At 25 Allison was working as a receptionist by day, a bartender by night. She lacked confidence and connections; was frustrated and
longed for a more fulfilling life. Her networking journey began. Despite making mistakes, she got very connected, very quickly.
At 28 Allison landed the role as the People You Know columnist and won a spot on the provincial executive of her political party. Her community contribution climbed and so did her confidence.
In 2005, 2 weeks before her 30th birthday, Allison lost her dad, her grandma and just before that her uncle. She finished her contract as the founding executive director of an eating disorder support center.
In 2006, Allison launched Elevate Biz to help others who felt stuck because they lacked confidence or connections. Business was booming.
In 2007, Allison went in for a simple surgery and came out with permanent damage to her two main pelvic nerves. There were other complications too.
Frustrated by the health care she received and the life-risking circumstances around her release from the hospital, she decided to run for political office. She won the nomination in London West, but lost the general election in the faith-based funding debacle of 2007. Through it all, the severity of the pain remained and doctors could not provide answers.
By 2009 doctors told Allison to go on government disability, take pain pills for the rest of her life and give up on her professional expectations.
Allison said, “Screw defeat.” She set her sights on becoming a Resiliency Ninja.
In 2009 six people close to Allison died suddenly. In the face of grief and severe chronic pain, she built a successful company serving some of Canada’s most influential corporations, institutions and associations.
In 2009 her Mom moved to London to take care of her so she could focus on her business. Mom was her chauffeur, her confidante and her companion.
In 2009 Allison and Winston C, her dog, found each other and it was love at first sight. She had a fur baby.
As the three of them adjusted to a new, intertwined life, the joke Married My Mom, Birthed A Dog started.
By 2012 Allison’s life became a balance between recovery, doctors’ appointments and keeping up appearances in the community and for clients.
In 2012 a wave of random injuries began including a broken nose with two surgeries, three broken wrists, a torn MCL, a damaged pubic bone and an injury to the big toe.
By 2015 the dominos stopped falling and Allison could look back and start to analyze her life as a Resiliency Ninja – it turns out she was a master.
In 2016 after reaching a huge goal in her consulting and speaking business, even with her chronic nerve pain, Allison decided it was time to tell her story and share her Resiliency Ninja formula so others can feel less alone, less judgmental and more in control during tough times.
In 2017, Allison is launching the culmination of the lessons learned through her decade of hell in the book Married My Mom, Birthed A Dog: How to Be Resilient When Life Sucks
Allison Graham has always had a knack for finding and fixing things: kinks in the sales process, networking woes, marketing fails and ultimately in her own life, during the ten year period when her life went awry. At the top of her game, while running for office,
Allison experienced a harrowing series of accidents, personal losses, and debilitating injuries which limited her mobility and stamina. Working through the excruciating pain, she refused to be broken. Her resolve to overcome the odds, refusing to accept a prognosis of personal and professional stagnation, and status quo, she armed herself for a fight and created work-arounds to grow her business and nurture continued growth in her life. In the process she found out how strong she really was and created a fix for what her doctors and councilors warned her would be a futile ‘recovery’.
Allison’s story has motivated people to look beyond their current circumstances and challenges, and uses her own learnings to help people elevate their life options, rather than accept their plight. Through her incredible determination, and resilience, Allison Graham has become a mentor and beacon to those who fall in the face of failure and has chronicled that journey in her new book Married My Mother, Birthed A Dog: How To Be Resilient When Life Sucks which has earned her the moniker, Resiliency Ninja.
Allison’s decision to move into the self-help industry was inspired after surviving, and thriving, through her decade of hell. She had to use every resiliency strategy she could muster to continue to succeed in business while her personal life was being tested from every angle. This is not your typical self-help book or keynote. Allison is on a mission to help others become Resiliency Ninjas!
Allison has also authored the bestselling book From Business Cards to Business Relationships: Personal Branding and Profitable Networking Made Easy! (Wiley 2012). She speaks throughout North America and has been featured in the Financial Post, Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Investment Executive, Huffington Post and The Bottom Line as an authority on what it takes to develop profitable relationships. Each week her segment called Small Business Lessons from the Big Business Headlines airs on AM980.
In her professional life, Allison inspires people to double their business and achieve sales and networking mastery. She’s celebrating ten years as a business growth consultant and loves to share her signature program, the Evolution of Profitable Relationships, with clients. This framework maps out a prospect’s journey from being unknown, to becoming a loyal, repeat client and referral sources.
Allison is proud to have been named to the inaugural Top 20 Under 40 Economic Trailblazers list by London Business Magazine. You can find Allison connect with Allison at www.ElevateBiz.com or on Twitter @AllisonDGraham
GETTING TO KNOW ALLISON
Q How did you become a Resiliency Ninja ?
A Just as I got my business rolling, I went for what should have been a simple surgery and woke up in excruciating pain that turned out to be permanent. My personal life was blowing up behind my curtain with the pain, the death of several family and friends, random injuries, and the emotional, mental and financial challenges that go with all of that. I didn’t have the option to quit my business so I had to find a way to power through, keep a smile on my face and serve clients. I became a Resiliency Ninja!
Q How did you become an expert in this space?
A I had no choice. The proverbial fan was blowing boulders at me personally and I had to protect my livelihood. There was a collision between my personal and professional worlds, but adversity didn’t stop me from wanting to help people through my business. There is no one-sized-fitsall solution to power-through adversity, so I tried many approaches until I found the best options.
Q You are a sales and networking expert, how did that come to be?
A By making a lot of mistakes, going to hundreds of events and meeting thousands of people. Learning how to network with confidence changed my professional trajectory and level of fulfillment in life. I wanted others to realize the same opportunity, so I distilled my experiences and extensive observations into easy-to-apply formulas.
Q What are the biggest mistakes business owners make?
A Focusing their sales communication on what they do instead of focusing on the solutions they provide. Not making time to nurture future business while they’re serving today’s clients.
Q Why did you call the book Married My Mom, Birthed A Dog?
A It started as a joke when Mom moved to town to help me. We spent a lot of time together, she even drove me to my speaking events. She filled the companionship void that was created by trying to hide the severity of my pain when I was in public. Given my circumstances, having children was not in the cards at that time and Winston satisfied my mothering instinct.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you learned writing this book?
A I’m still trying to learn it. I believe there are a series of defining moments that determine if adversity will make you a victim or a Resiliency Ninja. I know the moments along my journey when I chose my path, but I want to identify the reasons why so many people allow their struggles to hijack their identity. That knowledge will help people bounce back faster in tough times. It could even change the health care system, which I believe is designed to make you a victim.
Q What is the biggest take-away you hope people get from your book?
A That there is always a solution no matter what obstacles life throws at you; it’s up to you to choose to find it.
Q What is your favourite place to be in the world?
A Professionally: Either in front of my laptop creating or in front of an audience speaking. Very little in
between.Personally: Anywhere that reminds me of the limitlessness of the universe: the ocean, the forest, under the stars. Failing that, on my couch snuggling with Winston C.
Q Who were your greatest teachers?
A There are so many. I am a sponge and believe that we learn a little something from every person who crosses
our path. Dr. T, who I mention throughout my new book, has been instrumental in developing my self-awareness
and approach to building a joyful life with chronic pain. From the roster of superstars in the self-help industry, Tony Robbins has made the greatest impact on my thinking.
Q What is your favorite quote?
A “If you’re going through hell, don’t stop.” That could be the Resiliency Ninja’s motto. I find Winston Churchill’s wisdom insightful and entertaining. I could pick any of his quotes too.
Q What is your favorite book?
A You mean aside from my latest labor of love? I’ve read hundreds. If I’m challenged to look at any area of my life from a different perspective, then a book is worth the read.
Q What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
A Being resilient does not mean that every day is a power day, many are not. Taking time to recover, without guilt, allows you to bounce back faster and stronger.
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