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Finding Your Inner Strength

When You Need to Reach Down Deep

‘Karen and Jay share thoughts on the importance of finding your inner strength’

Have you ever had a difficult moment? When all the forces around you seemed arrayed against your every move? And you just felt like there was no way out. We’ve all had times like this. And, when these moments occur, we have a choice. We can surrender; give up and accept defeat. Or we can reach down deep. Muster something deep inside us and find our inner strength – that reservoir of power that allows us to take our game to an entirely different level. And, in so doing, achieve success far beyond what we had imagined possible.

Life is full of surprises, we start out with so many great plans, but along the way, we encounter certain challenges that will cause us to doubt ourselves and our abilities. During any one of these trying times, it is easy to forget that we have an inner strength that comes from believing in our ability to overcome challenges.

Take some time to reflect on your life, experiences, and challenges. Identify moments when you have shown resilience and strength, no matter how small they may seem. This will help you recognize that you already have some inner strength within you. Set goals when you face challenges. But while you do this, make sure to be kind to yourself and acknowledge that everyone has weaknesses and makes mistakes. Each time you overcome an obstacle, you build your resilience and inner strength. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend facing similar struggles.

Yet it’s not just about what we can do for ourselves, others can help too. Make sure to seek support. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who uplift and encourage you. Talking about your feelings with others can provide insights and perspective that you might not have considered. This will help you cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on gratitude and positivity. Replace negative self-talk with affirmations that reinforce your inner strength and abilities. Remember that finding your inner strength is not about becoming invulnerable or impervious to life's challenges. It's about developing resilience, self-awareness, and the ability to navigate through difficulties with grace and determination. Be patient with yourself, as this process may take time.

Many people lose focus and most probably give up on their dreams because they fail to take advantage of the inner strength which everyone possesses. You must do all you can to avoid falling into that category. Focusing on your inner strength starts with believing in yourself. While the results may not be immediate, I can assure you that in the end, the outcome will be fully worth the effort.

E&R Cleaners – Rick Botnick – Inner Strength

Over the past 20 years our country has been on the proverbial rollercoaster. We have overcome a pandemic and a financial housing crisis while at the same time facing an increasingly aggressive rivalry with China and fending off cyber-attacks – not to mention dealing with the advent and implications of AI – and experiencing a heightened level of turmoil and divisiveness domestically.

Thankfully, we as Americans are strong minded, strong willed, and determined to fulfill our dreams through the power of our inner strength. And we at the Sunshine Report are blessed to know a number of such strong and resourceful individuals – as well as their inspirational stories – both here in New Hampshire and across our great nation.

As a wonderful example, last week I had the chance to sit down with Mike Ramshaw and Rick Botnick of E&R Cleaners and Botnick Ventures. Mike is now General Manager of E&R, and in a previous Sunshine Report, we highlighted Mike’s work as President of the Fisher Cats, his dedication to the community and sports as well as his tireless work benefiting kids and veterans.

Meanwhile, Rick is CEO of E&R Cleaners (, a well-known and highly respected laundry and dry cleaning business in the northeast, headquartered in Manchester. Rick’s commitment and determination via his inner strength has helped grow the company by leaps and bounds. The company was started over 100 years ago and was purchased by the Botnick family in 1986, as a small two-route nine-customer business. Fast forward to today and under Rick and his family’s leadership, the company has grown substantially - with numerous business customers and supplying schools and universities throughout the northeast. In 2007, Rick moved the company to its current headquarters in south Manchester. He invested in the business not only to have it grow but help in sustainability. The facility has used cutting-edge technologies resulting in significant energy efficiencies and leading the way in sustainable practices.

Yet, as an additional example of ‘inner strength,’ imagine this. Imagine – what would you do if a very large part of your business was dependent on schools as your primary customer base – and a pandemic came along that pretty much shut down your customers, the schools, practically overnight? It takes an inner strength and strong faith to push forward, survive and ultimately succeed in that circumstance. Yet, that is exactly the story of Rick Botnick and E&R Cleaners. A shining example of the resourcefulness and positive grit that it takes in order overcome intense adversity.

But inner strength is not simply measured by success in business – it is also demonstrated by the strength you share and impart to others. Rick and his wife Renee own and operate a horse farm in Dunbarton, NH. Recently, they generously hosted an equine program for veterans – to provide therapy and recovery. And they continue to give back in so many ways. Rick has served on several boards in the region. From healthcare to veterans, he has supported arts programs by the Currier Gallery and been a steadfast leader for animal rescue and protection.

Ultimately, Rick and his family could have just done one thing but instead threw a pebble in a pond creating a ripple effect of goodness throughout the community.

Our inner strength is our guiding light – we need to keep it burning just like Rick Botnick, the E&R team, Botnick Ventures, and the Botnick Family Foundation.

Crissy Kantor – Displaying Inner Strength – ‘Chilling Out’

The word tough may imply that a person might be unfriendly or rough, but it can also mean that person is resilient, steadfast, and reliable. And, without question, a person does need to be tough to find their way through trials and tribulations. But to be tough and have grace, elegance, and a sense of class is difficult to achieve. Crissy Kantor comes to mind when I think of a person who embodies all of these.

Starting her first business with a hair salon in Manchester in 1997 as a single mother, Crissy saw the need for people to take a moment and enjoy themselves while caring for their basic needs. In 2005, when her dear friend was fighting breast cancer, she realized there is comfort when someone goes to a spa, particularly when facing a trying circumstance, Crissy knew she could offer this comfort to her friend battling cancer and then potentially others as well. In fact, during one of her conversations with her friend, the question arose – what to name the spa? They kept going back and forth until Crissy’s daughter who was listening to the dialogue finally had enough of the conversation, broke in and suggested that they “chill out.” As a result, Chill Spa was born. You can find her at

Although Chill Spa is a business, Crissy has never forgotten the comfort of a spa for those battling cancer. In 2015, after her father Jeffrey had passed from prostate cancer, she established Chill Cares, which is a Nonprofit that raises money and awareness for those with prostate cancer. Additionally, she has a radio show called ‘Chill + Heal’ that airs on Wednesday mornings at 9 am on WFEA. She and The Chill Girls speak with special guests and share experiences and expert advice on how to keep it simple, just chill, and live a happy life!

Crissy’s toughness showed when during the pandemic, small businesses were closing due to the lack of business and having to deal with rules regarding gatherings at businesses. She made sure that all her staff were employed during the shutdown and fought regulations that would hinder her from continuing her work as a business owner.

In 2023, after a Manchester Alderman suddenly resigned, she ran in the special election, winning by a hefty margin. Crissy strives to care for her constituents with the same inner strength, tenderness, and toughness that she has shown over the years. Thanks, Crissy, for helping the people of Manchester ‘chill’ in so many different helpful and healing ways!

Tiffany Foster and The Phoenix – Connections and Getting Active

This week we are delighted to highlight Tiffany Foster - a wonderful leader in our community and whose personal story illustrates the life changing power of our ‘inner strength.’ Tiffany is the Regional Northeast Manager for The Phoenix organization where she is helping build a sober active community that fuels resilience and harnesses the transformational power of ‘connection’ so that together we rise, recover, and live.

She recently participated in a panel sponsored by the Sunshine Initiative, called “Connecting with the Community.” In that session, Tiffany shared a very powerful personal story:

"I was born and raised in MA - the South Shore Taunton/New Bedford area. Every year for as long as I can remember my family and I spent the week of 4th of July at Cold Springs in Ashland, NH where my grandparents had a timeshare. These are some of my best memories. I started using at an early age, about 13, and by the time I was 16, I was using OC's and cocaine and party drugs. By the time I was 18, I was homeless, in and out of detox, jails, and living with drug dealer boyfriends and in very dangerous situations. I became involved in human trafficking and finally got out in 2012. At that point I chose to be homeless on the streets of Boston until I had a moment of clarity and hope in October 2013.

That cold October day, I woke up in the woods of Franklin Park (Boston) and was covered in frost. I went to wake up the person who was next to me and he didn't move. I thought "Oh no, he's dead, and I can't call for help because I don't have a phone". Then I realized I wouldn't have called because I had outstanding warrants. I then thought "If I died out here, no one would know". The person lying next to me didn't even know my last name and I was a missing person because my family was the enemy at that point as they didn't want me to use. The final thought was, "I don't want to die." I hadn't thought that in a long time. I knew I would die out there and I was ok with it. But then, I went into treatment for like the 98th time, and fortunately it was the last time. The person next to me eventually did wake up but that 30 or so seconds shook me enough to make a change.

I got sober at The Phoenix in Lowell, MA and have never left. I utilized a peer support program and found that physical activity helped me cope with anxiety and depression. When I first walked into the program, they sat me down and asked me what my hobbies were, and I was like - to find someplace to sleep tonight. I worked out, did yoga, and ran. I practiced meditation, and I connected to people that were doing positive things to better their lives. My first CrossFit class ever was a Phoenix class. I had had five years of sobriety at that point, and it actually changed the course of my life - I believe it saved my life.

My vision for The Phoenix in NH is that every day all throughout the state there is a group of sober people doing something together. Connecting, sharing stories, strengths, and fears. Utilizing each other's networks to build full and meaningful lives or to get the support they need - from sober mom walks, surfing events, safe sober spaces at concerts, to book clubs and game nights. I would love The Phoenix to ‘be the way’ that everyone gets the support they need with no barriers. Free and accessible to everyone who needs it.

We are funded by grants and donations. We are also an army of volunteers which is how we stay free. And after 3 months, we survey every member that comes to the Phoenix and it's a 97 percent rate of staying sober which is unheard of for any other treatment option.

Anyone anywhere can raise their hands to get involved in a number of ways. Download our app and complete a simple process through which you’ll get connected with the onboarding specialist and if you're in this area her name is Erica. She'll take you through how to use the app, how to set up your events and we even have a marketing team that will help you spread the word about your events. CrossFit in New Hampshire is starting to host classes and the best way to find any of our classes is to use the app and it will let you know what is in your area by your location on that phone any day of the week.”

We at the Sunshine Initiative support and partner with The Phoenix. All are welcome to participate – it’s free and the only requirement is 48 hours of sobriety – and that’s it. The work that Tiffany and her colleagues are doing is having an enormously positive impact – and changing people’s lives – for good.

Thank you, Tiffany, for the courage and inner strength that you demonstrate every day to help others find their way! If you are interested in learning more about this amazing organization, please visit them at

Quotes of the Week: Our Inner Strength

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson "You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." - Marcus Aurelius "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." - Mahatma Gandhi "You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice." - Bob Marley "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela


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