Pause On The Play Ep 12

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Hello, hello and welcome back to Pause On The Play. As always, it is amazing to see you here where you are challenged to examine your beliefs, question your predisposed notions, and consider realities you may be unfamiliar with in order to understand that they too are real. I am your host and conversation emcee for the day, Erica Courdae, here to get the dialogue going. So apparently I like to record these after I get off of podcast interviews, but I just hopped off of one and it was an amazing interview. I think what always comes up for me is when I'm having these, first of all, I appreciate the fact that people are willing to have the conversations, and these are obviously public facing. I know that for some people it's challenging to consider having these questions in a private forum, let alone what it looks like having them in a public forum.

And so I don't believe that everyone is necessarily ready for that and it's totally fine if you're not. If you're not, by all means, I don't care how you have them, but I do need you to have them. And I need you to begin to move to a place that you can live more out loud with them and it is a part of how you move through life in your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and it then is changing your actions. But I want to kind of talk a little bit about visibility and mindset. I want to talk about the fact that the diversity, equity and inclusion space somehow is something that a lot of female business owners, female small business owners and micro business owners really do want to make change with. They really want to adjust it. They want it to be something that they are making shifts and expansion with in ways that it really does reflect in their business. But it's also something that it is very challenging to get there.

It is very difficult to start. I think starting is the hardest part, and I think that what happens is as you begin to do this and you're like, "Okay, I'm beginning to see things change. I'm beginning to see things evolving,"

and then you kind of hit this space, this lull, and when you're in this purgatory of sorts, I think visibility and mindset comes up. So if you're beginning to make these changes yet you're not quite sure how to live out loud with it, then you're not comfortable in the visibility with it. If you're beginning to change how you want to approach your business, who you market to, who you work with, who you work for, who works for you, but you're struggling with how to integrate this, then I feel like mindset is coming up, and I think that these are things that are very deep topics, and I'm going to talk about this in a few different episodes because I think it's very important.

The biggest thing for me today is I wanted to bring it to you because I really wanted to have you consider whether or not visibility and mindset is part of what is coming up for you in creating a boundary to you moving forward in your imperfect allyship. How you bring this imperfect allyship to your business. If you are beginning to realize that your marketing and your imagery and your languaging, whether that's your sales pages, whether that's your copy on your website, whether that's your social media captions and you're realizing that these things are not speaking to an inclusive audience, but yet you're afraid of being visible, standing squarely from this place of I want all women, particularly the ones that do not look like me, to be able to enjoy the privileges that I take for granted.

And when you're beginning to do that and you're like, "Whoa, if I say this, what happens? What happens if I turn off my client base? What happens if I say this and I lose half my followers?" Then again, we're back to mindset, and it's like, "Are these the followers that you want? Are these the clients that you want? Does this align with where your business is going and does this allow for your beliefs, ethics, and values to actually be adhered to by you?" So I know that for me, Silver Immersion is my beauty brand. And a few years ago when I re-branded, we had always serviced same sex couples, because for me as a black woman with biracial children, married to a white man, for me it really kind of hit home in that when the fight for marriage equality was really a thing. I felt like there were some people that couldn't even do this legally yet they wanted to celebrate their love, and they would have vendors that they would come to us and say things like, "We didn't feel comfortable." Or, "We didn't feel wanted."

Just knowing that there was discomfort there because some people would actively take their money, but didn't believe that their love was valid. And that bothered me.

I was like, "This is shitty. I wouldn't want to receive that." And I am happy to go into stories that have happened to me, around my husband, around my children. But these people that would come in and talk to us about simply wanting to celebrate the fact that they were in love and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together and they couldn't get simple human basic decencies, that shit pissed me off. I'll be honest. It pissed me off. And so when I re-branded, a huge part of the re-branding of Silver Immersion was to talk about the fact that love is love and that we absolutely not only believe in same sex marriage, but that we advocate for them and that this is not just the space that, "Oh, you can come here too," but that it was built with you in mind.

You know, we can service two women that are getting married. We can service two men that are getting married. We can service bridal parties of all colors, shapes and sizes with all hair textures, all skin tones. And these aren't things that are like, "Oh, that's weird." You know, if one of our makeup artists walks into a bridal party with a bridal party member that's trans, she doesn't skip a beat. That makeup artist doesn't care because it doesn't matter. You know, if we walk in and you have a party of all Sudanese women but yet the bride is white because her fiance happens to be Sudanese, guess what? They're all going to be beautiful at the end of the day because to us focusing on the beauty that isn't always highlighted was huge.

We focus on showing women that are plus size, women that are of color, women with natural hair, women that are not 22, women that are not tall and blonde, women that don't have long hair. Any of the things that you can think of when you look at a typical bridal magazine, we focus on everything else. Now do we have brides that fall into these categories? Absolutely. But we wanted the women that don't regularly see themselves featured to know that you are just as fucking beautiful as everybody else, and that when two women or two men wanted to choose a day to celebrate the love that they already held and they wanted to enroll other people that were part of their lives to enjoy that and celebrate that and have a party around that and to take this union and make it legal, and to just kind of do this next step that we've been told by society we're supposed to do, and that now they can legally.

We're like, "Hell yeah, what you need? We got you. We're here for you because we want you to know that it is important that you are able to celebrate your love in the way that you see fit. You are in a position that you want to vote with your dollars and use your money to do this, and we are happy to be able to give you a place to do this that isn't just saying, 'Oh yeah, we can do that too.' No, we want you to know that you matter." And that legal, and even before it was legal, we still were like, guess what? I literally said, I remember writing this email saying, "We are standing behind and advocating for and supporting same sex couples. If this is something that you don't like or you don't agree with, you can kick rocks."

I wanted an anybody that had an issue with my company choosing to openly and happily service same sex couples, if that made you feel a certain way, please don't come here. Please don't come here, because I don't want that kind of energy here.

I don't want your money to invalidate someone else's reality. I don't believe in that in life, and I wasn't going to bring it into a business. That for me was bullshit, and I was not available for it. I'm not going to do it. And so when I started Erica Courdae, it was very important to me that when I was realizing that these ethics weren't just ethics that I wanted for my brand, when I'm moving into coaching and consulting, but this was how I live my life. This was how I raised my children. This is how I interact with people. And it makes perfect sense to start something that only further honored what I truly believed in in life.

Being able to do that is an honor for me. That is why I want people to understand this isn't something that I'm telling you to do that I don't get. I know what it is, and I know that as much as I wanted to do it, in the very beginning, it was scary because I didn't know what was going to happen. I have other artists that work for me, and that meant that other hair and makeup artists that are amazing at what they do chose to buy into me and my brand and to stand along with me. And it was very important for me to consider was this something that was going to impact them? But I have people that work for me that stood behind these values, that they got it, they understood it, they agreed with it. They were on board with it.

They were like, "Yeah, of course. We get it." And so when I had to move into that, it was challenging to consider doing it, but once I did it, I was like, "Oh yeah, there's no turning back." You couldn't pay me to go back. And that was why with Erica Courdae, I want you to know that as I am saying to you that I want you to consider how visibility and mindset is hindering you from being able to do the things that you want to do, that align your actions, beliefs, values, and actually bringing them into your business in a way that you can stand for things and advocate for things that you truly believe have to happen. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but once you've done it, you won't ever want to go back. You won't ever want to go silent and complicit as a default again.

I know where you are, which means I won't shame you, which means I won't tell you that you're wrong. You should have done this before. You need to move faster. I cannot decide your process for you. I can support you throughout that process. I can't decide how fast you need to move. I can facilitate the ease in what you're doing by helping you to have space to do this in a way that allows you to not feel as though you are made smaller or belittled, again, shamed, because this is where you are now and that you're not already past this. I am here today to to help you to say, "I want to be, do, and move through things differently." Olympic athletes do not get to gold alone. I am here to support you and to hold space and facilitate you arriving to the awareness to say, "I want to be, do, feel, and act differently."

We can work on your visibility and your mindset together. Do not do this alone.

I'm not even going to say you don't have to do this alone. Don't do it alone. It can be lonely, and I don't want you to be in a place that you feel as though you have no support, no one that understands, no one that gets it, no one that can empathize with you as you are doing this major upheaval. Visibility and mindset are things that I can work on with you. I want you to feel empowered to say that you want to make change.

I am here for you to tell me that, and let me know how I can begin to help you. Come and talk to me on Instagram at EricaCourdae. Come talk to me on Facebook, Erica Courdae. Come on over and go to my website, ericacourdae.com. Book a tea time. Tell me where you are. Let's figure out what it is that you need. But like I said, I'm going to be back with visibility and mindset again because I think it's important, but I want you to know that they're important because I understand it. I've been there. I can help.

Pause on a Play is one iteration of how we use conversation to create connection. Our one on one calls, is another. This is where you can get support on how your beliefs and values around diversity, equity and inclusion, are showing up for your business. How you vote with your dollars, how you are sharing your message to let people know that you curated a space with them in mind, that you want to talk with them and hold space with them to have a seat at the table.

Hop on over to ericacourdae.com today, and register for a complimentary tea time chat. These are our connection calls, so we can hop on, discuss your needs, and create a plan of action that's personalized for your brand to further it's evolution.

The conversations we have here are to normalize the challenging things and make them a part of your normal exchanges. This is how we remove stigma and create real change and connection, cross lines and recreate boundaries to support, not separate.

If you enjoyed this podcast, show me some love by subscribing, sharing it with a friend, or leaving us a review. Reviews are the fuel to keep the podcast engine going. Let's get more people dropping the veil and challenging their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Speaking of keeping it going, if you don't already follow and engage with us over on Instagram @ericacourdae, come on over there and do that. I really want to talk with you, so DM me and let's do this.

I love being here and creating the bridge for you to walk over to become the change that you want to see. Join us next time, and until then, keep the dialogue going. Bye.

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