Quite often I’m asked how I have been able to stay on Wall Street for this long and be successful as a African American woman. I usually respond first with a chuckle – and while I am chuckling on the outside, I am asking myself ” Am I successful? ” …. And I am not trying to be modest. I sincerely do ask myself that question over and over again. I guess its because for every time I accomplish what I set my mind to do, I look for a bigger challenge. For that alone, I am entirely grateful to God. Ok back to the question at heart – First and foremost If I did not have Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and abide in Him and welcome the Holy Spirit to direct my life, I wont have lasted more than max 5 years. With that said I am going to start a series that highlights some key habits that have kept me going. Please bear in mind that I am still growing and still have a lot to learn.
Habit #1 – FOCUS – I cannot over emphasize the importance of focus. The webster dictionary defines focus as “A point of concentration” or “A center of activity, attraction or attention”. I define focus as keeping your ultimate goal/dream/vision in sight as you go about your daily activities, ensuring that all you do will get you one step closer to your goal/dream/vision.
When you are focused on your dream, you won’t have time to dwell on anyone’s ignorant comments towards you. I always go back to the presidential election debate between Obama and McCain (in his blessed memory); Even when unrelated topic jabs were thrown at Barack, he remained calm and debated every topic raised professionally. Talk about focus… Barack had one thing on his mind – Becoming President – because he knew the unprecedented impact it would make on so many minority American lives.
It has been my dream to become a successful banker and rise through the hierarchical ranks. At the age of 9, I followed my dad ( who was then a senior bank manager) to his office and I noticed that all the corner offices were held by men and their secretaries were women. I wondered why there was no woman in an office and decided that if I were to go into banking, I wanted to be in an office like my dad’s and not a secretary. Fast forward.. many years later, I am in banking and in senior management ( still not a lot of women but definitely a lot more than a few years back).
Being focused – has kept me out of trouble especially as an African American woman. There are times when I feel the urge to respond harshly to unfair treatments, condescending statements and the continuous scrutiny of my intelligence but then I remember God’s words in Romans 8:31 and remain calm. #JesusNeededAlways
Focus re-energizes you when you feel like you can’t continue. It reminds you of that goal/dream. It dims the noise and distractions around you – like ear plugs for foul comments; or sunglasses for unwanted scenery.
I started calling Focus a rare habit because its becoming very difficult to stay focused especially with “Social Media”.. OMG I have first hand observed how 2 hours of one’s life can be wasted just by browsing Facebook / Instagram.. and yet it adds nothing to accomplishing your goals. It requires a lot more strength than ever today to be focused. One of the ways, I’ve been able to combat this new phenomenon is by following positive minded and inspiring people.. the ones that will post something powerful enough to get you out of IG and motivate you to do something useful with your time. So there you have it – Focus! I will stop here and leave you with a Winston Churchill quote: