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Believe in You

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“Do you want to try the medication ?” Dr. Clayton asked me.

”Of course I don’t. I should be able to fix myself,” I replied.

I was resisting wearing the label depressed. I write a blog and teach others tips on how to push themselves to the next level, and here I am, not finding joy in a walk through the park. I know all the right things  to do. All the right things to tell myself. I have studied for this moment for years.

Trusting myself

When I trust the process, I am open to it showing me my messy parts. I am open to revisiting what I have yet to face. My biggest struggle is with my role as a mother. I don’t have much of a support group, and I don’t feel like I am good at it.

Its not because I have problem children, but because I keep comparing myself to everyone else. I am looking for perfection, which on the surface I know does not exist. Unfortunately, I am driving my boys crazy trying to make it exist.

I am probably also driving them crazy preaching one thing and then fussing when they do it. How can I truly get upset with my youngest for not conforming? I am the one that told him never to conform. It’s like I’m telling him, be yourself, as long as yourself is what I say. “Ouch,” I’m that mom.

I realize I am not taking my own advice. I am concerned with what others think. I am concentrating on the negative stuff. I am counting lack instead of blessings. So even if I have to take antidepressants, I am willing to walk through the process and trust I am doing the tight thing for me.

Starting over at step one

This time out I am on is a chance to go back to the drawing board. It’s time to go within. Listen to intuition. I hear the answer, and it’s actually been yelling at me for some time now. Up until now, I just kept saying it was impossible.

The famous quote by Henry Ford holds true here.  “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” The answer I was shown is not impossible. I just don’t feel confident taking on the task. If I were the coach in this situation, I would say, so what. Not because I did not care, but because I know confidence comes with doing. What I am feeling is normal.

Isn’t that what holds most of us back from becoming entrepreneurs or changing careers? We don’t feel confident. We feel like frauds. We aren’t sure if we can actually pull it off.

All things are truly possible. The problem is we lack belief in ourselves. Instead, I encourage you to rely on your knowledge and your experience. A friend was just telling me her husband is worried about accepting his new job. She reminded him that he had to learn proprietary software at his last two places of employment. He is very capable of doing the same at the new one.  She understood the underlying fear was change. He has both knowledge and experience to do the job.

Keep moving forward

Be okay with making mistakes. Just be open to learning from them.  Our journey in life is to keep moving forward. As a mom, I am learning and teaching at the same time. At the end of the day, I ask myself if I made any progress. If not, what do I need to do differently?

I am constantly asking myself and my kids, what would it take? I am asking you the same.

If confidence comes from doing, then what would it take for you to do?

If you don’t have an immediate answer, then just do it anyway. You’ll find that the answer will come as you go. It will come in the form of an email, a friend, or even a blog.  Just start taking steps.

And, believe in yourself.

You are so worth it!

Portia

A Personal Share – My battle with depression

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I need to call and make an appointment to get my car services. I keep forgetting to make a doctor’s appointment. I should have called the school to confirm my son’s story. Truth is, I can’t muster up the energy to do any of it. It feels hard. The simplest of task take more than I have to give.

Today, the depression is winning. For me, it’s a constant uphill battle. On days when I am the victor, I could run a marathon, take on Conor McGregor in the cage, or better yet, get some writing completed. (I am actually writing this the next day.) This day, the only thing I plan to accomplish is crawling into my bed and hiding.

For 20+ years, this has been my battle. I’ve been on antidepressants, gone to therapy, and been my own therapist. I have told myself over and over, I know how to fix me. We all know that is not true. That includes me on my worst days. Nothing can make me happy when I hit a low.

It does not help that on top of the depression I am a perfectionist. I can’t be seen falling apart. I don’t want others to see my B side. I paint on my smile, put on my best dress and say all the things that make people around me comfortable. I want to be the super woman that I portray. However, this day, I have reached, as my mother put it, my limit.

I was two hours into my workday when I could feel myself begin to break. I could no longer hide from the world that inside, I was a hot mess. And, as much as I don’t want to share, I realized I needed to. I could not hold the tears in. The nurse had a ten minute conversation with me and realized I needed a timeout. Five to ten days at home before I  bring myself to a point where I could hurt myself. Hearing that scared me.

The strong black woman is but a myth. The only way to be a strong black woman, or strong person, no matter gender or race, is to have a community of people backing you up and cheering you on. Going at it alone all these years has brought me to this point. I am truly understanding the phrase no person is an island.

We need relationships. We need one another. As an author, I need readers. As a help desk technician, I need people that don’t know how to fix their HP printer. As a mother, I need my kids. As a daughter, I need my mom.

When you encourages others on the path of transitioning from point A to B, it is important to remind them that they have to reach out to others. When building your community, don’t forget to add a business or career coach, a mentor, a fellow blogger (or which ever career field you are in), and a friend. And not just for accountability, but sometimes just to check in. You might just want to call them and say, hey, today was not a good day. Then ask them, how do you bounce back from a day like today?

When I was a weight loss counselor, I would help my clients to plan for a bad day. I would have them imagine worst case scenarios before they happened and plan how they would cope. Will they go to the gym and take it out on a spin cycle? If they did not plan ahead, they would find themselves at the bottom of a family size bag of BBQ potato chips.

It’s the same if it’s just a bad day. Who are you going to reach out to? Who is that person you can be vulnerable with? In our digital world, we need an offline, in-person friend. And, male of female, a good, long ugly-cry. However, don’t just open up to anyone. It has to be a person you truly trust.

For me, I know this will be a life-long battle. Suicide is a constant companion. I don’t look forward to that part, but I know it is my own war to fight. I need to reach out to my friend and I need my friend to reach out to me. I have to have my plan in place ahead of time for my worst day. I have to make sure I stay in tuned to my intuition. I have to keep my tribe strong so they keep me strong. And most importantly, I have to ask for help and be willing to share. To show my B side.

When you come from behind the screen, there is a real human on the other side. If you are the person someone is reaching out to, I ask that you don’t be judgmental, but be open. It takes a lot to ask for help. My son’s response when I came home was, “ah, mom.” You don’t want to make someone feel like being depressed is a bad thing. Show empathy.

And don’t forget to tell them, “You are so worth it!”

-Portia

 

The Exit Strategy

 

It seems like something so simple.  Drinking my coffee from my favorite mug instead of a travel cup. It’s the little things that begin to add up.  Being able to sit at my desk with no shoes. Listening to music while I work. Taking lunch and breaks when I want. My definition of freedom.

I’m at that point where the exit strategy check list has become more important. It is no longer a desire, but a reality. An exit strategy check list is my “what would it take” list to go from my current career to my new career. From a 9 to 5’er to a freelancer.

We take happiness for granted. We may even misconstrue what it actually is or how it really feels. Or maybe we have become so robotic, we assume we are happy because we have numbed ourselves with TV, video games, alcohol and legal marijuana. However, when you realize the most challenging part of your job is not knowing how to add a hyperlink to an email signature, which was actually more frustrating than challenging, it is time to move on.

Resistance

The art of reinvention is not always a linear path. Sometimes you have to try a few things just to find out that you circled back around to what you wanted to do when you were a kid. I now understand the saying that youth is wasted on the young, but I also know that you are never to old to start something new. After reading The War of Art, I was even more convinced that I was not crazy. Resistance is part of the natural order.

As adults, we are not always attuned to our fear of change. Even I thought I was immune to   it being the child of a military father. I learned back then to never get comfortable. A move was always on the horizon. Resistance is very real. Unfortunately, what usually comes with it is self-sabotage. We have no idea that we are doing everything in our power to prevent reaching the goal we set for ourselves. As much as I might be ready for a new career, it’s scary stepping away from the comfort of being an expert at what I’m doing, with the exception of that darn email platform, and jumping into something brand new.

I will always tell you to trust the process. Part of the process is checking in daily. Daily I look at my exit strategy and ask myself if I am doing everything I need to do to meet the next thing on my list. If I’m not, I have to ask myself what do I need. Am I willing to make the changes to get to what I want? Am I willing to push past the fear and take the next step? These are questions that you can ask yourself. Listen for your answer. Sit with how the answer makes you feel. Are you more tense than confident? That’s resistance.

What’s Your Focus?

I can tell you from experience it takes more than wanting it really bad. Will power alone will not get you there. It takes action. Action brings on fear. It’s okay. It will only be uncomfortable for a moment. The first call I took I kept saying megabit instead of megabyte and the user let me know how wrong I was.  I wanted to quit right then. I told myself I was stupid. It was uncomfortable, but you know what? I survived.

I encourage the same for you. Remember your first time? Or your first mistake. Even the thousands you’ve made since that one. They were learning moments. Don’t use them as excuses to not keep going.

Daily focusing on what really matters does help to combat resistance. I try not to repeat the constant self-help quotes, but there is some truth to “what you think about, comes about”. I told myself I did not have the money to self-publish my book. Then I looked at my bank and credit card statements. It’s not that I didn’t have the money, I just didn’t have it as a priority. I was spending my money on my ego instead of my goals. Did I really need three pairs of shoes at $90 each? Of course not.

When I focused on my money “problem”, I only saw what I was not capable of doing. When I focused on a solution, I saw that there was no problem, but that I needed to make a correction. That brings me back to the question, am I willing to make the changes to get what I want? What corrections are you willing to make? Less TV? Less video games?

So I challenge you to sit down and start creating an exit strategy. What would it take to transition to your dreams? Visit your list daily. Don’t numb yourself. Don’t allow excuses to give you permission to keep doing the same things. Instead, take action.

You are so worth it!

Time For Your Own Q&A

Somewhere between my teenage years and today, we started saying no thank you. No thank you to settling. No thank you to doing what makes everyone else happy. We redefined normal. We decided we no longer needed permission to become fashion designers, photographers, models or anything else we choose.

With sites like Amazon, EBay and Etsy, we can easily set up a store front. With sites like Instagram and Twitter, we can create a following. With web hosting, we can build http://www.insertyournamehere.com to create our platform.

You are an expert at something, and someone needs your knowledge. Many someone’s need your knowledge. For example, I love to buy clothes and shoes, but I have no idea how to put them together. I’m the girl that buys what the mannequin is wearing. So I go to YouTube to watch videos of experts to get ideas. I can go to Thumbtack and hire a stylist to help me use my wardrobe to be more stylish.

My point here is this, you don’t have to rely or wait on major corporations to give you a chance. You can create your own conditions. Your own dream job. You don’t have to play it small. You do, however, have to put yourself out there.

Have you put into thought about who you want to serve?

If not, then today I challenge you to do just that. Find a quiet spot and sit down and meditate. Fifteen to 20 minutes would be ideal, but if you are not a meditator, then start with five minutes.

I try not to use the word meditate because people think mystic and religious. The only thing you are truly doing is giving yourself time to hear your own thoughts. You are shutting off the noise of the world and the opinions of others. When the noise creeps back in, start to breathe and count each breath. This brings you back to focus.

Lets get your creative juices flowing and get clear about what you want. I always want to put emphasis on changing your mindset. It’s time to start thinking like a CEO and not like an employee.

Ask, what does your next career look like?

What kind of people are you seeking out?

What would it take to get started?

How does it feel as you are performing your task?

Keep asking and answering yourself questions until the picture is clear. Use that picture to make your next move. Don’t feel like you have to go at it alone.

Who can you reach out to for help?

What books can you read by subject matter experts?

Are there any podcast out there on the subject? A YouTube video?

What Meetup groups can you join?

Its not like it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. There are people willing to share the path they took to get where they are now. Don’t allow yourself to be held back by excuses of not knowing what you can do. Each time you find yourself giving an excuse, ask, what would it take?

Keep asking. Keep trusting. It’s a process. Mistakes will happen, but lessons will be learned. Don’t stop.

You are so worth it!

 

National Women’s Month

It’s National Women’s Month! We’ve come so far over the past few centuries. The strives we’ve made in the workforce have been astonishing. With all the “first” we have achieved, we are not done.

It wasn’t until 1972 that Katharine Graham became the first woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That’s only 46 years ago! Today that number has grown to 32. As of 2017, there are more than 9.4 million reported business owned by woman in the United States. That’s over a trillion dollars being put back into the economy.

A Woman’s Work

For years we have been fighting, marching and vocalizing for the chance to show what we are capable of. Constantly being told that we don’t belong, we ignored the negative talk and did it anyway. Even with the #Metoo movement, they’ve tried to use it against us to say we should not have been there. You know what, we were there and we are staying.

Jen Welter was the first woman on a coaching staff in the NFL. She has opened the door for more women to be hired in those positions in a male dominated league. Sometimes it just takes one fearless warrior queen to breakdown the walls.

The first African-American woman to practice law in the U.S. was Charlotte E. Ray. She was admitted to the bar in 1872. Although considered a great lawyer, not enough people trusted to higher a black woman to represent them. According to the American Bar, as of 2017, 36% of legal professionals are women. We might hit obstacles, but we don’t quit!

Jobs for the 21st Century

The most in demand jobs for this century are still in technology and health care. However, with social media being boss, new job titles such as Social Media Marketing, Social Media Content Writer and Stock Photographers have allowed more opportunity for freelancers to stay busy.

Woman like Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, a company that offers training in modern marketing, according to their website, is looked at as a premier expert in digital marketing with 22 years of experience. Liliach Bullock was voted #1 Digital Marketing Influencer by Career Expert and is listed as a Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers in Forbes Magazine. Both of these women help companies grow their brand online and teach others to do the same. Jobs that have evolved faster over the last few years. Reinventing yourself has never been easier.

So, in celebration of women everywhere, be bold. No matter your gender, know that the thing you truly want is possible. So many have paved the way. Our job is to go for it!

Remember, you are so worth it!

Can I Start a Business

“You are giving me excuses when I am looking for solutions,” I yelled at my teenager when he was late for curfew, again. It’s always easy to get angry at his list of excuses for not doing what he needed to do. However, I need to get angry at myself for my own excuses. I should yell at my own self, “Stop giving me excuses, Portia!”

Excuses are the choices we give ourselves to not take action. In a recent webinar, the main excuse for not starting a business was, “I don’t have the money.” How much does it really cost to start a business with today’s technology? Not very much. A matter of fact, probably less than what you pay to eat out for lunch all week.

I want to change how you think successful businesses got started. You don’t always need to take out a second mortgage. But you do have to be hungry. You have to move your goals from your wish list to your to do list. It’s time to reach out to an accountability partner. I love that my kids will ask me where I’m at with my book. Since I’m their role model, I have to stay on top of it. An accountability partner will do the same for you.

It takes action

Getting started is action. Here are some steps to take and the excuses you may be giving them.

Step 1 Building your website:

– Today, websites can be built with little to no money. In the beginning it won’t look as grand as, let’s say Amazon. But let me ask you, why are you comparing yourself to anyone at all? Comparing yourself is just another excuse for not taking action. With a quick Google search, you will find a list of web hosting sites that will get you started. Research them and find the one that is easiest for you to set up and most affordable for you.

My point here is this, just get started. Be bold and put yourself out there. If you are waiting for perfection, I’m here to tell you, it will never happen. There is no such a thing. So, start where you are at. Now.

Step 2 What equipment will you need?

– It takes an internet connection and a device that connects to the internet. I’m serious. It’s that easy. That could be your cell phone, your tablet or a computer.

When I started taking a copywriting course, I was motivated by another woman who had been using the computers at her public library to complete the course. She was able to get her first client and complete an assignment them using the public library. When you are hungry, you find a way. There is no excuse to say you can’t do this.

Excuses are never ending 

Another excuse I hear is, “But, Portia, I have to look professional.” No, actually you have to be professional. Stop worrying about how you look. That’s just our way of procrastinating.

Put your emphasis on perfecting your craft. Get in your 10,000 hours. Clients/Customers bring in money. Money leads to growth. To grow, you have to do to become professional.

Another excuse holding you back is, “But Portia, what about the naysayers?” My answer is, what about them? They aren’t going anywhere. I know, I know. It’s not always easy to drown them out either. Sometimes I am even the only naysayer in my own head. However, the hardest ones are those closes to us. The ones you love, trust and confide in.

I was watching someone’s YouTube channel when I read a comment that struck me hard. The young lady questioned how to handle her mother telling her she would go to the retreat and come back broke and no better off. I wanted to comment, but I didn’t. No one did. That I regret.

Here is what I wished I had told her. Say thank you. They obviously love you enough to give their opinion. Show your gratitude for their concerns. Now ask yourself, did they say anything at all of value? If yes, make a note of how you can use it. Everything else can be discarded. If nothing was of value, discard it all.

My point here is this. It’s not about them. This is about you. This isn’t their goal or dream. This is your goal and dream. I have learned that naysayers are just their to test us. To make us prove how bad we want this.

The final step

Step 3 Be courageous.

– It’s going to be scary. As Dr. Wayne Dyer always said, “Do it anyway.” With each action you take to get closer to starting your own business, pat yourself on the back. I have a journal I labeled bravery box. I journal any successes I have, no matter how big or small. When I feel like I am getting no where, I read how much I have accomplished to remind me how far I’ve come.

So, yes, you can get started as an entrepreneur with little to no money. Invest where you can. Sacrifice where you need to. Most importantly, start now.

Leave a comment with what excuses you are giving yourself and I would love to talk you through pushing pass them.

You are so worth it!