Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever.
These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
In 2014, I had the opportunity to start a tech company to solve a huge problem I faced as a parent. I had never worked so hard in my life – endless 80-hour weeks, months of sleeping three to four hours a night, working holidays, sacrificing my health, and ironically enough, precious family time.
I spent the better part of three years marinating in cortisol. To cope, I was washing down a couple of Benadryl with a bottle and a half of Sauvignon Blanc almost nightly, waking at 3 a.m., and then on to a full day of CEO-ing. Rinse and repeat. Several tests confirmed that my body was revolting from all the stress. At 42 years old, I had the cardiovascular health of a 65-year-old.
I remember Thanksgiving Day 2016: I woke up and couldn’t move my body out of the bed. My husband had to physically move my legs and help me stand up. Overnight, it was like I’d turned into an old woman. I went to several doctors only to find I had been having recurring flare-ups of the Epstein-Barr virus over the past year. This last flare-up finally got my attention.
After three years of operating my company, the money dried up, the product still didn’t work, the team was falling apart, and I was a shell of a person. My skin was intact, but not much else. It would be another six months before I finally dissolved the company.
The experience brought me to my knees with the deepest exhaustion I’ve ever experienced. It produced debilitating burnout, compounded by humiliation that would take a full year to recover from.
With the help of an amazing team of professionals, I recovered. I found my way out of the unsustainable race that was literally leading me to an early death. As I’ve learned, too much stress does that. And collapsing is not resting.
But the most important part of my recovery was confronting deeply held beliefs about my worth, identity, and cultural messages around “success.” I had to re-evaluate my unrealistic expectations. I had to realign with my core values. And I had to deconstruct a belief that having needs is synonymous with weakness.
If I’m honest, this work will take a lifetime. Every day I feel lured back to the grind. And every day I practice silence and solitude, honor constraints, find the easy path, and reconnect with what matters most.
Shelley Prevost, Signal Mountain