What I’ve Learned As A Black Woman Reaching For Success

“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

11270460_843890612371503_6362870135321154473_oI 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.

Capture.3You 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.

12801433_10153483712167283_3339684474481454489_n1-copyYour 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.


28 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned As A Black Woman Reaching For Success

  1. I absolutely LOVE this post! And might I add that my favorite phrase is “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.”

    As black women we need real talk like this! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Tamara,

      You’ve become one of my favorite women I’ve connected with online. The love and support between the two of us is amazing. I can’t wait for the day that the two of us meet. I am also looking forward to sitting front row when you land NY Fashion Week or London. I admire your hard work and all that you’ve achieved thus far. I pray we both continue to flourish, never forgetting to support each other. xoxo – AJ

  2. Very uplifting and motivation. I agree as black women we should also continue to raise the bar so the world has no choice but to notice us! That’s the only way we won’t be overlooked.

  3. I am so sorry. I am white, so I guess I am not able to relate. I want to be understanding, respectful, and loving to everybody, and I guess I thought I could do that by treating everyone the same. After watching the outrage on twitter over what that lady tweeted, I’m getting the feeling being blind to race isn’t necessarily the right way to handle things. How can I change for the better? I’m a terrible communicator, but I hope this comment makes sense. I don’t want to be insensitive anymore.

    1. Crystle,

      Let me start off by saying that I appreciate your comment. Secondly, being blind to race is actually a significant part of the problems we face in our country today. I truly believe that most people assume if they turn a blind eye then it’ll all go away, but it only makes the problem worse. I say it makes it worse because it creates a pattern of ignoring that racial barriers and injustice is still alive and kicking. I want to commend you for wanting to change and the first step to doing that is acknowledging that there is a problem and you yourself may have some how played a role in that. As a black woman, my best advise to you is to grow to learn our history and get a real understanding as to how far we’ve fought and how far we still have to go. There is power in understanding another woman’s struggle and knowing that because we as Black Women celebrate each other it is in no means taking away from any other race. Simply put we deserve every bit of this. We face trials everyday. We are fighting to be heard and be seen when women who aren’t of color show up and are rewarded with little to no effort the things we get acknowledged for 20-30+ years later after working our a**es off. The first step to changing is effort. Knowing and understanding that there is a such thing as race and black women like Viola Davis give us hope daily to change the way people view us, to create lanes and open new doors. We don’t want anyone to be sorry of feel sorry for us because we are strong, we hold the weight of the world at times. All we want is our acknowledgment. The right to celebrate one another and to not be ridiculed or demeaned when we are working toward creating lanes and breaking down barriers for us, for our futures, for a better tomorrow. All we want is to be acknowledged and celebrated and the fact that you see there needs to be a change and you want to be apart of it serves as a start. To change requires understanding that there is no division or a divide, that us black women are just as entitled to anything anyone else on Gods green earth is. You are a trooper for your comment and I pray that you grow to see just how Royal and valuable black women and black lives are and may you be a voice that contributes to the change this world so desperately needs. You’re in my thoughts and prayers love! Xo – AJ ❤️

      1. Thank you so much! I didn’t know my blindness was so bad, but I feel significantly motivated now! I will do the history research (I’m terrible at learning any type of history, but I want to try) and I will remember your words.

        I know you said you didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for you, but I can’t help be sad there is such injustice. I am told I’m overly sensitive, so I have the feeling I’ll feel bad no matter what. But instead of just pouting, I am going to do something about it, starting with the research. I know I can’t change other people, but I can change myself, so that is what I will do. Thank you so much for replying and giving me a sense of direction!

  4. Amazing post! At my job, we talk a lot about always staying educated and hip to the latest topics in our field, especially as black women in a predominantly white organization we feel it is always important to stay educated and at the peak of our game [or as you say knowing our shXt 🙂 ]!

    Thank you for the inspiration.

    With Love and Light,


  5. I love what you said about hearing no: a rejection is just a redirection! Amen! I can so relate! This post came just in time for me. Thanks for your thoughtful (and very real) words. It gets tough, but we will keep going!

  6. Amber-Janae
    I must say you are very inspirational to others and myself, you are a example of a PHENOMENTAL WOMAN.
    And may God continue to bless you!

  7. Amber awesome post! Your tips are so on point knowing your ish, having a voice and mental health care is so important for sure. It’s always great to run into these types of reminders and as you stayed we should be supportive not step over our Tribe 🙂 xo

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