142: Sis! We Ain’t Gotta Compete

The sad reality about today’s society is that people approach everything with a competitive mindset. What’s even more unfortunate is that this often the stereotype for women of color. If someone else is making moves, you’ll automatically find yourself wanting to outdo them. While this approach might have worked during your school days, it’s not applicable in the real world. The way successful people make it to the top is by collaborating with other people with the same mindset. Their secret is that they understand that they might have the same product, but they attract different audiences. Collaborating is how to get your product in front of a different audience that may not know about you or your brand. 

How Dr. Delores Works With Young People – 04:22

Once done with the education part of the journey, young people often struggle to manage their expectations of the kind of life they would love to live. Being ambitious is okay, and you could use that as a stepping stone in fulfilling your dreams. However, with everybody posting their accomplishment on social media, the pressure to make it to the top is at an all-time high. The thing is, every person’s journey is unique. The way your friend does it will not necessarily work for you. If you feel your journey is not going in the direction it’s supposed to be, or you feel unhappy with what you’re currently doing, it’s okay to change course. It might seem scary, but if you can’t find fulfillment or happiness in whatever you’re doing, it’s okay to shift to something else. 

Let Go of The Mental Pressure – 10:30

There will come a time in your work when some sort of uncertainty will hit your professionalism. The first thing that comes to mind when this happens is to look for a different challenge. You might consider looking for a better job, but is this the right thing for you? How mentally strong are you to be able to manage your expectations? The same thing will happen in your new job if you have the same mental pressure that creates this mental image of how you want your life to look like. Try to remember that you do not have all the answers and that people-pleasing will not get you anywhere. Take a step back and think about yourself. Be a little selfish and think about your happiness and what keeps you going. It may take time and a lot of effort before you can finally let go of this mental image, but trust me, the pressure you place on yourself will not do you any good. 

You Don’t Have All The Answers – 13:29

Before you make an important decision about your finances that might affect you and your partner, you must discuss it first with your partner. You might not be an expert at solving different obstacles that life throws at you, but your partner might, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it will be if you tackled it together. If you feel that even with your combined efforts, you’re still struggling to find a solution, it would be best if you sought external professional help. Be it your financial advisor or marriage counselor, there is always one expert who has been there, understands what you’re going through, and is willing to offer the necessary help. Although taking advice is good, the most important part is taking the advice and implementing it into your own story. 

Creating Meaningful Connections and Being Open To Collaborations – 21:21

The sad thing about today’s society is that people view everything as a competition. If someone else is doing something, you automatically feel the need to outdo him or her. This competitive mentality creates a really toxic environment where people only perceive that someone else has to take the fall for them to succeed. This is especially the case among women of color. The fact that very few women of color make it to the top makes it look like there isn’t enough space for all of us. Instead of thinking about outdoing your fellow woman of color, why don’t you try and collaborate with them? You’ll notice that it’s far more comfortable to collaborate than to compete. If you see a person making moves, reach out and ask how they do it. You may not always get a response but keep pushing forward; the right connections will surely come when the time is right.  

Dr. Delores Sarfo-Darko is a dreamer, educator, storyteller, and student advocate with a passion to help students and young professionals learn to embrace their journey. 

Among many awards and honors, she was awarded by CNN and featured on their Black in America special to highlight her work with mentoring young girls with incarcerated parents. Delores continues to use her platform, Flourish with Delores, to help others fulfill their dreams through creating workshops and resources that increase their opportunities for success.

With several years of experience in the field of social work and higher education, Delores has enjoyed cultivating the lives of people through her work in a youth shelter, college admissions & recruitment, advising & student services, and in the classroom as an adjunct professor.  

Passionate about college completion, her dissertation explored the impact of support services, such as mentoring programs, on the persistence, retention, and college completion of low-income, first-generation undergraduate students. 

Delores earned her bachelor’s in Social Work from Seton Hall University, master’s in social work from the University of Connecticut, and a doctorate in higher education administration from New England College. Connect with Dr. Delores Sarfo-Darko on LinkedIn.

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