People spend far too much time attempting to manage other people’s life, and at a minimum if not their life-your brand or image. You cannot control the impression that others have of you completely, but you can have some ‘impression management’ based on how you treat and engage others. In essence, I’ve done a pretty good job of creating a positive image of myself, but lately I have found that I have to explain things to people whom seem to think that they have a vote or opinion just because I may share with them details about me and my career. I consciously decided to relocate to Asia and launch an entirely new venture. It’s been a lot of heavy lifting and I am in a space that is foreign to me, in that I need help. Can you think of when you’ve become vulnerable and the person whom you confided in or leaned on started believing that they can interject or force upon you their values and beliefs? Well, that is what this message is about; how to maintain your theme song when people want you to dance to their beat.

I often infuse in some of my speaking engagements the idea of courage and that I had to develop a tough skin and courage in sharing with others that I let go of America to join the exciting journey of transformation in Asia which has been an arduous process. I have more people come up to me to share with me that I gave them courage by my openness and honesty. I was merely making a statement that often resonates with people because it seems that anyone who steps off the beaten path are encouraged to get back on the path of least resistance and step back into the box that others have constructed for them.

So, I’m only encouraging you the reader that if you want something different out of your life or career, you are going to have to do something different, in 2018. Here are a few things to recognize, if you are being held back from true success, growth or potential opportunity to move your career in a different direction or higher level:

  1. You speak with too many people before you make a move. When something is right, you don’t need anyone’s opinion or vote. You’ll know in your spirit that something is right for you, and if that doesn’t occur then maybe you need to move on and not do it. Learn to trust your gut instinct. I used to have on my business card ‘Learn to Listen to Your Inner Voice for It Is God Whispering to Your Soul’. What is right for your is undeniable and you just know it.
  2. You tell people that you have to think about it, and you become paralyzed with indecision. Just remember indecision is an actual decision. I didn’t need years to decide that I wanted to relocate to Asia based on where they were going and what they were accomplishing which aligned with my career goals and objectives. I saw the benefits and opportunities and took my years of experience as a business woman and launched a company in Asia. I thought it through carefully by weighing the pros and cons, and then made a decision! Nothing but death is permanent…so, be willing to take a risk and know that you can always do something different, if something doesn’t work.
  3. You bend or break over the first negative response. In moving in any new direction, you have to be unyielding and like a tall southern pine tree that bends during the storms, but don’t break. If I shared with you what people said both in America and in Asia, you would clutch the pearls (grab hold of your chest and take in a deep breath, yeah). One guy told me here, that I’ll never make it because 1. I’m a woman and there aren’t many business women in this particular country. I debunked that and gave stats on why being a woman will give me an advantage. Then he gave a different reason 2. You are American and that is a handicap. Well, I’ll give him that one because it was on the heels of Trump being elected, but that hasn’t been an issue either and I shared with him why my company is actually an Asian company that I launched here. He twisted in his seat and gave a third reason. He rubbed his skin and looked at me and said, “Because you are black, people will hesitate to work with you.” Oddly enough, it has been everyone to include blacks who have rallied around me to help me gain business. I had to hold my head to the side, cringle my nose and look at him. When he saw that my skin color was not a barrier for me then he finally asked 4. What did I bring that Asia doesn’t already have? I rattled off my credentials not defensively but in a matter of fact way. I know my worth and by the time I was done, he did too. There will be haters… don’t let that stop you from pressing forward.
  4. You let people have a vote in your future. No one unless you are married or underage, should have a final say in what you do. Only you know your heart’s desire and what you are attempting to achieve. I’m not saying don’t bounce ideas off people, but you are the master of your ship. Therefore, your destiny is in your hands. Don’t let people have a mutiny on your life.

I look at very successful professionals, and they all seem to have a common characteristic: they aren’t confined by the dogma of others. Whether you are an intrapreneur (corporately attached) or entrepreneur (business owner), you gotta be bold about what you want and courageous enough to get it. Leap and the net will appear or rely too heavily on other people’s opinions and watch your dreams disappear. Lastly, be kind when you redirect someone’s attention from what they think is best for you to what you know is best for yourself; and that will be the greatest challenge of all. As one peer said to me, “I couldn’t be as humble, based on what you’ve achieved.” But you don’t have to prove anyone wrong, just show them you are right by being successful.