I have loved building a small business, and have invested hours, time, and money that I will never get back. Whether the business succeeds or not. The same goes for those trying to climb the corporate ladder.
I remember spending most of my teens with my mother’s fist constantly pressed against my back, in an attempt to force me to stand up straight. Like many teenage girls, I had some serious self esteem issues. Learning to understand and love yourself while comparing yourself to every other girl you come across can be terrifying. Although we would love to imagine this obsessive comparison ends in our teens, some of us do carry it with us into our 20’s and beyond.
Ah, The Roaring 20’s
I have loved my 20’s. I was the awkward, shy teenager, but truly came alive in my early twenties. I fell in love (again and again), met my soul-mate, became a mother, and found success in business after making several mistakes. It’s been quite the experience, and for most of us, this is what the 20’s are all about. A chance to really understand yourself and to figure out where you want to go. You will fall in love many times, experience heartbreak, move into your first place, begin your journey up the corporate ladder, or even launch your own business.
All of these experiences are a blast for the most part, but there will be moments where you will feel as if you are in a high school musical flashback!
Facing an Uncertain Future
Discovering who you want to be tomorrow can take a toll on your self esteem, because it means experiencing the good and the bad. In literature it’s called ‘A Coming of Age Story.’ Like I mentioned before, although I have finally found success in my career, there were many failures along the way. At one point I had to make my family understand that I did not want to be who they thought I should be. Being from a West African family, that is a very big deal, it meant wearing my big girl pants, and heading into this world knowing that I was expected to fail.
A lot of us graduate and join the work force in our early to mid twenties. It’s full of hungry, overambitious, and competitive members of our peers. The transition from student to employee is a challenging one. Every decision seems life altering, the choice to accept an internship with your dream company, or to take a more stable position elsewhere—the choice to start a family and risk losing out on career opportunities. It’s overwhelming, and if you let it, it can affect your self confidence and leave you living in fear and uncertainty.
Letting Your Fear Hold You Back
The moments I am most proud of looking back on are the moments I leaped forward, unprepared for what was on the other side. As a daredevil, in many ways, it’s easier for me to make choices that most would run away from, but these are the moments when I learn what I am truly capable of.
Remember your first love. The first boy who gave you butterflies, I met mine in my early 20’s. He was everything I wasn’t supposed to be with.
- He wasn’t African.
- It was a long distance relationship.
- He worked for the military, which meant a high possibility of leaving for long periods of time.
It didn’t work out, but it was an incredible couple of weeks. He was one of the most affectionate, kindest men I had ever met at that point. And although the heartbreak was unbearable at the time, I wouldn’t change a thing. I learned that I can survive heartbreak that terrible.
Same goes with my first miscarriage, and my first failure in business.
Be fearless and be bold, letting your fears and your insecurities dictate your choices will hold you back in every aspect of your life, and it will suck the life out of you when it comes to your career success.