It feels like my life has been waiting on hold for over a decade.
While other people were celebrating career wins, I was living at home waiting for my "big break." I believed that if I just kept my head down and worked hard, eventually that would be rewarded with a promotion.
Instead, I found that the more efficiently I did the service work, the more service work was thrown in my direction. People were under the impression that I really "needed" the hours. I realized that my reflection spoke, "Need". My image said, "She's desperate for the money," and their treated behavior reflected pity instead of respect.
After weeks of back-to-back 16 hour days, I'd reached my breaking point. I was tired of being an hourly, graveyard shift employee who couldn't afford a day off without making life decisions about eating or having enough to afford public transportation to and from work. I constantly saw the executive, predominantly white, women around me discuss their lengthy vacations and spa treatments. Meanwhile, my coworkers were often sick, injured, tired, and stressed out.
The morale was crumbling around me and, I decided I wanted more. I was more.
I stopped making excuses for my condition and started observing the C-Suite and the women I secretly envied. I boldly asked them questions in dirty scrubs. I implemented five rules that not only catapulted me out of CNA scrubs and into a pencil skirt, but increased my salary by 35K in ONE year. I had discovered the habits and rules of conduct that changed not only my circumstances, but how I viewed myself.
1. Your Bedroom Is Your Boardroom
I ran home, took out an old lipstick, and started writing my war plan on my bedroom mirror. The bedroom is the place where the wig comes off, the makeup comes off, and we are naked to the truth. It's where we write our hopes and dreams. It is our sanctuary. However, transforming it into the board room and the place where affirmations, concepts, and the vision for my life was created, allowed me to see the roadmap clearly.
Creating a business plan for your life is so important to have a clear view of what aligns and doesn't align with it. That one move to wake up to affirmations and end the evening with a review of whether I completed that day's goals, gave me direction. I no longer felt like my future was left to fate alone.
2. Busy Is Not Better
Studying the executives that walked around me, I noticed they were strategic in the positions they took and the titles they fought for. They negotiated quality of life perks like working from home twice a week. Some even wrangled companies to pay for their living expenses. Be strategic about the commitments you make.
In the beginning, I threw all the balls in the air. The busier I was, the more productive I thought I'd look. The goal is not to "look" busy, but to be busy, checking off the goals that you created in step 1. The object is to manage your commitments to stay productive not necessarily busy.
3. Progress Is Better Than Perfection
I heard a podcast featuring Paul Brunson where he said, "Some people point, aim, and aim, and aim so long the gun gets jammed and they never fire." I was a chronic "waiter" I waited for the right time, the right money, the right temperature, the right flight price. In pulling the trigger, I realized that having a unique skill set outweighs multiple degrees and certifications. I have the power to make people believe that I can produce the impossible, and I have the fortitude to see it through. When I realized that, I was able to land a job within an industry that was "lily white."
Embrace the experiences that make you unique, and a position will create itself.
4. Fly Before You Walk
When I began to see myself as an Executive while collecting urine samples as a CNA, my actions started to emulate my thoughts. I began to walk like a suit in conversation and demeanor before ever leaving scrubs. In fact, people started to see what I felt and ask me things like, "Will you consider joining our committee? You should apply for..." A family member told me, "You learned to fly before you learned to walk."
In other words, see yourself in the positions and places you want to be and then create the action plan to get there. The same people who projected pity were now asking me to assist them on projects. Because I learned to display the value and unique perspective I brought to the table, they recognized that they could not ask for assistance without offering something return. They offered to pay me for my assistance. Now, a position that had once only provided one paycheck, provides multiple. #wingsandthings.
5. Name Yourself
My aunt used to say, "It's not what they call you, it's what you answer to." The more that I understood what I brought to the table, the more other people began to call for me to address the needs within the organization. However, where there are supporters, there are also people who question your ability. The retorts of, "She was just a CNA, she's not credentialed to speak on these things," sought to halt me from achieving purpose. However, part of step 1 was identifying my weak spots.
On the weekends, I sought online certifications in order to shut the haters' mouths and leverage myself into higher positions. I recognized that ascension does not come without controversy. Some of the executives of whom I sought guidance from now give me the cold shoulder. I could not understand why until I heard Tera Carissa Hodges say, "People are not very often envious of your things. They are envious of the time you have left."
Pursuing purpose requires a clear action plan that most do not find until the second half of their lives.
If you are fortunate enough to tap into it early, not everyone will be a fan. However, we do not have time to focus on who is not a member of our fan club because that is only a distraction.
So this is for the service workers, the women who ride the bus to work, the women who did not grow up with mentors or a clear path and feel like they are in dead end, thankless jobs. This is for us. There is a scripture that says, we "call forth those things that are not as if they already are" Romans 4:17.
What are you calling forth in 2018? Your journey to the boardroom begins now. Let's go.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Danielle Kimberly is a Jersey girl and a health & wholeness educator. Read her humorous & habit forming stories for women of faith on www.luxevoyage.org. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @dannikimberly.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood