Clear Sense of Purpose
Through this journey leading to my crowdfunding campaign, I have learned a lot about myself. I have discovered my purpose and I am beginning to understand why I am here. When you have that moment of clarity it can be very powerful. I was put here to serve others with my talent, and to help others with the same talent serve others (I hope that made sense). It occurred to me during one of my moments of deep thinking that I have had this idea since I was a teenager. I used to talk to my parents about having an agency where other artists could come and I would help them promote their work. Now almost a decade later I am making that same dream happen, obviously not in the form of an agency, but something very similar. Our purpose will never escape us, it is the small voice that pushes us to create, build, design or innovate. That thing that makes us go against the grain of society. Some of you may say, I don’t have that voice. Maybe this can help you out; an indicator of purpose is if it calls us to serves others in some way, shape or fashion. If you look back at the greatest inventions introduce to our generation they were tools that made it easier to serve others or tools that made easier to connect with one another.
I have been receiving so many phone calls and emails from some of you and I am so humble, thankful. Ladies, you are awesome, and keep reminding me how much I have encouraged you and to keep writing, which is why I picked it back up. When I get feedback like that I know I am on to something, in the midst of all this chaos it is helping to contribute to my purpose.
Written by: Amanda Brown
In this journey to launching my crowdfunding campaign, I realized something. I struggle with fear. Not like scared of the dark fear, scared of bugs fear (even though those are relevant fears). I’m talking about insecurity fear. I mean to the point that it prohibits me from being productive. I will sit there and rehash different scenarios of this failing and tell myself the millions of reasons why it shouldn’t work.
I stop take a break from worrying and take a moment to get silent. Maybe step outside on the deck and breathe. Even though there are millions of reason why I should not try, it will NEVER stop me from trying. I will do it and I will do it scared. I continue to ignore my fear because fear is False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. Fear; is concerning myself with circumstances and events that have not occurred nor exist. Fear; gives me respect for my dreams, and makes me careful, but it should never paralyze me. I am more than a conqueror and I should only operate in what God says about me. He says the last will be first and the first will be last. He said I am more than a conquered he said that I am the head and not the tail. He said that eyes have not seen ears have not heard, and my mind has not imaged what he has in store for those who love him. And guess what else he doesn’t lie!
My fear is my fuel. Sometimes I get scared that I am doing all this for nothing that I won’t become the person I imagine. That this dream is just a child’s endeavor, but I have come too far to quit now and I am so close. Will Smith once said, “The best things in life is on the other side terror”. I am here to tell you from first-hand experience that I am terrified, but I am excited! I know there is something awesome on the other side. So have fear, but don't let fear control you.
Tough Decisions/ Not giving up
I don’t know if you remember, but I had a $3000 bill that I had to settle for March 31st and the first week of April. It was a crowdfunding campaign manager. They were supposed to essentially help us reach our crowdfunding goals. So this is what happened: I had so much anxiety trying to focus on paying them that the quality of my campaign had begun to suffer. I began to believe that if I didn’t have him my business would fail. I was essentially putting my success in the hands of another person. So I had to step back for second and re-assess. Do I believe enough in myself? Do I not believe in the mission? Do I not believe that Together We Made can work? The answers were no, no and heck no! So I made a tough decision, the thing that was giving me stress I got rid of it. I decided to part ways with the campaign manager and do this on my own. God and I, besides his outcomes, are going to be way better than anything I or anyone else can do.
It was like suddenly, the clouds came out and I had peace, and then emails begun to pour in. (I wish I was making this up) People have been asking me to speak about my campaign, and to be a panelist for social entrepreneurship talks and workshops. This is it, this is exactly what I have been looking for opportunities to promote my campaign to a larger audience. If you put your trust in the abilities of men your outcomes will be limited, but if you put your trust in something greater than you the outcomes are limitless.
Disappointments Happen...Expect it, Accept it, Move on.
I know I was supposed to write Beauty for Ashes Part: 2, but this was fresh in mind so I thought I'd share it with you. A couple of days ago I applied for the Creation Awards for WeWork. I applied for the Incubate category because my idea is new. Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I have a $3000 bill that I have to settle, very soon for my business, and I barely make anything, because I am an entrepreneur #truth. The award was for the $35K-$72K and it was being awarded on the 28th of March and my bill is due on the 31st, well early April technically. I thought this was a sign from God, he does work in mysterious ways. I don’t have the money, so I could essentially win the money because my idea is so great right? Well turns out I didn’t win, I didn’t even advance to the next stage. Disappointment.
When I saw the email I was confused, sad, and disappointed. When I saw the words, “yours was not chosen”. I began to internalize. Am I good enough? God, are you here? Is this is even a good idea? And the most frequent question, “What am I doing with my life?” The reality is, if God closes a door it’s because it wasn’t the right one for you. He has something so much better for you and you just have keep moving forward and trust him. It’s not going to feel good and your faith is not going to make sense, but... HE HAS IT! Whatever it is. Your idea will work, the concept will work, and your business will grow. Just trust God, and more importantly, believe in yourself. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Don’t give up on God because he won’t give up on you. The reason why I am a believer is not because I am religious, It’s because this journey is too hard to just believe in myself and my abilities. I have limited resources, but with God I have everything. When disappointments happen, feel sad for a moment, but then move past it and get back to work. Only you are going to make this work. All of the best ideas were rejected at some point. The difference between a winner and a loser is the will to succeed.
Do you have a specific moment that changed the course of your life? I do. I remember it clearly. I was 17 years old I was riding in the passenger seat of my Dads red Pontiac: Sunfire and we were heading to the mall. My head was leaning on the door as the warm summer breeze blew over my face. The base of hip-hop was playing in the background. The station was probably tuned to WPGJC 95.5, whenever I rode in the car with my dad he usually let me listen to what I want unless he was in a mood. The ride was quiet and he looks over to me and calls my name, “Manda” (My family never called me by my name). I look up to acknowledge him. "I want to tell you something". I resume to look back out the window pretty under interested, but then I caught a glimpse of his expression on his face. He had this look of regret almost like he had done something wrong. There is a brief pause and he says, “Manda, I want you to know that I am going to die soon.”
Thank you for reading, more tomorrow. I'm not a writer, but I believe our most powerful tool is our stories. We should use our stories to help inspire others. You never know how significant your experiences are until you have the opportunity to share them with others. This is very sensitive subject for me, but it is also the specific moments that made me into the person I am today. Tell me what you think.
In the business of pursuing your dreams the struggle is real. Not only is it real, the struggle is inevitable. When the tough times arrive it is really hard to see the light beyond the trees. You can find yourself asking, “Where is God in all this? Does the creator not see my pain? Does he not understand my desires?” I don’t know your belief system, but what I can say is that out of my struggles came growth.
Next week I will begin sharing a three part series called Beauty for Ashes. I going to describe the pivotal moment that I decided to become an entrepreneur, ultimately changing the trajectory of my entire life forever. I have made many bad decision in my life, some I am not too proud of. The one thing I can say about the struggles in my life is that in some way it has helped to shape my character. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for my struggles.
A little word of encouragement:
“Consider it a sheer gift friends, when test and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient I any way” James 1:2-4
You ever wanted to give up? I have. I think about it every week. I hear the blaring sound of my phone's alarm as it wakes me from my sleep. The light from my window peaks through my lids. I gently open my eyes, I look in front of me to see my TV is still on at a low volume. I take a moment to breathe, inhale--then exhale. I lay there and turn my head to the ceiling and ask the same question, “What are you doing with your life?” I think about all things I could be doing instead of this. I could have a cool job and be vacationing and doing normal 26-year-old stuff! I lay in silence and close my eyes and I think of the options. “How can I shut this down without anyone noticing?” I review a few scenarios in my head and they all end with me leaving the country (I’m so dramatic). Then I open my eyes, I pause and shut them again and this time I think about the number of people I can impact with my product. How many lives I can improve and how many emerging artists I can help. I open my eyes and I survey my room. Did you catch that? My Room. I take a moment to step out of myself and realized how much I have been blessed because the story could be so different.
I woke up this morning and SAW the ceiling: Thank God, for my eyesight.
I woke up this morning and was laying on my bed: Thank God, I have my bed.
I woke up this morning in my room: Thank God, for my home.
I woke up this morning and asked, “What I am doing with my life?”: Thank God, I am living, and my mind is working.
I woke up this morning and felt like giving up: Thank God, I have the aptitude to develop an idea.
Change your perspective and change your world. You see it is so easy to miss the blessings in your life when you are looking through the lenses of lack. You can be so caught up in what you don’t have or what you could be doing, it can take away the significance of what you do have and what ARE doing! Right now I may not be comfortable, but what growth comes in comfort? I may not be a huge CEO, but with a little more time my impact can be great. I get it, it isn’t easy to keep going, a matter of fact it's pretty difficult. Remember every decision you make has a point and purpose. Take a moment and think about the many good things in your life and that might begin to shift your perspective.
Feel free to email me or comment on a time that you wanted to give up. What did you do to overcome it? Or if you want to tell me how you feel about this post. I’d love to hear your feedback. I’m not a writer so feedback would help. Thanks for reading.
First Blog Post Ever... "Lean into the Dream"
Hi my name is Amanda, I am the Founder of Together We Made. Wow! Just saying that out loud still amazes me. Like many of you who are reading this, my story does not equal my current destination. Let me be more specific. What I mean by “current destination” is who I want become and my story is who I used to be.
For you there might be is something stirring deep inside you that you want to bring to the world, but it doesn’t match your background, education and more importantly finances. That was my story--I should be more literal, that IS my story! I have been working on my current destination for one year and finally some of pieces are beginning to fall in place.
You know what I say to the woman with a dream? I say lean into the dream. I was watching Oprah’s Speech at the 2016 Essence Music Festival on YouTube and she spoke about, "leaning into the dream". She posed a question to the audience and asked, "What are you resisting? What are you pushing against? What are you blocking? What are you not allowing? Because you have this idea of who you are supposed to be?" So Deep! When I heard that I had to take moment and think. What undesirable narrative have I put on myself? Why should my past define my destiny? My past does not define me, I define me. Every step that I take to my destination is rewrites the story of myself. So I pose the same question to you ladies, creatives, and super achievers. What potential are you blocking, because of the limitations you believe about yourself? I dare readers of this blog to step out and redefine themselves and lean into the dream.
Together We Made is my dream, and through this blog I will be sharing my journey and step-by-step as it comes to life.
Heads up, I'm kinda deep, so forgive me when I get on my soap box.
Please feel free to comment and subscribe!