For three years, Becky Davis made plans to leave her corporate job at an optical retailer, but each time her exit date arrived, she struggled to take the leap.
Next year, she’d tell herself.
Then as 2011 faded into the new year, Davis found herself flat on her back in a hospital. Days after undergoing surgery to remove fibroid tumors, she started to feel excruciating pain and nausea. It was so bad she fainted.
In the hospital emergency room that December day, doctors discovered she had been hemorrhaging from an ovary that hadn’t been closed all the way.
“Once I realized I was still here, I started to cry,” she recalled recently.
Davis realized she had been letting her fear get in the way of her faith in God, the one she believed birthed the idea for her business MVPWork in the first place.
Some of you might know how that is. Even if you believe fear has no place in faith, it can be pretty scary parting ways with what we believe is a sure paycheck for one that we think may or may not come.
Davis, a Douglasville mother of four adult children, had grown up in the church. Even after leaving home to attend college, she always found a place to worship.
When she decided to marry during her last semester there, that changed, she said.
“He didn’t go to church, so I didn’t go,” Davis said.
When the couple divorced five years later, Davis returned to God, her first love, for her own sake and the daughter she now had.
By then, she had gone through the Dale Carnegie speaker training to become a motivational speaker. A coach assured her she was ready to begin the journey, but when she accepted an invitation to speak to a group of Dallas county employees in Texas, fear took a seat and refused to leave.
“What am I going to tell these people?” she asked herself. “What if they ask me about my political views?”
You better not do this, she told herself.
Davis declined the offer and threw herself into her 9 to 5, creating training programs for fellow managers and then teaching them how to implement the programs.
She loved her job and she was good at it. Not only could she meet sales numbers, she often exceeded them because she was at her best developing and inspiring people. She’d been promoted six different times to poor performing markets and each time had managed to move them to the top tier.
The more she did that, the more her confidence grew. More importantly, she had refocused her attention on building a relationship with God.
In 2002, Davis pledged her love to Willie Davis, and four years later, the couple moved their family from Fort Worth, Texas, to Atlanta, where she continued to work for Luxottica Retail.
Before long, however, she sensed something in the company dynamics was changing.
“I started to notice people weren’t as important as the bottom line,” Davis said.
Now in the hospital, she had eight weeks of recovery time to really think about that and her decision to not follow God’s lead and launch the coaching firm for small-business entrepreneurs.
On April 1, 2012, Davis returned to work. Things still didn’t seem right. She was complaining to her husband. Her boss wanted her to terminate an employee without good reason.
“I knew it was the beginning of the end,” she said.
For 15 years, company execs had been telling Davis she was at the top of her game when it came to motivating people, coaching them and driving results. Now she finally had the confidence to take those qualities and use them to help other companies do the same — accelerate and grow their business.
In July, Davis tendered her resignation and left the following month.
“It was really the first time, my faith was stronger than my fear,” she said. “I totally believed that if I walked out on the ledge, God would provide a foundation for me to stand on.”
On Jan. 1, 2013, after writing her first book, Davis launched MVPWork or Meaning, Values and Purpose Work, to empower women across the globe to build sustainable businesses.
Now at 50, Davis, known as the “Chief Bosspreneur” and “Greatness Facilitator,” is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and spokesperson and empowerment speaker for the Coca-Cola Co.’s 5 by 20 entrepreneurship initiative that launched in 2010 to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020.
She recently signed a second contract with Coke to continue in that role for three more years and host a bimonthly small-business breakfast network event that Coke will sponsor next year.
“I figured out where my target audience was and started to grow my business through building relationship networking,” she said. “Coke puts me in places that would take me years to open the doors. It’s been an amazing ride with a great partner.”
It would not have been, she said, without her faith in God to silence her inner villain and awaken the hero that is within all of us.
“It takes courage to wake up your inner hero,” she said, “but you’ll see miraculous things happen once you do.”
The question is, is your faith bigger than your fear?
Find Gracie on Facebook (www.facebook.com/graciestaplesajc/) and Twitter (@GStaples_AJC) or email her at email@example.com.
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