Is upward mobility synonymous with assimilation?

Is upward mobility synonymous with assimilation?

One of the biggest psychological impediments to expansion for Black people who already have a measure of success is guilt. There are still so many Black people who are struggling to make ends meet and it feels like having more is leaving our own behind. We feel guilty for leaving the township and living in the suburbs, we feel guilty when we see how e easier life is for our children compared to those we’ve left behind.

What this guilt does is that it leads us to either over sacrifice for others, dissipate any extra we have or keeping ourselves from expanding financially. We give from the seed, instead of planting and giving from the abundance of the harvest.

For Black girls, education and financial expansion gives them agency, it allows them to have a voice, to make choices. To choose who to marry or not to marry, to choose where to live, what to do with her time and money and to set boundaries.

Those who criticise her choices use words that are effective in stimulating this guilt. Phrases like; you think you are white’ ‘you are leaving our ways of doing things’ ‘you want to be a white woman’

This is an assumption that every thing precolonial was utopian for women, maybe it was for men. That when you remove the impact of colonialism the world is perfect for both men and women.

It also assumes any evolution, advancement and expansion is whyte. That sounds like internalising the whyte supremacy that we are trying to decolonise ourselves from.

Black women need to reflect on this guilt, is seeking to advance to the next level of income, impact and leadership unpatriotic and assimilation to ‘whyteness’? Is upward mobility synonymous with assimilation and seeking proximity to whyteness?

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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Can you handle being a trigger?

Can you handle being a trigger?

Black women are expected to work hard, get an education, be confident and successful AND know their place.

Their place is to never be too much, never be too outspoken, never be independent in their thinking, never really own their power. There’s always a tune that they have to dance to.

People love your power, your strength, your ability to make things happen. But you can’t be too powerful, then you become too intimidating.

That explains why confident and competent Black women are celebrated when they enter some these organisations and positions, only for things to turn sour when she starts touching on holy cows.

Why some friendships and relationships fall apart when you move to another level of success or when you start having a voice, advocate for yourself more or put up boundaries.

When you own your power as a Black woman, you are going to trigger people. You are going to trigger your friends, colleagues, the powers that be and even your family sometimes.

You don’t even have to go looking for trouble, it comes with the territory. You have to be willing and ready to manage the backlash that comes with how your power will trigger others. You can’t be a victim about it, power comes with contestation.

Equip yourself to manage it.

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Who needs to get off your pedestal?

Who do you need to get off your pedestal?

At a human level we are all equal. No one is above and no one is below. What differs may be the level of authority we command based on our level of expertise, experience, position, age, resources, etc.

Understand this, give everyone their due respect, authority and priority but never place anyone above you. You are beneath no one.

Understanding this will bring so much power back to you. It will allow you to initiate conversations you would never do. It will allow you to knock on doors you never would. It would allow you to attempt things you never would.

When you understand that whatever authority a person has over you, they got by either working on it longer, focusing deeper on it, or it may just be that they’ve lived longer or have had better opportunities that they took advantage of.

But at a human level they are just like you. They are driven by similar fears, aspirations, etc. They might have a better handle on them, which gives you an opportunity to learn from them, be supported by them, buy from them, be lead by them.

However, only you should have authority over your own life. You might lend it, rent it out, yield it but you should never unintentionally give it away.

Who do you need to get off your pedestal?

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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Are you jealous? Relax, it happens.

Are you jealous? Relax, it happens

Jealousy is a natural emotion, it happens to all of us. Anyone who tells you they do not get jealous must have transcended to super human. It’s your perception of and response to jealousy that you need to manage delicately.

There is a thin line between jealousy and admiration, one can even say jealousy is a form of admiration. How are you able to ascertain whether you have moved from admiration to jealousy? Jealousy feels like a trigger, it doesn’t feel good. It is an uncomfortable feeling.

How you respond to a feeling of jealousy is key. Not acknowledging that you feel jealousy is arguably the reason why you become passively mean or as they say nasty nice when you try to compliment a person whose accomplishments have triggered your feelings of jealousy. Sometimes just saying ‘I am so jealous’ can be so liberating.

How you deal with jealousy is how you deal with any trigger:

1. You acknowledge it

2. You take time to analyse what the trigger is trying to reveal to you. With jealousy it might be that you are acknowledging a desire that you have suppressed.

3. You respond: your response might just creating a temporary distance from the relationship so that you do not unconsciously cause harm – that’s why there’s a 30 day break from following someone on social media. It might mean deciding to be true to yourself and pursuing your desires, it might just mean self soothing or talking to a therapist or coach to unpack and work through this trigger.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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When are you planning to drop that baggage?

When are you planning to drop that baggage?

A pattern I’m picking up from the Black Women I talk to is our inability to let go of the terrible things that happened to us. The regret, the pain, the shame is taking up so much space. There is none left to grow, to make an impact, to live a full life.

We have been trained as women to bear the fault when somethings goes wrong in our relationships and with those close to us. I have observed in many of the social media conversations. It doesn’t matter what the merits of the situation are, the fault makes its way to point to the woman.

That wouldn’t matter so much if we didn’t buy into it so much. More importantly if we didn’t hold on to it for so long. We carry the burdens of failed relationships 20 years later. I remember how in my 20s I would apologise to every man I met with so much shame about being a teenage mother. I now roll my eyes at the thought.

I meet women in their 40s who still choke with emotion about having a child in their teens, by marrying the wrong guy, by contracting an STD, by what their boss said, what that toxic colleague did to them, by being molested as a child or raped in their early years.

That happened 2 to 4 decades ago. You are still carrying that as a wound so raw as it it happened yesterday? When there are so many tools available to work through that? No!

This may sound cruel but it is not okay. You are waisting a precious life. Get help, release all that. Travel light, so you can focus on enjoying all that life has available for you. You are not special; an abundant, expansive life is available for everyone. You need to choose it and pursue it.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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A negative role model, are you?

A negative role model are you?

One of the most painful experiences for a mother is to see their daughter make the same mistakes they have made themselves. We try to give our children everything we’ve never had, with the hope that they will have better opportunities than we had. It can be devastating to see generational patterns sustained in their lives.

Things change when we change. One of the behaviours we need to change is what we model to the next generation. I sit with a number of mothers who want to take up coaching but can’t because they have to sacrifice for their children, in certain instances adult children.

I know that you are smart enough to know that I’m not saying that you should neglect your children in order to invest in yourself.

What I am saying is that when you place your needs last in the list of priorities because you want your children to have everything you’ve never had;

You are not teaching your children that they are worthy and should invest and prioritise themselves.

You are modelling to them that they should never prioritise themselves. That they should always prioritise others. You are perpetuating the martyr syndrome that many Black women are known for.

Research in female rivalry in the workplace, specifically between different generations describe the concept of negative role models. Younger women look at older women’s self sacrificing behaviour in the workplace and decide that this is not who they want to be.

Studies show that the most impactful parent in a child’s life is the one of the same gender. Your daughters might decide to not want to be like you, however unlearning those behaviours will prove to be the hardest work they will probably ever do.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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Are you slowing yourself down, trying to drag everyone with you?

Oprah relates a conversation that she and her best friend Gail when they were in their twenties about how much they would like to earn as they grow older. Even though they were once colleagues, Oprah’s career accelerated much faster than Gail’s.

One of the obstacles that hold Black women back from intentionally making strides in their careers is their need, maybe even pressure to take everyone with them.

As a community we hold each other beautifully in our suffering. It’s inspiring to see how we hold and support each other during a tragedy, a funeral and even poverty. However we don’t do very well in holding each other in our expansion.

This might be because of the condition called ‘the crab pot mentality’ as explained in the book ‘What works for Women at work’ that if there is only space for one or a few at the top. Women will act as craps do in hot water, pulling each other down so they can be at the top.

We can hold ourselves back from advancing in our careers to protect ourselves from the envy of our friends.

Tsitsi Dangaremba demonstrates this in ‘Nervous Conditions’ – how the main character’s family and friends treat her after she won a scholarship. Shonda Rhymes also narrates stories of friendship breakdowns when she became more and more successful.

Because Girls who are raised ‘well’ are raised to be kind, friendly and selfless; we can feel guilty when our success surpasses that of our friends.

We may either self sabotage to stay relevant or we may seek to drag our friends with. Forgetting that they might not share our ambitions.

Imagine what would have happened if Oprah held herself back because Gail was not succeeding at the same rate she was?

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Are you too identified with your story of struggle?

Are you too identified with your story of struggle?

Shonda Rhimes in her book ‘Year of Yes’ narrates her observations of what consistently happens in a room of successful women when they are complemented.

She says that they either get shocked or are embarrassed and want the moment to quickly pass. That most of us haven’t learnt to embrace and own our greatness.

I was recently in a room full of women who we asked to tell the stories of their lives and how they define themselves based on that.

Ninety nine percent of the room defined themselves through a story of survival. These stories we all about bouncing back, enduring and making it through suffering.

They were powerful stories but I questioned how these ladies defined themselves. These were not forward looking stories, these stories did not demonstrate anticipation and excitement for the next level, of the expansion that life can bring.

These stories demonstrated confidents of their ability to survive struggle. Someone said the battle goes for the one who is wearing an armour. We all know of people who seem to be moving from one struggle or drama after another.

An identity of a survivor often attract situations that one it confirms their identity of survival. Survivors only draw struggle from their stories. No joy, no fun, just struggle and making it through.

Maybe it’s time you told a different story so you can have a different experience. Maybe it’s time you tell a story of what you are looking forward to, working towards, building instead of what you’ve survived. Travel light.

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What are you not allowing yourself to achieve?

We know by now that race is a construct that was created to serve a purpose to those who created it. Black people have been able to take what was meant to be a label that stood for all that is inferior and undesirable and redefined it and made it a source of pride and chose to wear it as a crown and made it beautiful, empowering and a source of pride.

However what is empowering also has the ability to be just as disempowering. I have observed with myself, the Black women that I coach and maybe Black people in general.

That our history of the struggle creates matyrs, and long suffering activists out of us.

We want to dedicate our lives to alleviating suffering, not from a point of abundance but from a point of suffering.

Someone said be careful of a man with no shirt on who offers you a coat.

We do that with our careers as well. I speak to women who won’t leave a job because so many people they work with depend on them for inspiration and counsel.

Girl, you are struggling to make ends meet and stressed out of your wits in a position you hate and you are stuck there because you are loyal? Because younger Black women are dependent on you to be their guru and example?

What if you had to focus on living your life in full, striving for the best for yourself, your own happiness? What if that is a more powerful example? There is a difference between lending a hand here and there and taking over. Have some boundaries.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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Are you tired yet of outsourcing your worth

Are you tired yet of outsourcing your worth?

One of the biggest hurdle that we all have to face on our way to the next level of leadership, impact and impact is owning our worthiness.

Women are raised with messages that one day if they are good enough, they are going to be chosen.

That if they are pretty enough, well behaved enough, well accomplished in the art of managing a household; they will get chosen and wear the ultimate dress crown and ring that says you are worthy.

They are also taught that if they work hard, get the education, that great job and take care of everyone, financially, spiritually and emotionally. They will be a source of pride for their family, the best friend to have, a pillar in their community or church and crowned as worthy.

We are taught to outsource our sense of worth to others. We are warned that we should never say that we are worthy, we should wait for others to tell us that we are worthy.No one likes a woman who owns her worth. She is arrogant, she is too much and will alienate others

We are trained to fear rejection because if we are rejected then we would have failed the great assignment. The assignment to seek our worth from external sources.

What they didn’t tell us is that those who own the power to pronounce our worth also owns the power to take it away, to withhold it from us and worst of all to exploit us in exchange for it.

Usually with age and experience most women realise it was all a farce. That’s why some older women say it like it is and don’t care where it lands.

My hope for you is that you don’t wait until you are old, you don’t waste your healthy most productive years outsourcing your worth to people regardless of whether they are in your corner or out to exploit you .

I hope that you get to wake up each day and chose to own it and experience the freedom that comes from that.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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