I Gave the Best of ME to the WRONG People--and then I Woke Up

I Gave the Best of ME to the WRONG People--and then I Woke Up
Ericka L. Mauldin is an Accomplished, American, Television Producer who owns Edit Talent Group and Chicks That Pitch in Chicago Illinois. Second photo: ImpaktStudio.

As I sit here, sipping on my coffee, reflecting on the beauty of life, I have to give thanks for being in a place where I can truly say, I love myself and I love myself enough to WIN!  Focusing on Living LIFE,Loving LIFE and Being LIFE is how I have survived my self-destructive past, Yes, we all do it.

I have two companies, both service the television and film industry, some call me a Superwoman.  I say, I’m just me.  And I’ve  had a lifetime of experiences that have encouraged me to be who I am today.

I spend my days and nights working excessively.  Building an empire, taking care of my family, motivating others in various capacities.  It’s a rewarding experience, you know; to inspire people. Positively contributing to others lives, is about what sums it up.

Self-Destruction

For many years, I was sleepwalking.

As a kid,I could see the value in earning money and making other people happy, I was a little hustler.  My sisters knew I always had money. Even before my first job at 15, if I wasn’t running grocery errands for the neighbors or buying boxes of Little Debbie snacks and selling them from my book bag, I was making money by doing my friends’ makeup.

Let’s just say I was destined to not ever have a “dry pocket.”

Seems all good, right?  But it wasn’t.

I had a tumultuous childhood and through that I didn’t know my self worth.  I sacrificed all of me for the sake of others. I learned a lot of things, but I was not taught how to love me.

See, even at that young age, I was making things happen for others, like I said, it’s so rewarding, but I was hiding something underneath my smile, my compassion, and my determination to have more out of life.  My secret: I was making that money to survive. I was a child, a teen mom, thinking about how to feed and take care of my family, my mom and sisters.

Do you really understand what kind of burden that responsibility has on a teenager?

I was raised in the church and I was blessed to learn how important having a spiritual relationship would be for my life. It carries me today. I was taught to give,give,give, with the expectation that I would receive “blessings” in return.  See, I spent my youth giving everything away and that included me–and I didn’t even realize it, until life hit me with a number of uppercuts and I lost everything.

And when I looked around for help, no one was there.

That was my wake-up call.

I started my first company Edit Talent Group back in 2003, I was serving a dual career in the television and cosmetics industries and I had my first degree by then.  I was married with four children, the house, and the cars. People called us the Black Ken and Barbie…funny but, I was dying on the inside.  Still, I gave and I gave and I gave like I did when I was a kid. Not truly understanding why was I giving away so much of me.

Self-Neglect

In 2005, my family unit was forever changed and it was then that I became a single mom with two careers, a house, cars and more….it wasn’t easy at all.

And to top it all off, I gave away my professional freedom by putting my business on hold to support someone else’s dream; I became the COO of a private label cosmetics company that was housed in a few Macy’s Department Stores in the Midwest.

I took my job seriously and at that time I was in my Masters Program at Xavier University.  I was there for her growth and as I gave, gave and gave to this woman and her company, I lost everything of my own.  See, not only was I an employee, I became an owner with the hopes that I would positively benefit in return…you know, what I learned in the church, “give and you will receive” right?

But, nothing transpired….not only did I give away my time and my money, I gave away me!

I ended up running a company that wasn’t mine and I did it for FREE! I was an employee and a shareholder and not making one dime!

People asked, “Why do you stay?”  I would reply, “How can you walk away from something you’ve invested everything into?”

She promised me that I would get it all back with interest.  Did that happen? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

I was left broken, in debt and I had nearly $60,000 of uncashed paychecks  (every deposit would bounce).  I worked for FREE and it wasn’t my company! I put my business on hold to help someone else’s dream and I was left with no support.

Self-Worth

I took a step back during my MBA program; we had an International Business class that required for me to travel to ASIA, and that gave me time to breathe, think, and to evaluate life. Ultimately, that trip helped me to make some wiser decisions.

I came home brand new! I looked at the big picture, checked my net worth, saw what this experience was doing–not just to me, but to my children as well–and it made me sick!  I expected others to be there, but the truth is, I hadn’t expected that of myself.  

Was this what I needed to finally see?

I began to feel vulnerable, transparent and vocal.  I was angry, I was tired! I worked my ass off and I’m looking at my situation thinking….this is not what you worked so hard for! I told myself, “You are worth more than this; you have gifts, talents and a business that needs attention With your work experience, your education and your knowledge, YOU are a valuable woman!”

Self-Love

You must look at yourself in the mirror and recognize that you were placed on this earth to change lives but how can you set an example, if you are not practicing what you preach?

I was tired! I was tired of feeling broken.  I was tired of allowing others to take advantage of my worth.   I was tired of giving away what I didn’t have; and I was tired of feeling like a victim!

So, I walked away from the parasites–everything and everyone that was in my life to take advantage of my giving spirit–and it hurt!

Today, I am a confident woman who demands what she is worth and doesn’t settle or accept anything less. 

My wakeup call was enough for me to get myself together and truly understand my purpose. (I remain a giver; but the difference is, I LOVE myself enough to understand my own worth, what makes me happy and how MY JOY adds value to the successes in my personal and professional life.

I had to choose my happiness and today, I encourage you to do the same. Know your worth, and don’t allow parasites to distract you.

LOVE yourself enough to win!

LOVE YOU!

By Ericka L. Mauldin, MBA
Ericka L. Mauldin is an Accomplished, American, Television Producer who owns Edit Talent Group and Chicks That Pitch in Chicago Illinois. Follow Ericka on Facebook.

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