I'd like to present Christina in Strong woman project.
I'd like to present Shelly, an amazing strong woman who I'm proud to know.
Tell me about something that happened to you that you had to overcome. That made you realize you were a strong women.
I was diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer last summer. Fighting and beating it over the past 15 months while raising 3 kids and driving growth in my workplace, showed me that anything is possible. My youngest was about to turn 3 when I got the news. How would my baby who cuddled my neck and long hair every night to fall asleep, cope with a bald and nauseated chemo patient of a mom? How would I tell my six and eight year old girls that I would be undergoing double mastectomies without traumatizing them? How would I maintain the place I had worked so hard to achieve at my job and fulfill the additional expectations of the promotion I had been awarded just two weeks before?
These and a few more crises life threw my way over the past year, are now behind me. By breaking the challenges into bite sized chunks, working with an amazing support system of family, friends, and colleagues, and keeping God's grace as the focal point of my energy, I discovered how so many great people have won against impossible odds.
What do you feel is the strongest thing about you? What happened, and how did it effect you?
I used weigh in more on the value of my physical strength. Never getting sick, excelling in sports, being the best at every available competition was the stuff that was important to me in my childhood, youth and early adulthood.
That changed the first time I experienced real physical weakness. First, an illness I barely survived shortly before Mike and I married. Next, recovering from childbirth and finally, throughout months of chemo and following my recent surgeries. There was a weekend I was rushed into ER in septic shock due to my body try to fight acute infections with almost completed depleted white blood cells. It had started as a common cold.
These experiences taught me that my real power is internal and not external. When I’m focused on becoming spiritually, mentally, and emotionally stronger; I find that sufficient physical strength to reach my personal goals is a byproduct of my strong will.
What does success look like to you?
Having a purpose that drives me to get up every morning and give that day the best of me. Living that day as if it may contain the defining moment of my life. Acknowledging that my life will be defined by the combination of thousands of ordinary days. That I never know how long that life will be for me or for those I love, so every moment matters. Deciding that each conversation, friendship, and commitment should be an intentional decision that I make, that these are the choices that chart my life.
What does being a strong woman mean to you and how do you express that strength.
Being strong is not about feeling strong. It is about getting up every time you feel knocked down. About pushing yourself to be greater when you don’t think you can. Most days, it’s just about moving forward no matter how you feel. The more times you do this, the more your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical muscles will remember that action. Eventually no matter how pained those muscles are, you will want to move, and you will therefore move.
What would you consider a defining moment in your life?
Becoming a mother. I have so far to go to where I want and need to be as a parent, yet I believe I was a fraction of the person I am now, before my daughter brought the magic of mothering into my world. I can’t imagine my life without my incredible children and the wisdom, tenacity, inspiration, compassion and humility they have provided me.
Do you have a piece of advice that you would want to impart to other women.
You will get through the very hardest times. Each time you achieve something you didn’t think you could, you have become stronger and more confident that you will beat the next opposition waiting in line to try and stop you.
When every element in your life seems to be fighting against you, break up time into as small a segment as you need to persuade yourself that you can make it just through that segment and no farther. It might be a month or a week. It might be an hour or a minute. Tell yourself you will get through that minute and then the next and the next. You’ll intuitively increase your time spans as you feel your strength increasing. Before you know it, you will be breathing and eventually, smiling.
Do not spend time in self judgement. Do not spend time stressing about things you can't control. Choose the ones you can control and work there. Do not give in to resignation when you fail and then believe your goal is not achievable. Reset. Create a realistic, perhaps reduced goal, and celebrate when you reach it. Then work up from there.
Do analyze the areas you want to improve. Write them down in a prioritized list selecting only the handful that matter most to you. Create measurable goals for each of passions. Tear off and throw away the ones that don’t make the top 5. (Later in life they may make the top 5 and be achieved.) Make a plan to tackle them one at a time.
Finally, the strength of the human spirit is astounding only because we are made in God's image and God's power is unstoppable. Connect yourself to the book the people who can help you connect to Him.
When I met Maya at our photoshoot, I couldn't believe her age. I definitely enjoyed my time with her and am excited to share her story. Enjoy!
I started rock climbing competitively when I was 13 years old, and climbing has been the single most important thing in the world to me ever since. About a year later, while attending a training for my first SCS youth nationals, I developed a mysterious shooting pain in my wrist that kept coming back no matter how many rest days I took.
Ice therapy helped only slightly, there was no visible swelling or inflammation, and the tendons all seemed healthy and intact, but I couldn't climb. I went to about a million and five different doctors, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, and acupuncturists, but no one knew what the problem was. At long last,after close to 8 months of being intermittently unable to climb, a hand specialist told me I had a small ganglion cyst behind the tendon. It was anatomically harmless, but potentially very painful, and the only way to correct it was a surgery that could cause scar tissue buildup and potentially damage the tendons permanently if there were complications. Since nationals was only a few weeks away, I opted to wait until after the competition to have the operation.
To get through qualifiers, I took a double dose of Aleve to keep the inflammation down. I climbed all day and, to my surprise, when the painkillers wore off, it didn't hurt at all. I monitored it carefully over the next few weeks, but the pain didn't come back. I canceled the surgery and went back to training at full intensity, and still my wrist remained pain-free. I never knew why the problem seemed to fix itself that day, but I suspect the Aleve allowed me to inflate the cyst until it burst by masking the pain. Every once in awhile, I feel it starting to come back, so I take Aleve and climb on it and that usually clears it up. The two seasons I missed because of the cyst were painful, but they helped me realize that I'm not invincible and I need to take care of my body. They also helped me realize that whatever happens, I'll make it through and start again even stronger. The frustration of having to hold back from competing at my full potential made me more determined than ever to come back at the top of my game the next season.
Success, to me, means making a name for myself in professional climbing. Competing at the world level has been my dream for as long as I can remember.
Being a strong woman means I can stand up for myself, and I don't need anyone's help to be who I am. It means I don't let anybody bully me into being someone or something other than exactly who I want to be. It means I make my own decisions. It means I do what I want, not what other people want. (Unless that other person is my mother. I do what she wants.)
A defining moment in my (so far very short) life was the first time I walked into a rock gym. I was ten years old. I remember stepping through the door and looking up at the walls which to my 4-and-a-half-foot-tall self seemed enormous and I knew, somewhere deep down, that this was what I was meant to do. Advice to other women: Never, ever, ever let anyone boss you around. (Unless that person is your mother.)
Don't give up, don't give in, and don't give people beta they don't want.
I think we often discover how strong we are when we are feeling our weakest.
I have always been a perfectionist and take a lot of pride in my work. The day I was fired from my job, I was crushed. I had never felt so low and useless. I felt like a total failure and completely incompetent.
I got on the phone with my sister and after hearing me out she said, "Well you have 2 options you can sit around and feel sorry for yourself or you can start looking for something else. At the end of the day you need a job, so do what you need to do and then start looking. Although I felt that there was not a job in the world I could do, as I had just been let go from a beginner position, I started looking. The first ad I answered said they would meet with me that day. I showered, replaced the make-up I had smudged crying, and went in. The ad only said "Customer Service".
had no clue what I was interviewing for actually entailed. At the time I was still shaky and felt completely incompetent, because of what had just happened that morning. I was sure I had botched the interview.
I kept applying. (Over 20 in one week) Plus, going and signing up at a staffing agency. One week after my first interview, I got a call from the first company, asking me to come in for a second interview. At this point I had recovered from the initial shock of losing my job. At the end of the interview I asked them why they had called me back. The answer was, "We found it admirable that you came in for an interview the same day you were let go. "I got the job which starting pay was a $4000.00 annual increase from the company that had let me go from and after just 2 months I was given a promotion which would increase that to a $8,000.00 annual increase.
This experience showed me that you do not have to feel strong to be strong.
You just have to have enough to take action.