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How Entrepreneurship Is Helping Me Empower Myself

How Entrepreneurship Is Helping Me Empower Myself

It’s International Women’s Day which means your timeline is likely brimming with messages of girl power, and women’s activism.

Women all over the world are celebrating themselves and others with charming memes, articles, blog posts that will spark conversation and debates about a myriad of issues, not excluding intersectionality and the gender pay gap.

In a season where the number of female entrepreneurs keeps rising, it seems that nothing dynamic is taking place without women at the center.

Take my native Ghana which has more female entrepreneurs by percentage of population than any other country except 2 others. The reasons for women relying on commerce to build economic parity for themselves and for generations to come is a whole other article on its own, nevertheless, we cannot deny how empowering it must feel to be a woman who’s her own boss and who is impacting society through commerce and business.

That’s what entrepreneurship truly means to me: a chance to empower myself and others. 

I juggle a few things on the daily. I juggle motherhood, boss-girl hood as well as my own personal interests and life, amongst other things. If business was not empowering, it wouldn't be worth it, because this level of commitment can only come along when there is a larger purpose.

I come from a line of entrepreneurial women, my grandmother was a trader of fine African wax prints, my mother continued on the fashion tradition by operating her own design studio then pivoting to be a home care nurse when we moved to the United States in America.

I witnessed first-hand how for both my mother and grandmother, their entrepreneurial journeys centered care and helping others. My grandmother used her position with other female traders to secure economic parity for and with other women and my mother cared for every client or patient as though she was caring for her own children. While both women took care of others almost to the exclusion of their own health, they also demonstrated to me the importance of empowering others with the service you deliver through your business. Why? Because both women believed that when you empower others, you empower yourself.

As an African millennial, I carry on the legacy of entrepreneurship, but with a twist. I focus on my health and create harmony in the work I do while securing a space for myself and my community to engage with their own sense of wellness and well-being.

After some health scares within the last few years, I’ve re-imagined an entrepreneurial journey that does not assume that I can do it all, instead my entrepreneurial journey embraces rest and leisure just as much as bottom lines and to-do lists.

My activities have changed and so have my metrics. Once upon a time, I measured productivity by how many countless hours I spent at the hours after hours doing work I couldn't point out as essential or just for show or as we say in Ghana: “for shegé reasons”. And while I still stick to an Asana-style activity workbook, I include joy in my metrics.

I often ask myself: How well do I enjoy this task? And why?

Self-empowerment has become a lot more personal these days, centering on self-care, self-compassion and a sense of self-acceptance, my journey with self-empowerment places emphasis on my internal environment more than anything these days.

This has built a quiet confidence in me that makes showing up fully pretty much a breeze. Knowing my deeper self is the single most impactful act of self-empowerment I can engage in.

It is a process that requires the use of affirmations, prayer, alone time and engaging in activities that trigger joy and a sense of belonging within self.

The act of self-care is an empowering act, if we are to return the ideals of self-care to its revolutionary roots then we quote Audre Lorde who first coined the term by saying: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare." For those who have ever experienced life in a marginalized body, self care isn't simply an act of frivolous indulgence, but is a radical and revolutionary act that attempts to center the joy and experiences of those who may be denied it through structures and systems.

Self empowerment then is a result of self care and is evidenced by the internalization of an understanding that yes, I belong, yes I am deserving of rest and yes I deserve to reconnect, rebalance and breathe easy on my own terms and in a way that upholds my specific set of values. As an empowered messenger, I understand that I get to express myself on my own terms. I also get to center self care as a revolutionary act because it has far reaching implications to me as an African woman who exists in this life to attain self actualization and already runs with the truth of who I am as a person who belongs and is allowed to take up space.

But can self care exist outside of revolutionary action? I suppose it can, but in my case, I choose to let self care root itself within my context. Self care frees me to care about myself, my community and my planet. It is an act of self justice, and an act that positions me to seek justice for other marginalized voices and experiences. It is through self care that I empower myself to impact my world and my society. It is through self care that I engage in and clutch to joy as a liberator. Joy sets my sights towards a hopeful future and hope empowers me to continue on my journey of creating beautiful products that are powered by my belief in my heritage- and this is my definition of true self empowerment.

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