As a ChicagoNow project, bloggers were invited to interview each other, and post on their individual sites. I was selected to interview an amazing and accomplished woman, Dawgelene Sangster aka Dr. Dawj Sangster. Author, speaker and world renowned life and business strategist are just a few of the impressive titles that she holds.
Dr. Dawj contributes to the ChicagoNow blog Six Brown Chicks, where very successful women share their personal stories. Her subject material on that blog is very diverse, ranging from instructional, informational (local events, VIP sightings, promoting fundraisers) to more serious subjects (thoughts on the many challenges of life that we all face). In my interview, I chose to focus on these.
Peggy: Dawj, you have had to contend with extreme problems throughout life – being in an abusive relationship, economic downfalls,having to leave a six figure prestigious position in a global market, the loss of loved ones and most tragically, your beloved husband of brain cancer in 2012. However, in spite of all of this - you so admirably have persevered with a positive attitude. What can you tell us about that?
Dawj: Problems, challenges, situations or stuff is just a part of life. It isn’t perfect and every day won’t be sunshine. For me, I learned to own up to the days when challenges came my way, and believed that God would get me through them. Life will happen and we just have to be ready to flow with it, whether it’s good or challenging.
Peggy: You speak of your late husband’s words…”Life isn’t a Do Over, it’s a Do differently.” That is very profound. Can you explain what he meant by that?
Dawj: On our final drive from his appointment where the docs said hospice was it, I was overwhelmed with sadness and tears began to flow. On the drive, I asked him about his life and our life together. He said those words and explained that our children were adults, I was still young (he was years my senior) and that we had learned a lot on what it took to have an awesome marriage and about life in general. He said that while he had lived an amazing life and we had shared amazing time together, unfortunately we wouldn’t grow old together.
We didn't get to travel much because we both always worked trying to build something for the kids and together, that we missed a lot of “together” opportunities and just enjoying life. He said I now could have freedom and time to travel, meet someone new, enjoy life and do things that we just didn’t get to do, because we kept pushing it off for tomorrow, but our tomorrows were cut short. Yeah, well, I took him up on that and recently went to the beach for some “ME” time and put my feet in the sand and water, which I honestly haven’t done in over 20 years. It was FUN!
Peggy: Your have written extensively on the universal subject of relationships. (I think that your blog “10 Tips to Improving Your Relationship” really nailed it.) Also, you very openly describe problems that you dealt with in your marriage – and stressed the importance of FORGIVENESS. As we know, this is a really tough hurdle for someone who has experienced a major “stab in the heart”. What advice would you give to someone needing to work on rebuilding a worthwhile relationship?
Dawj: Forgiveness of self is critical. We often blame ourselves or allow others to place blame on us for things that happen in our lives. In part, there can be some truth to that because of choices that we make. Often, the choices are made because we open our hearts and love, trust and allow others to share very sacred spaces. When challenges arise, people may say, “you did this or you made that choice, which can be true. So when the pain comes, a part of us wants to blame ourselves, so we get stuck in a mode of spinning wheels and not moving.
What I learned to do was be accountable for whatever part/choice I had in the matter, forgive me first, and then ask God to sincerely allow me to have a heart of forgiveness for others. This was not easy for me and it took time, prayer, solitude and learning to love me more for standing strong in and through that situation, before I could even think about giving attention to someone else. So be in tune with yourself, own the pain, sadness, disappointment or whatever it is for YOU first, and then allow the healing to truly begin.
Peggy: Words of wisdom and an insightful perspective to reflect on…thanks for sharing that.
Peggy:You have accomplished so much… You returned to school and obtained your undergraduate degree, even though it took eight years - while juggling a full time job and taking care of your children. You then went on to obtain a Masters' degree and are now working on your doctorate. You have written three books, hosted internet and radio shows. Your TV appearances include The Oprah Show and more. You started a non-profit to empower women. Add to this, the many certifications , awards, and other achievements - too numerous to mention. I can see your life as a major motion picture!
So, do you have any major remaining goals? Or are you just ready to take a well-deserved respite and kick back and watch sunsets on some tropical beach?
Dawj: No kicking back for me. My late hubby used to tell me that I would be strategizing in my sleep because my brain constantly goes. While I do take tiny breaks, I am on a mission to impact the world and the best way to do that is to keep pressing forward, helping others, being educated and living a meaningful life. So for me, the ultimate goal is to keep blessing others and embracing what life brings my way…good or challenging!
Peggy: And finally, just for fun…Can you name an individual that you might like to take a pie and smash it in their face – and why???
I would smash a pie in my deceased brother’s face! He was like 6’2, 325lbs, he loved food and used to pick me up (in my MUCH smaller size LOL), throw me over his shoulders and spin me. I miss him but would love to smash a coconut crème pie in his face because he would more than likely be eating it off while chasing me to throw me over his shoulders and spin me! Fun times!
Peggy: I love your humor!, Thank you for this interview and for being such a true inspiration to so many.
I hope that this will provide a glimpse of Dr. Dawj Sangster and all of the true wisdom she imparts from her life’s journey - rising above tough times and emerging with an impressive success story and lessons to share. Visit her website at www.drdawj.com
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