Woke Up Worthy didn’t happen by accident. I created it because I noticed a pattern in the coaching industry that I wanted to address.
Before launching the brand, I often found myself speaking to women of color who were stuck in a never-ending cycle when it came to their life or career. They knew something wasn’t working, but they could seem to find the best solution on their limited time and resources.
I understand that cycle well because I’ve been there a few times. In 2014, for instance, Though I was a gainfully employed, self-sufficient young attorney, underneath the brunch dates with friends and travel, there was a truth I wasn’t facing. I was unhappy and unfulfilled.
Outwardly things seemed fine. I worked out every day, own a home, and had a great social life. But the social media pics, yoga classes, nights out, and self-care routines were just a distraction from the fact that I was unhappy.
Because I couldn’t figure out what to do, I decided to do something radical. I decided to attend a conference called the World Domination Summit that I learned about online. You would think that deciding to go to a conference isn’t that big a deal. But as a woman of color, I had many, many reservations about this event.
- I was completely embarrassed that I was even thinking about spending money on a self-improvement conference called the World Domination Summit. To my ears, it sounded like something that only white people with delusions of grandeur and lots of disposable cash attend. Women of color are supposed to be strong and push through challenges on their own.
- Spending money just because I felt unhappy and unfulfilled felt weak and disrespectful. My ancestors had to endure so much for me to have the privileges I enjoyed. Surely I can just get over this;
- Buying a self-help book is one thing but spending real money to travel someplace I’d never been and learn how to change my life felt like white, hippy dippy, B.S. that young, independent black girls just don’t do;
- I had never spent that much money to attend anything that wasn’t a requirement for a degree, a job, or a career-related certification. The conference offered no guarantee of success either. I could go and waste money that I didn’t really have;
- I didn’t know any past attendees or anyone going. I suspected that most of the audience would be white and didn’t know if the messages would resonate; and
- I wasn’t sure what the conference would do for me or if I would like it.
Despite all of this, I went. The conference was inspirational and well worth the money, but it didn’t change my life. In truth, I felt like I had to retrofit the teachings from the conference to fit my cultural experience. But the conference did free me from indecision and helped me to see my choices clearly so that I could change my life on my own terms.
From that day on I was a coaching devotee. The only problem was that I still had to retrofit a lot of the coaching tools and techniques I learned to fit my lived experience and the experiences of my clients of color.
For example, in coaching, we talk a lot about mindset and how our beliefs limit our ability to achieve our goals. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone has mindset issues to work through. However, for people of color, every issue isn’t a limiting belief. Sometimes the mindset issue is just straight-up oppression. Traditional coaching practices don’t have strategies for addressing internalized oppression or an understanding of what it takes to thrive in a culture that isn’t set up for you to win. So I had to create my practices on my own, which is why I created Woke Up Worthy.
Today, I can draw a direct line from my decision to attend that conference to leaving my job, to opening my law practice and coaching business, to resolving my dating woes and getting married, to feeling more myself each and every day.
When you wake up to your worth and defy the system, you make choices that enlarge, rather than diminish you. And you claim the support you need no matter what other people think.
When was the last time you did something for you even though you knew folks around you would have something to say about it? Let me know in the comments below.