Your names/a little about yourself ?
My name is Alli Owen and professionally I am an engineer, but I recently stepped out into the public as an inspirational writer and survivor of trauma. I write on my instagram @allio.co and my blog www.allio.co. I also coach and lead women overcoming their own trauma stories.
What's your story?
At age 22, I was a virgin when an acquaintance rape situation forced me into survival mode. For years, I ran from the experience, trying to validate my depleted sense of self-worth with achievements. I got a masters in engineering, climbed the tallest mountain in Africa and the lower 48, travelled the world, and ran a half marathon. All these achievements left me exhausted and still feeling unworthy of love and joy. When I met my future husband, and our relationship started getting more serious, I knew I had to face the demons of my past. So I signed up for counseling and that was the first time I learned what happened to me was rape. (I wrote a whole blog post entitled “Why I Never Called it Rape,” if you’re interested why it took me so long.) Through owning what happened to me and recognizing the unconscious response I had suffered through for yours (depleted self-worth), I was finally able to heal and step into my true self- confident, alive, and full of love and joy. When we own our stories, we no longer give them power over us. It is now my life’s purpose to help other women own their stories and step into bravery, vulnerability, and love!
What do you do?
Does not have to be professionally, you can talk about anything you do that you love!
I am an engineer, but writing and coaching really makes me come alive. I feel most at home with a journal in hand, my face down on my yoga mat, stepping off a plane in a new country, or galloping a horse through nature.
Why did you get into that?
I found my passion by trying on a lot of different hats. I tried to be a math teacher, a waitress, a geologist, a speech pathologist, a physical therapist…I think I changed my major 7 times in college. But I don’t think we have to pick one thing. I think once we recognize what comes easy to us that may not come easy to others, we’re onto something that could be our career.
What struggles have you over come and how?
The biggest struggle has been owning my story and establishing a healthy sense of self-worth. Even though my achievements came from a fear-based negative place, they really did prove to me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. My biggest piece of advice for anyone if they’ve had an “icky” experience…even if they can’t classify it…talk to a trusted counselor or a coach about what happened even if you don’t think it’s affecting you. It could be affecting you in ways you don’t even recognize.
How has your role of a woman pushed you forward or held you back?
Being a female in a male dominated field has its strengths and weaknesses. I’ll never really know if the unconscious bias has played a role in my career, although with the research, I can assume it has. I never let myself get into the victim mindset though. I don’t let myself think “I got passed over for that promotion because I am a woman.” That’s never been healthy for me, because it’s something I can’t control. Instead, I try to think about ways I could improve in my career or at my job so that next time I’ll be better. Its healthier for me to focus on things I can control.
How do you stay positive and focused?
I stay positive through mindfulness – when I notice my mind slipping into negative thoughts, I’ll take a break, notice them, and try to identify why I’m feeling this way. Normally, it’s because I’ve neglected my self-care ritual (forgotten to eat, haven’t taken a break, pushed myself too hard, etc.) I stay focused by getting adequate sleep, moving my body every day, and meditation. In meditation, I will do 3 minutes of breath work, 3 minutes of gratitude, and 3 minutes of visualizing my day.
Any words of advice for future girl bosses following in your footsteps?
Whatever you want to do, but are afraid to do, is probably the most important piece of work you will ever do in your life. Do that.
What is one quote you stand by
Our past doesn’t define us. We have the power to rewrite the story of our lives.