Her Crowning Glory!

Someone recently shared a painful journey on their hair. I believe that we have to change the narrative and embrace our hair, whether we wear it natural or otherwise…it is still OUR hair and we should be able to wear it any way we like whenever we like! Here’s a story I shared about my journey with my daughter and her hair

There is so much discussion about our (Black women’s) hair that it makes me wonder…why does it matter?  After all, it is OUR hair. Sure, I can go back and site history and tell stories of Black women being forced cover their hair because it attracted too much attention (not much has changed, has it?) and become a distraction, which has led many of us to be ashamed of our gloriously wonderful curls. I could tell of how we used our hair in escaping slavery by braiding messages in our crowns. There is so much to tell about our hair that history can barely keep up with the narrative so, instead, we had been made to feel that there must be something terribly wrong with that which flows and grows from our melanin rich crowns.

When my daughter was in elementary school, I purposely didn’t put chemicals in her hair. Her hair was so thick and curly that it took me over 4 hours to do it from washing to securing it with twists with rubber bands and barrettes. Never did learn the art of braiding. And she also wore an Afro in elementary school. She had a hard time from her classmates because of what they heard their mothers say. She would cry and ask me to put something in it because the other Black girls tormented her and asked questions like, “What do you think this is, the “80’s?” We laugh about that now because she knows that they didn’t even know which decade to ask about. And we know they heard the discussion at home or from an adult because they were in the 2nd grade!

I vividly remember numerous “stylists” coming up to me and giving me their cards, saying “you need my help in fixing your daughter’s hair”. I politely thanked them and continued doing what I was doing. Yes, it still took me the 4 hours to do her hair but I was well invested in the process. Nothing was going to stop me from helping her to love herself and her hair.

Gabrielle and I had a little ritual. Every time I did her hair, we watched movies. It became a time of bonding that I could never replace. We still discuss those movies and even use quotes from those movies in our everyday conversations. There are times when we say no words and play those movies and just languish in our memory land without the untangling, twisting and barrettes. Her hair journey has become a part of “our” story and is a facet in the diamond of our Mother and Daughter journey. Our love bloomed and blossomed in the garden of her curls!

I also knew where we were headed with her natural hair. I refused to do anything with her hair that wasn’t natural because I was determined to “change the narrative” for her about hair. I was focused on her loving every part; every braid and every curl of her luscious, curly glory!  I knew that one day, she would thank me.

And today, at 21, she has. She now wears her hair shorter but the message is still the same.

Have Tea Set…Will Travel!

A group of leadership professionals invited me to attend a large community forum on feminine leadership. Although they knew that I had been consulting on leadership in the international arena for over 2 decades and had written books on the subject, they invited me to just attend. Many of the leaders had also gleaned from my expertise and had called on me to help them solve feminine leadership issues. But being the person I am, I decided to go and support the group.

I vividly remember entering the room and feeling that I had entered a hostile environment. I braced myself for what I believed would come and even told a friend who came with me about my feelings. My friend assured me that I was just imagining things and to let it go, but I had been here before and could feel the vibration of the room. As we made our way to our seats, I took a deep breath and hoped that I was wrong.

Once the program started, things appeared to calm down and flow and I enjoyed being in this sea of over 200 women leaders. But then the facilitator asked the audience to participate in a group exercise. At the conclusion of the exercise, she instructed each group to choose a spokesperson to report their findings to the audience.

My group chose me to be their spokesperson. As the facilitator went around the room, she passed her microphone to each spokesperson so the others could hear their reports. When she came to my group, the facilitator discovered that I was the spokesperson and in front of the entire audience told me that she would not pass the microphone to me and that I didn’t need to use it. I remember hearing women gasp at her comments.

Rather than being offended, I did something that no one expected. I told facilitator that she was right. My voice was strong enough to deliver the report without the microphone. I then thanked her for giving me the floor. I stood for a moment and waited for her because the ball was now in her court. When she did not move, I began my report.  I remember women initially whispering but soon, this stopped because they became engaged in what I was saying.

As I spoke to this audience of feminine leaders, I picked up my tea and sipped as I spoke. Talk about bringing my own tea cup! I did not get angry. I did not yell. I did not leave the room. I did not point fingers. I sipped my tea and talked to audience as if nothing happened except, now I had the floor.

When the facilitator saw that I was unmoved by her negative behavior, she passed the microphone to me. I stopped my report and thanked her for her graciousness. At the conclusion of the event, I was swamped by a sea of women, wanting my contact information. I also then went to the leadership team for the event and thanked them for hosting the event.

I also gave the facilitator a special thank you. I pulled her aside and gave her a personal thanks for helping me to demonstrate a leadership virtue to the group. She stood there with tears in her eyes as I spoke because I’m sure she expected me to attack her in some way. Instead, I hugged her and wished her well. I lost nothing by doing this but gained another jewel in my leadership treasure chest. Where did I learn to operate in this way? From working with men! But that is another story I’ll share later.

There are few things more powerful than understanding your power and understanding that “things happen” in almost every setting. What matters is how you respond. What I learned is that you just have to love yourself enough to not be moved by the whim or behavior of others. When you remain unmoved and not allow others to color your behavior, you can joyfully bring your own tea set and change any atmosphere. In other words, you don’t have to jump into the quicksand of another person’s life when you’re standing on safe ground!

So, if you want to thrive and create your own atmosphere, remember your power and my motto. Have tea set. Will travel!

I AM SIENNA

“You’re the prettiest, smartest girl in the world and nothing can change that,” my grandmother said as she hugged me. There was no other song I longed to hear or no melody that sounded so sweet. 

In 1961, I turned six years old and my family moved from North Carolina to Okinawa, Japan. The Civil Rights movement was in full swing as we moved to a foreign country. I was oblivious to all the noises of race that surrounded me. What I did not know was that ethnicity touches you wherever you go and you cannot hide from it.

I loved Okinawa but things changed. Granny passed away. I missed her, so as I went to the second grade, I decided I needed something more than playing with my three younger sisters. I needed a boyfriend. It just seemed like the thing to do, especially since I had the perfect candidate.

He was beautiful. His blond hair captured each ray of light and commanded them to dance to his music. His blue eyes made you want to swim even if you had never had swimming lessons. His name was Mike McDowell and he was the most handsome boy I’d ever seen and he had to be mine.

Mike sat in front of me in class. Every day, he turned around, cradled his chin on the back of his hands, and stared into my face. The teacher had to constantly remind him to turn around and do his work.

“You’re pretty and I like you,’ he said. I smiled because he said this everyday. But one day, Michael did something that would change the way I saw myself forever. 

“Mike, I want you to be my boyfriend,” I said as I got lost in deep blue ocean that lapped the shores of his eyes. He smiled and shook his head, telling me his answer was no. I was startled. How could this boy who could not stop looking at me tell me no?

“Didn’t you tell me that I was pretty and you liked me?”

“Yes, but I can’t be your boyfriend,” he said without releasing me from his stare.

“But why not?” I wanted an answer and he gave it. He took his index finger and rubbed the back of my hand.

I looked at my hand but could see nothing but my skin’s golden color. There was no dirt, nor had I marked it with a pencil or crayon. There was nothing different except for the invisible print left by his touch.

“Oh, no! There must be something wrong with this boy,” I thought.

“What’s wrong with my hand?” Ribbons of silence waved like warning flags in the air space between us. They did not prepare me for what I was about to hear.

“I can’t be your boyfriend because…you are Black,” he said.

“This boy is not just dumb but he’s blind too,” Feelings for which I had no name bubbled up into my heart and crystallized into thoughts. I liked someone who was not only blind but also as dumb as a door knob. I had to educate this boy.

“I am not Black. I am Sienna,” I said in my first born teaching voice. I had younger sisters who were smarter because they knew their colors. I thought that once he heard the truth, he would realize that he made a mistake.

What he did not know was that when I was in the first grade, my mother promised to buy me a box of 64 crayons when I went to the second grade. When I got those crayons, the first thing I did was to find my skin color.  

I breathed in the colors and searched for my identity within this radiant, vibrant palette. There it was; a beautiful, rich, creamy Sienna. It was nothing like the Black crayon this silly boy was talking about.

“No, you are Black,” he said with irritation in his voice. Well, I had already found his color, so I was ready for him.

 “So, what color are you if you think I’m Black?”

“I am White!” he said with a harshness I had never heard before in his voice.

“Okay, so he really is blind and dumb too. I am glad that he didn’t want to be my boyfriend. He doesn’t even know his colors!” My mind screamed with seven year old rage. How did he get to second grade without knowing his colors? I decided to give him a color education lesson that day. As I reached into my crayon box and pulled out his color.

“You are not White! You’re Salmon Pink! Look,” I said as I placed the crayon next to back of his hand. It was a perfect match.

“I am not Pink, but you are Black!” he said with teary eyes. As he turned around, I saw his face as it turned red with anger.

The back of his head was foreign to me. For the first time, I could see his thick, greasy hair. I could see the pink, puffiness of his ears. He wasn’t so handsome any more. He was dumb and I wanted nothing else to do with him. That afternoon, I decided that I needed to talk with my mother regarding this pink boy.

I usually enjoyed my ride home on the bus but that day, thoughts of my conversation with Mike kept me from seeing the beauty of the shining China Sea and the luscious, green leaves of banana trees that dotted the island’s wondrous landscape.

Humming fans greeted me as I came in the front door. The smell of dinner cooking in the kitchen embraced me and the safety of my bedroom called me as I ran down the hallway. I threw my book bag on the bed and kicked off my shoes. I wanted to throw them against the wall and scream because I did not understand the feelings that burned inside me.

“How was school today?” my mother said as I hugged her.

“Mama, a boy in my class told me that I was Black. Look at me Mama. Can’t you tell that I’m not Black? I am Sienna,” I said as I pulled away so that she could see my face. I saw her smile although she tried to hide it.

“Baby, they call us Black and colored,” she replied, not looking up as she pulled a towel from the pile of clothes on the bed.

“Well, Mama, who is “they” and why can’t “they” make up their minds about which color to call us? “They” need a box of crayons!” I wanted to buy “they” a box of 64 crayons because “they” did not know their colors either.

“Baby, there are many things you don’t understand,” Mama said. “They call us many things including the name Negro. There are also a few other names they use that I won’t mention,” she said as I saw her stare out the window.

“Negro? I don’t like that word,” I shrugged my shoulders and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Well, there will be many things in life that you won’t like. This is just one of them.”

I walked away before she could say more and as a strange lump formed in my throat. Mama had never taught me about differences. For the first time, I realized that although I was pretty and smart, others in my class, including Mike, knew and believed something about me that I had only just discovered.

The one finger incident did hurt me but it didn’t have a fully negative impact. It placed me on identity’s path. I believe that if you don’t know who you are, you will never know what belongs to you. When others try to make me feel less than beautiful and smart, I remember Granny’s words. When I remember racism’s little finger bu I had the perfect remedy…a box of 64 crayons!

I now communicate internationally on racism and diversity. I have also learned that even something negative can catapult you to a place of personal power! I now understand the beauty and power of who I am and the light I bring when I show up. My crayons helped me to solve a riddle that has plagued mankind for centuries. We all have a colorful light and we should shine it no matter where we are. Others need to see our light because it frees them to shine their own lights. It also helps others who may still be caught in darkness to see their way out!

Through the simplicity of youth, I discovered the Universe’s magnificent color palette and loved it from the moment I saw it. I am Sienna; a woman of African descent and others may not always appreciate that, but that doesn’t matter. The Creator made me to serve a glorious purpose. Nothing could change that and my experience with my crayon box. Not even Mike McDowell.

DO YOU BRING THE FIRE?

There are times when fire appears out of nowhere. It consumes all in its path…including you! But don’t be dismayed. If you’re reading this, it only means that you survived to stand another day; live another day; and fight another day. Some don’t get that chance but because of who you are…you do!

So, what’s next on your agenda? Now that you know that you’ve been chosen to walk in fire’s greatness, what are you going to do about it?

I believe that you have three options.

1. You can get angry and try to take out your frustration on anyone who gets in your way. You can blame others for what you haven’t accomplished and compare their successes with your own. You won’t make any allies with this choice and if you plan on changing your life, living with purpose, or taking advantage of number 2, you’re going to need them.

2. Be thankful that you survived and just breathe. Nothing will change for you unless you make a definitive decision to change. If you will stop and breathe, you will clear the atmosphere and be able to see the necessary changes for your next move. So, breathe…

3. You can assess any damage done, learn from it and move forward. In other words, envision yourself free from the damage. Apologize if you’ve hurt someone. Acknowledge that you are big enough, bad enough and bold enough to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Then, write new declarations over your life and then speak them aloud so that you and the universe can hear them loud and clear! Manifestation waits until the fire clears away yesterday’s debris. It longs to be begin again in a fresh place.

It may sound silly but all you have to do is take the first step, fill your mouth with positive, powerful words and believe them. Nothing can stop you except you. If you decide to walk in the fire of self degradation instead of bringing the powerful, fresh fire…failure will be your reward.

You must be willing to carry enough fire to light the way for yourself and for others. And when you do, others will light the way for you too!

So, Fire Walker…Start Walking!

© 2020 – Dr. G Speaks – #drgspeaks #handleyourbusinessgirl – www.handleyourbusinessgirl.com

I WAS A SECRET CHOCOHOLIC!

“Mommy, get up. We need to go to school!” I could see from my sleeping fog, the precious faces of my two children looking down at me. Worry had written his ugly signature across their young faces and I felt helpless to erase his message. I did not like my life and they couldn’t begin to understand that I no longer wanted to live.

“Mommy’s getting up babies,” I said as I struggled to lift myself. I felt heavy because I was heavy. I had always struggled with my weight but now, things were getting out of hand. And I did not care; that is, until I took a closer look at their faces and heard the desperation in their little voices. They could see that I was leaving and they needed their mother!

I had my first child, Joshua at 41. I was told that I would never have children so it was a shock when I discovered that I was pregnant. But instead of gaining weight, I was almost 2 pounds lighter the day I delivered him than when I first discovered I was pregnant. Having him liberated me because I had gotten pregnant against the odds. No more behind the back jokes about me being unable to have children. No more whispering about my past from family members who knew my secrets and embellished my pain.

Then it happened. I discovered I was pregnant again at age 42! My daughter Gabrielle was born shortly before my 43rd birthday and I was delighted. I wanted a fellow female to share in my passion of fashion. She has not disappointed, but that is another story! But when she was born, that was it for me. I asked the doctors to “unhook” me so I wouldn’t be back at age 45 with another child.

Things seemed good but I had not learned a vital lesson in all my years on this earth. I had never learned about self care. As the first born daughter of seven children, it had been driven into me that the needs of others always came before my own needs. I had spent my entire life serving others and learning how to “work with” the leftovers. Sure, I understood about getting my hair done, manicures, pedicures and make up. By profession, I am an Image Consultant so I fully understood that world. I have even written two books on image. But what I did not know nor understand was the true meaning of self care. I was about to learn.

What happened that morning when my babies woke me up to help them prepare for school was becoming a pattern. I was very unhappy in my marriage and so I ate chocolate by the pound to ease my pain. I always took something to help me sleep. All I did was create a revolving door of self destruction. I ate chocolate in the morning, noon, and at night to give me a sugar rush; along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ballooned up to a size 20 W. My back and knees hurt and I had very little energy but because of the caffeine in the chocolate, I had trouble falling asleep. I was a walking, talking time bomb of self neglect. All I did was care for the family and set in motion an unhealthy rhythm that was destined to take me out…early!

My father passed away from complications from diabetes and hypertension. He was a dialysis patient at the time of his death. As he was passing away, he called my two younger brothers to his bedside and told them to “take care” of themselves. He said nothing to their five older sisters. Within just a few years of his passing, both brothers were on dialysis. I am the first born of seven and my brothers are numbers six and seven. Simple reasoning would say that this health thing was going to circle back around and I was next in line. It did not hit me but it did hit my younger sister. I’ll explain why.

My children waking me up that morning hit me hard. I could see and smell their fear. I was like a drug addict; addicted to food and a sleeping supplement and there appeared to be nothing to stop my vicious cycle…not until that morning. I let my babies stay home with me that day. I jumped up from my fog, showered, made breakfast and loved my children. I just had to figure out how to love me. I understood that nothing was going to change unless I changed. I did not want another woman raising the children I had hoped for and prayed for. I had to make a decision.

I decided to cut back on eating chocolate and to limit my sugar and carbohydrate intake. Six months later, I was in a size 12! I have maintained this for over ten years now. Sure, I have played around and gained and lost the same ten pounds a few times but I always get back on track.

I am so thankful for my children awakening me from my neglectful slumber. They are now young adults and we have so much fun together! Their precious faces helped me to learn the true meaning of self care. Yes, I still eat chocolate but it is not longer tied to a self destructive pattern. I eat a few pieces and then stop! I love myself enough to change my world through what I say and what I think about myself. I look in the mirror every day and talk to and love that woman called me. I’m glad she found her way out of the fog. I’m glad she decided to stand up, take her place in the world and listen to her new voice.

GLORIOUS GRATITUDE!

Gail Hayes Headshot 2019 - small web

What is gratitude? It is simply being thankful for something. It is being able to appreciate every experience; every touch; every word; every thought and every thing that helped to create your life’s mosaic.

I once believed that negative things happened to me because I had done something wrong.  There seemed to be a trail of things that I had difficulty overcoming. I would cry, pray, and even tried to ignore things but to no avail. Crying never solved anything. Praying, for me was a temporary fix and hiding my head in the sand didn’t help either.

Once I cried, the situation still stared me in the face as I wiped my tears. Once I prayed, I still held onto the situation because I did not put action (or faith) into my prayers. Once I ignored it, the situation became bigger because there was no action. I felt overwhelmed and discouraged.

But one day, I discovered something. As I encouraged others to watch their words and change their thoughts, I realized that I was NOT taking my own advice. I made a conscious decision to look in the mirror and talk to me!!!

I soon learned to practice what I preached! It wasn’t long before I saw what appeared to mountains, shrink into hills. What appeared to be oceans were actually babbling brooks. I soon realized that I had the power to change my existence and I became grateful.

I wrote new affirmations over my life; the same affirmations I was sharing with others, I spoke and wrote over my own life. I found a key to transformation and embraced gratitude. I am still walking this out and the changes are nothing short of amazing for me.

Gratitude is simply being able to recognize that you are still here so you can still live your dreams. You can still help others to live their dreams. You can still make a difference in the present and make an impact on the future.

Gratitude is glorious…if you allow it to have its way. So bathe in the power of gratitude and watch the miraculous appear!

 

SCHOOL BELLS ARE RINGING!

When I hear about school starting, it brings back memories of my children growing up. One such memory is of my then 5 year old (she will turn 21 next week) daughter Gabrielle.  This 5 year old taught her mother a valuable lesson she shall not soon forget about savoring life’ moments. #drgspeaks #handleyourbusinessgirl #schoolbellsareringing

 

SCHOOL BELLS ARE RINGING

I was working on a critical project. With the printer humming and papers shuffling, I hardly noticed my then 4 year old daughter’s gazing eyes. When she asked for something to drink, I told her to wait and I went back to work. After a few minutes and what probably seemed like an eternity to her, she asked again. I let out an annoying breath, went into the kitchen, and poured her some juice.

Years ago, when she was just 2 years old, I told Gabrielle that she was important to God and to me. She and her brother were miracle children. Doctors said that I would never have children unless I had surgery. I had no surgery but conceived in my 40’s. I had Joshua at 41 and Gabrielle at 43. I wanted her to know how special she was to God, so I daily quoted Psalm 45:13-14, which states, “The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace. Her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors.” I told her she was that royal daughter.

While I watched her sip her drink that afternoon, I couldn’t imagine that she understood what I taught her. Although I quoted the verses to her every night at bedtime, I wasn’t sure she understood.  When she finished her drink, I picked her up and twirled around the kitchen floor, while whispering in her ear how precious she was to me. I told her that Mommy was not looking forward to her going off to kindergarten that year and jokingly said I was thinking of keeping her at home with me. Her response sent shock waves through my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

“But Mommy, I have to go school so I won’t bother you anymore,” she said. I nearly collapsed. I held her tightly as I wept; telling her that she never bothered me. Time suddenly reminded me of my response to her when I was on a telephone call and she needed me. I remembered asking her to be quiet as she walked in with her dolls. I remembered my response when she asked me to read to her when I had an “important” project that needed my attention. I remembered each sharp look; each impatient response; and each forgotten request. Now, she was ready to leave me because she thought she was bothering me.

That day, as I held her, my baby looked up at me with sparkling eyes and wiped away my tears with her tiny hands. Her words tore down the wall of important projects. They smashed the mountain of critical phone calls. They melted the glacier of accomplishment. That day, I pushed aside every distraction that kept me from sharing these last precious weeks with her before she went off to school. I realized that the school bells were ringing. They rang so loudly that they awakened me from my slumber. Without them, I surely would have missed moments with my child that I could never recover.

I hugged her, painted with her, read to her, and loved her. After we finished, with painted hands and faces, we laughed and twirled together. When we stopped dancing, to my delight, she quoted the familiar words of Psalm 45:13-14 and said, “Yes, Mommy. We’re both daughters of the King!”

Seeing her face light up with joy, I decided that I would listen more closely for the bells and would not forget the lessons she taught me that day.

MAKING AN IMPACT!

JULY 15 2019

During the months of June and July, I had the awesome opportunity to visit Memphis, TN. The Tarik Black Foundation invited me and my daughter Gabrielle to be a part of their summer Girls Life Academy Memphis (GLAM). We were delighted but nothing prepared us for what we experienced. Unlike many summer programs that focus on education, summer GLAM focuses on life skills, leadership and entrepreneurship.

The Foundation has been hosting this summer event for a few years, but this year, they made some changes. They invited young men to join the camp. Because of the change, I received the awesome opportunity to speak to both groups.

This camp actually helped to me to achieve a dream. Gabrielle is only 20 and she is still in training as far as writing and speaking is concerned. Because of this opportunity, we co-authored a long overdue book, The Galaxy Journal. Gabrielle grew up in an environment of writing and the principles in this book served as a foundation for her. Each young woman received a copy and Gabrielle got to speak to them on her own. This was the first time that we did not team teach and something that I knew needed to happen.

While Gabrielle was working with women, I had the honor of speaking with the men. I taught on my book for men, The Conduct of Kings. I do not have words adequately describe what happened except to say that we learned a great deal from each other. they were pleasantly surprised and even requested that the foundation bring me back a second time.  Here’s a quote from the president about the presentation:

“Without a doubt Dr. Gail Hayes changed lives these past two days. Her session with our young men had them on the edge of their seats as she talked to them about the expectations, fears, desires and motivators of both genders. She shared the principles of her book, Conduct of Kings and we could not get these young men to break for lunch. After two straight hours they still wanted to hear more. The only time I’ve seen 16 -19 year old guys listen as attentively is when the coach calls a time out and the players run over to listen to the next play. She empowered these young men with such wise counsel and you actually witnessed their transformation.”

Talk about making an impact! While these words blessed me, it cannot compare with the impact these young men and women had on me. Because of them, I am now focusing on my next book on relationships. They provided a miraculous place for me to delve more deeply into the realm of male/female relationships and see things I had never seen before. Even as a wordsmith, I cannot grasp words to describe the experience.

Their willingness to be transparent and open helped each one of them to change their views, shift their focus, and will most likely help them to make better choices. That was the REAL reason the Tarik Black Foundation and I came together. We want to make an IMPACT that lasts a life time.

So, what’s your next move? What impact are you leaving on others. Message me and let me know! I’m listening…

I AM FINALLY DOING IT!

Facebook Page BannerI am finally starting the Handle Your Business Girl Facebook Group and I want you to join me!

It’s been a long time coming. There have been so many challenges that I’ve faced and I did not want to put them out on Social Media but in this group, I will be more transparent. Why would I do that? Well, there are so many women who want REAL answers to REAL questions.

If you’re just looking for ways to make money, this is NOT the group for you. If you are just looking to find ways to expose and shame other women, this is NOT the group for you.

This group will be one where we can openly discuss things to help build each other up; support each other in ways that we never thought possible without wounding each other. In the end, if you want to do business, you can but you can’t do REAL business until you accept, love, and cherish that woman called you.

Once you get that piece, the rest is easy. You won’t have time to talk negatively about others because your business will become a healing place where you can dance in the light of you power! So, if you’re ready…join me in the Handle Your Business Girl Empowerment Zone! Here’s the link!

Dancing The Dance!

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     “Right foot first Gail,” my mother’s voice cut through the soulful music. I was so caught up in the rhythm that I was not following instructions. I didn’t even feel it when I stepped on my mother’s foot. It was interesting watching her hop on one foot as she made her way to our sofa.

I had never seen my mother smile and display such passion as when I asked her to teach me to dance. Now, this was not the wiggling and twisting dancing of my day. It was the “hand dancing” of her day. She was a teenager of the 1950’s and during that time the men would swing, twirl and lift the women off the floor as if they weighed only 15 lbs soaking wet! I loved watching the “swing” dancing on old television programs and I was determined to learn.

What I didn’t know was that my mother was not only teaching me to dance, she was also teaching another vital life lesson. As the first born of seven children, I was born into leadership. I followed her instructions well and she often left me in charge when she had to leave us. I was accustomed to leading and helping her to care for my younger siblings.

“You have got to learn to follow. When you dance with a boy, he has to lead. I know that may be hard for you to hear, but it’s just the way it is. You’ll learn. I promise,” she said. As she sat down and rubbed her sore foot, she laughed until she wept. I remember tears rolling down her cheeks as she beckoned for me to sit beside her. Her hug was my comfort but she was right. I didn’t particularly like the fact that I couldn’t lead.

I did learn to dance with my mother. And I also learned another lesson. Not only could I lead, but I learned to follow. I stopped stepping on Mom’s toes and followed her as we danced the dance in beautiful rhythmic steps. Together, we were poetry in motion; switching between leading and following each other!

 If one is to become successful, one must also learn to follow. Success requires balance. One must learn and be open to new ways of doing old tasks. There are times when you lead. There are times when you must follow. If you want Success to abide with you, then you have little choice but to learn how to dance the dance!

©2018 – Dr. Gail Hayes – #drgspeaks #handleyourbusinessgirl