How Author & Changemaker Cheryl Ecton Inspires Us to Get Up When Life Knocks Us Down
Never give up. Curveballs are going to come our way but with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude you can overcome what life throws at you. I’ve also learned that spending time with those you love, being intentional, and being present are so important, you don’t know when life ends for any of us, make memories and spend time with those you love.
Cheryl Ecton has tackled many major hurdles and is a clear example of someone who makes choices that have led to personal and professional success.
This dynamic entrepreneur is on a mission to inspire and motivate her readers and audiences by helping them realize that we all have choices and the choices we make daily impact our lives today and in the future.
She is the founder and CEO of Elite Building Services, a commercial cleaning and building maintenance company serving clients in 19 states, which started with only one employee (Ecton) in 1989 and skyrocketed to more than 550 employees today.
Proudly, Elite Building Services is one of the largest women-owned businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company has earned numerous awards and accolades and is a certified woman-owned business by the Women’s Business Enterprise and the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise in Delaware.
Elite’s success over the years can be attributed to Cheryl’s emphasis on providing clients with high-quality and cost-effective services. Despite being in a traditionally male-led industry, Cheryl has built her successful business by valuing her employees as much as her clients.
The value Cheryl places on her employees translates to her clients. “If better is possible, good is not good enough; always put our customers’ needs first,” is Ecton’s motto. Her passion for her business, hundreds of employees, and overcoming life’s hurdles translates into a great desire for motivating others.
In addition to her role at Elite, Cheryl is a memorable professional speaker, sharing her experiences as a successful female entrepreneur to industry professionals, leadership groups, and women’s associations.
Cheryl shares her journey with warmth, passion, and authenticity with those she meets. Cheryl’s story will inspire each of us to think about the impact of making the right choices.
During a keynote speech at the recent Women’s Business Leader Symposium held by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, (NAWBO), she stressed the theme of her new book Choices Change Everything: Choose to Get Up When Life Knocks You Down, that “life is going to continue to throw these curveballs and challenges our way…The challenge for you today is to ‘get up’ when life gets you down.”
“Let no one control your happiness and your destiny because you make your choices,” added Ecton. “Be passionate about your dreams and goals, always continue to strive for what you want in life, and when you fail, which we will at times, fail fast and choose to ‘get up!’
Read on for sage personal and business advice from Cheryl Ecton, who can teach all of us that you have to continue to “choose to get up when life knocks you down.”
Cheryl Ecton: Why do you want to share the inspiring messages in your book, Choices Change Everything?
Millions of women across the globe get up each day, go to work, care for the needs of their families, pursue work and careers, and manage their overall life. Day in and day out they deal with struggles, some imaginable, some not. I just want to share my story with them in the hope that it inspires, uplifts, and encourages them.
What is the beginning of your story?
In the late 1980s, I was a young, newly married woman looking for additional income to supplement my salary as a receptionist. When I started to clean the office building where I worked after hours, I did not know it then, but it was the very first choice I made that led to my company, now known as Elite Building Services.
As I slowly started to gain new clients, I began hiring additional employees and offering a wider array of building services. It has been a challenging, exhilarating, and extraordinary journey that I am proud to talk about and use as an example to help other women with their own journeys.
What is your definition of success?
This is different for everyone, for me, living and loving in the present, spending time with my family, being content with what I have, and being healthy to pursue my dreams and goals.
What are one or more life lessons you have passed on to your two children and want your grandchildren to understand? And why?
I think a lesson I’ve learned over the years is that you never give up. Curveballs are going to come our way but with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude you can overcome what life throws at you. I’ve also learned that spending time with those you love, being intentional, and being present are so important, you don’t know when life ends for any of us, make memories and spend time with those you love.
What does having a positive work atmosphere mean to you?
It means everything. No one wants to go through their day in a negative environment, there is enough of that in this world. A positive environment allows you to thrive, be creative and stay emotionally healthy.
When employees loyally work with you for decades what does that mean to you personally and professionally?
Personally, it feels as though they are family, professionally it provides stability, and customers and employees see that Elite is a great place to work.
What advice do you have for female business owners and entrepreneurs?
There is no ladder to success, you have to take all the steps, work hard, and continue to reach for your goals and dreams regardless of the time that it takes. This is your journey with a timetable that works for you.
What does it mean when audience members come up to you after hearing you speak and say that you have given them hope and inspiration and changed their lives?
It is rewarding to help others realize that we all deal with the same types of problems in life. If it makes their journey a little easier to have learned from me, then it is worth it!
What do you enjoy the most about running your company?
I enjoy working with people, clients, and our team and seeing the company grow and team members thrive. It is rewarding to look back on where the company started over 30 years ago to where we are now and the limitless opportunities that we have. It makes each day exciting which fuels my mindset, energy, actions, and results.
As you juggle all of your roles in business and in your family, how do you practice self-care and mindfulness, and how does it help you?
This is a tough question as every day brings its own challenges. However, I am an early riser, 4 a.m., during that 4 to 7 a.m. timeframe, I review my day ahead, get caught up on emails, and set my agenda for the day. Around 6:30 a.m., I stop and do my daily devotions, my private time with God. This allows me time in the evening to exercise (which is a good stress reliever) and spend uninterrupted time with my husband and family.
Can we really transform our lives even during the turmoil of personal and career strife?
Yes, I believe this 100 percent. It is not easy, but it is achievable. We learn from these struggles as we work towards making the right choices.
Is there anything you want to add?
When I decided to write my book, I wanted to share the impact of both good and bad choices and to have readers truly think before making a choice.
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