We’ve all done it. We’ve marveled (or sometimes rolled our eyes) at the “happy people.” We’ve wondered how they could maintain so much pep in their step or keep a smile even during the storms of life (plus we all work everyday so who can really be that happy??). Well folks, we have two options. We can either stand outside and continue to look in and wonder….or we can join them. I personally say…if you can’t beat them, join them…right?

This has been an ongoing issue in my life and the lives of most people as we navigate through life. We are bruised, bloodied, worn down and stressed out often. Sometimes it just seems as if we can’t catch a break. My encouragement for you is to dig deep and find your reason to smile. We ALL have a reason to smile.

First, the fact that you are reading this is a reason to smile. We are not immortal…but you’re here in this moment. You’re breathing…and you made it through another day! I don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me to jump up and click my heels together (although I can’t quite figure out how to do that!). Your bills are paid….or something was paid, because you have the ability to open this email and read it. 

Finally, the fact that you’re here today means you have a 100% track record for being an overcomer. You’ve successfully conquered all of the sometimes long days in your life that came before this one. 

We don’t remind ourselves of some of the above enough. We get caught up in what we have not done or caught up in worry. STOP! Right now….loudly inhale and exhale and listen to your breath. It’s there. Did you hear it? That, my friend, means you’re alive. If you need to dig deeper, dig. But for now, let’s just celebrate life. 

-Shantia

#ShantiaSpeaks

“I have written eleven books but each time I think…’uh oh, they are going to find me out now.'” –Maya Angelou

In just a few short months, I will take the stage at an International Women’s Conference to speak on Imposter Syndrome. If you’re not familiar, Imposter Syndrome (or Imposterism), is that nagging voice in our heads that tells us that despite our qualifications or intellect, we are not qualified. It tells us that we are where we are in life because we are “lucky” and not because we are deserving.

Until recent years, this Syndrome has remained unidentified, but I, for one, am happy to have a name for what I will admittedly self-diagnose myself as having. (I am secure enough to publicly state this because I know that I am not alone, even if others won’t admit it). 

Although it is a personal journey, the root of Imposterism, for most, can be traced to societal norms, our childhoods, politics, religion, and other pathologies. Unfortunately, diving in to these truths would take an entire book. For now, as I prepare my remarks for the Conference, I’d like to share just a few thoughts on what we can all do to fight this battle.

1. Practice speaking up in meetings. I’m not just encouraging folks to speak just to hear the sound of their own voices. I’m encouraging you to share the thoughts swimming through your head as you are listening to the dialogue in your meetings. Many of us have great ideas but hesitate when it comes to placing those into words and putting them before the group. A part of building confidence in our talents is sharing them with others and tweaking our ideas. The fear that somehow we are sitting in the room although unqualified is usually irrational, and often all it takes it just one positive session of discussing your ideas to eradicate this self-doubt.

2. Frame and hang your credentials, no matter what they are. You may have a GED, a diploma, a degree or a certificate. Whatever it is, don’t just let it collect dust in an envelope. Invest in framing what you have worked so hard for. This reminder is not for others, but for you! Sometimes we need a reminder, in black and white, that we are capable and that we have every right to be in the room. Don’t have any of these yet? Frame something you are proud of that reminds you of your worth, even if it is just a quote or a scripture.

3. Finally, speak highly of yourself even if you don’t believe your words. Eventually you will come to believe every word. This takes practice as it can sometimes become so much easier to speak higher of others than yourself. Start by affirming yourself each morning and each night. Let some of your first and last thoughts each day be reminders of how incredible you are.

Please share this article with someone you think needed these words and encourage them to sign up for my mailing list by visiting my website. No strings attached. Just spreading love.

-Shantia #ShantiaSpeaks

Black Woman Public Speaking

The formula was everything but magical. In fact, the formula involved getting out of my own head. Once I decided to embark on this new journey I began the legwork. I would need a website, a highlight reel, an email address and so on and so forth. I quickly became so entangled in the planning and making sure everything was perfect.

It was the day I realized seeking perfection would draw the planning and branding process out forever that I realized I was hindering myself. You see, I would spend hours poring over my website and hours revising my professional bio. Then I’d wake up the next day and do the same until a vicious cycle began.

As I was driving to work one day, I was reminded that if we continue to dwell on the planning of something, we never actually begin. So here I was, with not much footage for a reel and a website. Honestly, I just closed my eyes and took a leap of faith. What I had wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the best. However…it was something. And something is way more than nothing.

In a nutshell I’m saying just start applying! Start seeking out opportunities and making contacts. Don’t sit back and overanalyze your strategy–just get out there. Use local connections and social media to your advantage and JUST GO! It worked for me….with half of a highlight reel! What’s there to lose?

Now of course I’m not saying you can do this with nothing. There are still a few things I DO recommend before putting yourself out there. First, you’ll need a professional email address and a website of some sort. A highlight reel is ideal but not necessary at this point. With a good email address and a solid and relevant programming list (see mine for an example), you’re well on your way to begin making your pitches.

What you choose to speak on should be something you’re passionate about and have first hand experience in. That’s the hardest part but once you’ve nailed that down and have your minimum branding (website and email), you will pass the laugh test when you make your pitches. Remember, this should never be about money. Speaking to audiences should always be to motivate, inspire and encourage others while fulfilling your own passion for the craft. If the money comes…great!

Best of luck on your journey! Affirm yourself today. You got this.

There’s Power In The Tongue!

The tongue is probably one of the most dynamic organs we boast. It can speak life or cut souls deeply. In short, it is powerful. I’ve always had a message, but out of fear of what others would think, I’ve kept it buried beneath witty or flippant commentary. After years of suppressing what God has anointed me with, I’ve decided to step out on faith and speak life. As I always say to myself when the road is tough…”someone needs to hear your testimony.” The journey begins. #DoTheWork

Women's Empowerment
There’s power in the tongue!