I was honored to be featured recently on a wonderful blog by a sisterfriend of mine: Vanita Sanders. If you've wondered how GratitudeSpeak came to be, here is the short version...
Michael J. Fox has a quote that I love. He says “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” Marcia Whyte lived a life filled with the push to be perfect in every way. There was no time for pain, no time for processing unhealthy events just the pressure to perform and not look weak. This strain effected her relationships as an adult.
Marcia Whyte was born and raised in Chicago, IL and now makes Knoxville, TN her home. She is the owner of GratitudeSpeak a relationship marketing business focused on equipping business professionals with the necessary people skills to operate with greater confidence and perform better. It took the love of a great man who showed her gratitude and allowed her to lay her head on the softest place on earth for her to become exposed to true gratitude. When vulnerability and purpose collide magic happens. This is the narrative of that magic.
Tell us about your childhood.
I had a middle-class upbringing as a baby boomer in a two working parents household with one sibling who was very ill. I was socially adjusted, but, there were lots of personality issues based on family drama.
What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?
Being the “healthy” child, there was always pressure to be the best at everything and put on a brave front no matter how deeply I was hurting. The adage “what goes on in this house, stays in this house” was deeply ingrained. I learned not to show weakness, vulnerability and failure was never an option. Our finances were very limited due to high medical bills and extras were always viewed as not to be expected.
How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?
As an adult, it was difficult to maintain relationships that were equally yoked. I wanted what I could get from my [potential] partners and consistently strove to be ‘perfect’ whenever in public, even when the relationships were no longer good for me. I wasted money trying to buy happiness and fulfillment, yet was never satisfied.
What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?
When I met my [late] husband. We were close friends for five years before the relationship changed into a romantic one and because he was my “safe place”, I could finally let my guard down and accept myself and show vulnerability. We worked in [almost] perfect synch, as he calmed my temper (anger issues) and I “lit a fire” under him (super passive personality). We were an epic team and losing him 19-1/2 months ago has made me realize that I have worth beyond looks and talent.
What is the new narrative in your life?
I birthed my company, GratitudeSpeak, out of a promise I made to him to share my story about making others know that they matter. Business relationships are more than what they can do for you and/or more than the last check/contract they signed for you.
How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?
I am incredibly proud of how far I have come and how well my message is resonating within business cultures as well as in others’ personal lives. I’m very proud to share my experiences in a way that inspires, challenges and changes people to grow into stronger relationship-management skills.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?
Find a space (in your car, at the beach, library in a bathroom stall, a quiet corner in a restaurant/coffee shop, etc.) where you can hear yourself think. Journal about where you are stuck or what you want to improve, take several deep calming, cleansing breaths and ask God to speak to you. Prayer, music, and meditation, can help turn situations around. Don’t try to tackle everything at once, and give yourself huge props for starting the process. It will take hard work, commitment and brutal honesty with yourself but the end result will be absolutely worth it!!! NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU!
When we are fed the narrative from the cup of life that our voice does not matter it puts us in a different space as adults. It takes a special kind of love and commitment from others to help us see that we do matter. Our voices matter. Our stories matter. When God sends someone special our way their imprint on our lives will always outlast their physical presence. Marcia Whyte birthed GratitudeSpeak out of that love.