I was excited to be given the opportunity to Guest Blog for Wildernest, and when debating on what single topic to tackle, I started thinking about all the things that I have experienced in my lifetime and career that could help benefit other female professionals and entrepreneurs. But I quickly realized that it’s not one thing, but the sum of how all of those experiences came together, that contains the wisdom I want to share.

My life has not been all sunshine and roses. 

I am a single mother of a thirteen year old little girl who is my entire world, but as all my single moms out there no- it’s no cakewalk. I have always worked really hard – full time since I was 18 – and  have always done what I had to do, especially when it comes to providing for my daughter and setting the best example for her. 

And as if being a full-time mom and working full-time isn’t intense enough, I decided to go back to school to earn my Masters degree- a lifelong dream of mine that got put on hold when “life” got in the way! I know what you’re thinking… I’m crazy, right?! Well, you’re probably not wrong! But after long days and nights, sacrifices made, and two years later, I am super proud to say that I just graduated with my Masters! And let me tell you- I couldn’t have done it without my early education in building resilience through rising up from some serious struggle.

Over the years, I also have come to realize how totally relatable my story is to just about everyone. And I’ve realized that relatability is not in my accomplishments, but in all of the “series of unfortunate events”, all the struggles I have endured, and all the ups and downs that have happened in my life. 

I’ve found that when I share my stories with others, they in turn share theirs with me – like an open book. When I look at all of the stories exchanged, I have realized that the one thing all these situations have in common is resilience

I recently watched Michelle Obama’s Becoming special on Netflix and I was especially moved by her words of wisdom she spoke to one of the little girls on the show – Elizabeth Cervantes, a little Mexican-American girl who wondered why she was picked to meet with Michelle Obama over so many other girls in the school. Elizabeth said, “I just literally come to school. I do whatever I have to do, and then I stay for one club, and that’s Latinos Unidos. And then I leave, and then I go to work.” (She works to help provide for her family, at such a young age!). 

Michelle Obama’s response made so much sense to me. She told her: “what seems so ordinary and what seems like nothing to you is your power.”

It really hit home for me. 

Everything I do right now, all I juggle and struggle with to thrive, simply seems ordinary and nothing to me now, but I’ve realized lately that it’s actually my superpower.

When I was out having drinks after a meeting one night with one of the boards that I am on. We were all sitting there chatting about some of our life experiences and one of my colleagues turned to me and said, 

“I feel so bad for you.” 

At first, I was a little taken aback and asked her, “Why”? 

She responded with, “I just feel like I have had life so easy compared to you.” 

My drunken, honest response was immediately “Why would you feel sorry for me when we are sitting at the same table?” 

She honestly didn’t know how to respond because I think it was only in that very moment that she realized that regardless of the ups and downs in my own life, there was no argument that we both earned the right to be sitting there together. 

And in fact, I was there not in spite of, but because of, my tough experiences. I’m proud of my journey – every twist and turn and hurdle – and I never, ever want people to feel sorry for me.  I want them to celebrate my struggle, just like I do. Just like I want you to do with your own.

 I received a text message the other day with the words “resilience is adaptation.” If anyone can hold these words as a testimony, it would be me. Life is always going to throw curve balls our way, and some things will be completely out of our control. 

But how we respond to those curveballs and move on, stronger, matters. 

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself……” says Charles Darwin. 

So, ladies, yes we may doubt ourselves at times – and we may even be scared – but if there is a will, there is a way. It just takes grabbing the bulls by the horns and making shit happen to ultimately find that “ordinary” and “normal” that is your ultimate power.

Life comes at you with waves, regardless if it’s family, business or “unreachable” goals.  Get out there and ride that bitch like a surfboard!

 -Jamie A