Written by Nicole
2020 is a train wreck and it is impossible to predict what news is going to break tomorrow, much less next month. The only certainty is uncertainty, and it is difficult to try and make plans when our routines have been disrupted to the point where we have forgotten what day or even month it is. But one thing that should not be far from your mind, no matter how crazy it gets, is to move in stealth. Not just in coronavirus times, either, mind you, but in general. What do I mean by that? Well:
Everyone likes to share their successes. It’s human nature to not only want to tell people about our good fortune, but to also believe that other people would enjoy hearing about it. And while that may be mostly true, it would be better to share the good news after your labor starts to bear fruit. Speaking about your plans too soon could lead you open to sabotage. Sabotage may seem like a strong word, but it fits.
For example, if you want to start a weight loss journey, you may start going to the gym more, or changing your eating habits. People in your circle may seek to derail your plans, by saying how you are fine how you are, despite the back and knee pain you might be developing. They may laugh at your decision to only have a salad and skip desert and alcohol when having a meal with the girls. Or they may use every scare tactic in the book if you decide to take a surgical approach to weight loss. In another vein, don’t tell people about jobs you are applying to, either. That little tip off may encourage them to check out your would-be new employer and apply as well, making them your competition. Better to stay hush until you get your official job offer than to speak too soon.
However, nobody lives in a vacuum and making decisions without a solid person to brainstorm with can be difficult. We all know to vet potential romantic partners, but you should vet your friends as well. If they pass your vetting process, only then should you trust them with more serious things, like hopes and dreams – the right friend will help you get there, and you, as the right friend too, will help them reach their goals too.
You might be surprised at who on your friends list is patiently waiting for your demise. Social media has been a great tool, especially in black women centric spaces. But not everyone is happy for you. Don’t announce that new job…probably ever, to be honest. Are you pregnant? Surprise everyone with a 6-month-old at the next gathering. Got an investor for your big business idea? Tell no one (according to point number one above). (Over)sharing has become common place, but don’t fall into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses.
If you are deemed as being “too successful”, aka when the crabs in a barrel mentality strikes, you may be forced to make some difficult decisions. Is that lucrative job causing you to pull your hair out with stress? Might be time to consider a change. Is your friend circle constantly talking about low-budget things like a petty he-said-she-said debate, rather than aspirational content? Your circle might be in need of a refresh. As the saying goes “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”.
The first law of nature is self-preservation. If you have done all of the above, and still face sabotage, but are not sure of its source, it may be time to start dropping folks out your life. It may be easy, like that pseudo-friend you only spoke to on the rarest of occasions, and didn’t like all that much. Or it may be very difficult – like your sister who depends on you to be a free babysitter when you have other things to do. Or your mother who lacks loyalty and tells everybody your business, when you told her something in confidence. No one, not even blood relatives, is entitled to your peace of mind.
As the world continues to reopen (and possibly brace for the second wave of the virus to hit, in my opinion), black women need to take stock of how things are. Note I said how things are, not what they should be. While uncertainty abounds, one thing is undeniable: employing strategy and using stealth as you navigate the post Corona landscape will be to your benefit.
How are you moving in stealth? Do you have any strategies you are willing to share? Please leave your tips in the comments below.