Lacey Chong is a woman on a mission: to brighten the day of our dedicated women in uniform who are called to serve in hardship conditions. I love her enthusiasm for her goals and her passion for serving those who protect and defend us every day.
In the latest edition of our Trailblazers interview series, Lacey shares her inspiration for her Spa Swag for Warriors venture and how she found encouragement from an unlikely source.
How did you know it was time to make a change?
Not to sound too hokey, but it was like the stars aligned late in 2014, and the universe made it very clear that I should start Spa Swag for Warriors. Everything in my life was super stable and conducive to making a huge life change. I felt like I was supposed to take a huge risk, and that it would all work out.
I have always played a supporting role in organizations, but I had never led anything. I took a hard look at my previous jobs and extracurricular activities, and decided that I wanted to own something and make a difference.
What gave you the confidence you needed to move forward?
A combination of several things:
Everyone can agree that women in the armed forces have a rough job. Yes, they enter this job aware of the risks of everything from PTSD to sexual assault to extended or repeat deployments, but they are still motivated to serve our country. I am not naive enough to think that sending spa swag bags overseas is going to instantly improve the morale and readiness of women in the armed services, but it can make someone’s day a little brighter. Deployed ladies absolutely deserve to have a little bit of luxury in the field.
Who/what inspires you today?
Working with my amazing and talented Spa Swag Board - everyone is dedicated to making this endeavor a huge success and game changer. I value everyone’s unique perspective, experience and talent, commitment to our mission, and creative approach.
What are you dreaming about now?
Downton Abbey; working on my Tranquility du Jour Daybook, and a good night’s sleep. Oh and figuring out how to partner with the new DC cat cafe - Crumbs & Whiskers.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Carpe diem. I really do live by this motto.
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started?
How long it takes to be recognized as a legal entity! All the paperwork has been filed with the IRS for our 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization status, but I have no idea when we will receive word.
What encouragement can you offer someone who wants to make a change but is apprehensive?
There are so many self-help articles and books out there; you can drive yourself crazy researching and second-guessing yourself to death. Just do it. The only way to find out if your change works is to take a leap of faith.
This may be a bit obscure (and more than a little nerdy) but whenever I’m at a crossroads in my life, I hear the voice of my high school British Literature teacher reading T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” to us. It’s a lovely poem about a man who is paralyzed from fear of rejection or failure, and cannot bring himself to take a risk or to live a little (“...do I dare disturb the universe?”). This motivates me. I’d rather be known as someone who tried and failed, than someone who was too afraid to make a change.
What book(s) have provided guidance or inspiration for your New Beginning?
For more information or to get involved, reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org or donate at: http://spaswagforwarriors.causevox.com/