Trusting yourself takes time to learn and requires adjustments to your way of thinking. This is a challenge in itself. First, you have to know enough to know when your thinking is flawed, and make a conscious effort to change it. It’s the same thing with behaviors. I think sometimes we are so used to reacting and behaving in certain ways, that we forget we have options.
I especially needed to submit to this new-found self-trust as it related to business. I read an article recently that said, simply “Do not accept troublesome, unpleasant or suspicious business.” The other thing I remember clearly was, “Always be prepared to walk away from business.” Now, when you’re in hustle-mode, where every dollar is crucial, you don’t want to turn any business down, however, it takes time to learn that just because the monetary value of a project is high, doesn’t mean the emotional or spiritual cost won’t break you. For me, I would rather be broke and happy than take on a project or client that doesn’t “fit” and be miserable. There were some who thought I was crazy for thinking I could choose who I worked with but now, it’s the only way to go.
Information Comes in Many Ways
I firmly believe slow and steady can win the race. I know that I am methodical by nature and I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. That’s why I love the Internet and Google so much. Anything I want to know, I can pretty much find. But it goes beyond the Internet. Stay with me, because I’m about to take it up a notch. When I say up, I mean to a higher level of consciousness. I think of it as simply knowing there’s more… always more, to whatever something appears to be. The trick is to not get caught up in why or how you know something, but accepting. I believe it is the result of a more intense connection to God – or your “higher power” as some people say. There have been times in my life where I felt I knew things – not in a psychic way, but more like synchronicities – events which occurred as if they were on some sort of timeline. For example, I thought of my great great aunt one day before the nursing home called to tell us she was in the hospital and we should come right away. For a fleeting moment, the day earlier, I imagined the phone ringing saying something was wrong with her. Now, I’ve learned not to dismiss these things. I still can’t help but be amazed like I’ve somehow tuned into a higher spiritual vibration. The analogy I came up with the other day is that for a long time I was on dial-up with the universe. Then I went hi-speed wireless. Information flies through the air like particles and all I have to do is listen. Sounds sort of Matrix-y. If I retain that information, it becomes knowledge and perhaps wisdom. I’m also at the point where I don’t care what this sounds like to other people. I know I’m not crazy or “out there.” I know what I know and that’s it.
Several years ago, I also entered into a period of my life that I can only define as enlightened. For it seems that everything I wish to know comes to me in one form or another. I ask a question, like “I wonder why…,” and two days later I’ll be watching television show or browse a website that answers the question. Okay, you might call most of what I seek to know trivia. But I’m learning! And that’s what matters. I’m also very happy most days and I believe it comes from just “knowing.” It makes me feel confident that there are no wrong moves – only unexpected results. I’ve moved away from making fear-based decisions. Oh, I still struggle sometimes, think too much when making decisions but I have to testify and say that every time I’ve made a decision based on instinct and that “little voice” (who some say is really the voice of God manifested in you), I’ve been blessed beyond belief. I made some decisions in regard to “letting go” last year – personally and professionally. They were situations that didn’t fit the “evolving me.” The evolving me is more at ease and self-assured. At times, I do second-guess myself and doubt my skills but it in the end it allows me to remain humble. If I’ve done my personal best, I’m good – even if someone else doesn’t think it’s my best. I always want to be better, but as a colleague pointed out, it comes with experience. It also depends on your willingness to learn and how open you are to receiving new information. Professionally, I try to learn something new with each project that comes through the door. I’ve worked this way for the last five years or so – always wanting to do more. Unfortunately, I was sometimes taking on projects that didn’t that didn’t allow me to grow. I felt like I was designing the same thing over and over. But then, as I was looking back through my portfolio of work, I discovered that each site was unique. Each project presented a different challenge.
Investing + Reinventing
My keyword for last year was “invest.” I made a conscious decision to invest in myself, my business and my clients. I am fortunate to have a strong network of family, friends and clients who have offered unwavering support throughout my years as an entrepreneur. These are people who believed in me when I didn’t. In 2004, after leaving NYC, I was empty. Emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically. Broke in every way that you could imagine. I thought my only option was to close up shop. I did take what I’ll call a sabbatical now – a time to heal and formulate a plan of action. I still believed I had the gift of creativity but my resources were severely limited. I decided to give it one more shot. I’m glad I did. REALLY glad. I remember my friend, sometimes mentor and brother, LK Geiger, asking me, “Sis, how long did it take Michael Jordan to win an NBA championship?” I haven’t forgotten that. What that meant to me is that you have to be persistent. No matter what kind of talent you have. You have to be patient and you have to work. Thanks, man. Matter of fact, thank you to everyone who has ever truly supported me and lifted me up. You know who you are.
So, I got back up. I invested the only thing I had left – my creative gifts. I re-branded my company, re-launched my personal and professional sites and haven’t looked back. I also rid myself of people or situations that my instincts were telling me to let go. I’ve worked hard and endured too much to maintain any professional (or personal) relationship that my gut says hinders me. Professionally, I needed to work with people who I felt I could invest in. My clients invest in me when they hire me to complete projects. I invest in them by learning about their organization, their goals and aligning creative work or technology with those goals. But, as someone making fear-based decisions, I was held captive. Some relationships represented income that I could really use! So I prayed… and prayed about it. Funny thing is, I knew exactly what I needed to do but my mind was telling me otherwise. I have vowed that I will never barter peace of mind for money. It’s just not worth it.
Let It All Go
I did what I had to do. Disengaged. Let go. Not more than a few days after one decision, an amazing opportunity came along – literally dropped in my lap. It is/was a philanthropic organization of a well-known hip-hop artist. I still get a little goofy when I think of what a cool project it is. That, and it’s great for my little firm. : I’m touched by those who are in the position to give back in major ways, although I also know that as an individual, I can also give back – even if not in a purely financial way. The fact that I grew up loving hip-hop – always considered myself a “hip-hop head”-made it better because I found myself digging up even more classic hip-hop songs on Napster. Ironically, the haters didn’t take long to come forward – and that’s perfectly fine. Uh-huh. Did I tell you I’m releasing the first Brownwoman single? Yup. It’s called “Haters in My Midst.” I even got the sample picked out. It’s from a song on The Love Movement — Tip (ATCQ) says, “N***gas in my sh*t, (move) give a n*gga room.” Only problem is, I’m a geek. I can’t rap or sing. lol But I do want to shoot a psychedelic video like Missy with a background that looks like the inside of a Thermos… metallic body suit, my afro picked out, and blue eye shadow.
Anyway, I’m much too blessed to feed into negativity. Speaking of negativity, I have become allergic to negative people and situations. *achoo! koff* Zero tolerance. If you have nothing positive to contribute or bring negative vibes anywhere near me, I got NO love for you. I’m also more conscious of the vibes I send out because you get what you give. Send some nastiness out and watch. On the way home…during rush hour…on a busy expressway, your car breaks down…AAA membership expired the day before… and your cell phone dies…and you have to use the bathroom. Number 2.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: Spread Love. Negativity begets negativity. At present I’m jettisoning (new word) situations and people who don’t “work for me”. And I feel good. Real good. Be blessed.