Chatting with my precocious 7 year old daughter about her school day, which includes her highlights and 2nd grade drama, is something I look forward to daily. Every so often, she tells me a story about one of her classmates (usually a boy) who said something she didn’t like and I chime in with my mature advice, which goes a little something like this; ”It sounds like he needs to mind his own business!” Then my daughter co-signs, adding her sassy seasoning and reiterates, “Yeah! He definitely needs to mind his own beeswax!” Mind your own business has always been a jab. The way to check someone for their unsolicited remarks. Getting the “C” out of your “A” and “B” conversation. But, recently, the idea and action of what it really means to mind or tend to your own business has shifted in my life.
A couple of months back while scrolling on Instagram, a clip of the magical Iyanla Vanzant on Oprah’s Masterclass popped up where she explained her interpretation of the scripture "my cup runneth over." The point was, one can give to others only when their own cup is full. Others get the excess. The lightbulb went off, revealing how much energy I was giving to issues outside of my own and not moving forward. “A lot of times when you get too wrapped up into other people's problems, you allow their fears, misunderstandings and their misjudgments to jump onto you,” says personal coach, Latoya Cooper. “Being mindful and self-aware of how you're helping people and how it's helping or pulling you away from your goals is important.”
Latoya Cooper - Personal Coach & S.H.E. Speaks founder
(picture courtesy of surrendertohealingbook.com)
At 37 years old, the Virginia native received an unexpected wake up call that was literally a matter of life or death, which required her full attention. “One of the things I learned after being diagnosed with breast cancer was that I was considered a strong one in my family, who everyone could lean and depend on,” shared Cooper. “I realized I couldn't take on anything else. I had to step away in order to go through the journey.” Prior to her diagnosis, Latoya was thriving in her career as a budget analyst and was also doling out advice to family and friends, which led her to start the process of getting her coaching certification. Ironically, it was the disease that confirmed her purpose. “God told me, look, this journey is not about you. It started in a health capacity, advocacy and just helping people to get through things.”
Although a major life event forced Latoya on her self-care path, she stresses for others to pay attention to the subtle alerts telling you it may be time to mind your own business. “I do a check-in email (with my clients) usually at the beginning of the month,” explains the S.H.E Speaks founder. “I ask, did you take care of yourself this month? Did you put yourself first? Did you do any self-care? The response is always, no, I didn't have time for me. If you're constantly seeing the cycle and recognize that it’s indeed a cycle, it’s time to take a stand.” Latoya added, "Women take on so much. I'm not saying that men don't, but women, we seem to take on a lot like keeping the household and family together. I think sometimes we just don't know when and how to say no. That's one of the things that I've recognized with some of my clients, even in the last 30 days. So, that's the piece that I'm honing in on lately, especially with the holidays coming up."
Latoya, who is also the author of the inspirational book, Surrender to Healing: Conquering Breast Cancer with Faith, Gratitude, and Confidence, offers that the best way to start figuring out your own journey is by looking within. “It starts with those burning desires in your heart and your mind. Those goals that keep popping up that you keep putting on a back burner. Start with identifying where you are at this moment and then decide where you want to be. That's why I help people create a roadmap on how to get there, how to work through those things. We do that by creating boundaries so you can mind your own business and work on you.
What to focus on when you're minding your business:
1. Your Health: Latoya found a lump in her breast during a self-examination, so make sure you're caught up on all doctor's appointments, exercising, tending to mental health, etc. so you can be the best you!
2. Your Relationships: Before you spend too much time trying to fix someone else's marriage or dating woes, you better make sure you're keeping that same energy for your own.
3. Your Finances: The road to financial understanding is a long journey, but there is great information for us all to learn and get closer to financial freedom. Invest in yourself!
4. Your Business: Mind your business...literally. We all have skills that can transfer into a side or main hustle! As I am learning, the difference between those who do and those who don't is audacity. Have the audacity to try and be open to the possibilities!