Before turning 25, I had battled cancer, been laid off in the midst of a recession and discovered I was the other woman in a new relationship. My setbacks taught me early on the importance of picking up the pen to intentionally create the life we desire.
No matter the circumstances, you can arrive at your beautiful future through declarations and actions. Mine have gotten me a life-coaching company, Shine Army, with clients on five continents; a book sold around the world; an interview with Oprah Winfrey in her backyard; and a first-class flight to South Africa as a motivational speaker.
Everybody can be a master manifester, as we author our thoughts and make decisions that either move us forward or pull us back. You didn’t make it through this global pandemic to not live a life that excites you. It’s time to graduate from just getting by and enter the thrive zone.
#1 Focus: Decide
Most lottery winners end up broke after setting the goal, paying money to play and actually getting millions of dollars. Why? Because they never updated their behavior and beliefs to actually receive what they wanted. Your brain is a train. Your beliefs and behavior are the tracks, taking you to every experience in your life. In order to get to new places, you have to lay new tracks—because we often do only what we plan to do. In my tribe, we honor your upgrading by saying #choochoo. Start your year by scheduling in the things that are important to you, including time to upgrade your mind, body and spirit. Set the foundation now, so when your dreams show up you are ready to grab hold of them.
#2 Focus: Release
You can’t catch new blessings with full hands. Life taught Fatimah Williams, Ph.D., that we must release everything that doesn’t serve us. While completing her dissertation in Cultural Anthropology at Rutgers University, she realized she didn’t want to continue on her 10-year-plus journey in academia. So she said no to the six-figure jobs, including an offer to become dean at an Ivy League institution, and jumped into the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. “It was hellish,” she recalls of launching her business, Beyond the Tenure Track, a professional development firm. “But it brought me closer to God.” Soon after she changed lanes in her career, Williams’ 11-year marriage ended. “Sometimes you have to let go to clearly see what’s next,” she says. “You have to trust your vision and yourself.” Williams recently signed a book deal to help others expand opportunities and is enjoying dating again. The moral of her story? You can always make another choice.
#3 Focus: Invest
Your greatest asset is you. Plan now for your overflow of opportunity and resources by investing time and energy into your growth. “Imagine being at your retirement party. What are they celebrating you for?” asks Dethra U. Giles, founder of ExecuPrep and host of the Happily Ever Employed podcast. “Write down what you see, and search for people who have achieved what you want. Next, build relationships with people in that role.” As an executive coach for top corporate clients including Goldman Sachs 10KSB, the Tory Burch Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, Giles has seen up close how preparation sustains success. “Every Black woman should have a coach and a therapist, or she is setting herself up for failure,” she says. “This is our time as Black women to access new opportunities, and we want to be ready and prepared when doors open.”