Gritty Stand For What Feels Impossible
My dad loves to tell a waterskiing story about me when I was 9 years old and wanted to learn how to get up on a slalom ski. I was proficient on two skis and spent my childhood summers in the water at our family lake home.
I felt I was ready to try one ski, and I desperately wanted to get up on a slalom. Dropping a ski was easy. I wanted the hard thing: starting in the water with one ski. And I was unwilling to give up this possibility. My dad explains how he spent hours idling and gunning the engine and circling back so I could try over and over again. He describes the hours I spent in the water crying and shivering and slapping the water in frustration. He says he tried for hours to encourage me to take a break or try again some other time.
I was getting up, mister.
And get up I did.
(Here I am passing on the the stubborn watersports legacy to my 4 year old daughter.)
Hi. I’m Allison. I am a grittily stubborn stand for a completely unpredictable future. You know those marathoners near the end of the race who can barely walk, legs wobbling and body falling as they heave their bodies across the finish line? Kinda like that.
Pair this with loads of devotion and a healthy portion of brilliance and you can start to get the flavor of the trajectory of my life.
We’ve all been through tough times. I’m just emerging from 5 years of chaos and crises that completely consumed my family and me. I can only now look back with gratitude and reverence. It’s hard to describe what raising a teenage girl with borderline personality is like. There’s a lot of emergencies and hospital stays and obsessions and impulsive decisions. It’s even harder when her brother turned to alcohol to cope with his own trials and tribulations which resulted in various citations, visits from the police, and a varied array of consequences at school.
Even though our daughter seemed hell bent on ending and/or destroying her life, my gritty, unwavering stand was for her to find a way to live. Then I became a stand for her to live life wholeheartedly. I was a stand for her to persevere and do difficult things. I was a stand for her when she couldn’t see past the pain and the agony and the desire to make it all stop.
When our son was in the darkness of his addiction and didn’t even want to find a way out, my stubborn stand was for him to live in recovery. That he was capable of feeling his feelings without the need to numb them. That he can handle the discomfort and distress. That he can navigate addiction and find the support he needs to get through tough times.
When our marriage takes a beating from life, I am an irrational stand for us to find joy. I’m a stand for us to continue to deepen our relationship and support each other. I am a stand for trust and fun and connection. Even when our kids are imploding. Even when my husband fought for his own sobriety over 10 years ago. Even though all signs pointed to separating from each other, I’ve been a stand for us. For 24 years.
In my professional life, I am a stand for possibility. That women can work in complicated, dangerous, and physically strenuous environments. That a Yankee, female, engineer could break into the deep south oilfield culture. That I could reinvent myself and my career in my 40’s after spending 20+ years as a chemical engineer. Even though it sucked sometimes. Even though people were real uncomfortable. Even though this path was harder.
In all of this, I have discovered the beauty and the beast of refusing to accept the way things are. There is a cost to every decision we make. Every. Single. One. I have paid a great cost to be a stubborn stand for what feels impossible. I have also experienced great triumph in witnessing the impossible become possible.
After six years of fighting to end the pain, our daughter is alive, thriving, and coping healthily with her challenges. Our son is living in recovery, has found a sober community of guys like him, and is working in a program that supports young men to find recovery. Our marriage is still going strong, after all the dents and bruises, we continue to find our way back to each other. And the work I do in this world matters, is impactful, and brings me great joy and purpose.
Why does this matter? What’s this got to do with you?
Imagine you are stuck somewhere. Where things feel impossible. Where you’ve been going at things alone. Where you really don’t want to look but you know that there’s something there you probably need to see. Where you can notice the pattern and feel helpless to stop it.
Maybe it’s in a relationship with someone you deeply care about. Or in a career that feels unfulfilling. Or with a child who is coming undone. Or leading a team that is falling apart. Or a company that cannot seem to make any forward progression. Or with a big dream that has you questioning who you are to think you could do that thing.
Imagine someone who’s been through these things. Imagine not needing to guard yourself around her. Imagine feeling safe enough to let her explore the things you’d rather not look at. Imagine feeling seen, uncovering what lies underneath, and receiving support to move forward. What happens is that you start to shift how you perceive things. You find your courage. You do edgy things. You make mistakes. You learn. Eventually, you get to experience what you’ve been yearning for all along.
That’s what I do.
I know how to be a stand. A stubborn stand. An unwavering support. For the thing that feels totally impossible right now.
I am the person who runs out to support you as your body is giving out and your legs are wobbling so you can cross your finish line. I help people to win, but not the way they’ve always done it; not at the expense of everything (health, relationships, finances, etc).
As I said, there is a cost with every choice we make. There is a cost to choosing to get supported. And there’s a cost for choosing to go it alone. I know. Cuz I’ve been there. And because of that, I’m on a mission to help others discover that those “it-feels-impossible” things are possible, and they don’t have to go it alone.
Official Bio Stuff
I have been married for 24 years and have two wonderful kids. In addition, I have served on several Boards of Directors, including being elected to the Oshkosh School Board for 10 years, and have served as its Treasurer, Vice President, and President. In October 2019, I was fortunate enough to be a selected speaker for TedX Oshkosh, where I spoke about not hiding our life’s messes from each other. In addition, I am the author of two published books. The first is “Think Possible: The Light and Dark Side of Never Running Out of Ideas”. This is a book for leaders who think BIG and never run out of ideas, and it explores the seven attributes that make visionary leaders unstoppable. The second is “Unconditional: Learning to Navigate and Reframe Mental Illness - Together” which is for anyone who suffers from mental illness or loves someone who does.
If you have been reading through my site and have noticed that you are excited about what you are seeing, I invite you to discover what could be possible for you!
B.S. - Chemical Engineering
PCC - Professional Certified Coach (ICF)
Former Vice President of an engineering consulting firm
One of the world's experts in aromatics extraction technology
10yr elected school board member
Mother of teens, both with significant mental health issues