Wonder Woman Alexa Carlin Battled A Near-Death Health Scare & Launched An Empowerment Conference

Today we are launching a new series on the site called Today’s Wonder Women – designed to celebrate the inspiring, impactful, empowering and extraordinary things ordinary women are doing every day. This article is the first of many we will be publishing over the coming months. We will be sharing interviews, essays, articles and guest posts about women who are creating change. If you have a story to share and want to add your voice to the Today’s Wonder Women conversation, get in touch by emailing info@girltalkhq.com.

In the meantime, meet the inimitable Alexa Carlin. Alexa has an amazing story: At 17 she launched her first company as its CEO.  At 21 she was given a 1%  chance to live after a major health scare, and now at 27 she is empowering and teaching people how to live their dreams. She is a nationally-renowned public speaker and founder of the Women’s Empower Expo which she launched in 2016, now on it’s third annual Florida event with over 2,000 women in attendance. The Expo has also launched in Washington, D.C. with another city being announced soon. As a teen she spent her days designing jewelry for an LA-based fashion company under her own label where she donated a percentage of proceeds to help build schools in Africa. In 2011 she founded the inspirational blog Hello Perfect, which sparked the inspiration for the WEX. Read her story below.

Life takes you on crazy adventures from the most fun experiences to turns that you never thought you would experience. Flashback to January 26, 2013, a day for celebration, the long anticipated event to celebrate the success of Hello Perfect, an inspirational blog I founded while in college to help instill confidence in young girls and women. Instead, my mom, who was in town for the celebration, rushed me to the hospital and my life changed forever. Looking back, this journey served as the catalyst that propelled me to become the leader I am today. Triumph over tragedy, turning obstacles into opportunities, it’s time for you to become the #WonderWoman you were born to be.

It was that day back in 2013 that I went from living on top of the world only months away from college graduation to being induced into a medical coma and given a 1% chance of living.

A few hours before the Hello Perfect celebration was about to start, I was not feeling well and it was getting hard for me to breathe. My mom knew something was wrong and rushed me to the emergency room where a few hours later the doctors were telling her to call my family as I only had 24 hours left to live.

My body went into septic shock (a life threatening infection where a bacteria enters into the bloodstream) and it was at this moment my life changed forever. I was in a coma for six days and in the intensive care unit for a total of 10 days, and during this time I truly discovered how powerful our minds are.

When I was out of the coma I wasn’t able to control anything on my own, I couldn’t breathe, move or speak on my own but I was aware of my own thoughts. So during this time, as I was suffering from severe pain with a tube down my throat and hooked up to nine different bags of antibiotics, one entering through my neck, I pictured my mind to be this healthy pink color. I would envision my mind so healthy and then move this healing pink color down to the rest of my body which to me, looked like it was black and rotting away as sepsis was killing all of my organs. I did this hour by hour, day in and day out until I was discharged from the hospital.

This experience alone always reminds me to focus on the things we do have control over. At that moment I only could control my own thoughts and it is what helped me survive. Whether or not you believe in the spirituality aspect of it, just redirecting my thoughts on to something more positive than the pain itself helped me push through.

It’s so important in business and in life to be conscious of where you choose to direct your energy. The more time you spend on thinking about your current challenges or obstacles, the less energy you have to pursue what you love.

While I wish I could say my life has been uphill since this near-death experience, but that’s not how life works. A few months after being discharged from the hospital I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Ulcerative Colitis. If I thought sepsis was a challenge, I had no idea what I was in for. This autoimmune disease has by far been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. It’s chronic so I live with it day in and day out. Some days I feel great while other days I have to cancel all of my meetings because I don’t feel well.

After I was diagnosed it was three years of spending my days in and out of the hospital and doctor appointments and for a long time I felt victimized and questioned why, at 21 years old, this had to happen to me. I felt like all of my dreams were just taken from me.

But while I was going through this health journey, I still was that passionate go-getter I was when I started my first business at 17 years old. And so I knew that if I wanted to change my life I couldn’t wait for things to change, I had to change them myself. It wasn’t until I stopped asking myself, “why did this happen to me” and began asking myself, “why did this happen for me”, that everything shifted.

Allowing my story to become public was a must. I instinctively knew that sharing my story would help other people. You could say it was a calling because my survival was nothing short of a miracle. I couldn’t stay silent. I had to share my journey of turning obstacles into positive energy with the world. After writing a published gluten-free & vegan cookbook in 2014, I started the live-stream show “Morning Motivation with Alexa.”

It was here that I began sharing my story being completely vulnerable and authentic, on a broader platform. I reached audiences around the world. through public speaking engagements and on social media. The great response I received sparked the idea for the next chapter, the Women Empower Expo (WEX). While speaking, I noticed a disconnect with women within communities around the country and that sparked the idea to bring us together. I felt that in order to create real change in your own life, business and community, people, specifically women, need to connect and collaborate.

As an entrepreneur you need to network and get to know people from different industries and backgrounds in order to help grow your business into a successful venture. As a female, it’s important to understand that we need to support and empower one another, to grow together and not isolate or put each other down. Once you realize there is enough success for all of us to be successful, the game changes.

I think many women, or really people in general, are afraid of pursuing what they love because of the competition, but when you are your authentic self, you have no competition. Your authenticity is your point of differentiation!

In 2016, I launched the first Women Empower Expo (WEX) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. WEX was founded on the values of collaboration over competition. This November, we are hosting our third annual WEX conference in S. Florida. This year also marked our second Washington, D.C. conference and we are about to announce our third city very soon.

To give you the essence of WEX, it is an all-day power conference, inviting women of all ages and backgrounds to come together to learn from each other. Whether it be digital marketing, funding for your business, or leading the way to get more women in C-Suite positions, guests can curate their own sessions and explore unique activations customizing the WEX Experience to meet their personal passions, businesses and interests.

In addition to hosting these yearly conferences, I spend much of my time traveling around the United States speaking at companies, universities and conferences sharing my story to empower others to gain the courage and confidence to pursue their dreams. Public speaking has been the number one marketing vehicle to grow my business and create an impact in thousands of lives.

I used to be an extremely shy person, always afraid of speaking up or sharing my opinion but after I started my first company at 17 I realized this was what was holding me back from growing my venture. Confidence and energy are literally the two keys to success that I don’t think enough people talk about.

Many people ask how I went from that shy girl to who I am today and the answer, hard work and practice. Confidence is a skill which means you can learn and gain it throughout your journey. You just need the belief in yourself and the support behind you to take it to the next level.

Since I started speaking professionally in 2014, I have given a TEDx Talk and have been invited by Fortune 500 companies such as Office Depot and Taco Bell to share my journey and help motivate and inspire others to live their best life and follow their dreams. I love meeting, speaking and listening to women share their goals with me… I always tell people that being able to speak your goals out loud is the first step to making them a reality. We all have super powers within us, we just need to learn to unearth them from inside and nourish them to blossom.

So ladies, through obstacles there can always be triumphs. Take it from me, I have survived the worst and turned it into a blessing. We are all #wonderwomen and now is the time to unleash that power!

Alexa Carlin is a nationally renowned public speaker, Founder & CEO of the Women Empower Expo (WEX), and Creator of the speaker training program, BeAPublicSpeaker.comShe launched the Women Empower Expo (WEX) in 2016 and grew it to become the largest event for female entrepreneurs and change leaders in South Florida and Washington D.C. within its first year. Alexa has been featured on FOX, ABC, CBS, Cheddar TV and The Oprah Winfrey Network. She was also on the cover of Meetings & Conventions Magazine being named 1 of 15 “Young Millennial Go-Getters To Watch” and named one of the “Most Powerful Women In Fort Lauderdale” by Gold Coast’s Fort Lauderdale Daily.
Follow Alexa on Twitter and Instagram, and follow the WEX on Twitter and Instagram.
 

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