Leading Ladies: Munchkins and Mimosas Panel on “Adulting”

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Imagine sitting around the dinner table with your closest friends discussing the challenges you navigate while trying to “adult.” That’s exactly how I felt at the “Leading Ladies: Munchkins and Mimosas” panel discussion on "adulting." Moderated by Joi McKenzie of ABC News – Erin Lowry of Broke Millennial, Brielle Urserry of BET and Danielle Brown of ESSENCE took us to church as they kept it real on topics such as finance, self-care, career and love.

Adulting is hard and while it may seem like I have life figured out, I really don’t. Because let’s be honest, sometimes I’m a hot mess. And let’s be honest again, I know some of you are too because I find many relatable tweets on Twitter confirming that. But, it’s okay. Just as I’m trying to navigate life, I know you are too, and sometimes it takes us learning from each other. Here are my top 5 takeaways from the discussion:

1. "As women, we are more likely to advocate for others than ourselves."

I’m guilty as charged. Advocating for others is something I don’t struggle with. When it comes to myself? That’s a different story. When it comes down to it, I believe there are many different reasons why women struggle with this. However, whatever the reason may be, it’s something we must stop doing. In the long run, it’s something that can hold us back from many opportunities, and I have experienced this firsthand. To get better at advocating for myself, I practice it on a smaller scale in my day-to-day activities. In doing so, I feel more comfortable advocating for myself when I come across bigger opportunities.

2. "There's a real conversation that has to happen about self-care and what it means to you."

One size does not fit all. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care. What it means to one person, may not be what it means to you. Take the time to figure out what it means to you and start applying it to your life. Like to watch reality television? Do that. Like to sweat? Go to the gym. Like to treat yourself? Go shopping. Like to cook? Try a new recipe.  Do whatever it is that makes you feel like you can unwind, regroup and feel good about yourself. We can be hard on ourselves at times, so taking the time to kick back and relax is important. Some of my self-care methods include working out, photography and sleeping.

3. "If love is important to you, then how much you focus on your career is how much you should also focus on life & love." / "What you 'think' you want & what you value are two completely different things."

Okay, now I feel attacked. One of the panelists mentioned that women are too often taught that we should focus on our career and put relationships on hold. Let’s stop making this the norm. I get it. I really do. It’s not for everyone, hell, half the time I’m not sure it’s for me. But, let’s be real. You make time for what you want to make time for. If having a relationship is important to you, then acknowledge that and make time for it. If it isn’t, keep doing you. If you want love and a career, it’s fine. If you want to focus on yourself and your career, that’s also fine. Let’s just stop dismissing the first.

On a different note, how many times have you been handed the things you "want" and remained unhappy? Do you actually value those things? While this was presented in the context of love and relationships, it can be applied to other aspects of life. Your job may be paying you well, but if you value balance yet work late hours, including weekends, it may be time for a change. Similarly, your man may look good physically and on paper, but if you value communication and he can’t make time to respond to you, what are you really doing?

4. "Many times, we're focused on being the best person at work/in our company and we aren't even a good person in our personal life."

How are you going to win, when you aren’t right within? Take the effort that you put into trying to impress people at work and invest it in yourself first. After doing so, observe how different aspects of your life start to change. Listen, if you aren’t a good person in general, people will feel that negative energy. If people feel that negative energy, why would they want to be around you? The amount of time you waste trying to convince people that you’re a great person, maybe actually focus on becoming a great person. It will speak for itself.

5. "The fact that you made it doesn't mean that you're shitting on those who didn't."

Get off your high horse. I witness this too often. Please don’t forget that everything you’ve been given, can also be taken away from you. Let me say it again in case you didn’t catch it. EVERYTHING YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN, CAN ALSO BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU. Okay, now I’m yelling. But, seriously. Don’t forget where you came from, the people that helped you and the steps you took to get where you are. Give back to the community. Help someone who may aspire to be like you. Doing so won’t only help you become a better person, but it will help people around you do the same.

(Photo Credits: Eshama J Photography)