Vanessa Rende Vanessa Rende Inc.Vanessa Rende is more than familiar with the good and the bad life can throw at you. The Lake City, Florida, entrepreneur was already the CEO of her own six-figure consultancy firm, when a painful divorce, domestic abuse and even child abuse, shook her to her core. Rende stepped away from her business to heal herself and came back in 2015 with a new mission: to help women overcome the mental, emotional and financial hole she herself was once in. Today she’s running Vannessa Rende Inc., and sharing the lessons she’s learned on her journey to success.

Rende’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:

I am a former corporate consultant who worked with the U.S. federal government and hundreds of businesses and entrepreneurs across the globe before turning down an all-expense-paid corporate relocation to Denver, Colorado, to start my own consulting firm. Within 1 year, my firm hit multiple six figures, but I let my mindset get the best of me and shut everything down to deal with a messy divorce, domestic violence and even child abuse. I came “back” in 2015 and have dedicated my life and business to helping women climb out of the mental, emotional and financial hole I was once in. I have been featured in Fast Company, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global and Fudding, and am about to have a spread in a popular entertainment magazine in Australia.

Lifting up women is a priority to me because there are too many women stuck in a life, body and mindset they don’t belong in, and they need to know that it’s never too late to re-invent yourself. I know what it’s like to feel like you have nothing left to live for. And if I can pick myself up from the ashes, so can they. After my divorce, I swore to help women to do the same.

My definition of success is knowing that I am living an aligned life, no longer doing things I don’t want to do, serving clients I don’t want to serve, or living in a body that doesn’t match the person inside. When you align yourself with your true purpose, success comes naturally.

My biggest success to date was overcoming myself. Growing up in the ghetto in Miami, having an absent father, going through domestic violence, a messy divorce and even child abuse to my child didn’t hold me back. I held myself back for over 30 years, telling myself that I wasn’t enough, wasn’t deserving and wasn’t lovable. My biggest success was learning to love myself.

It took me forever to figure out how to keep myself inspired, even on the tough days. I try to tune in more to what’s going on inside. Lack of inspiration, motivation, etc. is usually a sign that we are dealing with something else. Instead of trying to push through it (been there, done that), tune in and see why there is a lack. Then do something to change your state. Something that you know makes you happy, creative, inspired, etc. Checking in and paying attention to your physiology is everything.

My top business challenge has been to find partners, and connections to other people or entities I can connect and collaborate with.

My most important role model is me. There are a lot of people I look up to and “follow,” but I have learned that I already have all the answers I need inside of me. All I had to do was learn to listen, not doubt every good thing, and expect miracles (oh and take massive action!).