Is it Time to Give Yourself Permission?
By Kim Anthony
In February, we hosted the All-Star Moms Champion Outreach and I got the honor of spending the morning with 50 women from the Charlotte, N.C. community, who are either in the midst of overcoming or have already overcome some very Unfavorable Odds. They are single moms who face the daily challenges of raising their children alone. Some may be homeless and others may have recently purchased a home for the very first time. The two extremes and those in between came together to be encouraged and to encourage one another.
At one time my mother, Sandra, shared their story. While growing up, I watched her take on 2 and 3 jobs, navigate eviction notices and still hold on to her dream of wanting more for herself and for me. Because of the courage and perseverance she modeled for me, I felt it important to share with these All-Star Moms, some of the strategies she used to overcome her Unfavorable Odds.
It’s likely that there is someone reading this post who may also find themselves in a difficult season of life. There may be some discouragement, a sense of hopelessness or maybe you’re wondering, When will it be my turn? When will I be able to overcome?
If you find yourself growing weary in doing good, please don’t give up! Maybe what I’m about to share will help you take courage, yet again.
When I look back on my mother’s journey, here are three things that stood out to me that I believe were critical to her overcoming Unfavorable Odds.
1. She forgave those who hurt her. She chose to not hold on to bitterness and resentment, execute payback, or allow herself to be paralyzed by a victim mentality. She could not control the actions of others, so she chose to take control of her own life. Then she set healthy boundaries that protected her from further harm.
She gave herself permission to separate herself from toxic relationships, which freed her up to be the woman she was created to be.
2. She embraced her unique design. Her talents and interests were different from those around her. So, instead of following a common path taken by those she knew, she risked rejection and pursued a career that gave her an opportunity to use her distinct gifts.
Then she chose to operate in a way that fit her personality, instead of duplicate the leadership style that was expected at the time. Her unique approach would bring her great success and would eventually prove she was ahead of her time. The leadership approach she started using over 40 years ago is now one of the most popular ways to successfully manage people in the corporate world.
Not only did she embrace her own unique design, but she also helped me to embrace mine too!
By giving herself (and me) permission to be different, we were both able rise above our circumstances and experience great fulfillment.
3. She never stopped dreaming. My mother put a great amount of time and effort into achieving her goals, only to be met with multiple setbacks and disappointments. She could easily have given up and just settled for whatever life threw her way. But there was something she always said just before she talked about her dreams: “When my ship comes in, I’m going to...”
As a little girl, I literally thought there was a giant cargo ship out there in the ocean moving in our direction. I can still picture that ship in my mind (smile). She would say this so often that at times I thought, Momma, your ship might be lost or somewhere at the bottom of the ocean. And I wondered, Do the people driving the ship know where we are and how to get here?
It was a little confusing to me, but for her, these words were a way of encouraging herself to keep dreaming and not give up hope. After all, she never said if my ship comes in, but when.
It’s important to note that she didn’t just wait idly for her “ship” to arrive, she was proactive. That ship would be ushered in by her hard work and determination. She did her part until one dream was realized and a new one could take its place.
She knew she was designed for more than the circumstances she faced at the time, so she gave herself permission to dream, even when discouragement threatened to throw her off course.
When no one else encouraged her, my mother gave herself permission to separate from toxic relationships, be different from others around her, and keep dreaming. As a result, she was able to overcome some very Unfavorable Odds.
What will you give yourself permission to do?