Erika Cramer, The Queen of Confidence: Rising Through Resilience; Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient
Get around mentors, coaches and others who are resilient — They have a different way of seeing the world, they are optimistic and most times will have a solution mindset and choose to focus on solutions rather than problems. Growing up I didn’t have this community and I noticed the difference.
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 Erika Cramer, The Queen of Confidence
Erika Cramer, The Queen of Confidence, is an award-winning international confidence coach and host of the 5 star-rated Confidence Chronicles Podcast. After surviving many traumatic experiences, Erika is a real example of how you can heal your personal story to transform trauma into triumph and now leads a global movement to empower women. She is also the author of the new book, Confidence Feels Like Sh!t.
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?
I grew up in a little town near Boston, Massachusetts. I was raised by a single mother who truly did the best she could, while struggling with bipolar. I was in and out of the foster care system, while she was in and out of mental hospitals. Growing up in the system there was a lot of sexual abuse, verbal abuse and physical abuse. It created this really angry child and in high school, I struggled with my worthiness and felt like I was damaged goods.
That led to me joining the military at 17, a stint that lasted 10 years. I fell in love with my high school sweetheart; he went to war and thankfully, he came back, but he wasn’t the same. We ended up in a terrible car accident. He walked away, and I broke my back. I had to learn how to walk again. It was a crazy tragedy. But it really woke me up to my life. The following year, unfortunately, my husband was drinking and driving on his own and he passed away in a car accident. I felt so trauma’d out by then that it was too much to handle. I numbed out for the next five years of my life.
This is the very short version! After this, I ended up moving to Australia where I went on a huge journey of self-development and discovery. I spent over $50k on courses, mentors, life coaches and retreats. I fully worked through my life and trauma and I got so obsessed with doing this work, I decided I would help women do the same thing. I also met my personal trainer Hamish, who later became my husband. We’re now married with two gorgeous sons.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I had my second son in 2017. I was working for a corporate company and had been doing my side hustle for five years. I lacked so much confidence, but one morning I was in the shower (why does all the wisdom come in the shower?). I got a clear message: “You’re not here to do what you’re doing. You’re here to become a confidence coach. You’re here to help women.” I ran downstairs and told my husband. I wasn’t going to go back to my corporate career. I was going to become a confidence coach!
It was the scariest thing to do, because it was the worst timing. We were dead broke, in debt, and we just had a second baby. But this meant I didn’t have the luxury of doubting myself — I had to do what I had to do to make it work. I had to go all in. I started creating content, I started sharing, building a community on social media. I started a YouTube channel, I started my podcast. I had to step up and by “having to do it”, it made all of our dreams and business vision come true. My biggest takeaway from that experience is that no one’s going to come knocking at your door. If you want to do something, you need to just do it. You need to make your own noise instead of expecting other people to somehow discover you or find you.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
One of the biggest things that makes our company, The Queen Of Confidence, stand out is that we are about community and sisterhood. We’re about taking responsibility and we’re about integrity. During the COVID pandemic, we had 300-plus students in 18 countries in our program. Since the pandemic hit different parts of the world, affected different parts of the world differently, we emailed every single one of our members and asked them if they needed financial support, if they needed to pause payments, if there was anything we could do? We even ended up doing a fundraiser for the women who were really struggling.
Because we reached out and looked after them, we didn’t have any members drop off. We can say that not only do we have values, but we truly live our values in this business. We don’t just say we’re for women, but what we do is for women. We are a company that takes a stand for that. We are inclusive. We are supportive.
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?
I have to really give it up to my husband, Hamish. He was the first person I ever told my whole story to and instead of feeling ashamed or broken, he really honoured me. He made me feel seen and strong. He was very patient, and gently invited me to work on myself and to unpack my difficult experiences so that I could grow from them. He is still my greatest teacher and mentor.
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?
I think of resilience as an ability to overcome difficulty and discomfort, without it destroying you. Meaning, when you’re able to overcome the difficulties life gives you and not allow it to ruin your existence. Instead resilient people let it make them, they let their hardest times create their inner strength. I feel it’s highly connected to resourcefulness and being someone who looks for solutions to the challenges they are faced with.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Nicholas Vujicic. He was born with no arms and no legs, he could have easily felt sorry for himself and spent his life being angry at the world (something I read he did in his youth). Instead, he spends his life as a motivational speaker teaching children about the importance of accepting people’s differences and inspiring others with his story. He shows us that it’s not about what happens to us, it’s about what we make it mean and what we decide to do next. We can allow the tough times to destroy us or grow us. We get to choose.
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?
Yes, when I broke my back at 23 years old, my doctor told me I would never touch my toes and that I would have back pain for most of my life, especially if I ever decided to get pregnant. He was wrong. Three months after surgery I was able to touch my toes. I had two children and no back pain and to this day, I still never have pain in my back, even though there is a titanium fusion. I have been able to deadlift 100kg by strengthening my back and core!
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?
To be honest I feel I have too many of those moments, but the one that stands out right now is the most recent one. In 2017, my husband and I found ourselves in the worst financial position ever. I was a contractor on unpaid maternity leave, my husband’s gym business was on the decline, we had just had our second child, moved into a large home rental and drained our savings account.
It was the most stressful time. We were looking for coins underneath the car seats to buy bread for our family. Just 11 months later, I had created an income of $160,000 in our coaching business. The tough time we experienced gave me such a desire to hustle and not only hustle but to actually go for my dreams.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
When I was 7, my mother took us on a family vacation to Puerto Rico and we got into a terrible car accident. Our car had flipped upside down multiple times, we were lucky to survive. My dad heard that I was in the country and what had happened (he’d left us when I was two). Just four days after our horrific car accident, I was kidnapped by my dad, who I’d never met. Suddenly, I wasn’t going back to America to be with my mother — I was staying in Puerto Rico, without her, with a whole new family and unfortunately I couldn’t speak the language.
When I was finally reunited with my mom 12 months later, we jumped back into the regular cycle I grew up with of my mom getting sick, me visiting her in mental hospitals and living in yet another foster home. By 16, I’d had enough. This experience was terrible at the time, but it showed me my strength, and my ability to persevere and keep going, even when I felt like I was cursed. In Puerto Rico I learned Spanish and ended up connecting to my roots. Twenty years later, I reunited with my dad and heard his side of the story and gained deep closure. Every single “bad” moment supported me, therefore I can’t think of them as bad. It’s because of all the hardship that I am who I am, and I have been able to create the life I live and leave the impact I have.
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.
- Become aware of your stories and what meaning you’ve put behind them — We all have a story about our lives. I carried the story that I was damaged goods and unworthy of love. How that played out in my life was that I attracted toxic relationships into my life. The moment I started working on myself and realising that I can choose what things mean changed everything for me. I remember my first ever mentor telling me that I could choose how I wanted to see my past and my mind was blown. She taught me that I didn’t have to make meaning out of anything. Later I realised that if I don’t believe my crappy stories, they have no power over me. It was and still is such a huge realisation.
- Commit to working on yourself — A growth mindset is needed if we’re going to become more resilient. When I started to read books, listen to podcasts, join programs and hire coaches I started to unravel my past and see the gifts in the difficulties. We can become more resilient if we’re willing to become more optimistic, which comes when you raise your consciousness and you start working on you.
- Choose to see things happening FOR you rather than TO you — A lesson I learned from Tony Robbins. He would always say there is a gift in the struggle and although things seem hard in the moment, notice that everything you have ever experienced that has been difficult has created strength and resilience in you. We cannot become more resilient without the challenges, this is a part of the process. I wouldn’t be able to serve the women I do today and have the empathy for my clients who experienced trauma if I myself hadn’t felt similar feelings to them in my past.
- Work on your self confidence — This was one of the biggest things that helped me become more resilient. I lacked so much confidence until I started to work through my life, gaining awareness and putting myself out there. I started doing things that scared me and proving to myself that I could overcome my fear and that I could do hard things. Little by little my inner confidence grew. Self-confidence is extremely important if you’re going to become resilient.
- Get around mentors, coaches and others who are resilient — They have a different way of seeing the world, they are optimistic and most times will have a solution mindset and choose to focus on solutions rather than problems. Growing up I didn’t have this community and I noticed the difference. When I started to strengthen myself, take responsibility for my life and my results I would attract the same group of people. Those who wanted to grow and evolve and in this community I thrived, I was supported and I felt like things would get better and of course, they did.
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. :-)
I would love to see more of us working on ourselves, I would like to normalise the expression of hard feelings and emotions without it feeling like “if I go speak to a professional coach or therapist something is wrong with me”. I would love to have more trauma informed humans in the education system, in the medical system, in government etc. So many people suffer in silence about their feelings of inadequacy or not feeling good enough and if it keeps going unspoken we think we’re the only ones. In reality, this is something everyone experiences; there is nothing wrong with us, we are not broken or damaged, we’ve experienced trauma and we should be able to openly discuss this in our communities and hold space for each other to transform.
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 :-)
Tony Robbins. I freaking love him so much. The fact that he is SO resilient and has lived SO much and the fact that he completely transformed his life. Then decided to serve others and still continues till this day to serve others. He could easily retire, he’s got the money, the love of his life, the family, the success, yet he will still stand up and speak for 50+ hours at his live events (events that he has been doing for years). Also I think we both have the same crazy amount of high energy and I love that about him.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find me everywhere but i particularly hang out a lot on instagram so come say hi
▸ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/thequeenofconfidence
▸ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Theconfidencequeen
▸ Website: www.thequeenofconfidence.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!