“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown
The thing I see more and more when it comes to powerful women is how willing and open they are to making themselves vulnerable. That theme of vulnerability surfaced sort of unexpectedly for part 3 of this series. The thoughts here represent responses to several different questions: What keeps you up at night? What’s been the hardest thing about getting to where you are? What’s been a blunt truth about getting to where you are? Vulnerability revealed itself in all of these women’s responses, rising to the surface and summoning me to honor the beauty of women being real, raw and exposed.
GG Renee | Independent Author. Blogger. Creative Coach. www.allthemanylayers.com
The hardest thing about getting to where I am has been the inner battle with myself. Many times I’ve ‘quit’ because I wanted the path to be easier and I was so emotionally drained from grinding and seeing slow results. I would tell myself I was done trying, then I’d get up the next morning and start writing again. Writing my heart out to a few loyal followers and thinking that I would never have more than that. Spending hours pitching and pitching and pitching, only to get rejections or no response at all. Struggling in the space between knowing I have something unique and valuable to give and wondering why anyone would ever want to listen to me or read my words.
Silencing the doubt and learning to trust the pace and process of my journey has been challenging but it’s taught me endurance. Despite my emotional roller coasters, I know that I don’t want anything to fall into my lap. I want to experience everything and grow organically. For me, there is no “I made it!” destination. No matter what I accomplish, I will always want to keep raising the creative ceiling and doing work that makes life meaningful for me.
Monique John | Founder of Twerkedblog.com and Contributing Writer for Hello Beautiful
What keeps me up at night is the possibility that all of my ideas and dreams of building a successful blog, writing a book-even starting my own company-will never come into fruition. Sometimes I doubt myself so much that I wonder if my writing will be compelling enough to other people to then build the audience that I’m aspiring towards. They’re the kind of fears that feel intense and consuming-so intense that sometimes I can only nervously laugh to myself in response. Anxiety can have a horrifyingly crippling effect on you sometimes.
I’m in a very early stage in my career. At this point, I’m usually the one pulling all the levers behind the scenes. That means that if I don’t get around to something, chances are that it will never get done. I have a bad habit of beating myself up when the days fly by and I don’t accomplish all the things I set out for myself. But I’ve learned that beating myself is completely counterproductive to the process. The foundation of success is accepting that you are only one person. You can’t do everything because you were never supposed to do everything-much less be good at everything. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay if you don’t know what your next step is or even a precise vision of what your end goal will be. As one of my favorite authors Joan Morgan once said, “There’s no blueprint for a visionary.” All you can do is decide which direction you want to go in and follow through on the promises you made to yourself. Failure doesn’t come when things turn out differently than you expected them to. Failure comes when you stop pushing.
Briana Ford | Writer. Influencer. Shero. www.BrianaFord.com
My strengths and weaknesses keep me awake at night for different reasons. When I’m killing it, I get a high. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and I love it. I want to do more of it. When I don’t do well or something is ten times harder than I thought, or when I stretch myself too thin, I tend to beat myself up. I try to replay it in my head and come up with an alternate way of doing things so it won’t happen twice.
Ariel Leconte Writer and Self Love Advocate | www.revolutionaryinpinkpumps.com
I have given up more than I’d really like to admit. I have crashed and burned down to ashes time and time again. I cannot count the number of times I have found myself crying and wallowing in my lack of success. The truth is, other people believe in me more than I do myself most times, and that’s all good and fine but at the end of the day if I don’t have faith in myself then none of that outside praise matters. You are not in this battle alone, you never are, but your choices, your decisions, and the next steps you take, that is on no one but yourself. The amount of times I had to break down to understand that I was truly accountable for me is scary, but I’ve learned that while I always have the support of someone to help pick me up, only I know how to glue my own pieces back the right way.
If you break a statue and ask someone else to fix it, it will never be perfect to you. You know why? Because they didn’t see how it broke, they don’t know where all the pieces scattered to as they shattered on the floor. Sometimes it’s okay to burn the house down when the foundation has been tainted. You take those ashes and you rebuild. I will continue to tear my house down if the foundation isn’t right, because I know I will rebuild stronger every time. I would rather be in control of my own destruction, than allow an “earthquake” to take me by surprise.
Erica | Creator of EverythingEnJ & Contributing Writer for VIBE Vixen
What keeps me awake at night? A few years ago, the answer would’ve been “wondering how I was going to feed my children another day.” Now, it’s a lot of wondering about how I’m going to feed my gift. I know a lot about sleep, but little to nothing about rest, as important as it is. My mind is always racing with ideas, and down to the moment I’m shutting my eyes, I’m planning my next move.
When people talk about success and what makes a powerhouse, everyone loves to throw the word ‘competition’ in there – if you’re a woman, “it’s only right.” But getting to where I am today has never been about competing with my peers. What keeps me awake at night is the incessant need to go against myself, upping my last move. What’s the next play? How much am I going to have to sacrifice the next go ‘round?
When you’ve had to build from the bottom of the barrel and crawl your way out of muck and deep shit, that freedom you feel inside when you finally start to see a speck of light, forces you to keep crawling. Keep pushing. When everyone else is sound asleep, you’re doing a different kind of dreaming. You’re dreaming about what happens when that speck turns to a gaping hole, and you see all of these newfound possibilities.
When the world is sleeping, you feel the most alive, the most productive. You’re thinking, you don’t want to go back to the beginning and you work. All you’re thinking about is putting in the work. You don’t want to go back to wondering how your kids are going to eat tomorrow. That’s your biggest nightmare and sometimes, it’s hard to sleep. That’s what keeps me awake at night.