Lauren Williams: There is great strength in taking a difficult situation, and turning it into something positive

I want other women to feel like they can overcome and power through any challenges. I believe your mindset is the most powerful tool you have. There is great strength in taking a difficult situation, and turning it into something positive. It’s so easy to give up when things get hard, but finding that ability […]

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I want other women to feel like they can overcome and power through any challenges. I believe your mindset is the most powerful tool you have. There is great strength in taking a difficult situation, and turning it into something positive. It’s so easy to give up when things get hard, but finding that ability to continue to push and become better is truly my goal

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewingLauren Williams.

Lauren was a top sales executive at a large media technology company. As a new Mom looking for more flexibility with her career, she was forced to leave her company only 2 weeks before a global pandemic. Lauren is now working to empower women, and is sharing inspiring stories to help others accomplish their goals through Warrior Mama Life.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Hi Karina! It’s an absolute honor to be here!

My journey has definitely been an exciting one (especially over the past year and a half). For over a decade I have been working in advertising, technology, and online media. I was working at an extremely large media and technology company as the Director of Sales and Content Development. I was managing a large sales and account management team, and life was good! I truly felt that my career and success was untapped, and there was not a thing I couldn’t accomplish.

Everything changed pretty drastically for me once my son was born. The absolute love of my life! I had always planned to go back to work full time, and even had my childcare situation in order (our family was going to be helping). Due to some unforeseen circumstances, it didn’t work out. My company was being very strict about being in the office five days a week, and I was looking for much more flexibility. With no other option, I was forced to leave the company I spent most of my career at.

Two weeks after leaving my career, there was a global pandemic and the entire world was working from home! If only I had a crystal ball, and could buy just a bit more time! Reality kicked in, and I felt like my life was just standing still. I was forced to build from the ground up, and I decided to look at this as a gift and an opportunity.

I began asking myself, what am I passionate about? What is my expertise and value sets? I realized after my son was born, my passion shifted. Not only do I want to build the best home and life for my family, but I want to empower other women to power through their challenges and reach their goals. I want women to share their stories, so they can uplift other women who may be encountering difficulties as well.

Through Warrior Mama Life, I found a way to combine my two worlds. I am able to leverage my expertise in digital media, with my true passion of motherhood and empowerment.

I want other women to feel like they can overcome and power through any challenges. I believe your mindset is the most powerful tool you have. There is great strength in taking a difficult situation, and turning it into something positive. It’s so easy to give up when things get hard, but finding that ability to continue to push and become better is truly my goal.

Motherhood has been an amazing journey for me, and every struggle has presented new opportunities. My ultimate career goal is to motivate other women to conquer their challenges!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

Well, if you asked me this a year ago I would have probably had a “basic” answer about hiring a new team completely remotely, or struggling to close a multi-million dollar account in the face of a global pandemic.

However, that is no longer my reality. I no longer have a complete support system with an HR organization, Senior Management, and Executives checking in on me, and a team to pick up the slack when I just can’t get it done. Instead, I am dealing with things like learning to code, writing meaningful content, networking with the most AMAZING women, and building a brand that women can turn to in times of need.

The most interesting thing that has happened to me is realizing doing something I am passionate about (and finding that passion), is the most rewarding thing. I truly never imagined I would be someone who would thrive without the corporate support system. However, when I am working every day doing something I absolutely love, I don’t feel like I am “working”.

I find myself working more and pushing myself harder, because the work I do now has meaning. I would have never thought I would be able to make that shift, or find my motivation like I am now. Once I separated the “money” from my “passion”, my entire perspective on life changed. I feel like I am now “living”.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! I am so glad you asked this!

Once I shared my story and journey on motherhood and my career, I knew my purpose was to share other inspiring stories. I recently launched “The Warrior Mama Series” to showcase these powerful women.

When I began my journey with Warrior Mama Life, I knew my motivation behind it was surfacing stories of women who have overcome adversities. Every woman has their own journey, their own challenges, and they conquer their day in their own way. Every story deserves to be heard, and every challenge is relative based on your perspective.

I have begun featuring so many amazing Mothers on my platform, and am bringing light to their journeys and experiences. I aim to provide knowledge gained from other women’s experiences, to show that no matter how difficult your situation is, you can fight through! Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. If you focus on accomplishing one task a day, and train your mind to think positively, there is not a thing on this planet you can’t accomplish.

As a Mom we need to focus on our families first, and in order to build the best life for our families, we need to take care of ourselves and our minds. It is so easy as a Mom to forget about ourselves, and to give up when it’s the most important to start fighting. We teach our children everyday to not quit, and to keep pushing. We need to do the same to be the best role models possible.

“The Warrior Mama Series” is a place for women to turn to for the extra motivation they need. It’s a place for women to know that they aren’t alone, and their journey is important. It’s a support system when women feel like “no one understands what I am going through”.

So many inspiring women have shared their stories, and there are so many more to come!

None of us are able to 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 about that?

This is so true! It is so important to tell the people around us how much they mean, and how thankful we are to have them in our lives.

The number one person in my life, who I am most grateful for is my husband. They say that people show their true colors in difficult or uncertain times. My husband was my absolute rock in one of the most challenging times of my life.

I thought I had my life figured out. I thought I would be the corporate career powerhouse, and be the Mom I had always envisioned. No problem! However, real life decided to smack me in the face, and left me questioning who I was. There were so many tears, sleepless nights, and anxious thoughts questioning absolutely everything. What are we going to do without my salary? How can I find a job during a global pandemic?

My husband didn’t even stutter. He picked me back up, built up my confidence, and told me to be and do anything I wanted. He was the reason I decided to start Warrior Mama Life, and share my story. He has always believed in me, and knows how passionate I am about the work I wanted to do.

It was his support and guidance to “find my new self”, that has allowed me to accomplish the success I have.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Yes it certainly has. Anyone that says this pandemic hasn’t greatly affected their lives is lying!

I am an extremely competitive and motivated person. I was this way my whole life. For me it started from playing sports throughout highschool and college. Now I find myself striving to build my career, be the best Mom I can be, and take care of my family in every way I can. These things are virtually impossible to do in a normal world, not to mention in the face of the COVID_19 pandemic.

I find myself constantly trying to do it all. My son is extremely active, and although he can play rather well on his own, he certainly likes when we play together better. I am also a mother who likes to homecook all meals for my family. My business is growing quickly, and there is always something that I need to get done. How many hours are there in a day?

When my son naps (thank goodness for those naps), I try to get as much work done as I can (I also try to prep as much of our meals as I can too), and late at night I get back to work on things I couldn’t get done during the day. Sometimes I work past midnight if I have to.

Can we all stop pretending like that is possible? Please!? It’s not even remotely possible!

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

As a new business owner, mother, and wife during the Pandemic, I learn something new every day. I look to prioritize my family and son first during the day, and find myself working late hours into the night to accomplish my goals for my business and career.

I address the insane amount of “stuff” I have to get done by constantly telling myself, it is virtually impossible to be and do everything. As much as I would like to believe it, I can’t be the best at everything each and every day. Something will fall through the cracks, and I have to be OK with that. I have to adjust, adopt, and set realistic expectations for myself.

Setting realistic goals of things I want to accomplish each day, is the only way to get through my hectic days. I have to also be OK if those things just don’t get done. Tomorrow is another day, work will be there, but making memories with my son won’t. I choose to put him first, and enjoy all of our time together.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

The unexpectedness of what’s to come has to be the most difficult for everyone. No one knows how long our world will be shut down for. The “unknowing” of what will happen makes people and society in general extremely futile.

No one can predict people’s behavior, the things they might want, or things they might need. That leaves all businesses guessing and trying to scramble and build things for this new world that people just might not want, or might not be needed in the near future.

My biggest challenge is not only finding the time to get things done, but wondering if I am creating the right content for this new world we live in.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

Like I said earlier, I wish I had a crystal ball! Then I would know what would happen next, and what type of content would have the biggest impact on my readers and society in general.

However, there are still things I can do to understand in the moment what type of content people are in need of. I pay close attention to social platforms, I connect with my readers constantly, and most importantly I listen to the challenges people are facing.

Though we may never be able to predict what’s to come, we can always answer for the need that’s here and now.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

Set priorities! It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Well, it’s often not as simple as we think!

It’s easy for me to start the day with a clear set of priorities and “to do’s”, and end up completely out of whack! One thing leads to another, something urgent pops up, and you are off track!

I have to learn to be flexible with the unexpected tasks that will inevitably come up. However, whenever that happens, I ask myself what is my number one priority for today? As long as I get that done for work during the day, I can put the rest on the back burner for nap times or after my son’s bed time.

As I said earlier, it’s impossible to be and do everything, every single day! We need to set realistic goals and priorities for ourselves. If we don’t, we will burn out.

For me, it is also important for my husband and I to support each other and our workload. The best solution for us is to share our schedules at the beginning of the day. If one of us has a call or important meeting at a certain time, the other is on full baby duty giving the other complete peace and quiet to focus.

Teamwork is key in our household!

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

I live in a 1000 sq ft condo. I feel like I mastered “staying sane and serene” while sheltering in place!

Having a schedule is extremely important! It helps everyone in the household know what’s to come and when. This is especially important if you have small children. Creating a schedule also helps you delegate responsibilities to others, and helps everyone look forward to certain events during the day.

Our schedule involves simple things like eating, napping, and playing, but also more exciting activities as well. We do virtual music classes, play games like hide and go seek (really nowhere to go in our condo, so this is an easy one), and safe family walks.

For my husband and I, we give one another space each day to destress and reboot. That could mean quiet time for writing for me, or exercising for my husband. We also make it a point every night when my son goes to sleep, to sit quietly and talk.

Just us two, without any background noise is sometimes just the refresher we need.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

It is so important to me to try and find the positive in such a dark time. If we are unable to shift how we think (especially now), we can make ourselves sick living in constant fear.

There are certainly things I tell myself I am grateful for during this time.

  1. Parents are more involved with their children: I feel so fortunate to have my husband home everyday. We were both able to witness so many “firsts” with my son. We sat together as my son took his first steps. We hugged one another when he said his first word (car!), we laugh as he runs into the room my husband is working in for a hug. These are the most precious and valuable memories that we BOTH get to experience together. For that, I am forever grateful.
  2. People are connecting more now virtually, than they were before: Technology was always accessible to us to call, text, and video chat our loved ones. When folks had no choice but to reach out using this technology, the outreach of individuals we connected with grew outside our immediate circle. I was on a Zoom happy hour with 15 of our friends! I don’t know the last time I was in a group that large before this pandemic! Leveraging the technology we have access to (and actually using it) has helped us rebuild and connect with those that we might not have otherwise.
  3. Self care has a new meaning. We learn to love ourselves as we are: Self care has always been important to me. Whether that means exercising, eating healthy, or pampering myself, I truly believe it’s a necessity. When you look good, you feel good! However, I have learned I don’t need to take the drastic measures I was. For example, getting my nails done! I feel like a new person with my “natural nails”. Learning to love my nails as they are, is surprisingly extremely freeing. There are so many simple things we don’t truly need, but maybe felt the pressure of “keeping up with”.
  4. We value our relationships more than we have, and truly appreciate our time with loved ones: I don’t think there is a worse feeling than wanting to see a loved one, and not being able to. Parents, grandparents, siblings, best friends. We only have so much time in this world, and to have that time taken away puts a new perspective on the time we are given. I will never take for granted those that I love. When I see them the hugs are longer, and the words are more meaningful. We all experienced this. Appreciate those important to you.
  5. Everyone now knows how amazing Mothers are: Ok so I said Mother’s can’t do it ALL. But, we come pretty darn close! Now that everyone is forced to see all the things we do each and every day, I think the world has more of an appreciation for how amazing Moms are. My husband has always been supportive, but he tells me every day how awesome of a job I am doing. I appreciate the acknowledgement of how hard it is to balance all the things Moms have to balance!

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Acknowledging that it is OK to feel anxious is so important. The world is in a global pandemic for goodness sake! Once the acknowledgment is over with, having a conversation about the specific things that are triggering anxiety is key.

For example, someone might feel anxious about the need to homeschool in the fall. Understanding what exactly about homeschooling is driving the anxiety, and putting a plan in place to help remove stress can start to provide some relief. Things like gathering materials, connecting with other families planning on homeschooling, understanding the curriculum, etc. will start to normalize something that is so unknown at the current time.

Helping your loved one feel safe, understood, and just being a sounding board may be all that’s needed to ease the added anxiety during this time.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of the amazing Mothers on The Warrior Mama Series shared an amazing quote she heard recently. “I never lose. I only win or learn”. When she said it, it was the first time I heard it, but it immediately had an effect on me.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, because I am so competitive. When I don’t reach a specific goal, or perform as best as I had hoped, it’s so easy to be hard on myself. When I heard this quote, it was such an important realization for me. Those times that I might not have reached the goal I set, I absolutely learned something from that moment.

I learned how to be better next time, I learned how to prepare to win, I learned what truly matters. If we shift our mindset, and find that positive outlook, we are always winning one way or another. If you allow yourself to learn a lesson, even if you didn’t “win”, you have learned a lesson that no one else has. That is a gift I chose to accept.

How can our readers follow you online?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story! You can find me on Warrior Mama Life, Facebook, and Instagram!

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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