By Candice Wagener | Photography by Joe Patterson
At the start of 2016, Darcy Luoma was living the entrepreneur’s dream. After five years (and thousands of hours) researching her Thoughtfully Fit model, she had finalized the concept. She was a sought-after speaker and life coach — and she was adding team members to her business.
But in March, her life took a hairpin turn. Her husband of 10 years (and stay-at-home father to their two daughters) was arrested for the sexual assault of a minor he met online. Additional charges came later, and he would be convicted for possession of child pornography and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“At the darkest hour of my life, when I was completely alone, I had to test-drive my model firsthand … that helped me to be able to help others through my story of resilience,” she recalls.
Contrary to the advice of her team and the PR firm handling crisis communications, she shared her story with BRAVA in the May 2019 issue. “I was scared to share when BRAVA reached out. Ultimately, I decided to because it was exhausting to try to live a secret.”
Despite fears she would derail her reputation and business by going public, the exact opposite happened.
“People reached out and said, ‘I need to hire you. I have a fill-in-the-blank [situation] and need your help,’” says Luoma. “People who reached out felt like … they could share because there’s going to be no shame … people have really hard things happening in their lives.”
The foundation of Luoma’s coaching practice, Thoughtfully Fit, is designed to support people through challenges. Having it as a tool in her own personal crisis was integral to moving her career — and her life — forward.
Luoma took a few months off from her business to heal. “It gave me the time to grieve and deal with the complete and utter chaos my life had become,” says Luoma. “I would not have been able to write the book, talk to you, give keynotes, [without going] through the process, giving myself permission to not have the strength for a while, to cry and be in therapy.”
She went back to the drawing board on her book, including her personal story and how she used the model to persevere. Her story has become a fixture in her presentations, too. She and her daughters have forgiven her now ex-husband. Deeply understanding forgiveness has allowed new speaking opportunities for Luoma. She makes regular volunteer trips to a women’s prison in Denver, sharing her story and helping inmates reflect on their relationships.
“I have peace in my heart,” says Luoma. “None of us want to be defined by our worst moment. We’re so human and so flawed. For me it just became a non-negotiable; I had to figure out how to forgive … My life is better because of what I went through.”
Thoughtfully Fit Model
Similar to being physically fit, which makes day-to-day living easier, Luoma’s Thoughtfully Fit model builds resilience to overcome challenges.
- Pause: Kick off autopilot, avoid reacting impulsively.
- Think: Ask thoughtful questions to engage awareness. “What are my choices?” “What does an ideal outcome look like?” “What’s triggering me?” Create new awareness and consider new perspectives.
- Act: Consciously choose what you’re going to do and how to move forward.
Read more from our “What Women Want at Work” feature here.