Finding Hope In The Darkest Of Situations
"Remember that in places of darkness, the beautiful image of your life, and what is to come, is on the rise."
Back when I was a child, a dark room was needed to develop photographs. The science of it was that photographic paper responds to light to create the image taken by a camera and stored on film. And due to the fact photographic paper is sensitive to light, photographs using camera film had to be produced using a method called developing, with it required to take place in a completely dark room. As such, the work needed to create a blueprint or image came out of a dark place.
It’s the aforementioned process of developing that gives me a certain kind of reassurance when life seems challenging or bleak. I am sure you can relate with the same to moments in your life too, or perhaps a moment you are finding yourself in now. But while the place you find yourself in may seem very dark, I want to encourage you, with this metaphor, to remember that in places of darkness, the beautiful image of your life, and what is to come, is on the rise.
It’s always helpful for each of us to be mindful of our mental frames and the way we see things. Our narrative and the way we process disappointment, setbacks, and challenges is crucial to how we respond mentally. Our thoughts create feelings, and often, our emotions are what can hold us prisoners. If we can all be willing to take our current challenge or difficulty and frame it in a beautiful way, we can now find hope in the darkest of situations, knowing that it's necessary to develop the full picture of your life.
Sometimes we are inspired by those around us. Shylo Bijold is someone who has spent plenty of time in dark rooms of her own, but she held dear to the premise that everything she has gone through is what has developed her to launch a multi-million business, a fit mom of three, and the CEO of the Grit and Grace podcast. I wanted to draw out of Shylo her own experiences of challenges, in the hope that they will inspire you as well.
Shylo Bijold. Image courtesy Mark Sephton.
Excerpts from a conversation with Shylo:
Why do you believe that if you're thrown to the wolves, you will come back leading the pack?
History proves itself. I mean I’ve been homeless. I’ve moved over 59 times. I grew up in a state of constant survival, so there have been times where I've literally been thrown, maybe not to a pack of wolves, but I have been alone, and had to find myself in situations to get out of. I've been in very interesting situations with domestic violence as a child with my mother; we witnessed many things. I was always able to pivot.
So, I guess, in today's terms, I'm able to pivot when faced with serious situations, and keep my cool. I think that's really important, without losing it, like completely falling apart. There's a blessing and a curse to being a lone wolf. I don't ask for help, and that's a blessing and a curse, because there are times where I should have asked for help, and I probably would have handled the situation better or been able to resolve the situation better, but because I was very independent so young, I learned how to navigate life, and I learned how to navigate very serious situations without losing my cool and losing my head, and then coming out on the other side, finding my way back.
How hard has life hit you, and how did you go from humble beginnings to a multi million-dollar business?
Well, like I said, life hit me hard: alcoholism was prevalent within my family, dealing with domestic violence, watching horrific things as a child, putting myself in vulnerable situations, hurting people. I've hurt people, I've done things that I'm not proud of, I have needed to take responsibility, and own my mistakes. I'm a person who's taking accountability for many things, everything. Being homeless, not having a place to live, having a baby, and having to get my way out of it, losing my credit. Having to start from scratch multiple times, starting over, and I've done it several times, not just once. I've had humble beginnings more than once. You know, having a lawsuit, risking losing everything I've ever built, and having to start over and renewing myself. Having to rise up like a phoenix, but having to rebrand, renew myself in the spotlight. Falling in the spotlight, having to come out of that, and showing people a better way.
Why do you believe people fabricate who they are and hide behind their own lies?
Oooh… that’s a question! It's easy to pretend you're someone else, because the truth is hard. It sucks to suck. I mean, if you want to say it in the easiest way. It's never fun to be your true self, because I think a lot of people feel like they're boring, or it's not a good enough story, so they have to fabricate it to make it sound even better, which, in the end, it's the same bullsh*t, it's the same story. So, you have all these people branding themselves or coming out and being the same person. Everyone is trying to be a Kardashian, when they should try to be themselves, you know, and it's not knocking the Kardashians, but I'm just saying like everyone is trying to be everyone else, and if everyone focused on being themselves, they would get farther, faster. They're sick of a fake.
Authenticity is so important right now in our world. So, in that perspective, who is Shylo Bijou?
She's the comeback queen. Oh my gosh. I would say I'm the childhood trauma, the comeback queen; I think I'm the person that is not afraid to show my “suck” to show that vulnerable side. I'm not afraid. And if I am afraid, out of spite, I'll do it anyway. I’ll do things scared. Shylo is somebody who is going to do it, even if it's scary. I'm going to do it, I'm going to share it with the world, so other people can grow, and learn from it. I always show up. The other thing about me is you could take everything away, but I always show up, even on the bad days.
You are in the process of launching a book. Why does the world need to hear your message?
The world needs to have somebody who can just say it as it is without fear. Just being able to say it and normalize trauma. What people need to hear is that it's okay to talk about sexual trauma, physical abuse, verbal abuse. The world just needs to hear a normalizing of trauma. That it is okay, and you can overcome it. It is the underdog story, it’s the comeback story.
Everybody loves the underdog story. On paper, I'm not supposed to be here. Not at all. In my life when I was born, what they were going to tell me was I was going to be on welfare all my life, probably dating several people, probably on drugs and alcohol. I probably wouldn't have represented much given the way that my life started out. But that's not what happened. It's choices. It's all about choices, but it is all about overcoming, and it's about people taking responsibility. It's a choice, no matter what.
What are you most proud of, something you achieved, or something you overcame?
Being a mom. I'm most proud of being a mom, and the fact is I was a mom at 19, but I'm proud of the mother I've become. Because the mother I started out as, you know, a young, single mom, is such a different version from what I am now, and I'm so proud of myself that my kids see a sober, healthy mom that works on herself, and that my kids are proud of me. That's what makes me most proud.
Mark’s love for entrepreneurship has been expressed through serving as a podcast host for Brainz Magazine. When not on the mic, Mark is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and a speaker for corporate events, entrepreneurship summits, and major conferences worldwide. \
His expertise in personal and professional development has positioned him as an expert in the industry, resulting in transformational experiences for audiences, clients, and businesses alike. Drawing from personal experiences, Mark has taken the essence of what he has experienced and built a business that helps draw out the magnificent potential that every person beholds using his GPS system to highlight blind spots, efficiencies and deficiencies.
He is also the author of three personal development books Inside Job, Plot Twist, and his latest book, Mark of a Man, launching on November 30, 2021.