Sometimes I feel there isn't anything that a client can throw at me that I haven't experienced myself. Sure, I know that is a pretty brash statement but I have lived one hell of a life that has helped to form the person that I am today and the message that I have to share.
My life reads like a good suspense novel with all the ups and downs that life has to throw plus a few good curve balls. I have been known to refer to some events in my life as a nightmare.
Hi, I’m Merry…I grew up in a small town in Maine and knew from a very young age that I would own a business one day. After opening my first lemonade stand at the end of a dead end street I knew I was destined for greatness…and adversity.
From meeting Zig Ziglar, Wayne W. Dyer and Charles “Tremendous” Jones by the time I was a teenager it seemed to me that all those dreams that I had were possible. But I had no idea how much one of those connections would impact my life down the road.
Jumping into a promising retail career with Neiman Marcus, I wasted no time in rising to the top in my craft. Then the storms of life began to hit and they hit hard. First a nasty and lengthy divorce which knocked the wind from my sails followed by charges of kidnapping making me feel hopeless and without a voice. But it wasn’t until a sexual assault by my boss, which hit me like a giant blow, leaving me full of shame, guilt and loss. Everything I loved and built was taken away…just like that.
Hurt and dazed, I started off on my own, desperate to rebuild the life I had begun. Then one day, the phone rang.
Hired to launch a new luxury product, I threw myself into my work and traveled across the country recording unbelievable results while becoming an etiquette authority and racking up an impressive list of high-profile clients and surpassing every goal placed before me.
Destined to be an entrepreneur I took these skills and opened my first exclusive retail store followed shortly by another in Europe. I seemed to have found my stride again and was considered by journalists and vendors as an expert in my field being quoted and interviewed for periodicals and news programs.
Then one night a casual dinner led to being contracted as President of US Operations for a Dutch company. That meal was ultimately worth one million dollars. Boy was I grateful for my etiquette skills in navigating the table. Life was enchanting.
I learned that understanding my strengths and weaknesses was key to my success. That surrounding myself with the best possible talent was the way to reach outstanding results. As I traveled throughout the US and parts of Europe it became evident to me that there was more to me, and as my contact drew to a close and my retail stores were sold I wondered what was next.
The selling of my stores (my babies as I saw them) and the ending of a five-year contract brought about a severe identity crisis. I didn’t even see it coming. Crazy hard…like, all of the sudden I didn’t know who I was. I had been the etiquette authority and stationery expert for so long that now I was stripped of those self-imposed titles. So if I wasn’t that…then who was I and how the hell am I supposed to figure that out?
All I wanted to do was talk to my Dad, but both of my parents were gone. I began to panic, I didn’t know what I wanted and had no idea where to begin. I wanted to talk with someone…but who? Then it hit me. Could I pick up the phone, would he answer?
Nervous and scared I began to dial. A few weeks later I found myself sitting in front of Charles “Tremendous” Jones. My time with him was surreal and life-changing, just as I imagined. In the end, he told me that I was born to lead and was surrounded by people waiting to be led. “So” he asked, “when are you going to begin leading?” His words moved me so deeply and their timing was incredible, as Charles would pass away several months later. I was the last person he met with.
Delving deeper into leadership development I became a behavioral analyst and an emotional intelligence trainer with a sense of purpose and passion. I went on to use my skills in coaching entrepreneurs facilitating upwards of 56% increases in their businesses then onto training sales associates and managers for a luxury retailer delivering record sales, winning regional awards and promoting several managers. Then one day, the lights went out.
Suddenly, my body stopped working. I had trouble walking, thinking, talking. Simple tasks seemed monumental. Visiting one doctor after another with no prognosis in sight I found myself struggling to just want to live. I was scared to be alone. Seeking an answer, I pushed for more testing, I had to find my voice. I had to be my own advocate. I had to stand up for myself.
Finally, the tests came back, late stage Lyme disease. As my body continued to shut down fear was becoming my constant companion. Treatment was hard to come by, expensive and fraught with controversy. I didn’t know if I had the fight in me, I needed a miracle. I needed to have faith.
They say if you tell to enough people your answer will appear. That is just what happened and I found myself on a plane to Warsaw, Poland. The three-month natural treatment began to take hold and my healing began. I learned to believe, I learned to lead myself, I had to learn that my life was worth fighting for…I chose life.
As my world began to reappear the words of Charles “Tremendous” Jones kept playing in my head like a broken record. I was the lucky one. My legs, mind and words came back, maybe not as great as before but they came back. So…when was I going to lead? When would I reach out my hand to others, the ones that are not so fortunate, the ones that are lost, the ones that need faith in themselves, the ones that need confidence?
This gift of life uprooted a deep seeded dream to live abroad which led my husband and I to sell everything we owned for one way tickets to Europe. Through travel I have come face to face with deep seeded fears, my thoughts of not being worthy, of not being enough. I have learned that by extending a hand or sharing a smile I can create friendships that are deeper than any ocean. I have learned to laugh at myself and enjoy the journey. I have learned that my lyme disease was a gift. I have gone from being full of fear to being fearless.
Today, I deliver workshops and webinars for international organizations that have blended cultural and age demographic associates bridging the gap in communication, collaboration, talent selection and development. My individual clients are women in transition that are seeking discover their second chance at life by blending personal growth and leadership training to build a life that they will love to lead. Join me as we write your next chapter…