There are those times in life that force us to evaluate who we are and what we’re made of. When situations arise that are out of your control or present obstacles, do you take them head on with a knowing that everything will work out, or do you get discouraged and take a defeated posture? It has been said that the mindset you take on will determine your outcome.

As a brand strategist, a big part of what I do is helping others find solutions and broaden their perspective in order to achieve the best outcome possible. Sometimes this is easy and the answer is revealed quickly, while other times it requires me to search, dig and be relentless so that the desired results can be revealed. If I gave up at the first sign of opposition I wouldn’t be an effective strategist and I’m certain my business, which is in its sixth year, would have folded a long time ago. 

Personally, I thrive off of challenges and have learned to make them work for me, both professionally and in my personal life. But, even stating this, I can know that recent events in our world surrounding COVID-19 have certainly directly impacted me and I’m having to adjust like everyone else. One thing I’ve chosen to do is not focus my energy on the number of limitations brought by the  impact of this virus, like not being able to enjoy the same dining experience at my favorite restaurants, only being able to give verbal greetings instead of hugs or hand shakes and adjusting to the new normal of wearing a mask when leaving my home. I think for me this has been the most challenging because by wearing a mask makes smiling a mute point since no one can see it. Sharing a smile with a stranger has always been something that I pride myself on. 

Though it’s true that we’re having to navigate through a challenging and unfamiliar way of living, the resilience that comes with readjusting to a new way of life also has the potential for unlimited possibilities. New businesses will be started, new hobbies will be found, new relationships will be forged and old ones reunited as new and more efficient ways to navigate our world will be created. All this is a result of just one virus. Humans are resilient and we will get through this period. My hope is that it brings us that much closer together. 

With all that’s currently going on in our world related to Covid-19, it has brought stress, panic, uncertainty and instability, but, at the same time, it has united our world, our country, our states and our cities in a way that most of us have not seen within our lifetime. We’ve all had the opportunity to pause and reflect on the things that are most important to us - that we value and are most thankful for. This global pandemic has reminded us just how grateful we should be for good health, our friends and family and for our financial reserves. This crisis has shown us that the perspective you look at something will determine how you will get through it. 

The effects of this pandemic have hit me directly. As an entrepreneur, I’m a part of the small business ecosystem. Though, the services my company, Elements of Delight, provide are invaluable to strengthening brands we work with, they are considered non-essential. This has resulted in a loss of clients and loss of revenue. It has forced me to have to readjust my business model to support remaining clients, consolidate business expenses and be intentional about invoking the art of pivoting for all these things, in order to not allow myself to fall prey to a self pity party. This has reinforced that I truly love what I do, and that no matter what, I’m laser focused on getting through this challenging time along with my clients and the millions of other small business owners out there. 

In my personal life, I’d just started getting adjusted to being an Empty Nester. But, given the circumstances, like most college students around the world, my two children are home finishing out their spring semester virtually. Instead of complaining about what happened to cause our current reality, we’ve spent the time making meals together, supporting each other and sharing ideas. Healthy eating and exercise has been a routine part of our daily lives together as we navigate a new normal. Yoga, pilates and free weights has been my go to while my son is an avid runner and my daughter enjoys a workout that incorporates cardio and dance. 

I’ve also found significant benefit in setting the intentions for each day. Every morning I do this with 15 minutes or so of prayer and meditation. I generally find a scripture that speaks to me and reflect on how I can make the message personal to me. I’ve found doing this has helped with my clarity, problem-solving, stress management and overall productivity. With the level of cycling news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, starting my day this way has really helped to center me. 

I realize it can be difficult to see the bright side of things, especially when everything seems like doom and gloom, but I can assure you, this too will pass. Until it does, I encourage you to use the time to do some self development; take an online class or workshop;  start or revisit a hobby, check-up on your family and friends, or take time to clean or organize that closet, room or drawer that has been waiting on you for months. For those of you that don’t live alone, figure out new ways to connect with your children, significant others or roommate. This could involve cooking a meal together, playing board games or strategizing that business idea that was put on hold together. 

Like me, I know our new reality has taken some adjusting. But, hopefully our time of sheltering in place will bring you to becoming more self aware, dynamic and  community centered than you were before. We’re in this together!

The pronouns I go by are “she”, “her”, and “hers”. I am woman. From the shape of my eyes, to the tone of my voice, the stride in my walk, my intuition and even my dual roles as a mother, and female business owner. I take tremendous pride in being a woman and every nuance of what that truly means.

In order to define who I am as a woman, is a story that continues to unfold throughout my life experiences and those that I’ve shared with countless other women - those I know personally and those I don’t - that have impacted my life in various ways. I stand on the shoulders of the women in my family; whether it be my great grandmothers, my mom, sisters, aunts, and older female relatives who have exemplified what it means to be strong, courageous, tenacious and unapologetic, while at the same time, showing me what it means to be compassionate, empathetic and concerned about the needs of others.

My circle of women extends beyond my family to include all of my wonderful friends; many who I’ve known for over 20 years, and my vast number of female counterparts and clients. Through these relationships, I’ve learned the meaning of steadfastness, trust, tolerance and fortitude. What has bonded these connections have been the supportive words of encouragement in the face of adversity and challenges, the caring touch when there’s sadness and pain, the celebratory cheer during triumphs and victories and the listening ear given for contemplation and decision-making.

I recognize the power of this great sisterhood and I stand in the confidence of what that means. Not a day goes by that I’m not intentional about uplifting the women in my life. I also look for opportunities to pass along my uplifting to various other women I don’t know that cross my path. This is done by sharing an encouraging word, giving a complement, and for those women I know, calling to check on them, meeting them for coffee or a meal, or making a referral if they’re a business owner.

What it means to be a woman, and the vast impact we make globally, is as diverse as the shades, languages, and ideas represented by women around the world. I’m so thankful to be a part of this phenomenal sisterhood and celebrate women everywhere!


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