Q and A with Leslie G. born in Paterson, NJ, living in Toronto, Canada
“I realized that I truly didn’t love myself. When I finally took back my time, it freed me up to embark on my own self-development and self-love journey so that I could truly love the woman staring back at me in my reflection.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am extremely passionate about the work I do as an independent contractor where I serve a team of lawyers and paralegals, and also as a life coach for women where I teach them about self-awareness around emotional triggers. I’m grateful to be able to do both because I believe that you don’t have to choose between having (and loving) your corporate job and adding something more to your life that lights you up. I’m extremely grateful that I put myself first almost five years ago in that I chose to “jump” without seeing the net that would catch me, and I gave two weeks’ notice to my employer, which was the only security I had at the time, but I knew that my health and my well-being, and more importantly, my relationship with my husband of just over 26 years was way more important.
I have been in the legal industry for almost 40 years, and I am good at what I do, but I have found that this role that I have been in for the past 4 and 1/2 years is where I truly thrive in that I can serve a team of lawyers and paralegals in their post-closing position, created for me, which makes their lives easier in that they can move on to their next new task while I take care of anything that has been left undone. I’m grateful that for the past 3 and 1/2 years that I have been a life coach for women, more particularly, a mindset and emotional awareness coach for women where I have been teaching them about the importance of self-awareness around how we think and feel and how, in tandem, they dictate how we show up in our world in the things we say and do, and the importance of how our emotions have a way of stealing our time. I realized that I truly didn’t love myself. When I finally took back my time, it freed me up to embark on my own self-development and self-love journey so that I could truly love the woman staring back at me in my reflection. Learning to love myself taught me how I wanted to be loved and how I wanted to love others.
I have been working with women in my six-month coaching program where we start with the foundational pieces of how they take care of themselves (mind/body/soul), in their connections (for their support), so that they can start creating their extraordinary lives by their design and creating deeper bonds with the ones they love. In addition, I am currently getting ready to launch my 30 Days to Self-Love group program on September 1, 2022, where every month I will take women through 30 days of building their daily practices meant to strengthen their well-being. I believe that it is extremely important to fill your cup daily so that you can not only be the best version of you for yourself, but for the people in your life, for you cannot give of yourself if you are running on empty or are depleted, and most importantly, if you don’t truly love yourself, it’s hard to truly love and receive love. That’s why my mission in life is to empower women all over the world to fully love themselves so that they can create deeper bonds with those they love.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I was born in February 1963 in Paterson, NJ, to a white mother and black father. When I was just three months old, my mom took me back to Canada (Toronto). My parents never married. My father wasn’t in the picture. My mom married my younger brother’s father a couple of years later, and I was given his last name. They did not stay together that long, soon divorced, and then my mom raised us on her own. I have an older brother, who is white, and our relationship was extremely toxic; for many years of my young life, he abused me. My self-love journey helped me heal from that experience, and my past, and what I learned from that experience has allowed me to help others through trauma in that our past doesn’t define us–not who we were, not who we are, and most certainly not who we want to be.
In my younger years, my mom brought a man into our home who was abusive to her and that left a scar for a long time, but again, through my self-love journey, I learned forgiveness and allowed myself to not travel the same road as my mom but also to be able to support her in her healing. My mom played a big part in my journey as she gave me strength and courage, and encouragement to go after my dreams, to go after what I wanted in life. I never truly appreciated that though until I stepped into the self-development world and eventually became a life coach. Through my development of strong female friends, it has shown me the strength and compassion of women, especially the women who have had to raise children on their own in this world where I, as a young black girl, felt the world didn’t think I was worthy or deserving because I was black, and my mom was white and unmarried in the early ’60s. As for my education, I finished high school and went straight into the work force and forged my path into the legal industry without a degree at first and along the way, I took college courses to support being a legal assistant and paralegal.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: I have learned that every day is a gift that is not promised to everyone. I give thanks to God every morning for a brand-new unlived and uncharted day where I get to open my eyes, take my first breath, and where I get to design how I show up in the world in the things I say and do. I love that, through my choice, I get to live my life my way.
My husband and I currently live a location-free lifestyle. As long as I have Wi-Fi, I can work anywhere. I am also proud that I decided that you don’t have to choose between having a corporate job and adding your passion project or entrepreneurial goals, and that you can adopt a “both/and” attitude and live your life by your extraordinary design. Life is short and I want to be able to look back on a life well-lived because I believe in me. I also believe that when you look for the gratitude in your life, you will find it. No matter the circumstances. Finding the gratitude is powerful, and it’s a tool I teach my clients to embrace. I have also learned that time is the most valuable commodity we have and that how we spend our time is extremely important. There’s freedom in structuring your time so that you can go after your goals more effectively and efficiently and so that you have the freedom to spend quality time with the ones you love.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: For me, feminism isn’t about burning bras or protesting or me proving that I’m equal to men. As I mentioned, I grew up in a single-family home and what my mom showed me was that women can be strong, independent, kind, caring, and compassionate. She raised me to believe in myself and to go after what I wanted and because of her, I am living my life and building it my way. On another note with respect to feminism, I used to believe that women didn’t support each other because we were living in a world where women had to (and still do) fight for every goal and success. Today though, through the amazing connections that I have made, I truly believe that women see each other as valuable and realize that we are better together and that we are stronger together when we support, uplift, encourage, and inspire each other to be our best selves.
MORE ABOUT LESLIE G.: I write for an online global magazine (Brainz Magazine), and I am now in my second year as a senior executive contributor, and have received awards from them for my contributions, which I am extremely grateful for. This experience has allowed me to share my story and has given me courage to keep doing what I do. I also am an international bestselling author in the book Becoming An Unstoppable Woman: 25 Strategies To Help You Achieve The Unstoppable Mindset where I get to share the pages with 24 other incredible women.
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Brainz Magazine: https://www.brainzmagazine.com/executive-contributor/leslie-gaudet