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Monday, January 20 2014
Where it began...
I'm kind of embarrassed -- even though it's technically not my "fault," if you will.
You see, like many other people, I was thrown into the public school system. And it wasn't a very good one either.
It wasn't until recently (a few weeks back, actually) that I had come to understand the history of Martin Luther King, Jr. which started with me looking at this bus (see pic below) which is at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.
This bus is the original bus that Rosa Parks was on...and refused to move from her seat, resulting in her arrest and the subsequent civil rights revolution that quickly followed.
Standing next to this bus gave me goose bumps.  To know that this bus is the "site" that kicked off such a huge revolutionary piece of history put me in an instant state of awe.
But on the flip side of that moment, it saddened me that even though rights for many people have been forced to become "equal," it's not really all that "equal" still to this day.  A lot of people still carry racial prejudice, especially in certain areas of the country.  Women still aren't paid as much as men in the same work positions or career fields.  And too many people still focus on hatred when they should be focusing on bettering themselves and their lives.
One thing I appreciate about Martin Luther King, Jr. was his ability to make all of his demonstrations and marches peaceful.  If you're going encourage others to follow suit with what you want, you can't do it in a destructive and disrespectful manner otherwise you get the opposite effect.  Using peace as a way for others to follow is quite profound.
Way to go!
Now I'd like to stick my 2-cents in.  (You knew that was coming, right?)
The biggest claim to fame for Martin Luther King, Jr. was his "I have a dream" speech which revolved around the concept of true freedom.  But what I'm noticing is that most people aren't free nor will they ever be despite their race, religion or creed.  Even though you can free yourself from physical captivity, does anyone really free themselves from psychological "captivity"?
How many times have you stopped yourself from achieving a dream, drive, or desire because you talked yourself out of it for one reason or another.  Or you didn't make the time to pursue it.  Or you told yourself you'd never make it so...why bother?!
Each one of us can empower ourselves by immediately refusing to see any exterior obstacles and quickly beginning to destroy our inner blocks that we have burdened ourselves with.
And that includes me, too.
For many years, I told myself that the reason I had such a hard time in commercial real estate was because it's a male dominated career field and these men running this business would never take me seriously.
And guess what?
They didn't take me seriously, they mistreated me, they minimized my experience and assumed I knew nothing about the business, and they blew me off time and time again.
Then one day, I got pissed off.  I saw red.  And I blew up at a commercial real estate agent starting with calling him a varied spectrum of curse words within a matter of seconds and then following that up by demanding exactly what I wanted. And I didn't ask him what I wanted.  I told him what he was going to do for me.
And he did it.
The "prejudice" that I had built up in my mind all of those years instantly disappeared and I opened up a whole new world for myself.
I never turned back.  I didn't buy back into my old belief system anymore which was, in short, that I would be mistreated or not taken seriously by the men in the commercial real estate world.  Once I stopped buying into that lie, the mistreatment disappeared overnight.
It's amazing what we bring onto ourselves when we're not paying attention, isn't it?
Now, I'm not saying that the prejudices stop existing when you refuse to pay any mind to it.  I'm saying that the prejudices will stop existing to you when you stop paying it any mind.
And that's all that matters.
I know certain men in the industry have blown me off because of me being a woman but...guess what?  I don't pay attention anymore and I quickly say,"Next!" And I find a seller or broker or someone who wants to work with me that wants to get paid!  I quickly discovered that there are a lot of people who want to get paid and could care less who is buying a property.
But how many situations did I find myself in after my epiphany where those same men who would have harassed me didn't because they saw a strong woman who means business instead?  (If I continued to carry that negative belief about myself then they would have seen the weak woman I was and therefore treated me as such.)
I can't change the prejudices and the "wrongs" in the world.
I can help change what's going on inside of you.  That's my only job.  You can't control other people and you never will be able to.  You can only control you and what's going on inside of you.
I have a very friend of mine.  His name is Carthel.  I met him a couple of years ago at a seminar event of mine...that someone else dragged him to (and he really didn't want to be there).  He's an African American gentleman who had a pretty tough upbringing and I have discovered that he is still struggling with much of the old "tribal" affirmations that he was taught as truth when he was growing up.
One day we had a very powerful heart-to-heart talk about certain attitudes people have, especially in specific racial cultures.  One of the reasons why he chose to move up into a neighborhood near me was to ensure that his children didn't grow up the same way he had.  He wanted them to live a better life but I think, mostly, he didn't want them to see the color lines that he had come to learn so well.
But Carthel is still having a hard time breaking away from those cultural beliefs. He'll tell me how he notices people staring at him in a grocery store or some other place.  Because he's black, he'll tell me.  And because it's Valencia, California where it's mostly white upper class.
What Carthel doesn't know is that people aren't staring at him because he's black. (Or maybe because he is so well dressed...wouldn't people staring be a compliment?  I stare at well-dressed men all the time.)  People are staring at him because he expects they'll stare at him.  Once he loses that belief that people will stare at him in public because he's a black man in a white dominated area, people will stop staring at him.
Or he'll stop noticing.  
Or he'll stop caring.
When his kids get older, provided that he doesn't feed their belief system the same way his was built, not only will his children never notice anyone staring at them because they're black but they'll more than likely never get stared at because that energy has never been forced within them as a false belief.
I don't stare at anyone with an odd look unless they give me a sideways glance, shoot me a "mad dog" look, or make me feel uncomfortable in some way.  Or maybe I glance up at people as I'm walking through a store because I don't want to knock them over with my cart, sending them flying into the table full of discounted donuts.  
Being in Southern California, we are very well and evenly racially blended.  My neighbors are South Korean, Indian, and Hispanic...all bordering my property. That's very normal in So Cali.  So, having been in So Cali for 26 years, I'm not "staring strangely" at anyone unless they give me the "vibe" that makes me want to stare at them.
And I think that's what Carthel is doing.
What types of "vibes" are you throwing out there?  Notice it.  Embrace it  Take responsibility for it..  And most importantly, change it!  What you throw out there is dictating how people are treating you.
Yes, people will still come around and "abuse" you in some way sometimes. That's because a lot of people are ugly inside, they hate themselves and who they are, and they'll take it out on someone for any reason in an effort to make themselves feel a fraction better before recessing back into the black hole they call their soul. Stop feeding into it otherwise you will never have that "freedom" that Martin Luther King, Jr. was talking about.  That "freedom" comes from inside of you and not through how others treat you.
When you feel spectacular about yourself, other people will automatically respond to that by treating you the way you feel.  The sloths, deadbeats, and losers who thrive on mistreating others will simply pass you and find another victim who clearly doesn't feel that good about himself.  And they'll pick on him instead of you.  They'll stare at him instead of you.  They'll call him names instead of you.  But it least it won't be you.
Oprah is the woman of success I've always looked up to the most.  She had a quote which I've just recently have come to understand:  "I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism."
Notice she said that she was raised to believe this.  That went a long way with her...coming to know that from a young age.  This was ultimately what was responsible for her success because she was able to knock down every possible obstacle due to this simple yet powerful belief.
This is something I was able to use in my own life.  When I do the best I can and I've risen to excellence, it really has obliterated the sexism I experienced.  But I think it was the excellence I've come to know within myself that was ultimately responsible for men treating me better in the field of commercial real estate investing.  And in other areas of my life as well.
Maybe it's time you set yourself free, too.
See you at the top!
Your mentor,
Monica Main

Posted by: Monica Main AT 08:12 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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