May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s only right that we end the month by talking about our healing. Healing our hustle as Black women in business, that is. Being a black woman comes with it’s own set of unique challenges.
As a black woman, how many times have you heard, ‘you’re so strong’? Too many to count, right? Baby listen, I do not want to be strong if it cost me my sanity, sleep or edges! For years, we’ve been expected to handle everything on our own because ‘we can’. Quite frankly because we don’t have a choice, unfortunately. I’m not saying that we aren’t strong, but we also deserve to have support when we need it most.
I have found that while running my business, Black women have been the ultimate source of motivation and support for me because we have the shared experience of knowing what it’s like to not have that support. So we are that for each other. Despite the narrative in our community, we can and we do come together. Period!
Running a business is not for the weak, and it’s not everyday that we are getting the funding, help or support that we need. I’m not saying it isn’t heard of, but it’s also not just handed to us either. Sometimes you can be the most qualified in the room, but because you’re a Black woman with substance, they hate to see it.
Most of us are running businesses by ourselves, with hope and a strong ass prayer. And working overtime does not prove us to be more worthy, and it’s never OK to work to the point of exhaustion. Been there, done that. 0/10, do not recommend!
The healing journey is different for all of us, so what may work for others may not work for you but there are some common grounds that we can all incorporate into our busy schedules to aid in our healing such as, acknowledging the impact of stress and burnout. When you’re stressed and burnt out, your day to day is probably harder to navigate, because where do you start?! If you don’t take it slow, your body will force you to sit your butt down!
And embracing self-care as an essential practice can often be confused for upkeep. Upkeep is getting your nails and hair done. Self-care is not responding to clients outside of business hours or removing yourself from spaces that don’t appreciate nor hear your voice.
Cultivating resilience and setting boundaries is apart of the business game. Being resilient doesn’t mean you should take every hit though, because you are not a punching bag! Sometimes the best resilience is letting it go and basically saying, ‘it’s beneath me now’, because the thought of stressing out over minuscule things is not what our ancestors would want for us.
I do imagine though that our ancestors would want us to foster a supportive network that makes business easier. For at least 2.5 to 3 years of my business, I did it alone. There was no connecting with others, or even a thought to do that. I just knew I was getting lonely and felt like giving up more and more every single day.
The saying, ‘You are who you surround yourself with’ is in fact a cliche, but a good one. I started connecting with some of the most amazing women and I’ve now fallen back in love with my business and these women have been vocal about sharing my business with others. I never asked them to do that, but because they are good people they do it anyway!
Healing in our community is not an option, it’s mandatory and it takes a whole lotta’ work but it can be done. Healing our hustle as Black women in business is a revolutionary act of self-love and empowerment. Acknowledge the uncomfortable feelings, address them and go do that sh*t!