Today is my 28th birthday (*cue confetti*), and like a lot of people, birthdays are more of a reflective thing as you grow older. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, and I critique my year based on what happened between my last birthday and the most recent. This year has been very exciting for me as I’m in a place creatively in my career that I wasn’t a year ago, and I wanted to share with you all some of the joys and mistakes hiccups I’m made along the way. I also want to share some goals for the upcoming 12 months that I want y’all to hold me accountable for.
In May 2010 I received my Masters in Social Work and in October 2010, I had been working full-time for an HIV/AIDS organization here in New York City for about two months. I’ve always had visions on working in my own consulting and speaking business, but it wasn’t until January 2011 that I started to grow more comfortable with the idea of being an entrepreneur. My passion has always focused on women and girls of color and in sexual/reproductive health in various aspects (organizational programming, writing, giving talks, workshops, etc.) and I decided that I wanted a career focused on that. I would follow numbers of entrepreneurs on Twitter, and read up on successful entrepreneurs, and at times it seemed overwhelming (and still can be). I knew that I had the passion, and I knew my WHY for creating my business. I just became bogged down on HOW it all would manifest.
It’s always been said that when you make a decision to play big, the Universe will rearrange itself to bring in people and opportunities that will get you closer to your dreams. When you have a big enough WHY, the HOW will always present itself. I felt that I needed the business cards, a website, a business plan, a business number, an intern to help me, and all that comes into creating a business from the ground up. I felt that there had to be some structured steps I needed to take. I also thought about the fact that I still have a full-time job and worried about being able to work on my business while giving 40 hours of my life each week to my employer.
Also…I was scared, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I felt that I needed to have everything right and in the perfect order before I could make anything happen. But what I realized I needed most was just to 1) make the intention to become an entrepreneur, 2) know that I have the skill set needed for my brand of entrepreneurship, and 3) Ready, Fire, Aim!
“Ready…Fire…Aim” is a phrase I learned from Jack Canfield in his book The Success Prinicples: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . You’re most likely familiar with the phrase “Ready, Aim, Fire”, but Jack says that most people spend their lives aiming (setting goals, visualizing, making business plans, etc.) but never firing (doing what is necessary to bring their goals in the physical form). People want to wait until conditions are perfect before making a move. It’s called perfectionism, and Christine Kane refers to perfectionism as a weirdly inverted form of laziness. Think about it: You’re waiting until you have all the information you need before you make something happen, which means you’re just…waiting. The concept of firing before aiming is something I’m so not comfortable with. I tend to want to know what I’m doing before I do it. However, I decided to approach it as an experiment.
In April 2011, I bought my domain name, and with the help of Christine Kane’s Uplevel Your Business Program & Blueprint I began to slowly develop my website and become more clear about how I wanted my business to look, goals I want for myself for the remainder of 2011, and how I want to speak directly to the women and girls of color I want to work with. Of course, thoughts of Am I good enough to do this? or Who is going to pay me for all of this? crept into my mind, but I felt the fear and decided to do it anyway.
On August 1, 2011, I announced my website and business to my friends and family, and slowly I started to think more critically on how I was presenting myself on Twitter and if I even wanted to create a Facebook page (which I ended up doing). I also started to advertise my email list more so that people could sign up for my weekly newsletter. One month later, Sarah Audelo recommended me to be on a panel about African American women and reproductive health at the Congressional Black Caucus’ 41st Annual Legislative Conference . I spoke about strategies for getting more young African American women involved in the reproductive health and rights movement . This was one of the biggest achievements and hot-shot moves I’ve ever done! After the panel, many people came up to me and told me that I provided the most important message of all the panelists, and one woman told me, “You’re the one to watch!” That was really exciting. Hopefully, this is just the beginning. Also, I’ve been submitting workshop propsals, and so far two have been accepted. One for the Black Girl Project’s 1st Annual Sisterhood Summit this month, and the other for Black Women for Wellness’ Power Shift Conference in March 2012.
What are some of my career goals that I want to achieve by my 29th birthday? Well, I have a few:
- Quit my day job and begin working full time as a consultant, writer, and speaker.
- Submit the paperwork for my own non-profit business that focuses on sexual and reproductive health of young women of color.
- Get my LMSW (license to practice social work)
- Become a certified life coach
- Double my annual income and having multiple (and sustaining) streams of income (by way of speaking engagements, writing, coaching, and consulting.
Of course, these may change slightly or significantly. I will make sure that I give you all updates throughout the next 12 months. Accountability is always a great thing, and it helps to keep me focused. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing!
Jack Canfield says, “The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet lands, and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was 2 inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and keep readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye. The same is true for anything.”