“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life Is a Journey – Here’s a Look at Mine
The reason that I think it’s important to share my story is because every experience I have had whether positive or negative, has played a part in forming, molding and carving out the person that I am today.
Through life’s lessons you can grow through each experience, each success, each failure… But, you have to allow it. If you don’t, you can feel lost, depressed and unsure of how to move forward.
Here’s the deal—I believe you are amazing. I believe that you have been uniquely made for a unique purpose.
Along our journey, we have disappointments, successes, “a-ha” moments, and growth spurts. I am here to share some of mine, in the hopes that it shows you that:
- You are not alone.
- You are already frickin’ awesome.
- You can achieve your dreams.
- You have an ally in me.
My Unique Purpose
I want to share my story with you because I want to you feel connected with me, to know that I am not perfect. But just as you are the perfect YOU, I’m the perfect ME. I haven’t had a perfect life. I have faced many struggles. And, frankly, I allowed life to slap me in the face on numerous occasions.
Here is a snapshot of my life—the ups and downs—that have brought me to where I am today and that have helped me identify and embrace my unique purpose.
My First Love, and My First Loss
I fell in love at the ripe old age of 4. My love? Gymnastics. My big sister was in gymnastics, and I wanted to be just like her. And then Mary Lou Retton won the Olympics. So then I wanted to be her! At the age of 5, I set my first big goal: I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast.
I loved every part of gymnastics, so I was not afraid to commit myself to such a lofty goal. I trained all the time—you couldn’t get me out of the gym! I also started coaching preschool gymnastics when I was 11, which helped offset my gymnastics tuition. I even got a job at McDonald’s at age 14 to help cover costs.
See, money was tight in my family of 9. And when it became clear that neither the funds nor the parenting bandwidth were there to let me try out at a gym that trains for the Olympics, I was devastated.
But I didn’t give up. I turned my attention instead to a new goal: to earn a Division I college scholarship. I continued to work as much as possible to pay for gymnastics. I lived, breathed, ate, slept and dreamt gymnastics. But a scholarship wasn’t in the cards.
I did land at a Division I school, however. Before I left for college, I also found my second love. This time, it was a boy. We fell madly in love the summer before college, and stayed connected as we went our separate ways— to different colleges, 1,350 miles apart.
While at college, I worked incredibly hard. But no matter what I did, I could not reach my head coaches goals. At 142 pounds, I was 15.5% body fat. You read that right. I was 5’4″, 142 pounds and 15.5% body fat. I was a brick house, benching 165 pounds! But the head coach wanted the whole team at 13%. No matter how hard I worked, how I changed my diet, and how dedicated I was, I was unable to keep up.
The silver lining throughout this hard time was a boy. He and I racked up quite the long distance phone bills (that was back before cell phones!) from talking on the phone so much. We decided that I needed to be closer to him. And with that, I transferred schools moving closer to home and the boy. Between the transfer from Division I to Division II and a change in training, I developed tendinitis in my shoulders so painful that after 15 years of gymnastics, I had to quit.
I had officially failed my gymnastics goals…permanently. In addition, I didn’t even know who I was. I had taken “gymnast” on as my identity. I was a good student, a daughter of good people, a Christian, but none of that mattered. I mourned the loss of myself for nearly a year.
My Second Love, and My Second Loss
I transferred schools a second time, this time to the college where the boy was whom I had fallen in love with nine months earlier. I graduated with a degree in Dietetics and obtained a job in the field that I graduated in. When I was 24, we got married. Within a year of getting married, we bought our first house. By the time I was 27, we had our first daughter. Within 17 months, we had our second. Everything seemed as it should.
But I had become dissatisfied with my career. I wanted more. I loved to teach, I loved to help, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. So, I went back to school—this time, for nursing. Nursing school was difficult on all of us. It required us to alter our schedules and juggle the kids between work hours, school work and studying. It definitely tested our relational fortitude. In the last semester of school, my husband and I went through a separation. This separation led to divorce, which was a crushing blow.
Learning to Love Myself
Leading up to the separation was an awakening in my personal growth. I knew something wasn’t right, but didn’t know what. And, frankly, I firmly believed that everything that went wrong in life was my fault. I met with a counselor every week for over a year. During that time, for the first time, I started to believe that there were things right with me. I certainly knew I had flaws, but I began to believe I was loveable—not just for what I could achieve, but for who I actually was.
I was also exposed to the 5 Love Languages. Ironically, I had been given the book while going through premarital classes all those years ago, but didn’t read or retain any of it. But this time was different. I was ready to learn. I was ready to grow.
A-ha moment #1: I was loveable.
A-ha moment #2: There wasn’t anything innately wrong with me.
Learning a New Trade
I was in a brand new nursing career, working full time, straight nights. And I loved my new job. But then murmurs of a nursing strike started to circulate. I was worried about the “what if’s.” What if there was a strike? How long could it last? Could I still afford the rent or food for me and my girls?
At the same time, I was exposed to a skin care and cosmetics direct sales company. It made sense to me for a Plan B, so I jumped. I also loved the philosophy of the founder and the company: Empower women.
As with anything else I had ever done, it wasn’t adequate to run this half-heartedly. I would not run this business like a hobby; I wanted to learn how to run it like a business.
Learning to Run a Business
Since I had no business experience whatsoever, I set out to learn everything I could. Books, more books, CDs, conferences, home-based training programs, home-based coaching programs, group coaching programs, workshops, more books, one-on-one coaches (multiple)… I was invigorated! I was beginning to see the fruit of my commitment to self-improvement and business growth. I learned how to network. I learned how to carry myself as a businesswoman. I began to feel truly purpose-driven. I truly began to believe that I was uniquely made for a unique purpose.
A-ha moment #3: I was uniquely made for a unique purpose. And so was everyone else!
In the midst of everything, I became emotionally healthy. I found love again. This man, Joel, loved me for exactly who I was and embraced the two beauties that came along with me. In August 2013, we were married.
Uncovering Others’ Beauty
I found immense joy helping others realize that, they too, are unique, amazing and beautiful. I didn’t care about their external beauty, only that the products I sold them helped them feel as beautiful on the outside as who they already were on the inside. I loved hearing about their dreams and goals.
One day, when sitting and drinking coffee with a friend, he asked me, “So Alissa, can you help all the people you want to help in the business you’re in?” While I had already quit my nursing career to pursue this business full time, and I was wholly committed to making it a success, I. Could. Not. Answer. Yes.
A-ha moment #4: I realized that I had a bigger purpose. So I moved on.
Becoming a Coach
Within a month of a-ha moment #4, I launched my own business success coaching company. Within the first month, I had my first paying client. I am now (and have been since I started) simply joyful knowing that I am finally doing exactly what God placed me on this Earth to do: Help others discover, own, and live out their awesomeness.
Take That Next Step. Contact Me for Strengths Coaching or Speaking.
Don’t waste another day questioning whether you are on the right path. Take action to identify your goals and achieve the success you so dearly deserve, your way. You’re wired for success. You are frickin’ awesome. It’s time you live it out in your business and your life.