I Almost DrownedMecca's Story
Swimming My Way to Solid Ground
Finish the Race
Every time I sink and begin to drown, I remember that I can save myself. All I need to do is kick to the surface of my problem and swim as hard as I can to solid ground.
I was ELEVEN.
In my life, I’ve actually almost drowned quite a few times. But the first time I’ll never forget because I was actually in the middle of a swim meet. I was 11 years old, and it was a 100-meter individual medley. I was in the middle of my third leg when I began to choke. I panicked.
Reason #1: The other kids were passing me by, and I was losing ground in the race. I knew that swim teams win or lose as a team. My team members needed me, and I was failing.
Reason #2: I couldn’t breathe, and I was still in the deep end of the pool.
Fight or Flight
In my panic “fight or flight” kicked in. I forgot all about the race and switched my focus to saving my life. I doggy paddled my way to the five-foot zone. I could not stop until I could put my feet on solid ground. Of course, once I stood up, my choking became more violent. I coughed like crazy. Expelling the water, I had swallowed along with the bug that started the whole fiasco. When I finally opened my eyes, I could see the other kids slamming their hands against the wall. I saw them claim their first, second, and third places and end the race. I could also see a lifeguard removing his shirt as he prepared to dive and save me.
I Couldn’t quit
With frantic gestures, I signaled to the lifeguard. I did not want him not to jump in the pool. I knew I was okay. I knew my feet were on solid ground and I would be fine once I was able to breathe.
Around the same time, I heard my mother’s voice above the noise of the crowd. She screamed “Leave her alone! She’s fine! Come on Mecca! You can do this!” The lifeguard stopped and waited. For my part, I was thoroughly embarrassed. I had lost the race and vomited in the pool. As the only black girl on the swim team, I thought my life was over! Yes, I was a little dramatic Sagittarius back then 🙂. But I wasn’t a quitter. I was going to finish my race. I was not going to let some embarrassment and a tiny bit of vomit stop me from finishing that race.
FINISHING THE RACE
It only took two minutes to gather myself. I dove back under the water and completed the third leg. I slammed my hand into the wall and flipped around. Then I took off as fast as I could toward the other end of the pool and completed my fourth leg. It was my worst finish time ever! I think I completed my I.M. in like 5 minutes LOL! My teammates were there to lift me out of the pool. Once I was on solid ground again, I stood. I raised my head and straightened my shoulders, proud that I had completed my race. I was stunned to see every parent standing on their feet clapping. I received a standing ovation for my efforts. Even though I lost the race with one of the worst time ever. Despite the fact that my terrible finishing time hurt my team’s ranking. At that moment I realized the power of finishing what you start and never giving up on yourself.
I KEPT DROWNING.
That story has carried me throughout my life, time and time again. I’ve fallen into so many pools and started to drown. I’ve drowned financially, I’ve drowned emotionally, drowned mentally, and even drowned physically. Each time the feeling was the same. I felt as though I was sinking and my lungs were filling with water. I couldn’t breathe. However, every time I sink and begin to drown, I remember that I can save myself. All I need to do is kick to the surface of my problem and swim as hard as I can to solid ground.
BUT I LEARNED TO WIN
I did a lot of drowning in my teen’s, 20’s and early 30’s. I also did a lot of winning. I learned to identify the “bugs” in the water that threatened to steal my victories. I learned to pivot and sway and twist and turn to stay on course. When life sent obstacles, I dove deeper and swam under them. Sometimes I swam into another lane altogether to avoid them. I learned to prevail.
Believe me, the obstacles I faced were tough. In some cases, crippling. I was molested by a family member when I was 8 and raped by a neighborhood boy at age 13. I became a teen mom at age 16 and still managed to get accepted to a top 10 university. I later dropped out. The weight of being a single parent while attending a competitive college was too much. I’ve resorted to selling plasma to feed my kids and have had my utilities cut off more time than I care to count. I lived in San Diego, a city with the third highest cost of living in the US. I learned to rob Peter to pay Paul. The only problem was, Peter always came looking for his money too.
I WANTED TO THRIVE
I knew that changing my economic status was critical to my family’s survival. But I didn’t want only to live, I wanted to thrive. To own the American dream: a house, dog, family vacations, the good life. So, I began searching for ways to advance my career. I learned to track my career events. I learned the importance of crafting a powerful resume. I learned the importance of a personal brand before “branding” was a thing on the internet. I learned the importance of mentors and project work and dozens of other tips and processes. All these lessons became the framework I teach other women today. Society never talks about those of us who are drowning. I’ve started to drowned and moved to solid ground enough times to know these strategies work.
My formula isn’t based on some Ivy Leaguer’s life experience. It is based on real-life experiences and real-life circumstances. I have taught women for the past 10 years how to advance their lives and their careers. The examples I use aren’t the cookie cutter scenarios, and the decisions are never easy. I teach strategies that move women like you and me forward. I show you how to find solid ground for yourself. Look, I’m not perfect. I have struggled like many of you in some cases worse than some of you. I know these strategies work. They have worked for my clients and for me. And the best part? We’ve been winning together for years because of it.
My method of personal and career growth may not be right for you.
But it is authentically me. Women who use my formula move into higher-paying positions. Positions that help them change their lives for the better. I hope that you will stay with me on this journey. I want to partner with you and help you reach your personal and professional goals. More than that, I hope that you invite other women to join us on this journey.
JOIN THE SLAY SQUAD
A Facebook community curated to support the professional and personal development of badass career-focused women who prefer kicking down the doors of opportunity to waiting for it to knock.
LET’S THRIVE TOGETHER
Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you. I hope it helps at least one person see the opportunity waiting for them as we move forward together.
Miracles and Blessings