disavow glamour and instead embrace that which is true, eternal beauty.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Z. Lindahl, founder of EZL Enterprises, LLC.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I don’t think I have a “backstory” per se. Everything is pretty much up front with me! I’m of the baby boomer generation, which means I grew up in transformational times, especially for women. I did that growing up in Northern New Jersey, the youngest of four. My father was a marketing exec in Manhattan. I went to college, got married too young, and we were “week-end hippies” — the usual for those times.
I didn’t expect my invention of the sports bra to become the iconic event that it has — I really just wanted to solve my own problem, and thought other women might need the same solution as well! It turned out that starting my own company and being self-employed was a good choice for me, since having epilepsy often makes finding gainful employment difficult — even today it can still be a problem.
I am a self-taught artist; I paint, write and do assemblage. A gallery in Charleston, SC currently carries my work, and my books are available at your independent book stores and Amazon. Please check out my artwork on my website, lisalindahl.com!
Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Oh my, which story from which aspect of my career? I’ve not thought of my working life as a “career.” I didn’t even really set out to have a career. Rather, I followed my nose, so to speak. I’ve been a secretary (to pay the bills), a sporting goods business owner (to market and sell my invention — the sports bra), a medical device promoter (to market & sell that invention). So I’ve been a sort of serial entrepreneur, while at the same time an artist (there was always a studio tucked away somewhere), a volunteer board member (the longest gig and the one I cared most about was for Epilepsy Foundation, though there were other boards) a speaker, an author. So are many interesting stories: some funny, some a bit scary. I traveled a lot when I was building both the Jogbra business and the Bellisse Compressure Comfort Bra business (that is the medical device) — and met a lot of wonderful people, learned a great deal, and experienced a great deal. I knew nothing about Lymphedema or breast cancer when I started helping Lesli Bell to bring forward her vision of a proper garment for breast cancer survivors. Once again I learned a great deal there, and again met another whole community of caring, dedicated people.
So really, I need more direction from you re: what facet of my “career” your readers are interested in hearing about. But perhaps the following will serve:
Epilepsy had been such a private part of my life that my work with the Epilepsy Foundation as a board member for those 9 years was both eye-opening and empowering. I was, back then in 1991, the first person with epilepsy to sit on the national Board. Most of the members were doctors, researchers, businessmen (think pharmaceuticals) and a few lawyers. I believe there were some CPAs on the board as well.
Inevitably, I suppose, several years into my tenure, I had a Grand Mal convulsion (technically named a “Tonic-Clonic generalized seizure”) during one of the meetings. Self-conscious, upset, and in what’s called the post-ictal confusion following a seizure, one of my colleagues, who happened have once been a nurse, helped me out of the room. She ushered me into the large, well-appointed ladies room so typical of hotels that catered to conferences. When, as usual, I kept saying “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! She shushed me: “Frankly, Lisa,” she said, “it was a good reminder to some of them in there why we are here.”
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
I am just finishing my new book “Unleash The Girls: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me).” Once that is done I am considering a second edition of the “Beauty” book with the addition of a workbook to facilitate its practices.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
Still your mind and move your body.
Focus on these three aspects of your humanity: Compassion, relationship, creation.
Disavow glamour and instead embrace that which is true, eternal beauty.
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
I read a great deal, so it is hard to pinpoint a particular book. “A Feminist Theory On Mental Health,” by Ballou and Gabalac; Lynne McTaggart’s “The Field”; Briggs and Peat’s “Seven Life Lesson of Chaos Theory”; John O’Donohue’s “Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.” Earlier books were Rollo May’s “The Courage to Create” and “Works of Love” by Kierkegaard. But when I was a child I read “The Secret Garden” and identified with the little girl in that book. What does that say about me?
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
That’s easy, since I’ve written a book about just such a proposal. It is “Beauty As Action: The Way of True Beauty and How Its Practice Can Change Our World.” I believe that everyone has had an experience of beauty, has had a moment where they felt “Wow! That is so beautiful!” They may use a different word — awesome, cool, whatever — but the experience has occurred. This is a common, shared human experience and knowingness. What if the creation of more of those moments was a priority? If we all were making an effort every day to create and nourish what we found to be beautiful? I am not speaking here of “glamour.” Glamour is an illusion, a trick, a slick and trendy flash. Glamour does not last and it is empty calories for the soul while authentic beauty is eternal and nourishes the human soul. True beauty fills us up, raises our spirit, calms and centers us while filling us with inspiration and often courage. True beauty creates harmony.
The Way of Beauty as I propose it is nonreligious, nonpolitical, and intends no ethnic bias. Its mission is to raise awareness of the higher, true nature of beauty and to use this concept as the guiding principle to heal current cultural anomie and unrest, and to help determine the greatest good in any given situation, whether it be local or global.
Oh my, I can get going on this topic. The book is not just “talk.” It outlines how anyone can practice True Beauty, can actionably bring more beauty into their lives with 16 easy, articulated practices — none of which require purchasing anything.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I hope I have done so by being an example and advocate for people with epilepsy; by helping Dr. Lesli Bell bring an important medical device to market (the Bellisse Compressure Comfort Bra); and by raising awareness about the importance of True Beauty in the health of not only ourselves, but of our world as well.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Yikes! You’re asking me to write a small book here! So here are 5 things:
1. Trust your intuition.
2. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers.
3. Choose your companions wisely; are they “higher companions”? (ref. “Beauty As Action”)
4. Success is 10 percent talent and 90 percent perseverance.
5. Relax. Look up. Take a breath…it will all be right.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Walk a mile in another person’s shoes before making any judgements.”
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Wow, yes! The Dalai Lama, of course. Elon Musk, Susan Wojcicki — two business-oriented visionaries. And Oprah Winfrey because I admire her and her journey, and I think we’d laugh a lot together. Philosopher David Chalmers to listen to him talk about the “hard problem of consciousness.” Oh, and Deepak Chopra. I’ve met him, briefly in the long-ago past. But I’d like to speak with him about our spiritual future as a species.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
My website: http://www.lisalindahl.com/. While I have all the requisite social media tools, I pretty much ignore them and am pretty poor about social media. I’m a private person, generally speaking, and much prefer in-person communications.
Thank you so much for all of these great insights!