Woman Wednesday: Darlene

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Darlene, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

“You become a light in the world when you step into your own innate wisdom and purpose.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: If I stood on a street corner and shouted my truth, I would say to women to find your power and love within yourself. It is there! Your real, wonderful self is waiting for you to discover it! You are God and Goddess. You are divine. Find that within you and live from there. All else then falls into alignment. When you know that you are divine, you live joyfully. We are all here to learn our purpose and then give it to others to fulfill ourselves. It’s a neverending circle.

My clients want a clear plan forward, based on what they really want.  Finding their passion and their path forward is always easier than they think. It’s usually staring them in the face…they just can’t see it yet. Their path forward then serves as a roadmap to know how to bring in the success they’ve wanted with life and business.  Especially for women who are starving/hungry for meaning in their lives after being defined by outside parameters. A source of inner peace.

 

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I guide women to find a joyful, deeper connection to what really matters to them. The women that find me often have deep, self-worth wound(s) that have held them back. They believe they are “not enough.” I use proven methods to help them identify exactly what is holding them back. 

Then together, we create a simple plan forward. They end up feeling confident in their choices and happy in what they are doing. (Actually I get tremendous joy from this, but don’t tell anyone!)

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I remember growing up feeling insecure and an outsider. I did the “good girl” things that were expected of me–and was deeply unhappy–always pleasing others. I realized later that so many of my life choices were based on what I was “supposed” to do. Be the “good daughter,” “good wife,” “good employee,” no matter what I felt inside.

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The final straw was working in human resources at a bank. Employees were considered literal “resources” to be used as needed by the big corporation. I’m amazed how bad it had to get before I had the nerve to quit and stop selling out my soul, but I finally did.


It took me years to have the compassion with myself and the clear perspective to choose another way—a way that was based on what spoke to my soul, not what I was “supposed” to do. I shorten that time for women to find their own self-compassion and perspective. It doesn’t have to take years!

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: That putting yourself last doesn’t serve anyone.  You become a light in the world when you step into your own innate wisdom and purpose.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: That women can choose to know they can own their own greatness.  A greatness that comes from integrating all the pieces of themselves and letting go of what does not serve them. To know deep within they have a choice to thrive. To make their lives rich, abundant, and deeply satisfying.  Women can choose to make their lives WHAT THEY WANT IT TO BE.


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Woman Wednesday: Thao

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Thao, Newark, California

“It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability, and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down.”

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about connecting with and helping people! I have been a stay-at-home mom with a home-based business, but prior to that, I was working in corporate in the human resources field. Despite being great at my HR jobs, I was not fulfilled. Then I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that has been challenging. For years, I felt guilty about not fully enjoying being at home with my kids as much as I thought. The thing is, I know to my core that I’m made for more. It was not until I decided to take a huge leap of faith last year and started my home-based business that I finally feel empowered to create my own joy.

I now have a balanced life in that I get to be home with my children but also have something of my own! Aside from the flexibility, what I love about my current job is I get to help and impact other people’s lives in ways I never knew I could. It brings meaning and purpose back to my life all because I learned to listen to my gut instincts and did it despite uncertainties.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. Growing up, my parents had a successful home-based bakery and were extremely busy with their business that there was no family structure and minimal quality time. Needless to say, I was an unhappy child and didn’t feel I had anyone to go to. My upbringing definitely had a huge impact on the person I’ve become. I struggled with self-esteem and insecurities as a child, and this played well into my adulthood despite having a bold and outgoing personality. However, I’ve done well academically and achieved both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the age of 24.

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I was ambitious, focused, hardworking, and driven. It wasn’t until after finishing my master’s and entering the real world and workforce that I became more lost than ever. For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life! I went into HR, left it, came back to it, and then finally left it altogether after having kids. I desperately tried to figure out my purpose and direction in life, but I wasn’t able to do it for years. I think my self-awareness, resilience, and persistence have been instrumental to my growth and overcoming challenges. After I became a mom, I have been secretly living with depression and anxiety. Finally, I had the courage to share my story last winter on Facebook. It’s mind-boggling what these mental disorders can do to someone’s self-belief and ability to enjoy life. I realized during my darkest moments that the one person who was always there for me despite anything has been God. My struggles have indeed deepened my spirituality and commitment to redefining my life. The only person who could bring real change to my life is me and only me. I am not a quitter!

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned that no worldly achievements will bring lasting meaning and happiness to my life if I don’t make an effort to develop myself and become the best version of who I am meant to be. Self-growth is the best gift anyone can give to themselves and has personally helped me cope with my mental disorders and life challenges in general. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma in our society and in most cultures about mental illness. I want to be the voice of people living with mental illness and show others that it is definitely possible to thrive in life despite your mental conditions. I also want young people to know that it’s okay to not know what you want to do in life. Some of us still couldn’t figure it out in adulthood! It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down. I also wish I was less fearful of trying new things for most of my life. Now, I’ve learned that doing things despite fear is the key to unlocking my best self and best life. It’s never too late!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For years, women have been limited by what we can do, and feminism to me is about breaking boundaries and glass ceilings. I see the ideal world of equality, and if that is desiring the same rights and privileges as men, then call me a feminist!

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Woman Wednesday: Maya

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Maya, Berkeley, California

“I learned I shouldn’t wait to start something, but I should just go for it and figure it out along the way!”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about making people’s lives better. I went to college with the intention of studying political science with an emphasis on international relations to go into human rights work in the future. Climate change has always been a thing I thought of as important, but it never really struck a chord with me until I realized that it is not only an environmental issue but also a humanitarian issue. Rising sea level is causing many people to relocate, natural disasters are exacerbated due to rising temperatures, and people are lacking clean water for daily needs. After realizing all of this, I got more interested in learning about environmentalism and the zero-waste movement. I realized that a lot of products out there for zero-waste are still relatively expensive and there is no one-stop-shop for minimally packaged or zero-waste beauty products. So, I created Serenade, my e-commerce site for these beauty items! My mission is to grow this store into a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for sustainable beauty products with my own product line. I’m currently working on getting the word out and upgrading the website aesthetic and brand identity. Stay tuned and follow the shop on Instagram @serenadethecompany!

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, so I think it’s been pretty easy for me to believe that I can create something of my own if I’m committed enough and have enough resources. In high school, I did a ton of internships in the business administration/event planning fields, and it taught me that even established businesses face a lot of challenges. They don’t always have it figured out. And if that’s the case, I learned I shouldn’t wait to start something, but I should just go for it and figure it out along the way! 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I’m only getting started! I don’t know if I have a lot of advice or wise things to say, but I did learn recently that there are so many people rooting for you if you want to start something. Not everyone wants to necessarily want to be an entrepreneur but everyone wants the world to be a better place and they will support you!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means believing that women, including myself, can achieve whatever anyone (regardless of gender identity) can achieve. It also means uplifting other women. That’s really important to me.

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

Instagram: @serenadethecompany

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Woman Wednesday: Erika

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Erika, Memphis, Tennessee 

“Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny!” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I really enjoy helping others. If I can impact and make a difference in just one person’s life, then I feel as if I am making a world of a difference! As a child, I was always the kind friend who enjoyed helping my friends out, and it drove me to want to be (and later becoming) a registered nurse! With a new sense of empowerment after releasing my first book, Not Easily Bothered: From a Vengeful Driven Divorce to a Much Happier Life. I have recently released my second book, Their Validation, Your Success Powered by Purpose! I have had others question the purpose of my writings. I’ve had strangers publicly speak negatively of me because they thought I had malicious intentions, but at the end of the day, my books were successful; thus serving their purpose to help someone learn from my experiences!

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was very sheltered as a child; my parents did not allow me to venture out much, but I managed to have a few select friends that they approved. And we would spend time doing things that kids with running imaginations do! We would write out our own screenplays and act them out during playtime. I remember being the shy one, but my friends would always enjoy my ideas. I kept a journal, which allowed me to express my thoughts in writing without being judged by my parents or friends. But I never thought I would become an author sharing some of my most personable moments. I remember as a kid being taught to do the right thing and me being the one who typically did what was right versus being easily influenced by others and choosing to do what was wrong! I’ve always been a person who thought for herself!

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Simply to believe in yourself and never allow the misconceptions that others may have of you to ruin your happiness or your success! Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny! Never allow someone who has absolutely nothing to do with your purpose to hinder it for you!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means that every woman is entitled to live and carry out her very own story all while not being judged for it because she is a woman! Women are powerful and deserve to be treated equally all while supporting, empowering, and uplifting one another!

 

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I’d love to connect with you! 

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Woman Wednesday: Jessica M.

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Jessica M., Baltimore, Maryland

“There will be messy days, 2-steps-backward days, and you’re-rocking-it days, but as long as you keep showing up to your life, it’s progress.”

 

 Q: Tell us about you! 

A: I’m a full-time working mom of an active, fun-loving 7-year-old, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance all the moving parts. I work as an administrator for Atwater’s in Baltimore. I never expected to find myself in a field of finance because my brain runs toward creativity, but Atwater’s is an amazing company! The effort is worth it because I fully support their brand and values of bringing wholesome food to your table. Check them out, seriously!

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m still in a place of discovering my passions and what lights my fire. I’ve always struggled with figuring out who I want to be, but most recently, my creative spark has gravitated toward disrupting photography. It’s become a tool on my journey through healing. Mostly what I create, from poetry to photography, has been for me and a select few, but I hope to one day take it a step further and share my truth to the world through an art series.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were a little bit challenging but happy because I was surrounded by a loving family. When I was two, my parents discovered that I have severe bilateral hearing loss. I was immediately fitted with hearing aids and started speech therapy. One thing that many people don’t realize is that I don’t know sign language. Many people assume that I should know it. A lot of my understanding of speech comes from lip reading. Reading lips helps fill in the gaps of what I hear, distinguishing specific letters and sounds.

 

 

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Those working with me (as a very young child) thought I belonged in a school for the deaf like anyone else with a hearing loss, but my parents felt I shouldn’t be limited by my disability, so in 2nd grade, they started me in a mainstream private elementary school. Most teachers were extremely supportive throughout my school years, from taking the time to make sure I was following along okay in class to ensuring I had the best seat to see them. I almost hit a roadblock when I was accepted into a private high school because once they knew I was hearing impaired, they didn’t think I would be a good fit due to a bad experience with a previous hearing-impaired student. My parents, tutor, and I went to the school and fought for my right to be there because I shouldn’t be judged based on the actions of another.

 

I admit that I spent a lot of years embarrassed by my disability and have actively tried to hide it, feeling like I didn’t fit in. But as I get older, I’m learning it’s not a weakness. My mother always reminds me of the strength I’ve had in overcoming it by mainstreaming into an educational world that did not cater to my disability. When my parents started this path with me, there wasn’t a lot of education and understanding out there for hearing loss. My parents have always been my biggest supporters and advocates, and I am truly grateful that they believed in me.

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: Three years ago, I lost my Dad to cancer and that has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through. He was gone 3 months after his diagnosis. My family and I barely had time to process one piece of information before being hit with something new. It rocked my world losing someone so close to me. It shaped the way I experience health anxiety and dropped me into depression. Each experience that struck after the loss of my Dad eventually set me on the path of taking care of my mental health. That has been my biggest goal this year by starting counseling and learning the tools to cope with my anxiety and depression.

 

 

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Some of the most valuable things I have learned are that talking about your pain instead of bottling it up truly helps, and healing is not a straight, upward line. There will be messy days, 2-steps-backward days, and you’re-rocking-it days, but as long as you keep showing up to your life, it’s progress. And I don’t just mean getting out there when you feel crappy and getting it done anyway. If I feel down and need to lay in bed for a while instead, that’s progress too, because I’m allowed to put down the “happy mask” and say, “I’m not okay,” and care for my mental health first.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: In the past, I never really defined myself as a feminist, and I have thought, at times, all I was good enough for was caring for my home and family. The 1950s housewife seemed a normal thing. I personally think that if that’s what you want, then it’s okay. I wish I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. But when it becomes a situation where you’re treated like that’s your only place and you’re not equal or you’re “less than” others, then it starts to get sticky. It’s all about choices and being able to have the freedom to make them without pressure, judgment, or fear.

 

When the #MeToo movement gained popularity, the education it provided made me realize certain experiences that happened to me in the past were not okay.
I’ve been in situations where I was made to feel “less than” and my consent was not given. I spent years trivializing those experiences because of a lack of resources and my own understanding.

 

 

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But the movement isn’t just for me, and I’m not the only one that needs a voice. I am married to a trans woman, which has opened my eyes to even more. Though the world seems to be becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community, there is still a lot of shame, bullying, and stigma placed on those who feel different in their skin. There is so much ugliness in this world, near and far, that it’s heartbreaking. I try to concern myself more with the fact that EVERYONE, regardless of gender, identity, race, religion, income level, who you love, etc. are valuable and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. I value unity and working together to make the world a place we all can thrive in.

 

 

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