What inspired you to become a CEO?
I have had my share of disappointments to include being fatherless during my childhood and spent my teenage years caring for a mentally ill mother - a time during which my only sibling was incarcerated. After going through domestic abuse in two different relationships during my twenties, ending an 18 year marriage, losing one of my best friends, and my mom and only living grandmother, and suffering from depression, I looked past my challenging times and reached within myself, relied on my trusted family, friends, and faith to find strength. After my 49 year old brother’s sudden death, it caused me to reflect and think about my highest purpose in life and it sparked my passion to share my story with others who may be despondent about their situations and let them know they too can make it.
In 2017, as a certified coach, I launched Reaching Within and Empowerment Journey LLC, a coaching company to ignite a spark within my clients to move them to action by providing tools to map out their short term and long term goals, new areas of interest, and areas for further development. Services include professional development, resume review, interview prepping, accountability calls, and career counseling leveraging my Visualize Integrate, Strategize, Integrate, Opportunities, Next Steps (V.I.S.I.O.N.) program. The outcome of the program is to equip clients with executable steps to develop and achieve professional goals through goal setting and confidence building.
If you could share business advice with yourself 10 years ago, what would you say?
Find the fuel that ignites your passion!
If you’re lacking clarity in making your next business move it is important to combine what you aspire to do, your passion, and what you like to, with a positive attitude to create and execute your vision for success. Every successful entrepreneur has their share of ups and downs. What sets you apart from the rest is never giving up, learning from your mistakes, and listening to lessons learned from others who’ve gone down the path before you.
The business advice I would have said to myself 10 years ago and continue to apply today is the following:
Set your vision, and mission; create a business plan, protect your intellectual property, invest in your brand, and save more money; get a mentor to learn what’s going on in your industry; listen to your clients, even those who complain to improve your product or services; become an industry expert as a perpetual learner; build a meaningful network and relationships; be resilient; avoid being paralyzed by fear; aim for excellence and not perfection; act with integrity; inspire trust; show up as your authentic self; never stop believing in your dreams; embrace risk taking, keep trying, and don’t give up!
Most importantly, remember you are going to work long hours with little reward. So be clear about your “why”. When you fully, deeply commit to your “why,” the grind is just part of the process.
With the month of love around the corner, how do you feel self-love affects our entrepreneur journey?
Part of practicing self-love is building a relationship with yourself. First let me start with how I define self-love. It is:
1. Being fair to self, and not judging yourself harshly and believing negative stories about yourself.
2. Extending the same care and support to yourself that you would to a good friend or loved one.
3. Allowing yourself to be human, to make mistakes and learn from them. Knowing that as humans we are not perfect, nor should we be expected to act flawlessly.
4. Setting boundaries and recognizing and acknowledging your own feelings, recognizing how your boundaries have been crossed, and recognizing how you need to set your boundary.
I feel self-love affects our entrepreneur journey because often we are afraid to be our true selves in the world because we’re trying to please or be accepted by others. When you begin to give yourself the love and unconditional acceptance you seek, you will be less concerned with what others think and more free to make choices that are in alignment with what you genuinely want. The challenge is that no one is going to value and advocate for those things for you. It’s up to you to be aware of how you’re taking care of yourself.
Self love will teach you to ask yourself if the work you take on aligns with your personal values and business. When we have a strong relationship with ourselves we listen to our gut instinct. We are less likely to do things just because others in our industry are. Your health - mental, spiritual, and physical - are the most important assets for your business. Self love means you won’t compromise your health, and you understand that if you aren’t the best version of yourself, you won’t be able to help others from an empty place.
We can often find ourselves constantly putting work ahead of our own needs and making choices that aren’t loving and supportive of our wellbeing. If you’re not mindful of the importance of value and tending to your needs you’ll have a high chance of burnout and/or illness. Self-love means you won’t spend every working hour working. It means you’ll be more compassionate with yourself. If you get no sleep, eat at your desk, and don’t get any exercise, this will not serve you or your business in any way. Put yourself first serves your clients better in the long run. Your business success depends on it.
To start your path to self-love daily, fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information to remain motivated. Track your progress, be proud of your accomplishments, and celebrate those wins. Forgive your mistakes. When you’re having a difficult time, reflect on how much work you’ve done to overcome your challenges. Start the day with prayer or meditation, cultivate gratitude, foster forgiveness, and commit to positive affirmations. Focus on your blessings, however small, turn failures into lessons, and transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk on your empowerment journey to self-love.
What is next for you in 2020?
Continuing to ignite fire in others through conducting professional development workshops, speaking engagements, contributing to magazine articles, authoring books, holding coaching sessions and consultations, and inspiring and motivating others with my Empowerment Journey podcasts.
How can readers support your business and connect with you online?
Readers can support my business by tuning into my Empowerment Journey podcast:https://eliteconversations.com/ejourney.html and connecting with me online: