Every person you know is going through a challenge, including yourself. Some of those people are leaders and others are not. The difference between these two categories i've noticed is the individuals response to their own life challenges which ultimately links back to their level of resilience.
Today I am a social entrepreneur, artist, motivational speaker and food critic not because I planned to be but because I needed them as a way to stay resilient. Many of you who have read my previous posts know I was diagnosed with arthritis in 2011. This diagnosis shook my world and broke me.. for a time period. But I quickly learnt that life is not waiting for me to get up, it will move on with or without me. Knowing this in a sense empowered me to get my act together and reinvent myself in a way I thought was impossible.
In every challenge life has thrown me I have reinvented myself and learnt how to fly rather than drown. Here are a few examples that I hope inspire you to fly higher when faced with your own life challenges:
Why I became a social entrepreneur?
Problem: Gender inequality is no new concept and is certainly far from over. When I first launched my full career as a 21 year old I unfortunately faced it intensely. I was fed up with this and said I need to do something.
Turning "bad" into beautiful: I co-founded a social enterprise in Jordan that provided women with an avenue to independent cash generation.
Why I became an artist?
Problem: I lost my ability to use my hands easily and currently have permanent damage due to bone erosion from arthritis in my left hand.
Turning "bad" into beautiful: Celebrated my semi-functioning hands with finger-painting. Since I started painting 2 years I ago I have had 2 art exhibits in Washington DC (one that is currently ongoing at Artomatic, come visit me in room 8414!). I've not only sold pieces but I've most importantly sent out the message that even if you have a disability you can create beautiful pieces of art.
Why I became a motivational speaker?
Problem: Arthritis stripped me away from daily activities in my senior year, a year that is supposed to be the prime of youth. This caused me to face depression at such a young age and face strong internal battles.
Turning "bad" into beautiful: Recovering from these battles was not easy and it needed constant mental training and finding paths of inspiration. I decided to share my story as a way of healing and helping inspire others along the way. Today I have had over 14,000 views online and delivered speeches to over 2,500 people, a blessing I pray to never take for granted.
Why I became a food critic?
Problem: Having arthritis forced me to become gluten-free and as a pizza, pasta and bread loving girl this was hard.
Turning "bad" into beautiful: I became a writing contributor for the Hungry Lobbyist to review restaurants with a gluten-free perspective. This has allowed me to celebrate my love for food and dining to a whole new awesome level. I also help bring awareness to the need of gluten-free friendly restaurants for all my gluten-free friends who became gluten-free not out of pure fun!
Overall I’ve realized that life may or may not get easier but I know that one thing will remain the same – my resilience and reinvention. I am currently working on a few exciting projects that will be launched soon that will take my reinvention a step higher. I hope you join me in this process of reinvention – God knows an individual with a strong supporting community grows and heals much quicker!