​​Every year, Thrive Challenge participants share their inspiring stories of resilience, perseverance, connection, and joy. Guadalupe Flores is one of this year’s Thrive Challenge Grand Champs. As her story shows, small changes can have a big impact on our lives — and the lives of others. Download the Thrive app to start your own Thrive Challenge. After 21 days of making better choices, share your story for a chance to win part of the $1 million prize pool! 

A few years ago, my life was not going well.

My husband Chris and I weren’t getting along, and we got divorced. I wasn’t spending enough time with our four grown kids or my grandkids. I was eating junk food, and I sometimes missed meals completely. I felt stressed and I had high blood pressure. I was living paycheck to paycheck, just barely surviving. In 2012, I started working at Walmart as an hourly worker in the warehouse. Then I became an asset protection associate. But my dream was to be a Walmart truck driver.

I’ve always loved driving — just being out on the open road. 

In my family, I’ve always been the one to take over at the wheel for long drives. But I never thought there was a chance for me to drive trucks, because there weren’t many female truck drivers, and hardly any Hispanic women. I’d say to myself, “It’s too hard, women don’t drive trucks.” 

I heard about the Thrive Challenge at a meeting in 2018.

I thought, “Wow, I’m going to go for it — why not?” I thought it could help me achieve my goals and help with my family life. Chris, who’s a retired police officer, and I were trying to get back together. 

My journey began with Money Microsteps.

I had to save $4,000 to go back to school and get my CDL (commercial driver’s license).

That was a lot for me! So I stopped eating out — that was big savings right there. And I stopped spending money on things I didn’t need, like shoes and home decor. I said to myself: “Hey, you don’t need it. Don’t buy it.” After six months, I’d saved enough to take the course and get my license.

It was hard work learning to maneuver a big truck.

You have to make sure you’re not hitting everything around you! It was all new to me and I had to do a lot of reading. I got my CDL, and then I had to do more training for three years, learning to get comfortable on the road, and learning how to back up a big truck — that was the hardest thing. But with Thrive, I knew I could do everything step by step. 

I’d do breathing exercises to lower my stress.

 I’d watch Thrive nature Resets and videos that helped me stay positive. I’d say to myself. “Come on, we can do this.” 

In May 2022, I got my job as a Walmart truck driver — it was like, wow, I finally made it!

My family and people at work who saw how hard I’d worked were happy for me too. Out of 350 drivers in our distribution center, there are only three Hispanic women. I’m so excited and proud of myself.  

Everyone asks me how I got my job.

I tell them, once you lose your fear, you can do anything. People can see that if a five foot tall Hispanic woman can become a truck driver, they can too. And I’m excited that it’s much easier with the Associate-to-Driver Program, which they didn’t have when I started my journey. 

All my life, I’ve had hard, low-paid jobs. Now I sit behind the wheel and drive. 

I love my job. I listen to the news and to the traffic station, then I listen to country music, like George Strait and Miranda Lambert. And if I feel stressed, I put on classical music, to stay calm.

For the first time in my life I don’t have to wait for my next paycheck to pay my bills. 

None of my family has ever made such a good salary with great benefits. I’m earning twice as much as I used to make! We’re saving $5,000 a month, and I’m focusing on paying off our mortgage in 10 years. 

I make sure I eat well.

On the road, I never stop for fast food. There’s a small refrigerator in the truck, and I keep it full of veggies, and fruit like peaches, pears, and tangerines. And I have tuna pasta and salad. The recipes on the Thrive app caught my attention. I love seafood, and at home I’m making seasoned shrimp pasta and salads, and simple steamed veggies.  

Chris and I are back together.

The Connection Microsteps are helping us communicate better. For example, we use more positive language, and say “thank you.” I didn’t express what I felt for him before, even when he said “I love you.” So now I make sure I say, “I love you too.” Chris isn’t an early bird, but he’ll get up with me at 6 am and we’ll walk our dog Shadow. I’m not big on fishing, but that’s what he likes to do, so I’ll say, “Okay, let’s go fish.” The other day, we caught a trout and a crab, and we went home and cooked them.

We just took a road trip down to Corpus Christi.

We went horseback riding on the beach. It was the first time for both of us and it was a bit scary. But we went slow and it was fun, trusting our horses and listening to the waves. We like to do things we never had the time or the money to do before.

We’re planning to get remarried.

We’ll have a little celebration with the kids — just here at the house. Chris and I are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

Being with my family makes me happy.

We visit our son Ray, who’s a welder, his wife Hilda and their two young kids, Eli and Marcus. I have more energy for my grandkids now; I’m always running around after them. My oldest daughter, Beatriz, has a 12-year-old son, Ivan. On Fridays I pick Ivan up from school and he spends time with us. He’ll come fishing with us, which he loves. He throws the fishing pole like a real pro. 

I’m so proud of my daughters, and I know I’m a good mom and role model.

Leslie’s just finished her criminal justice degree, Emily’s doing a nursing degree, and Beatriz is a dental assistant. I tell my girls, “Do something you love and go for it — don’t give up.”

I’m taking care of my body and my soul.

I had a physical recently and my blood pressure is back to normal. I’m enjoying life instead of just surviving, and I feel grateful when I wake up in the morning. I turned 49 in June, and I don’t feel nearly 50 at all. I want to keep challenging myself. I have a whole new life — I’m happy.