As we reflect on the upcoming month that leads to black history, we should think about what this notion of black history really means. February is the month that we celebrate the leaders that came before us to pave the way. Our leaders stood for something. They were passionate, relentless and truth standers; they stood their ground even when the times tried to tell them that it was not in their best interest.
So, that was 50 years ago; what about now?
I look around and see spiteful, angry and selfish individuals. People that could make a difference in others’ lives but, choose not to. Is this competition-based? Is this a territorial issue? Or is this, “I’m at the top of the food chain, now what?” Either way, these attitudes are not advancing the ever-so diverse culture that American set its foundation upon. This attitude is not “The American Dream” because in America we are the only country that actually help others, so that they, and you, too, can feel the American Dream.
I say we feel it because we will have lived it, and once you have lived it, it resonates with your soul.
That is how the American Dream is: it is a feeling that is followed by the wealth of grinding and helping others. We all know the feeling when we get something new; a new idea or a new business. Then, we feel that we are going to the top, or going to “make it”, but it all starts out as a feeling.
Case in point: I worked over 13 years as an engineer, but never really felt connected, like I was missing something. So, guess what? After, planning, I eventually left my career to start my own company, The NERD System. While working on my database, I also had a desire to help other female entrepreneurs like myself.
I had a gut feeling that my services and knowledge could also be used in helping advance awareness for STEM female entrepreneurs’ ideas, products and services. Thus, Boss Lady Grind was formed. Boss Lady Grind is an annual expo and platform that brings females together to showcase their ideas, products and services, thus leading to funding and expanding their base. So this is my stance;I stopped straddling the fence and did what I was truly passionate about, even at the cost of losing a cushy career and embarking on a major lifestyle change. Just as my forefathers and leaders before me, I had to make a decision and stick with it. It was all the way or nothing at all but, never on the fence.
Throughout my 13 years of working I came across intelligent people that were undecided.
They didn’t love what they were doing in their careers, but couldn’t get the nerve to do something about it. They talked about all the ways they could be doing this or that. They talked about changing careers, or going into business for themselves. But in the end they did nothing. Absolutely nothing. See, they were straddling the fence; thinking about an option but never having the courage to do it. So, they stayed on one side of the fence.
I say this let’s take back our right to perform a true evaluation of what it is that we should be doing and just go for it. Our leaders who changed history such as Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Dorothy Height, Hosea Williams, Roy Wilkins, Medgar Evers, A. Philip Randolph, John Lewis and many more contributors put down their lives for a cause…you and me! Now we must honor what they did for us and do the same for each other.
So, this Black History Month, and each and every other month, we as a people need to choose and decide. What is our purpose here in life? What do we stand for? Quit Straddling the Fence!
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.
LaTaunja Martin is an engineer by profession and Founder of The National Employee Rapport Database (NERD) System and Boss Lady Grind. Ms. Martin attended University of West Florida, George Washington University and New Jersey Institute of Technology for undergraduate and graduate education and continues to be an advocate for Female Entrepreneurs in STEM. In her free time she enjoys her family and traveling. You can find her career profile on LinkedIn and her businesses on Instagram, Facebook and WordPress @bossladygrinds.
Her signature quote is “The only way to the top is to get off your bottom”