Celebrating 18 years of self employment!

This week I'm celebrating the beginning of my 19th year of self employment! 

Over the past two years as #MeToo, #TimesUp, Trump Madness and other identity related issues and topics have played out in our society, I've come to understand perhaps the most significant unexpected consequence of working for myself -- that, unbeknownst to me, I removed myself from environments that would have oppressed me and ground me down. 

For more than 20 years. 

No having to wear pantyhose — if men had to wear those things, they wouldn’t exist. No shoes that hurt my feet (except if I choose to wear them). No chemicals in my hair that create burns in my scalp (and introduce who knows what toxins into my body). No code-switching. No enduring or having to figure out how to respond to sexual harassment. No enduring or having to figure out how to respond to racist assumptions, omments or institutions. No morphing or contorting myself to fit in. No being the only woman, and or person of color, and or woman of color, and or Black person in the room. 

No having to force-fit myself into a culture or situation. No trimming back my edges so someone else doesn't feel uncomfortable for some ridiculous reason. No not being right for some nebulous reason that people just can't put their finger on even though I work my behind off and do everything they told me to do last year in order to succeed this year. 

No incessant drum beat of not being quite good enough. No drip, drip, drip almost-invisible water torture of criticism. No one gaslighting me or telling me that I'm being overly sensitive about a race or gender-related issue. 

No one repeating the idea that I just shared and pretending that it was his own. 

Thank you, Lord!

Today, I understand that sparing myself from these types of interactions have made a tremendous difference in my self-confidence, self-esteem and self efficacy. Rarely have I had to alter myself to conform to someone else's expectation of who or how I should be. 

I have, however, had to improve myself by doing personal-development work.

I have also broken free myself from many limiting beliefs -- ranging from the certainty that I'd be homeless if I followed my dreams, to the fear that I wouldn't be able to provide for myself as a creative person, to being positive that I'd ruin my life financially. These were just some of the lies that I'd internalized, believing that would be my reality if I left the traditional workplace.

Amazingly, those ideas have just gone poof! It's hard to imagine that I'd once believed them.

Instead, 18 years of self-employment, 15 books, 14 countries visited, 12 years of a 6-figure income (and several more in the high 5-figures), 3 New York Times best-sellers, 2 NAACP Image Awards and 1 paid-off house later, I'm pushing into new possibilities -- all while living life on my own terms.

As I approach my 57th birthday, I wonder what other beliefs I carry that 19 years from now I'll think were ridiculous. I want to blast through all of them. I can't imagine retiring or even slowing down. God willing, I'll be uncovering more passions and following them for 20 years or even more!

Wheee!!!

Thank you for supporting me along the way -- whether by being one of the amazing members of my nuclear or extended family, or through your friendship over the years, or by partnering with me at work or on a project, or by inspiring me with your own life, or by sharing information and challenging me to think more deeply, or by seeing my possibilities and encouraging me, or by taking a workshop or one of my coaching programs. 

I'm grateful! 

P.S. — If you’re outgrowing your current job or career and need help pushing past fear, uncovering your current passion and developing a strategy to step into your new season professionally, shoot me a line. I may be running a coaching program that would be a good fit for you!

Kicking off my 18th year of self employment with members of my Fearless & Free 3-Day Coaching Program.

Kicking off my 18th year of self employment with members of my Fearless & Free 3-Day Coaching Program.

I'm Rising & Thriving

I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me in getting my Rise & Thrive webinar off of the ground. So many of you have encouraged me. My first FB announcement got more than 100 shares—that’s totally unheard of! I’m grateful for those of you who shared my post, participated in my first presentations, have signed up for a future session and so on. I have posted the link to the upcoming webinars in Comments or so you can sign up or pull the coattail of a friend whom you think might be interested.

Today a friend asked why I’m doing this.

In a nutshell:

1) Because my parents, ancestors and countless people I’ll never know fought for me to be able to participate relatively fully in American society.

2) As someone who has dedicated much of her life to helping to create a world in which everyone can thrive, I will not sit back and watch our nation become more racist, more bigoted and more uncivil without fighting it—even at the risk of people thinking, well, I don’t really care what other people think. I have done the things that I’m supposed to do inside the existing systems: I’ve called my congressional reps, contributed to campaigns, registered voters, protested, participated in grassroots meetings, spoken publicly, and more. It hasn’t been enough, so I'm making a way out of no way.

I’ve said here before that Allen Iverson is my all-time favorite basketball player—up there with LeBron, of course. #Believeland ;-) At 6’0” he was a little guy by basketball standards. But I loved the way he would dive for the ball, leave skin on the floor and check to see if his elbows and knees were bleeding. The big lesson that AI taught me—an example for which I’ll always be grateful—is that the way in which you show up has the power to change a game’s outcome. I can’t tell you how many times I saw the 76ers losing—only for Iverson to turn it on. When he shifted into high gear—and he would do it in a mere moment—everything changed.

Maybe I shift into high gear, I too, can change something. Perhaps if I shift into high gear, some of you will in your own way, too. The people I’m friends with are such an amazing community that perhaps if all of us shifted a little—or even a lot—our shifts could make a difference. Collectively, maybe our changes could change the trajectory of a society in which racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other “isms” and “obias” are becoming increasingly normative. What step might you take to do something new?

I’m offering my Rise & Thrive webinar to help protect the people who I know best—Black, African-American and Black biracial families who are concerned about their children’s wellbeing—against the resurgence of racists, bigots and people who are rolling back our rights. As we speak dozens of judges are being confirmed with lifetime appointments to do things like roll back voting rights, women's rights, affirmative action, women's right to choose, and so on. My conversations are intersectional, as always—that is to say that if you’re Black and lesbian, or Black and Jewish, or Black and an immigrant, for instance, you’re welcome. But since I'm only one person with limited resources I’m starting unapologetically with the demographic I know best: Black folks!

If you’re interested in attending and fit the bill, I'd love to have you. Sign up by clicking through Comments below. If you think a friend might be interested, please tag, invite them or otherwise spread the message.

And if you, too, feel inspired to dive in your own unique way, please let me know how. I welcome both your contribution and the conversation.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/hilarybeardauthor/events/?ref=page_internal

Grateful to Speak Publicly about Implicit Bias @ Philly's GreatPHL Ideas Fest

Black in November, I was honored to be invited by entrepreneur and Renaissance Man Christopher Plant of Kismet Coworking to speak at GreatPHL. When I accepted, I told Christopher that it would be a stretch. I literally completed a book the afternoon before. Though I’d been thinking about my topic and preparing for weeks, I’d had no mental bandwidth to write my presentation until the morning I was scheduled to step out on stage. YIKES!

Though I speak publicly about bias when I do professional-development in-service trainings in schools, it’s a sensitive enough topic that it’s important to speak thoughtfully. Then again, part of my point was that we all need to relax and give each other room. Unconscious, or implicit, bias is natural. Every human being is biased in one way or the other. Once we accept that, we can consciously work on reducing our biases.

I don’t know a lot of people who wake up each morning intending to be unfair. That said, reducing and or becoming aware of our biases does take intentional effort. It’s a great area in which to practice the growth mindset, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work where we get comfortable stepping outside of our comfort zone and being uncomfortable so that we can grow. I decided to do that with this presentation — and I learned that I could trust myself do decently with less prep time than I’d normally have.

In this 20-minute presentation, I talk about how examining my own biases helped me release attitudes and behaviors that I was secretly ashamed of and freed me to be the person whom I’d always aspired to be. Enoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI97AS2ZOHI

Black boys are suspended and expelled from school more often than any other children. As the data we lay out in "Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life" clearly describe, they are punished both more often and more harshly than White males engaging in the exact same behavior, even when the data are adjusted to reflect poverty status. 

Black girls are kicked out of school more often than any other girls. What's more, the rate at which Black girls are being suspended/expelled is rising more quickly than it is for any other children. 

What are they getting kicked out of school for? Disproportionately, being "loud" and "unladylike". The school-to-prison pipeline for Black girls involves a lack of understanding of their socialization - which differs from the traditional expression of femininity -- and culture, which values women who speak up. Adults also are uninformed about the trauma responses that Black girls display, which they often mistake as threatening and/or violent when they are merely cries for help. 

http://womensenews.org/story/incarceration/140322/pushed-out-school-black-girls-lose-huge-ground#.UzWAolyrRIo

Pushed Out of School

Black boys are suspended and expelled from school more often than any other children. As the data we lay out in "Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life" clearly describe, they are punished both more often and more harshly than White males engaging in the exact same behavior, even when the data are adjusted to reflect poverty status. 

Black girls are kicked out of school more often than any other girls. What's more, the rate at which Black girls are being suspended/expelled is rising more quickly than it is for any other children. 

What are they getting kicked out of school for? Disproportionately, being "loud" and "unladylike". The school-to-prison pipeline for Black girls involves a lack of understanding of their socialization - which differs from the traditional expression of femininity -- and culture, which values women who speak up. Adults also are uninformed about the trauma responses that Black girls display, which they often mistake as threatening and/or violent when they are merely cries for help. 

http://womensenews.org/story/incarceration/140322/pushed-out-school-black-girls-lose-huge-ground#.UzWAolyrRIo

Black boys are suspended and expelled from school more often than any other children. As the data we lay out in "Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life" clearly describe, they are punished both more often and more harshly than White males engaging in the exact same behavior, even when the data are adjusted to reflect poverty status. 

Black girls are kicked out of school more often than any other girls. What's more, the rate at which Black girls are being suspended/expelled is rising more quickly than it is for any other children. 

What are they getting kicked out of school for? Disproportionately, being "loud" and "unladylike". The school-to-prison pipeline for Black girls involves a lack of understanding of their socialization - which differs from the traditional expression of femininity -- and culture, which values women who speak up. Adults also are uninformed about the trauma responses that Black girls display, which they often mistake as threatening and/or violent when they are merely cries for help.

http://womensenews.org/story/incarceration/140322/pushed-out-school-black-girls-lose-huge-ground#.UzWAolyrRIo

Why Do People Stereotype Black Men?

Nobody wants to be biased against anyone. But a 2012 study by the Associated Press found that more than ½ of Americans demonstrate implicit, or unconscious, bias against Black people -- an increase since President Obama was elected. Anti-Latino bias is up as well. 

Unconscious bias is complex and nuanced. Anyone can be biased against anyone, for instance. Yes, that is to say that a Black person can be biased against another Black person, just as a woman can be biased against women. And remember, it's unconscious -- people don't know. So being biased doesn't mean that you're a bad person or racist or sexist. It does, however, mean that the idea of this as a "post-racial" era is largely wishful thinking. 

The good thing about unconscious bias is that becoming aware of it helps to change it. How? You can start by taking the Implicit Association Test (IAT) at Implicit.Harvard.edu, where you will find IATs for several dimensions of difference -- from race, to gender, to age, for instance. Take the test and see how you score. For most of us just discovering that we're biased is enough for our conscious awareness to kick in to help us adjust and become more fair. 

This short video describes implicit bias as it relates to Black males. 

#promiseskept American Promise #women4BMA
#blackedu #implicitbias #BeTheChange

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEZY8TQVKgc

It Takes a Village to Raise A Child with ASD

I had never written about autism until I wrote this piece for TheRoot.com, inspired by the tragic loss of Avonte Oquendo, who wandered away from his NYC school and at some point drown. But the more I started learning about the spectrum of autism disorders and just how much we can do to support children with autism, I really got into writing the piece. There's so much we can do. Read on to learn just how much. 
#autism 


http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/03/how_to_protect_black_and_brown_kids_with_asd.html