My Greatest Hurdle….

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Memories…

A friend recently asked me what my greatest hurdle in developing my career has been. My mind instantly flooded with many memories. Some amazing and beautiful. Others painful and overwhelming. It seemed like writing a letter to my younger self about how to overcome would be the best way to process the question.  I want to share that letter with you. This process has been therapeutic and encouraging to my (now older) self. It is honest and vulnerable. My hope is it will inspire you to step into a similar journey.

To my younger self,

What a journey you have had. Looking back at all you’ve experienced, there is much I want to tell you. History cannot be changed. This letter will not change what has been. Time machines are pure science fiction. This letter is meant to encourage you to stay the course, no matter what obstacles you find in front of you. Regret nothing. Be intentional to look for opportunity in every encounter in front of you;  most of all the good, the bad, and others..

There are many hurdles ahead of you. The greatest one, the one with the power to take you down, is you. Your childhood held many challenges. Many voices spoke lies over you. Choose to not believe them. Choose to accept who you are created to be. Lean into it. Every beautiful part of who you are.

Your passion for life will inspire others. Your strengths will take you far in life.

You are a woman with great purpose. Some will tell you that your power, one of your greatest strengths, is a weakness. Don’t believe them. It is the greatest thing about you. Don’t let the views of others keep you from your purpose. Your power is not a corrupt power. It is the hidden strength of wisdom and discernment. You have the ability to see potential in every situation. This is not an accident. It is how you are wired. It is good.

Some will tell you your value as a woman is rooted in tradition. It is rooted in their belief system. Don’t believe them. As a woman you bring a specific perspective to the leadership table. A perspective unique to who you are. A perspective to be valued. Never fear sharing your perspective. Never fear the gift of leadership within you.

Overcoming the hurdle of yourself means you must be intentional to dig deep. It means you must take ownership of painful things in your life. Learn from them. It means not only accepting yourself; it means loving yourself.  Most noteworthy, my younger self, it is imperative you know this: confidence is not pride. Be confident in who you are.  See the beauty in every moment. If you do all these things (and more), you will go far.

What’s next?

There is much, much more I plan to say to my younger self in the days and weeks ahead. I know that each of us faces hurdles in developing our careers. Most of all as Social Entrepreneurs. Some hurdles are financial. Some are gender or race based. Others are, as in my case, hurdles we choose to put on ourselves.

I would love to hear from you. What has been your greatest hurdle? Have you overcome it? How did you overcome?

I am looking forward to the conversations ahead!

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About Author

A lifetime Clark County, Washington native, Cheryl has dedicated her life to empowering others. Whether spending her days (and sometimes nights) with youth looking for direction in their lives, opening her home as a place of refuge when they needed somewhere to live, or going to the homeless camps throughout Portland, Oregon to provide supplies and unconditional love and acceptance, Cheryl’s life purpose is to serve others. She is a firm believer in the power of vulnerability and authenticity to provide healing and purpose. Cheryl holds a BS in Human Development and is certified in the Genesis Recovery Program. She held a key role in developing the LifeChange for Women and Their Children program at Union Gospel Mission in Portland, Oregon where she served as the Lead Case Manager for five years. Cheryl lives with her husband Mark in the Cascade foothills in Southwest Washington. She currently serves as the Executive Director for Camp Hope of SW Washington, a camp focused on equipping youth for the unique challenges of the current generation.

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