Every person has to learn to deal with adversity on occasion. It’s a part of life, and it’s definitely a possibility of any serious business interactions. As a single mother trying to make a name for herself in the entrepreneurial space, I dealt with opposition on several fronts. Nevertheless, I made a choice to fight through the negativity and find an inner strength to overcome it all. Here are some of the messages I battled, and how I pushed through to personal success.
“You Can’t As A Single Mother”
For so long I dealt with the silent stigma of being “less than” as a single mother. It was as if I would not be able to do as much as a married mother could. Many times it seemed fruitless that I never intended to be a single mother, but more than that I was somehow seen as less able to raise my sons without a partner. I QUICKLY dismissed that notion from my mind. I refused to “survive” as a single mother. Rather, I chose to thrive as a whole person, mother and entrepreneur.
How did I deal with adversity on this level? First, I chose to dismiss the negative voices. Others’ perceptions and opinions about who I am and what I could do didn’t determine anything regarding what kind of provider I could be to my sons. I chose to empower myself and be my own biggest cheerleader. I then found a community of women and professionals who believed in me and supported me as I supported them. The end result? Well, I’d say it’s going well so far, and the story is still being written.
“You Can’t Do It All”
I’ve always been a person of many passions and interests, both personally and professionally. Being a mother was important to me. So was philanthropy, interior design, television and media, and so much more. I wanted to be involved in them all, but I was told so many times that I wouldn’t be successful in more than one of them. In essence, I was told to focus on one thing and work on being good at that.
I didn’t listen to those voices. My passions ranged far and wide, and I chose not to suffocate any of them. Looking at my life, everyone can see the strides I’ve made in all of those areas. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. But I’ve realized when you’re called to do great things, you accept the reality that it takes hard work and sacrifice to make things happen. I continue to do the work, and I’m happy to say I’ve been able to prove the naysayers wrong.
“You Can’t End FGM”
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you know about my collaborative work with World Vision and our collective mission to end female genital mutilation (FGM) for good. Though the trajectory of this venture is going well, my involvement wasn’t always received well by people who knew me. When I told people I had a heart for the girls and women of Kenya, that I felt they had a God-given right to live and be wage-earners and leaders in their communities, some responded with skepticism.
Breegan, how are you going to end a cultural norm that’s existed in that region for decades?? How are you going to change the minds of elders and people in that community? What makes you think you have the power to do all those things?
Had I listened, I wouldn’t have traveled to Kenya multiple times to forge relationships with women and girls there and work on the ground and behind the scenes to transform their lives. And, I wouldn’t have a school for girls in Kenya supporting their academic endeavors bearing my name. Again, I didn’t listen to the naysayers. I donated my own money and time, made the connections and continued to chip away at a cause that continues to be near and dear to my heart. The effort has made a huge difference, and that means the world to me.
You Can’t Give In to the Can’ts!
There will be people who say what you want to do is impossible. Most of the time those will be people who either tried and failed, or didn’t try for fear of failing. They’re not you, and they don’t have the market cornered on what can be achieved. If there’s no blueprint for what you want to do, someone will have to be the first. It may as well be you! And yes, if it’s not been done before, you might stumble on the way to success. That’s completely fine. I dare you to find someone who hiked Mount Everest without a misstep or two. What matters is reaching the top. Getting to the goal. That’s all.
Everything I attempt, I do for my sons. I want them to see what can happen when you persevere until the end. It’s important to me that I show them what a capable and strong woman looks like. But most of all, I do all I do to show the little girl inside of me she was always worthy, industrious and smart. Here’s the best part about that: if I can do it, so can you.