231: Why I Left Higher Education

I had a Facebook memory pop up the other day. It was a picture of me during the last orientation that I’d worked as a full-time professional in higher education. I found myself “feeling some kind of way” remembering that time of my life. I recalled not knowing if I was making the right decision and/or if/how I was going to make it. What I did know was that something needed to change and that was my priority.

Memories in Higher Education – 01:30 

I remember something very interesting happened when I was in grad school. I took a strong skills assessment, and the results said I’d make an excellent college instructor. Mind you; I never had plans of going into higher ed. All I knew was I had a passion for teaching. I still love to teach. In fact, my whole business is built around teaching and helping people become better versions of themselves. 

Just the other day, a Facebook memory popped up on one of my fondest memories in higher ed – Welcome Week. I used to love Welcome Week. Seeing all the new students, happy and motivated about college was something I always looked forward to. 

Unfortunately, high ed had its lows, too. Although I still feel good remembering all the things I did, all the people I helped and all the lives I impacted, something just felt wrong. It was like being in a relationship with a toxic person – you love them, but deep down, you know they’re not good for you. In these moments, I sat down with myself and tried to figure out what I really wanted. The conclusion was that higher ed was no longer giving me joy and satisfaction in life, so I left. 

Why I Left Higher Ed – 06:40 

Eve and higher ed were a match made in heaven. I loved teaching, and everything just seemed to click whenever I got involved with anything higher ed. However, when I left my last higher ed job, I felt really tired. It was like the positions I held were draining my soul, which was really confusing since I was very passionate about what I did. So I did some soul searching and realized the problem was not higher ed; the problem was me. Was I doing all I could to excel in my job? Yes! Did I enjoy what I did? Absolutely! Did the roles I held suck the soul out of my body? I believe they did. 

What I learned from this internal discussion with myself was that feeling drained is a wake-up call to slow down. It was time to reconsider my approach to life and what I wanted to do going forward. I did not have a plan on what I wanted to pursue; all I knew was that I needed to leave higher ed. 

Always Put Yourself First – 11:02 

As first gens, our needs come last. We put our families, jobs, kids, and partners’ needs first. It’s not easy to put ourselves first because we’re taught that putting the needs of others ahead of our own is the right thing to do. However, I’ve come to realize that putting your needs first is a crucial step in any transition. If you feel like the thing you’re pursuing right now is not a great fit, let it go. Stop worrying about what everybody else will think. It might be scary to let go, but it’s something you need to do. 

In everything you do and every decision you make, think about yourself. Don’t complicate it. And you don’t even have to explain it to anyone. Choose you, and stick with it. 


230: History Notes: Do What’s Best for You

Are you doing what’s best for you? Wait… Let me ask that question differently. Are you doing what’s best for you so as long as it doesn’t bother, disappoint, or upset anybody else?  When we think about doing what’s best for us, we must truly do the things that are going to make us happy even if other people don’t agree. It’s not always the easiest thing to do because of the concerns of disapproval or rejection. When we do not make the choices to do what’s best for us, however, we’ll always be miserable. So, in this chat with Nzinga D. Mpenda, we discuss the importance of being authentic, doing what’s best for you, and learning to choose joy.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22 – 23).  Nzinga D. Mpenda lives her life aligned with the fruit of the spirit. She is a daughter, sister and friend committed to living her life in “the joy” and encourages others to do the same.  Nzinga is an entrepreneur and author currently building her publishing company focused on elevating the voices of Black and women writers. An artist with words, she published her first novel “Not In His Shadow” under the pseudonym Ziggy Harris. Her second book, “Who Made the Potato Salad?” is the first book to be released on her publishing company, Get It Girl Publishing. Nzinga holds a BA in Psychology from Shaw University, the oldest HBCU  in the South, a MS in Clinical Psychology from Notre Dame de Namur, and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Golden Gate University.


227: How to Pivot with Ease and Peace

Finding oneself at a crossroad is one thing, but knowing exactly which way to go once there is another. Since our last chat, Dr. T’Airra Belcher has experienced a number of major life changes. We’re excited to have her back with us to chat a bit about what to do when faced with making significant pivots in life


223: History Notes: 5 Question to Improve Your Life

We all want to live our best lives; we all want to do the things we enjoy and be around the people we love. However, when work, school, family, and bills come into play, living our best lives is thrown out the door. Now instead of living, we’re surviving. But here’s the thing; if you want to live your best life, you need to consistently try to improve your current state. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have time for self-improvement. Yet, improving your life doesn’t have to be about making radical changes. You don’t need a massive overhaul to live a more fulfilled life. And doesn’t have to wait. You can start today by answering these 5 questions. 

What Do You Love? – 07:34

If you’re looking to improve your life, the first step will always be looking at who or what you love. Your happiness is the main reason for being around people or things you love. Finding that place guarantees contentment, makes you even more motivated and makes saying no to the wrong things easier. Think of all the things you truly love, write them down, and do more of them every day. 

How Can I Make This Easier? – 10:43

Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything around you. Fortunately, you can make life less complicated by trying to make it easier. If it’s a relationship, ask yourself what you can do to make it easier. Do the same for your business and start making changes. 

Nonetheless, no amount of simplifying can make your life totally simple because some things are just way out of our control. This is why sometimes all you can do is make intentional decisions on what supports your mission and what doesn’t. And that can sometimes mean ending a relationship.

Will This Matter a Year From Now? – 15:46

Is what you’re stressing about right now matter a year from now? To answer the question, you have to figure out the importance of the issue at hand. If it’s important, then maybe it will matter. But if it’s not, then it definitely won’t matter. So the next time you get stuck in traffic, have an argument with your spouse, or miss a deadline, ask yourself if it will really matter 12 months from now. This question makes it easy for me to stop sweating over the small stuff. If you don’t see the consequences of a problem sticking on and making your life miserable a year from now, let it go.

Does This Bring Me Joy? – 20:58

We all want to be happy. But happiness can sometimes be hard to find. The good news is that you can 100% improve your levels of joy and happiness. I’m always on the lookout for things that make me happy because then I can feel great about myself, confident, powerful, lovable, and satisfied with life. 

Nevertheless, you won’t really know what brings you joy unless you embrace the spirit of adventure. Bite the bullet and give it a go, otherwise, it’s all just speculation. Try out new stuff because you’ll never know until you try. 

If Nothing Changes, Are You Good With This? – 24:34 

If you look at your life and analyze everything that makes you who you are, do you feel like you’ll be fine if things remain the same? Will you be happy with your partner if nothing changes? How will you fare financially if nothing changes in your business? If the answer is yes, then it’s all good. Continue on with your life. But if the answer is no, then you better start making changes. 


222: Advice for New and Aspiring Speakers

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Ever thought about taking your passion for speaking and turning it into a profitable business?  Imagine yourself being on stage, sharing your expertise and captivating audiences, sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, it could be. But only if you do it right.  

If you’re thinking about starting a speaking business, the first thing you’ve got to understand is that it’s possible. It won’t happen overnight; it might even take a year or more. But it’s possible. If you believe you are an expert at something or your knowledge can help others, that’s all you need to start. But remember, it’s a journey. And like every other journey through life, it won’t be easy, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Know Who You’re After – 01:57

Always be crystal clear about who you’re after from the get-go. It could be college students, entrepreneurs, or women in leadership. Just know who they are and build a message around them. This is by far one of the most important parts of being a speaker, yet most new speakers fail at this. If you’re just starting out, find your ideal target audience, write down who they are, what their trials look like, and how they’d benefit from your message. 

The thing about knowing who you’re after is that it helps ensure your message consistently resonates with them. And the result is always a boost in engagement and more speaking opportunities down the road.

As they say, the riches are in the niches. So you don’t have to try and serve everybody because you’ll end up not serving anyone at all. 

Start with One Signature Talk – 04:21

The fastest and easiest way to create a name for yourself is by having a signature talk. This is a topic you could comfortably cover in a single talk and deliver value throughout. Make this topic the core message of your brand and build from there. Speak about it in several stages to perfect the message, and only then can you add other topics to your portfolio. This is not to say that you cannot speak on other subjects as a total newbie. All I’m saying is that the best ROI for exposure is a single topic that you’re really good at.   

Be Prepared to Be Rejected – 06:09

Rejection is frustrating. That’s why being rejected is undoubtedly one of the biggest fears in people’s lives. This is also why we often don’t take chances. But the thing is, rejection is everywhere, especially in business. People will reject you, so be prepared for that because it will come. 

However, I believe there are so many reasons why people might reject you, and most of them are not even your fault. It could be budget issues or the wrong timing. What you can do after a rejection is dust yourself up and continue showing up as your best self. So, keep improving; the right opportunities will come, trust me. 

Be Ready and Willing to Invest – 10:24

Here’s the thing, not investing in your business will cost you time, money, and growth opportunities. I probably don’t need to remind you about this, but so many new speakers don’t really invest in their speaking business. As a speaker, investing in your business is a lot different than what normally happens with other small businesses. So you probably don’t need a new studio office when you barely have a website. 

There is always room for growth somewhere in your business, and it’s your job to find out. If you’re unsure about where to start, start by investing in books, coaching, health, and courses that level up your skills like copywriting. I also believe investing in your speaking business does not always have to be about spending money. You can also invest your time in building relationships. But just do something.

Business Growth Takes Time – 14:10

The unfortunate reality in the speaking business is that success takes time. All the prominent speakers I know built successful brands over a long period of time. Think of it this way; it takes time to determine what your audience wants. What your brand positioning is all about. How to keep the audience engaged throughout. How to market effectively. And it’s only when each of these critical elements is fine-tuned that you can ever start seeing some success in your business. Most people hardly ever get them right on their first, second, or even third time being on stage. So, be patient.