Lisa Moler is a female founder with expansive business interests including a growing media company with four industry-leading dental publications and strategic investments in the fields of obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep, stem cell therapy, and regenerative medicine.
However, her entrepreneurial dream was nearly derailed by tremendous personal and business challenges that left her wondering if she should persist in an uncertain entrepreneurial path.
The dream survived solely because she persevered and believed in herself through a simultaneous divorce from both her husband and disillusion of her primary business partnership. Her world collapsed around her.
Today, Lisa channels the lessons she learned during this period into support for female entrepreneurs in and out of the dental field. She’s excited to share her experience to help others struggling with similar challenges.
She also serves on the board of directors for the New Horizon Dental Center, a 501c3 non-profit dental clinic for those that can’t afford private practice fees. Lisa cherishes the opportunity to serve an organization that is making a difference in the world of dentistry and in patients’ lives.
Lisa also shared her entrepreneurial story with Dental Entrepreneur Woman.
“SELF-WORTH COMES FROM ONE THING – THINKING THAT YOU ARE WORTHY.” —WAYNE DYER
I always root for the underdog. From the womb, I think I had this empathic nature of just knowing and relating to those (including myself) who weren’t handed the proverbial “silver spoon” in this life. I have always been myself, really. Of course, not always understanding exactly WHO that self was, I knew early on that I was different; unique, opinionated, stubborn, sensitive, inquisitive, kind, classy, and downright sassy! All attributes that have served me well, both in my business of 15 years, and my life in general.
Those of you who know me, know that I am the “Queen of Quotes.” Reading and learning from the master teachers that have come before me is one of my greatest passions. Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Marianne Williamson, Tony Robbins — My office walls are full of some of my favorite quotes and stand as constant reminders of where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved in my half century on this earth (Damn, that sounds super old.). You see, MY very worth lives in all their poignant teachings. Please indulge me as I will use a few of my favorites to tell this story.
Without going into all the gory details of my past, which trust me, would take far more than the generous word limit Ms. Duffy has allowed me, let me briefly set the stage.
I came out of the womb stressed. I wasn’t hanging out sucking my thumb in there; I was literally biting my nails! I was born to a raging, alcoholic, Marine father, and a victim, doormat, look-the-other-way, mother. I’m sorry, but this combo does not scream, “Welcome to this world; we are here to unconditionally love and support your precious life!” My two older brothers and I were raised very strict Catholics. Yes, 12 long years of Catholic school, uniforms, priests, nuns, and freaking GUILT. Looking back now, that part of my life was both a blessing and a curse, really. It formed the relationship I now have with my highest power throughout my life, yet the hypocrisy of it all…staggering.
We were front and center every Sunday morning for 10:30 a.m. mass; my cousin was a priest, so this made confession super easy-breezy…lol. My parents were respected and popular in our community. Think the Beaver Cleavers — only the super dysfunctional version. We were the “go-to” parish party house. The priests and nuns that I feared on the daily at school, regularly held camp in our living room throwing back Jack Daniels and smoking cigarettes — excuse me, but WTF? Can you even imagine the confusion racing through a child’s mind with that circus going on around them? No surprise I have since adopted the phrase, “Not my circus; not my monkeys” as a mantra in my life.
This made for some very interesting household rules and self-esteem dilemmas. We were NEVER allowed to complain, have an opinion outside of his, look sideways at him, question, or display anything he deemed defiant, or let me tell you, there was hell to pay. Being any kind of sick in our house was also out of the question. I played Varsity softball all four years of High School, and due to my height, actually played a pretty bad-ass first base. I broke two ribs in a game one night, sliding into 2nd base. My opponent, ball in mitt, “tagged” me (more like a full-on, Mike Tyson body blow) square in the side, fracturing both my ribs. My coach, of course, pulled me immediately out of the game, while my Dad hit the field in front of packed stands screaming, “She’s fine; she can still play. What are you smoking coach; keep her in the damn game!”
chuckle to myself as I write this, because to this day, his words have inadvertently become one of my most significant life lessons. Today, when I get into a place of uncertainty, I step back, take some deep breaths, and remind myself — I’ve got this; I’m a strong player; keep my head up; and most importantly, STAY IN THE DAMN GAME!
Unfortunately, the above example is just one of many incidents that took place regularly. Weak, or anything my Dad perceived as weak, was NOT an acceptable trait he would have, hard stop. It would quite honestly take me multiple thousands of words to expound on all my family-of-origin issues and how they’ve impacted my life. Suffice it to say there was a crap–ton of verbal and emotional abuse. I have witnessed events in my life that no one person should ever have to experience. My dad being a textbook alcoholic and my mom a raging co-dependent, made for a very dangerous dynamic in our daily lives. The air was so thick with palpable hate, it was hard to breathe. Anger, rage, self-medicating, and dinner tables being overturned mid-bite of spaghetti were the norm. Not to mention my dad’s numerous infidelities. Ahhhhh, his life on the road…more a blessing than a curse. But home or not, my mom did absolutely nothing to stop it or remove her three kids from the abuse.
I have come to give her grace (through much therapy) that if she couldn’t even save herself, how could she have possibly navigated the lifeboat to save us? Totally unequipped. No oars against a sea of monstrous, crashing waves, equals certain death. And die it did. After 30 long, torturous years together, “Ward and June” were finally done. I will not go into all the heinous, Jerry Springer details of the end, but it involved my mom’s sister, and it was incredibly ugly. The year I turned 18, my mom had finally had enough, pulled the plug, and that’s when the REAL world started to get “ugly real” for me. Both my parents went their separate ways, my brothers were away at college, and I was left to fend for myself the summer after my high school graduation.
I firmly believe the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people” to be completely spot on. Why would we grow up in chaos and dysfunction and NOT attract that which feels completely familiar to us in a mate? That said, like clockwork, I met my first husband, fell instantly in love, (whatever THAT was) married, and for 10 long, abusive years, tried desperately to convince myself that I was “home” with him. I was only “home” because, in every possible way imaginable, he was figuratively MY FATHER! It didn’t end well. Divorced and pushing 40. Awesome. No exaggeration here; this chapter of my life was a complete shit-show extraordinaire, and way too much to go into for this story. That, my friends, is what they call “another show.” I have since come to peace with that time in my life and grown from my mistakes. After all, it was a lesson, NOT a life sentence.
Having had such a personal, spiritual connection with my higher power all my life, you can imagine my response to Him when everything was quiet, and I knew He was listening. I was sad, but more than that, I was angry; angrier than I think I’ve ever been in my life. It was time to start over. I had to; I had no other choice. I gathered up my courage, moved my past life and all its memories into a rented storage unit, and settled into an 800-sq.–ft condo. It felt like a cracker box compared to the elaborate home I’d been used to living in. It was scary. I learned to breathe, pray, be still, and listen for answers. Anything to keep me focused and on task for this “new life,” whatever it was going to be. But what I had failed to realize at the time, was that HE knew something I hadn’t fully comprehended yet — just how much I was worth.
Isn’t it amusing that the answers we’re looking for don’t always come in the form that we think they should? I mean, at a time in my life when my world was crashing in around me, I knew that I had to continue publishing a magazine because that’s what I do. My work is my comfort zone. A friend of mine at the time was a recruiter. She came to me one day with an offer to publish for a national company that was looking for someone to head up their dental title in Arizona. My first reaction was, of course, the dental industry? What in the world do I know about dental? My last name is Moler, but that’s about it. She gave me the details, and hey, I was desperate to find something and start making some money.
The home office was based here in my hometown of Scottsdale, and it made sense to at least try. I’m a huge “follow-my-gut” girl, and it was screaming at me to give it a shot. I hired a sweet, 17– year-old intern from a posting that one of my fellow publishing friends put up at one of the local colleges. When I met her, I knew that there was something about this young girl; again, went with my gut. She helped me out part-time with contracts and paperwork. I did the selling. We literally shared a make-shift office out of my tiny second bedroom, including sharing a computer. It was tight, but we made it work, and within that first year, my Arizona market held the top ranking out of about 12 markets at the time.
Here’s the amazing thing though — 15 years later, I am blessed to still be working with this same woman (now aged 32) on my team, and neither of us would have had it any other way. The road has been long, rocky, and full of tears over this journey, but God, has it been worth it.
My dental publishing/marketing company has grown incredibly. My team and I now publish four national dental journals, have a huge digital presence, and serve hundreds of amazing clients within our niche-specific, dental verticals. My little business, built from a teeny little bedroom in my home, financed by a skinny little $500 limit credit card, has now flourished into a multi-million-dollar business, and one that I couldn’t be prouder of. Writing this, and telling this part of my story, still gives me goosebumps.
To think of what I’ve manifested through perseverance, hard work and NEVER quitting on myself is quite honestly, pretty phenomenal. I am not one to usually stop and give myself props, but what I’ve come from, out of, and through to the other side, is no less than a miracle. These continue to happen daily in my life.
As mentioned earlier, Tony Robbins has been an ongoing mentor for me starting from my early 20s when life was pretty dismal. Through my business, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with and interview Tony a few times now for my magazines. This, my girlfriends, is no accident. I read, studied, listened to tapes (yes, I said tapes), took Tony’s (and other teacher’s) words to heart many years ago, put them into practice, prayed a lot, and just look at the miracles that have transpired in my life!
I have also been blessed to work with some other fabulous high profiles along the way as well: Simon Sinek, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Shaquille O’Neal, and some outstanding dentists! So many heartfelt conversations that I’ve learned so much from. No hocus pocus, magic formula here, just a self-taught, unending belief in myself; never losing sight of MY true worth, mixed with damn hard, gut-wrenching work. (Hard work and a heaping of healthy balance…my secret sauce.)
Since my purpose of this story is not to portray the “victim” or play the “blame-game,” but more to inspire to what’s actually possible, and get to the good stuff of what I’ve learned…My road has obviously been some rough, rocky terrain and has been mostly navigated by the “feel the fear and do it anyway” mentality (great book, btw). But really, what choice did I have? I could easily sit here today as a victim of what life has thrown my way, but WHO exactly would that be hurting? My story simply can’t be told without having the courage to “out the ugly,” because as I have come to learn, without my Dad having been the angry, self-absorbed, abusive person he was, I would most definitely NOT be the strong, successful woman I am today. I guarantee it would not have gone down this way. So, for that reason alone, I am grateful to him. My favorite “Tony-ism” sums it all up perfectly;
BOOM. Mic drops.
And this beautiful “dental world” we are all so fortunate to be a part of. I have to say, no word of a lie, this industry, and the amazing people I’ve met within it, have literally saved my life. I owe a debt of gratitude to this profession that may never be re-paid. A blessing that came into my life unannounced, like a visitor I wasn’t expecting, but boy, am I grateful it stayed. Don’t get me wrong; like everyone, I still have “my days,” but it’s in those moments, that I quiet my mind, remind myself to stay in THIS moment, be ever grateful for what I have, how far I have come in life, and stay present and committed to the people I love. As Tony also says; “Trade your expectations for appreciation, and your whole world changes instantly.” How can we NOT find something to appreciate in our lives, daily? It’s virtually impossible.
And as for my personal life — Well, my Prince Charming, straight out of a happily-ever-after fairytale, also came true. I manifested and attracted an amazingly awesome husband that epitomizes the words good, loving, giving, trusting, loyal, best friend, my true north, and the forever love of my life, all on my own. I prayed, and God listened. I must pinch myself every day now to honestly believe this is the life that I am now so fortunate to be living.
I continue to work on myself every single day. I will forever be a work in progress, and astudent of this life. There is never a moment I can take for granted, but I strive daily to live in the present. I stay committed to my self-care through counseling, reading, learning, meditation, journaling, Pilates, scheduling FUN into my calendar, daily belly laughs with my hubby, loving on my fur babies, and seeking to maintain balance and peace with my past. After all, it has been my greatest teacher.
I leave you with this my strong, amazing, wonder-women: Find your worth. Know your worth. Celebrate your worth. But most importantly, NEVER, EVER let anyone succeed in taking your God-given worth from you. That is your gift, your light, your intuition. Trust it. Keep it tucked away safe. You may need it someday as I did.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
“I will attract into my life what I AM, not what I want.”– Wayne Dyer
Shop assistant: “Hello, can I help you?”
Vivian: “I was in here yesterday, you wouldn’t wait on me.”
Shop assistant: “Oh.”
Vivian: “You people work on commission, right?”
Shop assistant: “Yeah.”
Vivian: “Big mistake. Big. HUGE. I have to go shopping now.” – Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman
“Your ego is NOT your amigo.” – Author unknown
“She slept with wolves without fear, for the wolves knew a lion was among them” – R.M. Drake
“Never look back. If Cinderella had gone back to pick up her shoe, she would never have become a princess.” – Author unknown
“Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect.” – Steve Jobs
“Give yourself the love you seek, and the universe will send people who match it.” – Abraham
“There are people in your life who’ve come and gone; they let you down; you know they’ve hurt your pride. You better put it all behind you baby, cause life goes on. You keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside, baby.” – Don Henley