August is National Black Business Month and was founded by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E Jordan Sr in 2004. Both men encountered many challenges in corporate America and primarily as black business owners/entrepreneurs. In August, the purpose of recognizing black businesses is to captivate and cultivate black wealth, success, and existence as normalcy. National Black Business Month is synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement and reinvention of Black Wall Street. And we cannot forget the most iconic speech given on August 28, Martin Luther King Jr's “I Have a Dream” speech. I dream of seeing my children playing in a safe neighborhood of people who look like them, going into the coffee shop of a black-owned café to have a pastry, and living in a world where being black is beautified and not weaponized.
Our business should be the primary focus on rebuilding our communities, restoring faith in each other, and uprooting the history of black wealth. It is known and embedded in the systems, the laws, and the mindset of many of our people. Does this mean we don’t have a chance? Or do we all need a history lesson? The latter will sho ya right! As a race, we have to know, feel, and decide whether pooling our resources and uplifting each other is the ultimate goal or if competing in the hunger games is the best way to survive. I am no activist; also not Stevie Wonder, but even he can see that “You Haven’t Done Nothin” if you don’t acknowledge the value in the black man and a black dollar. Previous generations had less and accomplished much more by uplifting each other and understanding equity could only be achieved within the compounds of our communities. Scarcity of the necessary resources we need to prosper contributed to a scarcity mindset. History has proven it will only repeat itself unless we operate with an attitude of abundance. We have always listened to statisticians, scientists, and historians regarding diseases, financial recessions, boom, and biology. Still, somehow, science, historians, and stats are still being ignored when it comes to black America. Here are a few you should not forget:
8 out of 10 black businesses fail within the first 18 months
As of 2020, black businesses only make up 10 % of U.S businesses
The black dollar circulates 6 hours within its community, compared to 28 days in the Asian community, 19 days in the Jewish community, and 17 days in the white community.
The pandemic has disproportionately caused a 40% decline in small black-owned businesses.
What do these stats mean in summary to the increasingly growing wealth gap within Black America?
Short answer: It will continue to grow.
Long Answer: This is generational!!!!! We can build and establish our communities from within, but we still have to dismantle the very systems and laws keeping the wealth gap from closing. Reparations will not solve the problem but can help. Eradicating the disparities in healthcare, education, policy, criminal justice, and employment will start. These changes will take time, but in the meantime, we can make some shifts in our mindset, lifestyle, and within the communities if we want to see a change in the paradigm. We have to be the change we wish to see in others.
We can start by educating ourselves on financial literacy: It is essential to know the value of a dollar and its use as a renewable resource when re-invested back into the community.
Invest in building generational wealth: Life insurance protects your family and preserves wealth transfer in the event of a loss.
Support black-owned businesses: The value of a dollar is as significant as the black vote. Supporting black businesses is complicated but achievable. Buying black will circulate the black dollar in the community longer. There are several apps available to help locate black-owned businesses in your area. Invest some time and money back into your community. MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS TO SUPPORT BLACK BUSINESS!!!
Imagine a world where every person looks the same, thinks the same, and moves the same. How would you separate yourself from your peers? Imagine not feeling included. Having to move about feeling unaccepted and unwelcomed, eventually, you will unravel and become unhinged. Now take away your value, remove opportunities, and forget about fairness. How would you present to the world? How would you identify?
Diversity is the practice of involving people from all walks of life and giving people a seat at the table although they are different. A person's identity shapes how they present to the world. Their experiences are unique and determined by internal and external factors. Diversity helps cover other vantage points and creates stability where there may be downturns. Studies show that increasing diversity not only enhances productivity but it increases the ability to problem-solve. One may think that diversity and inclusivity go hand in hand; however, that is not always the case. Inclusiveness starts by acknowledging that diversity is essential and encouraging others to live in their authenticity. Acceptance is vital when moving about in a diverse environment. Understanding and leading with empathy can help others learn to accept people for who they are. Awareness of personal biases and reshaping unconscious thoughts/actions is the foundation of inclusion.
I have often been declared the designated office black person. There are not many women in the engineering sector, and I just happened to be the only one of color. I distinctly remember entering a conference room to celebrate a coworker's anniversary at the company. As the cake was being cut, I started to pass the cake around the table. Two gentlemen sitting behind me hadn't gotten any cake. I kindly handed them their cake and was met with a disgruntled and dismissive tone. I put the cake back on the table and watched them both ask my white counterpart to cut them a new piece of cake. I could feel my light dim. I felt angry inside and decided that I would approach those types of situations head-on from there on out. What I didn’t realize at the time was how often I perceived they were happening versus the reality of the entire situation. I had formed my own bias against people that I didn’t know, and it kept me from developing new relationships. The very thing I was against I had become based on a few bad experiences. I had excluded an entire group of people and written them off. After the murder of George Floyd, I saw the shift and felt the change in my company. I went from feeling invisible to being seen. My employer made a conscious effort to ask if I was okay and communicate the importance of diversity and inclusivity. Even further, they have made efforts to promote allyship and partnerships. In the aftermath, I have seen more accountability and transparency from many of my counterparts. I have accepted a few apologies and been able to move forward and even do some reflecting on myself.
I have had to reflect on how my past experiences may have shaped my reactions. I now find that I ask probing questions to find out the individual's intent. Many times, I find that their questions are legitimate concerns or curiosity. I have learned to recognize my own bias and how I present it to those around me. I have even had to lead more with empathy and acknowledge my faults and role in a communication breakdown. Many of us subconsciously migrate to people who look like us or have similar experiences. How bland! Imagine your favorite dish with no garlic, no salt, no pepper, and no cheese. I don’t know about you, but I like my friends how I like my food: flavorful and soulful. No matter the surroundings, we should all make an effort to diversify our thoughts, allow others to be different, and value their experiences. We have to find commonality in our differences; only then will inclusion follow. Diversity has to be the spice of life, while inclusion is the recipe for expanding our worldview.
Life coaching trends and finding the right coach
The pandemic has taught many of us many things. Many people have taken a forced “ leap of faith,” but it has inspired them to meet the transition head-on. Others realized how stagnant and complacent they have become. After losing my father to Covid-19, the pandemic has taught me how precious life is and that you only live once, but my fear kept me from truly living. Self-discovery is a necessity, and we all will visit it sometime in our life. Many have become inspired to live their best life, and have set out to help others achieve their goals through coaching. The origin of life coaching starting in the 1980s by financial planner Thomas Leonard. His book “The Portable Coach” discusses strategies for success in personal and business growth. The first strategy he discusses is to “become incredibly selfish.” Selfishness has a negative connotation, but the emphasis is on getting to know yourself and your needs, which allows you to show up in a positive light in the world. One can begin this transformation with the help of a life coach. It is essential to know the current trends and how to choose the right coach.
Current Life Coach Trends
Virtual Coaching- The transition into virtual coaching was happening before the pandemic. We have the technology to thank for that. The thrust into the virtual world amid the pandemic has increased the need and access for virtual coaches. Many have experienced zoom fatigue, so coaches must find other ways to interact and engage with their clients. Virtual coaching gives us comfort, flexibility, and maybe taking the place of in-person coaching. Virtual coaching can add the same value and support as in-person teaching.
Core Value Matching- Many coaching businesses are offering surveys to first-time clients. These surveys help match coaches with their clients based on technique, core values, and morals. Surveys are pivotal in finding the best coach to meet your needs. It is imperative to personalize the experience to get the most from your coach and reach your goals.
Measurable goals- Measurable goals help identify your needs and progress. This trend has increased mainly due to the marketing aspect. We are no longer relying on paid testimonials. Social media and review websites have allowed people with personal experiences to voice their opinions. Coaches are now obligated to provide measurable results that are regularly updated and tailored to their needs.
Niche Coaching- Surveys also help identify the type of coach you need tailoring to your field of interest. As the industry grows and entrepreneurial areas expand, niche coaching will continue to grow. Life coaching niches range from business coaching, marketing, leadership, trauma, and wellness coaching, to name a few. Niche coaching helps you narrow the search in an overwhelming field. Finding a specialized coach in your area increases the likelihood they are authentic and comfortable in their field.
Qualifications-In an unregulated field, many coaches have capitalized on the ease of becoming a life coach. Therefore, it is vital to differentiate life coaches from mental health professionals. In addition, with no formal qualifications or requirements, many professionals are bringing up concerns about certifications and regulations.
How to choose a life coach
Finding a life coach will require a bit of work and self-reflection. First, it is important to distinguish if you are looking for a life coach. Since coaching is often confused with other disciplines, you must assess your needs and what you are looking to gain from experience. For example, mental health providers and mentors are often the disciplines that people need. You must understand the differences and proceed according to your expectations and desired results. Qualifications are another critical component to finding the right life coach. It would be best if you asked about their qualifications and research whether they are accredited.
Cost is also a good starting point. First, you want to make sure you can afford the services being offered. Inquiring about the methods and tools they use can also determine the cost. Researching the methodology is imperative. Next, you want to find a coach that will help you tap into your passions and purpose. Finally, discovering how to implement these findings will increase success.
Many coaches offer free consultations. You can determine if they are the right fit for you. An ideal coach will be available to you, help you achieve measurable results, and hold you accountable. Choosing a life coach requires some effort on your part, but finding the right one, can help you on your journey to reaching immeasurable heights and unlocking your full potential.
Mothers have mastered the art of multi-tasking. This art usually consists of several sighs, a few tears, a to-do list that you spilled coffee on while trying to work, a stain on your favorite shirt, and that has nothing to do with the kids. Let’s throw the kids in there; Doctors appointments, locating their favorite toys or clothing, reminding them to shower, changing a poop diaper after you just changed him/her, scolding them while cooking, and the madness goes on and on.
Thinking about such madness, we become overwhelmed, but the simple things those beautiful creatures do, make us melt and forget about the chaos. For that brief moment, we get engulfed in the love and joys of motherhood. Those joys provoke us to become our best selves. We are nurses, doctors, accountants, entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, but most of all, we are mothers. Although deliberate in its own right, motherhood has given many of us the courage to pursue our passions.
Their kisses and hugs inspire us. The awkwardly charming school pictures on our desks encourage us. The macaroni art accurately depicts motherhood. An exquisite perplexity of nature that is bestowed upon us. In layman’s terms, there is beauty and chaos in motherhood.
We must encounter both to appreciate them. Maya Angelou said it best, “If I have a monument in this world, it is my son.” What would the world be like without our children? What would we be without them? The answer is nothing. “A mother’s love liberates,” said Maya Angelou. Motherhood is liberating and gives us strength. No matter how lopsided things are, we always try to find balance.
So enjoy the pleasures and expect some pains. Relish in the successes but anticipate some disappointment. Motherhood is far from a fairy tale, but you create your happily ever after.
The journey to self-love is often a journey many of us struggle to conquer. We put others' needs before ours and then wonder when it will be our time to shine. Many people suffer daily from self-loathing behaviors that are detrimental to their well-being. It is a vicious cycle, but you can master it by having the courage to acknowledge it, having the perseverance to empower yourself, and trusting that you are the master of your destiny.
You are ENOUGH!!! That can be your reality, but only if you have the will to work. There will be moments of pain, regret, and sadness. Remember that rainbow we love so much-----Well, there is no rainbow without rain. Positivity breeds self-confidence, self-love, and self-esteem—all of which require consistency and commitment. Here are a few ways you can embark on your journey to self-love.
Put yourself first. Make it a daily routine of giving yourself some time to do what makes you happy. Find joy in the simple things and experience those moments to the fullest. Allow other happy people in your life. Smile more and be nice to yourself.
Know thy self! Recognize your feelings and emotions. Give yourself time to experience those emotions but try not to let the negative feelings consume you. Awareness is vital in learning to love yourself. You will discover your strengths and what areas need improvement. Be kind to yourself. Words hold immense power. So talk nicely to others and yourself.
Let your light shine! Dream big! Take a seat at the table, and don’t wait to share your thoughts. Living in the moment allows you to experience what you need to fully develop your confidence. So shine bright and let others put on their shades.
Don’t be afraid to let go of relationships that no longer serve you. Let yourself go and enjoy your newfound love. YOU!! Let go and be the person you have always wanted to be. Don’t let rejection and defeat define you. Be resilient and let go of negativity and embrace positive vibes and positive people.
Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” You can dream of self-love, but those loathing behaviors will be a very harsh reality if there is no active pursuit. So be bold and let go, and basks in your ambiance--- You deserve it.
Thank you Yarden for your contributions to 3E's, so glad to have be a part of the team.