5 Things I Learned from the Essence Path to Power

A few weeks ago I had the honor to sit on the Johnson & Johnson Path to Power panel for Essence Magazine in Atlanta.  After the initial shock of Essence considering me for the event, I accepted.  Growing up, Essence was my go to source to read encouraging stories about women that looked like me.  I still couldn’t wrap my head around why Essence choose me to sit on a panel with these successful women.  Then I reminded myself that I’ve been able to make something out of nothing, with no handouts.  So many women like me are trying to go down the same path.  I wanted to share some of the great tips and advice that was shared during the Path to Power discussion.

Moderator Charli Penn (Essence Senior Editor), Wanda Bryant Hope (Chief Diversity Officer Johnson & Johnson), Kandi Burruss (Celebrity Song Writer), Dr. Aeva Gaymon-Doomes (Physician), and Trina Small

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: Trina Small speaks at ESSENCE And Johnson & Johnson's Path To Power at Ventanas on September 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Don’t I look nervous?  I kept thinking I was going to fall off the stool.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: (L-R) Charli Penn, Wanda Bryant Hope, Kandi Burruss, Aeva Gaymon-Doomes, and Trina Small speak at ESSENCE And Johnson & Johnson's Path To Power at Ventanas on September 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

All the panelist were mothers so it was easy for us all to relate juggling a career and family.  Let’s get in to the discussion.

1.  My secret to self care.  For me, just being the best mom and wife I can be is my secret to self care.  If I stay in my own lane and just do me, it takes away the stress of trying to be someone I’m not.  Just because someones life looks perfect on Instagram doesn’t mean it is.  They struggle just like the rest of us, they just choose not to share those moments (which is ok).  I talked about this in my post about getting my life together HERE.  There are so many people telling you what you should be doing or how you should look.  Do what works for you and your family and you will be ok.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: A general view of ESSENCE And Johnson & Johnson's Path To Power at Ventanas on September 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)2. Say No the first time.  Kandi Burruss (who is the coolest) shared that we should practice saying no first.  Let me explain.  Sometimes we’re asked to do something that we are not too excited about or maybe can’t do it at all but we say yes out of habit.  Then when the time comes we’re looking for ways out because we can’t or don’t want to do something.  The person you committed too is left hanging and disappointed.  If you start with a NO, you won’t have this problem.  If you come through it’s a pleasant surprise because you made it happen.  So if I tell you no, I still may show up : ).

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: A general view of ESSENCE And Johnson & Johnson's Path To Power at Ventanas on September 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

3. Outsource.  Chief Diversity Officer Johnson & Johnson, Wanda Bryant Hope shared with us that she outsources things on her to do list that she doesn’t have time (or want) to do.  If my budget allows, I’m going to do this more often.  Outside of cleaning, can also take advantage of apps that provide meal delivery and grocery pick up services.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: A general view at ESSENCE And Johnson & Johnson's Path To Power at Ventanas on September 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

4.  Block out time for family.  Dr. Aeva Gaymon-Doomes stressed the importance of blocking out time.  She shared that only family activities are allowed on Sundays.  That means no practice, meetings or anything that takes someone away from that family time.  It doesn’t happen often for my family, but those Saturdays or Sundays when we do not have any commitments are awesome.  We can eat meals together, play at the park or watch a movie.  I’m going to try and block out more time for my family.

5.  Just start.  A woman in the audience shared her dream business with us but didn’t know where to start.  Kandi and I both shared that she just needed to start.  Sometimes we can talk ourselves out of pursuing our dreams because everything is not in place or we don’t have the resources.  A pen and paper doesn’t cost anything (well maybe a dollar).  Start writing down your plan.  They’re are plenty of things you can do with a few dollars.  Buy your domain, research the industry, start working on your social media, and find a mentor.  Don’t just wait for something to happen, you can start moving in that direction.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: Trina Small attends ESSENCE And Johnson & Johnson's Path To Power at Ventanas on September 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Dress, Tibi | Shoes, Zappos | Makeup by Alex Butler

I know I’ve been on this empowerment kick and I hope you’re enjoying it.  I’m realizing that my space on the web is much more that just cute baby clothes and skincare products (that’s not going anywhere).  I know God has a greater purpose for my voice and I plan to use it.  Being a mom is tough but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our passions and dreams.  I pray that these tips can help someone in their Path to Power.

I met so many wonderful women that encouraged me as well.  I appreciate Essence and Johnson & Johnson for having me on the panel.  If you have any Path to Power tips please share in the comments.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Shilene October 13, 2016 at 10:08 am

    This is a very good blog post and thank you for sharing. I’ve learned to do it afraid! I started a business & website two years and never completed it. My wedding/ event planning and consulting. I have the experience and talent but I lacked the confidence to carry out my dream. I started making plans to revive my dream, rebrand and update the website. I plan to launch it early 2017 to catch the 2016 holiday proposals. I’m so excited!

  • Reply Carissa October 13, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Congratulations Trina!!! This is an amazing opportunity!! And I love it when you said “why not you”…I totally agree!!! We talk ourselves out of stuff so fast but what God has for you is for you, and sometimes He has to make you uncomfortable to take you to the next level! Go Girl!!! Loved the post!!!

  • Reply Lauren October 13, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    You know I am LOVING these posts and I can totally relate. I am trying to get things off the ground and make it work and well…LIFE. But seeing other people say that they have the same struggles & fears is encouraging and lets me know I am on the right path. You look amazing and you deserve to be on that panel lady, I KNOW that you rocked it! Go Trina!!!

  • Reply Whitney N. James October 13, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Great tips. I love them all, but my fave is blocking out time for family. I think that is so important. We can get so consumed in work that we often forget to spend time with the ones who really matter. I’ve had to learn how to balance family/work and to be honest, it’s a constant battle to balance. But I work hard to make time.

    You look great and congrats again. Sounds like an AMAZING and uplifting event!

  • Reply Charlotte October 18, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    I was once invited to an event and could not understand why they wanted me there out of all the bloggers that are available in my city. It’s so easy to believe the lies of the enemy. Your voice has been one that has encouraged many bloggers as myself. What a wonderful post Trina. excited to read more like this! Be blessed!

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