Last week I was looking in my Barbados TODAY folder and I discovered that I had written my first article on January 26, 2011. It was titled Easing the squeeze with what’s in your house based on my very first book. After submitting the article to the editor at that time, Roy Morris, he invited me to write a weekly column. I was naturally thrilled, and I have enjoyed writing articles over the years, initially about financial issues and then I found myself commenting on politics and other social issues, most of which tied back to finances in some way. However, I have to confess that after eight years, I am tired and I feel that this season has come to an end.
I have been surprised by the number of people I have run into over the years who have told me that they read my column and enjoy it. That tells me that Barbados TODAY is widely read and that this online newspaper has gained in popularity. I am particularly grateful to the readers who took the time to email me to comment on something I had written and very often to encourage me to keep writing.
Of course there have also been times when people have written to tell me off for something I wrote in an article or to disagree with something I said or correct me in some way. I have to confess that the first time someone harshly took me to task for an article I was shocked and horrified. I remember clearly the article which was called Recession Over and admittedly the title was a rather sarcastic one because I was commenting on the fact that even though we were still deep in a recession, people were somehow finding money to pay for parties and buy costumes for Kadooment. I soon came to realize that criticism as well as praise is all part of putting yourself in the public eye.
I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have had to share not only my views on various topics but also to highlight positive things that other people, particularly female entrepreneurs, were doing. The column was also a great way to promote the graduates of the WINC Acceleration Program which I facilitated for the World Bank and also to feature Women’s Entrepreneurship Day which I ran as the Barbados Ambassador for three years.
Needless to say, I also leveraged the column to shamelessly promote my books over the years and especially this latest one, Vaucluse, which has probably been more advertised than all the others put together. (One last time). I will truly miss sharing some of my experiences as I work and speak in Barbados and across the region and beyond but, as I said at the beginning, everything has a season and I am eagerly looking forward to the next season of my journey.
Before I go, I will leave you with some lessons that I have learned from writing this column over the years that can apply to any aspect of life:
· Commitment is key. Whatever you do in life, you will only have success if you are committed. Having to find something to write about every week required commitment. I cannot say that I hit the mark every time but more often than not I had an article in the editors’ Inbox every week, in time for the Friday night publication (sometimes barely in time). Some weeks I really did not feel like writing an article or had nothing worth writing about and very often I had to push through and come up with something because I had made a commitment to provide an article each week.
· Opportunities abound if we will look for them. Many weeks I would throw my hands up in defeat and sigh that there was nothing interesting to write about, but on further reflection and inspection I could usually find something. That is true for writing a column and it is true for business. Even in these economic times there are opportunities; we just need to be diligent in looking for them. I just read a great quote by comedian Milton Merle that said “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
· Be Courageous. What distresses me sometimes in Barbados is that people know when things are not going right or when injustices are being done or even when there is malfeasance and they do nothing because they are afraid of being victimized. I have always tried to have the courage to say when I saw something that was not right being done and not to be swayed by any fallout, and I cannot say that I have experienced any victimization. I encourage everyone to be courageous and do the right thing, speak out where you need to and don’t hide behind anonymous social media sites to do it.
· Celebrate Others. I was recently at a school giving a talk and I was trying to get the students to understand the importance of speaking well of each other and to each other but they said it was easier to say negative things and that they don’t really mean it. In Barbados, we seem to find it easier to pull down someone than to lift them up. I have tried to do the opposite in my columns by featuring people (particularly women) who I admire and respect for what they are doing. I do not feel threatened by their success; instead I celebrate it. When we esteem others more than ourselves and we celebrate them, our relationships will be stronger, our networks will be stronger and our nation will be stronger and we desperately need a strong nation.
So it is with mixed feelings that I am at the end of my last article. There is definitely relief that I will no longer be under pressure to find something to write about every week but there is sadness that the season has ended. I know there will be weeks when I will be burning to give my take on something that has happened in the nation or to share something that has really excited me and I will regret that I don’t have my column any more. However, I hope that at those times, the Editors will welcome me as a Guest columnist and print my thoughts. Thanks to all of you for reading and encouraging me over the years and especially to anyone who has taken the time to email me to comment on an article. Over for now.
Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She was the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014-2016) and was the Barbados Facilitator for the WINC Acceleration Program. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF). She has recently released her eleventh book, Vaucluse, which is available on all Amazon stores, at Pages and the Museum or contact her to order your copy.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org