Defining Your Worthiness

When the therapist asks “Where do you feel worthy unrelated to your career?”

This tweet by Alencia Johnson rocked the timeline this week and the replies were filled with people scrambling for an answer. Most of the responses pointed out that it’s hard to build self-worth outside of job titles when one of the first things that most people ask you upon meeting is, “What do you do?”

I couldn’t help to ponder on the question for a moment, especially as I am seeing people around me navigate some serious losses in their lives. Up until a few years ago, my worth had always been defined by my title, the money I was making, the rooms I was invited into, the influential people I knew, and the fact that I could blow someone up overnight with a single blog post.

All of that changed in 2015 when I decided to walk away from the blog that “made me.” I remember looking in the mirror after the buzz of what I had just done had died down, and realizing I didn’t know anything about the woman who was staring back at me, nor did I know who I was without all the things that once defined me.

What did I like? What were my hobbies? What was my personal relationships like? Who was truly my best friend? What value did I bring to the table?

The friendships I thought I had were based on the superficial value I could provide, I didn’t treat my body like it was my temple, and I realized my relationship with confidence and self-worth were all a facade.

Two years later, during another pivotal life moment in July 2017, I sold everything that I owned (including a closet full of high-end items and the luxury car on my vision board) and was faced with a similar question, “Who am I without all of these things?”…

I arrived in New York days later with everything I owned stuffed into three suitcases and settled into a subleased room in Harlem while I figured my life out. While sitting in the space that was only a tad bit bigger than a walk-in closet, I remember thinking, damn…this really feels like a fall from grace.

But this time felt different. My situation didn’t define my self-worth.

There is a saying that states, “A snake that does not shed its skin must perish” and giving up everything at that moment felt like a shedding of old skin. I knew I was making room for new, better things to emerge.

I felt lighter and freer.

My personal relationships were still intact.

I valued myself and the home I would always live in — my body.

I felt healthy and whole.

I was no longer enslaved by the accumulation of material things that had no real value in my life.

I wasn’t holding on to people who no longer served me.

This time I knew exactly who I was and no matter if I was living in a penthouse apartment with views, or a $600 sublet with no windows, I still felt worthy of all the amazing things I wanted to attract into my life.

I still felt worthy of the beautiful future I had envisioned for myself.

We live in a society that puts so much emphasis on worth being defined by our titles, our businesses, our material things, our money, our relationship status, and when those things are snatched away through the loss of a job, filing bankruptcy, a divorce, a breakup, or even a pandemic, we are left scrambling to figure out, “Who am I, and what is my value? What do I bring to the table?”

Newsflash: You are the table!

I’m still piecing together what embodies my overall self-worth but I now have a higher set of values and base my worth on things like living an authentic life, my character, my intentions, how I treat people, how I treat myself, being able to uplift and elevate others when I’m put in a position to do so, and how I spend my time when I’m not working.

I’m still marinating on the question though…

Where do you feel worthy unrelated to your career?

Some books to add to the bookshelf….

Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab is out on 3/16. Tawwab writes about coping with toxic people as well as setting boundaries with family, friends and colleagues so you can experience the freedom of being your authentic self.

She’s done it again! Luvvie Ajayi Jones just released her second New York Times Best Seller, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual, a go-to guide to fight your fear and live authentically and audaciously.

Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny. Financial educator Barbara Stanny says that underearning is self-imposed. Underearners never live up to their financial potential, they live paycheck-to-paycheck and rarely balance their checkbooks. They’re also often in debt, highly tolerant of low pay and afraid to admit money matters to them. This book helps change your money mindset and put you on the path to financial freedom through five actionable steps/exercises. (This is an older book.)


Professional Certifications For The Low….

If you are looking for a career change, or want to add some cool certifications to your resume, Google launched three new certification programs on Coursera in the areas of Data Analytics, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design. The courses are self-paced and cost $39/ month. If you complete the certification, Google will consider hiring you for an entry-level position.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned about running a business, it’s that knowing your data is key to growing your business. I may consider enrolling in the data analytics program to gain new insight in that area and apply it to my current business structure.

A Free Summit

Teachable is hosting a free three-day summit called Women Create 2021 to help women “confidently start, grow and scale a booming online business.” It takes place March 23-25, 2021 and registration is required.

Got some transcribing to do?

If you are a journalist, podcaster, producer, or any creative that finds themselves caught up in the mundane task of transcribing interviews, there is a new program Speedscriber, that will literally transcribe your audio in less than 3 minutes. It’s also cost effective at 50 cents a minute, which equals out to about $30 bucks for 60 minutes of audio. It’s lit.


I’m still playing around with the formatting of this newsletter. Since we’ve picked up a ton of subscribers over the last few weeks, I wanted to make sure I was adding value (outside of my personal musings) by including resources, links to interesting clubhouse rooms and virtual events, discussions, product recommendations, and anything else that could be helpful on your individual journies.

Your continuous feedback on the posts is greatly appreciated!