What follows is the script of the speech given through Harvard Business School Online Global Chapter:
I am humbled by and gratitude for having the opportunity to share with you a snapshot of my own story in how I came to start my own company, Head Start Business Solutions Consulting and found myself taking the Business Analytics course at Harvard to add value to my career.
When I was ten years old, I wrote a piece titled how to become successful, It reads as follows:
To become successful, one starts out with a dream. To make that dream a reality one must work very hard at it. If one works hard enough nothing is impossible.
When life knocks you down always try to land on your back because if you can look up you can get up.
Each of us have talents and if we use those talents, they will be our guide.
Life is a quest of faith, hope and honor. One must choose the right path.
Sometimes the right path is not the easy one, so don’t take a shortcuts if you fall, get up and keep going because if success if your goal then success and only success it will be.
In the end, it is not what we have achieved, it is what we have become.
With courage, and dreams in mind you will love life.
There are three steps to do to become successful:
One, find your dream.
Two, try to make that dream real,
And three, keep working at it because practice makes perfect.
Then, life happened.
Somewhere along the way I got lost, lost in my own head, lost in a self-deprecating narrative. I stopped believing in myself, I stopped valuing myself. And I didn’t act in a way that was respectful of myself. I also absolutely did not set healthy boundaries. I found myself to be in my middle late twenties, insecure, and terrified of having my own opinion, using my voice, or putting my education or brainpower to any good use.
Then, something shocking and extremely devastating happened in my personal life that, in an instant, changed everything.
I remember feeling so lost, so uncomfortable. I literally had to sit myself down and make a choice to stand up for myself.
I was a young woman without a direction, without a purpose. And then FINALLY I had my first of many aha moments. My first big lightbulb. I knew that I had to start acting in a way that would move myself forward and give my life and the work I do meaning and purpose.
Intelligence without self-worth or confidence is in my opinion useless. Now, I am not talking about having an ego, as we are all a unique blend of strengths, skills, weaknesses, experiences and opinions, that, in the rest blending of circumstances, directs us to purposeful living.
Rather, I am talking about accepting myself as a human being, with flaws, and shifting the way I lived my life to compassionately assess what I did not like about myself and take, every day, even the smallest steps forward to make changes.
I had, through my own traumatic experience, started to rely on myself and to show up for myself so that now I am able to consistently show up for others, for the people I love, for the passionate and inspired people I work for and with, for the amazing clients I have whose determination and willingness to engage and work towards solutions inspire me.
There are things I am not good at, some of which I am learning through formal education like my Harvard Business Analytics course, many of which I am not. And that’s ok because while we can all do anything we cannot, nor should we, I think, attempt to do everything.
What does this mean?
This to me means that while I am working on continuing my path of self-growth and learning, its absolutely ok to be imperfect, we are all human beings and our flaws as well as our strengths are part of what makes us unique, I won’t be the best fit for every client and some people, no matter how hard I could try just and never will like me.
That’s also ok, because not everything in life is going to work, not everyone is going to get along, not every lead is going to be a client.
Because its not about what we achieve, its about the type of person we become, its about who we help and how we show others through consistent action that we love them, and about finding freedom as we have the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of our own company as we move through the journey of our lives.
We can not predict the future, COVID taught us all that, what we can do is we make the commitment to ourselves and for those we love, to show up, to learn and to grow and to move through life in a way that shows through action our willingness to continue forward, embracing all we each have to offer our personal and professional passions.
To me, it also means celebrating the successes of others, being inspired by the beauty and intelligence that surrounds me in its various equally glorious shapes and forms. It means not allowing myself to feel threatened by someone else’s success and never ever dimming someone else’s light or belittling them in anyway.
Us women who are watching are here today are here because of the courage of the generations of women and those who supported them who stood before us, not so very long ago and carved out opportunities for us that were not achievable to them in their own lifetime.
I believe that if we each consistently make the choice, to show up for ourselves and for others, we are never too old to change, never too sad to start again, never too lost to find our way back, never too broken to pick up the pieces and chase our dreams and we are never and will never be alone when we find ourselves lucky enough to be in the company of extraordinary, intelligent, competent women, like yourselves and like my fellow panelists, who understand that we all rise by lifting each other up in honor and celebration of ourselves, of each other, of those who stood before us, and those yet to come.