Ten years ago, I shared my story and life lessons in my first book, Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother. I had no idea then what would happen when I told it. A new chapter in my life started back then. And as I celebrate an anniversary like no other, I share 5 more life lessons.
Education gives you options.
I value education. I fought to get it despite being a teen mother. Then I got a scholarship that help me go to college so I could have options for my life. Each additional level of education gave me more options and created opportunities to work for different companies. Learning, gaining more skills and experience broadens your career options and job opportunities within that career.
How are you setting yourself up with more options for your life, career, and future?
Hard work pays off.
Of all the life lessons, I’ve shared, working hard has been a recurring theme. You have to work hard if you want to be successful in life. The more the challenges you need to overcome, the harder you have to work. Success is possible. The most successful people are those who have worked hard. The people who have the stuff and life you want, worked hard.
Are you working on your goals or waiting? Work hard, do your part. There are people who want to help you succeed.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” That is the third of my five life lessons. When you do what you need to, then you succeed. Right after I graduated from college, the Memphis Grizzlies announced they were moving to Memphis. They became my first employer. While still at the Grizzlies, I started working on my MBA. At the time I didn’t know the MBA would open my next door at FedEx.
What can you be doing to prepare for future opportunities?
Make the best of every situation.
The job I got after I left the Memphis Grizzlies didn’t excite me. Despite that feeling, I looked for the positives in the situation. In this case, more money meant more time with my son. A stronger resume from my manager position, taught me skills I still use today. The experience I got from trade shows, sales, and franchises, made me stronger in marketing, relationships skills, and in business. That same job I didn’t like got me ready for the next job which I liked.
What can you get out of your current situation, to make the next situation better?
Life is simply the sum of our choices.
The last of my life lessons is to make wise choices. Where you are at any point in your life is based on the choices you’ve made so far. And choices have consequences.
How can you calculate your choices to align with the kind of life you want?
I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges. provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.
Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker? I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.