Teresa Hawthorne Encourages Women to ‘Soar’ Amid Societal Barriers
When it comes to turning pain into purpose, Teresa Hawthorne is a living example of how to do so with grace. In her new book, “Turn Up” Your Life & Create Something F.I.E.R.C.E. Within,” the transformational speaker and mindset coach, award-winning vocalist, author and owner of Turn Up Your Life Motivation, LLC outlines seven key “soul shining” steps women can take to create positive change in their lives. Hawthorne has devoted her life to empowering women and girls to thrive despite the barriers working against them. This is a lesson she had to learn herself first, and she is now dedicated to helping others reach their fullest potentials using her concepts.
“In the book I outline seven steps that women can begin to implement in their lives to invoke change, and these are actually the steps I used to go from a scarcity mindset to living full-out, in my opinion.”
As a woman who has overcome attempted suicide, family hardships, racism and sexism, Hawthorne has relied on her faith to help guide her process of healing and purpose, which ultimately inspired her to write her new book.
“I was inspired to write ‘Turn Up’ Your Life & Create Something F.I.E.R.C.E Within—F.I.E.R.C.E meaning, Free to be who God created us to be, Impactful, Educated, Respected, Confident and Empowered—because I had a ‘come to Jesus’ talk around 2017 when I realized I wasn’t living up to my full potential,” she shares. “Once I went through my prayer, fasting and listening for God’s response, I was able to be obedient to what he was telling me to do, which was to write my story.”
However, getting to this moment took sacrifice for Hawthorne, as she needed to reflect upon her life while doing what she loved most. “I used to be a singer; I had a band,” she explains. “I was always out in the forefront, and it felt good. But when I left the stage, I felt empty. That’s how I knew I wasn’t living up to my full potential, because you shouldn’t feel one way when you’re in front of a crowd of people, but some other type of way when you’re alone. And, I knew I could not have possibly been the only person in life feeling that way.”
Stirred by these feelings of emptiness, Hawthorne knew it was time to move to action and felt empowered to help other women overcome the way she had to.
“As women, we have our vices, our characteristics or our bad habits that keep us stuck. So, I wanted to get that part of the story out there to help other women who felt like me. I felt stuck, but I knew that there was another way and that I wanted to reach as many people as possible, and I felt [writing a book] was the best way to do it.”
Despite being new to the book-writing process, Hawthorne was able to use the strong network of women with whom she’s connected in order to turn her life experiences into a hopeful guide to help other women live “F.I.E.R.C.E.” lives.
“The book-writing process was new to me and a learning process. I had to seek help from people who had experience in writing a book, and it was very helpful,” Hawthorne offers. “Getting through the whole process took me a long time—I got stuck on a few of the chapters—because personally writing the book was cathartic. It made me face some open wounds I had buried for many years, and in that same process, I discovered how much I had grown personally, too.”
Reflecting on her own painful lived experiences—some involving racism and sexism—Teresa Hawthorne found writing to be part of her healing process and encourages her clients to overcome these societal barriers by being mentally strong in the face of adversity.
“In the book, I talk about a racist incident I encountered at 7 years old that impacted me for many years,” she begins. “Once I was able to release the negative power that incident had over me and turn it around to empower me with strength, it was a game changer for me. I’ve been able to overcome racism and sexism by doing exactly what I teach my clients, which is to adopt an ‘unstoppable attitude.'”
“All African American women, and women in general, understand that racism and sexism exist. The way I look at it is as their issue—the racists and the sexists. God has given each of us everything we need to succeed within. We have to understand that we cannot bow down to those negative forces, because that’s exactly what they are. And they try to keep us stuck. They try to keep us in that space between wanting to do something and actually doing it. Once we confront it, recognize it for what it is and take on that unstoppable attitude, we can do anything. We can shine in the darkest places and we can soar from the highest of mountains.”
Hawthorne exemplifies the power of faith in action, and has been able to be genuine in her coaching approach and book because of this. Despite being faced with challenges in life, societal barriers and grappling with her own personal convictions, she has been able to overcome and thrive, and works to encourage all women to do the same.
“There’s a part of the brain that I like to call ‘slither brain,’ and slither brain wants to magnify all of the negativity, mistakes, hatred—to make you feel stuck. But our job is to magnify the greatness that God put in us so that we can soar,” says Hawthorne. “I want women to know that they can soar. They can live boldly. They can use what they’ve already been given on the inside—their secret sauce—and create a fabulous life. You don’t have to be stuck. You can do what you want to do, you just have to believe that you can do it.”