Create Long and Short Term Goals: Again, this goes backto implementing a direction for your life. Creating and holding this vision gives clarity on where you are going, instead of living each day without a purpose. Look at short term goals as steppingstones or “pit stops” to your long term vision. With an end destination in mind, outside sources will seem less daunting which will create resiliency.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elisabeth Allen.
Elisabeth Allen is a confident and motivational mentor for newer working moms who struggle with anxiety and depression. Elisabeth is a full-time working mom of two under 5 years of age. She is also the host of the Chicago based self-development podcast called Bottomless MOMosa.
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?
Since I grew up in a seemingly traditional middle-class family, the trauma, and hardships I have had to overcome are well hidden. These adversities included sexual abuse, narcissistic relationships, and financial loss, which essentially taught me to look elsewhere to find direction on how to become the best version of myself. My desire to find more control and order in my life was further triggered when I became a working mother to my now three-year-old son. Nine months after giving birth, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression followed by anxiety. I thought to myself, “who am I going to be as a mother?” That question constantly lingered with me. During the past three years of my life, I went from the lowest part of me to the highest…by simply doing two things: therapy and a deep dive into the study of self-development. This journey included professional help to start, but it also included investing my time and money into accumulating research and knowledge from high level world-class coaches like Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, Jay Shetty and Brendan Buchard. Furthermore, I invested my time on podcasts, Youtube videos, and audible books about self-development. I invested my money into courses that I knew could ultimately help me progress in my self-development journey. I changed my habits to achieve what I needed to in order to evolve into the resilient, motivated, confident woman and working mother I wanted to be. Through this journey, I became a mentor for newer working mothers who also struggled on unleashing their motherhood identity. This turned into the brand, company, and podcast I now own and lead today called Bottomless MOMosa.
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?
When I look back at my career overall and think about all the jobs I have had…..my biggest take away is to pivot when I need to push myself to grow. For instance, I remember my first job right out of college. I was excited about the opportunity, even more so because I was offered a salary well above that of most of my peers. However, doing that job for 4 years left me very unfulfilled but I knew I was still able to first pivot into a different industry. From that first pivot, I have made many others within my career to adjust to my skill level and interests. I believe this is also what resiliency is all about. Taking the necessary risks to adjust into the life that you want to live. Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to learn something new, or in my case, even change industries.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The mission behind Bottomless MOMosa is to provide the life tools to uplift, motivate and create confidence in motherhood. I strive to help other women define the mothers they want to be as well as to create a deep sense of fulfillment in their daily lives. This mission is backed by my authenticity and transparency regarding the things I have learned in my own experiences with a focus on the individual person. Most mothers feel abandoned after having their first child, and I have made it my personal mission to rewire this way of thinking by encouraging other mothers to look inward so that outside sources cannot negatively affect their lives. By providing simple and easy to use tools to overcome PPD, anxiety and other heavy emotions, I guide mothers on how to create their own powerful journey of self-recovery and self-sufficiency.
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 learned to surround myself with good quality people over the years. I do not believe there is one, sole person that has contributed to my success. I truly believe that we are all factors of who we surround ourselves with, and that all the people that come into an individual’s life bring something different to the table. With that being said, I believe it’s been a collaboration of different family and friends in my life that have helped me in my continuing success.
Ok thank you for all that. 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?
Resilience, from my perspective, is when you do not let outside sources control or negatively affect your everyday life, choices, actions, goals, and behaviors. We all lack resilience in some areas of our lives more than others. Someone who is resilient tends to be confident in who they are, possesses a lot of self-awareness, understands where he or she is going, has goals both personally and professionally, and continues to work at improving oneself. Enhancing resilience, at its core, is about taking chances on yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone over and over again until unexpected situations become more second nature. A growth-oriented mindset, rather than a fixed one, is a very effective strategy in addition to taking action through daily habits and routines. Furthermore, I’ve found that maintaining a strong sense of direction in life tends to make challenges and road bumps seem less daunting when working towards important and meaningful goals.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
In my experience, resilience is developed through the practice of being courageous. As I stated before, you must train your mind to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to create more resilience. Moreover, I believe that goal setting sets the foundation for the human mind to develop the courage to essentially do the actions required to achieve one’s goals. Goals should be backed by a strong understanding of “why” the goal was desired and established in the first place — and then with practice, courage begins to become second nature.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I cannot think of a specific person or individual person offhand, but rather a group of individuals: mothers. I always say that if women could put “mother” on their resumes, one of their top traits would be resiliency. Why? Mothers are faced with unpredictable outcomes almost daily. Whether it be their children coming down with a cold, not having dinner planned, or a schedule glitch due to those unexpected, last minute occurrences, mothers are chameleons when it comes to adjusting themselves to whatever is thrown at them. I see mothers as people who have the courage to get things done while still showing love and grace to their families.
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?
After having my first baby, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD). When dealing with mental health issues, I’ve found that it tends to be easier to take the “victim” route. The victim mentality likes to create stories that force a false narrative into your head to make you believe, for example, that overcoming issues such as PPD is almost impossible. We tend to put a label on ourselves regarding our mental health as though we ARE that person not just now, but for the rest of our lives. When it came time to have my second child, many of my family members and friends expressed their concerns about whether I could get postpartum again, since statistically, PPD is likely to reoccur. However, my practice with resiliency gave me the strength to take the chance and to go against what others seemed to have already defined for me. I was confident in my past 3 years of endless hard work on my own self development. I had established healthy habits to overcome depression if it came to be part of my life again. Knowing this, I decided I was prepared to have a second child since I was fully aware of the things, I needed to do to face depression again head on. This time around, I proactively made it my intention to be kinder to myself, to commit to taking breaks and to ask for help when needed. I was dedicated to staying fully aware of my mind and body to face postpartum in a different light. I am happy to say that my second postpartum journey feels so much happier, and I can enjoy the day-to-day because of the hard work I have put into changing my lifestyle by implementing healthy habits. I’ve learned that there are ways I can face my fears and go against the grind. All it takes is a shift in mindset and discipline…and resiliency will follow.
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?
One of my biggest setbacks in life was my battle with PPD. Becoming a mother triggered many of my past traumas thus surfacing issues that I knew I had to finally deal with and heal from. Becoming a mother was something I had always wanted, but the definition of motherhood that I put into my mind at a young age was based on my own relationships and the belief system I created with the lenses in which I saw and experienced our society through. Motherhood is much different than what I expected. Sometimes I look back and feel guilty that I did not give my son the best version of who I was, but he also saved me in a way because it enabled me to open this pandora box of trauma that I needed to heal from. Experiencing PPD also allowed me to define the kind of mother I wanted to become. Stemming from this journey of discovering who I was as a person and a mother came an awakening of strength, resiliency, and passion that I never knew I was capable of. I felt I needed to take what I had learned and share it with other mothers. Therefore, I am on a mission to help other new moms going through an identity crisis to unleash the person they know they can be.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Resiliency was not a trait I knew I was even cultivating throughout my life. I acquired resiliency over time through many different instances — both good and bad, and they have all played a role in defining my life. When I look back on my life and think about how I handled certain situations and learned from them, I realize that resilience is something that is built through practice. To answer your question, yes, there are many instances in my life that enhanced my ability to be resilient. A collaboration of multiple life changing experiences allowed for me to build resilience in certain areas, and not so much in other areas. I think all people can look back and say the same thing. We are all resilient in our own way. We are all capable of pushing through and redefining who we are going to be and what we are going to do with our lives.
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.
As a confident and motivational mentor for newer working moms who struggle with anxiety and depression, I talk about resiliency with my clients regularly. Especially during these times, mental health issues are at an all-time high with large demographics such as working mothers. Resiliency is not simply about survival; It is about a lifestyle change encompassing one’s daily habits and mindset. This lifestyle change includes establishing boundaries, rewiring your subconscious through positive thinking, owning the person you have become, establishing a set plan/goal for the future (I typically see more progress with short term goals rather than long term ones), and changing daily habits/routines to create a more fulfilled life on the daily. When these changes are made, then any outside source or outcome seems less daunting and more manageable which, in return, creates resiliency. Here are 5 steps on how I suggest you can practice in becoming more resilient:
- Heal from your past traumas: To step into a resilient mindset, you can’t so easily be triggered by your past. Healing your past traumas or wounds to move forward as a more resilient individual is crucial for growth.
- Change your story by gaining clarity on who you want to be: You have defined who you are in your own mind, whether that be a positive story or a negative depiction of yourself. If you do not believe you can become more resilient, then you never will be. As Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Get clear on the person you want to become.
- Rewire your mindset through mindfulness habits: I suggest practicing daily awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and body. Practicing mindfulness will allow you to acknowledge where you want to be more resilient in your life, and then how it feels to you when you become more resilient. Some easy beginner mindfulness habits are mediations, journaling, gratitude’s, and daily affirmations.
- Determine Your Core Values/Priorities: Many of us don’t know where we are going or how to get there. This all starts with the following question: What are your core values? Determining your core values will allow you to open up about what your true-life goals are, which leads to a path of creating the future self you want to be.
- Create Long and Short Term Goals: Again, this goes back to implementing a direction for your life. Creating and holding this vision gives clarity on where you are going, instead of living each day without a purpose. Look at short term goals as steppingstones or “pit stops” to your long term vision. With an end destination in mind, outside sources will seem less daunting which will create resiliency.
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 inspire a movement that would focus on mental health and mothers. That saying, “when a mother is happy the house is happy” is so very true. I feel like motherhood is neglected in this country by the policies of corporations, by the way society thinks mothers “should” act, and by the old school belief that mothers must play a specific role in the household. Juggling so many things all the time leads to many new moms feeling abandoned, helpless, sad, and like they can’t do motherhood. I want this thought process to change, and so I think the way this can change begins with putting the mental health of the mother first.
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 :-)
Who wouldn’t want to have lunch with Oprah? She came from a traumatic past and worked hard at who she has become. Sitting down with her to pick her brain on life and how to expand beyond our minimal way of thinking, would be a dream come true.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can listen to my self-development podcast called Bottomless MOMosa on either Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google podcasts >> https://link.chtbl.com/7iysRmOD
My IG account is where I put out the most content around simple steps for self sufficiency>> @bottomless__momosa
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!