Getting my Strength Back – In More Ways Than One | Molly’s Story
Molly Checksfield is a woman on the move.
After spending 3 years rising in the ranks at Social Security Works, she’s setting off for a new adventure in grad school at Syracuse University. The choice to do so wasn’t easy.
A legislative director at 25, Molly has the drive and ambition to make a big difference. Her vision is clear: she wants to devote her life to helping those in need, namely, senior citizens whose concerns are too often unheard in today’s political discourse.
A high school multi-sport athlete and life-long competitor, Molly knew how to push herself. That same competitive spirit helped her rise to a leadership role and earn the respect of her much-senior coalition members at a young age.
But like so many of us, Molly got caught up in the service of others, and for years felt like she was operating on a “half tank,” as she says. After suffering a mysterious knee injury that kept her doctors guessing, Molly was limping through her early 20’s, feeling depleted and deprived of a huge part of her identity.
“Exercise was always my stress-reliever, but this time my body was pushing back,” says Molly. “My knee just started to give way, out of the blue.”
Her doctor sent her to physical therapy, not sure of the problem but hoping all-around strengthening could help. A year in, Molly was dutifully showing up multiple times a week, paying a mounting stack of medical bills, and yet the pain was constant.
“We still didn’t know what was going on,” Molly told me, “I had MRI’s, x-rays, and nothing was showing up.”
She finally sought out a third opinion with a specialist (a surgeon), who was surprised to hear this young, usually-athletic person wasn’t getting any better. They decided to go in and operate to see what they found and as it turned out, a rogue piece of cartilage had somehow lodged underneath Molly’s kneecap.
She came to Bossed Up Bootcamp recovering from surgery and feeling stressed. At the time, she had just stepped up as legislative director and had big shoes to fill.
“I need a little more of a push. I wasn’t 100% comfortable owning my power and I wasn’t running on a full tank,” says Molly.
In the company of fellow bosses, Molly says she “learned more about [her] own leadership style and stopped thinking I needed to take all my cues from whoever came before [her].”
Furthermore, she changed her mindset on her recuperating physical state. “I started boxing to try something new,” Molly shared with me. “It was the first time I was really focusing on listening to my body instead of ‘pushing through’ it. I learned to embrace where I am with acceptance instead of anxiety.”
Anyone that knows her has witnessed Molly flourish over the past year. The slow but steady return of her physical strength came with strength of mind, too. She negotiated a raise with her boss, shined as a leader in her organization, where she created a new initiative educating millennials about the importance of Social Security, and successfully completed a big goal she set at Bootcamp: to apply for and head off to grad school!
“I’m sad to leave, but excited for the learning and growth ahead,” says Molly, “and really, to lift as I climb, like we say at Bootcamp! I feel strongly that we women must band together and support one another in achieving our dreams.”
Find yourself feeling stuck in a rut or stressing out like Molly was? Be patient with yourself, she says. “You are not alone when you’re going through difficult times,” Molly advises, “Listen to yourself, to your body, to what you need. Maybe it’s just to take a walk in the middle of the day. You helping yourself become a better person helps everyone around you.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
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