In my work as a Social Worker, Coach, and Mentor to women living in poverty I observe there are many common characteristics.  Yes, it is true that everyone is an individual and there are differences.  However, typically when you are dealing with a particular set of people there are some commonalities.  That is why support groups for particular issues exist, how communities develop, and why we gravitate towards others who are more like us. 

One of the issues I observe which sabotages my ladies goals is them not doing the work.  Setting the goal is one thing, doing the actual work to accomplish it is another.  My ladies often get lost in the process when it is time for the rubber to hit the road.  This is especially true for long term goals.  Goals such as a college degree or training program, purchasing a house, starting a business, other goals that take more than a few months.  Let me give you a classic example… 

Sometimes I think my ladies get more out of “talking” about being in school, then actually “being” in school.  There is a pride that comes with talking about it, saying it, sharing it.  I am the biggest cheerleader for them, and yes we should celebrate and congratulate.  Just making the step is an accomplishment.  However, when the fanfare concludes, the work should begin, but often it does not.  When no one is around and it is time to crack that book open, go on that website, study for that test, write that paper…..that is the actual WORK.

Being in school is more than sitting in the classroom.  It is DOING THE WORK!!!  You have to READ.  You have to STUDY.  You have to WRITE PAPERS.  You have to give PRESENTATIONS.  You have to take TESTS.  And you have to do it OVER & OVER again.  You have to do it consistently for years.  The payoff is in the work.  That is how you develop into a PROFESSIONAL.  That is how you learn to read fast, how to comprehend, and how to speak well.  That is how you learn all of the important information in your chosen field, and become confident.  You are confident because you have spent hundreds of hours reading, writing, creating material, attending workshops and seminars, and building your knowledge base.

The other classic example is having a business.  Many of the ladies I work with want to have their own business.  Is it possible?  Absolutely!  Can they do it?  Yes!  Are some of them meant to be an entrepreneur?  Yes!  Are most of them going to actually do it?  No!  Why?  Because having your own business takes A LOT OF WORK!

Having a business is more than coming up with a cute name.  This is where most of the ladies I work with stay in the process.  Coming up with a name.  I know it sounds silly, but it’s true.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a cute name.  I have one for my own business!  The Ladies League of Detroit.  Isn’t that a cute name???!!!  But let me tell you, this is only a part time business that I do on the side, and honey it is A LOT OF WORK!  I have to plan the meetings, choose the dates, create the topics, select a speaker, secure the venues, arrange the refreshments, purchase the materials, make the agendas, get RSVPs for each meeting, be present at each meeting, open and close each meeting, do all of the communications, manage the money, develop and manage our website, order business cards, represent us to the community, solicit new members, and and and.  This is only for a small women’s group! 

People know me as a Social Worker.  However, actually my bachelor’s degree is in Business Administration and my first 2 jobs in the non-profit industry were as an Operations Manager.  I love to learn about business and especially those who become successful.  I am a success story person.  I lovvveee a good success story!  Let me tell you…those who become successful in business DO THE WORK! 

Developing your project or product, perfecting your service, developing good customer service, choosing materials, test and trials, marketing and advertising, developing a website, a good business card, developing your image, building a customer base, soliciting supporters, developing a budget, managing your finances, and doing all of this over and over again.  That is how you become an entrepreneur, not by simply coming up with a cute name.  You have to DO THE WORK!

Social Media is a great creation that allows people to connect on a global platform.  It is a way to have fun with friends.  A way to share important information widely and fast!  A way to share our lives with each other.  A way to connect with new people.  I have only been on social media for 3 years.  I am so happy that I waited until I was ready, mature, and had a purpose for it.  I have enjoyed these 3 years online and I have met some amazing people.  But Lord have Mercy!  I have seen some thangs on Social Media…yes I said thangs.

What does Social Media have to do with doing the work?  Many of the ladies I work with spend more time on social media then doing the work….that’s what!  Even when it is in a positive way such as sharing their goals and getting support from their online community.  Specifically, to this topic, they spend more time TALKING about the goal on social media, then actually DOING THE WORK required for the goal.  They will post about being in school 100 times in one semester, and not even pass the class!!! HA!  Girl, I am not even playing!  They will spend more time posting about a business they are trying to start then developing the actual business. 

This blog post is a little harsh today.  My ladies know that I love them and I am gentle with them because the world is hard enough and has beat them up usually since childhood.  But this is a major road block that I have been witnessing for years and it needs to be addressed.  I don’t like seeing my sweet loves spin their wheels over and over and never get to the finish line.

Also, let me state for the record that I know there are “reasons.”  Trauma, children, stress, limited time, systems, lack of money and other resources, no support, etc. etc. etc.  I know ALL of this and more.  I know it from personal experience.  I know it educationally.  I know it from the being involved in my ladies lives.  But we aren’t talking about these far reaching reasons today.  Today we are talking about one of the central components needed to accomplish a goal, and that is DOING THE WORK.  Miss me with the reasons.

To be completely honest, I have seen more times that it is about the person not sitting down somewhere and doing the work, then the “system” as to why they can’t accomplish a goal.  It is always a balance of the two.  System vs. Individual.  YES the system effects people!  YES let’s change it!  But oftentimes it isn’t the system, it’s that you spent 3 hours on social media instead of writing your paper for school!  It’s that you spend more time complaining then finding new customers for your business!  Do you want to accomplish the goal or not?!  Facing the hard facts is hard especially when it is internal.  Today we are talking about YOU and one of the big reasons you are not accomplishing your goals, and YOUR part in it.  Period.  One of my jobs as a Coach is to assist my ladies in identifying areas in their life that are hindering them from growth and accomplishing their goals.  That is what I am doing today.  Hard conversation.  Girl you gotta do the work!  Stop TALKING about it, BE ABOUT IT!

Love, Tonia

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