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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Nicholson

Countdown to 40: Reflection Is Essential

Working full-time while operating a business and progressing through my Co-Active Coaching training has enhanced many strengths within me. While I have always been a dynamic thinker and visionary, I have grown so much during my lifetime and experiences that I am more conscientious about reflection than ever. defines reflection as "a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration."

What time is it? It is Aquarius season.

I'm less than ten days out from celebrating my 40th birthday. I am almost forty, y'all. Wow! Four decades on this here Earth.

When you were a child, did forty seem as old to you as it did to me? Don't leave me out there like that. Be honest.

Anyway, as I think about my life, just days shy of my 40th birthday, I am reminded of when I was 24 and had a countdown to 25. I swear I had a quarter-life crisis. I can't tell you what it was about. Still, I'm sure there was fear and anxiety about checking off bucket lists, not disappointing anyone, and being an adult - whatever that means. And I also think when I turned 35, I experienced another "crisis." This was about the following visible and invisible milestones I either achieved or "failed" to achieve by an uncertain but impending deadline.

"Does anyone else ever feel this way?"

Yet, today, as I approach my 40th birthday, things feel very different, especially since the Pandemic. As of late, I have reflected consciously on the following:

  • Where I am now,

  • What life truly means,

  • What does it mean to consider "failure(s)," or things yet to be achieved, and

  • What are considered to be societal norms or traditions that are placed upon us, especially women?

"And I realize that I define my life." - Michelle Nicholson

And I realize that I define my life. It is not based on anyone else's opinion. Or even the dreams I am sure my parents, for example, have or had for me.

As I approach my 40th birthday, I launched my 10-day countdown with dinner at Mi Vida in Washington, DC, with my hair slayer and friend Jayla, a fellow minority business owner. We spent the evening inevitably talking about us as women, especially black women, in a politically charged country of structural and systemic inequalities where we actively engage in entrepreneurship. And dare we see ourselves as equal to, and more excellent than, our non-black peers - as a Harvard Business Review article found that Black women (17%) were more likely to start a business than white women (15%) or men (10%).

Entrepreneurs rarely take time to reflect and celebrate themselves and their wins. This is becoming a new tradition where I regularly celebrate myself with conscious intention. As we lean into our purpose and gift, we acknowledge that many businesses, especially black women-owned businesses, fail after launch.

According to a recent JP Morgan Chase Wealth Management article:

  • Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the U.S. but face disproportionate financial headwinds.

  • Given a lack of access to capital, Black women are more likely than other demographic groups to self-fund their businesses.

  • To create a more equitable environment, the finance community must recognize the biases that exist in investment assessment.

Last night was a great way to kick off my birthday and celebrate myself. The night was also a beautiful opportunity to reflect on and celebrate being black, empowered, hungry, and aggressive. Yes, aggressive. There are a few connotations to describe aggressive. Yet, I appreciate this definition that articulates "making an all-out effort to win or succeed; competitive." This definition reinforces the requirement needed to get everything I deserve and those thoughts and desires permeating my wildest dreams, from personal to professional and in-between.

"Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the U.S." - JP Morgan Chase

The Afro-Latina in me was so content and well-fed as I swayed to music from the speakers in a glorious space of peace and love with my dear friend. Besides great conversation, Mi Vida offers excellent food. I enjoyed an appetizer that combined two of my favorite dishes, quesadilla and Barria tacos; they called it a Quesa Barria, which was delicious. I recommend anyone to go and check that dish out. You will not be disappointed.

And, in the words of Ms. Tab, "Ooh God, I thank you."

I thank him for everything.

I thank him for where I am.

And I thank him for where I'm going.

In closing, as I quickly approach my 40th birthday, I do so with a sense of gratitude, I do so with a sense of fulfillment now, and I do so with a sense of excitement about what is yet to come. After reflecting, I've discerned that forty is still young. 40 is the perfect age to balance what you've learned in life and make plans to learn, laugh, love, live, and sincerely commence to celebrate yourself regularly.

Working With AllProfit HR

Are you contemplating any of the following:

<> Set intentional goals,

<> Maintain your goals,

<> Modify a behavior,

<> Work smarter, not harder, or

<> Pivot personally or professionally

Let's say goodbye to the last week, month, and year. Today is the present. Give yourself the best present, literally and figuratively - one of coaching.

You can set new intentions and launch into January 2023 to be intentional and reflect precisely from where you are. Schedule a complimentary Coaching Discovery Call with me today. It's GOal time.

Is it time to go home already?

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What's your favorite way to celebrate yourself?

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