Your Story Strategizer & Founder Engaged Storyism® Method
Diane Wyzga is a survivor who understands boundaries better than most.
She long ago decided to let go of the handlebars and go along for the ride.
Coaching Professional Women Who Are Ready to Confidently Convey
Their Story to Be Seen, Heard, Understood, *&* Listened to.
Imagine this: In the space of 9 months, you lose your marriage, your mother, and your attorney position. How did I get there? More importantly, how did I get out? In time, I’d be able to fully appreciate what those 9 months birthed.
I was in my 30s before I married. An educated, independent, professional woman. But I never learned this: You don’t get married because someone asks you to; you get married because you want to. The man I married was a well-liked president and CEO of a corporation. I had misgivings. I couldn’t pin them down. A week before the wedding, I told my mom who said what someone probably told her: “You’ve been independent for so long, you've just got cold feet.”
I knew I would be Wife #3. Isn’t Number 3 a lucky number? Not in my case. In time, I learned that my husband had a problem with impotence. Like many women, I figured something was wrong with me. Isn’t that often the case? We take on issues that don’t belong to us, and we allow our boundaries to be not only crossed but trampled on. Yet, I was willing to accept what I thought was security. We had a brother-sister relationship, took very good vacations, and worked hard in our professions.
Time passed. Ten years of time. Looking back, it’s like that old story of the frog sitting in a pot of water on a stove. The flame is turned on, and the water heats up, but it’s so gradual that the frog doesn’t notice until she is well and truly cooked. You know how they say that the wife is the last to know? It’s not just a saying. In my case, there was also denial.
Until in late November of that year when he came home late with a shallow excuse, I knew I had to face what I was afraid of, poverty, shame, solitude to name a few things. I asked a divorce lawyer friend what to do. Make sure you have access to all important papers and bank accounts, she told me. You don’t want to be locked out.
Going through the files in his desk drawer I came across a small yellow Post-it with the name Ash and a phone number. I called the number. Ash was the working name of a prostitute who, I would come to find out, had been with my husband for the better part of a year. When confronted, my husband gave denials and then excuses, “If you had only been more [fill in the blank] I wouldn’t have been forced to do this.”
Meanwhile, mom had developed shingles, but it was a precursor to lymphoma. From Thanksgiving to the following Easter mom’s doctor misdiagnosed her condition until she was in Stage 4 lymphoma; mom would die 5 months later.
You know how things come in 3s? My law firm was engaged in a merger with a very large corporation. I wasn’t part of the deal. In 9 months’ time, I had no marriage, no mother, and no job. I fell into a deep hole.
What happened next? There was bare-bones alimony. I was a lost soul. An organic farm in town posted a Help Wanted sign. I offered my CV to the farmer who was looking for someone to work in the farm stand at $9 an hour. I took it.
At the bank that held the interest-only mortgage on the house, the banker assured me she was going to do everything possible to get me a real mortgage, “because this one will kill you.” Years later I learned that she was dying of breast cancer and that day was one of the last she worked at the bank.
When we feel good, we see guides, guardians, and angels all over. When we’re down in a hole we don’t see them so clearly, but they are there. Step by step I was asked to be a keynoter for a women’s conference. A friend suggested I teach story skills at our local university, where I met a trial attorney who suggested I teach his colleagues. One of those attorneys suggested that I sit in on a pre-trial focus group. The attorney whose case was being tested offered to sponsor me as a litigation consultant to a national organization of trial attorneys. I didn’t even know such a position – litigation consultant – existed. When that organization called me to consult on cases, other trial attorneys and consultants helped me get up to speed.
This process of recovery took several years. I stayed on at the farm stand while incrementally developing an independent litigation consulting practice that eventually went national. In the 10 years, I served as a litigation consultant I helped trial lawyers win tens of millions of dollars on behalf of their plaintiff clients. I found a real calling in that work, and by helping other people I hurt less.
The time came to move to the Pacific Northwest. Like our cedar trees, I am resilient. The therapist who shepherded me through my earlier incest survivor work once told me, “You’re like a wolf who gets its foot caught in a trap and will chew it off rather than stay trapped.” She didn’t know how right she was.
Looking back, it all makes sense. Those 9 months birthed a new me, a consulting practice, a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, a new community, and a successful consulting/coaching media production company. What are the chances? I know this much is true: there are people along the way who show up to give you a hand up. Our job is to recognize that these people
have been in the hole, too, and they know the way out.
Now it’s my turn to show someone else by being my vulnerable, authentic self, peddling hope and imagination to anybody who hears it. That's all any of us want: to know we are seen, heard, understood, and of use.
Mine has been and continues to be a Portfolio Career.
Remember the first time you rode a bike and took your hands off the handlebars? And then because it felt fun and daring you did it again and again until you were riding down a hill with the wind blowing your hair and your hands up over your head screaming, “Look at me! No hands!” Whether you crashed and burned and saw the inside of the Emergency Room with a busted arm or sailed safely through - you showed up, you did it.
I've been letting go of the handlebars and showing up all my life through an array of professional careers chosen to help people: US Navy nurse, hospital risk manager, attorney, professor, public speaker, professional storyteller writer, and most recently a decade as a successful nationally recognized litigation consultant. I've said "Yes!" to scuba diving, mountain climbing, backpacking across Europe, parachuting, hiking, and even being divorced.
Today I serve professional women as a Podcaster, Story Strategizer, and Communication Problem-Solver helping them get to the heart of their message. Why? Because I had to teach myself how to be seen, heard, understood, and listened to. How did I do that? I learned to tell my own story in my own words my own way. I believe that language is power.
My mission is to show professional women that their story is power; but only if it’s brought to life. When you say "Yes!" that's the place where the story changes.
Quarter Moon Story Arts (website): https://www.quartermoonstoryarts.net
My Life As Compost (blog): https://www.quartermoonstoryarts.net/blog/
Stories From Women Who Walk (podcast): https://www.quartermoonstoryarts.net/podcast/
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