britt’s growing pains
In 2005, I was at university in Kingston, Ontario, majoring in political science. Like most of my friends, I was planning to work for the government. In the meantime, I needed a part-time job. A new lululemon store was opening up in town. I didn’t know much about lululemon and even less about yoga, but I liked what I saw on the website about the culture and all the cool things the company was up to. Somehow I lucked into a job.
I loved being an educator from day one. I was still in school, but I wanted to get more involved so I made room for lululemon in my life. A year later, I became a key leader. When I graduated, I moved to Vancouver with a girlfriend. The plan was to get a job I at the SSC, have my own desk and business cards. I thought it would be this crazy adventure. But when I got to Vancouver, the only job I could get with the company was another key leader role. I saw it as temporary until I landed that office job.
“I made room for lululemon in my life”
Working at the Robson store was amazing. The team was super passionate about the lululemon culture and there was this incredible sense of community with everyone who came through our doors. I felt like I was part of something special. I became an assistant manager in 2009. The company was giving me all these incredible opportunities to learn, like helping open new stores and training people. When they offered me a store manager role at Park Royal, I was thrilled. About a year later, I returned to Robson as store manager. Somehow I’d stumbled into this great career.
And yet I wasn’t completely happy. All my friends were in Ottawa, working for the government, and here I was, working in retail. I was really focused on how I looked to other people. Then I received feedback from my educators that I was closed off. They said I wasn’t letting them get to know me, and it was stopping us from coming together as a team. Looking back, I can see that I’d closed myself off because part of me didn’t want to believe I was one of them.
I probably would have stayed stuck if my regional manager Katie hadn’t called me on it. She said I was accountable for how my team was feeling, that it was all on me. I realized it went deeper than my job. It was about who I was and who I wasn’t. That was really hard. I wasn’t getting the pat on the head I needed. I felt guilty for not being perfect and angry for being criticized. My back was against the wall. All I wanted was to escape. I really thought I was going to lose my job—that or quit.
Katie calls it “the time we almost lost you.” She knew I was on the verge of either giving up or transforming. She challenged me to do the personal development work I needed. For a year I’d been trying to keep my head above water, I didn’t realize the support was there the whole time. Still, it wasn’t easy. I had to take a hard look at myself, and I didn’t always like what I saw. That girl crying in the corner at the Robson Starbucks, that was me. But I did the work. I looked at what I really wanted in life, and that’s when I knew that I was doing already doing it. I wanted to work with lululemon, and I wanted to stay in a store. I needed to show up in my career, and show up for my team.
“I wanted to work with lululemon, and I wanted to stay in a store. I needed to show up in my career, and show up for my team”
It was a turning point in my leadership. Once I let go of all the status bulls#@t, I understood that my job wasn’t about me. I’m not here to be patted on the head and have all these amazing opportunities. I’m here so my team can learn and grow. Like with Katie—she wasn’t coaching me to make herself look good or create a business result. She was doing it for me. She truly wanted me to succeed and be happy. That’s an amazing thing about working at lululemon. It’s not about the buck here. The focus is always on people. I try to bring that to my leadership, to give everyone a chance to learn and grow, and to stand for them when they need support. I wake up every day for my team now. I make room in my life for them to flourish.
I was actually offered a got a job at the SSC not too long ago, a buying position that is probably a dream job for a lot of people. I turned it down. My dream job is right here.