Invitation 2013: Will you choose to lead from who YOU are?

by  Chery Gegelman  |  Self Leadership


  • What it would be like to grow up in a family that is always behind on their bills.
  • To live in a home that could be featured on the television program HOARDERS.
  • To have your home burn to the ground and lose everything when you were in grade-school. 
  • Then live in a home without an indoor bathroom through high school. 
  • Being diagnosed with bi-polar, manic depressive disorder before you were 20. 
  • Getting hit one night by your boyfriend and leaving with your car and your clothes.  
  • Becoming a single mom and going through a bankruptcy. 

For Angie, all of this was a reality.  She was living a life of chaos with very few calm, safe, hopeful moments.  She describes herself as insecure, someone with a chip on her shoulder, and a bully.  She emphasizes never being taught to budget, being embarrassed to bring friends home, and trying to escape her reality by forming relationships that many times became the cause of more pain.   

When I first met Angie I did not know any of these stories.  I found her because she is a hairstylist with an online presence and great reviews.  (When you are new to a city, you look for both!)  In our first meeting I complimented her on her online presence and she quickly spoke of her “Marketing Director, Miss Connie. ” 

What follows is a quick look into the lives of two extraordinary women that have been transformed because they have chosen to do what they can, with what they have, right where they are. 

 “Miss Connie” is a client of Angie’s that deeply values Angie on a personal and professional level.  During one of Angie’s most difficult seasons, Connie could see and feel the pain Angie was in and wanted to help. 

  • Her first gift to Angie was a Mrs. Beasley doll simply because it was something that Angie had deeply treasured as a child. 
  • Then it was a book to encourage Angie and to challenge her to think differently. 
  • Next it was a vision for growing her business and the letterhead and business cards to get her started. 
  • One day it was a netbook that opened to her new website. 
  • Then brainstorming about setting a goal to get a set number of new clients each month. 
  • Then it was books about budgeting.
  • Then advice on moving to a new salon…

Connie identified a huge need in Angie and has mentored her for years.  Never once has Connie offered a quick-fix, a handout or a “fish-for-a-day.”  Each time she has offered genuine care, support, tools and accountability.  And each time Angie has responded like a sponge, soaking in new information, learning all she can, being deeply appreciative, and never once taking that friendship for granted. 

Both women inspire me:


  • Because she chooses not to be a victim. 
  • Because she courageously pushes through barriers to pursue a vision of something better in spite of what life hands her. Angie
  • Because she is determined to learn and grow. 
  • Because she is willing to be vulnerable and ask for help. 
  • Because she is appreciative of what she has been given and does not expect a hand-out.  Because she is looking for a way to pay it forward with other women and trying to build a better future for her son. 


  • .Because she looks deep enough to SEE what others do not see and is willing to get involved. Connie - colorcropped
  • Because she has given from the deepest part of her heart without enabling. 
  • Because she did not give one time and walk away, instead she has stayed engaged for years continually mentoring and encouraging.  

No matter who you are, and no matter where you sit, YOU can make a difference.  In fact, you may be making a bigger difference right now than you realize.  Check this out..

  1. When Angie’s home burnt down she lived with her aunt for a time.  When she moved back home, she did not leave empty handed; she was filled with visions of a life that included budgets, grooming and order instead of just chaos. 
  2. When Angie was in high school she was given the opportunity to attend a Vo-Tech program to learn how to be a stylist.  In that environment she received training and hope and a vision of making a difference for other women. 
  3. At another time in her life it was her employer that provided an environment of learning and growth and planted the vision of owning her own business.  

What about you? 

  • If you are in Angie’s shoes:  What can you do today to soak up the opportunities around you?  Who can you reach to, to learn more? 
  • If you are in Connie’s shoes:  Who can you reach out to that needs encouragement, a vision or tools? 

As we begin 2013, imagine what our world would look like if EACH ONE OF US did what we could, with what we have, right where we are…  Just IMAGINE!


~ By the way, if you live in Greater Tulsa/Owasso I have great news for you ~ Angie is located in our area!  If you are looking for a great hairstylist, check her out!  Angie Wilson’s Hair Design ~

photo credits: istockphoto.com


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About The Author

Articles By chery-gegelman
Chery Gegelman was once a frustrated visionary that learned to lead extensive system-wide changes from the middle. Today she is The Founder of Giana Consulting, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two books. Her passion is bringing help and understanding to people and organizations that are leading through change to growth.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Deborah Costello  |  07 Jan 2013  |  Reply

This is a wonderfully inspirational story. Thank you for sharing.

Chery Gegelman  |  07 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Thank you Deborah! Knowing these two women has taught me so much!

Jesse Lanclos - Cajun Copy  |  07 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Hi Chery,
Very encouraging post. When things get hard, we must remember that even though there are a lot of things we can’t do, we need to ask, “What CAN we do right now, where we are, with what we’ve got?”

Encouraging, helping, and giving from a deep place in your heart brings the ultimate fulfillment. Great stuff!

Chery Gegelman  |  10 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Thank you for your comment Jesse!

You speak truth! We gain so much perspective and thankfulness when we give to others.

Have a great finish to your week!


James Schaefer  |  08 Jan 2013  |  Reply


As always, you continue to touch people’s lives for the better. I love the story of the two women. The first, “Angie” because she could have quit or not taken advantage of the opportunity she was given by “Connie”. Many people have experienced tough times and choose not to quit. However, even with the hardship “Angie” encoutered, she still looked for opportunities and that is what will allow her business to grow.

The second, “Connie” as she demonstrated kindness and compassion to someone in need. I want to believe there are a lot of “Connie’s” in this world, and am happy when I hear about the good will they share with their fellow human.

Chery Gegelman  |  10 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Thank you for your comment James!

My cells dance when I hear stories like this! Stories filled with real people, living real lives, and making a difference. Stories that remind us we are real and give us a vision of what could be.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know both of these women and for their willingness to share their experiences!

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