I’ve been the founder or co-founder of a few movements.
I’ve created many products.
I’ve written a few books. Seven of them, to be exact.
Despite these successes, here’s what people don’t see…
What people don’t see is that I was told that with a history degree, my only career options would be teaching, law, or research.
And I failed at my attempt to become all three.
What people don’t see is that with one movement I co-founded, I was ostracized. Thrown out. Demonized on Twitter and told never to show my face again at any future meetings ever again.
What people don’t see is that when I hosted the very first multi-speaker virtual event on social media, I was called “snake oil” by a bestselling author, and “a fraud” by a popular tech speaker.
What people don’t see is the last speech I gave in 2013 just didn’t quite connect with the audience which left me second-guessing my speaking abilities and caused me to quit speaking for three years.
What people don’t see is the number of times I’ve been harassed on the job because some believed that as a black woman, I had no place in technology, a white male-dominated field.
What people don’t see is the time when I entered a meeting room to greet my client and his higher up, a vice-president, asked me to fetch coffee because he thought I was the secretary – and not the senior project manager managing his multi-million dollar software implementation (my client was so embarrassed by his VPs behaviour).
What people don’t see are the number of times I’ve been bullied by clients who wanted me to discount my fees, or expressed shock that I’d dare charge so much (they’re no longer clients).
Or, those who abuse my support staff because I dared to have boundaries around my time…
Or, question my credentials…
Or, my technical knowledge…
I have been called a troublemaker, a misfit, a maverick, and even a cancer.
I’ve been told that I ruin things.
I could go on.
People had hoped that by speaking words of discouragement over me that I would fail. Disappear. Hide.
And yes, at times I have.
At times, I believed that I didn’t belong.
Yet, I wouldn’t trade any of these failures for the world.
Because, as Michael Jordan said:
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.”
Every bad client has led me to my best clients, some who have been with me for the entire lifetime of my digital marketing agency.
Every grumpy or entitled person I’ve met has led me to communities where I rub shoulders with some of the brightest and most generous experts, bestselling authors, and in-demand speakers.
And every time someone questions my tech wisdom, I’m led to those who celebrate it.
As a thought leader, change agent, and futurist, I don’t wait.
I don’t wait to have the right credentials.
I don’t wait for permission.
I don’t wait for the stars to align. Or, for Mercury to be in retrograde. Or, for the Angels to start singing in the right harmonic resonance (whatever that means).
I see the need and I get into action.
The difference now is that instead of running on my tippy toes at breakneck speed, I stop to evaluate, plan, and look for the loopholes.
That’s what I call living on the tippy toes.
Because when you live on the tippy toes, you know that slowing down is not an option. But neither is operating erratically.
Living on the tippy toes means that you stay in momentum. That instead of running from idea to idea, you stay focused on your goals.
That you’ll dance, and move, and glide – and you may just fall down.
But like a dancer, you get back up and finish the routine.
Because on the other side of failure is success.
I invite you to start living on your tippy toes. Read the manifesto:
Do share this if you know someone who needs encouragement.