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Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise” eloquently describes Shari Nycole’s life accomplishments. She received a full basketball scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and after a two-year stint, took her athletic talents to Northern Illinois University.  While at NIU, Shari had a solid basketball career, became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications: Media Studies and a Minor in Journalism.  During her junior year, knee problems prevented her from continuing to play at a competitive level so she accepted it as a sign from God to focus on journalism. She went on to get a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Medill at Northwestern University in Chicago.  Since that manifestation, she’s ascended as a content producer, editor, red carpet correspondent, and videographer. Earlier this year, she co-executive produced Will Packer Media’s live Twitter series, Power Star Live and is currently a super-producer for Sister Circle Live on TV One.

“I love what I do just as much as the first day I fell in love with basketball. I’m very grateful for that so I don’t ever feel a sense of void and I don’t feel like I was cheated at all as an athlete, which is great,” she says when asked if she still plays ball.

Shari believes that health and wellness is the key to a long life so when she’s not producing shows and creating other content, she’s working out, in the gym, five to six days a week. Her favorite exercise regimen is circuit training, and more specifically, Tabata training which is a HIIT workout. “If I have to give you one exercise, I’ll say inchworm pushups. Those are rough but I enjoy them. They are a weird form of fun.”   She enjoys twilight workouts with Grammy-nominated R&B singer, Syleena Johnson, a routine they started two years ago, where they get into the gym for high intensity workouts

Recently, Shari posted a picture of her and Syleena, on Instagram, with the caption “No dream is achieved alone,” as it applies to fitness and accountability partners. “I come from a large family,” she says and “throughout my upbringing, my family and friends, who are an extension of my family, have been critical in helping to keep me grounded and maintain proper perspective.” She continues by saying that her biggest inspiration, on this health and wellness journey, is her personal trainer, Will Franklin. “Will is the first person to stress confidence to me. He stresses winning and he also taught me the importance of winning in life.”

Intent on succeeding holistically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, reflecting on the #LovingOnMyself #ICrushGoals to #ImpactTheWorld campaign, her breakdown is profoundly inspiring. “Loving on myself means that I give myself enough grace to take a break from the business that is my life, to make sure that I pay attention to self-care. Loving on myself means that I go to the gym even when I don’t feel like it because I know what my body needs to feel good, look good, and to last a long time. It means that I put myself in positions where I have the least amount of stress possible. Sometimes, we’re so used to, as black women, taking on the world and we don’t understand that in doing that, we essentially take on a lot of stress, some of which is completely unnecessary. Loving on myself means I’m not reactive to everything but I’m proactive about trouble-shooting problems and taking a breath before I respond. The ‘I crush goals to impact the world’ part, I think we have a responsibility to first, set goals, and be hell-bent on achieving them. We might not reach them in the time that we should. Sometimes, we might fall short and make mistakes, but going after the goal is essentially the most important thing.”

Shari hopes that when women read this feature, they will feel empowered by the campaign. “I want them to understand that God has planted purpose on the inside of every single one of us, and everybody has a pathway to success. Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide to walk whatever steps we need to walk, to stay on that pathway and ultimately get where we need to go. No one is going to do it for us. We have to do it for ourselves. Even with God, faith without works is dead. We have to put the work in. I want people to understand that sometimes the journey may look a bit unconventional but also that blessing is birthed out of inconvenience. Nothing worth having is always going to feel good as there’s often a level of inconvenience tied to your greatest success. There is going to be a level of strain and pressure because that’s part of life. Embrace that and know that the results will be greater things.”

Follow her on IG @ shari_nycole for all things positive, purposeful, and creative.

The #LovingOnMyself #ICrushGoals to #ImpactTheWorld campaign seeks to encourage women to impact the world by putting themselves first. By setting small health-related goals, crushing them, and slowly building up to larger and, long-lasting ones, women will strengthen their ability to keep changing the world. This article commemorates National Women’s Health & Fitness Day (Sept. 25th) which seeks to encourage women to take control of their health: to learn the facts they need to make smart health choices, and to make time for regular physical activity.

This feature was written by Tawanda Blake

Tawanda Blake is an entertainment and lifestyle blogger, journalist, published freelance writer, and author. She has been a writer for nine years. She is also a 5-time award recipient for the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists.

Photos courtesy of Shari Nycole