A Marketing Lesson: Standing Topless in Front of My Church Group

Marketing Lesson I Learned at a Waterpark OutingI had a “swimming” experience the other day at my health club that reminded me of something that happened a several years ago that has holds a nice little marketing lesson hidden in the story.

And before you start thinking that this post is about how sex sells, or that I’m part of some weird cult or something, I need to assure you that I’m a relatively normal mom, wife, and Christian who has a knack for finding herself in embarrassing situations. (I’ve already told you about another marketing lesson I learned from an embarrassing moment in front of my fiance and mother-in-law to be at Thanksgiving.)

Well the story I’m about to tell you is one that will probably have you laughing, and if you don’t laugh…then I’m sorry you live such a “normal” life that you can’t find humor in a real life story that puts bare boobs and church in the same sentence. (Let’s leave the Song of Solomon out of this.)

An embarrassing story and marketing lesson:

Once upon a time, our church reserved the local water park for a fun family outing. I didn’t want to go. Many of you know my battle with my weight, and my self conscious brain was fighting the idea of being in a swimming suit in front of all our friends. But the kids were excited about it and I felt like a loser mom, not going because of my selfish feelings.

So we invited another family to come with us who had kids the same age and met at the park. My daughters were 3 and 7 at the time.

I had plans of playing in the wave pool where most of me would be hidden under water, but their kids were gutsy and daring and wanted to do the water slides. Of course my kids wanted to go too.

I watched at the bottom of the slide, many happy parents and kids, safely splashing into the water fully afloat on the double rafts. There was a high demand for the tubes that had two rings connected like a figure 8 so there were two lines, one a crowd of people at the bottom of the slide waiting to stake their claim on a double raft, and the other a line heading up a million steps leading to the top of the slide.

When we finally got our hands on two of these rafts, my husband and I worked our way to the top with the kids impatiently waiting our turn to go. He decided that I should go first with our youngest and he’d come behind me down the slide with our oldest. I sat in the back of the tube with my legs wrapped around my daughter who sat in the tube connected in front of me.

No one mentioned the slide was dark inside. My daughter who slept with a fish tank light on in her room because she was afraid of the dark, freaked out and started screaming and crying. In an attempt to reach forward to grab her and pull her onto my lap, I tipped the raft and we both slid out of it.

I had a hold of her under her arm with my foot and I was panicked as we swished and sloshed around the curves in total darkness. (Listening to her screams of fear.) I struggled the entire length of the slide trying to get a grip on her, and not let her slip away from me.

She wouldn’t be able to stand up at the bottom of the slide, especially with the current of water coming down the slide and my total focus was to get a hold of her so I could keep her head above water when we landed.

At the very last second, just as the slide started to glow brighter blue from the daylight, I got my hands around her ribs. I pushed her into the air as we landed in the pool of water at the end of the slide and worked to get my footing and stand up as quickly as I could, holding her above my head.

I was completely oblivious to the fact that the top of my one piece swimming suit had come undone.  It was hanging around my waist and my boobs were both fully exposed to the crowd of parents and kids, most of whom we were friends with, waiting at the bottom of the slide for our double raft.

(I forgot to mention that my husband and I served in he kids ministry, so we were well known among the families of the church.)

While moms, dads, teenagers, and kids laughed (I assumed because we came down the slide raft-less) one mom reached into the pool to take my daughter for me while she whispered to me to fix my top. I was mortified. I couldn’t believe what had happened and I thought I would never survive.  Someone handed me a towel as I walked out of the pool holding my top up and I thought, “We HAVE to switch churches.”

But what really happened was that I broke a barrier in my mind that I didn’t know was there. I was able to laugh at the situation and then use it to help me in many things I’ve done since then, like marketing my business online.

Marketing Lesson: Breaking Through Limiting Beliefs

Okay, so I’m not perfect…who is?

I realized that we all have the same parts (well half of us anyway).  We all fear embarrassment.  We all have the same fears feeling vulnerable, or not being accepted.

How many times do we end up holding ourselves back from doing things because we’re self conscious?  How is it that we underestimate our gifts most of the time?

Would any other mom do anything differently than I did?  No. I bet all you mommies (and daddies) reading this would fight with all your might to keep your kids safe, even at the risk of looking stupid or being embarrassed.

If we want to succeed in our businesses that means we’re going to have to take some risks and expose ourseves to opportunities for growth. While I don’t necessarily recommend you show your boobs to your church, I do recommend you put your focus on others and not yourself and take some risks!

If you find yourself nervous or feel like you are holding yourself back, chances are you’re thinking about yourself.

Find someone else you can help instead.  Putting your focus on them will do you a lot of good when it comes to working through your limiting beliefs. You’ll be able to come back to your business having expanded your confidence a little bit and be able to stretch your comfort zone a little bit more.

So remember that it’s about the baby steps that help us to reach our goals and you can be hit with a marketing lesson from many daily life situations.  Pay attention to what is happening to you in your life.  Think about how you can take something you learned as a parent, wife, grocery shopping, or just about anything and use it in your marketing!

(If you are wondering what happened at the health club to remind me of this story.  Nothing exciting.  I just noticed while doing the back stroke that I was dangerously close to playing peek-a-boob because my straps were not tied tight enough, which was enough to bring this story to the forefront of my mind.)

Please comment below and please share this post on social media. We’d all love to know what situations have you experienced in life that can stand as a marketing lesson to help you grow your business, grow your comfort zone, and grow your character!

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  1. Hi Heather!

    I normally can’t laugh at embarrassing stories because I’m so empathetic, I’m mortified on their behalf. But today, when I got to “peek-a-boob”, it was all over!!! 🙂

    Thanks for a slightly painful but ultimately funny reminder of how important it is to be willing to take risks to build our businesses.


  2. You are lucky that no one had their cell phones at the ready, Heather, or we all would really know you!
    On 17 March, Michele Corey posted on Forbes an article remonstrating folks to share their stories “Warts and All”. Now, I am not comparing your breasts to warts (especially since I was not there), but your stories- and great expositions thereto- are similar.
    The link is : http://bit.ly/h4DkXT

    Thanks for a great story. Your child’s picture is much tamer than the vision we created…

    • Hi Roy,

      Aren’t I ever…but at the bottom of a water slide, I’m sure most people had their phones tucked safely in a bag or locker. 🙂

      I’ll have to check out the link…sounds like a great read!


  3. Hey Heather, thanks for sharing this story with us all. I’m sure that everyone who reads your post today will be able to relate. I sure know I did.

    You are SO right, we all need to take risks, step outside our comfort zone and go places we’ve never been before. But these are all life lessons if you ask me because without them, we would never be able to move forward and create a better life for ourselves. So thank you for that embarrassing reminder.


    • Hi Adrienne! 🙂

      I’m glad you related to my post today. It was one of those things I debated…do I share, or not?

      But taking risks are the key to helping me grow, right?

      I agree that these are life lessons. Most marketing lessons deal with mindset, belief, and how we approach life. There is an old saying that I remind myself of often…how I show up here is how I show up everywhere. On my blog, in my business, in my family, in my community, etc.

      Thanks for the comment!


  4. Beth Stowers says:

    Hi Heather!

    What a story! You inspire me that you were able to take it all in stride after ending up topless. I don’t know exactly what I would have done, haha. 🙂

    Thank you so much for your story and for the lessons you have given in your blog post!

    I need to be constantly reminded that it is okay to take some risks in my business. Sometimes, I get quite nervous about the things I am doing.

    Sometimes, I go through worst case scenerios in my mind…”What if — happens?” And it is often not very helpful, hehe. When this happens, I try shift my thinking a little.

    First, I think about all the possible things that could go wrong as I move out of my comfort zone. Then I ask myself if I would be okay with the worst, bad consequences. If the answer is “yes,” (it usually is)I go for it with confidence. (I think I learned this from Timothy Ferriss in The Four Hour Workweek). It has been immensely helpful.

    Education helps me out too! I just have to make sure I don’t get into a mode of wanting to know everything before I get started.

    Have a blessed day and thank you again for your awesome blog post!

    Beth Stowers

    • Boy, do I know that mode of feeling like I need to know everything before I can get started! I swear I was stuck there for over a year, (more like 2) after I learned about the concept of marketing online for my home based business.

      I agree that often thinking about what the worst could be and realizing that even then, it wouldn’t be so bad is a great way to push past the comfort zone.

      I personally try to just take baby steps toward my goals and not gigantic leaps. Steady baby steps (like talked about in the book the slight edge) compound over time to become gigantic leaps! 🙂

      Thanks for the awesome comment and I’m so glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts!


  5. That was so funny and yes I bet very embarassing.You made some great points.You do have to take risks in business.I do that everyday because I use video as my #1 tool.You can’t hide there.Thanks for sharing this story.I am sure you made God chuckle too.

    • Hi Beverly!

      Thanks for the comment! I agree that video does feel like a risk for many! We always need to keep pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones if we expect to grow in business and in life! 🙂


  6. I would have been mortified too. Glad you can see the humour in the situation now.

  7. Heather,
    You are my hero! First, for weathering this event and second, for being courageous enough to tell the story so that others could learn from it. I love the way you said we let fear make us underestimate our gifts…. that is ninja. We really can’t see ourselves if we are focused on others. THANK YOU, I’m sure you are having a powerful week. Allegra

  8. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for sharing this very personal story with us! I admire the way you turned it into a marketing lesson. Well done!

    And you are absolutely right, we do need to step out of our comfort zone if we want to grow. Isn’t it funny, how at times life does just that for us if we want to or not?

    Great lesson and thanks for the giggle!


  9. Hi Heather!

    That’s a really creative way to find a marketing lesson, but it’s a great one! We often do have to do things that embarrass ourselves as we try new things in our businesses but in the long run it will pay off.

    Just today I took a new step in my business, trying something completely new to me. I was literally saying, “I don’t want to do this!!” as my heart was pounding with nervousness. But of course everything was fine and I will continue to do better with practice.


  10. You raised a smile and a laugh from me too heather. What an entertaining situation and image!

    I tend to find that the idea of these embarrassing situations is far worse than the reality – once you’ve exposed yourself, whether physically, psychologically or whatever, there’s a great strength in that honesty and nakedness. Embracing that vulnerability can be quite empowering!

    So I agree 100% with your marketing lesson here: exposing yourself to risks, the possibility of looking silly or getting things wrong is the only way to grow. If we only do what we’ve always done, we’ll only get what we’ve always got. Growing requires moving into unknown territory and taking risks.

    Thanks Heather, a great post to read with my morning coffee and a good reminder to keep pushing the boundaries!

    All the best,

  11. Hi Heather, great story and great lesson! Learning from those kinds of incidences is priceless however embarrassing!
    Taking risks in this business is huge and as I shared in todays post, mistakes are vitally important in this industry and I would say risks rank right up next to that category.

    Thanks for sharing!


  12. Great post, Heather! While reading this, I could see the build-up coming, but I couldn’t help but laugh and think that I hope that your church isn’t too strict when it comes to body issues 😉

  13. Hi Heather, I needed another laugh today… and while I can appreciate the embarrassment from similar situations I’ve managed to get myself in and out of, I appreciate your lesson and point!

    I really got a kick out of this!

    Thanks for the post and graphic description!

  14. Hi Heather,

    I love a good story especially when I know it will also involve a good laugh. 🙂

    Of course I was not laughing at you lovely Heather but with you as I am sure we all have embarassing stories we could tell.

    It’s just that you were brave enough to share your vulnerability with us in a public forum. Maybe telling the story was quite easy in comparison with the actual event?

    I like the associated lesson too.

    I believe the one thing we will do just about anything to avoid is “being wrong” whatever that may mean… looking stupid included!

    When we no longer fear what others will say or think is when we will make the strides forward that we so desire because then we will make the mistakes that have to be made before we can move to greatness.

    Thank you Heather for the powerful if funny reminder!


  15. Hi Heather,

    “Peek-a-boob!” That reminds me of the time I answered the door after breastfeeding, forgot to button up, and gave the UPS guy an eyeful.

    The marketing lesson about confidence and not crippling ourselves with self-consciousness is powerful. And memorable.

    Maybe even visually striking? =)


  16. What a great story, and a great example of how using lessons you learn in everyday life can be used in your business. After all it’s the people that make a business, making your more personal with your experiences can only enhance it. Thanks for sharing

  17. Hey Heather,


    Seriously, thanks for sharing this personal story with us. It must have been very embarrassing but it’s wonderful that you have turned it into a marketing lesson that we can all learn from!

    I couldn’t agree with you more – taking risks is absolutely key to your business success.

    It’s important to get into the habit of stepping out of your comfort zone if you want to grow. A fact is, if you don’t grow, your business won’t grow.

    Thanks for the inspiration and a good laugh, Heather! 😀

    All the best,

  18. Hey Heather,

    All I can say is…Wow! You made it through it and came out stronger at the end. You are right, we should be willing to step out of our comfort zone by taking risks, which is the only way for us to progress in any life situation.

    Thanks…I needed to read a post like this. It gave me the fuel I need to keep on pushing.


  19. We all have embarrassing stories, much worse than yours. So, yes it takes courage to be able to laugh about it. The truth is that after a time you don’t think that it was an embarrassing moment, but a funny one.

  20. Amazing post! It is difficult to find those limiting beliefs, but we must find them and get past them.

  21. Hey Heather, What a truly human story. I loved it!

    But you’re right. We have to look past our own embarrassing moments and take risks to expose ourselves.

    It’s not always what we hope for but when others can see our vulnerable side, we become more connectible. It reveals us as not a perfect person but someone others can actually relate to. I think that’s important for our success.

    Taking risk can be tough but it’s part of life. I took a risk getting married, we take risks having kids, buying a house, starting a business.

    But there comes a point where it no longer becomes a matter of worrying about whether we made the right choice, it’s about making the choice ‘right’.

    Great post Heather. 🙂

    Take Care, Liz

  22. Great post, Heather. It is so important to recognize our limiting beliefs in order to confront them. I like how you made this distinction. Excellent work!

  23. Wow I clicked to you from Mario Forleo due to the title of your post, I had to. I was like..what is this church and boobs what is..I have enjoyed it. It is a big lesson. I learn this everyday. My daughter goes swimming and she is tall and all so super excited than all the other tiny obedient boys and girls. Well I get embarrassed but now I just pray, smile and accept her. And as you say, I should accept my weakness no one is perfect, we are all learning from each other.
    Thanks for sharing-imagine if you had kept this a top secret.

  24. Hi Heather,

    Though your story could appear embarassing, it’s those embarassing moments that make others laugh. Do you know that laughter occurs when someone identifies with the feelings another has in the shared experience. Regardless of the exact event, anything that seems embarassing at the moment later on makes one laugh because you know how you felt at the time! lol..

    I am a christian and am looking for other spiritfilled believers to partner with in a mastermind and supportive community. Marie Forleo mentions this in her article and I noticed you said you already had one. This site appears to be one, looks like. If you have any tips for creating a group, I’d appreciate it! Thanks Heather.

    If you go to CarynElizabethLive you tube channel, it’s got many audio devotionals and other stuff I love sharing. I’d love your feedback, as I’m looking for ideas for the niche to plug into!

    Caryn Elizabeth
    ps. Find me on facebook. I’ll go ahead and share your article if you’d like.

  25. Hi Heather,
    what an experience! You made it through it that is what matters. Most would run and hide and never come back. I am sure you wanted to run and hide but to laugh at the end of the day, that is most important.

    thanks for the marketing lesson, there is lots to learn and grow from, embarrassments and all, lol. We all have them, like the time my mother pulled my pants down and spanked my bare self in front of my friends. Ouch!

    God bless you,

  26. Agree with you unless we take risk and move unto pastures new we will never achive anything in life.

    Reminds me of when I was walking into a huge ballroom and the host and his wife stood in the stairs to welcome the guests. Everybody was looking at the guests arriving. Had borrowed a dress from a friend of mine. The host lifted me up and when he put me down the dress fell down as well and exposed my boobs. Not much to do than to ignore it and keep on walking down the stairs.

  27. Hi Heather! You really make me laugh but then I learn something from you. You have experience things about marketing lesson and that is a great idea. You have to take a risk in taking an opportunities unless you will not grab it. This situation from you reminds me of getting embarrass to everyone and having a self-conscious.