A lifetime of helping, one cup at a time

Cheryl Barrett Steeped TeaHelping people see their potential is Cheryl Barrett’s greatest joy. So much so, that when she sits down to reflect on her life and why she’s here on earth, one main answer comes to mind: to help. “Somehow, in some shape or form, to help everybody around me,” says Cheryl. “That’s my purpose.”

For twenty-two years she fulfilled that purpose through working as an early childhood educator. Those first few years, says Cheryl, are key to a person’s development and  “by George, I wanted to make sure they fulfilled their potential.”

Strength is another trait that defines Cheryl’s life, and the challenges she’s lived through may play a large role in why she has such a strong desire to help others.

At twenty-one, when Cheryl was five months pregnant, the father of her unborn child walked out of her life, leaving Cheryl alone through her pregnancy. Her daughter was born with down syndrome and when her father came to see her he asked Cheryl if she’d be willing to put their daughter up for adoption. In that moment, Cheryl decided she wanted nothing to do with him. He moved away, and Cheryl began a new phase of her life.

“Support is important,” says Cheryl. “You need your family and your friends. It’s important, too, to educate yourself.” With down syndrome came a life of learning lessons and keeping up to date on information that was coming out by health practitioners.

Cheryl’s goal was to be involved with all of her daughter’s treatment while treating her just like anyone else.  She didn’t want her daughter’s disability to be the focus, but rather wanted people to see that down syndrome is not a crutch. “She has abilities,” says Cheryl, “just like everybody.” A large focus of Cheryl’s life became helping her daughter navigate life, always encouraging her to realize her potential.

“It doesn’t matter if you have challenges, a disability, you are capable,” says Cheryl, while stressing that life has taught her the art of overcoming obstacles and challenges. “All these little life curveballs that were thrown at me, I got through them. There was a lesson that came out of every one of them.”

Learning these lessons doesn’t happen overnight, says Cheryl, and they won’t come easy if you’re on your own. Because of this, she keeps herself surrounded by people who are uplifting and positive. They help her get through the rough days. But, says Cheryl, she’s learned “no matter how bad things are, they’ll get better.”

Cheryl’s own positivity and desire to help others serves her well as a consultant with Steeped Tea. She’s a Senior Group Leader in the company and has a team of fifty-eight people. In addition to sharing a product she loves, every day she’s helping her team see their potential.

Cheryl’s path to working as a Steeped Tea consultant wasn’t a direct one.

In 2008, after having her second daughter, Cheryl realized paying the outrageous cost of infant care just so she could work taking care of other people’s kids didn’t make sense. So, she quit her job to start an in-home business as an early childhood licensed practitioner. She did that until her youngest was in kindergarten, at which point she felt too housebound and in need of more social stimulation.

“My life needed more flexibility,” says Cheryl. “I was not having enough time to function as a wife and keep up with the daily routines of my children, who are busier than I am.”

Rather than go back to being an early childhood educator, she decided it was time for a change. She worked in direct sales with a jewelry company for three years. Around the time they folded, a friend sent Cheryl a sample of Steeped Tea’s Lemolicious fruit tea.

Due to her mother’s health problems, Cheryl had started focusing more on healthy eating and was hooked on the idea that she loved the tea, without any sugar. She signed up and has been working full time as a consultant ever since.

In the beginning, time management was the hardest challenge. Cheryl couldn’t say no and was available for her team 24/7, but, she says, you have to balance your day. Part of being a leader is getting your team to see their own potential and not burning yourself out.

Becoming a leader is what working in direct sales did for her.

It’s not anything she ever thought she would do, let alone be good at. “Someone saw in me the potential I didn’t see,” says Cheryl. “I didn’t have confidence in myself. Getting up in front of people to speak would put butterflies in my stomach.”

Now, she gets excited when she’s in someone’s home, talking to people about the types of tea, even if they’re strangers. She’s spoken in front of hundreds at a conference, telling others her story. “The biggest thing I’ve gotten from this whole experience is confidence,” says Cheryl. “It’s helped me become a better person, take on new challenges, and get out of my comfort zone.”

She loves that she gets to help others step out of their comfort zones too, while finding a flexible way to support themselves. Whether someone is a mother homeschooling her three children or a college student needing extra income, working with Steeped Tea is an option that can help people meet their goals.

“You get out of your business what you invest into your business,” says Cheryl. Consultants need to manage their time wisely and learn tools, but the company has a great support network. Cheryl’s seen first-hand that it’s possible to reach financial goals or have that dream vacation. “You can earn it by running your business successfully.”

Although Cheryl has enjoyed these types of rewards, the personal reward and satisfaction of helping the members of her team achieve their goals is even better.

She also really just loves the tea. It’s a healthier option compared to the sodas and juice people may have been drinking before, and it helped Cheryl walk away from sugar.

When she’s not introducing people to their new favourite cup of tea, volunteering with the Newfoundland and Labrador Down Syndrome Society, or spending time with her family, Cheryl keeps her joy by taking time for herself—scrapbooking, painting, yoga, eating healthier. “I find it calming and relaxing,” says Cheryl, “it helps me stay focused.”

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Love a good cuppa? … tea that is. Visit Cheryl’s Steeped Tea page and check out the catalogue to find something you’d love or, if you’re in the St. John’s, NL area, contact Cheryl about hosting your very own tea party for you and your friends to try a bunch of free samples. You can also find Cheryl on Facebook.

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