Here's What's Keeping You From Leveling Up In 2019
Ciara was definitely onto something when she chanted "Level Up" in the chorus of her 2018 chart-topper. When you think about it, why not? Why not raise your level of success? You often hear the saying, only you can stop you. So I ask you, are you getting in your own way?
If we're being honest, there are many cases when we stand in our own way of success. For example, no one but you chooses to let a high-paying job with benefits pass you over. No one but you skipped that workout session, and there is nothing to stop you from asking for that raise. You get the point.
As women, we are taught to be master jugglers and twice as good at everything, but how can we be resilient when we put everyone else's needs before our own and second-guess ourselves? Exactly, it's almost impossible, which leads to us feeling unhappy, tired and "stuck."
Ladies, it's time to stop the self-sabotage and start the self-love. To assist in your come up, we enlisted the help of an inspirational speaker, Morgan Owens, who has given us five enlightening tips to get out of our own way and level up for the new year.
Give Yourself Permission To Be Great
If you have ever looked at a job description and thought, "This is the job for me," but feel a bit intimidated by the tasks required, then you are not letting yourself be great. According to Morgan, "If your peers are comfortable enough to go after that position, then so should you."
We must allow ourselves to feel worthy of greatness and do our very best to achieve it and also believe it.
Perception Can Sometimes Be Deception
If you don't believe in yourself, you can't expect anyone else to do it for you. Stop looking at yourself with the eyes of other people.
"When we are honest with ourselves and determine the common denominator of what's stopping us from living out our best life, we can get out of our own way," Morgan explains. "If we don't like our weight, make a plan to get healthy. Never do it because someone else thinks you need to lose weight, do it because you know that you need to."
The more we see ourselves in a better light, the more we get over our view.
You Refuse To Say "No"
Sis, sometimes you just have to say "no."
"When you learn to start saying no, then you will lighten the load on your shoulders and you become less stressed," Morgan shared.
If a person cannot accept your reasonable no, it is not your problem – it's theirs. Remember to be fair in your delivery but also be sure that you are protecting your space and comfort because you can't build a career or business from an empty tank, you just can't.
You're Not Investing In Your Personal Development
Billion-dollar corporations send their employees to workshops and conferences to further their personal development for the company, why shouldn't you?
"Instead of investing money on materials things (I love a good handbag, honey), invest in a course to further your career or a workshop to help build your business," says Morgan.
Your investment will pay off in more ways than one.
Remember To Use Adversity to Fuel Determination
When someone tells you that you shouldn't start a business or that you should never start a new career, use that as fuel to prove yourself right.
"Often times the people saying these things lack confidence in themselves to go for their dreams, don't let their shortcomings influence your decisions," Morgan says.
Make sure that you are living for you and not for others.
With these tips, you are sure to be stepping out of your unsure ways and walking a brand new path to success.
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This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
Issa Rae has built her career on being the awkward Black girl, leading her to notoriety and astronomical, lucrative deals. Years later, however, that narrative may be changing. The multifaceted actress first won our hearts years ago with her web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, in 2011, and she further capitalized off the name with her autobiography. When she premiered her HBO (Max) series Insecurein 2016, it too had the same awkward Black girl theme as her character tried to navigate friends, family, and romantic relationships.
But it’s not just an on-screen persona; the Rap Sh!t executive producer has shared that she is the same way in real life and overall has inspired a category of Black women who, too, identify as the awkward Black girl. Last week, Issa joined Rap Sh!t co-stars KaMillion and Aida Osman on Sherri and revealed whether she still feels like the awkward Black girl.
“I do, but I feel more confident in that way. You know what’s deeply ironic is that Insecure, doing that made me more confident in myself and what I was doing ‘cause I would distance myself from the character like ‘girl, she is stupid,’” she joked. “I’ve come such a long way, you know, still making dumb decisions, but being able to do something like that and work with people I love and step back and say I did that has just instilled a newfound confidence. So, I’m awkwardly confident.”
As Issa’s empire continues to grow, we are sure to see her continue to grow personally and inspire a generation with her realness and relatability.
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Feature image by Emma McIntyre/WireImage for Parkwood