Let’s talk about Saturday’s Verzuz. There were so many profound moments between Erykah Badu and Jill Scott that night. One thing that stood out to me was when Jill talked about the song, You Got Me. She said that she had never written a song before. QuestLove (The Roots) asked her to write this song and then asked her to perform it live. She had never sung on stage before either. But she said, “I did it anyway. I was scared, but I did it.” I dwelled on that moment. What if she said no? What if Jill allowed her negative self-talk to stop her from taking that career-altering chance? It made me think of my own “do it scared” moment.
In 2014, I met a woman named Dr. Pernessa Seele, the founder and CEO of The Balm in Gilead, a nonprofit organization that deals with the health disparities of Africans in Diaspora. She would visit our church and talk about the Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, an initiative she started more than 25 years ago. After this particular service, she was chatting with the assistant pastor, Dr. Cheryl Ivey Green and Yolanda Reed, CEO of Credential America. Dr. Seele was looking for someone to edit some brochures for her upcoming conference. I had just launched my editing firm and had recently worked on Dr. Ivey Green’s dissertation. So, they suggested to her that we meet. We set up a time to chat at her office and once she told me what she needed, I accepted the project. It was right in my lane! But Dr. Seele called me about a week later. She said, “You know what, Maya? I want you to come to North Carolina with me to our national conference.” Excited, I replied, “That sounds great! What would you need me to do?” Of course, since I'm an editor, my assumption was I would be there editing something. Dr. Seele said, “Well, you know, the person who normally does the run-of-show for me is not able to do it this year. So, I was thinking I could show you how to do it and you can be the person to run the show.” I had no idea what that meant. I also didn't understand the size of the conference that she was asking me to be a part of. Clueless! But I said yes. Dr Seele had been featured in Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. She had been featured in Essence magazine as one of the most beautiful women in the world. She had a working relationship with almost every U.S. president since Reagan. I didn't know what I was saying yes to. I just knew that if Dr. Pernessa Seele asked me to be in the room, then I was going to be in the room.
I was a high school English teacher. I had never done anything like this before. The closest thing I had done to being on an event crew was organizing the Senior Prom! Now? I've been working with that organization for over five years. I've gone from running the show to directing this show, writing the script and being a part of the leadership event team for the Balm. Not only that but being a part of this organization has opened new doors for me. I find myself sharing meals and conversations with African American women who were all at the top of their game. Talking about working with the Clinton administration, month-long vacations in Africa, making six-, seven-, eight-figure business deals and more! Me! The former English teacher! These women push me to step up my game. To be a better version of me.
All of us have been given opportunities to do something. Yet, we have convinced ourselves that we are not good enough or smart enough. We don't have enough education, our resumé doesn’t look good enough, our car isn’t good enough. We have missed life changing opportunities. Just know this. You have to trust when the opportunity is being presented to you. It doesn't matter where you are right now. That opportunity is being presented to you because it's supposed to be presented to you. What is for you is for you! Maybe you don't have all the tools in your pocket right now, but that means they're coming. So, go ahead and say yes. All that you need will be waiting for you as you go along your journey. You just have to take that first step and everything else will fall into place.
My station at the 2019 Healthy Churches 2020 Conference in Charlotte, NC. Learn more about the conference here.
Maya Harris is the Founder and CEO of W.O.M.B.
She is a Business Startup Coach and Networking Strategist
Learn more about her at YourCoachMaya.com