Sitting in her home office, which was decorated with carefully curated items and inspirational messages that reinforced her agency’s theme, Maximize Her, Bonnie thought about the information call she’d been invited to join. Earlier the week before she’d typed a spontaneous response to an LinkedIn request for women to share their stories for a book anthology. Given the overwhelming response to the request, Bonnie had been pleasantly surprised when she was asked to register for the info session that evening.
As she reflected on what she would share should she be selected to contribute to the book, Bonnie wanted to pinch herself because where her life now was so radically different than it had been only a decade ago.
“We live a beautiful life, Loveday”, Bonnie told the cat when her feline companion wound herself around Bonnie’s leg and then leapt to her lap. “I hope you appreciate it, because it hasn’t always been this way.” Stroking the petite cat absently beneath the chin with one hand, she picked up her iPhone with the other and tapped it to bring up the message from the motivational speaker who’d sent it. After reading it and thinking through her next action step, Bonnie told the cat, “Hmm, Loveday. I believe I need to make a list”. She got no response, however, as Loveday, who’d been lulled to sleep by her person’s tender ministrations, had fallen asleep. Not wanting to wake her, Bonnie reached across the desk, pulled her laptop within reach and began outlining her story based on the criteria in the message. She’d be ready when asked to share it, and she felt fairly confident that she would be.
Two days later, Bonnie said a quick prayer, drew in her breath, and dialed the number she’d been provided following the information call. She and the other women had been assured it would be a conversation, not an interview, yet Bonnie still felt as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
“Hello, Bonnie. This is Doctor Nicole,” the book anthology interviewer answered pleasantly.
“Hello. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me,” Bonnie stated clearly. She was a petite woman, with a small voice, and she’d been coached to speak confidently.
“My pleasure. We’re so excited that you are interested in sharing your story. As you know, the anthology will be a collection of stories about women who have uncovered their unique gifts and are now using them to inspire others. So, Bonnie, please tell me, what is your unique gift, and how did you uncover it?”
Channeling everything she’d ever learned about interviewing, Bonnie sat up straighter and told the story she’d shared during Orientation at her last job where she’d been the Director of Life Coaching and Care and had served at-risk individuals who were facing barriers to living successful lives.
“One of my top strengths is that I’m a maximizer. I learned that when I was working as a Leadership Coach and took Strength Finder 2.O. But I didn’t fully discover how this strength is also my unique gift. I learned that when realized that I’d maximized hitting rock bottom to rebuild my life.”
The line was quiet for a moment, and Bonnie thought she’d lost Nicole. She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard, “Please tell me how you did that.”
Bonnie relaxed, knowing her Ds story was powerful and that she told it the only way she could. From the heart. “I grew up in a poor community to parents who were divorced by the time I was a year old. The divorce led to my mother’s depression, which led her to drink. Eventually, the drinking led to drug use and that brought the dope dealers into our home. I was a victim of domestic violence and the dysfunction was so severe that I was desperate to get out. So, before I was twenty, I married Dwayne, and he was the worst “d” of them all. For the next decade I was caught up in a circle of domestic abuse that culminated when Dwayne committed some dastardly deeds that I don’t speak aloud. I lost everything including my home, my car, and all of my possessions. I was destitute. Worst of all, I lost custody of my infant and toddler child when he kidnapped the children and filed for custody. I was devastated and so depressed that I wanted to die. I’d hit rock bottom.” Before she could finish, Nicole interjected.
“Wow. I must say, I’m not often surprised by what I hear, but your story is exceptional. How did you manage to go on?” Nicole rushed on without waiting for Bonnie’s response. “My apologies for interrupting. Please continue.”
“Through divine intervention.” Bonnie closed her eyes and reigned in her emotions. She’d never cease to be overwhelmed with gratitude that she’d had her faith to lean on and couldn’t imagine how people did go on without it. “And through determination to put my good education and teaching experience to use. I maximized rock bottom and made it the firm foundation upon which I built the rest of my life. I was able to work my way up into a position as director at a day care center and not only regained custody of the children but was able to take them to school with me every day. Ultimately I decided to pursue an advanced degree and now get to live out my purpose every day in my dream job.” Bonnie paused, and then concluded, “So, I maximized rock bottom to not only build the rest of my life, but to build the best of my life.”
For what seemed like minutes to Bonnie but was actually only a few seconds, Nicole didn’t say anything. When she finally did, she cleared her throat and told Bonnie in a voice thick with unshed tears, “Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing that with me. I’d love to have you tell me the rest of your story, but must adhere to the selection process. You’ll receive an email with the next question should you make it to the next round.”
“I appreciate that,” Bonnie replied as her heart sunk. Nicole sounded close to tears alright. Tears of boredom! I talked too long and nearly put her to sleep. Trying to keep from crying herself, Bonnie thanked Nicole for her time and consideration and ended the call.
Frustrated with herself, Bonnie told Loveday, “Well, that’s the end of that,” but had to eat her words a few minutes later when her phone pinged letting her know she had an email. Opening it and seeing it was Nicole did get Bonnie crying. Tears of joy!
Please stay tuned for Post 2. Thank you!
~Pink Collar Coach