Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Get down with the sickness-falling ill at the worst time

A couple of weeks ago, I was so excited that I couldn't even contain myself.  Literally, every cell in my body was buzzing with anticipation, excitement, and anxiety.  I would be on a plane on my way to Boise in a matter of hours for the first ever Damsel in Defense leadership retreat.

Let's rewind a bit.  In November, I set a goal with my Damsel in Defense business to bring my team to the next level and become a Senior Mentor.  Not only would that give me two promotions, but it would launch me into the next step as a leader, AND qualify me for the first ever Leadership Retreat with the top team leaders in the company.  I launched on a path to success, and through tireless and numberless parties, I made it on the last day of the month by the skin of my teeth.

Let's fast forward to the excitement I felt as my Director and I landed in Boise ready to get our batteries filled to the max.  My goal was to track down ladies whose biggest strengths were my biggest weaknesses and just absorb every single thing they had to say, as well as make a more lasting and permanent connection with Mindy Lin and Bethany Hughes, the founders of Damsel in Defense, and two of the most amazing God loving women alive today.  Another thing at the top my goal list was to meet Bob Hipple, our new CEO.

When we got there, I felt a little tickle in one of my tonsils, but nothing more than just a little tickle.  I attributed it to the dry canned air on the airplane. 

I met some amazing inspiring women, and quickly achieved my goal of meeting Bob, Mindy, and Bethany, as well as the wonderful Johnna Johnson, the Vice President of Field Development for Damsel in Defense.  The list goes on and on.  I got to meet and mingle with everyone from the top of the company.  At first, I was pretty intimidated.  I was talking to women who were so successful and made so much money and had such huge teams that I felt like I had no idea how I got to be in the same room with them.  They all welcomed me with open arms and treated me like I was a sister, and all of my insecurities were instantly put to rest.  We laughed, we cried, we talked a little bit about ourselves, and I felt like my heart would explode.

By 3pm, I had to lay down.  I mean, there was no choice, either I was laying down, or I was passing out.  I could tell I had a fever.  I wanted to fight through it so badly, but every time I stood up, the room spun so fast that I felt like I was going to fling into the wall from the velocity.  It hit me like a truck.  One moment I felt fine, and the next, I was pretty sure I was going to die.  When I excused myself to go rest for our afternoon break, I had no idea that I wasn't getting out of bed again. 

I missed dinner, new product reveal, and head shots, but I hoped the next morning I would be able to get up. The thing I wanted to attend the most was the following day, and that was a session with the other Senior Mentors and Mindy Lin and Bethany Hughes.  To be in a small group set aside from the rest with the two ladies who literally put their blood, sweat, and tears into this company, really meant a lot to me.  I knew fully that my generation of Senior Mentor would be the last one they would be able to know on such a personal level before our company exploded in size.

The next day was worse.  I was getting more and more sick.  There was no way I was getting out of bed.  I needed to go to the hospital.  In talking to my husband, I learned that our insurance wouldn't cover me out of state unless it was pre-approved, and we couldn't get it pre-approved until the following Monday.  I had no choice.  Somehow, I had to pack all of my things, get myself to the airport, and get home.  We had to buy an extra plane ticket, and I had to survive the flight home.

I made sure to take every precaution that I could to protect my fellow passengers from whatever germs I had, and I somehow made it off the plane.  Half way through the airport, I literally felt like I had to tell someone to call 911.  I dug for the strength to make it to the car, and somehow, I did.  My husband took me straight to the hospital.  My fever was in the mid-high 103's, and I had a nasty case of strep throat and a double ear infection.

That night when I went home, I noticed that Mindy Lin posted on my facebook wall.  One of the founders and driving forces of this company took time out of the last evening of leadership retreat to post on my wall, "Hi Sunshine! I just wanted to check in on you and tell you that you were greatly missed this weekend. Praying you are okay and on the way to feeling better. We love you and I know we will be living it up in July together at conference!"

I drifted off to sleep with a deeper sense of how much Damsel in Defense is a sisterhood as well as a business opportunity and the opportunity to save lives.

That Monday, I received a phone call from Bob Hipple.  Bob Hipple, the CEO of Damsel in Defense took the time out of his day to call me on the phone and see how I was doing.  

I couldn't believe it.  I have never in my life been part of a company that cared so much for the people in it that the heads would personally take the time to reach out to someone who had fallen ill.  

It took a week in bed, and another trip to a doctor for stronger antibiotics to get over this.  I lost 18.5 pounds and had to stop taking ibuprophen for a while because it was putting too much of a strain on my kidneys.  Eventually, I climbed out of bed and stood up without the room spinning.

I had already dedicated myself to the Damsel in Defense mission before my trip, but the fact that I mattered enough to the founders and CEO that they reached out to me just fortified the cement holding me to Damsel in Defense.  My love for this company runs so deep.

If you've been looking for something to fall in love with, now is the perfect time.  Head over to and find out what all the buzz is about with Damsel in Defense.  To join the safety community, like my Damsel in Defense facebook page and learn all about what we're doing.  Questios?  Email

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