Taking Your Wellness To The Top

By Kara I. Stevens

State of Young Black New York (SOYBNY) was last week, yet I am still reeling from the wealth of wisdom and positivity that keynote speaker Mrs. Michelle Gadsden-Williams shared with us.

Her personal story of resilience and triumph over lupus forced me to deeply examine my own personal and professional visions. Through candor, vulnerability, and reflection, she opened up about the insights she gained about health, priorities, and balance as she fought this chronic autoimmune disorder for her life.

NYULYP, in your pursuit to take over the world and get to the top, don’t forget to take your wellness with you.

1. Take care of your health because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Mrs. Gadsden-Williams spoke of ignoring the symptoms of lupus for years before getting herself checked and admits that it was sheer stupidity that kept her from listening to her body. She has since ensured that she has learned to listen to her body and her spirit.

As hungry, ambitious, and driven young professionals, we sometimes trick (delude) ourselves into thinking that we are invincible and, as a result, often take our health for granted in pursuit of career advancement. And in many cases, we are handsomely rewarded with promotions, recognitions, and salary steps, so we take bigger and more costly risks with our health.

2. If you can’t do it yourself, don’t be afraid to get help.

There came a point in Mrs. Gadsden-Williams’ life when she knew that she needed a change. Her work schedule was jam-packed; she was working close to twenty-four hours a day, but she couldn’t stop. She had become accustomed to living in overdrive and despite her lifestyle’s detriment to her wellness, she did not know where to begin to scale back. That is when she called AJ Johnson, a fitness and wellness coach, to help her strategically plan and prioritize her commitments. Likewise, we need to remember that we don’t have to do it alone—whether it be a life coach, mentor, therapist, or confidante, we need to have people in our corner that will help us lead more balanced and centered lives.

3. Use your vacation time strategically.

Mrs. Gadsden-Williams is now healthy , energetic and fully in tune with life and her passions. While she did not give her exact age, she jokingly admitted that she was closer to fifty than she was to forty. In order for us to be as confident, engaged, and optimistic about the future after thirty years in our fields, we need to commit to a philosophy of personal self-care.  Don’t be a hero. Use your vacation time wisely, not only to rejuvenate, but also to connect with your family and to schedule your doctors’ visits. Mrs. Gadsden-Williams eloquently reaffirmed the old saying, “your health is your wealth” during her keynote speech. And in doing so, she has given many of us gentle reminders if not permission, to do the same.

About Michelle Gadsen-Williams
Michelle Gadsden-Williams is Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Credit Suisse AG based in Zurich, Switzerland. In this role, she provides strategic direction, thought leadership and champions the development of an inclusive environment by integrating diversity practice into all aspects of the business on a global scale. Visit SOYBNY.com to learn more about Mrs. Gadsen-Williams.

About the Author, Kara I. Stevens
Kara I. Stevens is super stoked to be a member of the NYULYP Communications Committee. By day, she is an educational administrator. By night, she attends to her blog, FabulousNFrugal, an online home for “financial empowerment, mindful spending, and juicy living.”


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