March is Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to showcasing women who are making a difference.
Rolling out had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Shelia D. Williams, a business consultant and author of My Mother’s Keeper.
Tell us about your business.
I’ve had both personal and professional highs and lows in my life. Having obtained both my master’s degree in counseling and my PhD in leadership and education, I had a very successful career of over 25 years in the counseling and education industries, but always as an employee.
After realizing that many of my coworkers, colleagues, friends and even family consistently contacted me for my professional opinion and advice on numerous things, I realized the value in the expertise I hold. Many would often offer to pay me to provide them with insight, suggestions, recommendations and guidance for them. It took me several years to finally make the decision to start business, but after the high demand, I finally started my consulting company in 2011.
How do you handle stress in your business?
I believe a low, managed level of stress is a good thing. It keeps you motivated to keep pushing, to not become complacent. However, it’s when stress levels get too high and we fail to take care of our physical, emotional and psychological health that it becomes a problem.
Being a business owner can be very stressful at times; however, being as proactive as possible, is the key. Preparing for raining days, financial setbacks, lack of growth, etc, is one way to prepare for the unknown, which will ultimately keep the stress level down. You can’t predict when/if a crisis will occur, but if you’re prepared it will be less devastating.
I’ve learned that no one will care more about you or your business than you, so it’s imperative to be as proactive as possible in both aspects.
What is your biggest hurdle you’ve overcome since becoming a business owner?
The biggest hurdle I’ve overcome since becoming a business owner is losing both my mother and father in less than a year while still having the responsibility of running my business and managing their estate, simultaneously.
In my memoir, My Mother’s Keeper, I speak about not only the challenges I faced being the primary caregiver for my mother but the devastation of being let down by broken promises.
These experiences were very challenging, to say the least. However, it gave me a huge reality check in acknowledging that life can often throw you a curveball or maybe a few, all at the same time, but it’s how you choose to react or respond that matters most.
During this time, I needed to take time to grieve and to heal. I needed to take time to handle my parents’ affairs, and to regain my strength, emotionally after losing both parents. So, that is what I did. I took as much time off as I needed in order to take care of me. I realized that I couldn’t manage my business successfully if I didn’t properly take the time I needed to allow myself to properly heal. Once I regained my strength, health and grieved, I was then able to return to successfully running my business and even expanding many of the services.
What is the biggest achievement you’ve accomplished with your business?
I try to celebrate each connection I make when networking, just as much as I celebrate closing a deal or having a successful empowerment event.
I’m extremely excited about my memoir, My Mother’s Keeper, as it has opened many doors of opportunity that I had not envisioned. The critically acclaimed best-seller will soon be available as an audiobook and a stage play, which I’m hugely excited about, as it brings the memoir to life. I’m particularly excited about this, as it will depict the reality of what it is like to deal with an undiagnosed mental illness.
What is the key to success?
The key to success is intentionality. There are so many people who do things but don’t have a goal, a plan or a vision for what the outcome will or should be.
In all we do, particularly when it comes to business and our professions, we should “begin with the end in mind.” Being intentional allows you to do just that.
In all things, be intentional. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby.
What advice would you give your younger self about growing up as a woman in this world?
If I could give my younger self advice about growing up as a woman in this world, it would be that “you have a purpose; go find it.”
I’d give myself this advice simply because as a young girl, I never knew there was a purpose for my life. Although I’ve always lived my life with intentionality, it wasn’t until my early 30s that the tests, the trials, the obstacles as well as all of the successes I experienced began to line up and have meaning. This is the point I learned the true purpose of my life.
If you were the first woman president, what would be your first order of business?
If I became the first woman president, I’d most likely start with improving our healthcare services for our veterans, senior citizens and those with mental illness.
For some reason, those that risk their lives for our country, the elderly and those that are mentally ill seem to be forgotten or treated as “less than” when it comes to health care.
As president, it would be my goal to bring peace to our nation. We were once revered and highly regarded as a country, but unfortunately that is not the case at this time.