I’m coming out. Ok not like Anderson Cooper or George Takei….but I’m coming out. TODAY!
I am fiercely, and I mean FIERCELY protective of my personal life. Before I even began on a very public business journey, my decision was to keep my personal life private.
Your past is like your ass, it is behind you.
Everyone has a past. I have always said that the past is like your ass, it is behind you. Erika Lyremark (Stripper turned 7 Figure Business Builder) and I had a conversation not long ago when she said something about her own story that stayed with me. “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” I took that to heart.
EVERYTHING leading up to this very moment,
has made you who you are!
This business year for me has been incredible and extremely public. I’ve had tremendous successes. I’ve experienced disappointments and setbacks. I’ve experienced radical and incredible acts of kindness and support. I’ve even had some people come out of the woodwork and attempt to take advantage of all of my hard work. To say it has been an amazing journey thus far is an understatement. I’ve never felt so amazing, empowered, knowledgeable and on solid ground in my whole life. I view my work as my ability to serve vs. my ability to get paid. Don’t get me wrong…I’m lovin’ getting paid for what I love to do, but knowing that my efforts are appreciated and working with people who energize me is truly priceless!
Everything and I mean EVERYTHING leading up to this very moment has made me who I am. Every single experience, interaction, choice in my life, achievement, failure, words spoken, even words not spoken make me who I am both professionally and most importantly personally.
My Decision was Monumental but Not Glamorous
One of my most monumental choices in my life was to become a mother at the age of 16. Many of those who have met me and/or met my talented son who is now in his 20’s (studying entrepreneurship & business surprise surprise!) do a quick look at my appearance, some quick calculations in their mind and almost 100% say, you can’t possibly have a child that old!!?? Everyone I talk to about it in person is positive, they admire all I have accomplished. Many are genuinely proud, as I am. It hasn’t always been that way.
“If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” – Erika Lyremark
I was a single teenage mother. I was on assistance. I lived in crappy places. I was deemed a drain on society, and a disgrace and threat to the religion I was born into. I embarrassed my parents who were prominent members in the church. I was considered a slut, someone to be avoided, and certainly not someone who had any chance to become anything in life. I was discounted and discarded. Teenage pregnancy is not glamorous. Being a single mother is not a party. Losing your friends and being alone is something no one should ever go through. Having to choose between food or rent is not a choice anyone should haven to make…especially on a regular basis.
Experiencing judgment from people who haven’t walked in your shoes and in some cases don’t even know you is painful. You are damned if you do choose to become a teenage mother, and damned if you choose not to become a mother after you become pregnant. Only thing is that one choice is more obvious than the other.
TROUBLE CAN EMPOWER or CRUSH YOU
Let us look at what this experience GAVE me. In fact this is the experience that ANY SIGNIFICANT “TROUBLE” or LIFE CHANGE will give you!
- When you think you have nothing, you always find you have something and you find a way to get through, even if it is day by day.
- Things may not be working out like the status quo….getting creative and bucking the system and what people expect of you is one way to achieve your goals.
Belief in and Commitment to Paying it Forward
- Everybody needs someone sometime. Give. Give back and give some more without expecting anything in return. This giving without expectations fills and protects your heart and soul.
Establishing a Strong Circle of Trust
- Be selective of who you let in. Only let in the best. Let the rest exit even if you need to show them the way out. Think of it as a hiring process. No fly by nighters. Only those in for the long haul. They say you are the company you keep. Its true.
Freedom Sometimes Means Letting Go
- If it doesn’t serve you. Doesn’t inspire you. Doesn’t fuel you. Let it go. This includes belongings, experiences, jobs and even people. Let it all go with grace.
Making a Commitment – To Yourself
- You are all you have got. If you are not able to be 100%, you can’t possibly serve and show up when you are needed. Commit to yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit, your career. Be who you want to become, not what is expected.
Tiphani Montgomery, (aka successful entrepreneur, 7 time best selling author and motivational speaker) recently wrote a blog post about her similar experience and has an amazing project underway called Knocked Up, Now What?!? She is someone who has turned her “burdens into blessings” and I tremendously respect her for it. After speaking to her and reading her words she inspired me to tell my story without embarrassment and with pride. Read the article and prepare to be inspired!
Be you, 100% unapologetically, you!
I was a teenage mother. I have had a successful career. I am a CEO. I am an author. I am a speaker. I mentor and inspire people to do incredible things. I am a proud wife and mother of 3 gorgeous children. Everything I was, has made me who I am today. Everything you are, you are because of who you were. Make no apologies. Be you, 100% unapologetically, you!
Share the LOVE!
Did you enjoy this post? Ever feel lost in the past? Did you really think your past didn’t give you strength? Need motivation to kick the past in the ass? Share this article with your network and encourage everyone to embrace, who they have become rather than living in the past! I’ve made it super easy for you. Click to Tweet or copy and paste your favourite social media sharable!
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The past is like your ass, it is behind you. @AVV shares her coming out story. #Mentormondays http://ow.ly/cifD9
Be you. 100% Unapologetically YOU! @avv and her coming out story on #mentormondays http://ow.ly/cifD9
Everything you have been, makes you who you are today. @AVV on Trouble & Strength #mentormondays http://ow.ly/cifD9
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Anastasia Valentine is an award-winning product strategist, CEO of a fabulous marketing and PR agency, speaker, published author and mother. She has over 20 years achieving amazing results in bringing ideas and products to market in the high-tech, music and retail industries.
She works directly with amazing solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small, medium and enterprise-class companies across the globe. Her approach combines her knowledge, skills and experience fueled with her drive, a little tenacity and a lot of moxie to launch and build businesses! Visit Anastasia at www.anastasia-valentine.com