Hello SOTGC community,
Could that bad breakup, having your hours cut at work, or dealing with the loss of a loved one become your next big business idea or invitation to help others? Yes, indeed. Turn your obstacles into opportunities.
I’ll never forget when it first happened to me.
There I sat in my boss’s corner office—savvy sales skills and all—trying to negotiate the salary and bonus structure I knew I deserved.
The one I had researched and worked hard for!
The one the guys in my office were easily earning without question.
I’d passed the 90-day probationary period at this company with flying colors.
I project managed, innovated to cut costs and generate revenue. I spoke up in meetings and always arrived on time. And I surely put up a good fight on that particular day of the week, the day I had to negotiate my future fate from that of freelance status to that of full-time employee.
The negotiation and conversation would effect not only my direct deposit amount—it would validate my decision to take this job in lieu of continuing to pursue self-employment. I came to the meeting equipped with my Salary.com print outs, smile, and polite demeanor. But preparation was no match for one huge obstacle: my lack of self-confidence when it came to my worth. Within a matter of 10-20 minutes, I got talked out of both the salary AND the bonus structure I was asking for because I didn’t want to be rude or ask for too much.
That night, I told my boyfriend at at the time how the negotiations had transpired. Salary wise, I had done okay—I negotiated, and settled on, a higher rate than what the company wanted to pay me. But when it came time for feedback on the bonus part, the one I failed to negotiate, the response of—“You sold yourself out” really hurt because I honestly knew I did.
I felt self-doubt, defeat, frustration, anger and sadness. Worst of all, I had been my own obstacle and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever forgive myself for not speaking up. But as I attended networking events, spoke to close friends, and shared my story with mentors, it became clear that self-doubt, frustration, and lack of self-confidence were feelings many women felt. Behind the perfect blowouts, glowing resumes, and volunteer hours that would make any parent and alma mater proud, were often stories of heartbreak, triumph, and pushing past personal limits.
Best of all, the majority of these stories had happy endings. Women weren’t staying stuck in salary “plateau-ville” or staring at the shut door of heartbreak for too long. In fact, several of the women I’ve observed, myself included, turned obstacles into opportunities whether that entailed launching a business, founding a philanthropic endeavor, or finding life after loss.
Personally, it was a mere matter of months before “operation equal pay” failed that I left my job and Corporate America for good, quite content on creating my OWN company and controlling my earning potential. I have never undervalued myself since!
But how about you?
YOUR options and opportunities are infinite. So much so that the next time you find yourself facing an obstacle that has you second guessing yourself and your strength, be it from a personal or professional challenge, explore the situation further. To help, here are stories from three inspiring women just like you and I … women who are defying the odds and changing their destinies.
Meet Bri Seeley. Full-time employee turned Fashion Designer, Author, and Self-Funded Publisher.
Obstacle: Employed while simultaneously running her own fashion line, Bri received word that her employer was cutting her pay by half. Bri found herself down, out, and needing to pivot her fashion brand strategy in order to increase awareness, visibility, and sales.
Along came an idea: the Inspirational Woman blog series, which turned into book backed by Kickstarter and created a movement as a result.
Opportunity: Bri has raised more than $15,000 to self publish the book on Kickstarter, she has organically acquired 600 followers on Instagram and 850 on Twitter. She is now planning to go on a book tour and host workshops for women across the country in 2015. Bri has also seen visibility for her fashion line increase. Do things continue to be easy peezy? No. Bri is hustling from the heart. She continues to take action and move QUICKLY. As a result of her momentum, she is much more aligned with her purpose and attracting the RIGHT people and opportunities into her life.
Bri’s words of wisdom: Be patient! Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. No matter what success looks like on the outside, it’s an inside job! Things happen beyond your control and you have to be brave, happy, and willing to continue taking chances.
Meet Rosanna Powers. From love and loss to looking forward and living with purpose.
Obstacle: After finishing her time in the USMC and serving as a Corporal, Rosanna lost her brother, Caleb, and fiancé, Rick, the same week in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, turning her into a single mother and heartbroken sister at the same time. We once sat in a restaurant in Gainesville, Fl., after she attended two funerals in one week, a time in place when she looked at me and asked me how she’d ever survive such heartbreak. I told her I didn’t have that answer but what I did know was that she had joined the Marine Corps willingly and I knew she had the mental, physical and spiritual strength to see this though. Thankfully, she found the strength (in due time) to carry on the legacy of her brother and fiancé.
Opportunity: Since her life-changing summer ten years ago, Rosanna Powers has gone on to put herself through college and obtain a bachelors and masters in Caleb and Rick’s honor. She is also a proud homeowner and hands on mom to Brody, now 11. Rosanna works as a Systems Redesign Analyst for the Veterans Health Administration, helping improve the quality of care for hospitalized veterans.
Rosanna’s words of wisdom: Your struggles don’t define you, but what does is how you overcome them.
Meet Kara Isreal. From Step Up Women’s Network star teen+speaker to single mom of two twins turned professional working woman at LittleQuest.com.
Obstacle: Kara Isreal graduated high school in 2010 from the South Central L.A. area with a 3.0 GPA but life was not a fairy tale by any means. Despite being active in the Step Up Women’s Network L.A. high school program, Kara lived in gang territory and that had its consequences. In 2009, the year before she graduated high school, Kara was a guest speaker at Step Up Women’s Network “Inspiration Awards” alongside the likes of Larry King and Lisa Ling. After graduation, she set her sites on Nashville, Tn., eager to leave L.A. and make a new life for herself, pursuing a bachelors degree in Child Psychology. But, at 19 years old, she fell in love, got married, and became pregnant with two twin girls. A year later, when her marriage failed, she picked up the pieces, filed for divorce, and returned back to L.A., first interning then later gaining employment at LittleQuest.com.
Opportunity: With her thumb and pulse on marketing (and parenting), Kara is now committed to helping parents select the best choices for their children’s after-school activities via LittleQuest.com, an activities and after-school aggregator. She is an account manager for the site, which launched earlier this year. Also, in November 2014, Kara was selected as a Step Up alumni beneficiary to attend the Oprah “Life You Want Tour” in San Jose, Ca., where she heard Deepak Chopra, Oprah, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Iyanla Vanzant speak. The event introduced Kara to meditation for the first time ever, a practice she would like to maintain moving forward.
Kara’s words of wisdom: What gives you the right to want more ladies? The fact you still have breath in your body. Go for what you want.
Now, the real beauty in this is hearing from YOU and honoring YOUR journey. If you feel comfortable, share one way you’ve turned an obstacle into an opportunity! You never know who you may inspire, support, or silently heal in the process.
As is often the case when speaking our truth, standing out and leading from the heart, courage is required. Whether that be the courage to walk away from a bad relationship or bad boss, the courage to overcome heart break and loss beyond our control, or simply the courage to speak up for the salary we deserve, I hope this article and the stories here remind you to be bold, to reframe, and to ALWAYS, turn obstacles into opportunities. She shall overcome!
Unsure how you’ll turn your current obstacle into an opportunity? I provide a 1 hour clarity call and am happy to help you! Book yours here: https://jaclynmullen.selz.com/item/530c19e9a1416c0750cc73d2