Miracles Happen is a story of an unremarkable woman becoming one of the most well known names in the world. Mary Kay Ash started out as a helper to her mother, who worked long hours to support her family (Mrs. Ash’s father was very ill when she was still a young girl). She would do things that no other young girl would be allowed to – buy her own clothes, take the street car downtown, go to the movies by herself. Mary Kay’s mother believe that she could do anything from pick out her own clothes, to chose what movie to see, to doing a good job of the dishes and house cleaning.
Mary Kay’s first husband fought in World War II. She worked during that time, and raised her family. When her soldier husband came home, he announced that he wanted a divorce, and so she was on her own again, supporting her family. She found that even during the depression, there were three things that people would buy – lipstick, beer and tabacco. While this didn’t help her at the time (she worked for Stanley Home Products), she kept all this in the back of her mind.
She did very well for herself with her direct sales position. Of course, it was always a struggle to make ends meet. In a single income home, when isn’t it a struggle? But she did it by working the hours she wanted, and working *hard* when she did. She would work in the morning before the kids got up, after they went to school (to be home before they came home) and then again after the housekeeper put them to bed. The children got as much time with her as they needed, and she was able to work around their schedule to do her business. This was how the Mary Kay order of personal time management started: Faith (or God) first, family second, and career third.
After a while she met her new husband, Mel Ash. They eventually got married, and Mrs. Ash retired. Well, within months she was bored. Due to her long career in sales, she decided to write a guide to help other women in this man-dominated business world (don’t forget that this was in the early 1960’s and things were much different then). When she was partway through, the thought came to her that maybe instead of writing this book, she needs to start this company! She had, in effect, drafted a business plan that would reward the employees heavily, and treat them with respect, a golden rule kind of relationship. After her advisors (legal, financial, smart people in general) told her that it would never work, and that she’d be broke in no time, she did it anyway. And she succeeded even beyond her wildest dreams. Mary Kay built a company that nurtures women, that helps them grow personally, financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Mary Kay had a beautiful personality, with class that is so absent in people (especially women) today. She was a strong believer in being feminine, and passed this trait on to everyone she trained. A woman isn’t to share her age, her weight, or her beauty secrets (except to other women, of course!). She would personalize everything that she touched, talking to people at conferences, on the street, where ever. She believed that “thinking like a woman” with compassion and intuition would get her farther than being competitive with everyone else. And it did.
This book is very inspirational to me. I can’t believe how much hard work she poured into each and every consultant that started under her, not to mention what she put in to the company in general. She was an amazing woman, and this is an amazing read.
I am very proud to be a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant after reading this book that she wrote, and I mourn that I may never meet her in this life. She passed from this life on the American Thanksgiving in 2001. There is a beautiful epilogue in the back of my copy that was written by the people closest to her.
As the book ends, I too will leave you with an anonymous poem that she found inspirational, and had posted up in the lobby at corporate headquarters:
On Silver Wings
I have a premonition
That soars on silver wings.
It’s a dream of your accomplishment
Of many wondrous things.
I do not know beneath which sky
Or where you’ll challenge fate.
I only know it will be high!
I only know it will be great!