Anyone who is familiar with social media has mostly kept up and experienced certain trends. Trends deal with sounds and images via reels that seems to be popular. These reels are short clips that portray a particular theme or message.
One reel sound that many are using depicts someone who has just realized their self-worth and value. The sound says, “The price just went up!”. In these videos, people are dressed in their best; most likely with a full face of makeup, showcasing their degree or recent accomplishment.
I am so glad to see so many have reached the point of self-actualization. A comfortability in the skin you are in and a new level of acceptance. However, I am here to say to you regardless of what you just achieved or realized, the price has always been up.
When Jesus died for you, he deemed you priceless. You were worth dying for and worth the suffering. You are a priceless gem whose worth is beyond your own comprehension.
Keep your head up and see yourself through His eyes. You were created with great intention and purpose. You were wonderfully handcrafted, and your arrival was highly anticipated. Don’t ever see yourself as less than, do not compare yourself to others. Everyone is unique and what you carry, no one in the world (no matter how similar) can ever compare or be you. You are beautiful, keep striving, achieving, building and growing. You are your ancestor’s dream and Gods words manifested!
Two sides to a Superhero complex. The one who desires to save the world and the one who needs saving.
One who needs to be saved is typically eager to cling to anyone for their moment of crisis or uncertainty. They need a moment to feel safe, seen, and protected. Oftentimes you will notice that this person has endured some type of loss, trauma, rejection, betrayal, or a wild combination of it all. They have had a hard life full of unfortunate circumstances, conditions, and unkind people.
This person is vulnerable, sometimes gullible, and would do anything just to say that they have someone on their side. This is not a bad trait. Wanted to be accepted, covered and heard by someone is an innate human response. We are all born with the innate desire to connect, feel accepted, appreciated, and have a sense of belonging. However, on the flip side of things it’s not their fault but somehow seem to keep attracting the worse kind of people. When people recognize your desperation to belong, they would take advantage.
Many who never had a solid level of security or love early on in life tend to fall in various categories:
Prey- easy to manipulate, abuse and control.
Stoic – a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining; tolerant
Emotional – Ran and controlled by feelings as opposed to facts.
Anxious – anxiety is their GPS
Balanced – accepted their life events but use them as a tool to propel them forward. The highest level of relational intelligence is exhibited here.
The distressed may encounter an amazing individual(s) but the people they attract don’t realize that there is a magnetic pull. This relationship oftentimes exposes a deeper issue. It’s an attraction to people who need help because you either feel you need to save the world or can relate and operate under sympathy.
Many don’t often recognize that there is an underlying issue. There is a reason why there is a magnetic pull towards each other. The people they attract are not always bad. Sometimes they are good people. Oftentimes, it’s someone with an agenda, other times Good Samaritans who just want to make a difference and lastly the group who has been on the other side of things and want to ensure that someone is guided to a better lifestyle.
The need to be lead, covered and seen will make you vulnerable to certain things or have you acting outside your character in fear of losing that individual. It’s dangerous posture where new behaviors and traits arise. You may find yourself trying to emulate that person, protect your new Savior by any means necessary. You become their cheerleader thinking you’re on their team. Slowly becoming obsessed and see no one else during the attachment phase. Manipulation becomes easy here as you become a pawn in their game movement.
Then there are those who feel the need to save the world, protect, and coddle or enable. Having a big heart is one thing but there are also limits and boundaries not to cross. People with the “S” on their chest tend to be strong individuals who feel a sense of obligation to lead, protect, instruct, intervene, and sometimes meddle instead of mitigating.
Everyone is not your assignment. Its imperative with a person of the helping nature to access before proceeding. Similar to CPR protocol, it advised to check if this will be detrimental to you. Not every interaction is mutually beneficial so proceed with caution. Its important to access what your limitations are, what you are willing to do and how far you are willing to put yourself out there? Ask yourself a few questions about your motive and purpose for involvement make informed decisions moving forward. Don’t sacrifice yourself or put yourself in harms way. Be mindful that everyone does not need saving and may abuse your benevolence and kind heart.
Both parties are faced with complexities. In all things, access your part and the purpose of involvement. Am I vulnerable? A good question for both sides to ask themselves and what’s my motive. There is nothing wrong with needing a little assistance or being a good person willing to assist but it can be disastrous when not done with discernment, wisdom, and insight.
According to my Mentor, Dr. Courtney M. Bradley relationships can be metaphorically compared to classrooms. It’s a place where learning and understanding are put to the test. A place where growth is both optional and speculative. You have to choose growth and your definition of what growth looks like is your own. It’s the place where participation is necessary to enhance your learning experience. A place where one can be on repeat with the promotion in doubt and outgrow a space because they sat there too long with delayed understanding. Bradley spoke about “failing grades”. As you sit in Life’s classroom, it’s critical to really pay attention. Get all the lessons you need to learn and use them to propel you forward as you become better and not bitter. If you are not growing, then you are considered unhealthy. Growth should be inevitable, but we allow ourselves to be stagnated and be delayed. When aspects don’t experience growth, it’s considered to be disabled. This means that there is a slowing or lack of progression. Ask yourself if your love is healthy or disabled?
Bradley also mentioned summer school. Summer school is an intensive course with a limited time frame. It’s the thick of it the heat is up. The time when ultimatums are high in your environment. The pressure is on. It’s quick and you need to make up for lost time or forfeit progression. A short amount of time to get it together because you took the other seasons you had together for granted. The last thing you want to do is get frozen in this position. Like Toni Morrison, it can be “the coldest winter” skipping over the fact that you fell in love. Only hoping to spring into the new but you first must be new.
When class is in session. Your chances of passing are great when you have the right tools, instruction, and opportunity. You must be intentional about success and also aware of your level of competency. Is your love of geometrics aligned? Can you do the math to add up what’s been going on? Are you able to take away selfishness? Are you capable of diving your time? Is your parent thesis blocking your communication? Are issues exaggerated to the tenth power? Is forgiveness exponentially displayed? How about your tools? Do you pencil in dates still? Are you allowing God to be the protractor and compass? If so to what degree?
Are you attentive? Are the fruit of the spirit in your possession? What’s in your bag? What you carry around so walks volumes to your preparedness for success.
With the right tools, guidance, and willingness to learn, you’ll do more than survive, you’ll thrive. There are so many ways you can pass the test of time. With the option of the open book exams. When information is not width drawn or withheld but you must do the work to search. A willingness to take time to scan and observe so you can absorb. Another option for passing is by asking questions, being honest about shortcomings, and requesting assistance. This may require your partner to overcome while they tutor you or give instructions. Nobody has it all together so it’s imperative to approach each classroom with a growth mindset and not a fixed one. A fixed mindset thinks they have reached the pinnacle and do not expand or learn more. They believe their ability to expand and broaden their perspective is set in stone. If you don’t believe you can acquire more knowledge, then you won’t. Not being teachable is a poor trait and just when you’re out to the test you feel vulnerable and exposed.
Some projects require a partner and others a solo act. Our problem is we want to switch behaviors that don’t match what is expected. Each assignment comes with instructions. It’s up to us to make the effort to read or study the material. When your classmate has a question, do you dismiss it or use it as an opportunity for growth or to provide insight? How do you handle your environment?
There are different types of learners, and we must expect that from our partners. Don’t think of yourself as an AP student and your partner in remedial. Even the Plainfield in your heart and mind. Your partner may not understand things the way you do and may require extra time. What’s your level of patience like?
We must major in the art of not knowing (Bishop T.D. Jakes) but minor in ourselves (levels of pride). The only way to gain an understanding of the next is to submit it to the teacher. To yield to the environment, do your part and take assignments seriously. Be transparent about what you don’t know or haven’t been exposed to. Establish a routine and find strategies. Remember participation can be 50% of your grade. So don’t just show up but be “present”. Lastly, you’re not taking this class alone so let commutation be a driving force with your study buddy and earn the accolades together.
Just picture this. You go to a river and desire to work the land to create streams. You are blessed enough to have tools and helping hands. Although it may be some work, we know with some persistence it is completely doable.
But now picture dry land with no apparent water. You do not have any helping hands. You have spent long-time testing and trying out areas where you could tap into water. You’ll dig most times without avail. Some are quite fortunate; they may get exactly what you are looking for which is water. You have just gotten something out of nothing. Moisture trapped under dry land. What a feat and accomplishment but we’re advised to work smarter not harder?
That visual in your mind is that of entrepreneurship today! Miracles are produced with the endeavors of grandeur. Determination to tap into a market with constant flow. What we don’t like to do is tap into a river that’s consistent already to make work easier. When you create a “start-up” or Brick-and-Mortar business, it’s extremely challenging and sometimes tedious to establish.
Oh, to live the American dream and how astonishing to do so with nothing. Yes, it has been done but quality supplies and equipment all have a price. Sometimes, we may have to do what we dislike until we can fully embrace what we love.
Millennials and people of today no longer desire to work on anyone’s plantation only to be used, abused, discarded, underappreciated, and unaccomplished. Those days and that era are somewhat behind us. We look at entrepreneurship as the future. Trust me it is a new day; times have changed but we must ensure we make wise decisions that will benefit us in the long run. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and not for the faint of heart.
Sometimes, getting ahead in this dispensation includes biting a bullet or two on a “9 to 5”. Many are lazy, stubborn, inconsistent, or rebellious and cannot submit to an overseer. Others have been hurt, disappointed, and frustrated from past experiences. Then, there is a small group; a peculiar set of passionate individuals who just have a fire, desire, and longing for something more. This group has big dreams and cannot afford to be limited. This group is ambitious and typically desires to make a difference. Their creativity and hunger for innovation can sometimes get stiffed and viewed as intimidating. This group knows their “why” and just needs some help getting started.
My advice, let the job fund your dream until your dream becomes your dream job. Don’t despise small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). Don’t be embarrassed about your process, instead trust it.
Take it one day and one step at a time. It may become a part of your speech, sermon, or oration. Begin with the end in mind (Steven Covey). Consider the outcome and create a plan highlighting the benchmarks, tactics, strategies, and set goals. Let your “why” strengthen you for your “who” and motivate you for your “what”. We all must start somewhere. My mentor Dr. Courney M. Bradley always says that “God is not a liar and he won’t give you a preview to then disappoint you with a nightmare”. He wouldn’t allow you to dream big or put a passion inside of you if you were never destined to achieve it. Above everything else he wants us to prosper in every facet of our lives and live our best lives. He is rooting for us all! In 3 John 2 (MSG), it states…”How truly I love you! We’re the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health—that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul”. Let that sink in. He desires for us to accomplish and live well. As Christian Entrepreneurs, we know we don’t have it any easier. We don’t just pray and everything becomes peachy. God is not a genie and miracles are not magic. We must put our faith to work and do something about the inspiration downloaded in us. Then you will witness a flow. He will instruct us on which land, which field, which team, and which tools to achieve success. Flow is when you submit to THE Someone to help you create something out of nothing.
WOW! I feel like Aladdin in his self-titled film. I am way out of my element as I enter the workforce and civilization after two years of being “sheltered”. Many of you have read about my COVID positive experience where I encountered a near-death encounter. Unlike some, the road to recovery has been a long and hard one.
After relearning how to walk and talk again, I thought the battle was almost over. As a dancer and singer, being able to sing a melody and do a small step were major victories for me. Those are things I never thought I would be able to do again. Although breathing was still short and my balance was still shakey, I was excited about the progress and just wanted to get back into the swing of things. I wasn’t ready for full-on routines nor could I sing a song without getting winded but at least I could take care of myself again. It’s such a blessing to be able to practice personal hygiene without assistance. It felt amazing to move without an oxygen tank attached to me. It felt incredible to go a few feet without an asthma attack or extreme exacerbations. Finally, life would go back to normal. Little did I know it was one of many phases.
The lingering phase that became a prominent issue was mental health. Dealing with PTSD from traumatic experiences from my hospital stay, to survivor’s remorse as I watched loved ones and strangers become memories. It was followed by the stages of grief that didn’t have an order but a relentless presence. I toggled between anger and sadness, full-on depression. It was paralyzing and left me suspended within a state. For those who understand coding and computer information systems, it was an “if-then” statement that looped without an “end if” present. Searching for a door, a way out, a symbol of hope until my faith in Christ embraced me and nursed me back to health. I also connected with a therapist who highlighted the fact that I was so resilient. This gave me the strength and confidence to continue on. This process took about a year and a half to recover from. You’re probably like okay, this is good getting better right? Well, king of. I still had a few physical lingering ailments that limited my ability to stand, sit and function normally. My lungs took a major hit and being an asthmatic didn’t make this a walk in the park. Walking a few feet was a challenge and I wondered how life would change. Eventually, I got healed, thank the Lord. I started regaining the full function of my limbs. It took two years! Yes, you read that correctly, it has been a full two years! I don’t regret a thing. God allowed me time to heal in various ways, catch my breath, and gain clarity in my vision. Being close to death will shift your perspective very quickly. I returned home with a new zeal to do something more than I have before but this time for myself.
During this time, finding work remotely seemed like the only option but that didn’t go in my favor. I got serious about blogging, moved, continued working hard in school (GO EAGLES), wrote a children’s book, started working on becoming a Certified Life Coach, started the process to become a Licensed Insurance Broker, and started my own business. I took care of my mental health and picked up both old and new hobbies. I aimed to be productive every day until something else worked in my favor. Finally, after two years and tons of applications, I get a job offer.
This new job came with minimum perks but required me to make a maximum sacrifice regarding my health and time. I was instructed to get vaccinated or failure to do so will discontinue this process. This scared me because of negative reviews and things I overheard some factual others not so much. I moved out of state, this meant traveling from one state to another with the risk of being exposed on public transportation to strangers and their germs. The subway? I have been home this entire time. I got adjusted to focusing on my own endeavors and doing it on my own time. I also got adjusted to what others would consider “cabin fever”. I barely traveled and when I did, I was in a private vehicle. I guess that made me a bit spoiled but now here I was, required to move around in a city I left but no longer understood.
Everything felt so new, so different and so strange. the subways were no longer crowded as it was before. I was aware that the crime rate increased tremendously so you can imagine how someone with anxiety would feel about this new experience. There are barely tellers available to ask for help and machines seem to be more prevalent. There were even new payment systems in place. Welcome to OMNY! Oh wow, those were the devices they were installing before the world got infected, how interesting. People were more skeptical than ever interacting with strangers who needed guidance or direction. Restaurants and common places like Dunkin Donuts no longer had seats, obvious hint to grab and go. Carbon footprint increased I see, everyone prefers Lyft and Uber as well as the comfort of their own vehicles. People I met who were so were apprehensive about handshakes and interaction. People finally gave each other space (six feet) in this crowded state which I seem to enjoy. Wow, I can go on so many changes, so many new norms.
People have been fighting to get things back to “normal” but the world as we knew it is officially over. We look at shows like the Jetson’s and even look at movies such as “WALL-E” and say hey that’s funny, so not reality or “that will never happen”. The funny thing is, it can very well become our reality. As things occur and we adapt, the major factor that remains is our dependence on smart devices and equipment. Robots are not the future, they are integrated now. Life from this point requires adjustment.
It is a whole new world, new rules of engagement, and a NEW lifestyle. What I learned from Aladdin is to just be yourself. Find ways to fit in our new society on my own. A new mentality and inner strength are required to address what is ahead. The only thing that will function amid dysfunction is faith in Christ. The road ahead is full of uncertainty, inquiries without direction, and much concern. People are desensitized to the needs of others, destruction, and even world events. Hearts have grown cold. Right now, Russia and Ukraine are feuding and only God knows what domino effect may occur. Bible talks about wars and rumors of wars and gives us prophetic insight as to what the last days would look like. If it’s not one thing it’s another and it’s affecting all of us. Without God, we will not make it. Wealth won’t help when struggles are psychological. Status won’t help when challenges are social and racial. The list goes on, I just want to encourage you that no matter what changes, God will never change on us, He will never leave or forsake us, we are not alone (Hebrews 3:15. He is consistent and faithful. Things feel new, but we serve a God who does all things new. Life with Him is an adventure. With Him, there is guidance, instruction, and direction. He is our G.P.S- God’s Positioning System. We will not be lost or confounded but be people who are wise, insightful, and focused. We must continue to make an impact in this world and share the gospel.
Like Aladdin, our destiny awaits amid what looks hopeless and void. Your entry into your next season requires authenticity. You may be scared but if you are granted a seat at the table, it’s because you belong there. Others will be charged with creating and building their own. Everything will be new. Aladdin, coming from an impoverished environment to a lavish one by taking risks. CONTINUE to trust God in your business and life decisions. Life can change in the blink of an eye and it will come with twists and turns without that “magic carpet ride” feeling but it will be okay. God wants to restore hope. People today are struggling with hopelessness but there is hope. There are yet rooms your name preceded your presence. The wealth of the wicked is laid up for you. Above all things, God’s desire for us is for us to prosper in every facet of our lives. (3 John 1:2). When things are new we tend to run or operate in fear and that’s completely normal behavior. However, we were given a disadvantage of favor and divine intervention. Embrace this whole new world, find your place, bring change, do your part, and watch God work on, in, and through you. Embrace all that’s new and evolve because sometimes the only way to thrive is to adapt.
When folks are determined not to get to know you or fail to interact they will find all excuses to justify their social bias. Just like pictures are worth a thousand words, it’s the same for body language. Speech, behavior, and interaction(or lack thereof) speak volumes. Things such as ostracism, love, toleration, or a sense of belonging are all factors we can feel and interpret.
I want to focus on toleration vs. acceptance. These are silent but huge factors of life. We have things we say and don’t say. Sometimes it’s a huge conversation and other times it’s the big elephant in the rooms that leaves people feeling awkward and left to make assumptions. Someone needs to hear this, toleration isn’t love. It has no place in any sincere relationship. It’s either you are with me or your not. It is time to make things black and white, no shades of gray. The days where we accepted Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde relationships and personalities are over. We all need to choose. When I say choose, I mean take a stand, not to pick a side. Let’s have those difficult conversations and figure out if we would be open enough to accept new and different people or chose to live life in a clique or box rejecting everyone that doesn’t resemble, speak, act or relate to you like your circle does. You may ask “why tolerate someone I would just leave them alone?” Glad you thought about it…
Some have a “good Samaritan” syndrome where they want to look good for doing good and being in your life. It’s a nice story to tell a version that’s plastered with facades and ulterior motives. Other’s may tolerate you because they feel they owe you something and aim to even the score. For some it could be pitiful posture, maybe you have endured a series of unfortunate events and circumstances, and you are kept around because some form of guilt or pity is present. Another type would tolerate you because you bring something undeniable to the table that they need. You may not be needed but your gifts, talents, and abilities serve some purpose they can use. Very few will embrace you because their hearts are open and TRUST me you will KNOW the difference.
Real love and acceptance aren’t things that can be faked. It is so palpable and tangible and permeates leaving you with no doubt. If you have a general problem of accepting or recognizing love in its authentic form then that’s another blog topic to do a deep dive in. For those who may be empaths or empathic and aware, picking up social cues is innate. Your ability to decode and interpret may be keen. Your emotional intelligence can feel like a blessing and a curse. You can’t discern the difference so I encourage you to trust your gut.
Never compromise peace and your emotional well-being just to be surrounded for a moment. If you haven’t already, you would experience and void and emptiness that pretense cannot fill. Love really does concur all. If you’re going to love, do it hard, go full throttle, and be sincere. You never know who needs all of your genuineness. We speak so much about philanthropy and giving back but sometimes the best change and impact you can do in the world around you is to present real love, accept someone for who they are entirely, and let them know how you feel. Whose life have you impacted lately?
They say that “experience is the best teacher”, that’s speculative but I agree in some sense. In life, sometimes you gotta lose enough times to build a strategy from the ground up, gain insight, or see things from a different perspective. These are the defining moments in our lives where we get “gritty” and hungry enough to get the mindset to succeed. We gain strength, a backbone, agility, and tenacity to win. Losing isn’t fun but it’s a part of life. Now one we should embrace and get comfortable with but know it’s a temporary place of disappointment and use it as a stepping stone for forwarding movement and learning. Dr. Courtney M. Bradley says “you can have a situation but the situation doesn’t have to have you!”.
Losing teaches you about what you have within you. Nothing is more revelatory than the times of distress or trouble when we discover who we are and what we possess within. I encourage you not to give up. Oftentimes, our eyes (vision) can get adjusted to the darkness that sudden light will shock and be hurtful. However, if you keep some light on (hope) you will be able to handle the light in its fullness and adjust smoother. You must remain hopeful and remain prepared for when that light opportunity comes bursting through. Sometimes we lose so much that when a win happens, we don’t know how to recognize, receive or rejoice in it. It’s like that now but it would not always be like this forever. Try again, dry your eyes again, stand again, create again, believe again, and dream again but bigger. SUCCESS IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF DISAPPOINTMENT!. YOU CANNOT GIVE UP NOW, YOU MUST SEE AND WITNESS THE SUN-RISE AT THE HORIZON.
The face of entrepreneurship has dramatically changed. Statistically, today’s entrepreneur is fourteen percent female and almost twenty-nine percent represent a minority group. They make up a great portion of the United States GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is the sum of businesses that add to the American economy. Talk about grit and determination. These groups were often underestimated in the past, but are making their mark as they impact and influence several markets.
Traditionally, people would attend a university and rack up thousands in fees or work a nine to five in hopes that their efforts are acknowledged and compensated. The ladder of success seemed to have been missing some steps making things incredibly difficult for people to reach the top without having assistance. If you pay attention, the million and billionaires who grace covers of magazines are getting younger and diversity, more prominent. Entrepreneurship is the preferred avenue to achieve ultimate life goals. Today, we are in an era of the “woke” generation. There is awareness about any and everything because the information is at our fingertips. Social Media, viral videos, innovative ideas, and technological creations have allowed many to attain wealth quickly. “Throw away the ladder, airlift me to the destination,” says the mindsets of Millennials and Gen Z’s. Hard work is still applauded but they abide by the concept of “Working smarter, not harder!”. If you’re going to do a job, do what you love. People today don’t want to be subjected to a system, ill-treatment (from superiors), or disappointed by unsatisfactory salaries. If you’re going to “go hard” let it be for something you are passionate about that’s ultimately beneficial.
Many are supporting black-owned businesses and other cultural groups to prove that they are not unconsciously biased and contribute to change. Many African Americans believe that supporting a black-owned organization or enterprise is the fulfillment of an Ancestors’ dream. Many would agree that supporting your own culture will …
Keep finances in the community.
Increases social pride.
Create community staples.
Decrease the negative stigma of poverty, lack, and ownership.
Representation is imperative right now and everyone is rooting for their own culture to have visibility and awareness. Today, we are aware that being socially and environmentally responsible is preferred. Everything is for a cause or “for the culture” but what happens when a culture has been misrepresented, misconstrued, misbranded, misclassified, and experiences social self-sabotage?
Let’s address the neon elephant on the block. Being labeled a “black business” can potentially hinder growth. I believe that black-owned businesses are often misconstrued because there are so many ill notions concerning professionalism or the lack thereof. Black businesses are not supported by African Americans because many believe that their culture is riddled with a lack of quality, customer service, proper communication, consistency, integrity, and efficiency.
Unfortunately, many have encountered unfavorable experiences with such businesses. While some argue that they experience a lack of support. People of Color prefer to support other races to obtain quality partnerships and encounters. The complaints often expressed… are a mile long but it’s actually social self-sabotage. When someone black says “you know it’s going to be late, it’s a black-owned business”, it is a form of social self-sabotage. Many have lost all faith within their race to produce favorable outcomes. This diminishing of support destroys not just a particular business but the reputation of an entire race.
We all know integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. “Integrity is necessary, not an optional tool. it is an expression of love and passion for your business. This is the only way for your business to advance and succeed” says Anita from “Siomara’s Catering”. It’s not just doing the right thing but putting your best foot forward with good intentions. Many often associate branding with just colors and images that are presented on a public platform. What they fail to realize is, the true identity of your brand is YOUR character. Your core values, beliefs, ethics, and principles become evident in the brand. “What people say about you when you’re not in the room is your true brand identity,” says Brandon Monti of Connecticut. Your perspective will always creep into the culture and environment you create. What you represent as a person will transition and translate to what you present as a CEO.
The term “Black Excellence” is often a hot topic. African Americans love to use and overuse it to show support, pride, or approval. Vaughn Brandford of Brooklyn states that “I think most people are under the misconception of black excellence. Many utilize it as a shield to be subpar believing that they are exceptional by just mere existence. People believe that somehow it shields black people from discrimination and racism, which is a complete fallacy. We must understand, to be considered excellent, we must be excellent. Most of us won’t get a second chance at a first impression. If we know we’re representing more than just “us” then we should consider it in our presentation. The adjective “excellent” should be used without the “black” label. We should just strive to be amazing and successful owners who just happen to walk in excellence”.
Business Owners Tips to fight against statistics:
Invest in professional development training.
Hold others accountable.
Acquire financial literacy and upgrade financial practices.
Invest in software to remain organized and keep track of invoices and payments.
Apply Ethics in everything.
Vulnerability is a must! It’s not a crime to say “no”, “I’m unable to” or be honest about mistakes.
Keep the bar of excellence high.
Sensitivity training is highly preferred.
Train staff on concepts of customer service and the power of a pleasant demeanor.
Watch your tone.
Inferior service is not accepted!
Develop a disdain for tardiness.
DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT
Contracts are your friend.
Make realistic promises.
Be open to key partnerships.
Learn and teach conflict resolution.
Particiality is unkind. Many will be pleasant to another race but disrespectful or rude to their own.
It’s not a competition but it is a competition. You need a comparative advantage for a competitive market. However, do not compare yourself to anyone else other than yourself. Monopoly is a game to play at home. Some competition is healthy to push you.
Don’t be afraid to share information and resources. Even if people immatate you, they will never be YOU. Your unique presence in a saturated market is still needed.
Do not take clients’ funds without providing a product or service and then ignore them. Clients should not have to chase you.
Communication is your friend!
These tips are not to criticize but to aid in the development and formation of your next level in business. Be encouraged. Find joy and pleasure in what wakes you up every day. When you are intentional about living, you can live on purpose, expressing purpose. Elizabeth, owner of the famous “Bizzy Bakery” in Brooklyn states that “It does my heart proud knowing I can brighten a day just by being myself. I love that God allows me to do what I love every single day. Being respectful is a MUST, but being a nice person is a CHOICE. I just happen to be one of the few where being nice comes naturally to me”. “Lizz” is a prime example of how personal brand affects professional branding. She is extremely jovial and easy to interact with. She is a woman of her word and truly finds delight in seeing her customers happy. Her sweet demeanor encourages potential clients to try her sweet treats.
Dr. Courtney M. Bradley states that “you may not have one hundred dollars, but you can show support in a hundred ways!” It should not take another social uproar or protest in the country to drive people to support each other. Here are some ways to show support and as well as some tips for engagement.
Let go of entitlement. Do not expect “favors” and complimentary service due to familiarity.
Share promotional material on social media to increase reach and visibility.
Purchase something without an argument or debate about the price. Their time, energy, and resources were invested in their work.
Encourage someone by acknowledging their good work or practices.
Believe in the vision, it’s not just about the individual.
Encourage others to support.
Speak well of the company, word of mouth is one method of organic growth.
Make a payment on time but communicate in case of an emergency.
Arguing and yelling at owners isn’t the most effective way to make a complaint.
Respect their payment methods and rules.
Ask how you can help or volunteer.
To those who are business owners, working hard to set a standard, I salute you. Thank you for your time, energy, sacrifice, sleepless nights, early mornings, creativity, and passion. Your labor is not in vain, many appreciate all that you do to make a client or organization happy. To every person of color fighting against these common misconceptions, keep going. You being your best self helps combat what is contrary. To every female striving for excellence as a “boss babe” thank you. You are creating a pattern for the next generation to follow. The future of ownership and the reputation of modern leadership is in your hands.
There are two quotes that I despise with great passion. The famous sarcastic statement of “It’s not rocket science” and “I’m hard on you because I want you to be better than me!”. I started hearing it more often and found myself to be highly irritated. I needed to do some digging to find out why. After some reflection, I realized that it was not the person. It traced back to the root of pain where those statements were so rudely introduced.
Emotional and verbal abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse. Although bruises, broken bones, wounds, and cuts heal, words often don’t. If you don’t believe me, ask a therapist. You can carry verbal scars for a lifetime. They are not a badge of honor or survival. They are like chronic health issues that become a part of your daily life and “act up” when triggered. Words can replay in your psyche (soul, mind, and spirit) and be a hindrance in various parts of your life. Both cases of abuse are severe instances that hinder your ability to trust, be open and vulnerable, leaves a residue of insecurity. Oftentimes we think we “got over it” but then memories infuriate you and cause you to do or say something you can potentially regret. Many experience difficulties loving and embracing, you may experience PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is just the beginning. There are panic attacks for comments and circumstances that mirror what you have been through. You may be short-tempered and eager to protect yourself and violent. You may have walls up, become sarcastic, live in survival mode, and experience self-sabotage. There are a host of repercussions and varied effects. After the deep soul search, I realized I was introduced to these quotes from a family member who I loved dearly but never really could determine if the love was ever reciprocated. I realized years later that person was hurting too. They were broken and had to be strong despite what they had to endure. I admire their strength but now I had to let go of those things because words are anchors. While you’re considering going in a different direction, your ship is unable to move because those comments have more weight than you would like to admit. Forgiveness isn’t for them but it’s for us to be free and not give our power away. I know it’s hard for some to consider but it’s the truth. Some things have to be squished, sliced, and dissected so you can enjoy the fruit or the flavor. Well, forgiveness has a fragrance and taste that is indescribable and liberating. I realized that forgiveness is an art. Even in the Bible, it taught about forgiving seventy times seven for one individual (Matthew 18:22). It means that people will offend you and it may be multiple times. I’m not saying to be someone’s fool, but they may mess up more than once as infallible beings. It’s not that anything is wrong with you, you are not “Soft” but being the bigger person who exercises much grace. We must learn to establish boundaries without damaging others and ourselves. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), but it also heals. Look at stray abused dogs. They may want to attack when you attempt to rescue them but it’s like wow look at what they endured. You must give it some time.
“Your assignment will most likely bite you before they bless you,” said Dr. Courtney M. Bradley. People are imperfect and will mess up more times than they can count. Haven’t we done something things numerous times before we got it right?… but yet we are forgiven. The Bible talks about forgiveness being done seventy times seven. If you do the math, it’s 490 times. Most folks would be like who going to sit back and allow someone to offend or attack me that much?. People will be people, and some are trapped in their world of pain-causing havoc. We are so eager to cut people off. If you fire people from a job without an exit interview or some form of explanation there is no lesson learned just recycled behaviors. We end up being stuck in emotions like a bookmark in a dramatic novel. God doesn’t want us to be fooled but to live free. Forgiveness is art for self-liberation we must practice. You may never get that deserved apology but still…practice. When memories offend, forgive again. Keep practicing. “Forgiveness is a fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it”- Mark Twain. I desire to be a fragrance before God that he can be pleased with where beauty is revealed even in pressing times. Understand that people who are abused express what they have been suppressing. YOU are not anyone’s punching bag. You are not called to be the one in the way of projective behavior. It’s a sad cycle but I am learning to have more compassion than I did in times past. Thing’s people say will cut deep but know that you loved and love yourself enough to live through it and surpass it. Have that hard conversation but don’t dwell there, don’t give negativity more life and power. You win just by being your awesome authentic self. Let it all go so you won’t have to live hindered and on defense.
Dr. Matthew L. Stevenson said something so profound… “It’s doesn’t matter where you are from, but it matters where you’re from”. Those words have resonated with me and I abide by this daily.
When people say, “It doesn’t matter where you are from”, the general connotation implies that your background and experiences do not dictate how your life will turn out. Whether you grew up in the projects, a part of a family struggling to survive, lost loved ones, grew up in a hostile community, or just endured unfavorable circumstances doesn’t mean that is all to life. You are not destined to remain there. Those factors do not negate the fact that you recognize your potential, have big dreams to fulfill, and that you desire more. It’s not a cliché to say it out loud “I will not be a product of my environment.” Your past lives in the shadows and has its purposes but it cannot light the path to your future. Circumstances are not always cycles sometimes they are just seasons. In each season, we learn something new and establish new skills.
In the summer, we appreciate the sun although we must protect ourselves. We hydrate and ensure that heatstroke doesn’t become an issue. We cool down but have moments where we enjoy the suns’ benefits within measure. We learn the art of balance. In the Spring, we learn to store up and prepare for winter, yet we enjoy the rain that brings up beautiful flowers. Rain that’s necessary for growth and to yield a harvest. In the fall we learn the art of anticipation, winter is near, and things should be in place. We learn to adapt to change and transition. Sometimes is nice and hot still and other times it can be chilly. We learn to be flexible and adjust when necessary. Finally, many enjoy it and others dread it but there is winter. We learn how to layer, protect, and cover. We are given the heart of appreciation during this season. Maybe you should not have complained throughout the summer or prepared better in the spring? There is so much we learn in each season if we see things with an open perspective. We must learn to accept the good and bad parts of our stories because it makes us who we are. What have you learned throughout various seasons of life?
Self-reflection is not an opportunity to be depressed or loathe certain memories, but to see how far you have come. It’s a time to gauge how much you have grown, know what you would never do again, and also to be thankful. It’s okay to yourself questions about improvement and enhancement. Do you see a process of development? Your takeaways directly affect your responses to life. Do not be ashamed of where you have come from because it shaped your entire existence. It affects perspective, passion, desire, conflict resolution skills, listening skills, relationships, interactions with people in general, temperament, and leadership.
Maybe you always had to take care of everyone else or be everyone’s shoulder to cry on. At this juncture in life, you should have some substance to be a blessing. You could become a system and program developer, world changer, and impact the environment around you. After all that you have been through. Don’t count yourself out. Now is the best time to be that counselor, advisor, therapist, or even a leader in some capacity. Where you came from gave you so much insight into struggle and tools for grit and perseverance. Therefore, it does matter where you are from. Your background and unique experiences all prepare you to make a great impact in your sphere of influence today. Witnessing (or enduring) the abuse was traumatic but imagine how you can get proactive as a survivor and embody strength by providing shelter or counseling for the abused? You have come full circle with your destiny. That’s a powerful moment. It doesn’t matter where the dirt was located, your seed was birthed in the right ground and someone beautiful emerged out of it. It doesn’t matter where you come from because nothing can hold you back, but it does matter where you come from because it can be used as fuel to propel you forward. It depends on your perspective. Is where you come from the biggest factor in your life or can you realize your big potential and factor in how your roots pruned you for the success of tomorrow? “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” —Oprah Winfrey