Mikki Taylor, Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE Magazine and WA Trustee takes times to reflect on what matters now.
Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut once said, “Life is what your Creator gave you for free. Style is what you do with it.” To me, style is about walking in your truth and being your most bold, empowered self at all times. It’s about operating in an awareness that defines everything about you– from your dress code to your life code. Research has proven that how you see yourself affects how you live your life – translation: you’re not going to live any better than you believe. That’s why it’s critical to possess a keen sense of self so you can rock your best and master every area of your life. I think each of us should be determined to own our lives and make sure that they are affirming in every way possible. I’ve had the privilege of working with Michelle Obama and what I first observed and admired about her as a senator’s wife remains true about her to this day as a “beyond busy” First Lady of the United States: she’s ever so clear about who she is and what she’s come to contribute.
As such, she’s motivating to me about what it means to own your life with a clear-cut assurance. Without question, she’s knows her value and long before she entered the White House, identified her purpose. Being her most authentic self and making a difference in the lives of others lies at the heart of her take on everything she does. I remember reading one day where she told her staff “don’t put it in a press release if we’re not doing it.” And the takeaway is: don’t talk about it if you’re not going to be about it.
It rests with each of us to know our value and to identify and honor our purpose. Purpose is that unique gift you stand in possession of and the calling that is placed on your life to use it and you just owe it to yourself to work it in complete awareness that no one else can do what you’ve been called to do like you!
I’ve come to know that purpose gives order to your life and directs your actions; it’s in part what establishes your mark and brands your future and keeps you from being scattered and ineffective. As I travel this country speaking in circles both intimate and full, I’m urging us to be about the business of making it count–to not neglect it or put it on hold for without purpose you are only living in the shadow of who you are meant to be!
For certain, life is not a dress rehearsal–this is it, so it’s critical to own the reality you want to know by monitoring your steps so you can define what works for you and thrive. To do so, you must be determined, transformational in your thinking and fear settling for mediocrity more than anything you know. Like Mrs. O, we mustn’t be more afraid of challenge, risk and so-called oppositions than we are of fulfilling our dreams and all the while making a difference in the lives of others. After all, vision without execution is simply hallucination and we’re so much better than that. I’ve seen many things, however, I’ve never seen a calendar with an entry called “someday”–many of us wait for it and count it as the day we’ll open our dreams, and act on purpose, don’t let this be your truth. Get still, tap into your deepest desires, set your mind to act on them and position yourself to succeed. Let go of the part of you that likes to be comfortable so you can move beyond your comfort-zone and into your power-zone.
Don’t wait for opportunity to find you—be determined to create it. Experts say many of us have a list of experiences we want to know but in reality aren’t working toward any of them. Make the time to examine where you are and where you want to be and make sure you’re doing what you need to do get there.
People often debate the possibilities of having it all. At the end of the day, I’ve learned to place the value on having what matters. That realizing what’s important rests on making the right response, which is always, always about seizing quality over quantity. So I say, if you appreciate the gift that is life consider what it means to style as your supreme form of self expression and be a master at having your say!
Posted by Mikki Taylor