Gail Lee Gardner is a mompreneur, educational advocate, author, speaker, empowerment coach, business mentor, and humanitarian. She is the Founder of the life-changing organization, I AM Blossoms International and She Was Made. Gardner’s mission in business is to provide avenues to help other women develop their businesses, personas, and lifestyles in such a way it does not conflict, harm, or compete.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Fort Worth Texas, Cleveland, and Cincinnati Ohio. My childhood… Let’s just say I’ve been responsible since the age of four and didn’t really get to enjoy the joys of being a child. Everything I experienced shaped my adulthood, mainly the lessons learned. when you make a mistake or do something you’re not supposed to do… They really taught me and shaped me.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
We are exactly where we’re supposed to be and you were uniquely created and designed for a reason and that reason is to serve a purpose.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Not wanting to collaborate with others because they fear the other person “stealing” their work. No one can steal you. No one can steal what you’ve created. They can try, however, no one can duplicate you or your work. No one can duplicate your anointing.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
Back in 2006, I was charged with two felony counts of child endangerment. I left both my children at home for a couple of hours and made a run to Walmart. Both of my children were seven and five years old. For the first time in my life, I spent almost 12 hours in jail. I was told I could not have any contact with my children. I went through this for nine months. You’re talking about a really dark place. During the time, I was married and living with my mother because I had decided I no longer wanted the marriage. I always put my children first and always catered to their needs more so than my marriage.
There wasn’t a day that went by that I did not think or cry about our separation. I felt like God had me in the corner by my collar saying there’s no one but you and I. Who do you have now? Can you imagine not being able to see your children? There were times when I saw them from the window above, just to be able to see them. When I did see them, they didn’t look like my children because they had lost a lot of weight. My husband at the time kept our boys and mainly it was his mom who was taking care of them. The pain of not being able to comfort, feed, smile, protect and nurture my children were more than just heartbreak. It sent me to a place where I couldn’t see a way out.
Sometimes advice comes from the people we don’t agree with. I was told to start reading the bible. Start with one scripture at a time until you’re able to read a paragraph and after being able to read a paragraph then read more. This came from a man I despised, no longer wanted to be married to, who I blamed for all of this mess, who didn’t want to accept responsibility, who didn’t know who he wanted to be and who allowed his mom to care for our children. It was the hardest advice to accept. But I did.
Little by little I read scripture. I went from reading one scripture to a paragraph and finishing out the chapter. During the nine months and continuances from my attorney, I learned that it was my decision that caused my children to suffer. All along I was looking at their dad and not realizing that the person I was seeing in him, was in me. I knew I had to make a change for the better. I made a promise to myself and my children that I will work on becoming a better person. A better woman. A better parent. A better mother. I had to become better at everything from the way I think to what I do.
I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel little by little. In the eighth month on my way to court, I just knew I’d be connected back with my children. I planned to love, feed and clothe them in the best while spending unlimited quality time as we once had before. I went to court and it did not work in my favor. My attorney asked for another continuance. Once again, I cried all over again like it was the first time. I cried more than ever before this time, asking why. It wasn’t until I had this moment of realizing that although I may have birthed to my children, parented my children, and have plans for my children. However, when it’s all said and done, they belong to God and his plan will always be the final say so.
It was at this moment that I prayed to God, thanking him for the insight and understanding. Praying to him I didn’t care if I got my children back or not the next time I went to court. Praying to him that I surrender and it is no longer my fight. The ninth month the judge granted my children back. She had also dropped both felony charges. I learned there’s power in surrendance and to move out of the way. As soon as I was able to reunite with my children I did and the rest is history.
As you can see, I’ve learned a lot in those nine months. They are my reasons “why” and it speaks to who I am today.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Applying what I learn has been the biggest success for me.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 4 am and listen to my affirmations and declarations while I shower and get myself ready for the day.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Thinking through before I do.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Do not waste time. Execute as much as you can. You are allowed to slow down. Just don’t stop.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Woman Thou Art Loosed by T.D. Jakes
This book helped me to understand myself as a spiritual woman. It helped me to understand all women. Why we do what we do… Where does what we do as women come from…
Battlefield of The Mind by Joyce Myers
This book helped me to gain control over my negative thoughts. For every negative thought, you have to replace it with a positive one and you have to consistently replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts until it becomes second nature.
Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
This book helped me to learn how to gain control over my emotions. How to associate pain with things I didn’t want to do. It helped me to identify what I wanted out of life and how to get it from a mentally, emotionally, financially, physical, and spiritual perspective. This book also made sure you had FUN while doing it. I believe balance is key in whatever we do.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This book added more value to what I’ve already learned in previous books. Now I’m walking into how to turn my purpose into profit. This book is the business book of how to obtain what we want in life. Faith is key. To me, this book is the bible. I say it’s the bible because, for one, everything in this book is in the bible. It’s just written for non-believers to also gain too. This book is the foundation of business.
I’ve read many more since then. The books above are the main foundational starters to my “why”.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Continue to use what you have today, to empower tomorrow.” This is a quote I’ve been using since 2010, to get people to understand the value of empowering someone else. Our knowledge, skills we’ve obtained on our journey are not meant for us to keep to ourselves, it’s meant to give.