Queirra Fenderson is a Certified Life and Business Coach. But before that she was FIRED. After working herself to the bone to meet her own career expectations, she found herself out of work. She also found her way to a career she now loves and that loves her back. Let’s chat with her about how her own ambition eventually brought her the focus and abundance she needed.
As a coach, it’s always good to come from a place of being relatable, in terms of, “been there done that” when advising others on how to overcome their own blocks. But before your own AHA moment, where did you see yourself ending up and why do you think you pushed yourself so hard to get there?
When I landed my first job after I graduated college, I made the commitment to myself to become a Marketing Director before 30. Yes, it was ambitious but so was I. By 29 years old, I had checked it off of my list.
I loved the rush of leadership and I loved the innovation of entrepreneurship even more. But I was too afraid to start my own business. So at the height of my career, I compromised and took a position as the Marketing Director for a venture backed tech startup in downtown Washington, D.C. I was there to bring my love of leadership, eye for excellence and analytical mind to the challenges of a growing startup marketing department.
Eventually I envisioned climbing the corporate ladder and leading the way for other women of color to become Senior Executives at Fortune 500 companies.
In hindsight, I pushed myself so hard because it was validating. I fueled my self-worth by my accomplishments which usually required late nights in the office, distant relationships due to exhaustion and a marriage that felt more like a roommate arrangement than a passionate union. My career consumed my entire life.
Emotionally, how did you first react to losing your job?
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was ten o’clock on Wednesday morning and I was following the Vice President into the only private office the tech startup had. As I followed her in there, I froze in the entry when I saw the CEO standing in there as well. The CEO requested that I sit down. It felt like a face off. Him standing there, and me sitting in a chair facing the VP. I didn’t want to, but I did. It was so tense in that small room I felt like it would explode.
The CEO said, “Queirra, this is your last day.”
The words flew over my head and bounced on the walls. I took a moment – a very long moment. I was numb. All I could do was stare across at the Vice President. Finally, I found my words and asked her, “Is this because of the email I sent you about our team last week?”
The CEO quickly jumped in. “We’d prefer not to go into it.” And after a moment he said, “You aren’t a good culture fit.”
I could feel my eyes start to swell with tears and my heart start to race. I was fired. I didn’t have a job. It was devastating.
By the time, I got home, all I could do was sit in my car in shock. If I walked into my house that meant it was real. I was a high achieving, ambitious woman that was fired. “What an embarrassment”, I thought.
What if it takes me another year to find a new job? What if this ruins my newlywed marriage? What if I never recover?
Then the wisdom spoke. The sun shined brightly through my windows, time stood still and all got quiet. God spoke boldly to my spirit, “Queirra, you will not go back.” That’s when I knew it was time to start my own business.
Losing your job can still be traumatic, even when it ends up better in the end. The job market today is still as shaky and unpredictable as ever so what do you recommend women do to prepare themselves for the “what if” moment interrupting their careers?
I like to play with the Law of Attraction which says that preparing for the “what if” moment will actually attract the “what if” moment. It lowers your vibe and sends the wrong message to the Universe. It’s important to always expand and grow by keeping your vibe high. Thoughts become things so your mental fortitude is the best “back up plan” you can have. Start to cultivate a mentality of self-reliance and follow your creativity intuition.
Take inventory of your level of confidence, resiliency, self-worth, faith and self-compassion. On a scale from 1-10, where are you now and where would you like to be? Then work with a coach to support you in closing the gap. I always encourage my clients to keep an eye out for new career opportunities and create a secondary revenue stream.
Strong relationships are an added bonus. Rise above the standard “business card swap” networking and build genuine relationships with people in your profession or industry. Ask genuinely curious questions and follow up within 48 hours by phone to cultivate the relationship further. Those relationships will come in handy if the “what if” moment ever happens.
Many women are stuck in jobs they hate or jobs they have convinced themselves they love. How can they clarify their goals and align their own self-care and recognize that doing what you love shouldn’t steal your joy?
Every woman’s journey is unique and requires deep self-reflection, honesty and support. I always suggest starting with strengthening your intuitive voice, which takes practice.
Ask yourself, what is my inner self trying to tell me? What lights me up, even in the slightest way? What is my most secret desire that I haven’t shared with anyone else in this world? Take out a pen and paper and see what your inner self wants to share with you. hen hire an ICF credentialed coach to help you turn your inner wisdom into a tangible reality.
Unbiased support is paramount when you’re on a journey of reinvention. Friends and family love us so deeply that sometimes their fears will get in the way of our desires. A coach is skilled in the art of exploring your desires, hearing what’s in your way and partnering with you on the actions that will move you forward. Many coaches offer complimentary clarity sessions that will give you the space and permission to explore all the options floating around in your head.
Your goal is to practice integrating your goals, self-care and passions – with emphasis on PRACTICE. Many of your habits were formed over many years so be patient with yourself.
What is the most common issue you hear from your clients? Why do you think it’s so prominent?
During the first conversation, I had with a new client, I could tell she was stuck in a position I’ve seen many times. She was completely burned out from her full-time job and quit. Now, she was crippled with the decision to start her own business or go back to a full-time job. She was torn between two beliefs, “you’re as valuable as your job title” and “you deserve to be free”. She dove right into coaching and we started to dig deeper.
Many of my clients have enormous dreams like landing an international consulting position, tripling their business revenue or launching a million-dollar franchise after being let go from a job. The secret to success is knowing how to work with your ambition.
The problem is, most of us don’t know how and too many of us are letting our ambition destroy us. Society taught women that in order to win you must “hustle hard” or sacrifice your desires. This is the farthest from the truth.
The story has a happy ending. Within a few months of coaching my client had secured a freelance contract with National Geographic and Allure Magazine; while also launching her own travel blog site. All from strengthening her mental fortitude, cultivating her intuition and taking bold, quantum leap style action.
Ambition is described as, ” an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.” What should we really be striving for to be our best selves? What have you learned to strive for now?
Simply put – happiness and love.
The goal is to keep your vibe as high as possible for as long as possible. As Paulo Coelho says in The Alchemist, “When you want something all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. By keeping your vibe high and resistance low, you allow abundant Universal energies to support you in aligning the perfect opportunities for your growth.
That’s one of the best secrets I’ve learned over the years. Use your ambition to keep your vibe high.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had those moments when I didn’t want to go to work or talk to that person that makes my skin crawl. Those are the moments when my Nana’s advice comes in handy.
Learn to fall in love with what you currently dislike. It could be the smallest thing like being grateful for the latte machine at your office. Embrace it and attach your joy for your job to that latte machine. Eventually you’ll begin to create a high vibe energy when you’re at your job – at least until you find a new one.
Abundance doesn’t require strenuous effort it requires creating high vibe moments of happiness and love.
For more information on Queirra visit www.queirra.com.
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