For Black History Month, Teressa Moore Griffin Offers Personal Development Tips

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Teressa Moore Griffin, a Philadelphia-area expert in personal growth and self-awareness offers a proven way to help you focus your energy; make conscious decisions; and direct your actions so you get the results you want in life. Her transformational work is especially helpful for African Americans who are looking for ways to break through the “lies that limit” – the self-imposed barriers that still hinder people of color today.

In the spirit of Black History month, Teressa’s work can be spotlighted for African Americans, offering valuable guidance that helps address the issues and challenges that limit their personal and professional success. African Americans have a number of hurdles to clear as they continue improving their quality of life. Putting aside systemic racism and individual prejudice, there are defining cultural beliefs that make it harder for African Americans to succeed.

Many statistics reinforce feelings of low self-esteem in the Black (African American) community. For example, in December 2009, the unemployment rate for Blacks (African Americans) was 16.2 percent, while only 9 percent for Whites. For young people ages 16 to 19, the unemployment rate for Whites was 23.6% compared to 48.4 for African Americans at the close of 2009. Nearly 50% of Black youth are not benefiting from the early lessons that come with having a job as a teenager, while 3 out of 4 white teens are. It’s an important experience when it comes to building and diversifying your network, developing coping skills and a strong work ethic.

For Black History Month, Teressa offers eight (8) action steps to help African Americans develop themselves and release the mental and emotional baggage that impacts their effectiveness. Forgive the Past. Whatever happened in the past - in your personal life, or to members of your family, or to your cultural/racial group - remember it; honor the struggle and the gains; learn from it; and then, let it go. The first three action steps are:

• Talk about what you want and where you’re going. Dwell on the future, not the past.

• When you talk with others who are stuck on the past and the injustices they experienced, just listen. Don’t add any of your energy to what they’re saying. Let them say it, you listen. When there is an appropriate opportunity, change the subject to a more positive and constructive topic.

• Spend 50% less time with friends and associates who dwell on the negative and see how much better you’ll feel. When you feel good, you do good. Diversify your network to attract supportive relationships and effective alliances.

• Go to lunch or have coffee with someone who seems very different from you. Intentionally look for some way in which you’re similar -- find something you have in common. This will help you get past biases and limited thinking.

• Make it a practice to initiate conversation with strangers -- don’t wait for them to initiate. Find out what they do, what their interests are. Discover the connections you share and build on that. Develop relationships that will help you move ahead rather than working hard alone. . Develop confidence and the emotional intelligence that will set you apart. Having Emotional Intelligence means being in charge of your emotions. When you feel yourself about to react, or over-react, get grounded.

• One way to ground yourself is to sit down, with your back supported by a chair or against a wall. Intentionally feel your back supported, your butt against the chair, and your feet on the floor. Take 3 deep breaths. Ask yourself: what's the best way to handle this. Giving yourself a minute or two to regain control will help you to get your emotional reaction in check, and respond intelligently. You'll look like a real team player.

• Learn how to communicate assertively and not defensively or aggressively. What’s the difference? If you feel that you “just told them,” or “set them straight,” your communication was aggressive.

• Assertive communication makes you feel good knowing that you made your point, AND you did not do it in a way that disrespected the other person or put them on the defensive.

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