In this episode, I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone. You see this is the first episode since Episode 1 that I’m gonna be solo. That’s right, no interview, no guests, just lil ole me.
I was recently asked to be a guest speaker at the Caribbean Women’s Power Luncheon in Miami. It is exactly as the name suggests, a gathering of wonderful women most of who hail from the Caribbean sharing, empowering, and uplifting each other.
I was honored to sit on a panel with 5 other women all of who spoke so eloquently, with such emotion and with such uplifting messages. I left inspired and feeling humbled by the feedback that I received on my contribution that I decided to turn it into an episode.
Since I started this podcasting journey I’ve shared the stories of 19 other people, some on their own entrepreneurial journey, all sharing stories of perseverance, and following their passions. Yet I’ve shied away from sharing my own story. Sure I told an abbreviated version in Episode 1 but here I’ll delve a little deeper and do that thing that scares so many of us, be vulnerable.
The panel of speakers at this Luncheon hosted by Kerra Denel was asked to speak on the topic of Women’s Empowerment.
Empowerment, this was actually something that I never gave thought to. The more I brainstormed in preparation for my speech, I came to realize the maybe I never gave it much thought because lucky for me I was raised to FEEL empowered. I know there are many out there that have had tough childhoods, and what I want you all to know I don’t think having a strong parental foundation is the ONLY way to achieve the feeling of empowerment.
But in my case yes, I consider myself so lucky to have been brainwashed (and I say this in the most loving way possible). I really think my father brainwashed me into believing I can do anything that I wanted to do. As crazy, as weird or as mainstream as it may be… if I wanted to do it, i could, i would and I’d prosper from it as well.
So successful was he that I ended up turning my love for carnival and shoes into a career. Unconventional yes, but hey I’m doing it!
I believe in the power of visualizing, in the power of believing in yourself, in the power of feeling it in your guts and hanging on tight until you can stick the landing. Here’s a little bit of my backstory.
A little over 10 years ago I went through a transitional period. Living in the US, the housing market collapsed, the bottom fell out and things were getting bad. I lost my job and as luck would have for the first time in my life I was also dumped. Things weren’t boding well for my self-esteem. So I guess this sad turn of events brought me to Barnes and Noble where I bought my first self-help book. Yes, I was kind of ashamed, but I felt I needed to take some control. I wanted to have a plan and I wanted it to be something that made me feel alive and inspired.
So this book The Passion Test by Janet Attwood stood out to me, I bought it, and a few days later I sat down on the beach, book in hand and I followed the book’s instructions. I made lists: of things that I was passionate about and what I wanted to do , of things that I liked, etc. I then narrowed down those lists until I had a top 5, my holy grail if you will.
Purchase the book:
On my list:
2. To interweave Carnival into my career (because I LOVE IT SO!)
3. To have a family of my own
4. To make an impact in my community
5. Attain financial stability
This year I had a moment of enlightenment, I came back from a girls trip and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I thought how lucky I was to have the flexibility in my job to go on this last-minute trip, that we had the financial freedom to do so and the more I thought about it the more I realized it wasn’t luck. This was my doing!
From being unemployed and broke when sitting on the beach and writing that list I have since gotten to travel WITH my family, I have made the silly dream of going Carnival’s and seeing my culture on display worldwide into A reality after 10 years of putting pen to paper and writing it down I think I am serving as somewhat of an asset to the community, hopefully with this podcast where I talk to other dream chasers, definitely by having the opportunity to speak at that luncheon, even in the execution of our event FrenOlympics we were able to make a charitable donation.
So yes! Whatever you call it the power of positive thinking, the secret, having a money mindset, it works! BUT…there’s a but! There are important in-between things that are challenging and often overlooked. And it’s those in-between things that I believe lead us to truly feel empowered.
I said earlier that I don’t think having the guidance of your parents is a prerequisite for achieving. Well, here it is. In order to feel empowered, you MUST activate on those goals. and many times it’s in the activation that we get stuck. But we have ZERO excuses for getting stuck, we have free podcasts (available for every industry, every niche), there are seminars, and networking events, and conferences. Don’t have any money? there are libraries with computers, free internet, the school of youtube and google. and speaking of schools. there are online courses, many you can even get for free from established universities and colleges.
There’s also good old, asking for help! Go back and listen to Episode 20 with Roxy Romeo where we talk about how easy it is to find a mentor; just a word of encouragement from a friend or colleague can actually work wonders. Most times just saying what your goal is out loud to someone else helps get you started.
So now that you’re unstuck there’s one more important factor that I want to make mention of. I recently listened to a podcast called the Happiness Lab by Doctor Laurie Santos. In it, they described a 20-year study that examined the Power of Positive thinking. And here’s the part that will blow those socks off!
In their study, they found that people who subscribed ONLY to visualization, and positive thinking actually were LESS Successful at achieving their goal than people who had a negative skew to their thinking.
Negative in this case means people that think “what if” and plan for obstacles and objections that may come their way are WAY more likely to achieve those goals.
This study is so popular that there is a whole movement behind it. It’s called WOOP. Yup, strange I know. but WOOP is an acronym that stands for Wish - Outcome - Obstacles - Plan.
So here's the thing, when I listened to this podcast I thought well shit, I never did that, I never sat down and wrote out what I would do if x, y, z.
But then the more I thought about it I realized just the fact that I was listening to a podcast named the Happiness lab, and the fact that my bookshelf is filled with books about happiness means that I am in pursuit of being prepared.
I’ve actually been called negative a lot. Not because I’m a Debbie downer but because I love to have a plan in place for when the worst happens. I never realized that it was this trait that probably helped me through the many curve balls in business. I’ll give a few examples.
When I started my business I thought about going the website route, yes, but I thought the lion share of my business would be in the mas camps. Carnivals have Mas Bands, Mas Bands provide costumes to masqueraders, who in turn need comfortable stylish shoes BOOM I would be in business…
It didn't work out that way. Let's just say it was more than lucky that I had the website ready to go, else I'd be sitting on thousands of shoes with no feet to put in them.
Here’s another example. I’ve spoken before of FrenOlympics, the drinking games/ sporting event that my husband and I host - When we first started it was amongst our close friends only and took place in his parents' backyard. After that, when we decided to do it a second time, I thought what if someone gets hurt. We need everyone to sign a waiver releasing us in the event of personal injury. At the time it wasn’t a business, it was still friends, but we knew there’d be more people than the first and my husband didn’t want to present our friends with a legal document. I persisted, and I’m glad we did because since then we have grown and insurance and waivers are now par for the course. it’s just these little acts of preparation that will help you keep the momentum.
If I've held your interest till this point you deserve a prize! I hope you keep pushing through those obstacles, plan for them, eviscerate them and tap into that amazing feeling of YES I DID IT! ...aka empowerment ;)
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The complete Carnival Glossary, a list of frequently used words and phrases used when attending or talking about Carnival festivals around the world.
This is a PSA to Caribbean DJ's and Event Producers, please stop playing/ promoting homophobic music. At the time of writing this blog we are at the tail-end of Pride Month in the year 2021 and yet this IS still happening.