13:08 PM

Advisor and Author’s message on owning your empowerment

During college, Grace Vandecruze had what she describes as a defining moment. The brownstone her family shared in Brooklyn, New York, was destroyed by a fire. Because they did not have insurance, to stay together as a family they were forced to take refuge in a homeless shelter.

“That fueled a passion in me,” Vandecruze said. “I’m passionate about improving the financial stability of families. If my family had insurance, that homeless shelter could have been a brand-new furnished apartment.”

Today, she has been an advisor to the insurance industry for more than 20 years and is the founder and managing director of Grace Global Capital LLC. Earlier this month, she visited Nationwide to kick off Women’s History Month as a keynote speaker.

She is also the author of Homeless to Millionaire: 6 Keys to UPLIFT your Financial Abundance.

As an avid mountain climber, Grace has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Annapurna, parts of the Himalayan range in Bhutan and Everest Base Camp. In her experience, one’s mental mindset is even more important than one’s physical abilities.

“I know for sure that mindset is more important than footsteps,” she said. “How are you thinking about the next step? How are you thinking about this journey? What lessons are you learning? How are you propelling yourself?”

In the toughest moments, focus on your next step. That’s the difference between giving up and getting to the top.

The same mindset can be applied to career goals and how someone can own their own empowerment:

1. Focus on your next step – The most important step is your next step and make it your best.

2. Take advantage of opportunities  Sometimes opportunities come up when it feels like there are a lot of barriers. If you see a crack in the door, seize the moment and walk through it.

3. Find allies — Allyship comes in many forms. If we can connect ourselves to people we can learn from and collaborate with, it makes a significant difference in our careers.

4. Use your voice — “You’re not in that room by accident,” Vandecruze said. “You’re there because you’re qualified. Take that moment to use your voice.”

Lastly, she says it’s important to be mindful about how people talk to themselves, especially about past mistakes.

“Empowerment comes from within. We need to be mindful of our self-talk,” Vandecruze said. “What we tell ourselves about the things that didn’t go right is very important in taking that next step and taking it with confidence.”