I hate when people waste my time in ways that could have been prevented. I especially hate when those people look like me, are people who I want to uplift and respect but instead I’m looking at my phone trying to figure out how to even process the bullsh*t. How often am I inclined to start thoughts with “as Black people,” “we Black women are…”? It’s a reflex because I live and work within my own community so it’s anecdotal to say that this is behavior uniquely reflective of Black women; it is not. However, it does hurt more as a Black woman encountering this in dealing with other Black women entrepreneurs.

Most disrespectful is working with someone who waits until the last minute to reach out. Typically that means that I’ve reached out to them first, I’ve done work, gave my time and passed by other income opportunities while keeping up communication with them, only for them to pull out at a point when there is no way to save my time. This happens to everyone. It sucks for everyone and as easy as it is to have a petty reaction, I am at a place where I want my reaction to be understood and be a meaningful learning opportunity. Which means finding a mature way to say “look I want to like you, I want to respect you, but this can absolutely not happen again.”

This is not just a complaining post. One situation particularly made me realize that maybe this Black woman never had anyone tell her that a best business practice is: when you see things about to go left, be the first to speak up and realign expectations. When did I learn this? I have definitely, out of fear, bit off more than I could chew, then scrambled and made a mess of myself while heavily disappointing others because I never spoke up. I was in my early twenties making all the mistakes and it took someone pulling me to the side to say “you can save yourself a lot of heartbreak if you speak up first.” If I can remember how I had to find my confidence, come into a realization that I was deserving, was worthy and I now know that that lack of knowledge/confidence is what lead me to make those mistake, then there is room for me to find understanding in others who are traveling on a similar path. I had to learn the meaning AND value of integrity. It took a minute for me to define how that could carry me on and fit into my life.

So my response to one person canceling on me at the very last minute was to inform them that they have the right to change the course of expectations, to double back and say “hey I need things to work more like this in order for me to serve my best product.” I want to collaborate not dictate, so let’s grow in this. I’m not interested in collecting a list of people who owe me something because they disrespected my time. Though that doesn’t mean I’m always this gracious when people cross me…there is a lesson here for my #SmartBrownGirls 😉