When Brittney Pressley set out to write a self-improvement book she didn’t do it to gain notoriety. A conversation with her mentor started the journey.
“He told me, ‘I can help you get to wherever you want to go but you have to drive the bus.’ That was the first time that someone other than my mom told me that I was accountable for my life.”
When Pressley finally gained “control” of her life she felt extremely empowered and wanted to share the knowledge she had gained with others through a self-published book titled Loving Inward, Living Outward, Looking Forward. An IBM employee, Pressley works in the organizational change management field to leverage human capital and build new strategies for different organizations. In our BAUCE of the month interview, Pressley shares why the best way to move forward in your career begins with reflecting back on yourself and how powerful maintaining a positive mindset is when it comes to achieving success.
BAUCE: In the opening section of your book you mention that it is impossible to live a rewarding life without “knowing who you are and what your purpose is”. Why is that? How can people go about determining their purpose in your opinion?
Brittney Pressley: If you don’t know who you are, you will have no direction in life. How can you fall in love with someone who compliments you if you don’t even have a basic understanding of who you are? How can someone love you if you don’t love yourself? We all have a purpose for being alive…it’s up to each of us to figure out what that is. I think that we can determine what our purpose is by paying close attention to what we love doing – the things that we can spend hours doing and our energy level never wavers. It’s like the analogy that people use about work: when you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work. I tend to think the same about purpose: when you are fulfilling your life’s purpose it won’t feel like “work”.
BAUCE: Lesson four of your book talks about being yourself. How often do you think we get caught up in society with wanting to be like other people or famous people? How can we find ways to appreciate and love ourselves?
Pressley: I think that we are conditioned from our teenage years to idolize celebrities. While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with having idols, what happens is that we lose sight of who we are by trying to imitate or emulate other people. We get caught up in the bright lights, glamour, and money and life is way more than that. I have learned to embrace the fact that there is not one person in this world who is like me. I am unique, creative and quirky and love it! Learning to appreciate and love yourself starts with understanding your purpose – we are all purposely imperfect but so talented with much to share with the world.
BAUCE: Why should we never ask the question “What If”?
I tend to think that asking “What If” leads us down a path of frustration. Things happen the way that they are supposed to, whether we fully understand it at the time or not. If we question everything that happens or stress out about what could have happened, what we think should have happen, and what didn’t happen we will be stressed out and our growth stifled. Embracing that everything happens for a reason and that we are who we are for a reason should alleviate the need to ask “What If”.
BAUCE: It’s easy to allow things to overwhelm us in life that keep us from giving our all — how can we as women work towards giving 100% when we find ourselves at 50%?
Pressley: True success shows up after we have fought hard to overcome obstacles. If we focus on the overwhelming aspects of life as opposed to the aspects that bring us the most happiness then we are overwhelming ourselves. As women I think that we need to continue to push ourselves in times that it seems the odds are stacked against us. Once we realize we are giving half effort, we need to motivate ourselves and trust that giving 100% is the only way we will see the fruits of our hard work. So many women have fought for us to have a voice, to be able to vote, and to be recognized as contributors in the workplace; we need to honor that and never give up!
BAUCE: Do you believe in the power of speaking things into existence? Why or why not?
Pressley: Absolutely!!! I’ve been telling my friends and family for years that I am going to meet Oprah. Everyone laughed at me until last year when someone from the OWN Network contacted me regarding one of the poems that I posted on Facebook. While I didn’t get to meet Oprah from that experience, I believe that because I had been speaking about it for so long it was the universes’ way of telling me that I am close. Speaking things into existence adds an element of reality to our dreams – it is so necessary and so powerful!
BAUCE: Have you ever felt that moving or changing locations help with driving you towards your dream? How do you know when it’s time to pack up and go or if moving is a good thing to do?
Moving from CT to the DC area was one of the best decisions that I have made. I knew that it was time to pack up and go because I could not grow anymore being at home. I don’t feel as though I outgrew my friends and family but when it came to my career I knew that there was no place for me to go. Taking a leap of faith always helps with moving towards your dream. No risk no reward, right?
BAUCE: What do you believe is your purpose in life?
Pressley: Great question! I feel that my purpose is to give people hope via ‘teaching’. Through writing I hope to bring light to the truths that seems to get lost in our everyday lives. I want to use what I have learned and experienced to inspire people to understand that the ability to overcome anything lives within them and that they are steps away from living a rewarding life. I also feel that part of my purpose is bringing back the “we” to the world – our society has sadly shifted from “we” to “I” and I believe that we are all here to help one another.
Pressley is currently working on publishing her second book, Open Your Mind Before You Open Your Legs: What Ladies Need To Think About Before Becoming Intimately Engaged, in 2014. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or by email. A copy of her book can be purchased here.