As a therapist and coach, I woke up this morning with a heart heavier for my clients than I have experienced in the past. Last night, I had nightmares regarding the killing of George Floyd specifically, that I know were triggered by the secondary trauma of witnessing the killing on television, as well as, witnessing the experiences of my clients especially this past week. It’s amazing how desensitized we have become due to the access to the video coverage, which if it did not exist, we likely would not even be talking about this.
I dare not attempt to speak for all People of Color (PoC), but I will speak for myself and what I am seeing as I do this work. PoC are angry, saddened, and outraged by what we are exposed to daily. In the workforce, racism is not hidden anymore, its blatant and we are expected to “just deal with it.” In the home, African American parents and parents of PoC children, legitimately fear for their kids’ safety every time they walk out the door. One of my clients shared the anguish of having to talk to her son about what to do if they were to get stopped by the police; the child is 8. Right, this shouldn’t be but it is! That child, when asked what they would do responding quickly with, “RUN!” The mother hollered, “NO SON! NO!” and she broke down crying! The mother also recounted how she worries about her own safety as a Black woman. Now consider adult parents over 60, many don’t get any rest as their adult children go about their daily lives. What about the wife and the daughter, like myself of two beautiful Black men? This is the reality that as a therapist and coach I witness time and time again.
These are the truths; however, as a leader, my message is one of not simply optimism but hope! As I hear the sentiment repeated, “I don’t know if anything will ever change?” I understand the sentiment and I believe that it can change and it will change for the better. It will not change for the better through rage but when we engage in elevating our minds. People of Color are beautiful, intelligent, brilliant, and resilient; without a doubt, it has been proven time and time again. We must not underestimate the power of a harmonious voice when we intentionally use it to raise the vibration energy as we have also done in the past. How have we done that? Through our faith in God and the hope that faith activates because both faith and hope are active, not passive!
My question to you is, “How are you activating your faith and your hope?” I also ask, “What will you do with this time?” I’ve written two books in two months soon to release. The process has been healing for me and my hope is that it will be the same for all that read it. Consider, “How will you, your family, your community be better as a result of this time?” You may have been told that you can not change the world. I am not sure I believe that; however, let’s just entertain it as truth for one moment? Maybe you can’t change the world, but I am here to tell you if you can’t, WE CAN!
#1 Show Up and Show Out!
The real you must show up in order for your personal brand to elevate you because you are your brand! Choosing to show up in every space that makes sense for who you genuinely are and where your peeps are; that is, those that speak your lingo. Your brand is not a label someone slaps on you. Instead, it’s who you are without effort and it makes what you do look effortless as well. As a therapist and clarity coach to other CEO’s, I can tell you that I never leave a networking mixer without making sure it was clear that I was in the house; that’s how I show out. I had to lose the learned behavior of showing up small and apologizing for who I was. Today, I make no apologies for standing out in my field of expertise. This takes increasing levels of self-awareness, charisma, and intentionality; however, if you don’t have this cocktail right now, it can be developed over time with the right support. Those you are called to serve, want someone who is relatable and a bona fide original; not a fake! I continue to show up many times, afraid, but I show up remembering that I am not just doing it for me. This has allowed vulnerability to become a part of my brand. Remember, people want to connect with someone who inspires them to be their authentic selves. It is when you show up, and show out that you give others permission to do the same. Still today, my dad reminds me to keep my heart clean and show up to serve the people with the gifts I have been given and the rest will come. Trust me, your brand will grow as you stay focused on serving those who need you and your offerings.