While in corporate America, I spent more time than I can count thinking about how I can authentically express myself and be heard without coming across as “too angry”. What is the “right” amount of passion and commitment I can convey when I am advocating for myself and others while remaining likable? How do I come across as powerful and intelligent without being labeled as intimidating? Bottom line: exhausting.
Clay talks about his challenge with physical wellbeing and how his commitment to his health impacts him as a leader. He works at a Silicon Valley-based Fortune 500 software company.
I grew up in a diverse family within a diverse community in Maryland, outside of Washington, DC. From a religious perspective, I was raised Muslim, my family on my mother’s side is Christian and many of the people in my childhood neighborhood were Jewish. I believe that is part of the beauty of living within a few miles of our nation’s capital. Different people. Different worldviews. Different experiences. Yet, we all managed to come together in so many lovely ways.
My mother died suddenly after an operation when I was 17. We buried her, rented an RV and drove from Maryland to Orlando, FL, went to Disney World and drove home. Then, I packed up my life and moved away to start my freshman year in college. Within one month, I went from thriving high school senior, feeling on top of the world, to a motherless daughter navigating the academic and social demands of university life.
In 2019, I was “all in” on my mental wellbeing. Physical wellbeing? Not so much. My year was filled with minor health challenges that were directly related to my lack of physical exercise. Since I had set the intention of being bold in 2020, I realized that to create boldness in the future meant I must be bold in the present.
I consider this my year-long Public Service Announcement. If you want to hear the voice of a black woman business leader who lived a life of janky wellbeing and has learned from it, then read on. And if you have, or still are, living that life, now you know that you are not alone.