Where there’s a will, there is always a way.
When I became pregnant at 17, I made the decision to take responsibility for my actions. My thoughts were, “I got myself into this, now I have to face the consequences.”
Little did I know the road ahead of me would include struggle, challenge after challenge, sadness, loneliness, depression and obstacles that challenged my strength.
I had no idea how to raise a child, I just knew that from that point on, it was no longer about me but about my child to be and that I would figure it out as I go giving her the best that I could, despite my own needs.
So, I decided to put my life on hold to help her build hers.
For 24 years, I went in and out of jobs to build experience so that I could potentially grow and expand. I thought if I had enough experience and a versatile skill set, I would open myself up to opportunities for monetary growth and expansion.
What I quickly learned was that no matter how much experience I gained or how well I could perform in a job, I was limited in growth and capped out in salary.
Because I didn’t have my degree. Never mind my ability to perform above and beyond any other walking in with theirs.
For years, I worked at the same salary never able to make more because I was limited in growth. I gave each job 200% and the more I gave, the more they exceeded.
I gave my time in and out of work and proved myself time after time. My annual reviews were always outstanding. That was all I got.
I remember thinking, “How in the world am I going to ever make more money? The cost of living continues to go up but my salary remains the same. Yet, the demand for my effort and hard work increases.”
So many times, I felt hopeless.
As a single mom, I was in and out of college every chance I got to attempt to earn credits and get closer to potentially earning my degree but there was only so much I could do. My daughter needed me.
I didn’t have many options and had to decide to give something up. It wasn’t going to be my daughter or my job. My daughter needed me and I needed my job to support us both. The only other option was to give up school. So, I did.
I was able to accumulate about 1-1/2 years of college credits from the community college. Then, left Florida and moved to North Carolina so I could give my daughter a better life.
When I attempted to transfer my credits to the community college, they told me they wouldn’t transfer and I had to start over. You can imagine how distraught I was…
That was the end of school for me as I was not going to repeat what took me so long to achieve.
I had given up and was left with nothing but to subject myself to a miserable employer that took advantage of my hard work and efforts because I didn’t have my degree. They made sure to often remind me of it too.
Five years later, after getting my daughter situated at UNCW, a friend suggested I contact UNCC. I thought, if the community college won’t take my credits, I don’t think the university will.
I quickly shifted my thoughts and told myself… Sandra, you have two options:
1. Continue to work for a miserable employer at the same salary for the rest of your life
2. Take the chance and go see what UNCC has to say.
It was a no brainer… I chose option 2. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain!
The next day, I took myself to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with my transcript and prayed all would work out. And, it did!
All my credits transferred and I was now, an official UNCC student. The day I walked on the UNCC campus for the first time as a student, I felt on top of the world. It was the best day of my life!
I graduated cumme laude with my BA in Psychology and minor in Criminal Justice. It wasn’t easy and I still faced some challenges including losing my job, but I made it happen and finished off on unemployment.
My daughter graduated from UNCW on the same day. Today, I am proud to say, she is a successful Physician Assistant in Charlotte.
As for me, I continued to face challenges with having to refresh my work experience to gain a decent paying job only to find out no one would hire me with decent pay or even just to gain the experience (all over again).
I hit a crossroad…
I embarked on the journey of self-discovery and decided to work on myself and my mind. I knew I was capable of more and becoming more than I was allowing. I began breaking down my own limiting beliefs.
I realized, I have the ability to create a life I truly love and deserve. From that point on, I decided to live life on MY terms – Never to work for anyone again.
It wasn’t long before my dad suggested I do something with health and nutrition since that is what I always talked about. And, so it began… I explored the industry and thought, I could start a coaching business.
I went on to become a certified holistic nutrition and natural heath practitioner. It was a passion but not what I was most passionate about. It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally did – all while working my full time corporate job which I knew from the beginning would just be a stepping stone and my last place of employment.
I proceeded with the knowing that… I have skills, I have unlimited potential and there is nothing I cannot do.
With that, I have taken everything I’ve learned as a leader and go-getter to create something of my own making it my mission to build a business where I would no longer be restricted, limited, used or taken advantage of.
A business that helps other women like myself realize that they too have potential and deserve more than just a “job”. Then, helping them get there.
It all begins with purpose and the desire to be more, learn more, dream more, and become more.
Ultimately, I learned that mindset is everything and giving up should never be an option.