How does Optio work?
Optio exists as a bridge to empower women and change the world. So many women are powerful already on their own. More powerful than they know. But the truth is: nothing happens in this world without accountability. Nothing. If you have a goal, but you don’t tell anyone and it’s not tied to a reward or bigger purpose, it’s just going to slip through the cracks and become a distant memory. Maybe you have a story or two like that. (Spoiler alert: we all do.)
Optio’s Birth Story
As are most great movements, Optio was born from a culmination of the most impactful experiences in my life and career. If you’re familiar with literature: it’s a classic hero’s journey, to be honest. So let me break it down for you. This is exactly how Optio came to be in three classic acts.
I was born into an ordinary working class family. I wish every child had the opportunity to grow up like I did. We were very family centered. Family came first, second and third. My Mother is one of 12 and my Father is one of 19 – so you can see how it would happen that way. But as I approached adulthood I felt called to a bigger world outside of my family compound. Yes: compound. I was the 6th generation on the same piece of property. No one left. No one went to College. Heck – no one went more than a block away. Our worlds seemed complete just as they were. I first tried to step out on my own by living abroad – but I was so incredibly homesick I returned after a year. I decided to try again – but took a different , more conventional approach. College. And simultaneously: to pay my way through school: I embarked on an adventurous career in event planning that involved a significant amount of traveling. I was in other countries more than I was at home: but I always had my compound and the safety net of being a student to return to. Then, after graduation, I transitioned into advertising and lived a fast paced life with just as much travel and the added bonus of wine’ing and dine’ing clients being my number one job. But – as you can imagine… this lifestyle doesn’t last forever. While I had dreams of conquering the world, I also had dreams of a family of my own. Enter my Prince Charming. That’s right: I met the most amazing man in the world and fell head over heals in love. I envisioned the perfect life we would have. The picket fence, a golden retriever and 2.1 kids playing in yard. I would be a corporate super hero by day and Mother of the year by night. But things didn’t quite work out that way….
I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) during both of my back-to-back pregnancies. If you don’t know what HG is: just imagine the worst possible morning sickness possible and trace it over the entirety of your pregnancy.I was debilitatingly sick, but I was super type A, so I denied it. I was still holding my position as the COO of a major marketing company I was still a full-time respected professor at a prestigious university, and had two small baby boys and that wonderful Prince Charming husband at home to care for. It was then that I learned that I perform at my best when I’m at my worst. I rise to the occasion and kick ass. But then it all came crumbling down around me. The HG should have disappeared postpartum, but it didn’t. It went on until my son was nearly one year old. Turns out I had a kink in my intestines: revealed by an exploratory surgery performed when I was on the brink of death. My organs failed one by one. My abdomen actually remained ‘open’ for several weeks while my body tried to heal around it. By any scientific definition I should have died. The surgeons were dumbfounded. But my heart kept beating. And to make a long story (and a whole lotta rehab) short: It was a long, scary and painful road: I had to learn to speak, sit, stand and walk all over again, but I made a full recovery. It almost killed me, but I also learned that I don’t want to have to be at my worst to give life my best. And it provided me with a clean slate to put the ‘big rocks’ back in the jar first. You know – the things that REALLY matter. My family, my faith, my friends, my health, etc.
But even with this new found perspective, because I had created a habit around creating my life via crisis management, I needed something different to create the urgency around crushing my goals. When there was no life crushing need I just floated around. I needed someone who was depending on me to follow through, and would call me out when I didn’t. Now that I had survived the impossible: I needed someone to hold me accountable to live the best life I could imagine. After all: as a medical miracle I figured that was the least I could do, right? This realization that I cannot and was not ever created to do this on my own ended up being such a ground shaking realization that it flipped my world upside down. When I define what I want, and have a tribe of women who have my back, with one particular partner holding me accountable to the specifics: I CAN live my best life without being on the brink of death. Hallelujah! Can I get an AMEN!?!?
When I finally went back to my career after my near death experience,, I made a decision to find purposeful and fulfilling work. I went back to marketing and communications (it’s what I knew and was within my comfort zone) but decided to build a nonprofit (aptly named ‘The Girl Who Lived’) in order to focus on clients I believed could change the world for the better. One of these clients tasked our organization to help create the internal framework for refugees coming into the city of Baltimore. The goal was to connect adult female refugees (usually Mothers) with an American woman (also usually a mother) from an affluent American family in the area. The American women were trained and then held responsible for supporting their refugee counterparts by holding them accountable for reaching their goals.
This framework created an incredible breakthrough for all the women involved. Women on both sides of these relationships experienced an extreme foundational shift. It was powerful to witness. And it made me wonder – is this a thing? Or is it a fluke that’s only happening within this context? So we tested it against several other variables and it turns out – it IS a thing! Matching people with wildly different backgrounds, but joined by their humanity, and creating a framework for supporting each other creates major transformation for everyone. EVERYONE.
So my rocket scientist husband (seriously – he’s not just Prince Charming – he’s one of the top engineers for NASA, y’all) and I got to work creating a similar framework for growth-minded women who need the same kind of support to create the life of their dreams. Between my life’s purpose to inspire women and create a more peaceful world and his wicked smartness in seeing the algorithm in literally anything – we created Optio.
We already know it can change your life, but you have to experience it for yourself. We would love to be a dynamic part of your success story. Let us help you create your own Hero’s Journey!
We are Oshine
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