Tag Archives: moving forward

Pushing Past Frustrations

When I started my business, I knew that there was going to be a lot of long nights, early mornings, and valuable lessons. Although I knew that there was a lot that I had to do, I was not prepared. I jumped in head first after I lost my job. I did minimal research and made a lot of mistakes. Nevertheless, I keep going. I am still learning what it takes to start and maintain a successful business. I am also still making mistakes.

For example, I started my business with raw passion. However, passion is not enough to maintain a business. I had all of the intangible stuff, like a vision and a dream. I even had goals written eloquently in my head. Unfortunately, none of that was helping my business. I was spending so much time focused on the non-beneficial things that I was suffocating my business. I had no direction. I had so many ideas and things that I wanted to bring to life, but no mode of transportation. I was just moving aimlessly.

I had to learn how important it is to have goals written on paper and a plan to achieve them. With that, I also learned how important planning and balancing my time is. I am even learning how to make those non-beneficial things beneficial. I am learning how to work harder at working smarter. The secret to all of this is research.

There is so much research that goes into starting a business. You have to research EVERYTHING! There are plenty of times that I got stuck on something and just moved on to something else instead of asking for help from someone who I know has already been through this. This makes a lot of sense because one of my biggest challenges was asking for help. I say was like I am no longer doing it but asking for help is still a bit of a struggle for me. Asking for help only reveals that you are interested in growing and getting better. I am actually learning how to trust this idea but changing my thoughts is where it starts.

Resetting my mind and learning all that I need to learn about running a business is my goal. This is how I am getting over the frustrations that come with getting started. The learning curves, the bumps and bruises, the setbacks, and the poor decisions are all a part of my journey. Of course, success, accomplishments, transitions, and growth are along for the ride. I am not the first person who feels this way and I am sure that I will not be the last. As I learn I share so that others may be able to avoid some of my mistakes. I have switched gears from being passion driven to goal driven. I do not neglect my passion, nor do I ignore it. I have, however, learned its place.

My business is only one year old and I am certain that I will have many more years of growth and lessons. I am confident in this because I want more than what I have now. With that, I am determined to make sure that I accomplish my goals. I have learned and still learning so much about being an entrepreneur. I have been exposed to a wealth of knowledge, some amazing connections, and some dope opportunities.

My unorthodox journey concerns my loved ones and even myself at times. The concern does not arise from the lack of faith but from the state of society. I have always been out-of-order and my colors have often gone outside of the lines. It has been a struggle and it will turn into a memory. I have been one to defy odds and change opinions because I am the change that I want to see. I cannot allow the struggles of being an entrepreneur deter me from living the life that I want and feel I deserve.

As I stated, I had to change my mind in order to change my outcome. What I mean is, I cannot believe that I will be successful if I am too afraid to do what it takes and make it happen. My circumstances cannot change if I don’t believe that I can change them and work towards making the change. This journey will continue to reveal adjustments that need to be made in order to accomplish my goals. I have to be willing to push past the frustrations in order to take the next step.

Fear Didn’t Win

Last night I went to an event at Barnes and Noble for local authors. I was so nervous and almost pulled out of going to the event.

I am not sure how many of you know this but, I am extremely shy when it comes to meeting new people. I understand that some of you are reading this and giving me the “whatever” or “yeah right” face but it’s true. I have been in positions that forced me to come out of that comfort zone, like direct sales. I have sold cars, candles, and even food for other companies but when it comes to me talking about me for me, it gets so hard.

When I first received the email for the event, I was so excited! I started sharing the information with my circle of people and I started promoting. I had a plan as to how I wanted things to look. I knew that I wanted things to be a certain way. I wanted my version of perfection. As time moved closer to the date of the event, my plan crumbled. This is the point where I almost pulled out.

My books were delayed and would not arrive in time for me to be able to have them at the event to sell. The bookmarks that I wanted to give as a gift were not ready. People that contacted me saying that they would come to support started contacting me to tell me that they could not make it. I was concerned with how I would be received by not having inventory for patrons to view. I even emailed the facilitator and looked for a way to get out of going to the event because I didn’t have books available. The way that I wanted things to go, was not how things were going.

The fact that I am reserved made this a perfect opportunity for me to retreat! I was ready to step in my own way and avoid overcoming this hurdle.

Then I thought about what I would be walking away from. I thought about what I would not be showing up to. I thought about the message that I would send to my children. When I stepped back and looked at it, I noticed that I was only feeding into whatever negativity that caused me to feel this way in the first place. It was in that moment that I committed.

I searched for copies of my books that I could use for the purpose of this event. I found a copy of my first book that was faded and appeared less beautiful than what is being shipped currently. I also found a copy of my second book that had fewer cosmetic discrepancies but still was not up to par for my standards. I grabbed them both and said to myself that I would make these work.

The bookmarks that I wanted to make were not ready and I did not want to go without anything for patrons to take away from me. So, I made a few bars of shea butter and peppermint soap and put my website on the back of the bag. I created a shirt with my slogan on it so that when I took pictures it would be visible. I did my hair, put on some makeup and decided that I was going to walk forward, buckling knees and all.

I took those fears and discomforts with me to the event. I even showed a few of those insecurities to the other authors. I showed up with one copy of each book from my promo inventory (these are the books that I kept in the car when I drove for Uber). I didn’t want to put my books on the table because of the slightly used condition.

My gently used book
I shared this with one of the authors at my table and she encouraged me to still place it up there and reassured me that I was focused on the wrong thing as far as the book is concerned. I listened and still placed my book on the table (well, one of them anyway).

I was approached by someone who was initially captured by my appearance and used that as an ice-breaker to segway into collaboration opportunities, speaking engagements, and more. I spoke to another person that described some of the pain that her family has endured for the past few years. She told me that she would go online and purchase both books based on my description and some of what she read in the gently used sample. I spoke to other authors and learned about new ways to market my books and how to be prepared for or organize an event such as this in the future.

When I stepped forward in spite of my fear, I broke a piece of my mold. I shattered the fear that almost stopped me from moving closer to my dream. This event made me realize how much work I have to do in order to build my confidence in me. My confidence in my gift is unwavering but my confidence in myself is where I struggle. I had to change my mind from “everything is going wrong” to “let’s enjoy this for what it is and make the best of it”. I was making a bigger deal in my mind about something that did not even require that type of attention.

I hear people say it all the time, but I realized it while I was at this event…your comfort zone can cause paralysis in your dreams. If you want more you have to reach out, speak out, and move out of your own way to get it. We keep ourselves stuck in positions and situations because we are afraid of a possibility that we create in our minds due to our fears.

I am happy to say that when I stepped into Barnes and Noble, fear didn’t win.

When was the last time you defeated fear?

Mind Games

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
― Albert Schweitzer

People that know me often hear me say things about how strong and powerful the mind is. I am a firm believer that the mind is the first place we doubt and trust. The first place we love or hate. The first place we decide to hold on or to let go. Our mind is the source of it all. The Bible instructs us in Romans 12:2a, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It is evident that our mind is where we act. Our movements, our decisions, our ups and downs, all started as thoughts.

Being someone who is an advocate for promoting mental health awareness, it is important to share with others how strong and powerful the mind truly is. We can hear things in our mind before the sound reaches are ears. We can see things in our mind before we ever open our eyes. Our imagination drives us. We strive to be better because of what we think about ourselves. We move forward because we think that we have to. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions.

Remaining aware of the strength of the mind will allow us to reduce our chances of making decisions that will have negative ramifications. The world is a rough place. If we all began to think about how we would want to be treated if we were on the other side of the fence, we would act and react differently to those that need us. We have to learn who we are and what we stand for. We have to know what we are willing to fight for and what we are willing to walk away from. Once the mind is made up, it is one of the hardest things to change.