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!


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.

You Are Your Own Ghandi, Mandela and King


Women's rights, peace and social-justice activist Leymah Gbowee, one of three women who shared the Nobel Peace Prize this year, helped organize more than 3,000 Christian and Muslim women to peacefully protest Liberia's civil war, helping to end the horrific violence there. The award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell (click here to view the trailer) depicts the movement that the women carried out. Not only did they risk their lives to challenge Liberia's leaders, they leveraged all of their power, including refusing to have sex with their husbands until the war ended. 

Many of us are experiencing far less devastating circumstances yet feel powerless to act and unable to overcome them. Gbowee's experience can inspire us. She suggests: 

If you have a situation that seems endless and negative, don't wait for a Ghandi, don't wait for a King, don't wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Ghandi, you are your own King. You know your issues, you know your concerns, and you know the solution. Rise up and do something to change your situation around.

Enjoy this 4-minute video interview of her. Watch more of her at OdysseyNetworks.org


Advice from a 109-Year-Old: Relax. Stop Worrying. Don't Sweat the "Stuff"

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to attend the birthday party of a centenarian. Mrs. Eula Cousins turned 109 this month, and as happens every year, a group of women gathered to celebrate her life. This particular group is what my friend Jackie Radford has labeled a "wisdom circle". It consists of women from every decade of life--from their teens, through young adulthood, through middle age, through the senior years, and though the old-old and Mrs. Cousins herself. And its intention is to share information inter-generationally. "Older women have a lot of information to share, but you have to ask them," Jackie says. Mrs. Cousins' cut buddies consist of a group of 4 or 5 90-something-year-old-women, so experience abounds. Each year, these women share pearls--big fat Hope diamonds, actually--of wisdom, advice for better living, marvel at our lives-- and rejoice that they don't have to live them.

This year our elders kept returning to a similar theme: God has a plan. They repeated this statement so many times--using these words and others--that I wondered if there are things they can see from the vantage point of their senior years that the rest of us cannot because we are too young. So I asked them: From the vantage point of having lived nearly a century or more, can you look back over your life and see patterns, or make sense of what took place, in ways that you cannot when you are younger? That is to say: Can you connect the dots of your life? 

Their answer? A resounding yes. This response made the remainder of their advice make tremendous sense. It was:

 1. Relax. There's no need to worry or stress ourselves out the way that we do. In the end, things are going to be okay.

 2. Become less attached to material things. They're meaningless, our elders told us, and we're way too tied to them. They detract from our peace of mind, hinder our freedom and cause us to worry and stress out too much—major reasons we struggle to relax.

3. Get less caught up in the circumstances of our lives. Just as material possessions come and go, circumstances do also. When you look back on them later in life, the women said, life's happenings mean something entirely different--carry an entirely different significance--than they did at the time that they happened. To me, this suggests that things don't mean what we think they do—that we should stop judging, assigning meaning to and beating ourselves up about them.

We "young" women of the wisdom circle found this advice very timely and wise. And in this post Great Recession/ Depression era, anything we can do to reduce the pressure on our finances and reduce our stress can vastly improve our quality of life. 


Feeling Lost Along Your Journey?

Anyone who steps off of the beaten path to change their career, or follow a Spiritual Calling or dream, is bound to feel disoriented or discombobulated from time to time. Here I share some advice based on my experience of following my passion into my dream career -- a process I embarked upon when I left corporate America in 1992 -- and landing on my feet. Since I began working for myself and pursuing my Spiritual Calling, even thought I'm self employed I haven't looked for work for over 10 years.

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