Maybe She’s Born With It….The Confidence Factor

If you’ve known me longer than 5 years, I’m sure you can agree with the statement: Nakisha Washington giving advice about confidence is an oxymoron.

However, I’ve developed an unbreakable confidence that has opened new doors, provided a sixth sense when making decisions and propelled me into a space that I previously believed only existed for other people.

The real question is: How did I go from being overly conscious and unable to make a decision without consulting (read: getting approval) 10 people to the ask for forgiveness instead of permission, bold, confident go-getter that you see today?

Real questions need real answers, right? The truth is… iPracticed.

Maybe She’s Born With It….Maybe Issa Skill

According to an article published in Psychology Today, confident people deliberately learn and practice specific skills. Confidence, afterall, is a skill and not a personality trait. Like any other skill, it must be cultivated, practiced and then practiced even more.

Here are 3 things that I practiced to gain confidence:

But Did You Die?

Everything used to scare the hell out of me. The thought of not being liked, feeling inadequate and unqualified, being told no… the list goes on. The best way to overcome your fears is to face them head on.

A few years ago, I made up my mind that I would do one thing everyday that scared me. I didn’t announce it… I just did it. “It” being whatever that thing was that I had avoided because of fear.

I applied to jobs that I had previously passed over thinking that I didn’t stand a chance. Would I get an interview?

I asked for exactly what I wanted. Would I be judged?

I told someone “No” and wondered if they’d still like me.

Facing these fears wasn’t easy… or fun. Each time I did something that scared me, I asked myself “But did you die?” Over time, I realized that the outcomes of facing my fears were much worse in my mind than they were in real life.

Prepare to Win

She readyyyyy! I literally prepared for everything that I said that I wanted. I wrote acceptance speeches for awards, I dressed as if I were the keynote speaker at events that I attended and managed my finances as if I were already a business owner.

Prematurely owning the spaces that I wanted to be in ultimately landed me in those exact spaces. There was power in visualizing my dreams that were hidden on the other side of fear.

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Laugh at Yourself

I used to take myself sooooo seriously. I embarrassed easily and became defensive when others pointed out mistakes. I obsessed over details that will never matter. Oh, the stress!

In 5-inch heels and the miniest of skirts, I tripped walking into a restaurant during an HBCU homecoming.

( I’ll pause for you to get over second hand embarrassment.)

I recovered quickly, looked around and laughed so hard I shed real tears. That was the first time in my life that I’d had a hearty leaugh at myself. It felt good. Damn good, actually.

When I stopped taking myself so seriously, mistakes and setbacks didn’t weigh as heavily as they had in the past. I gained the confidence to step out more boldly and more often. Even if you trip on that step, you’ll just have a funny story to tell.

What Gabrielle Union Told Me About Work-Life Balance

Raise your hand if you’ve been able to balance a thriving career, Instagram-worthy weekend shenanigans, president of the PTA style parenting and still manage to get 8 hours of the type of sleep seen on mattress commercials…at the same damn time. I’ll wait.

Regardless if you’re an entrepreneur, stay at home mom or A-list actress, shit gets hard. Despite chasing the ever-elusive work-life balance, few, if any, of us every truly figure out what that balance looks like… in real life. 

I caught up with actress, author and activist, Gabrielle UnionWade to talk about how she’s adjusting to life as a new (working) mom. 

On Work-Life Balance

Gabrielle has been my sister in my head since Bring it On. During our conversation, I realized that she is truly all of us when she shared with me that “….some days I’m better at it [work-life balance] than others….I’m a little sucky at work some days and other days I’m sucky at being a mom….I haven’t figured it out yet.” Girl, you too?

She added “I’ve figured out that this idea of balance is a farce.” The reason we struggle with figuring out how to find balance in our lives is because we have preconceived notions about what it should look like. Sis, it doesn’t exist! There’s no prototype. You have the freedom to design your life in a way that works for you. 

On Sleeping When You’re Dead

Have you ever read a meme like “I’d rather be tired than broke” or “Hustle More. Complain Less.”   that made you feel like you are failing at life for being tired, frustrated….or just about any emotion, that makes us human?

Union Wade sees that line of thinking for what it is…bullshit.She quipped “ when people say “Oh, I’m giving 110%…then you’re actually at a deficit in some area of your life.” A friendly reminder that people aren’t everything that they ‘post’ to be.

On Your Best Being Good Enough

I’ve slowly come to the realization that a perfectly balanced life isn’t #goals. Instead, I work hard, focus on remaining consistent and no longer put pressure on myself to be everything to everyone. Gabrielle agreed and stated  “…. I just do my best and hope that people are considerate and know that I’m doing my best in every situation. I’m not gonna hit it out of the park every time….and I gotta be ok with that.”

Cheers to figuring out what type of “balance” works for your life. We’re Going to Need More Wine (see what I did there?) for that!

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I Have Nothing to Say to My Younger Self

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It doesn’t snow often in Charlotte. When it does snow, naturally, it’s a big deal! My daughter wanted to go out and play in the snow before it melted. Having grown up in Michigan, I’m no stranger to snow. Actually, playing outside with my daughter brought on a feeling of nostalgia.

Being out in the snow and thinking about my childhood reminded me of a question that I’m often asked, “What would you say to your younger self?”

As a young girl, I loved playing in my moms fancy clothes! I loved sequins, furs, heels and bags. As an adult, I play out my childhood fantasies by shopping vintage and creating fabulous looks. Adult dress up!

As a young girl, I loved playing in my moms fancy clothes! I loved sequins, furs, heels and bags. As an adult, I play out my childhood fantasies by shopping vintage and creating fabulous looks. Adult dress up!

Actually….I Have Nothing to Say

I used to answer this question with statements like “I’d tell myself to never give up.” or “I’d say finish college.” Then, I thought about it. If I had taken that advice, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am.

If I had kept going when I should have stopped, I may not have met someone that God placed in my path. If I had finished college, I wouldn’t have the work ethic that I have today. Had I obeyed my mom, I wouldn’t have learned a hard lesson that I would apply later in life.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, whether we realize it or not. I also believe that everything that is supposed to happen in your life, will happen. So, although it hasn’t always been easy, I wouldn’t change the course of my life. The heartbreaks, disappointments and failures all lead me to this moment.

Jacket: JCPenny  Fur/Blouse: Goodwill  Pants: Target

Jacket: JCPenny Fur/Blouse: Goodwill Pants: Target

However, I do have a message for my future self.

Actually, there are 5 things that I want to say to my future self:

  1. It’s ok to ‘look stupid’.

    Remember when you were afraid to start your blog? You didn’t have a professional graphic designer, photographer or clothes for days…but you did it. Overcoming the fear of ‘looking stupid’ has opened so many doors. Paid opportunities to speak, write and collaborate. Most importantly, you have received messages from women who tell you that you’ve inspired them to go after their goals. Is looking stupid to an imaginary group of people worth the impact that you’ve been able to make by just putting it out there? So whatever it is that you are holding off because of an irrational fear, just do it.

  2. You don’t have to do it all.

    Not only do you not HAVE to do it all, you can’t do it all. Asking for and accepting help is not a weakness. In fact, it’s a strength. Being self aware enough to realize your blind spots and weaknesses will help you tremendously.

  3. When opportunity knocks..you don’t have to answer.

    In 2016-2017, opportunities presented themselves left and right. You answered the call every time with a “Hell yeah!” You ended up overworked, failing at opportunities that you weren’t prepared to take and ultimately, depressed. Remember, if you pass on an opportunity, another one will come. Often, the next opportunity will be bigger and better. When you say no, use that in between time to continue doing more of the work that attracted the opportunity.

  4. There is purpose in everything that you do.

    No task or experience is insignificant, no matter how small. Even when you don’t understand why you are called to do a certain thing, do it in excellence. If you speak to an audience of 2 or 2000, keep the same energy, sis. Everyone that you are able to reach is for a reason, remember that.

  5. Be present.

    Kish, I know that you are ambitious and pride yourself on being forward thinking…but you gotta chill. Just as you cannot change the past, you can’t predict the future. Celebrate every period of your life for you don’t know what is to come. Celebrate during good times and remember the time when you prayed to be in that space. Celebrate in bad times because you are learning a lesson that is going to propel you to your next level.


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Now, I’ll get back to my childhood memories. Not to tell my younger self anything, but to appreciate those moments in time.

What would you say to your future self?




Profashional Holiday Style Guide

If you’re like me, December is filled with invites to holiday parties, family pictures (planned or otherwise) and dinner dates. Needless to say, post-worthy outfits are a must.

To always step out looking your best, try variations of the looks I’ve put together in my Profashional Holiday Style Guide!


Tap each image to scroll.

I’d love to see your holiday style. Post your look and tag me on Instagram, using #profashionalholidaystyle.

Until next time….

Mood Piece

Where has the time gone? We are knee-deep in the holiday season. My favorite time of year, although it doesn’t feel like it. Despite warmer weather, I got cozy in some of my textured winter blues.


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Loving this look? Here’s how to create a similar outfit:

Pick a Mood Piece

Start by asking yourself how you want to feel. For my Sunday Funday girls’ date, I wanted to be casual so I started with this super comfy sweater. It’s so soft and feels like I’m wrapped in a blanket. Your mood piece should create the feeling for your look…..comfy, bold, trendy, casual, professional….however you’re feeling.

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Bring on the Textures

Textures add a pop of visual interest to your outfit. Although I’m wearing a monotone look, pairing denim, velvet and fluffiness (I don’t know how else to describe the sweater) takes this causal look up a notch. Don’t forget the snakeskin pumps!

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Contrast

For this look, I chose a lippie opposite of the light color of my mood piece. If your mood piece is bold, printed or sequined, try pairing it with a nude lip color. If I’m wearing all white, I’ll wear a bright red lipstick.

To create this look, pick a mood piece, throw in a couple of textures and chose a lip color that contrasts the colors in your outfit.

I want to see the looks that you create! Tag me on Instagram (@iamtheprofashional) with the hashtag #moodpiece