Stand Tall In Your Story: Christine Dolliver

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This is a podcast episode titled, Stand Tall In Your Story: Christine Dolliver. The summary for this episode is: <p>The Rise &amp; Thrive experience has been transformational for our leading ladies and their businesses. The 7-month-long experience leads to the Stand Tall In Your Story series, where the women of Rise &amp; Thrive share their stories on stage, bringing everyone together to connect and celebrate.</p><p><br></p><p>This episode is the fourth story of Rebecca's Stand Tall In Your Story series, featuring Christine Dolliver, who tells her story about rejection, depression, and finding strength in vulnerability.</p>
Introduction to Christine Dolliver
01:07 MIN
Christine's Story: Finding strength in vulnerability
09:38 MIN

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hello, this is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Women's Council Podcast, and I'm super glad that you're here. We have a very, very, very special series, binge- worthy, one might say, called Stand Tall In Your Story. And these episodes come to you straight from an event that we held on March 8th of 2022, called Stand Tall In Your Story. It was held at the Vogue Theater in Broad Ripple, Indiana, and it features seven amazing women who have been through an experience that I host every year called Rise and Drive, a seven month experience for these women to really discover themselves again so that they can stand tall in their story. And as they go through this seven month experience, there's a story that bubbles up in them, a very human story that they know that they need to share because someone or many someones probably need to hear it. And so I'm excited to bring these stories to you. As I said, they're short and powerful and mighty and binge- worthy. So let's get started, shall we? Next up is Christine Dolover. And one of Christine's LinkedIn recommendation says her spirit is contagious, and we cannot agree more. Christine is one of those deep thinkers. You just feel her wheels turning when you're having a conversation with her. And she is, the word that I used to describe her, and it really resonated with her as you hear her entire story, as I do when I work with these women over seven months, is she's an advocate. When she is working in HR, which is her role currently, she is so much an advocate for the people in her organization. Whether it's for them individually, helping them see through some challenges, or whether it's creating the right systems, processes, compensation, whatever it is, to make sure that she represents the people well. And it was a blast working with Christine. And I think you're going to really be inspired by her story. Here we go.

Christine Dolover: I was out here earlier and it wasn't so bad, but you guys weren't here. So here goes nothing. Many of you will relate to this feeling. You've been waiting in nervous anticipation, checking the mail every day, looking for that envelope that will decide your fate. Stagger anxiously to the mailbox, maybe today's the day. Scan through frantically, discard the bills, and look for that one return address that means this is it. And when that day finally comes, that envelope is suspiciously thin. Rejection. It's an ugly word. And even if you didn't get these seven grad school rejection letters that I received in 2010, we have all felt it. Maybe you didn't make that sports team that you went out for. Maybe you didn't get that job that you interviewed for, and you really had your heart set on. Sincerely, rejection sucks. And for me, it was life altering. For as long as I can remember, achievement has been my whole identity. For someone who has always struggled with connection and belonging, it was a way to get people to notice me. And when you don't know any better, applause and recognition can feel like love. I was living my life wearing a mask and performing on a stage, trying to be what I believed that the world wanted me to be so that they would never see how bad things were beneath the surface. Unworthy, insignificant and unlovable. These are words that my inner critic repeated to me day after day after day. But I had to rise above it. I had to wear that mask for the next class, for the next test, for the next interview, for the next meeting. I had a part to play and the show must go on. This facade of achievement started for me at an early age. I've struggled with depression since I was a teenager, and this is how I dealt with it. Depression doesn't always look like a lack of motivation, self isolation, or an outward appearance of being sad. Sometimes it looks like constant and chronic numbing behavior, alcohol, binge watching, comfort food, exercise, and busyness. Never, ever resting, because if I were forced to sit alone with my own thoughts for any length of time, then I might run the risk of feeling something. And I couldn't let that happen. The show must go on. And so I achieved, I got my first under the table job at age 11. I was an honors and AP student all through high school. And I graduated a four year college degree program in three years with all the accolades. And man, did the audience applaud. People love an achiever. Achievement is what gave me my self worth, the external validation, the objective and measurable way to prove that I was worth something. So when I didn't get into grad school, I broke. I had no plan B. In my arrogance, I applied to seven programs that were out of my depth, and so of course they rejected me. Like so many in my life before them. I closed the curtain and I walked off the stage. I didn't want to see the audience's reaction to my failure. I've told this story a thousand times. I've told it as an overcoming obstacle story in job interviews. I've told it as an inspirational story to prove to others that setbacks are not the end of the journey or something. But the part that I've never shared is this. That summer after receiving all those rejection letters, I planned my suicide. I picked out the outfit, I wrote the letter, and I donated plasma to be able to afford the cocktail of sleeping pills, opiates, and alcohol that it was going to take to get the job done. The only reason that I'm standing up here with you today in new shoes is because my roommate's drug dealer boyfriend sensed that something was wrong and refused to sell me what I needed to overdose. Yeah, even my drug dealer rejected me. I felt like there was nothing left, like all my fears of insignificance and unworthiness had come true, that someone had pulled back the curtain to reveal me for what I truly was, an abused and emotionally neglected little girl using achievement to replace real love or connection. The audience wasn't cheering anymore. The show was over. My mask had cracked and I felt like a fraud. Now those achievements were real, but what made me a fraud was all the ways in which I was living to please and impress others. I wasn't being authentic to myself, and this was the final proof that I needed that I was not enough, and I spiraled. What finally pulled me out of that dark place was the love of my best friend, now husband, Corey, who even as a friend, was the only person I had, who I believed loved me unconditionally, who convinced me, even if only for a second, that if someone can love me this much, then maybe I'm worthy of love after all. But I wasn't healed, not by a long shot. I simply climbed out far enough to replace the mask and get back on the stage. The show must go on. I want so badly to give you the ending that I know the audience craves. I'm 100% healed from all my trauma, my depression is gone forever, and I have a pet unicorn who shoots rainbows out of his ass. But here's the truth. I'm still on this journey. I still find myself trying to be what I think others want me to be, at work or with neighbors or with family. And I still hear that voice from time to time telling me all the ways in which I don't deserve what I have. But you know what I've learned? I don't have to face this journey alone. It is okay to ask for and to seek help. And I have people that love me, truly love me. And they have shown me that I am more than my achievements. I've learned to take the mask off and let others in because, dammit, I am a human, and that makes me worthy of love, no matter what the itty bitty shitty committee is saying otherwise. And a fair amount of therapy and a low dose of antidepressants have helped me learn to rest, to slow down long enough to feel something, and to process what I'm feeling instead of numbing it. And you know what else I've learned? That life doesn't take place on a stage. There is no show. And if there was, I'm both the writer and the leading lady, so this show will end my way, no matter what the audience or the critics have to say about it. I used to think that without achievement, I didn't know who I was. But now, thanks to Rise and Thrive and this group of amazing, amazing women, I realize I've known all along. I'm a badass.

Speaker 3: Yeah, you are.

Christine Dolover: I am a uniquely gifted, intensely self- aware, slightly intimidating woman who finds strength in vulnerability. Sharing this with you all today, this is the ultimate vulnerability for me. So I ask you, don't take it lightly. Use it. Use it to remind yourselves that no matter who rejected you or ignored you or hurt you, you are worthy simply because you are you.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Give it up for Christine. Oh. This is reflection and connection personified right here. Thanks for being here for our binge worthy series, Stand Tall in Your Story. I have a super duper fun thing starting this summer. This could be the best summer of your life. In fact, that's just what I'm calling it as the tagline. So starting on June 21st, which is the first day of summer, I'm launching a four month, Your Summer Story Series. The best summer of your life. And it is a combination of reflection and connection, which, you know that's what we're about around here. So it's all virtual. It's a series of journal prompts and information that comes from my book, Write Your Own Story. You can participate from anywhere in the world. We will give you each week workbooks and reflection questions that you work through the summer. And also, each week I'll pop in with a live, teaching you on the little concept or a little conversation that we'll have. And then each month we'll gather together as a group and you can share how it's going and learn a little bit from each other. I'll give you all the details in a document. So go to wethrive. live, look for the Best Summer of Your Life information. And we'd love to have you join us. We start June 21st.


The Rise & Thrive experience has been transformational for our leading ladies and their businesses. The 7-month-long experience leads to the Stand Tall In Your Story series, where the women of Rise & Thrive share their stories on stage, bringing everyone together to connect and celebrate.

This episode is the fourth story of Rebecca's Stand Tall In Your Story series, featuring Christine Dolliver, who tells her story about rejection, depression, and finding strength in vulnerability.