Your playing small. Does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking. So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
-Marianne Williamson, Our Deepest Fear
You were not born to play small, you were not created to simply exist. Rather you were born with a "silver spoon" or "no spoon", you were placed here to be great and do great things. Do not allow anyone or anything to make you feel like you are not enough to win in life. Never submit to thinking that your dreams are too irrational simply because someone doesn't understand them or because you do not have it all figured out today. If you are serious about your dreams convert them into goals with actionable steps and I promise you can be successful.
Speaking of successful, lets address that this word is an adjective meaning it describes something. It is not definite, it is subjective. One may say, Tabitha you're successful because you completed college or graduate school or because I am an author or business owner. Someone else may say I'm successful because I volunteer my time to help build organizations that matter or because I authentically share my story. I may personally say, I am successful because I got up this morning and got dressed or because I finally cleaned my room. See what I am doing here, I am showing you that success can be defined in various ways. Don't allow someone else to create your definition of success, create your own! On the same wave, do not downplay your achievements, take the time to clap for your wins!
I am not going to ramble on, this entry is meant to be direct, STOP PLAYING SMALL! Set goals and go after them, focus on your personal development and do not be afraid to fail. Accept yourself flaws and all, surround yourself with folks that push you toward who you desire to be while concurrently respecting you and your boundaries. Lastly, just as I shared on my most recent IGTV video, DO IT SCARED! Even when you don't have it all figured it out . . . Stop playing small and go for it!
Take a step back . . .
Think back to being in grade school, transition was integrated into life without a thought. Going to the next grade, studying the next topic in class, trying new projects, playing with a new set of friends and so on. At that point in life, it was inevitable that you trust transition. Once one grade was completed, you had to go on to the next, not knowing what to expect, you had to do it. In our adult lives we often lose touch with the ability to trust transition. There is something about the norm that makes us feel secure and provides comfort however nothing truly grows in the comfort zone. Right?!
Trust is defined as the belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest or effective. Trusting transition is to believe that something you're slightly unsure about is going to work in your favor. It is your duty to find peace in the unknown and remain consistent in your personal efforts to put your best foot forward despite uncertainty. Beautiful things occur outside of our comfort zones. Success leaves clues and after listening to several success stories, including my own, one thing remains constant -- the process is never clear from the beginning. If we had to ability of foresight as it relates to our life, we would be too afraid to push forward, the magnitude of what we're actually capable of would truly frighten us. If we fail to learn that transition is a part of the process, it is highly likely that we will become stagnant. Things such as staying in positions that no longer serve us instead of going for the promotion or trying something new, keeping people around who are toxic just because we "knew them forever", allowing opportunities to pass us by and being afraid to go outside of our environment will become normal. Don't let this be your narrative!
A little More . . .
In my most recent podcast episode, I dive a little deeper into this topic about trusting transition while also sharing a few gems from the 2019 Women in Philanthropy Conference and make reference to the best-selling memoir Becoming. From both the occasion and the read, it was revealed a countless amount of times, you have to trust the transition. Furthermore, having an attitude of gratitude has a direct correlation to true success. The more you are grateful for, the more you have. You can listen to this episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or GooglePlay Music.
I am challenging you to take a chance on you -- try the yoga class, take the trip, apply for the job, taste a dish, reach out to someone you admire but don't know personally -- trust yourself, trust the transition.
First things first, let me provide some context around the title for folks in the audience who may not be familiar with the terminology. According to my friends over at Urban Dictionary , snatched has taken the place of slang colloquialisms such as "on fleek", "slayed", "on point", etc. For lack of better terms this piece is a quick inspirational message to help you get your life, mind and whole existence together.
Second ground rule, this may not be for you if: you are 1) not in a season of growth, 2) not preparing for a season of growth or 3) open-minded to an opinion that may indeed be different than that of your own. You can politely exit now and I won't be offended because this is a segment for the person growing, aspiring to grow or just simply open-minded and interested in seeing what it's about.
Made it this far? Cool - let's chat!
Trying to juggle yourself, your family, your personal life, your career, your health, your well-being and the list goes on --- is HARD! Yes, we're eating Kale and juicing but what are we feeding our minds? How often are we taking time to reflect on what's really going on? I said this would be quick, so let me get to the point, the meat and potatoes Sounds and Surroundings - that's it - two very powerful things . . Let's go!
Sounds, auditory impressions . . What are you hearing? What are you listening to? Who are you listening to? How is it impacting your life?
What do you listen to in the car or at your desk? Trap? Gospel? Soul? Pop? A combination of it all? No music -- Podcast? Radio interviews? The news? -- Whatever it is, be sure it is serving you because in this season I am challenging you to be intentional with what you hear, the sounds you consume. Auditory IMPRESSIONS, meaning they don't just come and go, they leave something. Sounds have an impact. On personal account, I have decreased my music consumption by 85 percent. I am typically listening to inspirational podcast, business podcast, sermons or occasional news. When I do consume music it is typically old hits, gospel or smooth jazz. Not because i don't enjoy hip-hop but because in this season I need the words, melodies and all else to reflect what I desire to consume.
Now don't run and say I told you not to listen to music because that's not where I'm going with this. I am however challenging you to pay attention to what you are listening to in this season. The music types, the news/media you're consuming, the podcasts (yes, podcast, they exist and they're dope) -- all of that matter -- let's a go a bit deeper to add the people you are talking to -- who is in your ear?
Who are your people? What are your typical conversation topics? Are you talking abundance and growth or drama and confusion? Do you feel fulfilled after the chat(s) or so drained that you need a nap? Take a few minutes to access your CURRENT surroundings . . . Okay minutes up -- are the people you are currently allowing to speak to you, borrow your time and have the privilege of being in your space worthy? Are they healthy for who you are becoming? If you are feeling a little uneasy and wondering if your surroundings are tainted . . sad news . .they probably are, however it is OKAY! We all get stuck in toxic environments every now and again especially with our loved ones, friends and colleagues. Often times these are people we spend the bulk of our time with and become numb to their actual impact on our thoughts and well-being. Here's my OPINION -- decide rather you need to let them go indefinitely (some folks are seasonal), put them on pause (take a little break) or keep them while lessening the time you spend in their presence. This is GOLDEN in the snatch! Don't drop the ball on this one!
While working to "gather your life", having like-minded individuals in your circle is like finding water in the middle of the desert - JACKPOT! While aligning with like-minded folks (because I know you will if this is a problem area) remember to mix in peers, superiors and those who are as driven as yourself but may be in a completely different industry. Well-versed, valuable connections have the ability to take you from idea to incubation, from depressed to destiny, from dreaming to doing. Don't believe me -- try it! If your surroundings are already TOP-NOTCH, I have unique challenge for you -- make those resources WORK FOR YOU! Get out of your own way, take some risks and level-up using your established network!
Alright , we talked sounds, we talked surroundings . . now it's time to talk about the snatch. I am guaranteeing you (yep, I am just that confident) that if you pay more attention to what you hear, what you say, who you chat with and the actions you take as a result -- you will inertly see what gaps exist in your current life structure. You will begin to see who and what can go. You will develop your own "snatch formula" that will help you to "snatch your life". We deserve a quick snatch, not only because as I type this we are just shy of one month from a new year but also because it's time. We've been working, we've been developing -- it's time to be intentional of our auditory consumption, the space between our ears is precious, let's treat it as such.
There you have it, a quick snatch -- have a beautiful holiday season and end of the year. If you're reading this later than the original post date, it's okay, everyday can be the start of the new year or season :) Never stop growing!
Recently in a conversation with some young women of color, I was informed of instances where they felt further marginalized in the workplace, so I told them to act up. *Pause* Before you begin to get in your feelings rooted in historically oppressive thoughts about appropriate behavior, journey with me. I’m a 28-year-old woman of color who works in the nonprofit field, for an organization rooted in social justice. I mentor, advise and coach other women of color who are from all walks of life. With a strong foundation of who I am, I will surely justify why I told these magnificent, engaging and trusting young women of color to act up.
In an hour long conversation, they both told me about how the intersections of their identities were not being taken into account by a white female supervisor. I’ve been there. I listened as these women spoke about their religion, mental health and what to me sounded like a toxic work environment, and I gave my honest opinion. ACT UP! One of the young ladies happens to be from the city. She mentioned not wanting to "bring the city out" in these interactions with her white female supervisor. I stopped, and I questioned, "why not"? She then paused to ponder on the question. Why is it that our feelings have to be suppressed so we aren't deemed an angry black woman?
As a proud North Philadelphia native, I’ve taken the city with me wherever I’ve gone and realistically it hasn’t failed me yet. Over the years, and having attended a PWI for college, I’ve been told that my city demeanor was always too much. Yes, I’m blunt, and I don’t like small talk, however I am also trustworthy, loyal and respectful. I sincerely engage with others and they have my support to the fullest. City girls can be multifaceted too.
I ensured this young lady that there is nothing wrong with the "city girl" coming out because at the end of the day it is rooted in wanting to be respected. Stay with me. I was NOT directly advising her to engage in any of the stereotypical outrage that you’re thinking of. If you're thinking that, just stop. I was merely telling her that there is nothing wrong with self-advocacy. Historically Black women have been casted and categorized as angry, loud and so forth. In reality, those feelings if expressed in those ways comes from thousands of years of being unheard. I can be loud if I want to.
In my professional opinion, I told these two promising Black woman that acting up is truly redefining what it means to be a Black woman who shows up authentic to themselves and can advocate for their respect. I often work with women of color who, specifically in the workplace and higher education have been taught that you must conform to a timid, and soft spoken way of advocating for yourself and that’s not always realistic. In fact, that may make some so uncomfortable that they choose silence as a means of coping.
As a woman of color, self-advocating may feel like a burden however it is necessary. You are deserving of respect and I urge women of color to understand that the idea of professionalism is rooted in oppression therefore how you choose to show up to advocate for yourself may not align with societal norms and that is OK. In my true North Philly fashion, that translates to acting up, and disrupting the systems that are set against you. The young women I spoke to recently helped me to see that I need to follow my own words more closely and while I know they left the conversation inspired, I left feeling eager to get this message out to others:
To the young girls in the all-white high schools who feel unheard, act up.
To the young professionals who are entering the workforce and want to be heard, act up.
To the women of color who are constantly cheated of promotions and accolades, act up.
To the women of color who are constantly silenced, act up.
You are your strongest advocate, and you deserve respect.
A North Philadelphia native, Ms. Tamika Austin serves as the founder and CEO of Embracing You, LLC. With over 10 years of experience as an educator, Ms Austin takes an innovative approach to working with students and stakeholders. Her experiences include working with Education Works, Americorps, Montessori Genesis schools, and state and private colleges. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Communication Studies, and Master of Education in Counseling and College Student Affairs. Having presented at conferences, and audiences of over 500 participants, she possess the experience and training needed to thoroughly engage with others. As an advocate for college access for those of marginalized identities, Tamika provides consultations and assistance for college campuses and organization on how to best support these students.
FB: Tamika Austin
Blogging is at the core of 1 Am S.H.E. and we are excited to bring you informational, testimonial and humorous from our staff, community members and contributors.