You’ve heard of stories like mine. I grew up in a low-income family. I ate free school lunches. My mom worked three jobs and still went to the grocery store with a calculator to make sure she could pay for everything in the cart—down to the penny.
I had my first child at 20. I knew I wanted to work for myself, and thought beauty school would be the answer, but I quickly dropped out and was left with few career options. I was too young, too uneducated, too whatever to achieve the kind of success as other people. That’s what people told me. They were wrong.
Maybe you’ve heard a story like mine, but you’ve never really heard my story.
In my early 20s, I landed a job working at a call center. It was the best money I had ever made. I felt like life was good—not great, but good. In a few years, I worked my way up to managing several call centers. I traveled frequently. I got married. I had another kid. Things were OK. I didn’t love my job, but it (mostly) paid the bills. It also allowed me to work one-on-one with leaders in my industry, helping them to understand and harness their strengths and weaknesses. That fueled my spirit.
Then my daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis and everything changed. The doctors gave her a 1.8 percent chance of self-correction. That meant back-to-back casting procedures with anesthesia. That meant months of visits to chart her progress. That meant thousands of dollars in medical bills that insurance wouldn’t cover, and I didn’t have. I couldn’t bear the thought of choosing my daughter’s quality of care based on the numbers in my bank account. I chose, in that moment, to believe in my own abilities without reserve.
I hired a life coach. I took a class that addressed my fears, insecurities and negative mentality about money. I invested in myself. I took the time and did the work to understand how my past was inhibiting my future. I had to heal from those limiting beliefs before I could take my dreams and make them come true. Then I started sharing my story with other women.
In 2017, I launched my personal business brand, The Slay Coach, and scaled it to a million-dollar company in two years. Through my business, I work to empower female entrepreneurs to harness the same unabashed belief in themselves that got me where I am. I furthered that goal by launching my nonprofit, Champagne and Slay, which hosts recurring networking events in which women have the safe space to share, collaborate, and build on their dreams. But for any of this to work, I and everyone I work with, has to understand that bringing anything but your truest self is to fall short.
If you scroll through my social media feeds, you’ll see two things: a whole lot of purple and a whole lot of me. I’m a bold, boisterous, color-flaunting, honest person. I don’t care what my peers think of me. I don’t care what people in the industry think of me. I don’t even care what my audience thinks of me. Because I am doing the most fearless thing every single day—which, for me, is telling the boldest, most honest truth. That is the greatest act of love. And that’s what brings the right people, the right opportunities, the right vibrations, into your life.
My story starts when I stopped believing that life was happening to me. When I stopped internalizing the “not enough” stories that people said about me or to me. When I stopped allowing my past to dictate my future. When I stopped being anything other than me.
This is my story, but believe me: This is just beginning.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Joslin King