Spotlight Allies: the good, the bad, the ugly

About 10 years ago I hit a rough patch in my life. Within a 6-month period, I lost my Uncle, my Mother, and my dog, Abby.

It was one devastating blow after another. And then I was at a friend’s birthday party and suddenly passed out. I was standing with a glass of red wine in my hand, and literally fell to the floor mid-sentence.

Fortunately I recovered quickly and was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation. My ongoing stress of “keeping it all going,” coupled with exhaustion from constant traveling, finally led to an infection, that ultimately triggered a physical breakdown of my body.

It was during this time that I learned – really learned – the importance of surrounding myself with allies.

Two weeks after recovering from my physical breakdown, I had an emotional breakdown of sorts. I really started to freak out – about everything.

So I did what I would normally do, I called my business-and-life partner, Chuck. I unloaded my angst on him. I whined. I complained. I bitched about traveling too much. Everything was fair game.

Chuck was compassionate and attentive to my needs for a good 20 minutes. Then he let fly with the best “Get your act together or let’s stop this business” tirade that I’ve ever received. Chuck went ballistic, but in a way that showed love, support, and nothing but encouragement.

He told me that if I wanted to do good and meaningful work, he was there for me – but only if I took proper care of myself; asked for help when I needed it; and took full responsibility for getting my act together physically, emotionally, and mentally.

We all need wake-up calls like that from time to time, don’t we? While it was really hard at the time, looking back I know that this episode in my life was a good thing.

What would your life be like if you considered everything that happens to you, good or bad, to be an ally for you? Think about your past and how situations that seemed horrible at the time eventually proved to have positive effects. I’ll bet you can come up with at least a few.

Chuck was the perfect ally during this troubling time for me. He was a true partner, one who cared enough to say, “Enough is enough!” He gave me empathy and support, and he also provided a reality check.

As a result of Chuck’s tirade, one of my calls for support went out to Dr. Carol Ann Malizia, a chiropractor and wellness expert. Little did I know the impact this woman would have on my health and well-being. She quickly became an ally in my life.

She literally taught me to “feed” my true potential. She told me, “The time has come for you to feed yourself not only spiritually and emotionally, but also nutritionally.”

And now my niece, Suzanne, and her husband, Erik, are also chiropractors and wellness experts, and very involved in my well-being. A holistic and natural approach to a healthier life is now the norm for me, and something that will help keep me on top of my game.

What allies do you have in your corner? If you already know, touch base with them and remind them who they are to you. If you don’t have your own dream team, I invite you to start. Create a list of the people in your life and, next to each name, write what sort of ally you hope that person is or will become. Creating a list will help make it real!

Remember to look for allies in every situation – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and turn it all into positive energy.


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  • João Motta Reply

    Thank you Rick for the wonderful and personal text. It is good to read some similar struggles, I too need to be mindful of any bitching and focus on friends and family who are allies, to move on with what’s important.

    • Rick Reply

      Thank you Joao for naming it as well. It always helps to know we are never alone in all this! Best to you!

  • Claire Steichen Reply

    Rick, my Produce U colleagues have been such wonderful allies, as have you and Chuck. Don’t go it alone, and make sure your allies are healthy too. So important.

    • Rick Reply

      Thanks Claire– Isn’t it fun to do this work TOGETHER–I keep realizing how much I want more community of big players in my life! Which you are one…..honored!

  • Maureen Knapp Reply

    You opened up this field of my thinking bout Allies at Silver Bay last year –and…working with allies closely in the ProduceU Group these past 6 months has been a gift, a challenge and one of the best experiences I – and my coaching business – have had the pleasure to dive into.
    Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, Rick. You are So Real!

    • Rick Reply

      Honored– the more we reveal, the more folks relate and the more we attract. It is that simple!

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