Have you ever met someone who you INSTANTLY knew was meant to be in your life? Someone who you just clicked with and said, “YES! You… Come with me.” That’s how I felt as soon as I met my next guest, Holly Dowling.
What’s so incredible about Holly is while she’s an extremely warm and connected spirit, she is a highly sought after Fortune 500 Keynote Leadership Expert who travels all over, speaking to corporations like Facebook and Microsoft.
One of her biggest messages, and what separates her in these male-dominated arenas, revolves around getting back to humanity. She says that people are tired of feeling like a commodity. It’s really common sense, it’s just not common practice.”
A Driven Spirit
The fact that Holly is crushing barriers in Corporate America is no surprise to her parents – or the neighbors who she tried to sell her products and services to at the age of seven.
“I put on a tutu and grabbed my baton, I grabbed a radio and I went door to door ringing doorbells saying I could dance for you in your front yard and the deal of the day is only thirty minutes for 50 cents”.
While Holly continued down the path of innovation and creativity, she found extreme inspiration from her Friday night TV shows, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Holly dreamed of being like the character Julie, a cruise director.
What separates Holly from many others is that she took action on that dream. She found ads in the back of travel magazines and started making calls. Before the movie Legally Blonde was even thought about, she was sending hot pink resumes in the mail.
She heard every form of “no” you could imagine. But the more she was told no, the more ammunition she had. This led her to develop her famous mantra, “Tell me no, watch me go!”
Continuing at full speed, she eventually created several job offers and landed her dream job on a cruise ship.
After traveling the world and living the life of her dreams, romance was calling back in Kansas, her home state. It was time to give her three-year relationship more focus, so she moved back hoping for the best. There was no way of knowing that this decision would be a much different kind of turning point than she expected.
As soon as she moved in with this man, a monster came out. It was shocking – there were no signs of this in the three years they had been in a relationship. She said on their first day together, he sat her down and said, “you’re in my town now and you’ll play by my rules. And if you don’t like it you can get the hell out.”
He beat her down mentally and physically. After all the bruises, kicks, slaps, and hits, Holly recalls that the verbal abuse was the hardest to get over. She stayed for 488 days and was lucky to get out alive.
When asked why she stayed, she recalls her mantra – Tell me no, watch me go – and how, although it got her into heaven, it also got her into hell. “That belief was the biggest thorn in my side.”
After Holly was caught trying to escape, she was chased with a knife and had to hide in a tree until her husband – a whopping 6’5” – gave up on finding her. Barefoot in her pajamas and in three feet of snow, she escaped to her car and never looked back.
Like you, I wondered, “Why did it take you so long to leave?” There were several factors, but it all came down to timing, shame, and she couldn’t help but wonder if people would still want her to come and speak.
“I have buyers around the world who are booking me out to come and speak to their c-suite leaders? Why would they want some broken, beat up… woman?”
“When I revealed I healed even more.”
Holly decided she wanted to share her story, but when the magazine interview she did was about to go live – she freaked out. Then, the wisdom of her brother stepped in.
“Sweetheart, it’s time. You will inspire more people by pulling back the layers of the onion.”
And boy, was he ever right…
By sharing her story, she had people champion her EVEN MORE, and in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Many people were shocked that something like this could happen to someone like Holly. “You just gave me hope,” she’s heard supporters say.
You never know what people are dealing with in the dark. So many lives can be impacted when you share something like that. By holding this stuff in, it’s like drinking poison every day – it slowly kills our soul. The transparency behind that story was a choice and it’s bringing hope to so many people.
Her greatest lesson
So I had to ask Holly, “what was your greatest lesson from going through something so difficult?”
It took a long time… I realized that no one can hold me down. No-one can take the joy away from Holly. I firmly believe, no one gets to take and steal my joy.
This is what makes Holly so special – she is unapologetic about who she is. A lot of women think they have to take to take on male energy – cut their hair short, wear a power suit… but she went in the opposite direction and embraces her warm, loving nature in the world of business – it’s non-gender biased. And guess what? People really respect and admire that.
People need to hear these stories
Holly’s experiences and lessons have led her toward giving others a platform to share their stories. Her podcast, A Celebration of You, is filled with incredible people – people who have overcome all kinds of adversity. But they all have one thing in common: They’ve chosen to make make people’s lives better in this world.
I was so honored to be a guest on her show and I have to say – she had me thinking about things that no one gets me thinking about. I had some big ah-ha moments. So go subscribe- right now – on iTunes to A Celebration of You podcast. Subscribe on iTunes!
What’s in store at Brilliant?
I am counting the days to our Brilliant Event and am thrilled to have Holly as a guest speaker! When asked, “what can we expect from you there?” she had this to say:
I’ll be sharing some of the amazing journeys of going after my dreams. We all have it, we just need that extra push to go and make it happen.
I’m also going to share some of the real stories about starting businesses. I can teach you the tools and techniques and also how to not stop yourself. Because we’re really good at getting in our own way… There’s also an art and science of on-boarding and hiring to find your tribe that I’m excited to share.
Simply put, Holly Dowling will not only educate you, she will help you breath in possibility.
So if you haven’t signed up for the Brilliant Event – take action today and learn how to spread your brilliant brand to touch more lives by scaling and growing your business. Discover our leadership model and how to authentically show up on camera and learn from these incredible women.
Put that inspiration into action and let us know your biggest takeaway in the comments. Then, take a minute to share it with someone. You never know how it might change their life.