Or any woman for that matter. Well, any human being period.
Define Success For Yourself
The image of success is constantly being painted for us especially in this day and age of Instagram and Facebook. Add to that family expectations, sibling rivalry, and peer pressure and knowing what you really want gets harder and harder to discern. As a black woman it can be even more difficult. Someone always has something to say about what we do, how much we weigh, how independent we are or how we wear our hair.
It’s easy to confuse success as painted by someone else and the image of success you have inside you own heart. If you don’t know what success means to you it doesn’t matter how accomplished you are. It doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been at achieving goals others would love to achieve. You will still be empty inside.
I know a lot of people who swear by the location independent lifestyle. I know a woman who left her home, boyfriend, and doggies to live in a new location across the Pacific every month for a year. A good friend of mine has set a goal for herself to be location independent by the end of the year. She too wants to live and work in remote locations across the world.
The work from wherever in the world you want to work from lifestyle has never appealed to me. I like being home. When I lay down at night in my comfy king size bed with pom-a-pug cuddled next to me I feel so much joy. The fan blazing cool and the room pitch black (I’m not one of those people who watch TV in bed. In fact, I don’t even have a TV in my bedroom) feels like heaven to me. Coming home feeds my soul. It’s my oasis. Plus, I believe in building wealth through real estate. Trying to buy and sell property from Japan would be a bit difficult.
But I know that about myself so I can cheer my friend on from the sideline. I don’t have to throw my hat in the ring just because everyone else is. If you don’t really know who you are and what success means to you you will chase the wrong vision. And when it comes true you’ll be miserable.
Define what success looks like for you, the real you. If that means separating yourself from others for a season so that you can hear your own thoughts do that. If it means trying different things on for size to understand if it’s for you or not, do that too. Whatever you need to do to bring your own vision into sharp focus do that thing. Quiet your mind, reflect, pray, journal, meditate, etc.
Getting clear on your own vision of success is one of the most important things you can do to become a successful black woman.
Get Clear On What It Takes to Get There
Once you’re clear on where you are going and are sure you’re going for the right reasons you need to map out a plan to get there. Success leaves clues so you don’t even have to start from scratch. Know what steps you need to take. Ask or otherwise learn from people who are where you want to be. I often hear that black women are afraid to ask for help. Not sure how true that is compared to other groups. I’ve never been afraid to learn from others. If you struggle with this it’s important to overcome your reluctance. You’ll save a lot of time, energy and money learning from others. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still waste money, time, energy and effort. Everyone’s path is different. It just won’t be quite as much.
Identifying what it takes to be your kind of successful may mean learning new information. It could mean investing financially or with your time. It could mean developing some of your softer skills such as creativity, time management, or communication skills. Perhaps it’s building your personal attributes such as confidence and self-worth.
Know what you need to get from here to there. And then work fervently to get what you need.
Take Action Consistently
I think we underestimate the value of being consistent over the long haul. We want success right now. But it’s always a journey.
I cringe whenever I hear someone say something to the effect of, “I didn’t make any money in my business for years until I did this one thing.” It implies that the one thing is the thing that lead them to success. If you do the same thing (they will teach you for a fee) you’re golden. But they down play the fact that they have been planting and watering seeds consistently for years. Sure, there’s fruit on the tree now, but that seed was planted years ago.
There’s momentum to be gained in consistency. So many things are moving to your advantage every time you take action even if you can’t see it. One of my top blog posts was written in 2015, but it just started driving significant traffic at the end of last year. Why? Because SEO is working in my favor and it expands it’s influence over time.
It’s no different from working out. You’re not going to see muscles the first day or even the first week. The success is in the consistency. Don’t expect it to be in the one thing or the one coach or the one seminar. It is found in the actions you consistently take.
Never Give Up
It’s easy, particularly as black women, to put our wants and desires on the back burner. Sometimes we have to. We have to step up when our partner steps out. We have to help our parents because there’s a very good possibility we out earn them. The passing down of wealth isn’t as prevalent in our communities as it is with other ethnicity. And the fact that we grew up with less than our school friends intensifies the desire to do more and give more to our kids. And then we push ourselves and our dreams back a little further.
If you want to be successful don’t give up. Take consistent, purposeful action as often as you can. Even if you have seasons of neglect always come back to your vision of success. For as long as I can remember growing up my mother went to school to finish her degree. She took classes in the evenings. She took online classes. It took her years. She didn’t get her bachelor’s until I was in college. But she did it. And she didn’t stop there. She went on to get her Master’s. She never gave up. And you can’t either.
Your persistence will serve you well as you endeavor to be a successful black woman, or any woman or man for that matter.