Crystal Kosnjek: Choosing Happiness Over Hardship to Light the Way for Others

Crystal Kosnjek: Choosing Happiness Over Hardship to Light the Way for Others

Crystal Kosnjek's life has been marked by both profound challenges and remarkable triumphs. As a pre-teen, she endured the painful revelation that the man she knew as her father was not actually her biological dad. This discovery threw Crystal into a deep depression, setting the stage for a turbulent start to adulthood.  

In her early 20s, Crystal entered into a marriage that quickly became abusive. What began as emotional manipulation and control escalated to physical violence. Crystal's husband isolated her from family and friends, systematically tearing down her self-worth. As the abuse intensified, Crystal felt trapped, lacking the resources and support to escape safely with her young children.  

At her lowest point, after being hospitalized from a near-fatal attack by her husband, Crystal found the will to fight back. Though the road to freedom seemed impossible, she was determined to build a better life for herself and her kids. Crystal fought tirelessly to get legal help, a restraining order, divorce proceedings – whatever it took to break free. Once on her own, the real work began: rebuilding her credit, providing for her family, and pursuing an education while working full-time.  

"I don't want people to feel sorry for me," Crystal says, "because it showed me the amount of strength I have. That's what propels me to keep going."  

While in the midst of divorce and raising four kids alone, Crystal enrolled in community college to get a business degree. She would arrive early to work or use breaks to study, staying up late and sacrificing sleep to complete assignments after her kids were in bed. Her motivation was to provide her children with the life they deserved.  

Crystal graduated with honors while managing a full course load as a single mom. Reflecting on this period, she says: "You've got to find the solutions. If you want it bad enough, there's a way."  

Once on her own two feet financially, Crystal's next goal was to purchase a home for her family. Despite her ex-husband's hurtful words during their split that she couldn't make it without him, Crystal proudly bought her first house using money she had earned and saved herself. "I'm doing just fine without him," she says with a smile.  

Crystal's resilience through adversity is an inspiration. However, more than conquering her own challenges, Crystal is committed to empowering others. She lives by the mindset: "If you can take care of yourself, then you can take care of others."  

This passion led Crystal to publish her "12 Laws to Making Life Your B*tch" book in 2023. Part memoir, part motivational guide, the book takes readers through Crystal's personal experiences and imparts the mindset shifts that helped her overcome obstacles. "When all my friends asked me how I do what I do, I wanted to share the knowledge on how to take control of your life," she explains.  

The book teaches philosophies like diving deep to understand your motivations, keeping an open and patient mindset, and the power of positive self-talk. While embracing struggles as part of growth, Crystal ultimately aims to help people "choose happiness" in aligning their actions with their dreams. Her forthcoming book "Fired Up 3" features stories from women entrepreneurs, all proceeds donated to charity.  

With over 20 years of experience working in and managing restaurants, Crystal launched Restaurant Tactics to provide consulting and leadership development for restaurant owners and managers. By assessing problems, implementing solutions, and strengthening teams, Restaurant Tactics helps restaurants maximize performance. Crystal draws from her expertise to improve operations, prevent issues, and train managers to lead successful establishments.  

Complementing her business consulting, Crystal also founded Dominating Life. This company focuses on guiding individuals to overcome limitations and achieve their dreams. Crystal helps clients build self-awareness, shift mindset, and gain the tools to take control of their lives. She provides coaching to develop purpose-driven goals, manage time effectively, address self-doubt, and practice self-care. With her personal experience overcoming adversity, Crystal is uniquely positioned to empower anyone ready to dominate life.  

However, Crystal's biggest dream focuses on transforming mental health and wellness. After coping with high stress and burnout as a restaurant manager through the pandemic, Crystal envisioned a retreat to reconnect people with mindfulness practices. "I noticed my own mental wellbeing was off and wanted a quiet space to ground myself," she reflects. "So many people are overworked and need a place to relax in nature and practice self-care."  

True to form, Crystal is determined to create this vision and offer mindfulness tools to adults and kids alike. "Teaching children mindfulness in schools would be so powerful," she says. For Crystal, fulfilling dreams is not about willful striving but about alignment. "If you believe in it, and just trust that it will work out...everything just kind of seems to work itself out."  

This outlook has guided Crystal through both painful lows and profound joys. At the core, she practices unconditional compassion – for others and herself. "You have to go deep. So often, we're the problem to our problems," she says. "But I mean that with the most love."  

Crystal is candid about still healing her own past wounds. Yet each day, she moves forward, living her purpose: "If I can help one person, I know I can make an impact." In relaying her story, Crystal speaks firsthand to those in the midst of hardship. For those feeling defeated or stuck, she says simply: "Don't give up. "With gentle humor and hard-won wisdom, she shares: "You might shift direction. That's okay. Just be patient with yourself and keep moving in one direction, even if small."  

Crystal's light shines brightly, guiding others to believe in themselves and embrace each new day's possibilities. Though the path may wind, she is certain every experience brings growth. Her parting advice is to take time for self-care, tune out negative voices, and visualize your dreams. "If you can take care of yourself, then you can take care of others."  

Crystal's story conveys an unwavering message: even in life's bleakest moments, hope, courage, and inner strength can chart the course toward happiness. She is proof that light can emerge even from the darkest places. And that is her lasting gift: Helping others ignite their inner light.  

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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