“Don’t be afraid to lose an audience by what you choose to say. Be afraid to lose your audience by what you refuse to say.” – AJ
I was talking over the phone to a colleague turned friend the other day about all of the things I wish to achieve in the next few years. She and I met several years ago and bonded over our aspirations to be a successful journalist. While my dreams somewhat shifted, my friends pretty much stayed the same. It wasn’t long before she was packed up and headed to the big apple to work her dream job. I couldn’t help but be slightly envious that she had fulfilled her goals, but nonetheless, I was elated to hear about her journey. I explained to her the highs and lows of being an author and a blogger. I was unprepared for what she was going to say next. “Amber, it must be hard being a black woman with visions as big as yours.” I smiled because I felt like my friend understood that my struggle was more about how I looked and less about the talent or skills I possessed. Excelling in the world of writing and landing your dream job as a black woman is a difficult task. There have been highs and lows along the way, but I’ve learned a lot. What have I found out as a black woman reaching for success? I thought you’d never ask.
Your Mental Health Matters
First things first… It is very common in the black community to overlook our battles with mental health issues. We often rule it out as it not being a real problem until it takes over our entire life. As a black woman who’s battled depression and anxiety a vast majority of her life, denying the issues at hand will distract you from success. It limits your focus and to be successful one must be 100% focused. Get the help that you need to be that kick a** woman you need to be to reach your goals.
You Must Never Give Up
This should be rule number 1, and at times it’s the only rule. I’ve been at a point where I’ve been turned down left and right. Opportunity after opportunity have slipped through my fingertips, but I continue to persevere. The only thing worse than an overworked black woman is a black woman who’s given up on herself. Don’t be that lady.
You Will Be Overlooked Because of How You Look, and That Is Okay
When you’re talented and black there can be an intimidation factor. The thing to remember when this comes into play is, don’t ever dumb yourself down. I can admit that there are times when I went out on a limb and applied for positions that I am underqualified for, but then there are the ones that I am over qualified for, yet still don’t make the cut. A lot of people will say that me being a black woman isn’t 100% the reason why I am turned down for significant roles, but let’s keep it all the way real and say it’s about 75% of the reason why. I try to look at every rejection as God just has a bigger plan in store for me. Rejection is nothing more than a redirection.
You Must Know Your Shxt
Never stop learning. Drown yourself in knowledge. It isn’t good enough to be good enough. You have to know far more than you need to know regardless of what career path you’re on. As a black woman who’s worked her way up in her career and have been doing so since the age of 15, I never forget those who insinuated that I lacked the ability to achieve something because I am black. While it hurts, it’s a little less painful when I know I am fully equipped to prove someone wrong and politely kill them with intelligence draped in black excellence.
You Are Royalty, and Nobody Will Ever Be Above You
Admittedly, I did not always believe the above to be true. I once read the same post-it note every day at a previous job. When I sat at my desk I repeated over and over “there is no one more superior to you, you are royalty.” I used to feel like second best often. It’s literally how we are taught to believe. The truth is if you don’t believe in who you are and that nobody will ever be above you then it’ll make it twice as harder on yourself to get ahead. Titles are titles, and people have a tendency to forget who they are without their titles. Know that no matter where you go in life, you’re a Queen, nobody can tell you otherwise.
Smile Because Everybody Is Waiting To Label You, The Angry Black Woman
Need I say more?
Have A Voice
Do not be afraid to speak up for what you know is right and what you believe it. Do not be voiceless! Your voice needs to be heard and what you have to say matters. From politics to the struggles of not being able to find the perfect full coverage foundation, we need to hear you loud and clear. Don’t be afraid to lose an audience by what you choose to say. Be afraid to lose your audience by what you refuse to say.
Your Sister Is Your Sister, Not Your Stepping Stone Nor Competition
As a black woman, I love to see my sisters shine. I want nothing more for us to excel as one. However, for that to happen, we need to learn that we are here to uplift each other, not make our sisters our stepping stones. With all that is going on in the world, the last thing we need to do be is any more divided than we already are. Being proud of each other, helping each other in any way we can is the first step to us being united and kick a** women that are a force to reckon with. Love thy neighbor as you’d love yourself.
Be A Hustler… A Confident One
I am never too good for anything, but I also know that everything isn’t for me. If you’re knocking on the door and can’t seem to get through, create your own entrance. Often times, we don’t reach for what we really want because we lack confidence. You know how many times I’ve talked myself out of doing something because I felt I wasn’t capable? You are able. You will succeed in everything that you put your mind to. I’d like to encourage all of my sisters who follow me to know that being a successful black woman is an honor, you are royalty. You’re going places as long as you believe that you can. When the world stops throwing you lifelines, create your own. Revel in your Black Girl Magic because you is kind, you is smart, you is important. #BlackGirlsRock
Be Inspired. Be Encouraged. Blessed.