It’s been a journey for me in creating my space so far and one where I have no regrets and plans to take up more space in the future. When people talk to me now they see an extrovert who is mostly outgoing and engaging. During our conversations they are usually surprised that I was an introvert at some point. Let me tell you that it’s been a journey. I went from an introvert and when I say introvert, I mean it was one that would last until my mid 20’s. I was the kid who would sit by herself on the school bus, subconscious about everything related to how I looked, my shape, never felt comfortable having conversations with people around me and would always look down or look away when someone was talking to me. That went on all through high school and a few years through college. It was by accident that I started to find my voice and learned how to take up space. Some of it happened from being around people who pushed me to speak up and be more confident in who I am and what I believed in. I gained a lot of my self confidence while working with my former employers. The majority of my mentors during that time were male executives who encouraged me to stand firm in what I believed in, not feel silenced or bullied by those who may look down on me because I am a woman of color and to own my space whether in the workplace or out in the world. They pushed me to be present and use my voice because my opinion and what I had to offer mattered in the conversation and was valued. The fact that most of my mentors were male and they pushed me forward was one of the reasons why I felt more comfortable in standing up and claiming my space. I knew I had allies that would literally have my back.
I have learned to own my space, make it work to my advantage and in doing so was diligent in making space for others. It’s taken a journey of being told I didn’t fit in spaces that pushed me to create my space and blossom. It is not easy and it takes courage, determination, failures, wins and feeling defeated before feeling a level of confidence to own your space. It’s not a perfect journey but it’s been worth every no you don’t belong, no you don’t deserve to be here, no you’re not a peach but you’re a mango, or be told that your suggestion wasn’t valuable only to have someone else give the same suggestion and have it be considered or adapted as an action item or policy. I learned how to speak up and take up space in those areas and beyond.
Go get your space. I say that you should put one foot in front of the other to take the first step in owning your space and don’t look back. Believe in your dreams and don’t be detracted from creating the space you will need to shine. Once you create space for yourself make sure you help to create space for others. It will be a work in progress and you could feel defeated and unsure as you take the steps to push through and claim your space. You know your value, what you have to offer and everything that you bring to the table so don’t count yourself out. Take the time you need to chart your path and enjoy your journey.
What has been your journey in taking up space?
Stay Safe and Be Well!