I Mentally Prepare Myself

with Jahmeelah Gamble

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I am a Connector of People, Ideas, and Energy, which means everything I do in my career revolves around those 3 areas. By day I’m a proud educator. I’ve been teaching for almost 9 years but I’ve been supporting people with disabilities and their families for about 17 years. The minute the school bell rings, my entrepreneur hat comes on. My voice and my persona is my product, service, and brand. Without it, I couldn’t be the Slayer of The Mic! With my mic in hand, I #SlayTheMic at events, galas, keynotes, and host workshops. I found myself being repeatedly being asked by people in the audience how I’m so comfortable getting up on stage and at first I really couldn’t it answer that question because I just could (get what I’m saying?) After having my morning coffee with my husband, I decided I would start a program that helped people build their confidence and amplify their voice. And 2 years ago, my Slay The Mic Program was born.
 
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Nah, it’s more like “What would you say to the people who weren’t worth your time or energy when you were 16?” Boy/Girl…BYE.
 
What is your greatest fear?
My loved ones and their health. We had a scare during the holidays and it really shook me up and had me thinking about the future. I asked myself how emotionally am I prepared for emergencies like this? I know we’re not invincible but at the same time I don’t want to see those we love the most suffer in anyway. I want to protect them at all cost and the fact that life happens and can change at any moment petrifies me.
 
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
Let me tell you about the first place my husband and I lived in together. It was a one bedroom condo…with one closet…and one bathroom…and it was SMALL…like Polly Pocket small. Not only was it a terrible place to have arguments (because we had to rock, paper, scissors who got the bedroom when they were mad) but it was also a terrible place to feel creative or inspired. 4 years later we’re in a townhouse and I have a home office! My business has increased because I began coaching sessions with my clients and started to create more digital content. I also love the fact that I no longer have to go to restaurants with friends as our home is big enough to entertain guests.
 
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I’m very good at reading my body and sensing when I feel off balance so I like to say that I know my limit and I play within it – straight up. I mentally prepare myself for my busy seasons and recognize that work will be getting more of me. Just acknowledging that ahead of time makes me feel less guilty if I’m not practicing enough self-care or if my schedule has more events than days off. I truly believe that practicing the art of forgiving myself when I’m not my best has helped maintain a healthy work-life balance.
 
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I don’t have an official mentor but I do turn to God, my mother and my husband for guidance before anyone else. Last year I interviewed Fotini Iconomopoulos on my podcast (Slay The Mic Podcast) and she blew my mind! We spoke about her being a public speaker and a master negotiator. I always felt uncomfortable with the idea of negotiating, especially as a woman of colour, and Fotini basically told me to cut it out. Later she invited me to her two day symposium and again…blew my mind. I discovered I had a very bad habit of putting the word ‘just’ before asking questions in emails. “I was JUST wondering when you’re going to take care of your invoice” and I was JUST wondering if you got my email I sent you a week ago”. When I stopped using the word ‘just’ I swear to goodness, I felt like I just evolved into a super confident business woman. I knew what I wanted and was not going to beat around the bush to get it. It’s a lesson I have gone on to share with clients and my students.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I have significant moments of doubt at least once a month. It shouldn’t be a surprise to be honest, because who doesn’t worry about things? There’s this misconception that people who appear extroverted, confident, and appear successful online are doing well financially and emotionally when that’s definitely not always the case. I have no shame in saying that sometimes I wake up in the morning and question if I’m doing enough to build my business. I don’t think I would be a real entrepreneur if I didn’t have those dark days.
 
Why did you start your company?
I started it because I could. I had an idea, no business plan, and no guarantee if it would really take off, but my ‘gut checking account’ was FULL and I went off of that! Everyone has a voice and a story to tell and I wanted to help those who felt too scared to amplify their voice. Believing in my ability to do that gave me the confidence to start the Slay The Mic Program.
 
Were you scared to start your business?
Yes! Why? Because I was worried people would question my credibility. It’s astonishing how powerful debilitating thoughts like that have on our potential. We don’t worry if WE could do it, we worry if OTHERS think we can do it. It’s 2019 ya’ll, let’s drop that kind of thinking.
 
Where do you find inspiration?
My students and my clients! Gosh, do I ever love teaching! Mind you, I wasn’t particularly fond of school when I was a student but to now be in a position to influence minds of all ages is truly a gift and a privilege. From my students to my clients, each of them have helped shaped the educator I am today. So if any of my Slay The Mic clients are reading this…THANK YOU! Because of you all, you give me the spirit to press on and be the best coach I can be! And for my students, I finally get to be the educator I always needed. Thank you for all the love you give me and making me love school again.
 
What do you love most about yourself?
I love me. Period! I actually really love my voice and my personality. It’s a combo of smooth, loud, and bubbly! I sound like champagne! But most of all I love my hair. For years I wanted to try a short hair look and when I finally cut my hair, it was the most transformative year of my life. I felt way more in charge of my thoughts, emotions, and most importantly decisions. My mom wasn’t a fan at first and for the first time ever – I was OK with that! Just because my hair is short it doesn’t make me less feminine, or a radical, or whatever silly label people associate with styles like mine. It makes me…me! And I’m wonderfully and beautifully made.
If you’re reading this and wrestling with the idea of cutting your hair, let me ask you this: who’s hair is it? Who’s scalp is that hair on? Who’s gonna rock it? And will it grow back? Once you answer those questions, you are officially ready to make the big chop. JUST DO IT!

More About Jam

Jahmeelah Gamble – best known as Jam is a 31 year old cat mom from Toronto. By day she is a proud educator. She’s been teaching for almost 9 years but has been supporting people with disabilities and their families for about 17 years. The minute the school bell rings, her entrepreneur hat comes on. Jam’s voice and persona is her product, service, and brand. Without it, she couldn’t be the Slayer of The Mic!

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