Freedom in the Unknown
I’ve always had a very clear professional path. I can vividly remember my second grade project where we presented on our future career. As a young Black girl from the inner city, I wasn’t exposed to many different career paths. I didn’t have anyone in my immediate or extended family who was particularly career focussed and going to college just wasn’t an expectation in my family. So when thinking of what I could be, I immediately thought of the thing I was most familiar with: a teacher.
Upon conversation with my mother about this project, she told me that I’d be better suited as a judge. A Supreme Court Justice to be exact. She told me that I had the personality for it. Being young, I had no idea what that meant. I never saw judges outside of court tv shows and had no real idea about what it meant to pursue a legal career. Despite my limited knowledge and elementary research to complete the project, I told myself from that day on that I would be a Supreme Court Justice and I never questioned it. It was decided.
For years, I held onto that expectation for my life. I went to boarding school and took every American History class possible and ran for every elected position under the sun. I felt that this was the true beginning of my pursuit of my legal career. Although I was interested in law, I didn’t love it. Once I got to college, I told myself that I had to major in Political Science and be on a Pre-Law track because that was the plan. I participated in legal and political law internships, summer fellowships, and took every required class to satisfy my major requirements but I knew that something was missing. The voice in the back of my head was telling me that my world was meant to be so much more colorful than this law career that I forced on myself.
I was always afraid of failure. More so I hated the idea of failing publicly. A month before graduating college, I decided that I was no longer going to apply for law school. I had no job. I had no plan. My idea of my future completely shattered and I graduated college depressed and jobless. As a first generation college student, I felt like I let my entire family down. I was supposed to be the person to break the generational curse and I felt like I failed.
Looking back, this was the best thing that could have happened to me professionally because it gave me the courage to explore all of the things that I was interested in. I wanted to work in retail but didn’t know what my options were. A few years later, I was working in corporate retail as a Merchandise Planner. Quite honestly, I hated it. My job was always more analytical than creative. I genuinely dreaded going to work. There was always something missing. Despite being unhappy, I had no plans to become an entrepreneur. It wasn’t a career goal or even a realistic option for me. I just figured that one day it would all “click” and I would magically start to love my job. Like many, I lost my job during the pandemic. Although it was a time of extreme uncertainty and loss for so many people, it was yet another pivotal moment in my life.
I launched AxV Beauty with my best friend and it all just happened out of thin air. I was breaking out really badly from stress during the pandemic and in conversation about my concerns, Vic, my best friend, made me a bottle of face oil. It worked so well on my skin that my mom asked for one too. She absolutely loved it! About a week later, I texted Vic and said we should start a business. I had no business plan or real idea of what I was doing but it felt right.
Entrepreneurship is all about taking risks. Becoming the leader of a business has truly inspired so much of my own personal growth.
I am no longer afraid of the perception of failure but now I welcome new challenges and opportunities for growth.
I am constantly challenging myself to be more creative and have found a medium to be my most authentic self. The fearlessness that I’ve grown to have as an entrepreneur has changed the way I approach life in general. When I think back, it was through moments of uncertainty that I gained the most clarity.