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Erika Gilchrist is thriving fearlessly in business

Photo credit: Jordan Cart

Some women are unstoppable and some women are fearless. Erika Gilchrist is both, she is the owner and the mastermind behind the Unstoppable Woman empire.

Assaulted as a little girl, abused as a young adult, and survivor of a suicide attempt, Erika Gilchrist has earned the title of “The Unstoppable Woman.” She is regarded as one of the most energizing, engaging, and captivating speakers in the industry.

She is the creator of the brazen brand, W.T.F. – Women Thriving Fearlessly!™. As a published author of 11 books and a 19-year veteran speaker, Gilchrist is an expert in personal development, leadership training, and conflict management skills for women.

As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?

I have a gift for bringing out the SHEbeast in women! Being a woman of color simply magnifies that strength. There’s something about us [Black women] that stands out. I love that underlying synergy!

What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

If you feel like something isn’t “right,” it isn’t! That’s your spirit guide telling you that your boundaries have been crossed, so protect yourself and don’t apologize for it. Be gentle with yourself. You are a Queen in the making, so make decisions that will prepare you for Queendom.

If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why? 

This is a tough one. Each woman I thought of offered something unique. I’m choosing Katherine Dunham. I’m a dancer, an artist, and a stage performer. So I’d thank her for creating her own style as opposed to regurgitating the styles that were already on stage. She was also a strong social activist. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the fact that she was larger than the average American ballet dancer wasn’t a factor. I’m a thick and curvy woman who can move like a swan, and Katherine made it okay to bring curves to the stage. Even in her final years, she would choreograph from her wheelchair. Now that’s a woman thriving fearlessly!

What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?

Risks are absolutely necessary for growth, so don’t try to avoid them. Ironically, it’s very risky to do that. You rob yourself of opportunities that can potentially catapult you into a trajectory of greatness that you’ve always wanted. Making mistakes? Please! The day I never make any mistakes is the day I check out of this place. There’s glory in making mistakes. Do you know how many times I “wrote” my best-selling book? Twenty-four times! Which one got published? Number 24!

What are three habits you incorporate into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity and peace of mind? 

I’d love to tell you that there’s something that I do EVERY DAY, but that’s simply not true. I strive to do specific things every day, but sometimes I fall short. For the most part, I do three things: 1) Meditate: I need to center so that I can stay focused on what’s really important. 2) Prioritize: Life doesn’t go in a straight line, so I have to adjust my tasks according to what’s most important that day. So if I had a “to-do” list prepared already, and then I start to feel stressed, I adjust the list to include stress relievers. 3) Rest: As a child, I hated being forced to take naps. Now I love it! I make unnecessary errors when I’m exhausted, so I close my eyes for 30 minutes to recharge. Circumstances don’t allow for naps every day, but I have learned to listen to my body and my business positively reflects that habit.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?

That’s really challenging to answer. There isn’t one person who I would consider my biggest inspiration. For me, it’s my tribe who collectively inspires me. Each of them brings an element to my life that no one else can. At times, I’m inspired by one because she’s exceeding her goals, or I’m inspired by another because he handled a challenging situation like a champ. In fact, when I look back on my life I realize that my inspirations came from multiple people, not just one heavily.