How I Help Women Find Their Worth

After enduring poverty and loss, Cynthia Occelli’s life experience helped her create practical approaches to success. Feeling compelled to share her knowledge, Cynthia wrote Resurrecting Venus, a guidebook that gives real-world insight on how women can tap into their feminine essence and achieve the life they want. Learn how Cynthia coaches women to believe in themselves.

My mom story

by Cynthia Occelli
as told to Julie Weingarden Dubin

The lowest point of my life was the day I brought my newborn son home. I loved my baby so much — he was beautiful and perfect but it broke my heart that I could barely provide for him. I was 19 and “home” was a detached, barren garage in Seaside, California, owned by my son’s paternal grandmother. My son’s father was incarcerated, my mother was poor and I had nowhere else to go.

I’ll always remember the nails protruding from the rafters, the bugs and it being so cold because we didn’t have heat. It was nearly impossible to afford diapers and food on welfare, let alone a crib. I felt like I’d failed the most important person in the world. I knew that I had to create a better life for my son.

Steps toward change

Turning my life around wasn’t easy, but I felt I had nothing to lose. I was already a ninth grade drop-out living on welfare. I reasoned that failing wouldn’t look much different. I relied on my dreams to guide me. I used to imagine living a safe, healthy, successful life every night. I did it to escape the misery I was feeling but it changed my outlook and helped me to become motivated and to recognize opportunities and possibilities.

After being on welfare for more than two years while caring for my son, we moved into a house with a roommate. I was so thrilled to have heat and plumbing. I took the California Real Estate License exam and the following year moved to Los Angeles to be with my mom.

I was willing to do whatever it took to change our lives. I stepped outside of my comfort zone. I babysat, sold insurance door-to-door and learned bookkeeping. I listened to motivational tapes and read books about people who were successful. I learned to believe in myself. I took constant action. I applied for jobs, thought of business ideas, and always tried to better myself. Determined to prove my worth, I set my sights on law school. I did well on the LSAT and found a school that accepted me. I graduated in the top 3 percent of my class a few years later.

A Cinderella story

After I climbed out of poverty, I found love and married a wonderful man. We welcomed a little girl and built our dream home in Bel Air, California. My life was a fairytale but in an instant, my world collapsed. My husband had a ruptured brain aneurysm that washed away his memory, personality and our marriage. I took care of him for almost a year and then he went to live with his family in France and we later divorced.

In my darkest moment, I wanted to just let everything go and stop trying. But I couldn’t give up on life and leave my children to suffer. I resolved to put my life back together. I had no idea if I would ever feel like smiling again. Over the next several years, I worked hard on myself. When I reached a place of emotional wholeness and inner joy, I knew I’d achieved something special and I wanted to share it, but I didn’t know how.

Stumbling upon coaching

Hey, Moms: Do you know a mother with a great story? We’re looking for Mom Stories. Email with your suggestions.

I decided to become a business consultant. I helped entrepreneurs solve problems, implement plans and infrastructure and maximize profits. Ironically, instead of doing what I’d been hired to do, I always found myself coaching an owner through her fears or resolving relationship issues between co-workers. In time, my practice morphed into success coaching. Then, I began focusing on women who were starting over after a loss, or a change in lifestyle. I really hit my stride and the reward of seeing women overcome challenges and realize their dreams was the greatest sense of professional success I’d ever experienced. I decided to write the book, Resurrecting Venus, with the hopes of helping women to use their feminine essence to better themselves and their lives.

Today, my son’s in college, my daughter’s in 10th grade and I’m in a committed relationship with an incredible man. My children taught me about unconditional love — their love pulled me through my darkest moments. I want my kids to know that life is precious and the most important thing they can do is live a life that fits their unique definition of success.

Mom wisdom

You’re the most powerful person in your life and the only failure you’ll ever have is giving up — everything else is a setback on the road to success. Believe in yourself, take action and persevere.

Read more Mom Stories

I was homeless with three young kids
My crafting saved us

My big RV adventure


Recommended for you


Comments on "Mom story: I went from welfare to life coaching"

Angela Perez January 02, 2013 | 2:59 PM

Wow ! What an inspiring story... well life I guess I should say. 2013 is bringing nothing but positives and change my way. I'm off now in search of your book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks Cynthia I needed you.

Kelly December 18, 2012 | 2:12 PM

Cynthia's book is amazing! She is so real and makes great points for all women. I read the book after seeing this article and it was like finding a new best friend.

krissy December 16, 2012 | 5:52 AM

Ur story has inspired me as a mother of one..thank you for sharing ur life and being thoughtful of others

Marissa December 15, 2012 | 9:56 PM

One of the main reasons Cynthia's writings touch my heart is that she writes primarily *in her own voice* -- she doesn't try to make everything sound objective and academic. It is based on her experience with her own life and helping others. There are many insights to be gained!

Lily December 15, 2012 | 12:51 PM

Cynthia has a gift to share, a gift that brings hope to many women. Thank you cynthia, for taking the time and energy to empower women.... I love your book... I look forward to seeing your movie some day!

Teresa December 14, 2012 | 8:30 PM

Cynthia is an example and an inspiration for me as I walk through my life with class and dignity. Learning to listen to my deep inner belly voice and respecting her. And I am in the L.A. area this last week of the year. Thank you Cynthia for sharing your pearls of wisdom and inviting us to journey with you through this thing called life.

Shiloh King December 14, 2012 | 7:09 PM

Such an inspiring story. It makes other single mothers like myself BELIEVE that if Cynthia can climb herself out of poverty and into the life of her dreams then we also can do the same. Cynthia's life, blogs and now book has inspired me in many ways, not only am I facing my fears to live my dream on a daily basis but I am finding such joy and blist in tapping into my feminine side. Thank you Cynthia for going through what you did so we can have an example of true triumph and success. Love and Light

Valli Ware December 14, 2012 | 3:35 PM

Cynthia is a truly amazing woman. Her strength and ability to rise up in difficult situations is a constant reminder to never give up and to know our wounded places lies our deepest wisdom and truths. I admire her courage and her perseverance.

Owen December 14, 2012 | 1:18 PM

Her story reminds us that we are capable of anything we set out to achieve, if we persevere.

Deva December 14, 2012 | 1:04 PM

What a powerful and inspiring story! Cynthia is one of those rare gems, who shares her wisdom with tremendous compassion and authenticity. I feel so blessed for her presence in my life!

Teresa December 14, 2012 | 11:50 AM

Thanks for sharing your story and now inspiring so many more women with your wonderful book, Resurrecting Venus!

Meredith December 14, 2012 | 11:35 AM

Starting over can be such a challenge. Thank you for the inspiration! I will let my dreams guide me, too!

Kadi December 14, 2012 | 9:54 AM

One of the most inspiring stories I've ever heard. Thank you so much for sharing and uplifting our lives!

beth December 14, 2012 | 9:12 AM

This is truly inspiring!

June Sarchett December 14, 2012 | 8:32 AM

This story is remarkable and Cynthia is amazing!!!!

Megan December 13, 2012 | 12:35 PM

Very inspiring story! I love the Mom Wisdom about how you only fail once you give up. Everything else is a true!

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)