Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals can relieve the isolation you occasionally encounter when you are attempting to truly do something great. It doesn't matter if you're looking to improve something about yourself or attempting to grow a minority-owned tech business beyond your own basement there will be moments when you feel like you are all alone despite the number of people in the room with you.
Black Girls Code: Atlanta put another incredibly successful workshop in the books this past weekend. We had over 100 tech divas and their parents in attendance and the smiles on people's faces at the end was the only real evaluation technique we need to determine whether the experience was worth the effort on everyone's part. I could talk about the transformative affects these events have on the young ladies and their parents - but what's on my mind is the effect it has on me.
Ask anyone who builds a business from the ground up how *hard* it is and you will get no doubt get answers ranging from "very" to "don't even try it." Giving up is easier and over the past few years I understand why so many people have had to cut their loses put a pin in their dreams. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.
I could invite you to a pity party about the challenges of being a black-owned technology business in the South but my thoughts today are of solutions. As much as people can present the largest hurdles to success - they can also provide the coaching you need to finish the race. Sometimes they don't even need to say a word.
When I say that I love the BGC volunteers in the Atlanta chapter I mean it; its like having a family reunion every 3 months. Spending the day with intelligent, hard working people renews my soul and my faith in humanity. You need that from time to time when your conversion funnel is more like a tube or when you can't figure out why you have so much fake traffic pointing to a random product and skewing your data.
Surround yourself with people who share the same ideals and values as you do. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. Go someplace you wouldn't normally go. Do something you wouldn't normally do. In the end you will find that there are amazing people in this world and simply being around them came keep you moving towards your goal. You are the iron but only iron sharpens iron.