A Life of Resilience Helps Businesswoman Beat the Odds

Feb 14, 2024

Tenacity, focus and drive fuel accomplishments.

The first thing you notice when you meet Chris Wilson is the piercing and beautiful blue eyes. Her eyes showcase an inner strength that has fueled her challenging life journey since her teenage years.

When Chris begins to share her story, one wonders how at such a young age, she overcame so much. And even now, as she approaches 60, life is constantly throwing hurdles for her to overcome.

“I never had an easy path,” Chris explained. “I was a strong-willed child. My parents were divorced at age 9 and I moved out of my parent’s home at 15 after negotiating a deal with my father to send the support money to me instead of my mom. I just believed I could do better alone.”

Many children at that young age today are more concerned with what they are going to wear to school the next day, rather than how they might pay their living expenses. Maybe after a childhood that instilled an independence and an understanding that she really was the only one she could count on, it was no surprise she branched out on her own so early.

While Chris was busy trying to create a life for herself, she wasn’t immune to the temptations or the freedom of a life without parental supervision. She made many bad decisions growing up without the parental guidance many young people get. She was near a bottom.

Early habits had begun to take their toll. Drugs and alcohol led to bad decisions. All the while, she was a high-performing sales representative for a number of companies.

At 26 years of age, she committed to getting sober. And has been to this day. A few years later, she decided to open her own company. With strong sales and customer service skills, she grew her company to a successful sales level and continues running it to this day.

With her life now moving in the right direction she turned her attention to her life-long dream.  Since the age of 7, Chris wanted to become a competitive ice skater. Then at age 30, she reached out to Olympic-level trainers to help her. The Olympics weren’t her goal but competing on a national level was in her sites.

She began committing to ice skating as an adult competitor. Regular workouts and ongoing lessons. Time in the gym. “I wanted to skate, but I wanted to be a competitive adult figure skater. People said I was too old, but it was my dream.” she shared.

Today Chris regularly competes in national adult ice-skating competitions and has received countless medals and trophies.

Just as life seemed to be going in the right direction, Chris was diagnosed with fibromuscular dysplasia (SCAD FMD), leading to 4 heart attacks and 4 TIA strokes within 10 years. And shortly after the strokes, her car collided with an uninsured driver, leaving her with a frontal lobe brain injury.

“The illness and accident had a major impact on my life, but it hasn’t stopped me,” she said. “It took over 3 years, to walk correctly, and speak correctly. To this day, I still struggle with cognitive issues that affect my day to day living..”

But even now Chris fights on. She won’t miss a skating session or gym workout. It’s a passion that is unstoppable.

“When I look at something, I don’t see obstacles. I look to find ways around it…to figure out how to accomplish my goals despite it. I have an intense diligence to accomplish the goal.”

The internal strength Chris exhibits is an example of extraordinary high achievement and single-minded focus. “I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself, she explained. “I still have to double the size of my company and achieve my goal to win a national title one day.”

Stories like Chris’ remind us of the adage, “It’s not where you start in life, it’s where you finish.” The next time life gets tough, think of people like Chris to help you push through your next challenge.