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Lessons I learnt from Netflix’s Self Made (inspired by Madame CJ Walker)

Netflix’s new mini-series Self Made is pure gold particularly during a time like this to inspire people to pursue their dreams, especially with the added “extra time” we have due to social distancing, there’s never been a better time.

I’ve always been interested in starting businesses and making money so watching this series was very inspiring for me, we got to see just how Madam CJ Walker built her empire from the ground up. I often find that when starting a project or business, it’s a scary experience but always a fruitful one because there is always something to learn. This film was great in depicting just what it takes to succeed in business. I’m going to be listing some lessons that I took from the short series and these are subjective based on my understanding.

Vision is everything

Wow. Madam Walker had vision alright, clear as day. She saw where her business could go and there was nothing that was going to stop her. I applaud her tenacity in the midst of cynics, male dominance and a time where her accomplishment was near to impossible not only as a woman but a black woman! Yes Queen, I stand!

Growing up as a Christian, I was taught the importance that vision is everything almost always sighting the bible verse, Habakkuk 2:2. When you want to do something, that vision can come to you in many forms; through inspiration, an idea or even a vision. You need to write it down, so you don’t forget why you started, and then carry the vision through. Vision is very powerful, that’s why we see millions of people talking about vision boards and how impactful they are for them. Visualising helps to keep you in check and is a point of reference to remember what you want to achieve and pushes you to keep going. Madam Walker wanted to be a millionaire, it was simple and because of her conviction she saw opportunities around her and continuously took them.

I guess my question for you is what vision do you have for your life or what has God told you? What are you doing to make that vision become a reality? A lot of people like the #vision but not the process.

Women CAN do anything

As March was Women History Month, women were being celebrated all over the world for their amazing achievements and contribution to society. Good for you Netflix, dropping such a powerful movie in a fitting time. I recommend you check out another Netflix series She did that. Another reminder of how wonderful women are, and that we can absolutely do anything that we put our mind too.

It goes without saying, women have had to overcome so many obstacles and challenges, especially black women. We are constantly being told that this is a man’s world, but as The Residents song goes “it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl”. We constantly prove that we are magic, and we can sail through anything. I see a lot of positive role models out there who are taking it back and having a seat at the table. If not, they are building their own table and I’m here for it!

A great example is Angela Markle, the world’s most successful living politician, on the basis of both longevity and achievements. A woman who keeps power in a man’s world. Another woman in politics is Finland’s newly elected Prime Minister, Sanna Marin who become the world’s youngest serving state leader and she’s 34! #goals

Ava DuVernay is another phenominal woman, who did not pick up a camera until she was 32, but still made history. Her work has made her the highest grossing Black woman director in American box office history.

The movie shows us time and time again, that age is never a factor to pursue your vision. Age was never a factor for Madam Walker to achieve her vision, because everyone is running their own race.

It’s amazing how women rallied together to invest in Madam Walkers idea. Now, women supporting each other is something I celebrate and applaud. So, let’s go out there and be the amazing humans we were created to be.

Collaboration over Competition

The rivalry between Madam Walker and Addie Munroe could have been avoided if Addie believed in Sarah. It would have been so great to see what the two women could have accomplished together. Eventually, both of them did great individually and flourished in their own lane. The lesson from this is to be aware but not too focused on what your competition is doing, find something unique to you build on that. If there is an opportunity to collaborate with each other and it makes sense to do so, then do it. There is plenty for everyone. Not only in business, but in our friendship circles, we should help each other extend our skills to help each other thrive, everyone is winning together!

Now, don’t get me wrong competition is great, it keeps people on their toes but don’t shoot someone else down because they are doing better than you. Learn to be appreciative and celebrate each other.

“Never run back to what broke you”

I had to repeat this statement a several of times just so it sinks in. The lesson l learnt with this is that often, we try to justify and tolerate keeping certain people in our lives. Thing is, if they have done something to break you (very subjective topic, but in my opinion) they aren’t worth having around, and of course it depends on what impact it has on you. What if they do it again? I suppose all this goes back to trust, because Madam Walker said this to her cheating husband when he was trying to tell her he loves her and wants her back. With that for a second, how many people have you let back in your life and they continuously let you down time and time again? I’m speaking to you, empower yourself and read that again, never run back to what broke you.

I’d be interested to know what lessons you learnt from the mini-series. Let me know in the comment section.


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