I typically only write twice a month, but something snatched my ability to sleep Sunday night. I wrestled with this Sunday insomnia for most of my life, but this night it seemed different. I have been in deep reflection as the state of the world seems to be in chaos. Like many people, I had goals and aspirations for me in life, yet as I sit in a place of isolation beyond the pandemic, I feel exhausted. Being hopeful is exhausting, especially when there are no indicators of a better tomorrow or if you will even see tomorrow.
In a world that prefers one to ignore their internal compass to appear unbothered, I wrestle with the pure exhaustion of continuing to show up like I did when I knew everything would work. In my meditation time, a few ways to help restore hope popped in my silence that I hope may help you if you find yourself tired beyond what a nap or vacation can do. I also hope that if you have a tiny glimmer of optimism, your desires can still come after many detours and that you have someone in your corner who can rekindle your light as you deserve to see your dreams and maybe be daring to dream bigger again!
When you were younger and full of life, you may have been very sure of yourself and had confidence that you could move mountains. However, over time being passed up for various promotions, failed business launches, and even a dream of having a wonderful loving home begin slowly fading away as the compounding weight of survival clutches you. Every new job, you may say, this will be where I get my opportunity to flourish, and you start firing on all cylinders until you look up. It’s been 5 years, and you are still no further than you were when you started, and to make things a little spicy, you’re seeing people you may have started with blowing up. As much as you may be happy for them, bitterness and the jaded overtone begin to color your world.
Maybe you have been trying to launch a business that you know would be a significant blessing to the people you serve. Instead of watching the latest Netflix series, you push on through the night, researching and crafting what you believe will be the most incredible thing. You start creating and posting yourself and see that no one is engaging with it, and the newest social media trend that is making others become a viral sensation just doesn’t fit into your path. Yet, you try anyway because maybe it can help you become more visible. After a while, you lose your zeal, and the business becomes more of a laughable expense.
Finding inspirational or motivational content is just a Google search away; however, most of it is rubbish as it doesn’t take into account those who aren’t just sitting on their hands but those who are still trying to make things shake. Yet, the spark they once had has been gone for a while. Regaining hope isn’t an easy faux positivity ideal; it takes work. But, it takes strength which I assure you you already have as you are someone who has to keep showing up when there is no indication that what you want will come.
3 Ways to regain hope when you have lost your spark
Reassess your reason for your goal
I have mentioned this in a previous post, but being grounded in your why always helps to boost hope when you have run out of gas. If your goal is to have a better career doing what you love so that you can elevate others, knowing that you not reaching your goal isn’t an option as you doing your part is needed for others to do theirs! If your why is rooted in making things better for more than yourself, let that be fuel to keep moving.
Remembering your why also helps you to say no easier to things that can rob you of energy. As hard as it may feel to say no to things, this allows the energy you do have to have a more concentrated effect. When you gain traction, it helps to add more fire to your flame, ultimately making you shine brighter.
Be around those who are on fire
When your car is out of gas, what do you do? You don’t just sit around. You go to the gas station to refuel. Similarly, when your spark is low, you need to be around people who are still sparkling and who you may be able to get your spark relit. Being around people who are equally as ambitious and focused always stirs me up. What types of content are you following if you don’t have people around you? Is it by people with an authentic zest to achieve or just posing? Community is essential, but sometimes you may not have people close, but you can always engage in online groups and consume content that educates and enlightens.
Another thing that can occur when you become exhausted is you begin to forget who you are and how talented you are. I had a mentee feeling the pinch, yet she started participating in various groups on the subject matter, which in turn helped her to be more laser-focused and reminded her who she is and has always been. You can’t see clearly when the room is too dim.
Hire a life strategist/coach
A life strategist or coach’s focus is to ensure you are engaged with your goals, hold you accountable, and be a source of fuel. All major players have coaches they can attribute to their success. The coach doesn’t do the work for them but provides the container for them to be set up for success, helps keep their head in the game, and includes strategy, especially when one is losing their spark. They know how to dial into you so that you can bloom in your highest expression. A life strategist understands the power of words and motivation. It’s not just a feel-good engagement but one where you are reminded of who you are, what you have done, and how this too will come to pass.
There is a special type of joy and spark one gets when they are flowing in their talents and helping others do the same. As the old saying as one heals others, you heal yourself.
As I wrap up, I hope these tips helped relight your flame as your gifts and dreams deserve to be a reality. As hard as it may seem, speaking life over your dreams is a must. Showing up as though you are already that executive or business owner is the only way you will align. Do not lose heart in pursuing your passion, and don’t feel bad if you have become exhausted. My reminder to you is to rest and know all the things you have done before are a testament to what you can do. Ready to take your goals to the next level? Go book a consultation now, and let’s make the rest of 2022 and beyond your time shine.
Beyonce’s 6 in heels was one of my fav songs for a long time because the hook epitomized my life. She grinds day and night, she grinds Monday to Friday, works Friday to Sunday. For years my focus was trying to make the best of today but create a tomorrow that was worth something. Growing up poor and without a supportive family, I have known some form of working outside the home since the tender age of 8 years old to survive and pay my way to better. Working isn’t inherently flawed as it can teach a person to use their power for the benefit of self-preservation. However, in our hustle culture of today, if you aren’t working a 6 fig 9-5 and juggling multiple side gigs, you are nothing. Back then, I traveled for work on average 40-45 weeks a year and would sacrifice my weekends and any down time as you would find me in a corner in the airport working while waiting on the plane and on the plane ride to trying to make myself relevant for social media as an influencer.
Fast forward to 2020 and the start of the pandemic. I had just moved across the country and was adjusting to my first Mid-West winter, which is no easy feat. Along the way, what we know as Covid hit and made the world shutter at home. After the initial shock wore off, I, like many others, felt it was best to max the time at home to make ourselves better than we were. Every waking moment was supposed to be used to lose weight, plan and launch a business or write the most extraordinary novel. I felt this was a great time to focus everything on all the projects I had that I couldn’t do because I worked outside the home and needed daily respite. Then May 2020 hit, and everything was flipped upside down in the heart of Minneapolis. I struggled before with the onslaught of news coverage, but my depression intensified beyond my ability to distract. I could no longer push myself until 2 am and wake by 8 am for work and try to capture just the right image that may garner attention on IG.
Eventually, after 4 years, I had to let my influencer dreams go as enough time and resources had been invested without proper ROI. For the first time in years, I was like an ordinary person who just worked a job and nothing more. I felt numb for a while as I was exhausted but eventually, the hustle culture that had been engrained for 3 decades would pull at my identity. Taking a break meant only doing what I had to, which meant working. I noticed that I slowly went against my company’s culture of not working past 5 pm and definitely not on weekends or days off. I was recently given feedback that my passion focus equated to “doing too much.” It was a hard pill to swallow but forced me to evaluate why I felt I needed to overwork.
Hustle culture emphasizes productivity and achievement at the cost of one’s basic needs. When the world has told you that unless you are a 30 under 30 millionaire, especially if you happen to be Black or POC, you aren’t working hard enough, it fosters a mentality of self-sacrifice and not being able to pivot when it’s no longer feasible. One creates unsustainable timetables as they act like a protective cloak to reach those goals. However, often being so rigid can be like an invisible chain not allowing you to develop fully nor being able to get help when needed. As a Black woman who doesn’t fit into the ideal bucket of Black women, the need to achieve provides a buffer of protection or an illusion of security navigating the world. The token Black woman who has performed well beyond ordinary understanding. Growing up very poor and in a toxic home, I longed to escape any connection with my upbringing and to be the type of Black woman who was often desired and idolized.
The hustle robbed me of being able to celebrate my small wins that are needed fuel to continue the journey. All I could see was how I wasn’t on the way to C-suite while having a million-dollar launch, looking snatched, and being wine and dined. After ending my influencer focus, I have tried my hand at launching my consulting business, which focuses on helping women create their happily ever after life. However, with all going on in the world, the need for a coach has been a slow process.
Over the past year, I have self-reflected on why and how not achieving certain milestones has caused me to lose my zest for life. The need to understand and balance being ambitious vs. hustle mindset is very different. Sometimes we will tell ourselves that we are just high achievers, but actually, we are trying to distract ourselves from areas in life that may not be well developed, or we are trying to soothe our ego by the dopamine hit we get from always being on. The badge of honor we sometimes get for being always available and going over and beyond is real, especially if you don’t have anything else in your life. Who are you if you didn’t do all the extra? Do you feel worthy of greatness if you aren’t being shiny and grand for others to appraise you? These are just a few questions I had to ask myself that provided me with a wealth of self-reflection
In my self-reflection, I have pulled 3 ways to help move forward from the hustle culture and start to enjoy life. These may seem simple, but often, the madness of our doing needs something counterintuitive to help resolve the pain points.
Take a hard look at your motivation.
Are you glued to your phone looking at everyone’s highlights from IG and Linkedin? If what is keeping you driving harder than needed is to be able to get your shiny moment, you have been hit by the hustle culture, and the only way to move forward is to release the object. If the goal truly makes your heartbeat, removing yourself from social media for a month is the next best thing. If you are someone that needs to have a digital presence, batch create your content and schedule it out. You may even want to outsource this item if you need to check messages for possible opportunities so that you can completely disconnect. This isn’t easy as we often go on social media mindlessly, yet seeing someone get that shiny promotion and get all the likes, and praise can push us further into the hustle.
Take inventory of your life holistically.
I mentioned earlier that if your life isn’t fully developed, you tend to overcompensate in other areas. So let’s say you’re a single girl who doesn’t have a robust family and friends sector. It’s easy to fall into the hustle culture of overdoing to give yourself something to do. Or maybe you are a mom and wife, yet you never have time for yourself because you’re devoting all your waking moments to someone else. As much as it may look honorable as it may appear, take a page from the airlines, and put your mask on before helping others. This was a hard lesson that I’m still working on, but I have learned to sit with the discomfort of not jumping into things when not invited in and be ok with the boredom of not overworking. It’s also not lost on me how our society conditions what being a real woman is by doing all the things while needing to look fabulous at the same time, and this is even more compounded when you add the intersectionality of being a Black or POC woman.
Accept being ordinary
Our society often rewards those who go over and beyond at the cost of balanced care. In my life, the single motivator was to put as much distance between me and my impoverished upbringing. It made my thirst more than what I am, the all-encompassing focus for all I do. I believed for many years I had no reason to sleep or rest as I wasn’t successful yet. This ultimately cost me in various areas of my life. In my quest to be an ideal Black woman, I lost my ability to appreciate how I was uniquely crafted and my gifts. I noticed a trend many years ago that those celebrated and often idealized were the world’s unicorns.
Being ordinary in our society is unacceptable! We shun anyone who isn’t trying to be up on this. As I look over my life, I’m not a millionaire model who is highly visible or well known. To accept that I may never be what I may uphold as the standard is challenging. However, we have all done hard things. It’s freeing to be able to choose our hard. By focusing on what I’m good at, even if it’s not going to lead to being a NY Best-Seller book or allow me to speak in front of millions, it would be a better quality of life to invest in my abilities and flourish within reason on the scale I can.
I hope this post helps someone who may be stuck on the hustle culture loop as it robs you of joy in life. Your identity isn’t wrapped in what you do but in how you can show up in the world. So often, the things we hold dearly or idolize will be broken, especially if they inhibit us from flourishing. I would love to hear your thoughts be it good or bad. And always, if you need help in strategizing your life, always hit the contact page, and let’s connect!
The girls are outside, and fashion needs to be had. I haven’t created a fashion post in a while as I felt what’s the need when we should be inside. However, as the world always evolves, so should your looks. I feel Summer 2022 should be for the hidden hotties who never got to live out their hot girl lives. In this post, I will share some summer 2022 fashion ideas to help make this one a hot one.
Tip 1: Braless is for all
So last year, I was mentioned in Instyle for 10 ways to go braless, which as someone who is bountifully blessed up top it, was so countercultural. I have always felt I must wear a bra, but as I got into wanting to feel more sensual, I decided to start going braless. I began doing so in my non-high impact workout days and then finally branched outside. After getting over getting a few stares eventually, I stopped worrying and it was an amazing experience. Being from the equator near heck, aka Texas, being able to wear dresses and tops without a bra has felt refreshing.
Now some outfits require some support unless you have smaller boobs or surgically enhanced boobs. The next best thing is Boob Tape. I bought some from Good Lines, which I like as they come in nude colors for darker skin and will allow me to be dangerous yet supported for some of my more risque attire this year. It takes a little experimenting, depending on the size and heaviness of your girls, but it’s well worth it.
Tip 2: Closet Health Check
I always tell clients that before you go buying up the world for summer, check-in your closet first! Check to see if there are things that don’t fit well, need mending, or are just not your style anymore. While you are in there, you will find pieces you haven’t thought of that are in good shape and even possibly be remixed to be a spicy number. Once you have your closet inventory, then you can shop. I will always be of the mind that having staples will make your life easier, and it allows you to have structure for your outfits, especially if you’re going to experiment with trendy colors and patterns.
Word of advice, no matter what’s in season or hottest trend, if you aren’t 100% yes when you get it leave it on the site or rack. Some trends are cute to look at but aren’t for your body shape or lifestyle. I recently saw a cute denim jumpsuit but looking at it in more detail; it required a lot to just get into it. Fashion is meant to be fun and a form of expression, yet I see women wearing trendy pieces that swallow them up or mask their true selves. You don’t have to make a huge investment in trendy pieces unless it speaks to your heart.
Tip 3: Beauty Check
Summer beauty often gets overlooked as we go out more and wear less. Wearing complexion products like foundation can be tricky if you’re poolside. I recently picked up the Rare Beauty Tinted Moisturizer, which gives you just enough coverage to look together without the heaviness of a full foundation. I reserve my foundations for nights out or something where I will be inside.
A hot product that I reach for a lot in the summer is the Fenty Cream Blushes, as they give you that nice flush of color that wears well as the day goes on. My go-to summer beauty is brows, lips, and lashes with a little skin correction. Oh, and this is an obvious thing we wear sunscreen in this house. Make sure you have a sunscreen that supports your skin and touch it up often. Sunscreen is not something just for summer, but I know the girls can be a bit lax in the winter months.
Summer fashion is a collection of your self-expression fun, light, and vibrant. Make sure your keeping it safe and give looks this summer. If you follow me on Twitter, make sure you tag me in your fashion looks.
Growing up poor, I was constantly reminded that I wasn’t like the others. I grew up attending a middle-class church where it was instilled in me that being respectable was the gold standard. I often was in a dilemma of being too poor to play in the middle-upper class Black community games and too weird/alien-like for the hood Black community. Being a first-gen, my vision of success was getting my degree and being finally seen as a respectable woman. Somehow the doors of the world would open to me after so many years of constant direct and absorbed messages that I wasn’t enough due to my size, socioeconomic status, and color. The message was loud and clear to be respectable meant I was of value, and coming from my life, it was my fuel to get to where I am.
As I evolved over some 30+ years, it took the pandemic for me to sit with myself and reflect. Is my focus on being seen as a good and respectable Black girl killing my ability to show up authentically? Is my desire for validation and acceptance all a facade to fill some need from long ago? The more I peeled back the mask, the more I saw myself. I don’t like most of what is seen as respectable as it reinforces a dogma that is elitist, colorist, and classist. It perpetuates a notion that I, as a fat dark, skin Black woman, unless I’m overworking to overcompensate for my moral failure of not being fair skin and skinny, I was nothing. My interest has always been in the taboo. I adored wearing items that would show what little I had and loved people who didn’t follow the sheep programming. Being respectable kept me in a straightjacket as depression and other mental illnesses plagued me. To be respectable, I needed to hide all of my suffering in life to be seen as someone that could be tolerated in the circles of respectability.
Over the past four years, I have created content on leveling up or self-evolution where I can see the thread of respectability through it. I never meant to be one of those girls as I don’t even believe in religion or the community; however, when something has been ingrained, there may still be a bit left behind no matter how much you evolve. Respectability will limit your growth as it often hijacks your true self. Wanting to emulate women who have been portrayed as high-class, high-value, desirable women has left me bland and generic. There is nothing wrong with wanting to live life a certain way, but it should be based on a moral code that you have set for yourself vs. what others have pre-written, as it’s often to their advantage and your downfall.
I recently submitted to be a speaker for a group, and I noticed my image was kicked back with the notion it needed to be professional. My picture didn’t look as though it was a poorly lit selfie, but it dawned on me there was a garnish of boob that immediately made me seem unprofessional and uncouth. I felt enraged as it has taken me years to feel comfortable being feminine in the professional sphere of life as the norm is to reduce your feminine appearance as much as possible to be accepted. Over the past two years, I have ridden my wardrobe of stuffy clothing that was like a noose to my creativity and authenticity. This was no easy feat as I had to learn that being full might mean the dream of being a respectable Black woman would never be. I craved owning my beauty and not hiding it as it was cancerous to my soul. I understand different audiences mean possible different aesthetics, but I no longer was so malnourished that I would pretty myself up only for the gaze of respectability.
I feel my voice will finally be my own as I continue my content creation. I have reviewed some of my older work and cringe at the illogical and elitist tone. I understand many adore such and praise those who continue spreading such messages. It’s like any phobia. If you speak the message of the oppressive group, you may be seen in a higher light and be tolerated as you have subscribed to their perspective world view. My message here is that as you evolve, please make sure you do your inner work so that your truth is what fuels your change. You don’t need to alter yourself to be acceptable. I’m all for being at your highest form, but it should be from your own
Self-love has always been a term I didn’t feel at ease in my younger years. People plastered the word various notebooks or feel-good sessions when they were selling things or when people wanted to avoid accountability. Over the past few months, I have begun reading All about Love by the late bell hooks. I was skeptical of the book by title alone but found it resonated with me deeply. Self-love, like self-care, isn’t just a feel-good marketing slogan to promote consumerism. Self-love requires effort and facing one’s deepest self. Self-love requires accountability and honesty. One can’t say they love you and abuse you simultaneously. Many people confuse care for love, an ideal hammered home in bell hook’s book. Many people may provide things to themselves, but that doesn’t equate to love.
Over my 30+ years on the planet, I have experienced many painful things and was shunned for not parroting back—the faux positive sound bites. I am someone who doesn’t enjoy being fake, as suppressing my emotions always makes things worse. Being a Black woman, I found that one needed to appear as never troubled and always sunny is exhausting. I firmly believe that the heaviness often associated with being a Black woman directly correlates to having to keep up appearances. In the same vein, often, we judge those who don’t keep up the facade. Self-love, at its core, is loving self and doing the things to ensure your preservation actively. When you aren’t honest with yourself, you can’t help yourself properly. How can you be satisfied if you are thirsty yet won’t admit it?
When I created my consulting firm, my main objective was to help Black women and WOC achieve the goals they wanted. Many times the goals we are pursuing aren’t of us but in an attempt to make ourselves be someone of importance. The need to be someone important allows us to access safety and privileges. I was so focused on wanting to make a name for myself and climb the corporate ladder throughout my life, but eventually, I had to ask myself why? Is this truly what I desire, or is this still an attempt to be respectable and acceptable? It took a lot of deep reflection to answer that question with honesty. First, you must look deeply and remove anything out of alignment. When you release what no longer aligns, you free yourself to receive what is.
Self-love isn’t just materialist things. It’s also the investment of time and energy to get you to where you want to go. Black women and WOC must learn to put themselves at the top of their to-do list, even if they have children. When you refill your cup, you can give more abundantly. When you give more abundantly, everything around you can bloom. As Black women, we are prone to burn-out, depression, and a host of physical ailments as we are giving our best to others and not receiving that in return. In my chats with women of all colors, statuses, and creeds, there is often hesitation to be adamant about one’s self-care and preservation. We often fear we will look snobbish or bitchy to others as if being a martyr is nobler.
My hope for Black women and WOC is they take control of their lives by loving the best thing in their life: you! Invest in your life at your current station. If you don’t have a lot of money, grab what you can for free and make it the best possible. As you invest in your life, more will come, and as you elevate, continue with investing. Many have become very ugly towards women who invest in themselves, from plastic surgery to hiring coaches or hiring help such as a maid. It often is deeply rooted in not feeling good enough or deserving, so they project this upon others, especially those who look like them. I have had former friends tell me I’m full of myself because I desired to hire movers vs. exhaust myself by doing it myself.
I believe self-love makes the world better because we are made from love as I wrap up. When we don’t allow it to be depleted, we operate from such a fluid place. Self-love brings the best out of you and attracts the best in your life. When I got serious about loving myself it was hard and left me with more questions than answers. However, the deeper I went, the more I noticed my light. Some left my life as it no longer centered around them and allowed me more confidence as I was doing things I truly enjoyed.
I want to leave a few affirmations that I hope will invoke self-love in your life. Words hold power, and words are like spells to me.
My hope for 2022 is that you take complete control of your life and if you need help, book a consult so we can partner together to make your as bright and delightful as possible.