If you are a curly haired lady…or know one…then you probably know all about ‘going natural.’ For those of you that don’t know, ‘going natural’ means transitioning from permanently straightening your hair to wearing it in it’s natural state…curly. As the word implies, once hair is permanently straightened, it can’t go curly again. So, a woman that wants to wear her hair natural either has to Transition (grow her hair out), or get a Big Chop (cut all the straightened hair off).

So, what does all of this have to do with chasing your dreams? Well…sit back and let me tell you.

People will think you’re crazy

going naturalWhen I first decided to go natural, people thought I was crazy. Many questions ensued…

Why would you want to change something that was perfectly fine? What if it doesn’t look right? What in the world are you doing? What happened to your hair? I’m not sure I ran into one person that was excited about my journey. Everyone was either against it or lukewarm.

The same thing happened when I decided that engineering wasn’t for me anymore and that I wanted to transition into something else. Everyone was extremely concerned and expressed caution. They thought that it was crazy for me to consider doing something else when I had such a ‘perfectly fine’ career. Why take the risk of doing something that’s not ‘secure’?

In both situations I listened and took it all in, but in the end it was up to ME to decide what I wanted to do.

Straddling the fence can get you in trouble

going naturalSo, of course you know what I decided to do…I decided to transition. I wasn’t ready yet to go all in (cut it all off), so I decided to take my time and ease into it. I stopped getting chemical relaxers and instead I would just flat iron my hair. I figured I could flat iron my hair until it grew out to a length I was comfortable with and then cut off the relaxed hair.

The problem with transitioning this way is that while using heat on your hair is not permanent, extreme heat used on a consistent basis will break your curly hair bonds down and cause it to straighten…permanently. So even though my INTENTION was to change, attempting to make changes while staying in the same environment will prove to be quite difficult.

The same went with my dreams. I made the decision to transition — stay at my job full-time and pursue my dreams on the side. Going about it this way can work, but it is quite stressful. I sabotaged my efforts often because trying to juggle both was very draining. Serving two masters can only work so long before it takes it’s toll on you physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Life will force your hand

going naturalOnce I realized that the way I chose to transition was sabotaging my efforts, I decided to stop flat-ironing my hair and style my hair without heat. This method has work for many ladies, but for me it was a struggle. I had MANY bad hair days! Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s true that you’ll leave a situation when it gets bad enough. One day I decided enough is enough and I took the scissors to my head myself!

Now, I know what you’re thinking…I quit my job. Well, not really. There was a bit of a struggle with my company, we weren’t winning any new contracts and everyone knew what was going to happen eventually…lay offs. Eventually, I got laid off. Life forced my hand and I decided to take the opportunity to go all in with my coaching business.

In pursuing your dreams, there will come a point where you’ll have to make a decision. It won’t always be easy. Some are able to make a smooth transition into the business or career of their dreams. But others are forced to take a risk of some kind, and it won’t always be pretty in the beginning…

There’s an ugly phase (learning curve)

going naturalThe Big Chop was sooo freeing! I was full of excitement. I felt bold, fierce, and ready to conquer the world! It was new and fresh and I loved it…that is, until my hair grew. The in between phase of wearing hair that’s not short, but not long…is NOT cute! On top of that, I had this brand new texture that I’d never become familiar with. For 29 years I’d never learned how to do my hair…my natural hair. And even though there is google and youtube, trying to do what was successful for everyone else wasn’t working for me. And it was frustrating. So many times I wanted to quit. So many times I wanted to just go back to straightening my hair. It was what I was used to, I knew how to navigate that world. But, I had to dig deep and remember the real reason I was going natural in the first place and stay strong.

The same went for my business. The first few months I was ecstatic! I loved the new freedom and and the ability to be creative and do things the way I wanted to. I was excited about finally being able to help others and do it full time! Everything was going to be just peachy, right? Wrong!

I started my business only to find that things weren’t going to come together as easily as I thought they would. There’s a learning curve when it comes to following your dreams. It’s not going to look pretty at first. You’re going to have moments where you have no clue what you’re doing. You’re going to try things and they turn out to be a complete flop. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to be short on cash. Actually, you’re going to be very short on cash. But, don’t allow the ugliness to cause you to doubt that you’re not going in the right direction. You go through the ugly phase not only because you’ve got to learn but you’ve got to strengthen your faith.

Nothing strengthens your faith better than rejection, failure, mistakes, and no money. You know why? Because faith is based on trusting what is UNSEEN. So, will you continue to believe in your dream when everything around you looks crazy? Will you continue to breathe life into your dreams when all the comforts you’re used to are gone? If you can do that, if you can keep believing, then you will see your dream come into fruition if you just hold on.

One day – out of the blue – NIRVANA!

IMG_1236I’d finally gotten a hang of what my hair could do, what it liked, and how to take care of it. But, I still wasn’t quite satisfied with my hair, even after it had grown out of it’s ugly phase. I still on occasion entertained the idea of going back to straightening my hair. I mean, I’d had a good run of the ‘natural’ thing. So, I felt I’d given it a try and maybe it just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until about three years in that almost by accident, I tried something new and completely FELL IN LOVE! I absolutely LOVE my hair!

And the same with our dreams…keep moving forward. Don’t give up! If one thing doesn’t work, do a new thing. But, keep the faith that one day you will see the fruits of your labor. Stay patient, and know that to grow something organically it takes time. There’s a process and there are levels to this! Allow yourself to be molded, to learn, and to appreciate the journey. It will all be worth it, I promise! Stay encouraged!!

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