I consider myself a pretty well rounded person. I do my job (and do it well might I add). I write children’s books. I try to be a good wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I’m always willing to lend a helping hand when I can, and I love giving back to my community. Oh and I love the Lord and my church 🙌🏾! These are all great things that I’m proud of. But sometimes I get so busy with the day-to-day, that I forget to really pour into myself.

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A few months ago I starting seeing posts on social media for an event called Summit 21. Summit 21 is a women’s empowerment conference hosted by 21Ninety (a Blavity brand). This summit would feature the entrepreneurs, creatives, activists, and influencers that I have been following for a while now. On top of that, it was a chance to meet and network with other up-and-comers just like me. As I’m trying to grow into my place as a creative, as well as grow the McKenzie Mason brand, this sounded like somewhere I had to be. So what did I do? Come up with every excuse not to go 🙄

I was too busy. I didn’t have the money (although I did). I just couldn’t go! Thankfully I have the most supportive husband in the world who firmly told me, “you’re going.” He even went so far as to putting a reminder in his phone so that I could catch the early bird rate. Needless to say I registered, and I’m so glad I did!

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It’s hard to put into words what exactly the summit did for me. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist who always gets in her own way, Summit 21 was just what I needed to renew my focus. Not only were gems dropped all over the place (see some of my faves below), but the sisterhood was like none other. There was #blackgirlmagic, #hairgoals, and #squadgoals all over the place. While brushing my teeth after a session, another sister walked into the restroom and said, “Yaaasss girl, brush those teeth!” You just don’t get that kind of gassing up everywhere. Since I’m in this stage of premium gas only (shout out to Vannesia), it was right on time. Although I was there solo, I thought often about my own circle of sisters, while making new friends (hey Lauren and Dominique)!

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The whole experience was awesome! Listening to speakers from Angela Rye to Sarah Jakes Roberts. Myleik Teele to Karen Civil. My notebook and phone were filled with notes and footage to take with me as I continue my journey. We had meditation for our spirits and learned a dance routine from one of Beyonce’s backup dancers. And I don’t even want to mention the freebies! I’m stocked up on skin and hair products for at least a few months now. A high point for me was also meeting (again) Morgan DeBaun, CEO of Blavity. This is a young black woman running a multifaceted business. She has also raised over $1 million in funding. Look her up if you’re not familiar with her. #goals

Going to Summit 21 showed me that I have to continually invest in myself. I made important connections but the biggest one was the one I made with myself. While sitting in a session I think I found the answer to a dilemma I’d been having that could result in a big business move! I would’ve missed out on this and so much more by not going. And who knows what other opportunities and experiences I’ve missed out on by making excuses. You must give yourself the time and space to truly grow. I can’t wait for next year’s summit! And next time I’m bringing a gang of girls with me (you know who you are)!

If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen these. For everyone else, here are some key points that resonated with me:

  • You tell people YOUR dreams, and they tell you THEIR fears (don’t fall into the trap).
  • Stop trying to network up and instead network across. Those are the people who are the next big thing.
  • You can’t be all things to all people. Find a niche and focus.
  • Know the difference between passion and purpose. Passion is just something you like to do. Purpose is something you were called to do. You ultimately can’t fail at your purpose.
  • Stop waiting on perfection. If you’re not kind of embarrassed of your first product, you’ve launched too late.
  • It only gets harder, and it’ll always be scary. Know your “why.”

 

Remember to invest in yourself!

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