The best asset that is most often overlooked is people. Let me clarify. There is no better asset than the value of someone who unfailingly supports and believes in you. Every wonderful opportunity that has happened to me can be traced back to a mentor/friend that encouraged me when I felt all was lost. Months before considering NYC as the next phase in my life, friends/mentors sensed my angst and disappointment with where I was mentality, spiritually, and professionally. Most of my mentors do not know each other as they are from different stages of my life. However, within weeks of each other most contacted me with words of encouragement and inspiration. One friend took me to lunch and looked me straight in the eyes. “Ronda – I believe you are worth the invest. The question is do you.” Other friends said we know you dream big and not sure how it will happen, but we love and support you. I had become like a caged lion, used to the limits of the cage, forgetting how to roar, attack and pounce. The young Ronda took risks and challenged anything that stood in her way. This Ronda was older and depressed by the constant naysayers that said “you can’t do that and that is not conventional so why would you try.” When you let other people’s negativity get in your head, you create your own cage. A favorite quote is from the movie Pursuit of Happyness. In it, Will Smith’s character tells his son not to listen to people who tell you what you can’t do because they are frustrated that they couldn’t do it, so they don’t want to see you do it. I believe there is truth to that statement. I heard someone refer to them as “dream killers.” People who never achieved their dreams (consciously or subconsciously) discourage or try to kill the dreams of others.
I needed to get out of my funk. However, it didn’t seem like things would change. Another friend (I call my one woman pep squad), “Ronda – you are the bomb. You have what it takes and if you can’t fulfill the dream in Chicago, come to NYC. If you have moxie, you can make it here. I believe in you and will open my contacts to you.” It took a few more encouraging talks and months before I put a plan in place. Slowly but surely I begin to break free of the cage of doubt and decided I would rather die chasing my dream, then die in the cage never having tried to break free. It’s like a mustang that was born free, captured and then remembers freedom. I had to remember what drove the young Ronda and combine that with the wisdom and maturity of age. So here I am in the Big Apple. I like the way Jay-Z describes it, “the concrete jungle where dreams are made of there’s nothing you can’t do.” The wind beneath my wings, a group of friends and mentors sending me emails of encouragement. A dear friend, “Ronda – you have pluck take it to New York.”
What I lacked in financial riches, I was immensely compensated for with riches in people who have welcomed me in their hearts and home. In addition to my biological family, there is a circle of love and support around me that catches me when I am about to fall. They tell me failure isn’t an option because they believe in me. They see beyond my current condition and see what is possible. That is powerful. I am watching the Tony’s. Nikki James, from the Book of Mormon cast, thanked those who never said she couldn’t do it. That is the power and value of people assets. They help you soar beyond your wildest imagination. May you have someone to love, invest and support you unconditionally. May you recognize and not take advantage of those people.