Seventeen days ago, I ended my internship at the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
I planned on slowly releasing articles around my experience there. To be honest, I had too many experiences to group together and write about. I learned so many things in such a short time. It would be a disservice to myself and my readers to generically throw them together like a last minute high school paper.
Instead, I’m going to keep the memories as memories, and let them inspire my writing. My goal here is to add value to your life while figuring out mine.
The truth is, no one has it figured out. Seriously, no one.
But we are social creatures. We crave relate-ability and validation. We like listening to others’ stories if only to catch glimpses of our own.
So, what now?
Now, I’d like to openly share my story. It is an intricate weave of my own experiences and those of others as seen through my eyes.
I don’t have a specific period to start from. Much like time, my life story isn’t linear. So I’ll start from here.
I’m at the library.
(Woah, change of pace)
I’ve just ended a coaching session. Yes, I have a coach. Like, an actual life coach. It’s amazing!
We met at a Chamber event, the Diverse Business Accelerator Final Pitch and Celebration. It was a wonderfully serendipitous moment. I was actually very sick that day, but the event had been planned for months and I was really looking forward to going. So I stuck it out.
I’m glad I did because as it turned out, my future coach was having a similar moment. After keynote speaker, Arian Simone, finished her talk, she opened up the floor for a Q&A session. I was the first to ask a question.
I tried to ask how to go about staying authentic to yourself and not letting the opinions of others get in the way of your success. The question came out more like a garbled mess and I applaud Arian for being able to decipher even a sliver of a question from all that.
The next person to ask a question was my soon-to-be-coach. Her question came from a similar moment of vulnerability. She wanted to know if it was necessary to further her education to gain credentials that would make her seem more credible to others. Her curiosity and need for validation really resonated with me.
Lets take a short trip…
A few weeks before this event, I was speaking with a professional in the marketing industry. She was very impressed with my capabilities, but was concerned that due to my lack of education, no one would take me seriously. “No one will hire you without a degree, Kaleah.” she said to me.
She wasn’t the first to say this, but I never really had a moment stick with me the way this one did. I knew it came from a place of love and compassion for me, but I knew that it also came from a place of limitation. I didn’t fight back. I just said “okay” and accepted the advice.
In my mind, I knew that she was wrong. I understood why she felt that way, that was her experience. She has a degree and still struggles to be taken seriously and respected the way she deserves. It is my hope that through my own resilience, I am able to show more people like her that it is possible.
The very next day, I was offered a C-level position for a start up. It was almost surreal. I jokingly told myself I would become a CEO just to spite them and God showed me that it was truly within reach.
Now, back to our story…
Because of that very experience, I walked up to my soon-to-be-coach and thanked her for asking her question. I admitted that, I too, had been struggling with the need for validation and the decision to go back to school or not. I assured her that she is already enough, and the clients she is looking for will come to her. (Woop, woop, here I am!)
We exchanged information and she followed up with me the next day. She mentioned that my energy really left an impression, and she wanted to get to know me better. One thing lead to another and I am now a client of hers.
It’s wonderful how the world works when you take a moment to step out of your comfort zone and into your authenticity.
So now, That is what I’ll be doing. Being my authentic self. I invite you to join me.
If there’s anything you’d like to know, chat with me about, or read my opinions on, drop a note in my inbox. I’d love to hear from you.