Simply Speaks: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway”
The word impossible was taught to me at an incredibly young age in my kinship foster care home and again within the school system by several schoolteachers. I like many other children raised in communities where drugs, alcohol, and chaos are the norm are often told that the odds are stacked against us early on in life. This limited belief can drain the life out of anyone that makes an agreement with false concept on growth and development.
As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Simply Speaks.
Simply Speaks is an entrepreneur, transformational speaker, and new author that inspires women to be resilient as they answer their life assignment. Simply is a non-binary person whose pronouns are she/he/they. However, they prefer to be called Simply or Simp. Not everyone was fortunate to be born with a silver spoon in their month. Yet, there are those that are fortunate enough to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and push toward their life assignment. Through hard work, tears, any many unforeseen obstacles, Simply’s dared to stand tall whenever rock bottom showed up in life. Simply believes that the breaking point in success can be found in the breakdown process.
Simply boldly shares a few of the testimonial life experiences that helped to shape and mold them into the resilient visionary warrior that they identify with today. Simply’s ability to forge ahead in life by learning how to the power of her instincts, intuition, and law of attraction to support her current success. Simply has risen from the cracked foster care systems of the 1980’s that did not see the abuse in the kinship foster home, being kicked out as a teenager and left to survive in the streets of the South Bronx.
In the new book, Instinct and Intuition: The Uprise of the Resilient Woman, Simply Speaks offers you the opportunity to take a journey to discover your strengths and rely on your intuition, helping you to become the best version of yourself.
An entrepreneur and transformational speaker, Simply inspires women to assert themselves boldly and unapologetically in all life spaces. This book takes a bold and daring approach. Simply Speaks is transparent in telling the raw story of life , healing and how they overcame the obstacles that almost derailed the dreams and goals she had for herself.
What can you learn from a former homeless person that refused to conform to roles and labels designed to keep one stuck in the generational patterns of poverty? How to be resilient, bold, daring and a little rough around the edges to shake up anything that is not in alignment with your higher calling.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?
Thank you for interviewing me today. I am the result of what can be achieved by anyone that comes from a space of poverty, despair, lack, and abuse. I am the oldest of two siblings. I raised by a maternal great grandmother in Biloxi Mississippi until the age of five. After my great grandmother died, we were sent to the Bronx New York to be cared for by another caregiver. While raised under the auspice of the foster care system, my siblings and I were physically and psychologically abused by our new caregiver and treated like second class citizens within the home setting.
As a teenager I was later kicked out of the home and turned to the streets to survive out of fear of being placed in the system because my siblings had already been removed from the prior to me being kicked out. This traumatic experience along with being informed by a school teacher that I would grow up to be a statistic like my classmates , left me very eager to thrive for more than what had been handed to me.
I had no idea what direction to go towards my growth although my inner voice reminded me that everything was going to be alright. There were so many moving pieces to the puzzle that I was trying to figure out without any real support system to discuss what was going on in my world.
I hide the parts of me that did not mesh with my friends or family. My sexual and gender identity was kept quite thought my childhood out of fear of being called weird or being beat for sharing my true desires. I was living from pillow to post until eventually became pregnant after engaging in sexual activity with a married businessman for money to pay to sleep on someone’s sofa. After giving birth, I informed the hospital that I had nowhere to go upon discharge and was entered into the shelter systems where I started my journey towards self-development.
I knew that I had to get myself together to live a better life. I vowed to become a better person with each new day of life. Fast-forward, 27 years later, I am a successful entrepreneur despite the past. Many other trials took place within the 27-year timeframe of having a child like domestic abuse, drugs, alcohol abuse, comes to terms with my sexual identity, and two major anxiety attacks
My uprise from these challenges has made me a better and credible transformational speaker that has the grit to inspire others to be resilient as they walk into their life path. I champion woman unveil their inner warrior in a bold and daring way by first healing through the old wounds that interrupt their growth process.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Amid pitching Simply Speaks LLC to business organizations and associations, we are working on creating a resilience bootcamp for business women in New York and California that will create a collective space for the everyday women to champion herself through her breakdown process to get to that breakthrough moment.
This is work in progress that I am determined to see manifest. Prior to the pandemic, I was able conduct a trial run of the idea at a campsite with a life coach alongside. I believe that an outdoor/indoor bootcamp retreat focused on inner healing, will help resilient woman to explore their own unique gifts and challenges that hinder growth. It is a great outdoor/indoor mental experience designed to support growth and purge out many of the false perceptions that women hold of themselves based on programed conditioning from childhood.
In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?
Simply Speaks LLC prides itself on quality, excellence, and professionalism with a bold and daring approach to supporting business initiatives for the everyday career woman. I stand out from others because of my authentic, transparently raw, and bold delivery regarding assertively creating a life that defines one’s true self. There are many resilient women or warriors as I call them in workplaces that have not fully honored all that they bring to the workplace. My goal is to disrupt the traditional roles that limit growth. There too many women have taken on roles and career choices shaped by outdated information passed down to them by family members.
My mission is to support women as they heal from past wounds and reprogram themselves to stand fully in their power in business. In my opinion, I believe that Simply Speaks LLC will be one of the first training and development companies to infuse the idea of workplace healing to support women’s healing in a raw but professional way to help with the need breakdown process.
Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?
The word impossible was taught to me at an incredibly young age in my kinship foster care home and again within the school system by several schoolteachers. I like many other children raised in communities where drugs, alcohol, and chaos are the norm are often told that the odds are stacked against us early on in life. This limited belief can drain the life out of anyone that makes an agreement with false concept on growth and development. I like many others haven proven that this toxic conditioning can be unlearned by championing oneself to go against the negative perceptions of others. This holds true especially when ideas about success are imposed upon us by caregivers that chose to follow another life path. I have been on a quest to grow beyond the toxic conditions of the past.
It has not been an easy road by far. In fact, nothing about growth and development is easy. By the time I was twenty-five, I had grown tired of my surroundings. I began to question the routines and patterns that made up my life. Working professional by day providing social services to the elderly residing in public housing. By night I had become the statistic that my grade school teacher informed be that I would be years early. For the first time in my life, I had tried marijuana and cocaine. I became addict to drugs, alcohol, and toxic love patterns. Growth was happening but I did not see the success because I was still trapped in the pain of the past.
One night after getting extremely high my inner voice spoke to me as I looked in the bathroom mirror to remind me that I was better than what I was doing to my mind and body. I knew that if I did not stop that I was surly to become one of the growing numbers on the statistical data in my community. I wanted to more out of life. I began to visualize again for the first time in a long time. I wanted to inspire others and more than anything I wanted to heal so that my daughter and I grow out of poverty. After my four-year relationship came to a traumatic end, I experienced a marijuana induced anxiety attack that shook me at my core. That day twenty years ago changed my life for the better. Although the anxiety attack was horrific, it opened my eyes fully to the idea of healing my heart and letting go of the pain that was on the inside. I had to forgive myself and others for how I allowed them to treat me. I made a promise to myself to heal from the past so that I could get clear about my future.
This is what pushed me to pursue my dream of becoming a professional speaker. I was living to get validation from everybody but not living for myself. Many of the naysayers did not think I should have resigned from my city job. Others thought that I was losing my mind. I knew that it was possible. It has taken many years of hard work , dedication , commitment to stay on purpose no matter what. I became homeless during the process but kept the faith and pushed ahead despite losing the furnished room that I was living in after my relationship ended. While in the shelter system I returned to working on the clock but keep on track with my mission and the goal to fully walk away from employment to be a full-time entrepreneur . None of the workers in the shelter believed me when I told them what my future entailed. They too thought that I was losing my and suggested that I not work at all but instead seek out welfare benefits to secure a low-income apartment quickly.
I declined this offer and eventually met well renowned professional speaker Mr. Les Brown after taking a leap of faith. My one-on-one talk with him was my confirmation that it was possible. I just had to be hungry enough to go after my dreams. I did whatever it took to get to the next level. I joined Toastmasters International Speakers Association to work on my speaking and leadership skills, I paid for speech lessons to help me with my speech impediment with pronouncing STR words and stuttering when I spoke to fast. I only took on jobs that required me to use my platform skills 90% of the time. During all of this I continued healing through the journey and learning about business structures.
A business idea that took place from a furnished room and cultivated behind the shelter doors, now has an office and location in an executive building. It has been a long road that am thankful to have experienced. I resigned from my former job five years and have been successfully maintaining two business ventures. I am the proud owner and CEO of Simply Speaks LLC a training and development business will support women’s initiatives by way of Transformational Speaking, workplace resilience healing groups that place emphasis on healing from the past in order enhance growth in personal and professional development. My goal is to champion women from all walks of life to work through the past pains that are preventing their dreams to manifest.
Simply Speaks LLC is funded my DSP Training Solutions a training and development business that I created to support the growing needs of organization that service special needs populations.
In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? :-)
In the end they were all proven wrong because I was able to defy the odds despite my early up bringing. I was able to break generational norms by going against the grain of societal expectations. Not only did I start two businesses, but I was also able to fully resign for my former job to create the freedom to continue going after my endeavors.
The naysayers will always have something to comment about the steps that others take to achieve their goals. If we move in the right direction, they will talk. If we stop working on our goals, they will talk. There is no win- win when it comes to trying to get naysayers to see your vision.
The unfortunate part of this paradigm is when the naysayers are people that are close to you.
As I continue to allow myself to self-actualize, I will always be able to prove the naysayers wrong. Success is not about material possessions or the big imaginary idea that most naysayers hold in their head. Success is to keep going that extra mile for yourself each and everyday. This is how dreams are manifested overtime.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Years ago, I met an elderly woman by the name of Elemenia Anderson while employed a community caseworker. We became close and I spoke to her often about my life goals and personal growth. During one of my many talks with her I shared that I was growing tired of not growing in the workplace. I told her what I really wanted to do with my life in all areas . She was the first person to ever to say to me “ Whatever you put your mind to do, you can do it.” She pushed me to go after my goals and to stand firm in my identity. The last time that I saw her, she asked me not to forget about her as I grew into my calling and she give me one of her sweaters for keepsake. That was twenty years ago, and I still hold on to her memory.
I addition to Grandma Anderson, I have three incredibly special supports that I will always mention no matter what happens along our journey. I call these three ladies “my VIP crew”
Ranasia Ashanti Benson, my earthly daughter that has been with me through the storms and rainbows. No matter what we experienced along the way she has always reminds me that I taught her not to ever give up. Leisa S. Brown, my friend of 18 years. Another voice of reason that has stayed up with me during my darkest moments to encourage me to dismiss the naysayers and to do things my way no matter what. Lastly, Marilyn Matos who appeared later in the journey with the most caring energy that I have ever experienced in a relationship. She offered me her advice, listening ear, support, and the freedom to pursue my business endeavors on my own terms without take any crumbs that were placed on the table.
I am forever grateful for all the support that they have provided to me every step of the way. The biggest challenge that comes with going after your life goals, is not having an authentic support system that genuinely wants to see you succeed. As I continue to grow, I will also continue to extend my hand to my supports as they too forge ahead to complete their own dreams. They inspire me to do and be a better me so that I am equipped to encourage the lives of others.
It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?
It is never easy to ignore the naysayers, especially when you have been conditioned to believe that you are not good enough to accomplish your goals. Growing up in household with mixed messages about growth and success did not make it any easier. On one hand I was told by my caregiver that I was not going to be anything( she used profanity). On the other hand, at other times I was also told that I was intelligent and that I was somebody. However, the negative statements outweighed the positive ones. My ability to build my resilience came by way of being kicked out as a teenager. The horrifying experience of being dismissed and treated like a second-class citizen taught me that I had to get it together if I wanted to become more than what the naysayers thought of my decisions. I had to grow up quick and fast if I wanted to protect myself from my surroundings. Resilience is marked by one’s ability to pull themselves up the bootstraps despite the conditions or obstacles that came along the way.
I am thankful to share that I have overcome the childhood abuse, homelessness, drugs, alcohol, toxic love patterns, and the chaotic reality of dysfunction that dwells in many minority homes. What can you learn from someone with my personal and professional background? How to be resilient, assertive, and bold in your pursuit to follow your life assignment.
I never buckled under the pressure of the naysayer’s idea that it was not possible me to become a professional speaker or business owner. I reached out to a therapist for support in starting my healing process. I knew that there was something more but felt as if something was wrong with me for going against the norm. After several sessions, I was told that I was not mentally ill but that I could not complete the goals that I had in mind because it would be near impossible.
I remember looking the therapist in her face and silently saying “ watch me.” I was on a mission and new that it was possible, even when told that what I was doing was just a hobby by a family member. During my times of homelessness, despair and going from pillow to post, I conditioned my mind to think and do the opposite of what anyone thought about my goals. I was going to defy the odds by any means necessary even if it meant leaving others behind.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)
I think of Shakespeare, he pointed out that all the world is a stage, and we are all merely players in the life with various roles that we need to complete before we exit the stage. I love creating acronyms for improvement. One of the strategies that I use and love to share with other people is the C.A.R.D.S method to harness a sense of tenacity to push forward in any life situation. As we set up clear boundaries to keep the naysayers away, I recommend looking at your life C.A.R.D.S
Let us explore how playing your C.A.R.D.S. right with boundaries in place can support you as you set the stage for growth. There is an array of card games that we played as children, and these games taught us to have fun and win. As we grew older, we learned how to play more extravagant card games that required a keen eye, a strong hand, and a competitive spirit to stay in the game. This same concept applies to life assignment and goals. Consistency, Attitude, Routine, Discipline, and Structure (C.A.R.D.S.), laced with the occasional boundary-setting card, will help you stay focused to reach your goals.
Consistency is the hallmark to witnessing your goals manifesting over time. As you work on your personal and professional development, you must develop a consistent process for getting things done. Create a system that works for you and stick to it no matter what happens in life.
Attitude is the hallmark for all your endeavors. It will shape and dictate how you respond to your surroundings and the outcome of your Things will not always pan out the way you intend, so you will need to adjust your attitude as things unfold in your life. Try your best to start and end each day with a blank canvas. This will allow you to paint a fresh story daily without the overload of what occurred the day before. Be good to yourself because there will be both good and not so good days.
Routine. Research shows it takes about twenty-one days to create a habit. This holds true for routines concerning your healing and growth routines. A well- thought-out plan is far better than no plan at all. Routine must be built and not put off until later. Excuses great stagnation and create a backlog that may become overwhelming. This is where many naysayers may remind to that you are not committed to your dreams. Work your routine into your daily activities.
Discipline is the gatekeeper to your dreams and desires. You have what it takes to get to your next level, as well. Let discipline be your leading force. Self-discipline is the most important factor in becoming successful. You must develop an iron will to reach your goals. Learn to say no by setting clear boundaries with the people around you that will interfere with your vision. Remember its your dream and not theirs. Take full ownership for your disciplinary style.
Structure your life around the things that you want to see manifest in the future. Structure is the epitome for success and the foundation where great things can happen. A wobbling structure will need to be redesigned with secure beams (rules) and scaffolding (support) that will not topple over from the pressure of you stepping out of your comfort zone. Make the needed adjustments in your lifestyle that will support your growth and not your comfort level. You will be rewarded in the future for holding true to your dreams.
Now that you know the C.A.R.D.S. system , you will need to outline your life priorities. Take a piece of paper and make two columns — we will call one column “Life Priorities” and the other column “Non-Life Priorities.” Priorities are made up of the things essential to your existence. Priorities include, but are not limited to, your health, connections/relationships, and purpose. I cannot tell you what priorities to put first. Place your current column according to your current life activity. This is something you must do to assess your current lifestyle. Decide what things are causing you to lose sight of your end goal.
Low precedence or non-priority things should be placed on your second column for further assessment. This includes some of the habitual things that are fun and feel good but keep you from getting a tight grip on your vision. There must be a consistent balance in how you take your daily steps. What you spend the most time doing becomes your normal habits. Create good long-term habits and be consistent when making decisions based on your higher goals. If you can keep this idea at the forefront of your mind, you will be well on your way to manifesting your dreams no matter what the naysayers have to say.
What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?
Harriet Tubman is my shero! I love her quote on resilience she points out that “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” This is my anthem and the way I move about my life. We are all able to bounce back from life’s most challenging obstacles to see the light of day work in our favor if we stay the course. Hard times do not last forever.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Thank you for recognizing me as an influencer. If I could inspire a movement of any sort that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, it would be a movement for resilient women from all backgrounds and gender identities to commitment to a lifetime of healing from past traumas. I passionately believe that dreams can be manifested when we deal with the internal wars that we have with ourselves based on past experiences.
As we all work through our internal wounds, I would like to champion people to pass the healing message forward by sharing not only their success stories but also those painful experiences that lead to their breakthrough moment.
Can our readers follow you on social media?
Reader can follow me at:
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Photo Credit: Rebecca Lindsay Kuritz — Evolved Imagery
Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!