Face the adversity. We all fear something. It’s normal. But, the best way of overcoming fear is by stepping directly into it. It feels counterintuitive. But the fear diminishes once you realize you can manage the thing you fear. E.g., you can start small. If you have financial adversities, start gaining a better understanding of finances. People think you can only be financially successful if you have a lot of money, but if that were the case, the majority of people who win the lottery wouldn’t end up broke. Financial wealth starts with financial education. Once you learn how to manage your money, this is one of your more significant steps to expand your wealth.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Overstreet.
Elizabeth has always been intrigued with dating and relationships. She is specifically interested in the dynamics that attract one person to another and how couples sustain long-lasting relationships. Her parents and grandparents were married for over fifty years, along with aunts and uncles in her family married for more than four decades. Elizabeth learned a lot by observing the relationship dynamics of those in her family, by being single, being married, coming out of a divorce, navigating breakups, jumping back into the dating pool, and remarrying.
Observing and having these collective experiences gave Elizabeth a unique look and insight into a relationship and those of others who had longevity and happiness in their relationships. Through these experiences and coaching others in their relationships and through significant life changes, she hopes to shorten your learning curve of what it takes to find love and figure out the right path for you. Finding love and your life path can be challenging, but it can be easier to navigate when you understand what works and doesn’t work.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Yes, most definitely. My name is Elizabeth Overstreet, and I’m a Relationship/Life Coach. I have always had a natural ability to coach and lead others through tough life decisions and experiences. It feels incredibly instinctive and intuitive to me. My journey of going through a ton of adversity early on and throughout my life has equipped me to be resilient, empathetic, and helpful to others in a unique way. I feel incredibly fortunate when I can help others navigate the more challenging parts of their journey. It’s very fulfilling.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
During my career, I felt as though I suffered through periods of restlessness. Once I mastered a particular craft, I would get incredibly bored and look to do the next thing. It wasn’t until I started meeting serial entrepreneurs and one gentleman who specifically talked about how he intentionally shifted his career path every three years. I understood that we often might feel limited to staying in one lane, but it’s unnecessary. For those who are avid learners and want to be agile, the growth curve can look different. I started to understand my drive to grow and learn continually and realized I wasn’t alone in feeling this way. Before that, I thought something was wrong with me because of my desire to do multiple things!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Myself along with the unique team of people who are a part of my company! Look that may sound a bit cocky, but if you look at most successful companies, the ‘IT’ factor lies in their people talent. Show me a company that invests heavily in their leadership team and their people. That company will always outperform a team that isn’t willing to do the same. It’s why Apple, Googles, and other similar styles of companies outperform their peers consistently. They invest the most into their people because high-performing people and teams drive results.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I agree. It takes a village to become successful. And there are so many people along the way that plant the seeds to help you get there. If I had to think specifically of those who have helped me along the way, I would have to say they would be my parents, mentor, and husband. There are so many stories and only so much time for this particular interview.
But, specifically, I can share a few things that are top of mind. My mom, who recently passed away, was my cheerleader throughout my entire life. Whenever I lacked confidence or felt like I couldn’t push through, I could call her, and after speaking with her, I would feel as if I could conquer the world. My Dad instilled a great deal of discipline, focus, and consistency in me. It’s so difficult for me not to push through even when I want to quit because of his instilled focus on teaching us as kids to see things through, the importance of building a good name and reputation. And this was way before ‘personal branding’ became a thing Dad was ahead of his time in this way.
My husband is my rock. He helps me to simplify much of the complex thinking that is continuously churning inside my head. And my mentor helped me to see the world in a completely different way. He never allows me to make excuses for not doing what I’m capable of doing, makes me prove out any self-limiting beliefs, and holds me accountable. They are my tribe, and I absolutely wouldn’t be who or where I am today without any of them.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and keep moving forward. There are a couple of characteristics that stand out. They are optimism, being adaptive, and having the ability to recover following adversity. All of these characteristics can either build or derail your resilience.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Harriet Tubman. She was born into circumstances that could have easily dictated her life to go one way. But, she had a greater vision. She took her frustration and anger from her living situation and turned it into “righteous indignation.” She was like, I’m going to change my circumstances and shift the thinking of others too! Harriet stuck to being true to herself. Her thought process and ability to bounce back, aka resilience, even though it could have meant losing her life, was one of her strongest attributes. Another characteristic that I feel often missed about Harriet is that she was very strategic. She knew how to align with others to tradeoff intel and information to make herself even more valuable and protected, which helped her further accomplish and negotiate everything she did. She was prolific in so many ways!
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
All-day, every day. LOL –As a woman and woman of color, people sometimes try to box you in and make you feel limited, or sometimes that your voice doesn’t matter. However, this is starting to change and shift. Sometimes, sadly, I fell into that trap. Most of the time, I used it to push against what the norms expected of me. I see it as a bit of a challenge and, how much can Elizabeth prove out against what she can become versus what others try to limit or expect her to become.
Many examples come to mind, but I think one story is when I was doing Real Estate investment and rehab work as one of my early entrepreneurial endeavors. Many people asked me why I was so driven and why wasn’t I more focused on being married and having a family. At the time, what they didn’t realize was that I was a single divorced parent at the time, so my motivation was deeper to show my daughter that the world is her oyster. Knowing that kids pay more attention to what they see you do, I didn’t want my daughter to have limiting thoughts about what she could do, so this drove me hard to model the behavior for her too.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
My first daughter died at 2 ½ months, and it was devastating. Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a child. I became paralyzed in grief for some time. I didn’t want to live without her being here with me. I just felt empty.t, by seeking out help and support and reframing my grief by turning it into an opportunity to refocus, re-channel, and learn from it, and help others, enabled me to push through and turn my life around in a big way. It made me treasure my second daughter on a greater level and live my life more meaningfully.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Yes, I grew up in a large family. Growing up in a large family teaches you a lot quickly about communication, negotiation, patience, and co-existing with various personalities. I had older brothers, and it was them and me for a while until my sisters came along.
I always wanted to keep up with my brothers. So when I saw my brothers getting paper routes and making money, I wanted in too! I asked my Dad, at age 7, if I could get a paper route also. He agreed to give me a couple of blocks to work. It was a big deal because we lived in Chicago, and the winters were COLD! But, I knew once I committed, my Dad would make me stick to it. Once I saw avenues to make money to create some financial independence, I became bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. I started coming up with other scenarios to put money in my pocket. Watching my brothers and Dad and Mom regularly talk about financial literacy and planning made me a sponge of wanting to put myself in place to empower myself too!
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Face the adversity. We all fear something. It’s normal. But, the best way of overcoming fear is by stepping directly into it. It feels counterintuitive. But the fear diminishes once you realize you can manage the thing you fear. E.g., you can start small. If you have financial adversities, start gaining a better understanding of finances. People think you can only be financially successful if you have a lot of money, but if that were the case, the majority of people who win the lottery wouldn’t end up broke. Financial wealth starts with financial education. Once you learn how to manage your money, this is one of your more significant steps to expand your wealth.
- Reframe the adversity. I remember hearing a story about if a bunch of people was in the room and Oprah was one of them, who would people think had the least adversity? Most might think of Oprah because of her high level of success. What they would discount is all of the adversity she faced along the way to becoming successful. Yes, Oprah is highly successful. But, with high rewards comes high risks and countless setbacks. It might be fair to state Oprah likely faced the most adversity in the room due to the nature of the many obstacles which came along the way during the process. Few people focus on Oprah’s teenage pregnancy, challenging relationship with her mom, experiencing molestation, poverty, or being raped. They may forget about her having a slow start to her network, being fired from news reporting gigs, or her talking about her countless hours of therapy to figure out things so many other things during her life. Oprah had to reframe her experiences, seek out help to deal with them, or else she wouldn’t be Oprah. Those experiences shaped her and helped her to be relatable to millions of people. I would guess that her ability to reframe these experiences helped her tremendously as she faced other adversities in her life and that she continues to face hardships.
- Seek out help or support when needed. It’s not weak to have emotions. It’s not weak to feel powerless. What is weak is thinking that you can numb yourself out, not address what is happening with you, work your way through it, or any number of actions outside of dealing head-on with the adversity. Having a professional or core group of family or friends you can lean on when you need support is positive. It can help you get insight, input and help with what’s weighing you down. Think of it as someone who is downing. Often, what gets thrown first is a floating device to help them keep their head above water. If they don’t grab the device before someone can reach them, they are likely to drown. But, if they use this resource, it can mean the difference in their life or death.
- Humor is critical to adversity. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation in which life may place you. No, it doesn’t always make you feel better. But it will often give you a moment of relief. Life is filled with adversity, but laughter is sometimes the best medicine. If you love Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfield, Trevor Noah, or John Stewart as comedians and listen closely, you will observe that their humor is designed around their life adversities. And the reason why it’s relatable is that we share many of the same misfortunes too.
- Use the power of meditation and affirmation. The mind is filled with so many thoughts of “What If?” It is so much the case that it’s easy to allow our minds to take us down needless directions. However, the mind is also very malleable. Thank God for this gift! When you face adversity, attack it head-on (no pun intended) by using meditations to disrupt the negative thinking process. It will feel awkward, corny, and unnatural at first. But keep meditating, and you will notice a shift in breaking-up adversity and managing it better over time. Coupled with affirmations, you are now setting up your headspace to look at difficult situations in an entirely different way. Practicing meditation will offer clarity, and performing affirmations will help you create the pathway through the adversity.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My movement would be the love movement. I may be a bit biased to love as a Relationship/Life Coach. The movement would be each person committing to one act of love a day. I believe, especially as a Relationship Coach, that love makes the world go around, and it makes our communities stronger and healthier. If this movement started with one person and spread, it would have a domino effect on our ability to connect and have deeper empathy. I think we underestimate love, but ironically when we experience loss of it or a global event that impacts us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, the evidence, value, and presence of love becomes amplified.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Just one? It would be the amazingly talented Shonda Rhimes. She is a phenomenal television producer, screenwriter, and author. She informs and educates through her writing. She can also make the reader/television watcher tune in and empathize with diverse characters. I think it’s because there is always a person she is writing about, which we can relate to personally. Her writing is done in such an honest, direct, and straightforward way. It’s magic to me! Sorry, I’m gushy when it comes to an excellent writer because, as a fellow writer, I know how arduous and all-consuming the process can be. Shonda, if you’re reading this, I’m hoping you will say ‘Yes” to a breakfast meeting one day!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can visit my website page elizabethoverstreet.com and see all of the social media sites with which I’m affiliated.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
It was pure joy! Thank you allowing me to connect with your readers.