September 29, 2023
Chantell Cooley - Empower U

It’s always darkest before dawn… don’t give up

Growing up, I often heard the saying, “Be the best of the best!”

It does not mean being the best or No. 1, but it means going for something with all you have.  It is not accepting where you are but moving forward and seeing and believing that there is more for you.

Growing up there were so many ups and downs in my life. At a young age I knew of the hardships and the trials my parents faced daily.  There were days when there was not much food left in the house or that we could not pay our monthly rent — or the back-rent due, for that matter.  Bill collectors calling and harassing was also a daily occurrence.

But even in those dark moments, my parents rose up, believing that life could get better and change if they did not give up.

We knew Dad had what it took to be an incredible salesman.  He had such charisma and could get people to rally around him and go after the goal.  We would bind together during those times for support.  We would create an atmosphere of hope within our home.  I can remember learning to be happy in the midst of crisis.  We all did what we could do as a family to support each other.  I had a job and each week I would give my check to my dad until he could get back on his feet with a job.

Later, a breakthrough came and he was offered an incredible opportunity with another gentleman to start up a company.  From that point on, I cannot tell you that it was all easy, but we knew how to stand and believe in our future.  Even when others would come against us and tell us we would not amount to anything, we would laugh it off and move on to our victory and here we are today.

My goal with this story is to encourage those of you who may be in a similar situation as we were those many years ago.  When you are in the midst of darkness, don’t give up.  Your time is coming if you just hold on.

Through education, I continue to see so many come out of their darkness and are able to prosper and to excel in their occupation.  Remember to keep moving forward and never give up!

I want to leave you with some tips on how to survive the darkness:

  1. Understand where your strength comes from and then zone in on it.
  2. Never lose sight of your dream…it is still there.
  3. Find your support group and they will keep you positive
  4. Keep your confidence high by reading motivational books
  5. Finally, remember victory is just around the corner so don’t give up!

I would love to hear from you and what you do to persevere during a crisis in your life or work. Please let me know in the comments below.



  1. Mike Fiola

    When times get tough or dark I think of my son and the legacy I want to leave for him when I’m gone. I want him to be proud of his Dad. In that I find my motivation to push forward.

    God bless


    1. Chantell Cooley Post author

      I totally agree on your post. I wrote the book with my daughter called, “Diving Deeper with God” which I wrote about in previous blog and I am so glad I did this because this book will be apart of my legacy with her. It will be around forever and to have had the opportunity to write it with my daughter makes it even more powerful to me. So you are making your mark as well and your son will know what you did and pass it on as well. Education is such a legacy to leave. Having it not only empowers you to move forward in life but creates such an example for others to follow! Great to hear from you and we are so proud of you being a part of CSU!


  2. Melissa Gifford

    Thank you for such an inspirational story. I relate to many of the struggles growing up and into my adulthood. Now I am at the point in my life were I can focus on my education, grow from the struggles, and move forward.