Mar 12, 2024

Lessons From Adversity: One Woman’s Fierce After Forty Story

Life has a way of teaching us lessons from adversity, especially for women in their forties experiencing upheaval in their lives.

From the loss of loved ones and medical challenges to experiencing significant mindset and relationship shifts, many women in their forties experience life-altering upheavals in their world perspective and life circumstances. These experiences often teach powerful lessons only found while going through and rising up from adversity. 

True for Spark Alumni Susan, the hardships of her forties taught her to trust her intuition on her journey back to herself and her passions. Now, she uses her experiences to aid her advocacy for women’s empowerment across a diversity of important socio-political conversations in her work as a Women’s Empowerment Coach and Realtor®. One message remains consistent throughout all her work: “Always listen to your intuition.”

Read on to learn more about this inspiring Fierce After Forty Spark Alumni in her own words. 

Woman in black blouse and teal jacket in front of white curtains. Showing off how she's learned lessons from adversity in our Fierce After Forty project by Lindsay Hite.

Navigating Life Transitions

“After 40, I experienced many major life transitions. I went through a divorce, had a series of medical issues, experienced the loss and passing of important people in my life, moved across the country, and revamped my business all while at the height of a global pandemic. 

The past few years of painful moments culminated in the shedding away of all the ways I had been living for others – the expectations, limiting beliefs, conditioned beliefs, and the ways I diminished myself to fit the roles I morphed into. Now I’m fully aligned with all of the things that light me up. I’m bringing that heart-centered, passionate energy to all I do.”

“Fierce is fire.”

“When I use the term ‘fierce’, I’m referring to that fire or light, that’s inside of every person. This fire is expressed in whatever that passion area happens to be for them; whether it’s baking, advocacy, teaching, photography, or anything else… It’s that inner flame that is so uniquely part of their essence, that to not do this “thing”, to not express this passion that lights up their soul, is like not breathing.”

Possessing Fierceness That Fuels Determination

“In my life, I am proud of my consistency of determination. When I have something in my mind or that flame inside presses me to do something, I find a creative way to achieve it. I call in resources to help expand my skill set and expand my healing, if that’s part of the journey too. I’m proud of my resiliency and ability to pull together a community to help me move through challenging times.”

Woman in black blouse and teal jacket sitting on a leather sofa with a journal. writing about what 
she's learned lessons from adversity in our Fierce After Forty project by Lindsay Hite.

Learning Lessons From Adversity

“The two biggest lessons I have learned from adversity are releasing control over what I think is the right path or right way and allowing what is going to happen to come into play. So many wonderful and unexpected opportunities have opened up to me when I have envisioned a path but haven’t planned out every single step of the way, like I used to do. I’m also very intentional about continuing to embrace (without judgment) other people’s experiences, stories, and journeys. Doing so expands my capacity for compassion. This practice of expanding my compassion allows me to embrace just how interconnected we are, and how important it is to be kind to everyone you meet because you just never know what others are journeying through.”

“Embracing My Intuition”

“More than ever before, adversity has taught me to trust and value my intuition. I come out of the Christian tradition where there is a strong focus on listening to the spirit, listening to God’s voice, but totally denying the coexistence of any other guiding force within ourselves. So, for many years I let my intuition lay dormant. Now that I’m in my forties, I am in a position where I have come to embrace my intuition and listen to it as a guiding force.”

Woman in tweed jacket and orange blouse against a white curtain backdrop.  In this blog post she speaks of lessons from adversity.  Photography by Lindsay Hite

Living the Life You’re Meant to Live

“I want women to know that the stereotypes about what it means to be a woman over forty are not only antiquated, but they’re just ridiculous. This is a beautiful time in life for so many women because something psychologically shifts within, at least it did for me. When I turned 40, something clicked in me that said, “Okay, I don’t know how much time I have left. Am I doing the things in life that I’m meant to do?” Then, I did some soul searching. I tapped back into what really matters to me and what I am truly passionate about, and took steps to revamp many aspects of my life in such a way that I am now living in full alignment with my passions. 

I want women to know that to be a woman over forty means to live the life that you’re meant to live with the passions that light up your soul.” 

Looking to the Future

“As a licensed Realtor®, I look forward to success in the real estate sector and the opportunities that it will open as I develop a platform to invite more women into this industry  – women who will leverage real estate as a tool to achieve every dream they envision for themselves. A career in real estate offers a lot of financial security and time flexibility that will enable me to continue my work as a Women’s Empowerment Coach, in curating spaces for women to gather, ground, and grow together. Through my work, I want to help women learn how to step back into their own intuition, their own agency, their own voice, and their own healing. I’m also looking forward to traveling to see different parts of the world and meeting more people.”

Side by Side image of branding photos by Lindsay Hite

Celebrating Our Essence

“Being a part of this collective Fierce After Forty Project is meaningful to me because it is a shared experience celebrating women – it is something bigger than me. I can’t wait to read the stories, see the photos, and meet the other women who are a part of this project. It’s a celebration of what we’ve overcome, of who we are in our essence, of the power of community, of defining life on our own terms, and of determination.”

Reinforcing the Beauty and Value Of Every Woman

“This project continues to reinforce the constant energy and attention that it takes to push back against cultural expectations of what beauty is for women and the limiting roles we’ve been given as we move through different decades in our lives. It’s an honor to be a part of this photography project that continues to reinforce – and celebrate – the innate beauty and value of every single woman.”

Advice for Other Women

“Always listen to your intuition. Don’t let that be stifled out of you.”

Woman in bright pink suit and leopard print shirt showing off lessons she's learn from adversity.  Photography by Lindsay Hite

Demonstrating Sheer Confidence

“The photo selection was tough because there are so many awesome photos to choose from. After much consideration, I chose this one because the vibe it gives off is one of sheer confidence. Because of all the messaging we receive and internalize throughout our lives, women spend far too many years lacking confidence. When I look at this photo, I see a woman who is confident, strong, and determined – fully embracing and owning and enjoying who she is. This photo reveals a woman who is on a mission – nothing is going to stop her! My eyes are definitely communicating a promise: I’m here; I’m focused; Watch me achieve it all. The vibe of confidence and determination is undeniable.”

The Fierce After Forty Story

There is no single Fierce After Forty story because life before and after forty looks different for each woman.  Yet, one common thread can be found: we can gain lessons from adversity if we are willing to listen.  For Spark Alumni Susan, that lesson rings loud and clear; “Always listen to your intuition.”  

The Fierce After Forty Project, designed by Show Your Spark Photography Studio, seeks to highlight powerful women over Forty through photography and storytelling.  In doing so, we inspire countless other women to embrace and celebrate their journey, bodies, and power – no matter their season of life. 

If you want to show off your After Forty Fierceness, contact us today!

Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind! Show Your Spark!

Here’s what to expect when you contact us

  1. Schedule a free consultation call to have all your questions answered and start planning your Spark Experience. 
  2. Select a Spark Session date that fits your schedule. (Studio located in Braintree, MA)
  3. Rock the session like the bright light that you are, and create beautiful, tangible artwork to inspire you for the rest of your life. 

Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind! Show Your Spark!

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