On Thursday, I had a chance to attend the Watermark Conference for Women.
I share my takeaways in this video.
I was glad to be basking in the glow of fabulous women when I heard the news about Prince. I still haven’t quite recovered from that.
My introduction to Prince, his music, his genius, and his boldness came when I was 10 years old. I went over to my friend, Jeri’s, house. She was a year older than me and she had the coolest music on vinyl. When she played the 1999 album for me, my entire world changed.
Who was this creative and musical genius who said true things in the most astonishing, raw, and deliberately “in your face” ways?
Even though I was a bit young to be listening to his provocative messages, I wasn’t too young to understand his boldness.
I have always been a bit of an outsider when it comes to fitting into one box, one group, one mindset, or one lane. I’ve always had a diverse group of friends, been a first and only in a variety of settings, tried different job situations even when it was “safer” to stay put, pushed myself to have new adventures even when it was normal to just go along to get along, and I have never been OK with outsiders (or insiders) telling me how I should be and behave as a Black woman.
One of the things my daughter said to me when we learned Prince had passed away, “Wow, mom! I feel like a close family member and friend has passed away because you always had a Prince reference or song for happy, sad, or hard times.”
To say Prince, in my life and this world, will be missed is a complete understatement. He gave so much. He taught me so much. He helped me be bold!
These are the boldest lessons I’ve learned from Prince:
Be unapologetic about who you are. Prince did, said, wore, and behaved the way he wanted. He spoke his mind. He pushed back when society wanted him to be a certain way or questioned who he was. He was fully committed to being himself. This helped me to see I am enough without constantly needing to fit or mold myself to an “approved” standard.
Make your own rules for life. Prince was a mainstream rule breaker. He ran his music career the way he wanted. As a star, he remained in his hometown of Minneapolis instead of moving to the mega star mecca. He created his own music genre and made sure his music had meaning. He lived openly and didn’t feel the need to over-explain himself. For me, Prince’s personalized rule system showed me it’s OK to do things my own way and to feel good about having a path that’s not a straight line.
Keep learning. Prince played over 20 instruments. He was self-taught and he was passionate about being a musician. He could have easily stopped mastering and learning how to play additional instruments once he “made it”, but he was invested in himself, his talent, and his genius. There have been many times when I haven’t wanted to get out of comfort zone and learn how to do something newer or better. Prince helped me understand that I’m never too old, stuck, or above something to expand my knowledge.
Value your work and know your worth. When Prince changed his name to a symbol because the record company was taking advantage of his work, many people thought Prince had lost his mind, gone off the deep end, and was going down the road of being a has been. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Prince stood up for himself. He didn’t yield to an industry that undervalued his work. He set the tone for how the record industry would honor, respect, and support his work. This is a clear lesson on how to love yourself so you can understand your value and worth.
Creativity is important to your career and life’s work. Prince never stopped creating music and art. Up until his untimely death, he was still performing and honoring his creative endeavors. He used his creativity to advocate for others and inspire the world. No matter how busy I am, Prince taught me to take time to pursue creative outlets. Having solid habits that nurture your creativity supports a life of openness, joy, and leaving the world a better place.
Thank you, Prince, for everything.