Amy Lee Cathcart

Wife. Mom to two rescued canines. Reluctant millennial. Lover of fitness, backyard fires and alternative rock, in that order. Policy nerd. Mortgage Agent. Moonlighting moment-catcher. Part-time professor of fun. Novice DIYer. Volunteer.

I thrive when I feel a sense of accomplishment, especially when that involves helping other people, or causes close to my heart, which is why I work hard and stay busy.

It’s important to me to give back where I can. I volunteer with local dog rescue organizations, and donate a portion of referral business to rescues to help them do the important work that they do.

When it comes down to it, I just try to do my best at whatever I’m doing – whether it’s work, business or my personal life. You get what you give, as they say.

Who inspires you in your life and why?

My maternal grandmother inspires me in my life, and always has.

My grandmother came to Canada from Italy when she was 15, with a few family members here, and not much else. She worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known to make a life for herself and her family. In the mid-70s after her marriage with four kids, and a mortgage to pay, she put everything into providing for her kids. She worked in the deli at a local grocery store, owned her own seamstress business, and eventually amassed a respectable portfolio of a few rental properties – all as a single mom.

I’ve never heard my grandma complain. She powers through whatever comes her way, and she always has time for anyone and everyone else. Even after being divorced for 40 years, she still worries about my grandfather, and when we were visiting her in my hometown last Easter, she took care of him – and enjoyed it!

She’s a lover of all – humans, animals, nature. She has a huge heart, and that is evident to anyone who meets her. She’s been known to literally welcome strangers into her house – offer them a meal, a place to stay, or paid work around her house.

She’s quite frankly amazing – and she is most deserving of recognition like this. The more I write about her, the more I realize just how lucky I am to have learned from her, and to have her in my life.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your life?

I have made some mistakes along the way – like most people have. I’ve learned a lot of tough lessons the hard way – some relating to business or career decisions, and some lessons about trusting people, and letting people into my life. But those experiences just make me stronger, and have contributed to the life lessons that have shaped who I am today.

What did you do to move through them? What did you learn?

One thing I have learned in each and every experience is that I need to trust myself, and how I feel. Never second-guess that. I have also learned that every experience helps to shape who we are – and we have to take something positive from everything. Everything happens for a reason… that’s so very, very true.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the work ethic I have learned from the hard-working, strong and dedicated women in my life – like my grandmothers, my mom, my aunts and many others.

What do you want younger women to know?

It’s difficult to impart knowledge on others. Younger women need to learn through their own experiences, and those experiences will shape them. But if I were to offer any advice, it would be to trust yourself, trust your judgement and take every available opportunity to learn and grow. We don’t know everything at 19, and we certainly don’t know everything at 91. Learn something new every day.

Oh, and never compare yourself to other people. You’re your own person with your own talents and your own attributes that make you truly unique. Don’t try to be someone else. Be YOU!

What does living fully mean to you?

To me, living fully means living to the very best of *your* ability. Living fully to me might mean something different than living fully for someone else. Everyone has their own capabilities, and their own benchmarks for setting goals and achieving success.

I try to live fully – seize moments, make the best of situations, grow from every experience, and contribute something positive to the world at every opportunity.

Favourite quote?

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes — understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington

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