I remember the day I got it in the mail. I couldn’t believe she replied! The autographed copy of my favorite poem, penned by favorite poet had arrived. I was in the seventh grade, but I felt like a woman, a phenomenal one at that. I loved Ms. Angelou’s poem not just because of its rhythmic cadence and alluring images, but rather due to the compelling declarative statements praising my secret power: self-confidence.
I memorized her words and promised myself that I would never forget the power of my womanhood and assuredness.
Then life happened. I realized that I wasn’t the only one who had read those meaningful lines and applied them. I met others who had more, knew more, and had done more. Suddenly, I wasn’t the smartest one in the room. My accolades and accomplishments paled in comparison to them; I started to doubt myself. The more I matured, the more I tried to resist the idea that I had missed my moment. I continued trying my best, but I started to wonder was I too late? Maybe you can relate?
Guess what? You are not late. You have not missed it. Your opportunities for elevation and growth are still present; the question is, are you?
Don’t get so caught up in the journey towards “it,” that you discredit or regret the progress of your process. So what if you haven’t yet attained your 5-year plan or even your 1-month hope, you are still in the game. Daily, you are given the same interval to try again. Your biggest competition is against yourself and those self-deprecating thoughts that whisper or yell:
“What if you fail?
“Do you really think you can do this?”
The first step is always the hardest.
“Who do you think you are?”
The answer to this question determines whether you wake up each morning reaffirming what you know to be true or defensively trying to convince yourself and others that you are the real deal. Which is it?
Maybe like me, you are somewhere in the middle. Some days are positively amazing and you feel like things are finally starting to come together. Abruptly, it changes in a moment. One phone call, text message, or email can bring you from the highest heights of euphoria into such depths of despair, that you forget what a sunny day and unadulterated happiness felt like. Life is a balancing act; we move from one end to the other, just trying not to lose our…mind. (Hey, I’m keeping it clean here, but we can all think of something to put in the blank).
Add to that the pressure placed on you by societal norms, your career, relationship, family, and of course yourself… it’s no wonder you start to doubt how phenomenal you truly are.
It’s tempting to compare yourself to (insert mentor/family/ friend/colleague/Beyoncé). It’s frighteningly easy to Insta-doubt your abilities and wonder whether or not you have what it takes. Focusing on the lives and accomplishments of others can hinder your movement and further give credence to any negative mindset. Full disclosure: I still struggle with this from time to time.
So how can we counteract this destructive cycle that affects our identity and productivity?
- Get reacquainted with yourself and your vision. Rediscover what you love about yourself and own your quirks-don’t make excuses for them!
- Stay in your lane; commit to running your own race and no one else’s.
- Use time as a positive catalyst to work your gifts, rather than a negative indicator of what you have yet to accomplish.
- Don’t waste another minute, trying to amass the right network, address, portfolio, or relationship before stepping out in your purpose. Start where you are with what you have.
“Phenomenal woman…that’s me?”
Yes! The determining factor is whether you show up for yourself or not. Some of us quit before we’ve even attempted to start. How badly do you want it? What do you want? When will you know you’ve achieved it? You set the parameters. The defining element is you. Your unique voice and fingerprints are distinct for a reason; I like to think that it’s God’s way of reminding us that no one can say or do what you were singularly created for. You are incomparable.
So what will you do with the day you’ve been given? What is ONE way you commit to being the phenomenal woman that you are?
Let me know below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“Phenomenal woman, that’s me.” Maya Angelou