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Misty Washington of Misty Artesian Water: Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life

Never take your creativity for granted — believe that it is possible to bring your creative vision to life. There are endless ways to collaborate with others to make a dream a reality. My mother gave me a lot of inspiration when I was growing up, constantly reminding me that I could do anything that I put my mind to and that I don’t have to live my life in a struggle.

Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Misty Washington.

Misty Washington is the founder and CEO of Misty Artesian Water, the finest, pure artesian water bottled in meaningful, ribbon-shaped packaging and available in eight different colors to raise awareness and funds for over 1,000 causes, such as cancer, disease and mental health. Washington brings a wealth of entrepreneurial spirit, business development, dynamic leadership experience and heartfelt purpose to Misty Artesian Water. As the visionary behind the brand, Washington guides the creation and execution of the company’s overall vision, purpose and strategy.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My mother worked as a maid/housekeeper in Louisville, Kentucky, where I grew up. For me, my mother, and my two siblings, times were tough, but she worked hard and provided us with all we needed: new clothes, shoes, and always-made-up hair, which gave me the motivation I needed to get where I wanted to go. I dropped out of school at a young age and began working in retail and a variety of other jobs to supplement my income. I finally saved enough money to open my own business, a small daycare in Louisville’s West End. However, before that came into effect, I became a very young mother and I felt obligated to provide for my son in the same way that my mother did for me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back,” Maya Angelou once said. That quote is profoundly beautiful and serves as a reminder that we all need to give as much as we receive.

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

Patience, understanding and time management. I have to not force things and let them come to me, especially when I want to take on new opportunities for the company. Sometimes I go looking for charitable events and missions to join when our team has too much on their plate and I have to wait patiently for the best opportunity. This leads to understanding because if my team says they are overwhelmed or overloaded, I have to understand that we can’t do everything and help everyone right then and there and adjust accordingly to respect their needs. Last, as a leader, I need to be in 100 places at once and the best way to do that is by scheduling, making time management critical.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?

I started a daycare, Bright From The Start, and it was a learning curve. Being a mother while simultaneously being a business owner was challenging, yet very rewarding. Spreading joy to children in my community was one of my key missions, and I felt a sense of obligation to curate a life for my children just as my mother did for me. I wanted to be a wholesome resource for young Black mothers, especially in the West End of Louisville, where there is limited access to essential resources for basic living.

And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?

Although I feel as if I am constantly reinventing myself, I reinvented myself as a parent and business owner as I welcomed my beautiful twins into the world and grew my family. There were many times that I reminded myself that failure wasn’t an option, that I had a bigger purpose in life.

When a few of my family members passed from different cancers, the complexities of basic needs were at the forefront of my mind. I began to research the ways that I could give back to communities on a broader scale. This is where small snippets of Misty Artesian Water started coming to life. There was a sense of liberation that I experienced through grief and understanding, all while trying to hold it down as a parent to four children.

Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?

I was affected by the family members I mentioned who were passing from cancer when I decided that I was going to take the plunge and make a huge transition. When I began to see how water is an essential need and connects everyone, the change-making began almost immediately.

What did you do to discover that you had a new skill set inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?

Being middle-aged and birthing twins, three years ago, was a time that I discovered that it wasn’t too late to hone in on a purpose-driven life. For some, it could be a challenge to open up to new beginnings at a later age, but I believe that I’ve gained a better understanding of life’s fulfillment. This understanding comes in waves as I practice graciousness and overcome battles within myself, my family, and my business.

How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.

Things are going quite well! In the past year, we’ve relocated our headquarters to Atlanta and have been working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic. We’re reaching out to local businesses and clients in the Atlanta area. We’ve also been expanding our team and are actively looking for brand ambassadors. As summer approaches, we are looking forward to launching our Pride bottle and bringing to light more inclusive conversations and collaborations.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful for my mother, Doris Washington. She allowed me to reignite my business by uprooting her life in Louisville, Kentucky, to come to Atlanta with me and my kids.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

I found the metaphorical “seat at the table.” I am now rubbing elbows with people that I’ve looked up to for ages and getting invited to networking events that allow me to express my business goals and vision to people who want to do as much good as I do. I never had those opportunities before this new direction.

Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?

There were some times where I did struggle with believing in myself but overcame these struggles by remembering that this is much bigger than I am. The center of the universe doesn’t revolve around me, and there are folks in need. There are many causes that I could support to make a small shift for a better world.

In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?

I found a network of Black business owners and freelance workers through friends and family. I’ve always been a relatively quiet person but I knew I needed to start networking with professionals in my industry, so I tapped into my inner circle to meet new people and gain new experiences. I knew I wouldn’t be able to grow without building my business, beverage, and operations knowledge, pushing me to get more professionals in my circle that wanted to see me do well.

Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?

There were many things that I had to learn to launch Misty Artesian Water, requiring me to step out of my comfort zone. Some of these included understanding different sectors of philanthropy, requirements for certification, and finding folks that would be willing to help me make a difference in the lives of others.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Never take your creativity for granted — believe that it is possible to bring your creative vision to life. There are endless ways to collaborate with others to make a dream a reality. My mother gave me a lot of inspiration when I was growing up, constantly reminding me that I could do anything that I put my mind to and that I don’t have to live my life in a struggle.

Don’t save a good idea for later — act on your inspiration now and trust that even better ideas will continue to come to you in the future. In March, I had a campaign idea for Misty Artesian Water’s Instagram that I saved for the fall. Before I knew it, the same idea became a popular marketing trend on social media a couple of weeks later.

There is no right way. I had an order for how I wanted to establish my business but life and motherhood pushed the process back, extending my six-month business plan to a one-year business plan.

Learn to embrace the unknown — you can easily let your current vision stop you from painting a bigger picture. I previously saw our brand as strictly a breast-cancer-fundraising product, not realizing the potential to expand.

Every loss isn’t a failure. I tend to take business personally, so when I don’t achieve a goal that I set for myself, it is challenging for me to pivot. I want the best for myself and my team. For example, before COVID hit, I planned on expanding Misty Artesian Water into merch and apparel sales, providing my team with a new and exciting project. However, as the pandemic uprooted virtually every industry, the initiative had to be put on pause, making me feel as if I failed my team. I spent hours searching for new vendors, but once I learned to be patient with the project, it all began to come together. We will now be expanding to merch and apparel sales later this year!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I believe that the work Misty Artesian Water is doing to provide awareness and funds to over 1,000 causes is the most impactful movement I could ignite. We are changemakers, utilizing consciousness in ecology, society, and individuality. Misty Artesian Water’s mission and purpose uplift those in need nationwide.

I truly hope to continue doing this work on a long-term basis. My team and I are inspired to make strides to create a more inclusive, cause-driven world.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with 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. :-)

I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Pinky Cole, a local celebrity and brilliant business owner in Atlanta. She started Slutty Vegan as a food truck and is now on her third location this year. She is a Black woman who built up her brand in Atlanta and is now partnering with some of the biggest companies across the nation.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can find Misty Artesian Water at mistywater.com and on Instagram @mistyartesianwater.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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