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Feb 7, 2020

Very Ralph – HBO Doc Celebrating An Extraordinary Entrepreneur

Though I rarely feature men in my posts, having watched this show about Ralph Lauren, I’m affirmed that his company and values translate to all creative entrepreneurs. His extraordinary success – he just celebrated 50 years in business – is well documented in this film on HBO which noted, especially, that he created the first lifestyle brand.

Years ago I heard my friend and colleague, Terri Lonier, list her 10 top tools of entrepreneurship. The one I most remember was “Make it up!” Which is exactly what Ralph Lauren has done. He had a dream and a vision for a lifestyle, and he created it, first with ties and menswear, then with women’s wear, then home and beyond. By his own admission, he does not know how to draw or drape clothing, but he is a master at knowing what look he wants to achieve and how to describe that to a skilled artisan to translate it for him.

After a dazzling array of his fashions and lifestyle creation, there was a finale that celebrated his 50th year in business. As the film is closing, actress Jessica Chastain summarizes his values and life:

“At the very end the show, he always goes to his family. You know where the priority lies there. You have to have a full life to create. You can’t create from emptiness. I think Ralph has a very full, beautiful, loving life.”

In his own words at the end of the film, Lauren says, “I care about and love what I do. I enjoy creating my own world. As you get older, you don’t need all the things you thought you needed. You need good things – warmth, the smell of the country morning.”

When his mother questioned him on why he needed the farm he bought in Bedford, NY, he said it was “for my soul.”

Every successful entrepreneur I know and admire can say these things. When I’m feeling envious or less-than-satisfied in my own life and career, I can reflect on this wisdom and think about what’s missing. Where am I empty at the moment? And how can I fill my own cup. What I’ve learned is that is my job and my job alone. Once re-filled, I dive back in with that love and care Lauren mentioned. How about you?

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