Letting Go of Playing It Safe
When I was a child, I believed I could do anything. In my eyes, there was nothing on earth that could stop me from doing what I wanted to do or prevent me from what I wanted to become. The possibilties for my life were endless.
When I was younger my mom would sing to me. Sometimes we would sing nursery rhymes together that I learned while in school or we would playfully create our own songs. It was our simple, yet special way of having fun together and have time to bond.
My mom also used singing as a way to motivate me to wake up for school in the morning. More often than not she would sing a song that went, "reach for the stars..." At the time this song was no more than a fun way for me to start my day. When I got older this simple ritual of ours took on a greater meaning for me. It helped realize there is nothing I could not do or achieve.
As I got older I lost touch with this carefree attitude. I slowly bought into other people's limiting, beliefs, doubts and fears and allowed them to become my own. I believed I had to be a certain way or do things the other people would want me to. This prevented me from carving out my own path and allowing me the freedom of living my life the way that is best for me.
For a considerable part of my career I played it safe. I was grateful to have means to provide for myself and my family, however I knew deep down inside there were other interests I would rather dedicate my time and energy toward.
Even though there were certain aspects of what I did for a living that were fulfilling such as working in a team setting while being able to function autonomously, learning new concepts, and expressing my creativity. It was not as rewarding or personally fulfilling because I was not doing something I was truly passionate about. Only until recently have I been able to dedicate more of my time to do the things that are or more interest to me.
Letting go of many toxic situations and relationships I once had helped me to reactivate a new sense of purpose. If I had continued to play it safe - remaining on the path I was on - I would not have been able to see with greater clarity the opportunities that await me.
Reigniting a childhood passion
When I was younger I enjoyed doing creative things. One of my favorite hobbies was designing and styling clothing. Growing up, I would watch one of my favorite makeover television shows, What Not to Wear, every Friday evening. The TV series featured a different woman in need of a major style overhaul. The hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, would lend there creative expertise to help these women find solutions to their style dilemmas.
Watching this program enhanced my understanding the different style challenges facing everyday women and how the latest clothing styles looked on them. What kept me tuned in every week was seeing women feel better about themselves and having a renewed sense of confidence after the completion of their makeovers.
In high school I took classes in fashion marketing and I wanted to study fashion full-time in college. I decided to go to business school and complete a degree in marketing after being convinced that a career in fashion was not a stable choice. This was mainly due to subscribing to the traditional African belief that a "real" profession is in medicine, business, or science.
Adapting in times of uncertainty
Last year, I dove into entrepreneurship while also taking time to heal. In the beginning it was fun and exciting. I felt alive again in a way I had not felt since I was a girl. I experienced the thrill of doing something different from what I did for a living before becoming my own boss. I took a big risk and a leap of faith to experience the freedom that came along with establishing my own schedule and doing what I wanted to do on my terms.
Once the novelty of being an entrepreneur faded and I was faced with how I would move forward, especially in light of COVID-19. This situation taught me how to adapt to change when things did not go the way I planned. It would have been easy to throw in the towel or call it quits, but I refused to.
Most days I would take steps in the direction I wanted my life to go. It could be simple as reading an article that would help me to learn more about a particular subject matter, learning about a new SmartPhone application I could use to enhance my productivity, attending an informative webinar, or practicing self-care.
I made the decision to keep going and move forward. At times I was able to tap into the playful energy I re-connected with to express my creativity which eventually led me to launch this blog.
Being an entrepreneur is not always glamorous. There have been times when I have questioned why I decided to go down this path at all, but when I think about what I have learned about myself along the way I would not trade this experience for the world ...