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Breaking Barriers and Embracing Challenges
Lessons in Courage and Excellence from M'Lis Ward, the First African-American Female Captain in Commercial Aviation
M’Lis Ward’s bio reads as a string of “firsts”, so it’s only fitting that this pioneering aviator is the first interview for The Uplifters Podcast. M’Lis is a United Airlines pilot and the first African-American female captain in commercial aviation. She played on a National Championship Basketball team at The University of Southern California. She was the first black woman flight instructor for the U.S. Air Force.
How does any one person achieve this much excellence? Is it possible that we all have greatness inside us, just waiting to emerge? M’Lis’s mindset and life provide us with powerful strategies that we can all use to step into our full potential.
For M’Lis it began with her early influences. In the 1970’s her mother, Anne B. Ward, decided she wasn’t helping people enough while looking for cures for diseases in a laboratory, so she decided to go to medical school and became the first black woman to graduate from The University of Chicago Medical School. She did it all while caring for three small children. Witnessing that inspired M’Lis to say yes to challenges throughout her life, instead of shying away from them.
Lisa Feldman Barret’s work in neuroscience shows us that who we surround ourselves with matters. M’Lis has spent her life surrounded by the best. By spending our time with people who lean into challenges, as M’Lis has, we can boost our confidence and success at navigating them in our own lives.
Here are a few of the many inspiring and practical lessons you’ll discover in her story:
How caring about doing a good job can stand in our way
Why we must learn from life’s ups and downs equally
Why it’s essential to admit that we want success
How to avoid letting other people’s opinions distract us from excellence
A few of our favorite M’Lis Ward quotes from this episode:
"Wherever you start, whatever you aspire to do, shine brightly but try and conquer the item that's right in front of you, not the final goal."
"Sometimes you have to find your role and if you're going to be part of something that's really, truly big, then you have to find what your role is in that space and do it really well so that the outcome is that the entire team or company or unit is going to be successful."
"If you don't like what you're doing, change it. It's never too late to change."
Out in the world
If you need another reminder that gritty gumption gets results, don’t miss the story of Lesley Peterson, who funded her 16-year Oscar dream by winning triathlons!
Inside LiveUpDaily, our Coaching Community for Uplifters
This week we welcomed our newest member, Adriana, who joined us to activate her purpose work after her recent retirement. These big transitions ask us for clarity and courage, so in our weekly virtual women’s circle we explored ways to distinguish between fears that serve to save us and those that stop us from living our richest, most meaningful lives. Her feedback on the experience says it all:
This was my first circle and it was rich...grateful. I now have more clarity. I remembered that I've done hard things before, so I can do this too!
Coming Soon on The Uplifters
Tune in Next Week
A 6-Step Process for Making Your Dreams Come True
How Emmy-nominated Director and Entrepreneur, Susie Jaramillo, Breaks Rules to Make a Big Impact
Who would you like to hear from on The Uplifters Podcast?
Maybe it’s someone you know that you believe would inspire others. Or maybe it’s someone you admire from afar. Maybe it’s a specific challenge or skill that you’re looking to learn more about. Whatever or whoever it is, let me know by replying to this message, commenting below, or leaving me a voicemail. This show belongs to all of us, so let’s work together to make it something truly valuable to all of us.
Sexy Breakfast Break
Grapes are a gamble. I find their delta between awful and amazing to be too great most of the time, so as an online grocery shopper (who can’t test and trial) I rarely buy them. But, this week they were on deep discount. I took it as a sign that they were in season and worth the bet. I was right! They were peak plump, sweet crispness!
We always see Greek yogurt with berries, but have you ever had it with great grapes? The stark contrast between the bright fruit and the creamy yogurt is so good to me. I also added a few walnuts and some chia seeds for crunch. So good. So sexy.
What did you eat for breakfast this week?
Time to go channel our inner M’Lis.
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