Hello there! Thank you for being here! I am honored to tell you my story, and hope that you find encouragement and inspiration from my story.
I chose to title this post, “Be strong and Courageous,” a verse from Joshua 1:9 because this verse inspired me to take my, “Beautiful leap of faith.”
I found many times in life I had made decisions out of fear of failure, I am sure you have done this as well. This time, I chose to make my decision on my faith that I could, rather than my fear that I could not. You see fear is a false idea of what COULD happen, not what really IS or IS GOING TO happen.
Reflect back on your life, has there been a time, or an opportunity presented to you, that you didn’t take, out of fear you might fail?
Did you think, “What if I succeed?”
I hope after reading this, you will start to see opportunities differently.
In May of 2007, after finishing my Associates Degree in Equestrian Studies, I had aspirations to be a Horse Trainer and ride the Quarter Horse Show circuit. So naturally, I took a job with a World Class Trainer, specializing in Western Pleasure and reining, I was in my prime….. or at least thought I was. One afternoon while riding one of the client show horses, one of the 16 I rode daily, I was injured badly.
Long story short, June 14 2007, the horse reared, and flipped over directly on top of me. When these things happen there is no time to get out of the way. Stuck in the saddle, all the force and weight of this beautiful, large animal came crashing down on me. The next thing I remember, I was waking up in a hospital bed with a report of a broken pelvis, neck and back fractures. I quickly realized this young dream of mine wasn’t going to pay the bills, with a broken spine. My determination and resiliency landed me back on horses in a back brace in August of 2007. Yes, when you are young, you are fearless and seem to heal much faster.
Out of FEAR, between Associates and Bachelors Programs, I tried a different major, Nursing, I felt this was a “Safe” choice as nurses will always find work. Well, that didn’t pan out either, I quickly realized, I AM NOT A NURSE!
Out of FEAR, I went back to what I knew, the horses. I finished my Bachelors Degree in December of 2009, in Equine Science, Breaking and Training, in a Western Specialization. Although, this time I remembered my accident in June of 2007. I decided, the safest and most reasonable way to use my Equine Science Degree would be to teach the study of Horses, at a College, or University. So I continued on to a Masters Program, for Career and Technical Education. I did not thrive in this program either.
Failure after failure, I stumbled through what I thought was right, trying to avoid what COULD go wrong. In doing this I became very ill, and overwhelmed, to the point that the University, would not allow me to take on more classes. This was my biggest failure to date, in my eyes. I could not see past this HUGE failure.
I worked many different jobs to pay the bills, bar-tending, and waiting tables in high end fine dining restaurants. I even worked as a CNA, and PCA. All of which I never felt, were my “Forever job.” Working in many different service industry jobs, I was gaining skills I didn’t realize I was gaining. Skills such as, customer service, small business management, marketing, up selling, or cross category selling, etc.. Having gained these skills, I decided to take on a home based business! I decided to become an, Avon Representative in 2009. I never knew this would be my “Forever career.” This choice, changed my life forever.
I quickly excelled and became a Top seller, and recruited a large team simply by sharing my love of beauty products, and the company mission. I remember thinking, “Wow, just being me, has really grown my business.” In 2012 I had my first baby, Gabriel Alexander. Becoming an Avon Representative, afforded me the opportunity to build a home based business. This meant I was able to stay home with my baby, never missing first words, first steps, or any major milestones. This, to me, was a great blessing.
In 2013, at a top sellers recognition gala, I was approached by my District Sales Manager. It was here that I met one of the most influential, and inspiring women in my life, who remains an integral part of my life to this day. She mentioned to me a corporate opening, as a sister District Sales Manager. After a series of long, in depth interviews, I GOT THE JOB! However, this meant I had to give up my home based business, to work a corporate role, mentoring other Avon Representatives. I thought, “Oh no give up my business I worked so hard to build?” But I also thought, wow a corporate career!” I took the job.
As a District Sales Manager, I traveled all over, to places I never imagined I would see. I managed large districts both virtually and traditionally in Hawaii, California, and all over upstate NY. In my first year, I achieved highest honors, the Circle of Excellence, which is for an elite group of high performing District Sales Managers. In May 2015, I was sent to a celebration in Maui, Hawaii for this achievement.
On July 4th, 2015 I married my best friend, the father of our beautiful son, Gabriel. Having achieved so many goals, we were able to fund our beautiful, vintage, Victorian wedding! I was officially, Mrs. Bonaventura, honored and blessed to say the least! We were officially a family!
Prior, to our wedding, I had achieved a trip for my husband and I to Cancun, Mexico due to my performance as a District Sales Manager. As a young family, we certainly could not afford a fancy honey moon, so this was perfect! A fully funded all inclusive trip to Cancun, Mexico! Thanks Avon!
In August of 2015, as my career was taking off, I was asked to take an elevated role, in our corporate office in NYC. WOW, what an honor, a young girl like me, with a degree in Equine Science? No way, they must be mistaken! At this point I had received so much recognition, and achieved so many goals, I never thought I would ever achieve, I thought, I CAN DO THIS! A decision on FAITH that I COULD DO IT! Not FEAR that I could not.
This was most definitely the highlight of my career. I traveled to NYC each week Monday through Wednesday and worked from home Thursday and Friday. I was able to bring my family some weeks! Which was a treat!
I sat weekly in meetings with executives I had only seen on training videos, and read about! I was now making decisions and being asked my opinion at a level I never thought I would be! WOW!
I was flying high! Traveling and learning! Building my resume! I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing!
Although I was so excited, and proud…. I can remember being in Orlando, at our National Conference, away from my family now for a week. I had gone from Mexico, to Maui, NYC, and now Orlando in less than 2 months! I was EXHAUSTED! I was watching a Representative on stage sharing her story as an Avon Representative. She too had started in 2009. I started crying in the middle of the seminar. How embarrassing! I was suppose to be a strong, career woman, with HIGH emotional intelligence, right?! I was listening to her words thinking, “Oh my gosh that could have been me”, I miss my family so much! It was unbearable, I had to excuse myself. I thought I can’t believe I gave up my home based business! At the time I couldn’t think past my sorrow. I was FEARFUL I had made the wrong choice! I now realize had I not gone through all that, I would never have achieved all I had in my career, and would never be where I am today!
I quickly pulled myself together and finished what I went to Orlando to do!
My position was extended multiple times. I continued my role and worked very hard to achieve all of my goals. One week when traveling back to my hotel room from my last meeting, I wasn’t quite feeling myself. As women, we know when things are just, OFF. So …… I stopped into the drugstore on my walk to my room, and purchased a pregnancy test.
Yes, you guessed it I was pregnant with our second son, Elijah Champion. I remember being scared and happy all at once! Wow, another baby! What about my career?! What will my husband think?! What will Gabriel think?! Will he be upset that he is not the baby anymore?! Nonetheless, I traveled home, and celebrated with my family!
I kept the pregnancy a secret for a month or so from my colleagues. I was asked to stay in NYC and extend my position again, while I was honored, I was torn. I needed to be with my family every night! My husband and I decided I would stay a little longer to achieve our final goal of purchasing a home for our growing family.
I continued achieving goals both personally and professionally, and we were able to buy our first home! Our very own home! I was signing closing paper 8 and 1/2 months pregnant!
After achieving this, I decided to go back to being a District Sales Manager from my home office. I worked as a virtual manager, which meant I never had to leave my home office, and could enjoy my family while working! What a blessing!
Shortly after that, I gave birth to our second baby boy, Elijah Champion! He was perfect just like his brother!
I loved being able to work from home, and be with my family every day! I continued working this role until July of 2017, when Avon corporate decided to restructure! I hadn’t known at the time that this would be the BEST thing that could have ever happened to me and my family!
All field management was given the choice to re-interview for new Leadership Coaching roles or move on from the company. I went through the processes, and was selected to be one of the 150 or so chosen out of around 600-700 field managers. I never thought I would ever say, I am honored, but no thank you. However that is just what I did.
I thought and thought about what to do, and discussed it over and over again with family.
Remember, I now have two babies, and a mortgage, along with all other regular bills, and the torturous, STUDENT LOANS!
While I loved my career and tenure with Avon, and certainly grew beyond measure both personally and professionally, I reflected back on my tears in Orlando! I remembered thinking, “Oh no, What have I done, I gave up my business!” I remembered driving into the city every week in tears until my first meeting on Monday morning.
That’s when I knew it was time. It was time to restart my home based business! Only this time, I had all the corporate training and knowledge I needed to build a HUGE business FAST! So that is just what I did!
Here I am years later in the same position I was with my first son, at home now with my second son, Elijah! Never missed a milestone with either! How about that! It is so funny where life takes you!
I made my decision on Faith that I could, not the FEAR that I could not!
I took my, “Beautiful leap of faith.”
Today my business is thriving, I am adding new team members weekly, and attending events, and gaining new customers every day.
You see emotions, and instances happen in perfect timing, as guidance to what may be coming. I learned that when I reflected back on Orlando. When your heart is in the right place things unfold just as they should! Today I am an effervescent enthusiastic entrepreneur with a beautiful Avon business that I can one day pass on to my children. It is our family business, all ours!
The horses remain a huge part of our family, only I enjoy them as a hobby now, rather than a career. I was 7 months pregnant here, Elijah!
I hope I have inspired you to follow your dreams, do not be afraid of the journey. It’s a strategically laid out plan, you just may not be aware of that yet! Enjoy the process, and remember to make a decision once and a while on FAITH over FEAR!
Please enjoy my blog as I share more stories on my personal journey as a busy and crazy young mother with a home based business!