Failing Forward: My Open Letter on Overcoming Failure
February 18, 2015
From left : Chantal Shonowo (NHH Event Corespondent & Brand Ambassador), Chimere Norris (Co-founder of NHH Magazine/Editor-in-Chief/Creative Director), Crystal Knight (Founder of Naturally Happy Hair), Tierra Stith (Project Coordinator/Brand Ambassador) Makeup: Charease Davis. Skirts: A Leap of Style Jewelry: The Dove & The Whale Photography: Someoneone's Camera Phone
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year is the impact of losing sight of your purpose. Sometime you can stray so far away you don’t even recognize who you are and what you have become. So badly I wanted big brands to advertise with us, top natural hair bloggers to shout us out, and vloggers to follow through with interviews and editorial contributions. I hoped that our followers would hashtag us in every photo, I wanted to see our brands growth matched with dollars into our business account, and all I was left with was sheer disappointment. Prolonged disappointment can quickly lead to depression — and it did. There I was wallowing in my mess, months had passed and there wasn’t an issue of NHH magazine to be released. I thought a few haircuts and a little color would make me feel better ... but it didn’t. I felt like I failed; it was overwhelming and it was familiar.
Despite all of those realizations and disappointment of those things that didn’t happen I am happy to be able to proudly say I overcame those feelings and I am still here. It seemed like everything that could go left did. I realize that I too, disappointed a few people by not keeping promises or by not keeping up with my end of the bargain in the process of which I would refer to as spinning out of control. Then during a recent conversation with my business partner, Founder or Naturally Happy Hair, Crystal Knight, she reminded me that God has provided all that we need, and we are right where he wants us to be at this moment.
Failure Will Tell You:
1. You aren't good enough, talented enough, beautiful enough or smart enough.
2. You are not apart of the right cirlces.
3. You are not meant to be successful.
4. If you only had more money or the right connections that things would be better.
These are all lies. Don't believe the negative messages that we play over and over when failure seems like it's enevitable. These thoughts are not valid. What you do does not define you, but who you are does. Your heart and your intentions are most important so even when things don't turn out the way you imagine all hope is not lost.
It’s very exciting when starting a business but in this industry it’s so much more than pretty pictures and lovely hair. There are so many factors that go into whether or not if you will thrive as a business or if something simply remains a hobby. What was wrong with me, I asked myself? Then one day it hit me; I heard a voice say “Why did you go natural and why did you start this magazine?”
Although it took me some time to come to terms, I remembered why I started. I went natural to learn about myself all over again ... my natural self. I wanted to wake up in the morning and still feel pretty with my hair standing up on top of my head; to feel confident walking into a job interview without wearing a wig or a weave. I realized I wanted to celebrate and educate women who felt the same way. I started the magazine to be a go-to resource for women with natural hair and those looking for the courage to get started. I wanted to be a source of inspiration for little and big girls around the world to be proud of their hair the way it grows out of their head. I wanted to elevate peoples’ mindsets and ideas of beauty; to be a voice for our community (the small stories and the big ones too). I wanted to encourage the women and little girls who didn’t feel pretty enough and let them see that they are beautiful too; their uniqueness sets them apart. I wanted to show women that our hair is important to us, so making sure that it is healthy is also important. I wanted to celebrate people who followed their dreams and encourage people to follow their dreams through starting businesses, pursuing modeling, working out, and furthering their education. I can confidently say that we’ve done that.
Your emails and messages have reminded me of that. I’m so glad I decided to stop chasing after what looked like bigger success, and started appreciating what was better success ... you; the people who write for us, subscribe to us, support our events, tell your friends about us, and actually appreciate everything that we do to celebrate this community.
Key Lessons Learned:
1. The right people will be placed in your path. They will find you or you will find them.
2. When you genuinely value your talents the universe will reciprocate with oppurtunity.
3. Our thoughts can lead us astray; Therefore focus on great things that are positive, that do not come from a place of lack but one of abundance and overflow.
4. Just because someone tells you they will do something, doesnt mean they have to. How you respond/react is the test and the lesson that God has for you.
4. There is no "I" in team, dont be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
5. Celebrate those that are down for you, and do not give energy to those that are not.
Hopefully these realizations can help you overcome a failure or dissapointment, just as they have helped me.
From left: Charease Davis (NHH beauty & Style Editor), Tierra Stith (Project Coordinator/Brand Ambassador), Chantal Shonowo (NHH Event Corespondent & Brand Ambassador)
OK now on to the good news....I’m very excited to announce that a new issue of the magazine will be here very soon, it has been refreshing to be back in the “lab” creating, collaborating, sharing and inspiring again. We had an amazing photoshoot on Sunday with Tiffany of Tiffany Kowalski Photography tiffanykowalski.com We got some amazing african print garments from A Leap of Style https://www.etsy.com/shop/ALeapOfStyle, great accesories from The Dove + The Whale instagram.com/doveandthewhale Makeup by Charease Davis of Total Woman and www.marykay.com/chareasedavis.
We’ve made some great improvements by adding some talented new people to our team, and have made some decisions that will allow us to grow and be better for you as well. We are committing to offering more consistent content and resources for you here on our website, as well as some exciting retail additions this spring as well.
As I’m reminded of what God has promised me, I know we will succeed in the areas he has ordained very soon and be available everywhere God wants us to be. Bigger isn’t always better, but Gods will is.
Until next time ... Be bold. Be Beautiful. Be Natural.
Co- founder & Editor-In-Chief of Naturally Happy Hair Magazine
Creative Director for Content, Retail and Design for Naturally Happy Hair