Black Women Don’t Need Personal Development?
I wrote previously about my experience at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within seminar in Dallas, TX. It was a great experience. I would highly recommend attending to anyone who is committed to developing themselves and their life. There were tons of breakthroughs, jumping, screaming and even massages. Yes, massages. One thing that I noticed is that of a group of almost 8,000 people only about 1-2% were black women. I’m looking around like where my sisters at?! Do we not need personal development?
Of course we do. Here’s some interesting stats:
- “The number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.” – Fortune.com
- “Black women are the head of 29% of all Black households which is more than twice the rate for ‘all women’ at 13 percent.” – BlackDemographics.com
- “Only 64% of working Black women held white collar jobs compared to 72% of ‘all women’.” – BlackDemographics.com
- 72% of black children are raised in single parent household compared to 25% of all children. – Newsone (I would imagine that majority are single black moms).
- [In corporate America] Black women also are more likely than white women to say they feel stalled (44% vs. 30%). – Fortune.com
- A study conducted in 2013 found that African Americans were less happy than they were just two years earlier. – Huffington Post
- A study conducted by the CDC found that African Americans have the highest rate of recurrent depression. Depression is defined as, “Depression is anger turned inward toward the self.” – EverydayHealth.com
As black women we carry a lot. We juggle a lot. We are faced with a lot. We are responsible for a lot. We lead our families. We lead our businesses. We’re ambitious. We make tough decisions. We tend to be the strength to everyone else’s weakness. We face barriers over groups don’t face. This often leads to despair, unhappiness, and a lack of progression. Our lives sometimes lack the appropriate balance and attention to self care. If anybody needs the growth, support, and encouragement that personal development offers, it’s black women. We need to push past our internal and external boundaries, overcome our fears, and process life’s events in productive ways. We need to be prepared to lead our businesses and develop our families while still taking care of ourselves. We need to constantly grow to be able to handle all that has been given to us and quite frankly to be able to achieve more. Yet, we are often the least likely to take advantage of these opportunities. Why is that?
I talk to black women all the time about where they are in life and where they’re headed. I hear things like, “I really need this. I am 42 and feel like I accomplished very little in my life.” Awareness is great, but what are you willing to do about it? Are you willing to show up?
I know we know how to show up! I’ve attended Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Megafest multiple times. I love it. Reports suggest anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people attend this event. Mostly black women. Like I said, I love Megafest. It’s amazing. I’m glad to see so many black women pour into the convention hall to worship and praise God. I go every chance I get. Nonetheless, I would like to equally see us pour into convention halls where we grow not just spiritually, but mentally and personally as well. I’d like to see us work on our limiting beliefs, our personal power, and our vision for life. I’d like to see us develop our potential, set meaningful goals, and acquire the tools to achieve them.
It’s the 4th of July weekend and black women from all over are headed to New Orleans for Essence Festival. I just saw this status on a dear friend’s Facebook page, “Operation stay intoxicated for the weekend!” as she checked into New Orleans, LA. I love her. I’ve known her since middle school. No judgement, but it broke my heart a little to be completely honest. I want to see my beautiful black sisters grow and develop themselves. I know Essence festival has empowerment workshops as well, but let’s be real. Majority of attendees are there to party and socialize. Not grow or be empowered.
I want to see black women create a life of meaning. Not to say we shouldn’t have fun and enjoy our time here on earth. However, we should be more interested in growing than partying. Ask yourself, “How many self development workshops have I attended in the last 12 months?” What about the last 5 Years? How many personal development books have you read? Do you read any books at all?
Hold on. Before you get all defensive on me, I’d like to offer a perception adjustment I learned at Unleash the Power Within. Here’s how it works: When you feel yourself getting all defensive and offended, simply entertain the idea that there could be something for you to learn. Let’s practice.
Get in your “I’m about to tell her about herself” stance. You know, hands on hips, neck cocked to the side, eyes ready to roll. Just as you’re about to let me have it, open your arms, put a big smile on your face and say,”Heyyy, maybe I might learn something!”
Just let this sink in. What can you learn? What can you do differently? It’s okay if you don’t want to receive everything I’ve said. We all have the choice is shifting through wisdom and leaving what we don’t want behind. But is there anything you can receive from this article?
What I’m saying is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that there is a huge opportunity for us to grow ourselves and each other by investing in self improvement resources. I know there are a lot of black women who do invest in personal development. I’ve met them. They were in Dallas at the seminar. I’m one of them. I’m not saying we don’t exist.
I do believe there is opportunity within our demographic to prioritize personal growth. It extends beyond just self improvement workshops and black women. A guy named Greg Greenlee wrote about the absence of blacks at technology conferences. He says, “It still alarms me that I have “virtually” met tons of people of color that work in the tech field but still fail to see these numbers translate into tech conference attendance/speakers.” (source: Blacks in Technology) I can relate. I’ve attended marketing conferences throughout my corporate career and I also didn’t see a ton of black faces their either. I believe there are many opportunities for us to show up in our careers as well.
Ultimately, I want to encourage black women who want more for their life to consider investing in the personal development opportunities available to them. For every Essence Festival you go to, make sure you invest in two “development” festivals. I believe that’s the key to going further than you ever thought possible and living your best life.
Interested in developing yourself? Sign up for a complimentary Transform Your Life clarity session with me at www.transformwithcharlene.com.
To learn more about why personal growth is so important listen to this podcast episode dedicated to personal growth plans: