I’ve fielded a lot of questions about how I ended up in Florida, 1,200 miles away from the place I’ve called home for most of my life.
It’s a journey I started quite young.
As a child, I was super-focused and determined, maybe even too serious, but it earned me a swimming scholarship to a Division I college. Since then, I’ve been blessed with a 20-year career in the consumer goods and optical industries. Through it all, I channeled a drive to carve my own path.
Today is no different.
After five incredible years at Luxottica heading up the North American wholesale business, where I grew more as a leader than the 20 years before, I made the very personal decision to chart a new course. Despite my success, I knew deep down, it was time for a change.
I didn’t make the decision on a whim — I was responsible for more than 800 people and for continuing the legacy of success already set in motion. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and proud of what we built. But I knew I needed a change.
The years were flying by. My children were growing and I was missing so many little things, not to mention the milestones. If I didn’t focus on what mattered most, five years would turn into 10, and before I blinked, my kids would be grown. I wanted to be more present for them while there was still time.
"One of the most important things I’ve learned along my journey? You have to be willing to redraft your script.” ”
So, with the help of a few trusted advisers and some serious soul-searching, I asked myself the important questions: What would life look like if I could balance my family with a fulfilling career? What were my non-negotiables? What did I have to do to make those things a reality?
I rewrote my “list” until it felt right and included things I wanted to achieve both personally and professionally. When it was complete, I knew I was the only one who could make it happen. I had to do what it would take to make those scribbled thoughts on a tattered piece of paper a reality.
One of the most important things I’ve learned along my journey? You have to be willing to redraft your script and take risks to make it happen. The dream job you wanted in your 20s may not look the same after 10, 20 or 30 years. Whether it’s a business plan or a life plan, you have to be prepared to do the work and evolve. Only you can own your happiness.
As I begin this new chapter at Costa and life in Florida, I’m finding my happiness in the things on that paper — spending time with my family, discovering new traditions and routines, and leading a brand that has nothing but potential. The path here wasn’t always clear and certainly wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.
My advice for those who might be at a crossroads: Don’t be afraid to do the unexpected and carve out a life that’s your own. It will come with risks but also with some unimaginable rewards.
Holly Rush is the CEO of Costa. She dedicates time to speaking engagements like the “Women Rule” series hosted by POLITICO, Google and the Tory Burch Foundation, as well as the OWA and the Essilor Women’s Network. In 2015, Rush was awarded the fashion industry’s Visionary award by the Foundation Fighting Blindness and was named as a trustee of the organization.