There are times when life gets the best of us and we want to check out—for good. But then something pulls us back from the edge and requires us to hold on just a little while longer until our help comes and saves us from destruction. It is only right to start the week with the compelling narrative of Lashana Williams. Lashana knows what it is like to be close to losing it all. She also is a survivor who can show others how to stay in the game. Lashana is originally from Queens, New York and now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the owner of Women’s Journey 2 Success, LLC. Her mission is to help women discover the profession that is aligned to their passion and purpose.
Come with me as we ride through Lashana’s narrative to see the light that is on the other side of the pain.
Tell us about your childhood
At the age of 18 my mother – a single woman who was merely a child herself – gave birth to me without a plan as to how she would feed, clothe or raise me. My mother did the best she could and instilled in me the importance of education and independence. I worked hard in school to guarantee earning a high school diploma. My drive and determination was also evident in my professional life. Yes I had a professional life. I started working at the age of 13 (shhhh don’t tell anyone) and have been working ever since. And although we were poor I was fortunate to have been exposed to many things – some good and some not appropriate for a child at any age. However every experience in my childhood has shaped me into the woman I am today.
What was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where/how you grew up and the messages you received?
Growing up I battled with a diminished self-esteem. Because of the words of several adults – my mother’s friends and my grandfather – I believed I was destined for a life of poverty with no chance of ever achieving anything in life. In their eyes, I was never going to be anything more than a statistic, an uneducated teenage mom on welfare. Unfortunately after hearing this more times than I care to remember I started believing their words.
How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?
My self image was shattered, I believed I was never going to be a success and I never believed my accomplishments were enough. My self worth was shattered. I allowed the boys/men that I dated to treat me as if I were on the clearance rack. And my self confidence was non-existent. I never felt I was good enough or smart enough and suffered for years with the impostor syndrome.
What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?
When I contemplated suicide.
What is the new narrative in your life?
After writing my book, The Stranger Within: One Woman’s Journey to Self-Love, I was able to remove the limiting beliefs and walk in my truths. My truths now are: I am uniquely made in God’s image, I am a success (as defined by me), I am a Queen and should be treated as such and I am ENOUGH.
How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?
It shows up in the way I walk (I now strut my stuff with my head held high), in my actions (I am no longer afraid to be me), and in the way I live my life (I no longer seek approval or validation from others).
What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?
I would challenge them to list their limiting beliefs, think about where these beliefs came from (words of others or an event) and for each belief write what they know to be true. For example, when I did this exercise one of my beliefs were “I will never be a success” and my truths were “I earned a BS in accounting and an MBA in computer information systems” and “I was climbing the corporate ladder”. Everyday I would refer to this list until I was able to replace the beliefs with my truths.
LaShana’s narrative shows us that we have the key to unlock the limits on our life. There are times that others create a box to put us in but it is our job to find an escape route. The situations we are born into do not have to become our destiny. Our lives can take on many shapes and forms. We get to determine how the narrative ends. As women we must not dim our lights to make others feel better about themselves. Bask in the ambiance of your greatness!
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