I didn’t have the easiest childhood. Both parents abused alcohol, and at age 11 two major events occurred; my father made his first million, and my mother lost her mind. My idea of what was normal in the world would always be skewed by what was going on at home. Even as a child I knew my life would always be different.
One day, fairly early in my junior year of high school I decided to stop going. I couldn’t stand the structure. I wanted to be free.
The idea of living a conventional life never felt right. I caroused my teen years away, and the restlessness continued. I moved from state to state, jumped from job to job and gained skills and experiences that helped me grow. I got a rush from living on my terms.
My daughter came along a decade later. She entered after the death of my father (who took his life after losing everything) and too many other life events to mention. With her arrival, my lifestyle had to change. My wild days of riding the tide and doing whatever I wanted to do at the drop of a dime lost its luster. I realized I’d had years of freedom and amazing moments, but I hadn’t built anything solid. I wanted, and I needed more for the two of us going forward.
My daughter’s arrival changed everything. Rather than rebel against normalcy, I decided to expand my comfort level and try it on for size. I planted roots for my new little family.
I was a single parent, so increasing my income became my mission. I used whatever I had at the moment to shift my life and make it better for my daughter and me. I started to realize that the more responsibility I embraced, the more freedom I had. Freedom started to look different to me because responsibility created opportunities that hadn’t existed before.
Responsibility became my best friend. My income grew along with my options. I changed jobs and moved to a better neighborhood. Soon, my only regret was that my daughter and my mom didn’t have the chance to get to know each other (we lived twelve-hundred miles apart.) I decided to change that. I packed everything, and we moved. Watching the two of them bond in ways I never experienced as a child with my mom was fulfilling. Time had healed a lot.
As I built a track record of successful outcomes in both my personal and professional life, opportunities opened up. I learned the importance of positioning myself as the go-to person at work. I provided so much value that I kept getting promoted.
Soon, I purchased my own home. Several years later, when my daughter came to me to tell me she wanted to drop out of high school, I was able to offer insights that my parents couldn’t give me.
There was no fear. We both knew she would excel at beauty school and that she needed her GED to enroll. Rather than let her go off to earn her GED alone, I decided to join her.
Thirty years after walking out of high school, I returned to do what millions of teenagers do around the world each year – I graduated. And I did it on my terms, alongside my 17-year-old daughter.
I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything. And I believe the road I traveled molded me into a strong, supportive, leader with skills I couldn’t have gained had I been too scared to venture outside of the box that society tries so hard to force us into.
My lust for adventure and new experiences has never left me. After I turned 50, I examined my life through a new lens. I had built something beautiful. I had success, a healthy, happy daughter, and a great career with amazing benefits yet I was itching to create something new for myself.
As a proposal department manager, my career consists of content marketing. Searching for my “something new” I learned about social media marketing and its sheer power – I was hooked! I’d also learned about the distress local business owners felt as online shopping was seemingly poised to end their livelihood. My direction now set, I started a side business helping local business owners level the playing field with social media marketing
I’ve pushed through a lot of adversity in my life. Breaking down overwhelm into manageable steps comes naturally to me.
We all have the ability to determine our success through the actions we take. Online marketing is simply adversity that business owners need to push through to reap its benefits. Applying my life lessons and skill sets to helping them do that is just one more example of how adversity paves the road to success.
To anyone that holds on to shame or guilt from pieces of your life that aren’t considered “perfect” by society’s standards, I say: Release it all! Your story is your power, especially the parts that are different from everyone else’s.