To many of us, this is the first time we are experiencing this pandemic, social distancing, or self-quarantine. This could be an exciting time for some (being able to work from home in our yoga pants), stressful time for others (not knowing what the future holds…I’m right here with you sis or bro). Whatever it may be, there is a bud of hope somewhere…
Although I thought I was rolling with the punches, I didn’t realize subconsciously I had created a method to deal with the madness. Well, here we go!
This season can be a tad stressful. Many of us have been taken away from our norm to be placed in a new situation. Lack of toilet paper, bread, and who knows what’s next tomorrow that can trigger our anxiety. Being flooded with COVID 19 updates from so many different perspectives and doctrines can be overwhelming since we can’t fact check because this is all new… TAKE A DEEP BREATH and Exhale. We can’t control the outside world but we can control within. Use the safety precautions as stated by the CDC and take time to center yourself. What does centering yourself look like? Do you need to google sound meditations? Do you need to do some breathing exercises? Do you need to disconnect for a few? You know-how.
GO AHEAD AND SET THE MOOD…
For me, setting the mood means to take a pulse of how I am doing at least 3 times a day (when I wake up, mid-day, before bed, and sometimes more if I had an anxious day). Lately, I’ve also been setting the mood with my gratitude jar. Spoiler alert: it’s not a real jar. A few weeks ago, I was really stressed out and emotionally drained (to all my empaths out there, you know how it is). I went to my therapy session, she helped me see that the things that I was stressed out about actually were wins or things I’ve grown in. So now, I surround myself with things I’m grateful for (lots of sticky notes in my room) I have a gratitude corner in my journal. I keep a Gratitude tab in my Google Keep app. I have a gratitude jar in my Instagram Highlights. I also have a gratitude jar folder in many email accounts. Lastly, I randomly throw impromptu gratitude jar conversations with my husband.
DO NOT DISTURB
Have you heard the song that says “ Baby put your phone in DND, something something…”
I think the song is about a relationship but the part that always sticks out to me is the put your phone on DND part. As a person who is susceptible to panic attacks, I have had to master the art of keeping a pulse on my mental health. What that means for me is auditing what I intake or what I am surrounded by (can you tell I have an undergrad degree in accounting :) ). So when I discovered the DND feature on my phone, I used it. I use it during work hours. I use it at night and early mornings. It has helped tremendously as a way to filter what I ingest. Just in case you might be afraid to lose some calls and all… DO NOT FRET because you can tweak the DND feature to limit certain calls and accept certain callers.
Did anyone catch Quarantine Con online? It was EPIC! I am looking forward to telling my grandbabies that this social distancing was the most INNOVATIVE for the culture! The Quarantine Conference was an introvert’s dream. When I am talking about introverts, I am talking about myself. I was able to network in my comfortable space and be bombarded by so many people’s energies. I loved it. As a person who attends lots of conferences for work and self, I always find myself having to step away from the crowd to regroup and recharge, quarantine con allowed me to do that without leaving my seat.
Bea Dixon, founder of The Honey Pot was a guest speaker there. Her session was epic. The way she speaks exudes so much confidence and you can tell that she is anchored, focused, and real. A vulnerable Black Woman entrepreneur’s GOAL. When I say a vulnerable black woman entrepreneur, I’m talking about me no one else. Being a full-time entrepreneur for 2 years now has shown me a new side of me. I thought I was a G but I have seen my most vulnerable side. When my hubby and I founded Macon Black Tech, I quickly realized that entrepreneurship or doing social impact work requires us to do inward work as much if not more than doing outward work.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve seen and had to deal with my insecurities for what they were instead of sweeping them under the rug. It’s helped me so much in the way I communicate with others (don’t get me wrong, I’m still working on it). Well, what does Bea have to do with this you ask? Well during her session, she mentioned the power of walking in a room with self-determination because they are like sharks(whatever they means to you… I’ll talk about my they in another article). They smell your fear and will eat you alive. That resonated so much with me. If I’m being honest, I’ve been eaten a few times. SCRATCH THAT! I have been eaten a lot of times. But one thing that my Haitian culture has taught me is the art of resiliency. So what do I do? I get up and do it again until I’ve mastered it (whatever IT is).
She also talked about believing in yourself. “ If you have an ounce of not believing in yourself, you’re going to crumble.” she said. When asked about the recent situation where many people had negative things to say about her brand she mentioned a comment that made her laugh and said: “ That is an opinion and NOBODY died from it!” Whew chile, that’s the wisdom of the ancestors.
Lastly, she mentioned that we have to BE THERE AKA BE PRESENT. “ The past and the present do not exist”. You read this right. THE PAST & THE PRESENT DO NOT EXIST. What more can you say after this? Nothing… These are meditative phrases. To have a reasoning of this sort shows focus. I left the conference challenged by the urgency to go deeper while doing my inward work. It’s so easy to be distracted by things that have nothing to do with our inward goals, life goals, daily goals. What are we fixing our eyes on?
What is one thing that you need to work on? Have you opened yourself to the need to grow in a specific area? WHO or what is distracting you?
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Myleik Teele’s podcast. I have been replaying her old episodes a lot. Ask my husband(lol). That’s one of the ways I do my inward work. In her Stop Making Excuses episode, she talks about taking off the anchor that is sinking you and watching yourself arise from that. She also challenges us to evaluate what those anchors are. To me, it’s my inward conversation (more on that in another article…)
Have you ever realized in the middle of cooking a recipe that you forgot an important ingredient at the grocery store? How did you adjust? This has happened to me plenty of times. Do you know what happened after? I improvised and it was great (i.e the one time I made Broccolli and avocado soup with spinach instead of broccoli… that was the best broccoli and avocado soup I ever had :)). Maybe that might not always work but I choose to think of it as is.
This season has been so unexpected for a lot of us. Although scary, how do we overcome? After working on points 1 & 2 what else is there to do? You’ve set the mood for this season, you’ve taken steps to work on yourself which is amazing and not to be taken lightly… Now, it’s time to LET IT ALL OUT! Evaluate where you are and where you’re trying to be. This is the perfect time to get in your zone and ideate your heart out. DREAM DREAM DREAM!If you have been afraid of a dream break it down into pieces and put one foot in front of the other. It’s that simple! NO GIMMICK! Have you watched Self Made: Madam CJ Walker’s movie yet? Did you hear the quote about after planting it takes time to bear fruit? If you work on anything whether little by little or tirelessly, you will eventually have fruits! The amount of fruits you have is totally up to you. NO MAGIC FORMULA HERE. A lot of people that we are inspired by, have started plenty of things from scratch, at times they didn’t know what they were doing. But guess WHAT! We are now talking about them and using their products or services.
If you’re afraid of failure, remember that failure is not the enemy. Perfection is! OMG, I just did a quotable :). I didn’t think that was possible. But it is true! I love the innovation world. My mentor in innovation (Hi Isabelle) introduced me to the idea of fail fast, fail cheap. I grew up in a culture that didn’t allow room for many mistakes. That is a heavy load to carry but I’m here to tell you to ideate, have fun, fail as you create room for you invaluable idea that is going to change the world. YOU GOT THIS!
As you’re creating and developing something in this chapter of your life, you are not alone. Looking back, I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a kid in Haiti, I had many business ventures while my parents were at work. I sold printing pages of colorful toys, homemade ice cream, snacks, etc… As an adult, it became easier to talk myself out of my new ideas and say why they wouldn’t succeed. I had lost my touch. I had been in a new city for 3 years, it was hard making new friends, and I felt stuck. I felt like I wasn’t growing. I had just finished grad school. I kept going to my managers to see how to go about growing in the company and what to do. I hit a dead end. So I decided to try something different. I started listening to Myleik’s podcast and the first thing I remembered her saying was to start asking people for coffee. So I randomly started asking people that I admired for coffee (lol). I decided to learn new things, put myself in new spaces and meet new people while afraid. Looking back now, unbeknownst to me I was planting a seed for the life that I’m building today. In the midst of this, I met my mentor who introduced me to the world of Healthcare innovation and Human-Centered Design. Taking a chance back then is giving me faith and confidence now to dream bigger and pursue my dreams for the future.
Have you ever watched Slum Dog Millionaire? I won’t spoil it for you but I can relate to the messaging behind the story line. If I told you that you hold the key to your success, what door would you open with it? I won’t follow this up with quirky comment but this is real. Self-Evaluate! What seed are you sowing right now with the cards that were handed to you? In the midst of you working on answering that question in your life, your tribe will come.
For right now though, who are you building with? This past weekend I went through a peopling overload as an introvert. It was all done virtually LOL. How ironic and amazing is that! I was able to network with people from different parts of the world that are into what I’m into. Of course, I attended DJ Dnice’s IG live and made sure I supported local artist online ventures and joined lots of virtual conferences some for work some for professional development.
One of the things that this pandemic and the world of VR has taught me is how possible it is to find virtual communities that are into what you’re into. There is a private Facebook group for everything and there is a community for everything( If you are thinking about being a Medium writer, consider joining a Medium FB group). Anything you are considering, there is a community for. If you can’t find one, maybe you can build one. Your tribe is awaiting!