One bright light shined steadily on Christy Dreiling during her tumultuous childhood: unconditional love and encouragement from her teenage mother. Regardless of her circumstancesliving in a car in the Pizza Hut parking lot, surrounded by abusive stepfathers, alcohol and drugsher mother insisted that Christy dream big and someday make those dreams come true.
Attracted by the thought of becoming a movie star, young Christy was enamored by beauty pageants. As a ten-year old, she recalls sitting cross-legged on her stepgrandmothers orange shag carpet, looking for comics in the local newspaper, when suddenly she spied an ad for Ms. Junior Kansas America.
I got so excited I jumped to my feet and exclaimed, I want to do this! Her grandma, who was unhappy about Christys reunion with her biological father and intrusion into her daughters life, stunned Christy with her response, Pageants are only for pretty girls and you are not pretty. Christys tears dropped one by one onto the newspaper.
When she arrived home, she went straight to her room and closed her door. Whats wrong? her mother inquired. After she told her mother what had happened, her mother asked, Do you want to do this? When Christy replied affirmatively, her mom promptly went to the kitchen, grabbed a Folgers coffee can from the cupboard and dumped out the coffee. She pulled Christys photo out of an album, taped it to the can and wrote on the can: The Future Ms. Junior Kansas America.
Christys Topeka, Kansas team.
Christy and successline in beautiful Maui, Hawaii.
Christy with her family in Hawaii.
Sure enough, years later, Christy did become Ms. Junior Kansas USA and went on to compete in the Dick Clark Ms. Teen USA Pageant. She followed her movie-star dream to Hollywood, but soon this small-town girl wanted to return home. Back in Kansas she met her husband Scott, started her family, and began her journey to give others what her mother had given her: love, encouragement and belief in their abilities to achieve their dreams.
With the birth of their first son, Christy became a nanny. At 6:00 a.m. she would pack up her son and take him with her to care for others children. After her second son was born, she could no longer take her boys with her to work.
I remember thinking, Oh my gosh, what am I going to do with my life? I had moved to Hollywood but hadnt pursued my dream, and now I was stuck in this small town, married with children and a mortgage to pay. I was scared.
Christy enjoyed taking pictures, so she learned photography and became a professional fashion photographer.
It was a glamorous life, she says, but I wasnt making a difference the way I wanted to. I had a burning desire to inspire and touch people from the depth of my soul. After I would take their pictures, theyd be on their way.
Discovering the Products
During one of Christys shoots, the mother of a child model stopped by to pick up her son. Christy couldnt help noticing her complexion and said, Oh my gosh, you have the most beautiful skin I have ever seenwhat do you use? Christy traded for a set of products. I fell in love with it and told everyone, Youve got to get this! I was selling it without knowing it, says Christy.
When she ran out of product, the woman who would become Christys sponsor asked her to have a home party. I thought, Who am I going to invite? Im not a girly girl. Unlike most glamour models, she showed up for shoots in jeans, tank top, flip flops and no makeup. But she was determined to get those products, despite the fact that she couldnt afford them. So she invited pre-school moms and women from the gym to her house for pizza and wine.
I felt sick to my stomach before the party, she recalls. I thought, What are people going to think of me? Here I am, a big success in photography, and now Im going to sell makeup for a living? I thought I was going to hyperventilate.
When her husband came home after the party, he asked, How much did you spend?! Christy replied, I didnt spend anything I made sixty dollars! She excitedly told Scott how much people loved the products and she signed up as a consultant that same evening. Her business was launched.
Attraction and Rejection
Christys passion soon attracted people to her business.
I learned that most people are really unhappy, and when they are around someone who is happy and excited, they just want to be a part of it. I felt Id found my mission.
Ive never had a problem with rejection, says Christy. In the entertainment business, you hear no all the time. Youre not good enough, pretty enough, tall enough I learned early to respond internally, That poor thingthey have no idea what they are missing! Now I teach my team, Some will, some wont, so what? Youll be fine. Success includes a whole bunch of failures.
When I face obstacles and objections, I dont let myself feel embarrassed. I ask myself right away, What lesson is there to be learned from this? How can I handle it better next time?
I just keep thinking bigger, she continues. If fifty people showed up at a meeting, I would visualize the room filled with one hundred; then wed outgrow it. We started our meetings at the Sleep Inn, moved up to the Holiday Inn, then to the Ritz Carlton and on to the convention center.
Always willing to change, Christy would find herself thinking, This isnt working; people arent inspired. We need to change something; if theyre not having fun, we need to make it fun.
Christy became the queen of fun. For example, take one of her Red Carpet events. Building on her memories of pageant days, Christie and her team created an environment where her team members would feel special. She hired male and female models to take her consultants arms and walk them down a huge red carpet. Flashbulbs popped as photographers took their photos. A country-western singer on her team crooned to the women. The walls were adorned with everyones dream boards.
You have to give them hope, says Christy. It cant just be about sales. You have to put more value on others than on yourself. Your paycheck will reflect the value you add to others lives.
Family and Friends
Her focus on others has given Christy pleasures of the heart as well as precious time with her family. Scott was able to retire at the early age of thirty-five and now they both home-school their children, enjoying the freedom to do so from their camper as they travel the country whenever they choose.
Her mom, who had been expelled from school at fifteen when Christy was born, got her GED and then a nursing degree. After working long hours and experiencing the stress of her chosen profession, Carolyn Wright joined her daughters team. Now she is driving the Mercedes she earned from their program and making double her nurses income. Best of all, mother and daughter love traveling together on exciting business trips.
Christy delights in telling stories of others journeys to their dreams. Sondra Gralike, one of the first people she signed up, was building her business when life got in the way. She went through a divorce and one of her three daughters faced a challenging illness. To pay for the doctor bills and have the flexibility to be with her daughter in the hospital for weeks at a time, Sondra began cleaning houses. When her car broke down, so did she. Crying to the mechanic that she didnt have the $800 to fix her car, he suggested she talk with his wife. She just earned a Mercedes, he told her.
As luck would have it, the mechanics wife was in Sondras downline. She called Christy and asked for help to re-launch her business so that she could benefit from her downlines efforts during the two years she was gone.
Four months later, Sondra was driving her own Mercedes, says Christy. One year after cleaning her last toilet, she earned a six-figure income.
Christys good life was not handed to her on a silver platter. When a friend said, Oh Christy, youre living the life that everybody wishes they had, she replied, Do you know where I came from?
In that moment, she remembered a time when she was twelve, standing outside her home, listening to yelling and screaming going on inside. She made a commitment to herself that day: When I know how to make it in this world and become successful, I will show the world how to do it.
In addition to the joy of showing her teammates the way, Christy loves to inspire children. Her book Holes in My Socks tells a story about a girl who wants new socks but cant afford them. Her mom encourages her to dream, so she dreams about having all the socks in the world. When friends scorn her dreams, her mother comforts her by saying, Kids may laugh at you, but one day youll show them that dreams do come true! The little girl replies, I started dreaming of all the things I could be and then it hit me: its all up to me!
Recounting her joy when holding children in the hospital or sharing her book at battered childrens shelters, Christy says, The story has to be told. I want people to have hope and faith that anything they dream of can be possible, if they think positive and just believe.