Netflix’ ‘Self-Made’ was released last month as a limited series inspired by the life and times of Madam C.J Walker. Below are some reflections I had around creating your own career path.
(While watching you have to remember that it is “inspired-by” so the full narrative shouldn’t be taken as fact).
‘Self-Made’ reflection #1
Surround yourself with people who can go with you
Attend any fireside chat with a CEO or founder and you will hear questions about their personal lives, their spouses, their friendships and how these were affected by their obsession with their business. Not everyone will understand, some will be around for a season or a reason.
But here you have a woman who insisted on taking her family along for the journey regardless of whether they liked it or not.
There were scenes to make you cringe and reflect on times you may have had your blinders on so much that you forget to make the packed lunch or be home at the time you promised.
As a self-made entrepreneur, there can be times that you question if it’s all worth it (and only you can answer that) but more than anything if you get to the core at some level you are doing this for those you love so never forget that.
‘Self-Made’ reflection #2
It’s important to see people for who they are, not who you want them to be
It’s very easy as we dive into spaces of personal growth and enlightenment to push that onto others, and all of a sudden you are the exhausting friend who is always recommending some book or podcast when your friends want to enjoy a bottomless brunch.
We dream big dreams for those we love but we must remember that we love them because of who they are and choose to be.
Watching Madam C.J Walker try to gather her daughter and tuck her into her ideal of a businesswoman with a successful husband at times in the story pushed her daughter away and ingrained a sense of inadequacy or shame in her daughter.
We can often find ourselves staring at the chrysalis so long we don’t realise the butterfly has already emerged and wants to play.
If you find yourself wanting to change those you care about question why that is and reflect on what you can do to address it with yourself or them. Sometimes an apology is due!
‘Self-Made’ reflection #3
Be bold in the face of adversity
Knock after knock. She evolved, she grew, he persisted and held her nerve. She faced her enemies head-on literally and never shied away from the challenge. She knew they would come.
This, I can only describe as boldness, which is defined as “showing a willingness to take risks; confident and courageous”, something that is rooted in knowing who you are and what you about.
‘Self-Made’ reflection #4
Take time to smell your flowers
Her life came to an end with a legacy of the empire but she never took a moment to enjoy her daughter, her estate and the life she had built. It will forever be a testament that no matter how busy we are, how close that deadline is or how far you have to travel to make it work.
You should, take the trip to see a friend, take a day off work to play with your kids, treat yourself to a holiday with your loved ones or simply switch off once in a while to give yourself a pat on the back.
Take a moment to survey the work of your hands with pride and gratitude. You will feel much better about it.
Visit here to read more about my own journey, and how my experiences have got me where I am today.