In tonight’s installment of the Change Your Narrative Challenge we highlight Valerie Priester of Victorious Life Coaching. Valerie is a native of Tallahassee, FL and currently resides in Cane Ridge, TN. The mission of Victorious Life Coaching is to coach women to shift their mindset and awaken their inner spirit and confidence so they can create the life they most desire. I have secretly named Valerie one of the Queens of the Get Together. If you mindset is one that has not made the shift she will happily get you together so that you can begin to live the victorious life. In Valerie’s own words you will experience how she went from victim to victorious by changing her words, thoughts and actions.
Tell me about your childhood background
I was the only child of divorced parents. My parents divorced when I was approximately 6 – 9 months old (not sure of the exact time because for some strange reason I never asked). My mother had me when she was 16 years old. I was raised by both my maternal and paternal grandparents. I spent the school year with my maternal grandparents and the summer months with my paternal grandparents. We all lived in the same town. My grandparents provided love and care for me throughout my childhood. My father’s parents gave me a strong spiritual foundation. My mother’s parents were divided when it came to spirituality. My maternal grandmother was a believer and attended church regularly but my grandfather never attended church. However, he had a certain level of spirituality that he lived because I saw him on his knees every night before he went to bed. The odd thing is he was an adulterer until the day he transitioned. Only he and God know the relationship they had together. My mother and father went on to marry again and again and again. They both married 3 more times after their divorce. So my role model for marriage was not the best. The only model of a true marriage I saw was my paternal grandparents. They were married for 70 years. My grandmother transitioned first and my grandfather was just two weeks behind her – that was true love and commitment. My maternal grandparents were entrepreneurs and hard workers. They both had full-time jobs but they also invested in real estate as a side hustle. My grandmother, at times, worked 3 jobs while pursuing their real estate investment business. They had 2 children, my mother and her brother. My paternal grandparents were more like the “Father Knows Best” family. My grandfather worked a full-time job and my grandmother stayed home to raise the kids. Although she was a stay-at-home Mom she did small jobs on the side to help generate additional income; she did alterations, baking, and babysitting. They had 7 children.
What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon your childhood and the messages you received?
Being raised in a small town the narrative that was expressed to me was I had to go to school, get a college degree and then get a “good” job. This is what was told to me but I watched my maternal grandparents try to build a business in real estate investment and I believe that is what sparked the entrepreneur spirit in me. I would help them renovate the homes they purchased and watch them execute the rental process and produce an income. Later in life I attempted to build a business in real estate investing. Another part of my narrative was, marriage does not work for everyone. There is no such thing as a “good” man. All men will cheat and mistreat you if you give them your heart.
How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?
The narrative related to going to school, getting a college degree and getting a “good job” kept me striving to live up to that model. I disliked school very much so I did not go to college right after high school. In fact, I did not graduate from high school. I went all the way through my senior year and I was short 6 credits to graduate. I refused to go back and get those credits. Instead I opted to get my GED at the age of 23. I had a very critical aunt that always told me I wasn’t smart enough to do anything because I didn’t graduate from high school or get a college degree immediately after high school like her children. She always compared me to her children and told me I didn’t measure up. This narrative stuck with me for years. In the early years of my adulthood I would use my aunt’s critical words to fuel me. I excelled in every job I ever held. No matter what position I started with, within 3 months I would always find myself in a leadership role or in management. Then I decided to use this fuel to continue my education and I obtained my BA at the age of 45. But then my aunts critical words came back as a negative force in my life when I decided to step into my entrepreneurial calling. I tried several business opportunities only to find that I would see minimal success and then quit. I lost a lot of money trying to find my success. It was easy to use my aunt’s words to fuel me when I was on someone’s job, but when I had to depend on my abilities and knowledge I couldn’t see my true worth because of the narrative playing in my head. I began to believe the narrative that told me I wasn’t smart enough, good enough, or capable of running my own business. The narrative related to marriage kept me searching for love in all the wrong places. I ended up having 2 failed marriages. I blamed it on the narrative I knew all too well – “there are no good men in the world”.
What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?
I began to look at how successful I was in all the job assignments I had fulfilled. I started to question the narrative playing in my head. I asked myself, if you can be a great leader on someone’s job why can’t you do that for yourself in your own business. I knew I had the entrepreneurial bug in my system and I knew I didn’t really believe in the American dream of getting a good education and getting a “good” job and retiring from that job. I wanted more for my life and for my daughter’s life. And then I decided it was time to seek help. I hired a business coach and she helped me discover that it was indeed my aunt’s narrative that was keeping me stuck. I discovered that I would quit when my aunt’s narrative played louder in my mind than my deep knowing that I had greatness within me. As for the narrative about marriage – I woke up one day and realized that my life was a mess and I was so unhappy. I was married at the time but I felt more alone than ever. I decided it was time to find that one true love in my life. I decided to find ME. I was going through my second divorce when I realized that the narrative that had been playing in my mind was a lie. I realized that I played a major role in my failed marriages. The first marriage failed because I really didn’t want the marriage, I just wanted a baby. I married my daughter’s father because ‘they’ said it was the right thing to do and I played into that old image thing. The second marriage failed because I married him to prove his family wrong. His family said he would never marry me and I set out to prove them wrong. I did just that, proved them wrong but because I married for such a selfish reason it was never meant to be.
What is the new narrative in your life?
I AM created for greatness. I AM created to impact the lives of many and I AM a success in all areas of my life. I have a loving, caring, faithful and nurturing husband. We have shared 17 years of true happiness and blitz in our marriage. I AM loved, cherished, blessed, worthy, valuable, and ENOUGH just as I AM.
How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?
What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?
Start by getting clear on the narrative that’s currently playing. When you get clear on your current narrative you must include truth in that clarity. Accept your role in your narrative, be honest with yourself. Honesty will drive out all the darkness and bring you to the light. Then, get clear on what you want your narrative and life to be. Write out your new narrative in the form of a vision. Write your vision in present, positive tense as though it has already happened. Repeat this vision every day. Repetition will help reprogram your subconscious mind and change the narrative from within, which is where it currently resides. Oftentimes we try to change the narrative without being clear on what we want. Without clarity around what you really want it’s almost impossible to change the narrative.
Just like Valerie, you too can change your narrative. We must first acknowledge that the old narrative no longer serves the life we want to create. Then we must find the source of the narrative. Who is in your head that has not paid rent to live there? Find a professional to sort out the source. Lastly, take action to tell yourself and the world a different story.
To stay in contact with Valerie Priester via social media.
Facebook: Victorious Life Coaching