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"I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman

That's me."

-Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

The immortal words of acclaimed poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou ring true even decades after this poem was committed to page.

Her life and legacy continue to inspire and resonate with millions around the world; her timeless, wise insight into the beauty of overcoming hardship, facing the world with unwavering determination, and finding lessons in adversity are ideas in which every one of us can find personal truth.

This blog post's focus will be a bit different from the previous week's, and it's for a very good reason.

I can write a hundred blog posts about courage, how success is built from failure, and how the desire for achievement can fuel us even in our darkest times.

But the idea with today's post is to demonstrate that these ideas are so universal, so deeply ingrained in the human need for achieving our best selves, that their impact is best felt through the words and life of one of history's most insightful poets. It comes back to my firm belief that personal transformation is more than following a series of steps: it's something we must feel deeply in our very hearts, and the words of Maya Angelou are a testament to this idea.

Today, let's embark on a journey through these insights of Maya Angelou, discovering how they can guide us toward greater self-awareness, resilience, and personal growth.

An untold story inside of Maya Angelou's poetry

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."

Maya Angelou was a master of conveying the hidden wisdom in the simplest of feelings -- success.

We often think of success as "making it," or "winning," and in many ways, that isn't incorrect. But while the idea of success looks different to everyone, the feeling of success is something I think Maya Angelou captures brilliantly, and applies to everybody no matter how our lives, stories, or dreams may differ.

The poetry of Maya Angelou reminds us that true success begins with self-acceptance, with being comfortable and confident in our skin, confident in our choices, and content with the person we have become in life. The passion for personal achievement is the fuel, but once we get there, self compassion allows us to thrive, inspire and connect with others.

Embracing our authentic selves, flaws and all, allows us to pursue endeavors that align with our values and passions. Success that does not align with the authentic vision we have for our life can be draining and damaging to our mental health.

When we embrace authenticity, we cultivate inner peace and fulfillment, irrespective of external accolades -- the foundation of how we view ourselves is rooted in truth. Nothing in this world can shake us because we, at the very core of our identity, are unshakeable.

Hardship is an opportunity to grow

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated."

Maya Angelou's life journey was marked by profound challenges, yet she emerged as a beacon of resilience, and her poetry reflects these experiences in all of their raw emotion. And while our experiences of hardship can shake us, they can change us, they can push us to grow; we have to remember that everything inside remains just as strong as ever.

Her words remind us that setbacks are inevitable throughout life, but our response to them determines our growth. When we connect hardship to growth, it becomes a matter of developing fortitude and resilience.

To survive hardship and survive the challenges that may happen are opportunities to test our strength, learn new lessons, and build a stronger foundation. By embracing resilience, we transform adversity into opportunity, emerging stronger and more unshakeable than before.

Develop your courage

"Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

Maya Angelou had such a wise, elegant attitude towards courage despite the numerous hardships she faced in her early years, and throughout her career. I find it endlessly inspiring that through it all, she never compromised on courage.

Her words remind us that courage is the foundation upon which all virtues stand, and the desire to become the best version of ourselves has to be rooted in courage. It takes courage to confront our fears, to practice virtue consistently, to speak our truth, to inspire change, and to pursue our dreams despite the great unknowns of tomorrow.

Of course we will fail, stumble, and make mistakes -- but the idea isn't to maneuver around them. Our story can only progress when we take risks, and that takes courage.

It takes incredibly amounts of courage to embrace vulnerability, but in doing so, we take risks, reinvigorate our passion for life, and unlock the door to personal growth and transformation.

Thrive, connect and inspire

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

The knowledge that Maya Angelou imparted into millions, from the young girl dreaming of a life as a successful, independent woman, to the adults we see every day who are taking steps towards their best selves is a constant reminder of the power of words to connect.

And it's through this power to connect that I come to the final, critical idea I personally find immensely important to the impact of Maya Angelou and her immortal words -- to not only achieve and find fulfillment in our lives, but to lift up those around us while we do it is the epitome of personal growth.

The beauty to inspire and connect with another person is a gift that so many of us forget we possess.

Angelou's life was a living testament to her philosophy of living by example. By embodying the principles of authenticity, resilience, and empathy, she inspired others to follow suit. We too have this power to inspire people every single day.

Leading by example means living our values and principles authentically, serving as a beacon of inspiration for those around us.


“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Throughout her life, Maya Angelou and her keen sense of the written word allowed millions of people to laugh, cry, and find inspiration in the chaos of growing up through hardship.

She reminded us to trust love, trust people, reach hearts that are different from our own, and dive headfirst into challenges no matter when or where we encounter them.

Above all, her message represents hope, resilience, and a tenacity that jumps hurdles, penetrates walls, and gives us the courage to reach our best.

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