There was a point of time when I thought I knew it all.
Then, I soon realized, I knew nothing.
Over the past year, instead of pushing myself to the forefront and packing my schedule with appearances on panels, podcasts, radio shows, and TV outlets while disguising myself as an expert in my field, I decided to instead go back to school.
And not in a literal sense.
I went back to the drawing board. Book reading, researching, and catching up on my field, studying trends (so I could know what bandwagon to not hop on), listening to educational podcasts, seeking out mentors, and putting myself in a position where I could learn from those trailblazers who aren't just dreamers, but who are doers.
I am a student, ready to be taught.
It is for that reason that I was thrilled to be able to spend a day with four women entrepreneurs that I looked up to as part of xoNecole's "Living My Dream" series sponsored by the 2017 Toyota Corolla. As the executive producer of the series, I traveled to LA where I caught up with Rosa Acosta, Devi Brown, and Nikki Chu, before making my way down to Atlanta where I spent the day with my entrepreneur shero, Myleik Teele.
So what did I learn?
From Nikki Chu, I learned:
You shouldn't place limitations on yourself
Nikki has been hailed as one of the top African-American interior decorators in the country. What I love the most about her story is that, she could have settled with just a career as an interior decorator and be content with that, but she decided to also venture into product design and now has her own paint line, bedding collection, and furniture collection that can be found on Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wayfair. Even when we achieve a dream, there's always the opportunity to break the plateau and go to a higher level.
From Rosa Acosta, I learned:
Done is better than perfect.
There's so many times I have not completed a project -- whether it was to launch an event series, a podcast, a workshop, an online store, etc., because I wanted it to be perfect, and I wanted it to be the best quality. I felt as someone who had already achieved a level of success, that I couldn't half-ass anything, but sometimes, while attempting to achieve perfection, those things put a stand-still on our ability to produce amazing work.
[Tweet "It doesn't have to be perfect as long as it's done."]
During our interview, Rosa (who came to America just eight years ago as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic) reflected on the day she opened her storefront on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles:
"I have never let perfection get in the middle of good enough. I opened Cossamia online five years ago. I wasn't waiting for the website to be perfect to launch it. And even the store, it wasn't packed with inventory. Somebody had reached out to me and said, 'I would love to help you.' The person disappeared right after I signed the lease and everything. I opened the store with not enough money to sustain it but I was able to profit my first month."
From Myleik Teele, I learned:
Just because it's too much for them, doesn't mean it's too much for you.
During a side conversation with Myleik, while we were setting up cameras, she mentioned how a few people were concerned about her opening her own warehouse versus allowing a distribution service to manage the handling of her subscription boxes.
This reminded me of the chapters on bullies in the book, The Dreamgiver. Your bullies a lot of times won't even be people who don't like you, but instead will be people who are closest to you like your family and friends. They will say things to discourage you from knocking down the wall of fear and chasing your big dream because they are acting on their own fear. It's not that they don't want what's best for you, but their discouragement can come from many places, including wanting to protect you from getting hurt or failing. Meanwhile, we think to ourselves, Why isn't this person more supportive and encouraging of me achieving this big dream?
At the end of our interview, Myleik said it best: "Feel the fear, we all feel it. Then do it anyway."
We cannot allow other people to push their limitations, fears, and emotional blocks onto us. If you know you can do it, do it! That's ultimately what separates the dreamers from the doers, right?
From Devi Brown, I learned:
If you don't keep shedding your skin, and evolving, you will die inside
During our sit-down, Devi (who is a radio host and has her own self-discovery platform where she sells journals, crystals and more), compared evolution to a snake. She said, "The snake that does not shed its skin will perish. If you don't keep shedding your skin, and keep evolving, you will die inside." I looked into this further and learned that snakes shed their skin for further growth and to remove parasites that have attached to their old skin. How symbolic is that? If we refuse to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and give ourselves permission to evolve, the outdated version of ourselves will attract things that aren't healthy. Whether it's bad relationships, toxic friendships, or jobs that we hate, we will never be happy because there are things we are attached to that are holding us back, and preventing us from operating at our highest potential.
[Tweet "If you are not growing, you're dying"]
This just scratches the surface of the things I learned from these amazing women. I hope you are as inspired by them as I was.
Catch the "Living My Dream" series below and let me know your thoughts!