By Editor-in-Chief Shawn Chavis

If the recent Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is any indication, there is nothing like having the support of your fellow sisters.  As African American women, there are many challenges we face regardless of the professional industry we are in; these challenges may at times deter or discourage us, or even cause us to take pause due to a lack of resources and proper support systems.  However, there is strength in struggle and having a supportive network of positive like-minded people is the key to such strength.  I can personally attest to this, because I am thankful everyday for the wonderfully supportive people that I have hand picked to surround myself with, who consistently encourage me to be my best even when I don’t feel it.
Who’s in your circle? If you are feeling as if you are not getting the support you need from the people who supposedly care the most about you, then maybe it’s time to take some personal inventory.  Not having the right network  to surround you can hinder your efforts to push yourself to your highest level.  Surely you are responsible for designing your own plan for success, but it is your support network that will help to ensure you stay on the right track and remain focused.  
Take time to know who is in your circle- it’s ok to be picky and choosy about who you allow in, because you need to look out for your best commodity- YOU.  Make sure that your network relationships are reciprocal, with each person (including you) giving as much as they are receiving.  Remember that there is room at the top for everyone because each person has their own unique stamp on the world.  But most of all, remember “to thine own self be true,” have faith and belief in yourself, otherwise you can’t expect others to believe in you.             ï»¿

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