What's Your Story - Donna Steinhardt

I SO believe that everybody has a story and message to share! This new series will feature the story and secrets to success from women of all ages and stages. I always ask people a ton of questions in person and am super duper curious about how people got where they are, how they live life, what tips and tricks work for them and more. First up, I'm profiling my mom, Donna Steinhardt. Each time I profile someone they'll be different questions (some the same)! Here's my momma... you'll see why she's so great.

What is your story so far?
My husband is my high school sweetheart and we got married at 21.  I went to Cosmetology School while my now husband was in college. Our first apartment together was above a butcher shop in small town Wisconsin, but rather than partying at the local bar we saved and worked hard in order to purchase our first house at 23.  Katie was born when I was 25 and I have to say, I made it my mission to not have anyone give her the label of an only child. She was raised with a close bond of her cousins. The year she was born we built our first home and moved in, and 5 years later built an "Up North" home. We moved to Little Cedar Lake in the mid-1990's and then moved to our current Big Cedar Lake home which we rebuilt in 2000. In 2010, my mom passed away suddenly a few weeks before Katie's wedding. A few weeks after that I helped Katie and Mark buy their first home (I'm a real estate agent) and also we got our puppy, a shitzu Molly Putz. In 2014, we were able to purchase and remodel a condo on Bonita Beach, FL for winter getaways and future retirement planning. The cold Wisconsin weather is something I'm happy to escape.

So, were you a hairdresser all those years??
No! I did that for a little while, but then was a mom, owned a nail salon, played a lot of tennis competitively, and enjoyed and felt rewarded by my many years of community volunteer work. Then, in January of 2002, with Katie being more independent combined with our past real estate investments, it made a lot sense for me to became a full-time Realtor.  My education in real estate is similar to having a Master’s degree in my field.  I've been the leading sales associate in my office for MANY years. I so proud to say that I achieved this all without a college education - I totally believe it's not a prerequisite for success. Your attitude and how hard you work can get you anywhere.

You've been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. What has been surprising about working for yourself? 
The road to being successful takes time. You need to have a high level of determination along with a strong belief that you can achieve success and don’t stop until you do.  Being an entrepreneur can be all consuming. The highs and the lows of being an entrepreneur can be much greater than when you work for someone.

You have some "sayings" that I, to this day, hear over and over. :) What are some of these quotables that are like your rules for living?
I have whole bunch, but here are just a few:
It’s better to over dress than under dress
Take one thing you like from every person you meet and build it into “you”
The guy should like the girl just a little bit more
Your friends will come and go but your family will always be there no matter what
You are what you think about most
Respect your elders
Laughter is the best medicine
Surround yourself with positive people
If you can’t say something nice than don’t say anything at all

I know that traditions are super important to you. Tell me about some of your favorites.
Traditions were something that started when I was a kid. We spent summers on Big Cedar Lake (where I now live).  As a child I remember it being a special treat to go to the Lake even though my Father tells everyone about the time I nearly drown by jumping off the end of the pier at Aunt Bin’s lake home! Today some of my favorite traditions are watching the Oscar’s with a special dinner, watching the Fourth of July fireworks on Big Cedar Lake in our pontoon boat, celebrating our wedding anniversary with Katie & Mark who got married on the same day (August 15), Christmas Eve sleepovers after Church... the list goes on!  

Favorite summer cocktail? 
Just one? Ha! I like basil martinis, Mai Tai’s, lime daiquiris and Rose wine.

Favorite winter cocktail?
Red Zinfandel. Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps.

What is the most meaningful decoration in your home?
I have two. A collage of black and white photos which includes my grandparents Big Cedar Lake photos from the 1930’s along with a photo of Katie taken on our lake boardwalk (I hope to have a similar photo of my granddaughters one day) and second, a winter painting I was given by my grandmother which I hang over my fireplace, just like she had.

What three products can't you live without? 
1. my iPhone
2. cheater reading glasses
3. herbal vitamins

If you could have a lunch date with one person, who would it be and what would you eat?
My birth mother Rose died when I was 6 of breast cancer, so I 'd love to talk with her! My father says I am a lot like her. I’d probably cook something Italian (she was 100% Sicilian).

What advice would you give yourself at 23?  
Get a good hair stylist. Remember that only YOU have the ability to change your life.  Don’t settle for a relationship that doesn't rock your world. Be ready for new experiences and don’t let fear get in the way.  Search for your passion, dream big and don’t let your current career path and earnings stop you.  Take risk.  Listen to your gut. Keep your faith strong.

I think you're an amazing and fantastic momma (I'm a little biased, I know!), but what advice would you give to young moms?
I first would tell them that your maternal instinct automatically kicks in. Next, don’t sweat the small stuff because how bad would it really be if they did whatever "it" is?  Pick your battles with your children because if you’re always saying "No" when you really need to get the point across they won’t listen to you. When it comes to your child not feeling well trust your own instincts - deep down you’ll know what the best thing to do is.  Play with your child giving them 100% of your focus, look in their eyes and let them know you are listening.  Also, keep the inner child in yourself alive.

How do you live on purpose, instead of by accident?
Thanks to Katie’s new 2015 calendar layout I set weekly and monthly goals for myself. I was always a paper calendar user, but I’d be lost without it.


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