We are so excited to kick off our new Goal Getter series with an interview with the lovely Miss. Abriel Hardaway! You can look for a new interview for a goal getter in our community every other month.
This past Monday I got the absolute privilege of interviewing educator, fierce leader, GOAL GETTER Abriel Hardaway. Abriel has taught SEVERAL different grades and after she spends all day pouring into the lives of young people she goes to another job at the YMCA with the YCAP program, which is where I got the honor of meeting her. I have seen first hand the love and encouragement she gives to everyone she meets and we really want to be like her when we grow up. However my words about her could never do her justice so let's jump on into the interview.
Who is someone who has inspired you to accomplish your goals?
"I would say my parents equally, my mom worked in a factory for 35 years so she was obviously getting after it, you know to provided for us, my family. Then my dad, as far as teaching goes, he was a big influence...I didn't want to go into teaching at first, I tried to fight it. But as soon as I told him I felt the Lord leading me to go back to school to get my degree he was all for it! He was calling people to see what scholarships were available, so as far as education, my main career, he was definitely my biggest influence for that."
What were you doing when you felt lead to go back to school?
"I was banking... so I was able to do kind of like an internship at what was Citizens bank and is now Simmons bank during college. I loved it, I was able to move within the bank and I was in a really good place but I was moved to a department and it was just not fun to go to like I dreaded going there, like the leadership and everything... it was just stressful. So I guess during that time God was able to get me to listen and agree to what he had planned for me all along."
So you have accomplished a lot but what accomplishment are you most proud of?
"I think definitely being able to finish the degree mid my dad's passing. So like I started and he was there to push me and I was living my best life and then... he passed. I was just thinking "How in the world am I going to finish this now that like... he's not here... he's not here to help me?" So finally getting over that hurdle was definitely my biggest accomplishment. "
How do you stay motivated?
"Honestly I think when you get to a point where you are unmotivated, you've reached a point where you should stop and take some time off. Maybe take a vacation or just a day off to refigure and do some inventory to kind of figure out "Ok, what's next? Why have I lost that drive?" So for me what I do is, I travel or I'll just shut down and won't do much, get some alone time and figure out what I'm missing and why I don't feel that drive anymore and tell the Lord "I can't hear your voice, show me what to do and where to go next."
I have found that in that time of stillness is where we get that push and get that motivation."
When was a time where you felt like you failed?
"Probably like within the degree of education, you have to be certified, so there is a lot of tests. Some people think they're easy but I did not think so lol. So something a lot of people don't know is that I actually had to change my change my major and graduate because I couldn't pass my certification tests. So I faced a lot of rejection with that and I felt like "Man I have come all this way and now I've failed, I've come up short."
How did you recover?
"So when that happened I had to take some advice from some of the people I had inquired about and ask " How do I get past this point?" So listening to them and getting guidance from them, I was able to figure out another way around it. As far as feeling like a failure... I did. But I knew what I needed to get done and kept that in the for front of my mind like "This isn't even just about me... this is about all of those that I will eventually work with, the students, the kids." I had to keep that "Why?", in the for front of my mind."
What is a "mistake" that you've made, that actually helped you grow as a person and as a goal getter?
"It didn't really work like that for me lol! I guess I would say, and I don't really consider it a mistake, but like my dad wanted me to be a teacher all along and I was like "No I don't want to be a teacher, all our family does is teach and preach, I don't want to do that!" So it was definitely me being prideful and trying to prove a point, just being like "I'm not going to do that, everybody does that, and I don't want to do what everyone does." But I also didn't have the desire to teach at that time and I got my degree in business, which I do use, so I am glad that I was able to see that side. But I guess not listening to him in that moment, because maybe if I would have listen I could have been years to school and maybe he would have still been here for me teaching."
Have you always been a motivated person, like were you the kid in school who was like "Aww I got a bad grade :((", but really you just got a 99 instead of a 100, or was it something you had to work at?
"Yeah I was not that kid lol. School came easy to me so since I didn't have to try hard I didn't. Like I didn't make straight A's, but I could have! But since I didn't have to try hard to make A's and B's, that's what I did. But it bit me in the tail come college because in high school I was just living my best life and not really taking studying seriously but I would say motivation came later on in life. Just like realizing you can do anything you want to as long as you don't put limits on yourself but you do have to work for it and prioritize things. For years I have been a pretty self-motivated person just because, you know, I like life and I like nice things and you can't like nice things and not HAVE. lol."
What is your favorite way to recharge?
"After teaching and working at the Y sometimes I tutor, so there are nights where I don't get home until 8 o'clock. So I do have long days but when I get home I don't really watch TV but I listen to music a lot. The older I get the more I just like quiet when I get home and that kind of just helps me go over everything, like what I need to do the next day and get my to do list ready. If I am feeling completely drained I try to find a source of refuel, like a podcast or a message online from one of my favorite pastors. Or I go to one of my mentors or my mom, or one of my celebrity mentor's, in my head lol, instagram pages. So something like that to keep me motivated."
So it's Black History Month, how has being black and a woman affected your life as a goal getter?
"I think that, and this is not a knock on any other race or the other gender, but I just think from history black women have had to have a certain grit and have a go-getter mentality to survive and when I think about the opportunities and things I'm allowed to do that my ancestors weren't ,that in itself helps me to stay motivated and helps me to not take things for granted. Because like we often refer back to, it wasn't that long ago that someone who looked like me may not even be able to go in the same places as someone who looks like you. That helps me to keep a level head and take full advantage of the opportunities I've been given, knowing that, that hasn't always been the case for a black woman. But I try not to use it as an excuse like I try not to say "Well I'm a black woman, you know, and we've always had it hard", I try not to do that, again my mindset is more like, even my grandmother didn't even get to go to high school because she married young, had kids, and had to stay home. So just knowing that I have opportunities that those who came before me and looked like me didn't have is really cool. Like what can I do to make my ancestors proud?"
What are some goals you have for yourself and what steps are you taking to accomplish them?
"Well I would love to be a homeowner soon. which is not something I'm super pressed about right now but it is something that I want to do one day. Right now I'm preparing for that by saving extra money and making sure my I's are dotted and T's are crossed, just because you know it takes money and all these things. Just kind of making choices now that will better benefit my future. I want to be living my best life and looking like my best self in the near future. I have a wedding to be in, in May. So I started working out at 5am, pray for me. lol. Which is NOT fun but I know I'm gonna be snatched, come summer! My mom is like "You're crazy for going that early!", but my nights are already late and I don't mind working out late but my trainer is like "ehhh what about 5am?" so. Those are some of my big goals. I also want a... Tesla! So I'm trying to pay down my current car. Tiktok has influenced me, I already wanted one, but seeing all their capabilities I'm sold! So know I'm just like "Ok, Lord I really feel like a Tesla is in my future!" But if it's just a Range Rover or a Benz I'll be ok with that too! But yeah I don't even think goals have to be super big or drawn out but I try to wake up and think "What can I do today that's gonna make me better tomorrow?" and that can just be picking up the pair of sweat pants I've been walking by for two days! But the more we do things, the more they become ingrained in our mind and become routine and eventually they won't need to be a goal because you but the process in to make that happen and you can move on to your next goal!"
Wow! One a scale of 1-1,000,000 how impressed are you by this awesome goal getter?!? We are at about 1,000,000,000!! She is so hardworking and still finds time to pour into others AND gets up at 5 in the morning to work out??? I think superheros are real and know Abriel Hardaway is one on them.
Thank you Abriel for taking the time to help us get to know you and your story better!