This is a love letter of sorts, and meant for you if you’re an OG VA….say, in your business for more than 10 years.
In 2006, Oprah created the Legend’s Ball to honor a group of black women who had paved the way for others. I can’t tell you what an impact it had on me, although you might be able to guess, since I’m still talking about it more than 15 years later.
Among the Legends were Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Alice Walker, Lena Horne, and Toni Morrison. Among the younger women paying tribute to the Legends, were Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Judith Jamison, Anna Deavere Smith, and Iman. Amazing women, all.
Pearl Cleage wrote a poem for the event called We Speak Your Names. That poem was released as a book; it’s a treasure, and my copy is one of my most-prized books.
In part, it reads (about the Legends):
You change the world around you with such fierce determination, effortless style, and unshakable grace, that we never suspected how hard it was to be out there in the real world where sisterhood sometimes seems an abstract idea, and not the living, breathing thing we know, and need and want it to be. We have sometimes shivered at the edges of a very cold place, where people do not always see our beauty, or understand the rhythm of our song. At those moments, we whisper your names as a talisman and a touchstone, so we will not forget who and what and why we are here.
When I created the virtual assistance profession, part of what I wanted for it was a spirit of giving—to each other, to clients, and to the world. We were birthing something new, and together, over time, I knew we could change lives.
Sitting here looking at things 20+ years later, I know we’ve done that; I see it all around me, and you tell me about it, every day.
My mission has always been to really help VAs become successful—whether they are emerging or more experienced at their craft. My hope remains that those who are successful will contribute to each other, of course, but also graciously help the new ones in our communities.
If you’ve been a VA for some time, it’s likely your example that others look to when they are coming up. The higher your integrity, the better run your business, the stronger (and higher!) your standards, the happier you are with your life, the greater your success…they all say something to the newer VAs about what they can accomplish in their own lives and work. And, it’s not just pretty words or empty promises they see when they look at you. You are out there doing it. And that’s spectacular.
For yourself, it could be enough to sit in your own little corner of the world, quietly doing your thing. But I think that sharing “your thing” with newer VAs is critical to the growth and continued success of our profession.
There’s power in what we say. There’s strength in our numbers. And we’ve already been trailblazers. Are we ready to be Legends?