I was so freaking nervous.
I thought deeply about the question that Soror Ayanna Castro, host of the Work Your Package Women’s conference, had just asked me while I sat on stage for the Pursue Your Passions Entrepreneurial panel.
What is the one piece of advice you would give yourself at the beginning of your journey towards entrepreneurship? My heart racing at 80 miles an hour, I took a deep breath, gripped the microphone tightly, looked out into the audience and into the faces of the dynamic women who patiently awaited my response. I smiled softly and spoke my answer with a surety and confidence that truly surprised me.
After the panel was over, I thought, “You know what Malica, I’m SO glad you said yes.”
When Ayanna first asked me to speak on the Pursue Your Passions entrepreneurial panel a few months ago, my initial thought was, “Why me? No one wants to hear what I have to say. Besides, I’m terrified to speak in front of people – what if I freeze up?”
Of course, this wasn’t the first time that lying, nasty little fear monster had raised it’s ugly head in my life.
Come closer and I’ll let you in on a little secret.
Finer Women Rising was actually scheduled to go live in January, 2 full months before I launched in March. My initial plan was to launch on Founders’ Day, but I delayed the launch again and again – because of what?
And excuses are the tools of the what? 🙂
Yep – I was guilty. I kept finding reason after reason to delay the launch. One day it was, “this blog post picture isn’t the right size”. The next day it was, “the content on my about page needs to be perfected – it’s not good enough”.
At the end of the day, I was simply afraid to push the publish button, fearful of what Sorors would think and even more fearful that no one would believe that what I had to say was important.
But you know what? With prayer and the support of my “board of directors”, I pushed past the fear and published Finer Women Rising anyway – and because of that, you’re reading these words right now. The blog has received so much love and positive feedback that it’s been overwhelming!
Sorors, there are definitely times when we MUST say no to keep our sanity and focus. I was having a discussion with Soror Karen Arrington just yesterday on how I sometimes struggle with saying no to people. I’ve placed so much unneccesary stress on myself because I take on too much. Learning how to say no with confidence is an important skill to master. Without it, we become slaves to other people’s agendas, with no time to do what God brought us here to do and serve those he wants us to serve.
But then there are times when we MUST say yes to opportunities and step out of our comfort zones so that we can rise. These are opportunities that you know deep down inside will stretch you, grow you and prepare you for greatness. Neil Simon once said “If no one ever took risks, Michaelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.” Can you imagine that? BTW, I borrowed that Neil Simon quote from a powerful little book/journal called “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You – I highly recommend it 🙂
I don’t know what fears you’re struggling with today. Perhaps it’s the fear of taking on a new job, running for an office in your chapter, or taking that speaking opportunity. Maybe you’ve been hesitant to publish your own blog or start your own business. Whatever new thing you’re fearful of doing – pray on it and seek the support of your “board of directors” (a term I borrow lovingly from Soror Ayanna Castro) – wise women who will advise you, support you and give it to you straight, no chaser. Then pray again, step off the ledge,