Not long ago, at the 2017 Beachbody Coach Summit, I was asked to tell my story. (If you'd rather watch the video from Summit, scroll to the bottom of this blog post!) I immediately thought to myself, “which one?” The story of the girl that didn’t eat vegetables, not a single vegetable? What about the story of the overworked underpaid attorney? Maybe when I lost 65 pounds?
But then I thought to myself, “you’ve told all these stories before! Tell a different one.” When I finally decided on my story, I wrestled with it for weeks. How would I get through talking about this on stage? But I did it… I managed to share my story on stage, and now I want to share it here again with you. This is the story of our son, DJ, and how his diagnosis with Autism changed our lives forever.
Before I share my story, I just have to say, I find that it is no coincidence that the exact month I returned to work after having DJ was the exact month my sister, Becky, became a Coach. July 2010. Although I still wasn’t even a Coach myself, her taking a chance on this business would forever impact every single aspect of my life and I’m grateful for that every single day!
The Moment Our Lives Changed: DJ’s Autism Diagnosis
DJ was the perfect little boy. Hitting all milestones, chatting up a storm, even walking before he was one. But at around 16 months—he changed. He went silent. He was gone. And when the doctor said, “Mom, I am going to have to diagnose your son with Autism,” my life, our life crumbled. In an instant, I saw every hope and dream for his life vanish.
Questions and worries starting running through my mind. Why me? Why us? Why him?
You see, up to this point of my life, I hadn’t really suffered any real adversity. Yes, I worked incredibly hard for all my accomplishments but success came almost naturally. I don’t have that “rags to riches” story you hear too often in Beachbody. I grew up with amazing parents, with great friends and incredible life experiences and opportunities.
So, when DJ was diagnosed I immediately thought that I was being punished for NOT struggling through life. It was God’s way of humbling me. Why me, why us? This cannot be our reality.
But it was our new reality. I cried, and I am pretty sure Danny, my husband, cried too. We were angry. I wrestled with all these very selfish thoughts of what our life would now look like because we had an Autistic child. But when the initial shock wore off and reality set in, I experienced the most amazing shift in my life.
It was time for a shift in my life, in OUR lives.
My identity changed. Prior to DJ’s diagnosis, I defined myself as an attorney. It was who I was. I worked hard for that degree and I loved everything that came with it—the title, the power, the money. Not that I was making very much but maybe at the age of 65 I would.
But after DJ’s Autism diagnosis, I no longer saw myself as a lawyer—I saw myself as a MOM.
And with 100% conviction, I credit becoming a Beachbody Coach and personal development for that shift. I was his MOM, and he needed me more than ever. And with this opportunity, I was going to come home. My life’s work would be to improve the quality of his life, of our lives as a family. I was going to set my soul on fire, sacrifice and lean in so that I could not only help provide to our family but cover all of his therapy costs.
In that year, after my shift, after becoming a Beachbody Coach, our income grew to a point that it did not make financial sense to continue practicing law.
In May 2014, I retired and came home.
And DJ, he is thriving. Because of this opportunity, we are able to employ a very special lady to help him every day of his life. And he talks—talks a lot. Sometimes we have to tell him to be quiet! And I credit all of his accomplishments and what he will do in the future to the fact that we decided to GO FOR IT in our business and never look back.
I use his story, our story—as a way to inspire others to take action in their life.
My message: sometimes you cannot change your circumstances, but you can make the best of them. You can face your challenges head on and grow from them. And hey, you CAN change. And let me tell you, if our DJ can battle through every day to do things normal kids take for granted, YOU can workout for 30 minutes a day. HE IS THE HERO OF OUR STORY.
What Does This Story Have to do With YOU?
Well, at this defining moment of our life, we had two choices:
- Keep DJ’s story private
- Share it with the world
We chose the latter. And I will tell you that the confidence and boldness to share his story didn’t come easy. I was afraid of what people would think, I was nervous about people feeling “sorry” for us, I had even convinced myself that this would serve as ammunition for all my haters.
But the positive in sharing his story outweighs the negative. And it is bigger than me. I share it to help guide others as they move through their own life’s adversity. Because I definitely know now, that no one is immune from adversity.
We all have stories. Many many many stories that make up our DNA, make up who we are, and make up who we will become—some bigger than others, but stories nonetheless.
Why should you share your stories?
In this day in age when we are being pummeled on social media with ads, with sales pitches, with MLMs springing up left and right. You need to ask yourself, how will I stand out from the crowd? How can I make an impact?
Your highlight reel will only get you so far.
No one is you, and THAT is your power. When it comes to Beachbody, every single Coach sells the same product. We all have the ability within us to get results with those products. Right? So, the only way to REALLY differentiate yourself is to share the stories of your life.
Your life experiences and how you navigated through them are your value. We sometimes confuse free groups, e-books, blogs as being the only “thing” of value we share. I beg to differ. While these are all valuable tools for Coaches, your value comes from being vulnerable and open because it creates trust with your audience. It is what makes you relatable to others. If you can, they can.
Beachbody Coaching is an emotional-purchase based business. So you can’t lack in sharing the emotion.
What stories do you share?
How to share your stories:
Be purposeful and intentional in your message
Be vulnerable and open
Share the lesson learned
Use imagery to represent the story
Relate to your audience
Be the guide. Not the hero.
Your goal is to close the gap between you and your audience, not separate it. Your goal, your #1 priority, is to share your story with the purpose of guiding others, NOT showcasing you in all your awesomeness. When the focus is on you and not the teachable moments of your experiences, you become the “hero” and stop being relatable to your audience.
Sharing the stories of your life is what will help you connect to the people you are meant to help on this journey. Never forget that. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, remember to remove yourself from the equation and consider the impact you can make on others. When you do that, you will understand the power of storytelling to not only grow a business but to grow in life.
If you're not a Beachbody Coach but are interested in joining, starting your own business, and sharing YOUR story to help inspire others, learn more about becoming a Coach here.
Skip to 5:00 in the video below to watch the presentation.