Woman to Watch: Abby Charles – The Sweetheart of The Southwest
Today we’d like to introduce you to Abby Charles.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
It may be cliché but I have to give all of the honor for my life‘s accomplishments to my parents and most importantly God. My parents have been a driving force in my life by the mindset they instilled in me. In our home we were never allowed to say we were bored because if we did we would always get the response, “Find something constructive to do.” and last but not least, “Find a solution.” Also when it came to our careers, the common saying was “Manage your life or your life will manage you” and “You are your own business”. We are not allowed to watch much television and due to my family’s emphasis on the importance of education, creativity and accountability these characteristics pushed me to where I am today. I specifically mention God on this point because out of all the upbringing styles in the world, He selected this one for me, and gives me the strength & determination to continue on each day.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
The funny thing is when I look back on life’s challenges the magnitude of my triumphs make the trials seem so small and insignificant. I have had a handful of challenges in my life yet when taking a global perspective I can see how blessed I am and understand that my problems are so frivolous they are not even worth mentioning. The biggest challenge I could mention is being multicultural. Throughout my life, it has been hard to fit in due to this. Yet upon reflection, it has trained me to embrace being an outlier. This is truly just the effect that an attitude of gratitude will give you especially after many hours of volunteering and seeing those with different circumstances.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
To be transparent, I am guilty at times of being a busybody. I feel so much more comfortable having my hand in a small variety of industries. My career is in commercial real estate yet my hobbies are pageantry, public speaking/writing for philanthropic purposes and advocating on nutrition related causes. In other words, what do I do for work? As much as I can in 24 hours. The last part of this question is interesting to me because I am not sure if my stance comes from a high amount of faith, confidence or being borderline naïve – I have any competition. As a former nationally qualified bodybuilder – bikini division, ToastMasters awardee and pageant queen, regardless if someone is standing right next to me I still don’t view them as competition. Competition has the notation of winning and losing and with an abundant mindset all you can do is win. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe the scriptures, “Faith without works is dead” and “Only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”, therefore I do work day and night on my goals. Yet truly from the bottom of my heart I know all things are working in my favor which keeps me grounded as well as gives me the boost to know I am separate from the group regardless of the opinions from others.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
The best piece of advice I give to anyone and everyone who asks me this question is, “Be careful who you get advice from.” Many people with good intentions will want to give you their advice, although it does not necessarily mean you should take/follow it – some people indirectly give you notes on what not to do by being unqualified to speak on the issue at hand. This categorization can apply to friends, colleagues and even family, they mean well yet guard your mind from being misled. Easy examples of this would be, It is very hard to take driving advice from someone with no license or cooking advice from someone who’s never been in the kitchen. Therefore I don’t ask for directions to Emerald City to someone who hasn’t been on the yellow brick road. Granted another layer to this is people may not have lived the exact blueprint of the life you desire yet they can still add a nugget of knowledge of what to do/avoid and who to connect with, which still comes from experience.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me means health in all forms, freedom, and flexibility with my time. From a young age I bought the narrative of “The American Dream”. As someone born in a different country with parents from different countries and the granddaughter of a US Veteran I believe it is my duty to honor their sacrifices for me to have a better life through giving each opportunity that comes my way all that I have and push the next generation even further! When I close my eyes to imagine the future I see living on a decently sized chunk of land with my amazingly loving family and my future spouse and I being leaders in the community giving back consistently. I study frequently about the effects finances can have on quality of life. Low stability can imprison you to work from a place of lack compared to income being a gift you get from expressing creativity through methods of service. Success begins with a balanced inner self, then flourishing health, lastly consistency in wealth.
What’s next for you?
A handful of fun projects are on the horizon for me. With every fundraiser I attend/host, creative projects I publish and events I compete in the results keep getting better which allows me to give back even bigger! (Yay!) Yet as an open-hearted extrovert I have learned over the years sometimes it is best to keep things under wrap until it is time to reveal what is the next big deal. With this mindset you are able to flourish more in your creativity and internal evolution by not being imprisoned by your past promises or declarations of identity.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Oh that question is easy!