The spotlight is on...
Periodically you will see the "spotlight" in this column on those who are committed to serving others from the Stiletto Women Business Owner platform.
Donna Smith Bellinger, also known as The Advancement Strategist, has been helping entrepreneurs make bold moves forward in their business for more than 30 years. She shares her story to empower you!
You may have heard the well-known saying, "It is your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude." You, my friend, are in control of what YOUR story will be, based on your attitude in life.
I'll give you another famous saying, by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "You do not need to see the whole staircase just to take the first step." Well, I am going to tell you about a mere three steps that took me from a homeless teen-aged single mom to the corporate boardroom and beyond.
Step 1: Transition.
In order to understand my transition, I'll need to share some background information about me. I was born in the 60s to a self-made, upper middle class family. Although both of my parents were children of the Great Depression, growing up with very little, other than their dreams and the desire to do better for themselves and the next generation. Both of my parents attended college, but did not complete their studies. My father was drafted and served in the military during WWII, then used his GI benefits to purchase a home in a small undeveloped Chicago suburb called Maywood. My parents had a master plan to raise their only daughter there and provide her with every possible advantage.
I went from private school to public school, part-time employment and eventually, teenage pregnancy. hen the unthinkable -- when my son was only 5 weeks old, I was literally disowned by my family and became an 18-year-old single mom, living on my own, figuring out how to support my son. All things pointed to me becoming a statistic, a stereotype, the black girl that data seekers (in the 70s) spotlighted and persecuted in the media.
I knew I needed to be strong in order to survive and move forward. I believed the facts of my circumstances did not matter.
Step 2: Evolution
In high school, I studied computer science and went on to study computer operations, a vocational program. When I finished that course, I was hired as the school's first assistant director of admissions.
Years later, I was introduced to a new world of technology -- Microsoft Windows -- (yes, I go that far back) and managed to talk myself into a sales position that involved selling technology solutions and training for this new software to large corporations. At the end of my first month, my boot camp, drill sergeant, (a real yell in your face employer) told me that on the phone I sounded "ignorant and unsophisticated." The fact was that he was right. My attitude was terrible. I had taken the job for all the wrong reasons.
By this time, my daughter was born so I had a larger family to provide for. This position paid very well. I could not allow the fact that I had no experience to matter. I had to make it work. So I stepped back and examined what I was and was not doing. Next, I re-focused my energies and adjusted my attitude.
I put in 60-hour weeks and had my daughter come to the office after school. The results were that I learned so much I became the company expert in a key technical area and built relationships that continue up to this day. My attitude inspired me to evolve into a well sought after expert in my field.
Step 3: Reinvention
I have lived through the civil rights era, watched a man land on the moon, seen and experienced many medical miracles, watched Nelson Mandela emerge from prison, and witnessed the fall of Apartheid. I was a proud Chicago resident in January 2008 when I watched Barack Obama sworn in to assume the most powerful position in the world. All facts and logic pointed to none of these things being possible. But I have seen how the attitude of reinvention can make the impossible happen and how gloriously fulfilling that is in a person's life.
We must all find our own path and take the right steps in order to reach our full potential. When the facts and logic say things are impossible, know that with the right attitude we are each capable of greatness in our own way.
Continuously examine your mindset--because with the right attitude...the facts don't matter.
Donna Smith Bellinger - Motivational speaker, Entrepreneur, Strategic Coach, Author, Radio Personality and Trainer. Author of You Lost Me @Hello, and signature systems including AdvanceU which assist solo business owners and other professionals seeking to translate their work and life experience into revenue generating outcomes.
Kim Harris, Creator/Visionary - Stiletto Business Strategies for Women Business Owners and the StilettoMovement2014. A seasoned entrepreneur and co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Kim helps women entrepreneurs connect and share value in online trainings and live events. She is the recipient of the Small Business Administration's Women in Business Champion of the Year Award and 2013 Small Business Influencer Nominee. To become a part of the #StilettoMovement, email email@example.com