Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. My name is Liz Summers and I am a transplant from Florida, having grown up in Vero Beach, FL with my parents and younger brother. I had a wonderful childhood growing up just blocks from the beach and I still feel a deep connection to the ocean. I moved to North Carolina to attend Wake Forest University and ended up living in NC for almost 30 years! 25 of those years were spent in Greensboro and it was amazing to be there through so much positive growth and change. Greensboro will always hold a special place in my heart!
Last year, my family took the plunge and we moved north to the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania (80 miles west of NYC) so that my husband could accept an amazing career opportunity. My husband, Mike, and I met in college and we have been married for 28 years. We have the joy and privilege of raising our 11 year old daughter, Lauren. Like most of us, I wear many hats as business owner, working mother, wife, volunteer and friend. Life is wonderfully full!
Q. What is your work?
A. I am a leadership development consultant and business owner, working with individuals and groups to help them work with others more effectively. I like to think of myself as a change agent. In 2008 I began my own consulting business, Advancing Leadership Consulting, Inc. My slogan is “Illuminating self-discovery, manifesting transformation.” I believe deeply in the importance of self-awareness and aspire to help others become the best they can be. By helping people understand themselves, we begin to foster more effective communication and a deeper understanding of one another. I love helping people learn to leverage their strengths for success both in the workplace and in their personal lives.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. My biggest current project is myself (!) as I am currently working to establish myself and my business in a brand new community. While I am an extrovert and know how to network, I have had to put a lot of focus and energy on “putting myself out there” and flexing my networking muscles. While sometimes it feels daunting, I have been incredibly blessed with amazing connections so far. The power of my “tribe network” has manifested itself in ways I could never have imagined – a single connection from Greensboro opened up a series of powerful connections here in my new home! I have been amazed by the amount of like-minded people I have met so far in a relatively short amount of time. Each new encounter encourages me to forge ahead!
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. That’s easy – MOVING! I am not a person who necessarily seeks change, so the thought of leaving a place I had lived for 25 years, leaving a home we loved and had inhabited for 18 years and leaving so many friends and business contacts to move almost 500 miles away was scary to me! Oh, and did I mention that I had just turned 50?! There’s no better way to kick off a major birthday than with a major move, right?! While it was scary, it was also one of the best things that I could have chosen to do! While change can be hard (at least for me), I have learned that it can also bring freedom, a fresh perspective and a chance to really test your resilience. Once I had a chance to really process the move, I came to a place of peace and embraced it as a new adventure. Having that mindset made a HUGE difference. As I tell people, once the move actually happened, I felt as if I was moving toward something instead of being pulled away from something. The process of relocating has given me the opportunity to redefine my purpose and to look at everything in a new light. It was totally worth it and I can actually recommend it!
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not? What's stopping you?
A. I would like to continue my leadership development and group facilitation projects while also expanding my opportunities for keynote and/or public speaking and for writing. When I feel as if I’ve helped someone have an “ah-ha” moment, helped them see themselves in a new way or feel as if they have a heightened understanding, I am inspired and fulfilled! I have had several recent opportunities to be a featured speaker, so I’m encouraged by those events and will continue to make them a priority!
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. I would tell her to embrace her authenticity and to be proud of her story. It is easy when you are charting new courses in life to doubt yourself, to compare yourself to others. As we know, comparison is the thief of joy. I would encourage her to worry less about what others think and follow her heart – you can never go wrong when you do!
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. One of my favorite mottos came from Oprah Winfrey and it is this: Doubt means don’t. When facing any kind of decision, big or small, pay attention to your intuition. If you sense any doubt or hesitation, stop yourself and think about it before you act. Take time to figure out where that doubt resides. It could be a boundary issue. It could be that you already have too much on your plate. It could feel as if something is conflicting with your values. The message is this, slow down and figure out where the doubt comes from before you make that decision. If you simply need courage, then forge ahead. If it’s something else, figure it out and let it settle before you act. These three little words have been incredibly powerful in my life!
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I remember that I am amazingly blessed to do the work I do while also being a mom and a wife. If I need inspiration, I think about my daughter and my husband. When I need to spark some creativity, there are a few things I try. I listen to some of my favorite music, go for a walk outside, call a good friend for a pick-me-up or sit down to meditate on what’s going on for me. Getting out in nature is a big boost for me and I find that especially challenging in my new climate! I’ve recently returned to the practice of morning pages and I find that exercise to be a great way to get un-stuck and to help me move forward.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I am humbled to be asked to share my story here. We are all on a journey and it is amazing to see the twists and turns we all encounter. I aspire to be open to it all, reminding myself of the importance of being a life-long learner! I’d also like to thank you, Alisha, for creating this platform to empower women. You are doing so much to help us all help ourselves and each other. I like to think of myself as an advocate for female empowerment and have been drawn to causes and people who feel the same way. There is incredible power when women come together – hopefully we have each had a chance to witness that power in our own lives. Thank you for all you do!
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. Any day I make it to the mat is a good day and I’m usually so happy to be there that it doesn’t matter what poses I do! That begin said, I have two favorite poses. The first, pigeon, is one of my favorites because my hips are incredibly tight. While it isn’t necessarily relaxing and it sometimes takes my breath away, the pose always feels good and I know I need the stretch! My other favorite pose is savasana. When I was first started practicing yoga 21 years ago, I didn’t understand the pose. Instead of relaxing, my mind raced and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Over the years, I have learned to calm my monkey mind and savor savasana for the sweet reward it is!
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I think the best way to live an abundant life is to live authentically and with gratitude. When you allow your true self to come through, are open to what the universe provides, and live with a sense of gratitude, you are living abundantly!