It’s Day 79/80 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m so excited to finally finish my second short story. I actually started it on Day 79 but realized there were some holes from Post 2 that I needed to fill. Doing that took me over into today. It’s been more than a week since I posted that, so I hope if there is anyone out there still interested in the story that this will be a satisfying conclusion. I appreciate you reading!
Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 3 of 3
Following a fabulous date night with her husband, Phil, Bonnie was more thankful than ever that she was married to her best friend. Well, her best friend with skin on him! “I’m a real Jesus Freak”, Bonnie said aloud, then laughed at herself. Laughter aside, the Christian rap and rock trio DC Talk’s lyrics about some thinking it strange that a best friend could be born in a manger applied to her and she was proud of it. As she’d responded to Nicole’s email question, her husband and her faith had been instrumental in her overcoming challenges and maximizing rock bottom to build the best of her life.
True as all of that was, Bonnie was a little concerned that she’d focused too much on the personal side of what had helped her overcome challenges and not enough on the professional. The fact that she’d been fortunate enough to have mentors who saw something in her that she didn’t see in herself, even when she was just getting back on her feet, was huge. She’d read Cheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and knew several women who were in the unfortunate position of having to ask other women the question that was a title of one chapter: Are You My Mentor? Fortunately for Bonnie, she’d never had to ask it and was blessed with several.
First, there was the dynamic workshop presenter who helped women with strategies to overcome workplace challenges who had not only helped her to move from surviving to thriving as a new Center Director, she’d taken her under her wing and mentored her ever since. Bonnie was so honored that she was the only other person Elle had ever partnered with to write and present workshops. It had boosted Bonnie’s confidence and served as a springboard for her to launch her own business. Not only that, within a few short years, she’d moved Bonnie from talking about it to making her twenty-year-old dream of earning her Master’s degree a reality. Bonnie had dithered between Adult Education with Instructional Design or Leadership and Coaching and Elle had coached her to choose the latter which aligned more with her purpose and passions.
Then there were the women in leadership positions or with influence who had either exposed Bonnie to opportunities, helped her get her foot in the door, or both. These amazing women included master trainers, executive directors, directors, authors, book and magazine editors, and retirees who provided a heads up that vacancies were on the horizon. Because of them, Bonnie’s resume included titles such as Training Consultant, Director, Leadership and Life Coach, Featured Presenter, Magazine Columnist, and would soon include Author. Each woman had seen her potential, largely due to the way she not only soaked in everything they taught or exposed her to, but by the way she maximized it all. She read voraciously and attended every professional development workshop and seminar that would strengthen her skills and advance her career.
“I’ve never seen a woman maximize her every opportunity they way you do,” Elle had commented one day.
And Bonnie had the name of her future business.
Now Bonnie sat in her home office at Maximize Her. The agency provided comprehensive coaching services to women. She poured herself a second cup of Starbucks coffee from the Keurig machine conveniently placed near her desk. After adding sugar-free vanilla syrup and fat-free powered creamer, she took it and meandered out to her back deck. She worked there on days when the temperamental Cincinnati weather permitted. It was the rainiest July she could remember, and having lived in the city or its suburbs all of her forty-plus years, that was saying something. This week alone she’d set up her laptop outdoors twice to catch up on email and had to go in because of sudden thunderstorms. Today looked promising, without a cloud in sight, so she looked forward to completing the final phase of the selection process for the inspiring women book anthology.
She sat in her favorite wicker chair, opened her laptop, pulled up the latest email from Nicole, and read:
I’ve truly enjoyed hearing your story thus far and have been inspired by it.
For the next stage of the selection process, please list the top five lessons you’ve learned along your journey.
Bonnie had thought long and hard about this list and had painstakingly worked to narrow it down to the the most valuable lessons she’d learned in her transition from mess to sustained success. Toggling over to review it once more, she scrutinized what she’d written:
Lessons Learned Along the Way: How to Maximize Rock Bottom
- Most of life isn’t what happens to us, it’s our response to it. My response to rock bottom is, it didn’t happen to me, it happened for me, so I could build my best life and coach, encourage and inspire other women to live theirs.
- Set backs are a set up for an even greater comeback. (Joel Olsteen said it first, and it is true!). Rock bottom provided the firm foundation, and the circumstances that got me there served as the catalyst for me to acquire and/or utilize the tools needed to build my best life.
- Rock bottom’s firm foundation must be set on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ, so our lives can withstand the storms.
- As we’re building our lives, storms will come, and we may get weathered, but that makes us even better because we’re authentic, credible, and relateable.
- Though our lives may gotten leveled, if we turn over control to Him, God’s plan for our new lives is better than anything we could have designed ourselves.
“That’ll have to do,” she murmured as she typed a brief note to Nicole, hit “Send”and shut her laptop case.
“What’ll have to do?” Phil asked as he stepped onto the deck and closed the french door to his wife’s office behind him. He often worked from home as well which could be a blessing and a curse since they often distracted one another.
Bonnie reached for his hand as he sat in the wicker chair next to hers. After he’d adjusted it to be in a spot of shade, Bonnie updated him on the latest with the book anthology.
“You’re Chris Gardner,” he told her when she’d finished. Early in the relationship, they’d watched Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness, and both had been profoundly moved. She’d just gone from being homeless like the real life character portrayed in the movie, to being offered directorship positions from the nation’s top two corporate childcare providers, and Bonnie’s joy had equalled that of the actor when offered his dream job. Since then, whenever she made another career advancement, or accomplished something big, he’d call her Chris Gardner.
Squeezing his hand she explained, “If I’m selected, the final part of my story is sharing how I’m using my unique gift to inspire others. That part would be easy. One of the first things I did when I started my job as the director of the coaching program was to sit in during class when purpose statements were created. I was forty-six and had never done that!”
“So, love, what is your purpose statement?” Phil asked though he could probably say it by heart given all the times she’d repeated it to him.
“My purpose is to use my unique God-given strengths to coach, encourage and inspire other women to live their best lives and to become the best version of themselves, all to His glory.”
Phil looked at her with a look so tender, it took her breath away. Clearing his throat, to hide his emotions, he said, “Your purpose is one more reason I adore you. And for the record, you were living it long before you ever set it down on paper.” With that, he rose and pulled her to her feet with him. “What time is your image consultation?” he asked now with a flirtatious gleam in his eyes.
That blessing and curse thing…Bonnie would have loved to spend the morning with her gorgeous husband, but she was very disciplined about working her business during the day so she would be available in the afternoons and evenings for him and the children. The children weren’t an issue at the moment as they were away with their father for summer break. On one hand this left more time for Phil. On the other, it afforded opportunities to do work she couldn’t when the children were around. While she was building her business, work during the day had to be a priority.
Furthermore, Bonnie loved the image consultation side of her business because it allowed her to help women own their sense of professional style so they could step up their professional image, which often resulted in career advancements, promotions, and increased recognition. In fact, her wearing a suit very similar to the one she had on now had been the difference in her being offered a directorship vs. the assistant directorship position she’d applied for nearly a decade ago when she made her whirlwind return to the workforce.
“Honey, the consultation is in twenty minutes, so I have to leave now.”
Looking crestfallen, Phil kissed her chastely and then let go of her hand.
“Don’t look so forlorn. I’ll be home early afternoon and I’ll make it up to you.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Phil grinned just as Bonnie’s cell phone rang.
When Bonnie grabbed it and mouthed, “It’s Nicole,” then worked really hard to reign in her joy until the call ended, Phil watched her and could barely contain the pride he felt because she’d obviously been selected to co-author the book anthology.
As Bonnie leapt repeatedly into the air, pumped her fist, and clapped her hands above her head, much like Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner had, Phil was reminded again of the Pursuit of Happiness.
Like Chris Gardner, Bonnie was resilient and had truly bounced back.
Thank you for reading this short story! I hope it encouraged and inspired you!
~Pink Collar Coach