One of the results of centuries of the racial oppression of black people is inherited poverty. Poverty is not only a physical condition, it seeps into one’s psyche and often defines one’s self-worth. Not having the right shoe and clothes because your family can’t afford them, defines the friendships that you can have, which definitely isn’t with the cool kids. The indignity of poverty means the shame of wearing other people’s hand me downs in their presence.
Sometimes the inadequacy we feel as adults stems from the little girl or boy who couldn’t belong, fit in, because she did not have. Our inability to manage our finances is often rooted in the need to fill the void that was experienced by little us, it is to acquire for her what she couldn’t have. Our inability to reach for and aim towards the job we want is the inner chatter of the inner child who could never have what she wanted.
When we struggle to ask for help like for mentorship, resources and support; when we struggle to delegate, when we are fiercely independent and self-sufficient. It is often, the little girl , the inner child that remembers the indignity of being everyone’s charity case. Our inner child may be be driving our inability to receive from others.
Critical to creating the career that we want, without taking forever and burning ourselves out is asking for help and receiving support. Many black women who have attained success often credit the help of mentors, coaches and advocates. This may require the inner work of healing the inner child wounds so we can be free to receive in the present.
We are often told to be confident as if it is something that can be practiced like a dance. Of course, it can be faked, and that advice is also given to us – fake it until you make it. However true confidence comes from a healed inner child. An inner child who is reconciled to her birthright, her innate worth. That confidence is grounded and unshaken.
The reason for the popularity of the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is that people realized that it isn’t enough to have the qualifications and intelligence if you can’t manage your emotions. That the best companies with the most intelligent leaders and best strategies cannot sustain the leadership that lacks emotional intelligence. So it is with building your career, just as it is important to be competent, qualified and effective. It is just as important to be emotionally whole.
Priorities healing your inner child, there is no shame in getting into therapy or coaching to help you. I have often found in my coaching career that once we have shined a light on these issues with a client and they start the path of resolving them; the other technical career strategies are often easier to implement.
Invest in your healing, it might be the lever that will accelerate your career.