Inspiration comes in many forms. For Linda Watson, it comes in the form of her mom, Malee. And after hearing Malee’s story, it’s not difficult to understand why — she paved the path on which Linda would grow and become the inspiration for so many others.
Malee was born in Thailand and only has a second-grade education. She met Linda’s father, Spencer, while he was on his second stay in the country. The two fell in love, got married and moved to the United States.
“My work ethic stems from my mom,” Linda tells What’s Up, USANA? “With her being foreign and having to learn our language as an adult, my mom inspired me to have a ‘no excuses’ attitude. She never let her challenges stop her from finding work. She’s a smart woman and saw our country as an opportunity to live a life she never could in Thailand.”
Both of Linda’s parents worked hard while Linda was growing up, but there were a few times when Spencer was unemployed and Malee would work two jobs to make up the difference. That hard work kept the Watsons fed, and it provided the extras that allowed Linda and her brother, Patrick, to have a normal childhood.
“There were so many times that my mom was the last to eat because she wanted to make sure my brother and I were fed first,” Linda remembers. “My mom continues to physically work hard to this day, and my goal is to retire her so she would never have to work another day in her life.”
Fast Cars and Freedom
Linda knew from an early age that she wanted more than what her parents struggled for. She started working at age 15, and once she got her first paycheck, she was responsible for paying for her own things (school lunch money, gas, car insurance, school clothes, etc.). “When I turned 16, I paid cash for a rusty old car that was standard and leaked brake fluid on the floorboard, but I didn’t care,” Linda says. “I loved it. It was freedom!”
Freedom, however, comes with choices, Linda cautions.
At 17, Linda discovered boys. And while most of her friends were deciding what college they wanted to attend, Linda found out she was pregnant.
“Talk about shock,” Linda says. “I had a very adult decision to make the summer before my senior year. I had only been dating the father for six months. Family and friends had differing opinions of what I should do with my baby, but it ultimately came down to my choice. I decided to take my responsibility and raise my son the best way I knew how.”
Becoming a mom at such a young age completely shifted Linda’s life focus. “It was now not just about me but about a completely innocent child that I brought into this world,” she explains. “I had all of the adult responsibilities at such a tender age when I myself was still developing and transforming into an adult.”
For Linda, that meant working part time at a bank and completing high school. Not only did she finish, she graduated in the top 5 percent of her class. Linda went on to college, graduating from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance in 2001. From there, she immediately went to work for a company where she received licenses to trade securities.
Linda has been a full-time employee with a private investment firm for 10 years now. And she says life is good.
“I have a quiet office with a beautiful water view in our downtown area. I have tremendous respect for my boss, often referring to him as my ‘Rich Dad.’ I credit him for grooming me up over the years into the professional businesswoman I am today.”
Choices made at 17 have turned out well for Linda. She can’t imagine her life without her son, Ryan. “My favorite part of being a mom is when ‘the teacher becomes the student,’” Linda says. “My son loves to ‘teach’ me how to do things and explain things to me. When I see the world through his innocent eyes, it always brings me back to center!”
Dinner Date, Detour and a HealthPak
While Linda wouldn’t change the choices that have led her to this point, her goals have changed. “When I was in my 20s, my goals were mostly financial,” she says. “As I have learned more about life and how short and precious it really is, my goals have shifted toward true freedom. I want to live a life without limits. I want to travel the world and enjoy God’s creations. I want to show my family that our past doesn’t equal our future.”
In 2010, Linda started dating Edward Picha, and during those dates, Linda noticed something small that would turn out to be something big — a HealthPak™ next to Edward’s plate at every dinner. Like clockwork, the HealthPak would appear and Edward would take his vitamins. Linda was curious, but she had a difficult time swallowing pills, so she filed away that bit of information without asking any questions.
When Edward left for USANA’s International Convention later that year, Linda started researching into the company. “I remember seeing pictures of each day’s events and noticing all the colors and fun going on onstage,” she recalls. “I’ve never seen a training event like that. All my financial trainings were white walls and black business suits.”
Edward returned fired up and immediately started enrolling lots of people. However, Edward never “technically” prospected Linda. Instead, he asked her out on a Friday night dinner date. But there was one stipulation — they had to “swing by” his friend’s house first so he could help him with a presentation. Linda went along with it.
“I sat at the back of the room, completely absorbing the Health & Freedom presentation and realizing that the retirement chart on display had true numbers,” Linda says. “I was a financial adviser, for goodness sakes. It all made total sense to me.”
A Change for the Better
Linda instantly knew USANA was different kind of company. She liked the teamwork atmosphere and thought her “gift of gab” was a bonus in the world of network marketing. Add to that the time flexibility that comes with a USANA business and Linda was ready to get started.
“USANA fits so well with being a single mom,” she says. “I’m able to handle business over the phone or on the computer without leaving my home, so I don’t have to spend any more precious time away from my son. And when I’m not at home, I’m able to incorporate USANA into my life as well. If I have to wait anywhere, I can start a conversation with someone new, and nine times out of 10, I hear a hot button. It doesn’t take but a few seconds to exchange contact information, and I can invite them to an event or follow up with a short phone call.”
Linda says making the choice to build a USANA business has changed her life for the better. USANA has given her hope, changed her philosophies and has made her more proactive rather than reactive.
“I stepped into leadership rather quickly because my direct upline was in another city, 2½ hours away,” the Silver Director explains. “If I wanted my business to grow, I had to grow.”
Linda’s business with USANA has flourished. So has her relationship with Edward.
“I think watching Edward come out of his shell and develop into a better leader inspired me to grow and be a better version of myself,” Linda says. “Along the way, we were working so closely, sharing the same vision, that our love only deepened and our relationship strengthened.”
The two recently got engaged and are looking forward to a wedding most likely in 2014.
“I love that Edward is everything I’m not. He balances me out. We have a quote on our dream board that says, ‘Be the Kid in You Everyday.’ Edward tends to live by that, and I’m still working on it.”