Self-help growth

One of the things about being gay (and a person of color) is the price we pay for our mental state/health. And I'm not talking literally but figuratively.

As a woman of color who identifies as gay, I have the added pressure of living up to or "performing" in the world that can either add to a positive conversation or exacerbate the stereotype that brews in the back of someone's mind.

In June, I left one job and moved to another. While the previous job was accepting of who I was as a gay woman, my identity as a Black Woman was challenged in so many other ridiculous ways, that I became literally sick. I had headaches and stomach aches for two years because I had to watch how I said this, how I said that, what would be the perception. Was I being "too black" "too outspoken"? I could not go through life or a job that was eating away at my mental health. It wasn't that serious.

We hear all the time about authenticity. We say we want employees and employers to be authentic but that is not true if your form of authenticity has a caveat. When that caveat is "we can't have a conflict on the team or everyone needs to agree all the time" than the need for authenticity fails. Sometimes, people do not get along. The ideas stop if the team is a harmonious lie. If everyone is a yes person, how do you sift through the malaise to find gems of an idea?

We have to live what we believe.

For me, it meant seeing a therapist. I have to make sure my mental state aligns with my values and that means working for people that truly invite ideas and creativity along with my identity as gay and black and woman. I'm not saying throw caution to the wind and discard your filter. I am saying that the ability to share your thoughts and ideas are the best way to protect your mental state without letting a job or employer drive you to snap.

Shortened Virtual Mentor course live!!!

Okay, here is the link

It's ready and if you open the complete course outline, you can see what modules will be added, if there is sufficient interest. What does sufficient interest look like, you may be asking. Well, it means, if 10-20-50 people take the short course, like the workbook, like the videos and ask me to finish the other topics, then that is sufficient interest. And to top it off, everyone that says yes would have access to the remainder of those modules, videos and workbook updates at no additional cost if I decide to complete them later. Yep, a total win.

Do I think what I have out on the course so far is sufficient? Yes. And I'll tell you why. When I started to put this course together, last June, thinking of what I wanted in it, etc. I started drafting information, etc and at the time, I had been a Manager for a year and a half. Today, as I roll out this shortened version, I have since transitioned to a Director position in another agency. The point of all that is to say that everything that got me to a Supervisor, Manager and now Director position is based on what you'll hear in the modules. For a disclaimer, yes I have a BS and an MS. Did those things help me get higher on the career ladder? They didn't hurt but they also didn't help because I started in my previous job with both of those degrees and started at an entry level position and I was in my 40s. So don't let age or lack of education stop you. You might be what someone is looking for. Your life skills COUNT.

Like, I said, the Virtual Mentor course is a reasonable $25. Can I charge more? Yes. I choose not to. And definitely not because I don't want to, I just want more people to reach their goals with a little help than me trying to price gouge someone. Dream big and I'd love to hear your stories.

Here is the link again.  

Change and transformation

Wow. I hadn't realized how long it's been since I posted last. This it not good. So let me catch you up to speed. 

I set up the virtual mentor course in Teachable and have one module to complete before I release it. That took up some time but not all my time. I was in a transition stage of reorganization at work so that took up my energy. I also finished the Get Woke workshops, which I'll talk about in another post, which helped me gain the clarity I needed to recognize how being silent in the workplace as a Person of Color was impacting my health, but I got past that...because I Got Woke. Can't wait to share that with you all. 

But, we are talking about Change. Why do so many people fear it? Why do people say they welcome it and then run, hiding when their help is needed to make a change happen? I like change. I'm not lying. I can't stand things staying the same if the results produced are not productive. That means something needs to be adjusted; hence change. It seems obvious right. But how often do you hear people around you say, "we've always done it that way".  Okay, yeah, I get that. But "always done it that way" was how long ago? Was it 3 years, 5 years, last week? Because 3 years, 5 years and last week, technology changed. So maybe it's time to try how it's always been done with a new twist. 

Transformation means taking inventory of what works and smartly adjusting what doesn't. Don't blow up everything when everything isn't broken. But be open to blow up the things that need a clean new slate. 

I can't wait to hear from you. Any changes going on in your lives? I have some big changes which I'll share later. Until then, be strong, be brave and be authentic because you are the only you in the world and an imitation is never going to be better. 

How to answer an Interview question that sells you

Hi folks, I talk about interviews and other stuff from time to time but I want to actually show you what I mean. 

This was how I answered a question during an interview once. 

  1. Name 5 strengths that make you a valuable asset to the company? My response was bold vision, adherence to deadlines, multi-task without losing focus, fast processor and good self-starter.

From the outside, those looked and I thought sounded like great answers. But they didn't say anything. I was just giving a laundry list of task. If I was asked that question today, this is how I would answer still using my original framework. 

  1. Name 5 strengths that make you a valuable asset to the company?  
  • I have bold vision which I have used to help my team decide on quarterly and annual goals. We decided on those goals by having a one day retreat. 
  • I adhere to deadlines by making sure they everyone involved on a project knows what their task are and I check in regularly to make sure we complete projects on time. I make sure if we are using Microsoft Project that everyone knows how to use it. I make sure that if the deadline is going to run late, I let the main stakeholder know well in advance because I may not know how my delay can impact other projects.
  • I multi-task which studies now show isn't always the most productive way to spend our time. So I have streamlined this approach by setting a timer for each task and I use Notes on the computer. As I complete each task, I delete the Note from the screen which is a visual clue to what is remaining and if I need to shift work. And now I get more done without wasting time working on multiple projects and losing focus.
  • I am a fast processor because I utilize spreadsheets and/or software that make redundancies quicker. And if it's a memo for example that I have to send out annually, I just update the portion that needs to be updated rather than waste time writing a new one. 
  • As for being a self-starter, I have the autonomy within my management team to outline projects that fall under my control and make them better or create something new. (For this one, you just have to have a vision of what's on the horizon for your industry and tell how you'd do something innovative). 

I hope this lets you see how you can actually create a picuture by letting an interviewer see how you do the work not just the laundry list. 


Survey help please

 ***Have you struggled with finding a good mentor? Please take my 2 min survey!***  How are you doing? Thanks for stopping by. I am putting together a course on how to find an amazing mentor and I need your help!  If you've STRUGGLED to find a HIGH-QUALITY MENTOR to coach you through GETTING A PROMOTION AT WORK, or TAKING YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL, please take my 2 min survey!   

***Have you struggled with finding a good mentor? Please take my 2 min survey!***

How are you doing? Thanks for stopping by. I am putting together a course on how to find an amazing mentor and I need your help!

If you've STRUGGLED to find a HIGH-QUALITY MENTOR to coach you through GETTING A PROMOTION AT WORK, or TAKING YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL, please take my 2 min survey!


Interview oops

I was talking to someone recently about interviews. And she was mainly talking about how she didn't have the complete education but she had tons of experience. For about 3 minutes she went on about all the negatives that she didn't have. Clothes. Hair. Make-up. All excuses. And she wondered why she didn't get the job.

My feedback to anybody coming into an interview with me is STOP telling me (or any employer) all the things you don't have. So you don't have the education. So you don't have the exact experience. You have to remember that if you got a call for an interview, you must have met the minimum qualifications so why are you telling me not to hire you.

Because believe it or not, that's what you are doing. You are selling yourself out of a job and it's a lot harder to get me to want to hire you when you don't believe in yourself. It's not a huge bias but it can be one that impacts how Supervisors or Managers try to factor in having you (with all that negativity) fitting into their existing team. 

When you go into an interview, I want to hear how you think you can make a difference with what you already know and then I can teach you the rest. I can coach you on the parts you don't understand especially when you are going into a position where obviously you aren't doing the work yet. I want you to come into the interview confident and self-assured but not cocky, arrogant and over the top. Be yourself, be humble, be the person they want to hire because you are the missing part of the team that they didn't know was missing. 

Just my thoughts. 


Plan your goals and stay the course

As some of you may know, my daughter is traveling around the world and world schooling my 8-year-old granddaughter in the process. You can check out her blog at

The reason I bring her up is the other day someone asked me how she did it. 

She didn't wake up one day and decide to travel around the world. She wrote out meticulous steps, took her time to research, took her time to budget her money and then she set off. 

It's the same with a job interview. I have had people ask after an interview why they didn't get hired? My answer, before you start faulting the company you are trying to get hired at or the position that you want is to figure out what is wrong with your plan.

  • Have you researched the makeup of the company?
    • Have you got your degree but stopped your education?
    • Do you stand out with skills that can enhance the current complement?

When I was interested in one company, a tip I heard made sense. I went on my lunch hour and watched the people coming out of the agency. Were they smiling, clustered in groups, talking with each other? Or were they walking with slouched shoulders, heads down, no eye contact, miserable and beaten down? I didn't want to work where the staff looked like they hated coming to work each day. That attitude is infectious.

  • Have you been honest with yourself?
    • Is your attendance at your current position/job exemplary? Or do you take long lunches, long breaks, come to work late, leave early? If you think no is watching, you're wrong. All your peers notice. And your boss may know too.
    • Do you make snide comments about "everything" and I do mean "everything"?
    • Believe it or not, you aren't Wanda Sykes, so stop being a comedian. What you think of as funny, could be turning people off and will impact your long-term goals. No one wants to work with a jerk.
    • Are you a braggart? Constantly telling everyone how "well" you do your job. Make darn sure that it is perfect or close to perfect before you start bragging. Honestly, people will be looking for ways to bring you back to earth.
  • Get a mentor.
    • I can't stress enough the importance of having a champion on your side. That person will point out your blind spots. When folks told me 25 years ago that I was tactless, I took that to heart. And I continue to work on softening how I communicate, not because I'm not being me, but because I don't want someone going home at night, shamed because I'm too brutally honest. Which is just another word for "rude". 
    • Create a timeline for yourself based on your skills, the companies minimum qualifications and what you can add in that time.
    • Be SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time-bound. If your first goals aren't met, don't be afraid to adjust them. You will be further than you were had you done nothing. 

I got a postcard in the mail from my granddaughter. She is in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has been to Greece, Italy, Paris, London, Morroco, Spain, and Germany so far. She is 8 years old. Her mom set goals. She is learning that those goals can take you anywhere, around the world. 

 Her postcards from Greece, Madrid and Rome. 

Her postcards from Greece, Madrid and Rome. 

Being your own BOSS

I really like my job. But I will always, only make as much money as my company is willing to pay. And we all know, unless you are the CEO, "your" big BUCKS aren't the same as "their" BIG BUCKS. So what do you do, if you want to be a leader and also lead your own company?

Start your own company. Start with your talents or side hustle. 

I'm always talking about setting goals, making them into bite size task and going for it, even when you are nervous, unsure but have a good foundation, and realizing that if you keep putting off what you CAN get done today, the time you are wasting by not doing, is still going by. 

Photo by Alexey_R/iStock / Getty Images

So make a decision about what it is you really want. 

The reason I'm saying this is one thing I have decided is that I want a Black Women in Leadership conference. I'm putting that out into the ether and making notes now. What kind of workshops do I  want to have available, who will be the keynote speaker, what is the overarching goal of the conference? These are a lot of the questions that I am starting to outline because I want us to "not just work hard for someone else" but to "work hard for ourselves and leave a legacy for our children". Isn't that a worthwhile goal? Because I'm tired of someone else defining what I'm worth. 

When I think of leadership, it's not just the soft or hard skills. So you communicate well but are you savvy with managing your money? So your makeup and clothes are on point but you allow negative thinking to cloud your confidence? I'm saying start thinking you are a Millionaire with a Millionaire mindset and you start walking THAT walk instead of the thousandaire mindset with a paycheck to paycheck mindset. Start learning about DRIP. Don't tell me you can't save $50 a month. Pay attention to how many coffees you buy a month, sodas you drink a day, eating out for lunch. Millionaires aren't wearing their money to impress other people. Millionaires aren't driving depreciated cars to impress other people. (Although I will say, I do want a driver). And I'm not saying it has to be a fancy car.

But we all have talents and skills that aren't utilized on our day-to-day. So are you ready to start doing your thing, while staying at the 9 to 5, cause I know I am? I don't want to work for someone else my whole life. 

My daughter is traveling around the world with my 8-year-old granddaughter. They are living the life they want not the existence that is held together by someone else's reality. I know it's a lot to ask. But trust yourself and take a chance on yourself. Let's build your legacy together. 

Tomorrow stuff gets real.