Not too long ago, watched a Facebook Live Video from my friend, Danie Spikes, the owner of BeLoved Box where she encouraged business owners to “leave the door wide open”. She recently partnered with Capital One, who we know as a credit card company, to activate their banking space. Her eight-minute video reminded me of my sentiments when I was flown to Facebook headquarters for the first time in 2018. You may recall I was one of seven ladies invited to have lunch with Facebook C.O.O., Sherly Sanberg on International Women’s History Day. Upon arrival, I realized I was the only Black business owner in the room, which prompted me to square off with Sherly saying that although I was there alone, I represented an entire community of African American female business owners. It was my obligation to leave an impression, to do my best and be a pioneer.
“Many are called, but few are chosen”, according to the inspirational book I read. Which is a reminder that if you are chosen, you have a responsibility to not just carry the torch but to pass the torch. In racing for success though, we often forget that how you carry the torch matters just as much as how you pass the torch. As a pioneer myself I understand that we may get weary, we may end up with arrows in our backs and we may even be undercut in the area of recognition, but that is the price that must be paid. Leave the door open anyway sis. In fact, while on the other side of the door and in the room, blaze a trail Sis. Become a reference of excellent. Don’t just work the room; wow the room. This is how you clear the path for others. This is how you preserve the energy of who is coming next. There are people coming behind you, and they can get further along if you represent to the best of your ability. This will require foresight and forward thinking. The next time I was flown to Facebook headquarters, I was one of 400. The path was clearer. Clearly, the 7 of us, left the door wide open.
Additionally, Sis, make connections. Network up and across. Gather your resources. Meet the CEO, the janitor and everyone in between. Effective connections become successful partnerships in the future. By meeting new people, not only do you increase your network, but you can be a hub of solutions and opportunities for others. Sometimes, we work so hard to obtain the torch, we fail to pass the torch. Take a moment to visualize a track and field athlete training endlessly during the off season – losing sleep, missing out on special occasions with friends and sacrificing time with family only to get to the race, run with great time and fail to pass the baton. That type of behavior is embarrassing to the coach, the community and your loved ones.
Sis, you worked too hard to get in the room and close the door. The next time you are chosen, remember to leave the door wide open. There are young ladies who are watching, learning and standing at the threshold. They are cheering you on, knowing someday, it will be their turn. And they will never forget how you left the door wide open.
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