Challenges are a necessary part of your journey. Do you believe that? I find it funny sometimes that I still struggle with major and minor difficulties, knowing that life challenges are essential for growth. Still, I long for the journey that is free of struggle and pain. I whimper as I look at all of the areas I have to overcome in order to be successful, without acknowledging that my challenges have the power to strengthen and position me to achieve my goals.
Be vulnerable on camera because people need to know the real you.
Call the people you want to speak for. Risk rejection because it is the only way you find the people who need you.
Keep putting out content. Get comfortable with making mistakes and learning along the way. Don’t let perfectionism rob you of progress.
Would you believe that even though I love to speak, all of this makes me nervous? I feel like I’ve set myself up! There are easier things to do. It has been a hard road for me to be comfortable with being vulnerable. I will never be able to stand on a pedestal and reminisce on my imperfections. As long as I am alive, I will be imperfect. But, the difference is now I invite the rest of the world along for the journey.
Instead of hiding, I do it anyway. I imagine that somewhere in the world, someone else might benefit from my message. That makes it worth it. I’m wiling to stumble and fall in front of the world, on the risk that together, we might actually fly.
I have taken a break from blogging so that I could learn more about my business and myself. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. I thought that I was going to take a week to finish teaching, prepare speeches for upcoming conferences, pull my book together, have someone edit it, and voila, put it out to the world! It turns out that while it might be easy to publish a book, it is not easy to publish a good book. The latter involves sincerity, dedication, persistence, and hard work. If I thought my dissertation was the last time I would have to go through this, I was very, very wrong.
My break extended a bit longer than I had intended. I took a break from blogging during my trip to Brazil (Don’t worry, I recorded a 16-day video journal for you!). When I returned, I started an amazing new public health consulting project that allows me to focus on women’s health and empowerment. I also took time to evaluate the foundation of my business and ensure that I’m employing the correct strategies and taking advantage of available resources to make it strong for the long haul.
I learned that when you run your own business, you have to be sensitive to what is going on around you. Do you need to take a vacation? Do you need to ask for help? Do you need to reallocate how you are spending your time? Although I really missed blogging, I’m glad I took the down time to respond to the needs of myself and my business.
I feel great about my path. I’m learning so much about what I do every single day, while pursuing my passion. I’m not waiting until I get it “right”. Along the way, I’ve found opportunities to integrate more of what I love into what I do. Currently, public health consulting allows me to empower women to care for themselves, coaching lets me partner with individuals on a holistic journey towards balance and excellence, and speaking gives me an opportunity to empower others with my message, while being exposed to their incredible wisdom and diversity of life experience. The women with whom I spoke for 3 hours last week following the UCLA Career Conference for graduate students and postdocs know that I have a hard time leaving a gig! The people I meet are simply amazing.
I could not have imagined this life one year ago. I would not have seen myself on the radio on WEUP 103AM in Huntsville, Alabama, discussing everything from Baltimore to stress and health of African-Americans in the workplace, the glass ceiling, and the importance of both allies and safe spaces for minority groups in corporate America. And yet, here I am. If I worry about the risk and discomfort of stumbling, I will stay on the ground where I am safe. I will never fly.
I share my story in the hopes that those of you who are working tirelessly at something you truly want will be encouraged. Please don’t be discouraged by setbacks and hard work. These obstacles actually give you insight to what you truly want. Are you serious about your goals? Are you approaching them the right way? If you know deep down inside this is what you truly want for yourself, keep going. Give yourself the time, space, and support to figure things out. Grant yourself permission to stumble and fall so that you may learn how to fly.
Don’t think for a moment that because you are struggling, you are on your own. In fact, you are in good company. I love what I do, but I have to try things differently every day in order to get closer to mastery. Of course, this means I fail sometimes, but I’m beginning to understand that minor failures are much better than the risk I take when I don’t even try. Minor failures are much better than the risk I take when I don't even try Click To Tweet
What are you struggling with right now? Is it time to give up, or to take a step back and try a different approach?
Free image courtesy of stuart miles at freedigitalphotos.net