Linda Armstrong – Raising a Champion and Battling a Bully
A Champion’s Muse: Linda Armstrong’s Tale of Resilience
Despite weathering several abusive relationships and the hardship of being a single mother, Linda Armstrong always encouraged her son to pursue his athletic goals.
And while raising her boy, she displayed the toughness and determination to forge ahead through life’s unexpected obstacles that would one day prepare her son Lance to battle cancer and become a seven-time champion of the world’s most prestigious cycling event, the Tour de France.
Breaking Barriers: Linda Armstrong’s Fight for a Better Life
Her own fight against an uphill battle in life while raising a future athletic superstar is the subject of her book, No Mountain High Enough – Raising Lance, Raising Me. “I always had a hope and dream that I could rise above it,” she says about the troubles in her life.
Linda: An Unyielding Force
Armstrong, 52, got her GED in 1970, had the courage to walk away from a marriage rife with mental abuse and infidelity, and earned a real estate license in 1990. Today, after 15 years as a global account manager with a technology giant, she is involved in fundraising, advocating for children, and addressing issues that include teenage pregnancy and domestic abuse. She also works as an unofficial spokesperson for the Livestrong Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars to fight cancer.
Linda’s Early Life: The Origin of Grit and Determination
Raised in Dallas as the oldest of three children and the daughter of an alcoholic father, Armstrong took on babysitting jobs at age ten. Her escape was watching the Donna Reed Show, the embodiment of the perfect family she hoped one day to have. Yet in high school, she dated the captain of the football team and got pregnant. Her mother didn’t approve and forced her to move out.
No Mountain High Enough for Linda
The romance turned abusive, forcing her to drop out of school and take on clerical and receptionist work to support little Lance. “I didn’t have a soft place to land because I had no skills,” she says. “But I’m like a seed. Where you plant me, I will blossom.”
Raising Lance: Linda Armstrong’s Lifelong Commitment
When Lance was three, she got married and began a decade of mental abuse that she eventually brought to an end because it was affecting more than just her life. “I believe in marriage and that people should be together,’’ she says. “I kept thinking he would change. I didn’t want to fail, and I always had a hope and dream that I could rise above it. But this was affecting Lance.”
As a mother, Armstrong has always been at the top of her game. Even with the backdrop of a difficult childhood, she pushed Lance to set goals and to pursue his dreams. “Follow your heart,” she told him, adding, “I’ll do the rest.’’ She’s always believed that part of parenting is to “find the one thing that children are passionate about, and support it.”
Learning to Let Go: A New Chapter for Linda Armstrong
When Lance moved out at 18, she felt like her right arm had been cut off. Yet ever the optimist, Armstrong recalls thinking, “You’ve got to love them and let them go.”
Having undergone therapy to help heal the psychological scars of her earlier relationships, she married Ed Kelly, a retired IBM executive, in 2002. They enjoy a healthy, loving relationship outside of Dallas.
This petite and charming dynamo is now able to talk about her challenging life experiences, which once made her feel alone and ashamed. “I am at peace knowing that I can help other people.” As for those ubiquitous yellow Livestrong wristbands, Armstrong wears two of them “because I’m the mom!”
Armstrong’s will to overcome hardship – to find “the diamond in the dumpster, the blessing in every bummer” – is transferable to your own career trials. Use her shining example to win yourself a yellow jersey in the workplace.
The Linda Armstrong Formula
A good attitude and optimistic outlook are the first steps in your journey to success. Follow that up with solid, realistic goals that’ll get you to the finish line.
Counseling and education were two key elements that helped Armstrong pull ahead of the pack. You can help yourself too – by seeking help for your challenges, taking a course, or sharpening your existing skills.
Armstrong shares her story to help others in trying circumstances to overcome the odds. Reach out to your clients, co-workers, and friends in need. You’ll not only feel good about yourself, but you’ll build a reservoir of goodwill.
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