Iris Ruth Pastor, is an author and speaker whose mantra is “Preserving Your Bloom:” encouraging people to use their talents and resources to be the best they can be. She shares her forty-six year battle with bulimia in her newest book: The Secret Life of a Weight-Obsessed Woman.
What do I do best?
What I do best is express what I am feeling through my writing and public speaking. By sharing my experiences with others, connections are forged - and often people re-experience an event or situation in a new and healthier way. Recently I wrote about both the relief and the sadness I felt over my mom passing away, which jumpstarted an avalanche of reader’s stories about their parents passing away.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I think I have an absolutely unshakeable love of life - embracing not just the milestone moments but the untidiness of everyday life. This manifests itself in my rock solid perseverance and in looking at obstacles as challenges, not roadblocks. I don’t give up. And when I get discouraged - usually late at night when I’m tired - I get a good night’s sleep, and in the morning I have a fresh perspective on how to achieve what I want to achieve. For instance, my newest book just came out and I decided I want as a goal to be on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. Instead of fantasizing about it, I put my mind to work brainstorming every possible - or even crazy way - to get to her.
What are my aspirations?
Personal - to get a second home closer to my grandchildren so I can be a part of their daily lives.
Business – My goal through various mediums is to spread my mantra of “Preserve Your Bloom,” which means acquiring the wisdom to live the life you crave - using your talents and resources to be the best version of yourself. This also incorporates the importance of self-care and raising awareness of the prevalence of eating disorders in midlife and beyond.
My Biggest Success?
My husband and I had just declared bankruptcy and I had to give up the luxury of being a stay-at-home Mom and freelance writer.
I took a very difficult test (for me) and got my insurance license and affiliated with AFLAC. I was terrified of cold calling so I sat in the office and literally wrote down every word the seasoned sales reps said when conversing with potential clients. And then with pounding heart, I began the arduous process of building my book of business. My greatest accomplishment was finding the courage to ask a man my husband and I had just met socially if I could make an appointment to talk to him about bringing AFLAC products into his paper-making company, which employed about 1000 people. He said “Yes,” and that action led me to be named AFLAC Rookie of the Year for the State of Ohio – which was based on sales of AFLAC products. I gained self-confidence and the unshakable belief in my own ability to navigate through choppy waters and find my way back to the safety of the harbor. Becoming a successful sales rep - and later a motivational speaker for AFLAC - deepened my belief that most everything in life is truly about sales, establishing relationships and building trust.
My Most Challenging Moment?
On Valentine’s Day, 2012, after a particularly violent siege of bingeing and purging and after forty-six years of hiding my shameful secret of Bulimia, I decided I would never purge again. Three weeks later, I entered into outpatient therapy at an eating disorders clinic near my home. I have been in recovery ever since. I firmly believe - though terror coursed through my veins as I began treatment - that recovery from an addiction or a mental illness is possible at any age and at any stage.
Winston Churchill’s motto as World War 2 ravaged Europe: When you’re going through Hell, keep going.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Personal: My father - He simply never gave up on anything he was trying to achieve. He ran into a great amount of Anti-Semitism that held him back from professional advancement. He just kept submitting superior products and finally got the respect and work assignments congruent with his abilities. And my father didn’t sugar-coat reality. One of the most annoying things he would say to me when I hit my teens and was moping around over a break-up with one or another of my boyfriends was, “There’s nothing deader than yesterday’s romance.” He was right!
Business - my social media guru Dan Blank of We Grow Media. He works hard. He plays hard. And he believes in collaboration and helping other people get ahead. His weekly newsletters don’t just merely inform and entertain, but give sustainable, hands-on advice on how to reach goals and aspirations.
My Favorite Places/Destinations
My favorite places and destinations are anywhere my sons and my six grandchildren are.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
The contents of my father’s duffel bag from World War 2
The bone china cups and saucers passed down from my maternal grandmother
A handwritten letter from one of my sons thanking me for being such a good mom and source of support
My Current Passions?
Through the publication of my newest book - The Secret Life of a Weight-Obsessed Woman - I have come in contact with people I would never have met - such as a woman from Australia who was anorexic for decades until she was able to beat it - and now helps people journal their way through to recovery.
My grandchildren face-timing me
Having the luxury now that I am an empty nester to do with my days what I want to do - no more car pools, homework hassles and soccer games to attend. Of course, the flip side is that I am no longer the hub of their existence, but a mere spoke in the wheel.