Yesterday I attended a branding conference to hear from my favorite "Insecure" character, Molly, who is played by actress Yvonne Orji. Priceless! Molly is me in real life, but because Orji and I also have aligned spiritual values, the experience was beyond rewarding.
Orji’s content was enough for at least three blog posts, but I'll start with an area we all struggle with, doubt. Whether or not you believe in God, doubting your own or your higher power’s ability to surpass obstacles is a real thing. Orji shared how her ability to overcome doubt, ultimately led her to landing Molly.
In 2014, Orji faced months of a spiraling depressive state. She was doing everything she was supposed to do as far as booking gigs, honoring her value by raising her price, cutting back on expenses to make money stretch, and being faithful to her tithing and spiritual commitments. All of that said, she was doubting her abilities. She wasn’t getting the opportunities she needed to maintain her L.A. life, and as a result she was soon going to be forced to return to Laurel, Maryland where she says “dreams go to die.”
Admittedly, this period in time was so bad, she didn’t feel like getting up to shower, because there was nothing to shower for; she was LOW. Looking back though, Orji mentioned that from 2009 to 2014, God had already opened numerous doors and showed her His ability to “make a way out of no way,” as the church folks say. I'll pause here.
How many times do we minimize our past triumphs in the face of a new trial? How easy is it to amplify the obstacle and disregard our ability to overcome?
Don’t get me wrong; it's definitely easier said than done. Personally, I don’t often look at what I’ve done as celebratory because it’s not yet where I need to be. The problem with that is when you overlook your past journey, you easily forget what you are capable of and what God is capable of doing for you. In a spiritual sense, sometimes God brings these larger obstacles, to push us more intimately in relationship with Him by showing us just how capable He really is. Different levels bring new demons, but our past contains the blueprint for what we have done and can do. Our stories keep us grounded and confident.
When Orji got real with herself and God (through fasting and prayer), it became clear to her that those unfortunate events gave her the time she needed to focus on what she was supposed to be doing. She confessed, “I became so focused working for everyone else, I lost sight of what I was supposed to be working on for myself.” This is too real. Sometimes we get so comfortable, even in entrepreneurship, doing the jobs that contribute to our income, we don’t realize they've become distractions from our purpose in addition to replacing our understanding of provision. We become attached to the job or money forgetting that our real source was never anything we could see or touch.
Instead of sitting in doubt and frustration, Orji began using her free-time and resources to learn what she needed to know in order to bring her vision to life. She was hungry. Returning to Maryland was not an option. She could not fail and would not accept “no” or “wait” from anyone. She was re-centered, empowered, and determined. It was during this grind, she ended up getting noticed by Issa Rae and sent an invite for an HBO show audition which she successfully landed five auditions later.
Again, there are so many gems within this story I didn’t get to touch, but the leading point is that doubt is a natural human feeling. No matter what level you are on, we all experience it. The key is to not let it cripple you.
Whether or not you believe in God, you have to ground yourself in why you started, remind yourself what you’ve already done, and get clear on what you can do with what you have to make something happen. You never know who’s watching, so keep grinding.