Do You Need a New Set of Tools to Navigate Your Professional Role?
Dear Black women blazing trails, leading organizations, sitting at the tables as the only, and creating new tables altogether; high performing Black women, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CDOs, VPs, Directors, Entrepreneurs, Managers, Leaders, and Community Organizers. You who represent every aspect of our very rich and diverse diaspora. Your journeys are unique, but the challenges you face, especially in the workplace are very similar.
Can you relate to weekly struggles like….
Subtly, reflexively changing the way you express yourself in majority white and non-Black spaces? Or slowly but surely silencing different aspects of your identity that you believe aren’t accepted or is viewed with a negative perception by others? It’s called Code switching and it slowly wears you out.
Feeling like you’re constantly having to bite your tongue so you won’t be perceived as angry? Not sharing your true opinions, thoughts, and critiques or how someone’s microaggressive and racist comment offended you? Maybe you’re not voicing the constant disregards of your opinions yet when your white or male colleague shares the same thing, all of a sudden it is acknowledged? You’re Silencing yourself, and the impact of what you’re enduring must be shared.
Wearing your hair bone straight instead of kinky because you feel you have to and not because it’s your preference? You’re attempting to align with white dominant norms and turning down your cultural expression. That’s a problem!
Working hard to keep your tone of speech “soft and gentle?” It’s called Policing your tone and though I know why you’re doing it, it doesn’t serve you in the long run sis.
Trying to be the “right kind of Black woman?” Are you subtly Working to make white people comfortable while de-centering your cultural authenticity and humanity? When you show up as yourself as opposed to the white preference of yourself, you expand others' knowledge of our rich diaspora diversity and challenge them to grow beyond their fragility and discomfort.
Are you the “only” at the table and trying very hard for white and non-black people to like you. It’s called Questioning if you belong and it usually accompanies the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome. You’re not an imposter and you do belong! The years of messaging and conditioning that have subtly and directly told you that you don’t belong is the true imposter. Not you!
Tired of that never ending feeling that “if I mess this up, if I drop the ball, or if I say the wrong thing then I am going to confirm everyone’s preconceived notions about Black people?” It’s because you’ve taken on the fallacy that your actions represent an entire community. They don’t! Your actions reflect you only, and it's time you become comfortable with shedding that narrative.
Attempting to be more relatable and not acknowledging your differences? It’s called Decentering Difference and subsequently maintaining a Non-Inclusive workforce culture. The reality is our differences are what makes up our identities and we should be able to connect over them. If you only connect to what is relatable to a white person, then you are centering them and not adding your authentic self to the conversation. Showing up as a watered down version of yourself is not the way you should ever have to feel.
Feeling like when you share your experiences you’re having to manage your boss’s emotions and reactions. It’s called Managing up/Exerting Emotional Labor. Many Black women face this daily, several times a day.
Feeling like your colleagues are looking for you to speak on behalf of all other Black women? It’s called being tokenized and it's not only incredibly burdensome, it is also unsustainable.
Dealing with a supervisor who is perceived as a champion of DEI initiatives but when you bring challenges to their awareness they are defensive? You’re not alone, you’re having to manage your supervisor’s fragility and anti-Blackness.
How about feeling burned out because….
You feel you constantly have to prove your worth as a Black woman? It’s because it’s not your work to undo others’ internalized anti-Blackness. It’s their work to do and it’s time you allow them to do it.
Having to deal with folks at the table who are so unaware of their biases and internalized anti-blackness? It’s because your team needs inclusive leadership training. You shouldn’t have to endure the burden of a team who hasn’t addressed their growth edges.
You’re struggling to ask for help? I think you’ve internalized the Strong Black Woman Narrative and although a tool of survival, it can keep you from being the best and healthiest version of yourself.
Managing the reactions of the white women? You’re engaging in undo emotional labor! This will most certainly lead to burnout!
I can do this for hours. Sit and describe these incidents for hours. But I want to give you……..(LOL) some skills and tools for your unique professional role!
But seriously, Whew! I’m exhausted from just typing these challenges. I know you’re exhausted enduring it. All of this keeps you from honoring your humanity, showing up as your authentic self, and being well!
You cannot be sustained in that state and you most definitely cannot thrive.
WE NEED A NEW SET OF SKILLS TO NAVIGATE THESE SPACES SIS!
And I’m here to help. I’m excited to offer Executive Individual Therapy (for those in California and Texas) and Executive Wellness Coaching to Black women (across the US) facing any or all of the challenges I outlined above.
While some organizations are working to become anti-racist and inclusive, there is still so much work to be done, and the workplace remains filled with threats to Black wellness. Your mental health and wellbeing should not be a casualty. If you identify with any of the struggles above, book your free initial consultation here: Free Initial Consult.
Let’s get you some new skills so that you can move from surviving to thriving!