Author: Lisa Swift-Young, COO of a natural hair product company, Author, and a Supermom.
These days I am all about learning, living and leaving a legacy. At this point in my life, I am making time to reflect on the many obstacles that became opportunities to thrive. I’ve held many titles in my personal life and professional career. I feel all these titles combined and equipped me to embrace my most challenging, rewarding, and character-building role: Mom. Along with my husband, of 31 years, we have a favorite son and a favorite daughter. They are the reason I am continuously inspired to become my best self.
The foundation for this desire to learn comes from my grandmother. She and my maternal grandfather raised 14 children, individual births, from the late 30s through the early 60s. Her emphasis on education continues to encourage me to seek knowledge. At one point in my professional career, I served as a College Dean in the School of Business. I believe my grandmother’s desire to one day become a teacher motivated me to pursue this call to teach and lead others. I am guided by the quote,” if you live through it you can learn through it.” Presently, I am learning how to build a haircare brand with my daughter. We are learning by trial and error. I am learning to listen to her ideas and value her perspective. This venture with my daughter also allows me to pass on the gift of lifelong learning.
I make a living as a full-time sales and marketing executive for a pharmacy company. I am honored to make a living by making a difference. As I lead a team of pharmacists, I aspire to keep us focused on the patient. I use my negotiating skills to collaborate with medical professionals to find solutions for patients and administrative staff.
My day generally starts around 5:30 am. I practice yoga and meditation. I communicate with my son, who lives in another state, by exchanging our gratitude for the day. My husband and I go to the gym or walk our neighborhood several times a week. We often try to use this time to check-in and plan our day. My daughter, who lives on her own, and I coordinate activities for the business. I am usually working in the field at my 9-to-5 by 8:30 a.m.
Of late, the integration of yoga, meditation, and a daily gratitude practice gave me the focus to publish my new book, Pause 2 Praise: 30 Days to Happier and Healthier Relationship with Your Adult Children. The book was my family’s response to several unexpected deaths and devastating illnesses in our immediate family. The stress of these events caused us to reevaluate how we were taking care of our mental and physical health. These tragedies spurred us to focus on the present and be present for each other. We used this opportunity to reset our priorities and layout a plan for our future. Our family bonded through collaborative mindfulness. The journey we took led us to what was truly important. As a result, we are recovering together. As I reflect now, I think of this period as our “golden journey”. In Japanese culture, Kintsugi (golden journey) is a Japanese art form in which breaks, and repairs are treated as part of the object’s history. Broken ceramics are carefully mended by artisans with a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. The repairs are visible — yet somehow beautiful. We have the scars to prove that we are stronger because of the breaks. As a result of this breaking we established, Change We Seek, a grant-giving foundation. We noticed that in some way all of the events were linked to lack of financial stability. Whether it was due to a lack of access to medical care or the stress of managing financial responsibilities. The mission of Change We Seek is to support financial literacy in urban communities.
Although my family is quite busy with fulltime careers and entrepreneurial endeavors. We always make time to travel. For me, travel fulfills my desire to learn and live in the present. Whether we visit exotic locales like Havana, Cuba or Panama City, Panama to explore different cultures or we meet up in Myrtle Beach, SC for Thanksgiving. Travel allows our family to connect in a way that helps us take care of our physical and mental health. My best mother’s advice in building a happy family while working and building a personal business is to stay curious. Through travel, my husband and I encouraged our children to explore and try new things. We continue to model by example as empty nesters by embracing change together. I think this is what helps my family stay strong through times of challenge and triumph.
I am hopeful that my legacy will be that I made a difference in the lives of those around me. I am truly grateful for those mothers that have gone before me. They hold the light that guides my journey through motherhood. With God’s guidance, I want to pave the path forward.
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