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: Lorie

*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 Lorie, Cincinnati, Ohio

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 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I think of myself as a cheerleader with the core message that life is difficult but doable. I am passionate about sharing this message with my various audiences. I have worked as a motivational speaker, as a syndicated columnist, as a published author, and now as a blogger. In all cases, my method of operation has been to tell the stories of my life hoping other people will glean life lessons from them. By the way, I am also a professional quilter and even the quilts I make have words and symbols pieced into the design as they, too, tell stories with life lessons. Here are two examples:

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This quilt addresses my professional life where there is a mountain after mountain to climb in order to find BIG success. Sometimes, it seems like the sky is falling, as the sky-blue background fabric does on the bottom of the quilt. But instead of quitting, I persistently climb one mountain after another, planning someday to be an “overnight success,” though it may take 20 years to get there.

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On this quilt, I address the issue that I have always felt odd in life. When my girlfriends giggled over boys in high school, I made appointments with my rabbi to discuss existentialism. When my friends were celebrating a decade or two of marriage, I was getting divorced. Thus, on this quilt, I am the green bird when everyone else is red. And I’m headed west as opposed to the eastward heading flock. But guess what? I am perfect just the way I am, and I am proud to be a strange bird!

NOTE: My quilt designs–printed out on quality giftware–are available on Etsy.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a tight-knit family where love abounded. I was always neat, sweet, and in my seat, because there were so many loved ones who cared. I couldn’t step off the straight and narrow because I would have disappointed them all.

Throughout my life, people have always come to me with their problems, needing me to cheer them on. As a teenager, I often got off the phone in tears after talking to friends who needed help. My dad told me that if I couldn’t talk on the phone without getting so upset, then I couldn’t talk on the phone! I think his words sent me in the direction of my motivational speaking, my writing, and my quilt art. All of these allow me to reach a lot of people without getting personally involved with each one. 

I don’t mean to sound like a woman who thinks she has all the answers. Instead, this is a quote that defines me and my work: We tend to teach best that which we most need to learn. So, the things I talk about in my creative work are things I need to learn myself. This recent blog will attest to that. Try as I might, I just can’t learn that good enough is good enough! Hopefully, my readers will catch on even if I never do!

By the way, I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri with a degree in Elementary Education, but I have never had a classroom. Instead, I have had lecture audiences and book/blog/column readers.

 

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

A: As I said earlier, I think life is difficult but doable. I even have a very simple recipe for personal and professional success: You need to take one step a day–even if it is a teeny tiny one–in the direction of your goal. You have to do this day after day after day. 

For the last two years, I have been spreading this message via social media posts. Below you will find some examples of my “keep on keeping on” philosophy. There are 800 posts like these on my social media accounts: on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Please note that it is easiest to see them all in a row on the Instagram account.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Women are every bit as capable as men; therefore, women should get equal pay, equal respect, etc. Also, for every glass ceiling women shatter, the world will be a better place.

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Q: What are you currently working on? 

A: At the moment, I am focusing on my writing and on promoting it. To further this goal, I ask your help in two ways:

  • Please consider reading my newest book, Love, Loss, and Moving On. If you’ve ever reinvented yourself after the loss of a loved one, this book’s for you. Did you go a bit crazy in the process? Yep! Me too. The book is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.
  • I hope you will also subscribe to my blog/newsletter. When you do, you will receive a FREE downloadable booklet with a dozen motivational images/messages entitled, “Some Do’s and Don’ts in Life.”

 

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And don’t forget to visit my website: https://www.loriekleinereckert.com!

I’d love to connect with you!

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Woman Wednesday: Cait Scudder

*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 Cait Scudder, Los Angeles, California 

“Spend time getting quiet and getting clear on what you want to create and bring into the world. Vision is the birthplace of all creation, so you need to take the time to do this.” 

Click the video above to watch Cait’s TEDx Talk.

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m obsessed with helping women monetize their genius. To dial into exactly who they are, what makes them unique, and to help them bring forth those gifts into the world, and ultimately, turn them into a business that changes the world. I ‘ve always been most lit up and passionate when I am helping people. I am so passionate about helping women leverage the power of energy, strategy, and sales to grow a business because so many women struggle to believe it’s possible, that they have something unique to offer. Nothing could be further from the truth. To watch the women I serve A) fall in love with their own capacity and uniqueness of their genius and B) develop a roadmap to turn those gifts into a profitable business, I feel like I’m doing what I was put on this earth to do. I share these nuggets inside my FB group, podcast, and daily motivation on my IG stories. Outside of my career, I’m also passionate about my health (I run daily) and emphasize inner work-mindset and spirituality as much as maintaining my physical health.  Now that we’ve settled in LA, I’m also loving the process of slowly settling in, setting up a home, and doing all the domestic things like cooking. After jet setting around the world and living in Bali for 4 years, I’m loving the change of pace.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of going big. Be it on stage speaking, on the sidelines coaching, or teaching at the front of the room—I knew I was meant to be a leader.

I attended Amherst College and spent my undergrad years keeping straight A’s in the classroom and getting my hands out in the world. At the ripe age of 20, I became the Director of International Programs for a local non-profit organization, raised $10,000 of capital, and founded a thriving rural literacy initiative in Costa Rica that still, to this day, is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Upon graduation, I felt the urgency of the world’s needs and desire to bring my gifts to the table in an even bigger way. I knew that teaching, leading, and inspiring others was my core purpose and work on this planet, but I didn’t know how or what this looked like, yet. So, I did the safe thing. I dove straight back into academia and earned another degree because my mind told me I needed more letters after my name to be worthy of serving at the level I wanted to serve. I earned my Master’s in Teaching from Smith College at 23, shouldering twice the workload of required of me and volunteering 10 hours a week on the side (yes, while in graduate school). On the outside, I was a beacon of success. A peak performer and giver to boot.

But on the inside, I felt utterly depleted. I was an anxious, depressed wreck, burning the candle from both ends, leaving nothing for myself. And we all know how sustainable that is. I hit rock bottom midway through the year and knew there had to be another way. What kind of educator, mentor, and leader could I expect to be if I wasn’t taking care of myself first?

 

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Two years later, I quit my teaching job and got a plane ticket to Bali to pursue a women’s leadership training and advanced yoga certification program that rocked me to my core. I invested in myself and my growth at an unprecedented level and taught myself in the process that I didn’t have to play by anyone’s rules but my own.

And guess what happened? I spent a month deepening my relationship with myself, and days later, I met the most mind-blowing, heart-blasting love of my life in pure serendipity. I traveled to 7 countries in 6 months and kissed goodbye for good to the conventional 9-5 life I thought I needed. I gave myself time to dream big and permission to have it all. I launched my business in mid-2017 and scaled to 6 figures in under a year, all from my laptop while traveling the world. There were times I thought I couldn’t do it. Times it felt scary AF. But staying trapped in a world where I was grinding myself into the ground, not using my gifts, and denying myself the fulfillment, freedom, and impact I desired was way scarier.

 

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

A: Spend time getting quiet and getting clear on what you want to create and bring into the world. Vision is the birthplace of all creation, so you need to take the time to do this, and if your vision gets muddied by everyone else’s business [or dreams], you could very well end up creating a business [or dream] that doesn’t look like you.

And with that said, don’t try to be everyone else. In the coaching industry, there is a lot of ‘the blind leading the blind’ and women scrambling to imitate other successful coaches. The women know who are the most successful and have created sustainable success in their businesses are those who have done it their way and created a true niche for themselves.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means women taking a stand and having a voice that weighs equal to men. It means knowing I don’t have to marry into wealth and success, I can create it for myself. It means knowing that I don’t have to wish and hope for a boss who can provide me security, that I can go ahead and become my own boss. Most of all, it means knowing that by taking an unapologetic stand as a woman leader blazing a trail, I’m doing it for all the women who will come after me, and in so doing, be a living example that for them, too, everything is possible.

 

Click the video above to watch Cait’s TEDx Talk.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Chante

*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 Chante, Richmond, Virginia

“The only excuses you have are the ones you make.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about service. I love to help people in any way I can. I’m very passionate about women’s outreach. I believe that I have experiences that I can share with other women that can help them. I believe in being the change I want to see in the world. I currently work as an admin assistant with a third party workforce program for women offenders in the prison system. The majority of the women there have gone through some type of substance abuse, which goes right along with my personal journey. I am currently working on developing a women’s program called “Victors!” Its purpose is to reach women like me in ways I wish I could’ve been reached. I also have my own event and floral design business called C-Unique Designs.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were pretty rough. Before the age of 15, I was raped by 4 different men. I was so scared to tell anyone; I just kept it all to myself and tried to handle the issues on my own. Leaving bruises, hickeys, and hand prints on me. I felt useless and helpless. My parents divorced when I was very young and could not get along to save their lives. I tried my hand at sports, but I was bullied a lot until about my junior year of high school. I started off as a social butterfly that could mingle with any group of people. I knew all the jocks, the basketball players, the cheerleaders, the goths, the preppy kids, the nerds, and the “popular kids.” But life kinda has a way of throwing a curve ball at you. I now spend my days rebuilding my life. I believe that I am a victor and not a victim. I specifically remember one very hard time in my childhood. At the age of about 11 yrs old, I was admitted to Tucker’s program (suicide watch) at the hospital. I spent a week there, which felt like a lifetime. I connected with other men and women that also wanted to end it all. This is where I decided people like me need help. Not hospitalization. We’re not all the same, and we’re not science projects, test dummies, or animals. Long story short: you choose what defines you. My situations and experiences do not define me. Anything is possible, and the only excuses you have are the ones you make.

 

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Pictured: Chante and her fiancé celebrating their recent engagement. 

 

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

A: Something valuable I’ve learned is to play the cards you’re dealt with. I’ve heard many people say “Control what you can and learn to overcome what you can’t control.” That is so profound to me because yes, there are times we won’t be able to control some of the things that happen in our lives, but we must keep moving and keep going. I’d like for others to learn that you can do whatever you put your mind to. You’re only a statistic if you allow yourself to be! No matter what kind of curve ball life throws at you, you can get through it. Also, it is very important to know when to get help!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means power! I do indeed believe that women have a lot harder of a time getting things done because of all they are expected to do. I believe that this is also a superpower. Women can do unbelievable things! I love leaving a shocked expression on people’s faces.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Marie

*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 Marie, Charlotte, North Carolina

“We live in a self-absorbed society where it’s all about the selfie. It’s natural to think about ourselves because we are human, but we must fight that urge and continue to put others before ourselves. Live in your gifts; when you do, service will come naturally.” 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Organizing is my passion or like my obsession.  I’ve loved doing it since being a kid; my room was always neatly organized.  It’s something that’s always come naturally to me. After having kids, I started realizing I wasn’t living in my gifts and set out to figure out how I could best utilize them. That’s when I discovered blogging and how I could teach others to get organized. I truly believe life is better lived when you are organized. It’s my mission to help women live a better life by being organized. Currently, I’m working on a meal planning course to help women save time, eat healthier, and live better.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Fargo, North Dakota, is the place I call home (even though I no longer live there), it’s where I was born and raised and wouldn’t change a thing. The roots and people there taught me the importance of hard work and humility. These principles are the foundation of who I am today. My parents taught me many things, including never give up and the importance of having an education because no one can ever take that away from you. I am the oldest of three girls, and we all graduated from college from the same university. Sports were a big part of our lives growing up; there was a sporting event almost every weekend throughout the year. Sports taught us to be resilient and how to work with others because when you get out into the ‘real world,’ that’s what life is all about.

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

A: When you are serving others is when you will truly find success. We live in a self-absorbed society where it’s all about the selfie. It’s natural to think about ourselves because we are human, but we must fight that urge and continue to put others before ourselves. Live in your gifts; when you do, service will come naturally. Also, live out of your comfort zone, nothing great comes from there. If it scares you, you are on the right track. Keep showing up, do the work, consistency matters. Everything will fall into place. 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means going for your dreams—no matter how big they are and to not let anyone or anything tell you differently.  It’s also standing up for what you believe in regardless of others’ opinions.

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