• Paris Woods

Who's Your Hype Man?




Who is your hype man? And where are you finding encouragement on this financial freedom journey?


Earlier this week, I was a guest on a podcast and the hosts asked me how I managed to remain encouraged despite the various experiences that I've had throughout my life, including having grown up in a low-income family, having gone from that environment to a school like Harvard--which was a tremendous culture shock--and navigating the world as the only person in my immediate family with college degree seeking the path of financial freedom.


How do you deal with the inevitable moments of self-doubt and where do you find encouragement. Reflecting on their questions this week gave me the opportunity to really sit in a place of gratitude for all of the people and places where I have found encouragement throughout this journey.


Today I want to tell you what I have learned about fear and self-doubt, and some of the tools that have helped me overcome these inevitable feelings and experiences throughout my journey. So here are five things that have helped me overcome fear and self-doubt on the journey to success.

These feelings are completely normal.


I've learned to give myself permission to be human and acknowledge the fact that feelings and thoughts of fear and self-doubt are inevitable to come up on any journey where you're seeking to do things that are different and really challenging yourself to step outside of the norm. So instead of feeling bad, when you get scared, feel scared and do the thing anyway.

When you plant a seed, the first thing to come up is the dirt.


Next is something that I like to remind the women in my coaching program. And that is the first thing that comes up when you plant a seed is the dirt. When you set an ambitious goal for yourself or undertake something new, you can expect the fear and the self-doubt and challenges to arise first. In fact, this is a sign that you're doing something right because on the other side of fear and self-doubt is growth and success.


Guard your gates.


Next is to fill your space with positivity and encouragement. I grew up in church where we talked about the concept of guarding your gates. These are the ways that messages get into our psyche and our predominant gates are our eyes and our ears. We have to guard the things that we see or read and the things that we listen to with that in mind. What are you watching, reading or listening to on a regular basis?


When setting out on a challenging journey amp up the positivity by following positive Instagram accounts, listening to encouraging podcasts, putting up quotes around you that inspire you, and constantly feeding yourself positive messages. When I was founding my nonprofit, one of the quotes that I kept up in my office was a telegram that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had sent to Thurgood Marshall.


In that telegram, I highlighted this sentence that really resonated with me and the sentence read: "You have proved to be a giant of your profession and your career has been one of the significant epochs of our time." I loved immersing myself in the significance of that statement and imagining that that telegram was written to me.


What quotes do you have up around you to encourage you on your journey and to remind you of how dope you are?


Develop a meditation practice.


The other piece of advice I gave was to consider adding a meditation practice to your toolkit. One of the key features of meditation is the art of noticing our thoughts and allowing them to pass. It's an important muscle to build when inevitable feelings of fear and self-doubt arise. The truth is that these feelings and thoughts never disappear as you continue to challenge yourself throughout your life. They continue to pop up. It's inevitable.


Practicing meditation allows us to build the muscle of noticing when those thoughts arise and allowing them to pass. It's one of the most important practices that I've invited into my life and it allows me the space to replace those thoughts with encouragement and reminders of what I can do instead of fear about what I cannot.


Who's your hype man?


The most important lesson of them all is where we began. Who is your hype man? One of the things that I shared with the podcasters was how important it has been for me to surround myself with positive voices throughout my life. Here's the truth. None of these things can be done alone. You need positive voices and people in your corner to support you--your own hype men and women to remind you how dope you are and to bolster your self-confidence when you need it.


I have found it incredibly important to surround myself with people who speak life and positivity into me. My mom was definitely one of those people. My sister is probably my biggest cheerleader today. And my close friends--the people I allow to be closest to me--are those who constantly offer me encouragement and support. So my advice to you is to audit the people around you and increase the time and investment in people who encourage you, make you feel good, make you feel strong, make you feel like you can accomplish your goals, and decrease time spent with everyone else.

So those are my five things. One, remember that feelings of fear and self-doubt are normal and give yourself permission to be human. Two, remind yourself that the first thing that comes up when you plant a seed is the dirt. Three, fill your space with positivity and encouragement including the things you watch read and listen. Four, consider adding a meditative practice to your toolkit. And five, surround yourself with people who speak life into you.


I want to conclude with a quote from one of the most encouraging speeches I heard this week and this was Senator Cory Booker speaking life into Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. As I listened to his words of encouragement to her, I couldn't help but think that every Black woman, who's out there working their butts off and killing the game and facing the inevitable pushback that we know comes up--either internally from ourselves or externally from the haters--could benefit from a hype man like Cory.


As you read this quote, I want to challenge you to let these words sink in and imagine that he's speaking directly to you. You are worthy. You can do this. And our world, our community, will be all the better because you were a member of it. Play it back as many times as you need to, then get to work, girl. Stay the course and achieve your dreams. You can do it.


Senator Cory Booker to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson:


"You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American. Today, you're my star. You are my harbinger of hope. This country is getting better and better and better. When that final vote happens and you are sent on to the to the highest court in the land, I'm going to rejoice. And I'm going to tell you right now, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, will be better because of you."

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