When I started FemmePowered back in December 2014, I started it for me. It was my space to explore the thoughts, feelings, and ideas I had because the hidden writer in me needed me to write it out and not just process it through my mind. So I created the space to chronicle it all and from time to time I’d occasionally refer to earlier posts to see if I was growing or feeling differently about my original musings. But more so I needed to be reminded of the things I said to myself at one point in time or the other. You see at the time, I was my only encourager and cheerleader and FemmePowered became a repository of encouragement for me to refer to on the days I was struggling or questioning myself.
There’s something interesting about putting things online -: you never know who will find it. After a few months of blogging, FemmePowered was not just my space but a space for others as well. The emails and messages I’d get from abuse survivors and other women made me realize that my words were a gift to some of them and a catalyst for starting much-needed conversations about abuse and other issues that affected women. So FemmePowered transformed from a place for me to a space for women, no matter their stories. Since launching, I’ve gone on to host my own on and offline events, guest speak at other people’s events, write articles for magazines, collaborate with women doing meaningful work and connecting with women of various backgrounds and stories. All because of this little blog. I’m greatly humbled by it all.
FemmePowered has been the biggest blessing in my life to date. I taught me that even the shitty things like abuse can be the catalyst to something great, depending on one’s perspective. I also found some genuine friends, real women – women who stand tall in themselves and love themselves no matter what shit storm they may be facing. And even in their struggles, they’ve made the commitment to help others stand tall and walk in their purpose.
In my last post, I mentioned the launch of the Lemonade community. What I did not do was go into detail on how I wrestled with myself for 6 months to follow the Internal Tug to launch Lemonade. I struggled because FemmePowered was free and I didn’t think people would want to pay to access any area of it. I also struggled with Imposter Syndrome (more on that in a future post) which made me feel like a phony for even thinking of going in that direction. Who do you think you are to start a private online community and no one will ever pay for your stuff, were on replay in my head for weeks.
But as usual, words come to my rescue. The words to myself in this blog and the words of others and in this particular case the words of James Victore. His words were a game-changer for me. You see,Victore believes that our work is a gift and we must approach what we do with the mentality that we are offering something of value to the world. As simple as this statement may be, it was profound to me. I reasoned that because my gift is not about me, but about helping others achieve their dreams and share their gifts with the world, it takes something out of me to pull those things out of them. It was a process that took time, energy and talent to accomplish and there was no shame to attach a cost to what it entailed to give my gift.
Launching Lemonade after that was a no-brainer.
As I started seeing what I did as something with the potential to truly make a difference and help others there came a shift in the attitude and approach I took to my work. When I started seeing my work as a gift, I no longer worked solely for money. Not that I want to go about giving away all that I do for free, but I understood that money is not the goal or the motivator, but rather a consequence or by-product of sharing this gift. From there it became even more important to sharing my gift with people who would appreciate it and recognize the value in it.
Your takeaway from it all is that your work is a gift. Whether you wash cars for a living or you save lives in a busy emergency hospital, do what you do with the understanding that it makes a difference and has value. And since it has value, there is no shame to attach a monetary value to it as a reward for your time and effort and a form of encouragement to continue sharing this gift with others.
Happy Wednesday 🙂 Go bless others with your gift.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.