We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaquinta Richardson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shaquinta, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
The concept of work/life balance is the foundation of why I built my business. I see balance as a fluid concept rather than a stagnant one that can shift and change as our lives shift and change. The issue that many people have is that work heavily outweighs the life aspect within the balance when work is only a part of what our lives encompass. It’s often at the center of people’s worlds and takes up the majority of the space. What I encourage people to do is identify the aspects of life that are important to them, develop ways to move work from the center and make space for other areas of life such as family, relationships, hobbies, leisure time, etc. Again, recognizing that our lives need to be fluid. There will be times where work has to take up more time and other areas may receive less attention. There are also other times when relationships, family, and most importantly self will need more attention and allowing ourselves to move with those ebbs and flows. I also recognize that people’s access and capital vary, adding lots of nuance to the statements above so I always encourage people to take into account their specific situation and needs. But overall, we need a sociocultural shift (and it is happening) as it relates to how much space work takes up in our lives.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a Life Coach and Consultant working primarily with Black women creatives and leaders to build the life and career of their dreams by breaking through fear, perfectionism and unhelpful daily habits. I started Beyond Achieving, LLC during my time as a licensed therapist because I consistently observed the phenomenon of my Black women clients overworking, moving in fear, and not taking care of themselves. I started my business on the foundation of self-care and work/life balance, but it has now transformed into so much more. Self-care and balance are now only the tip of the iceberg in my work. I help Black women overcome their deepest fears and tap into their deepest desires while helping them master their mind, emotions, and behaviors to make those desires manifest. My work heavily emphasizes and challenges the role of intergenerational patterns, capaitalism, and gendered racism in how we think, feel and act.
I started my business in March of 2020 and launched my first program in April of 2020. Prior to, I was in business as a private practice therapist and decided to start this business to focus more creatively on the issues mentioned above. I do believe timing played a major part in how well my business did from the start because the pandemic came at the same time, illuminating a need for many to slow down and re-evaluate our relationship with labor, productivity, and capitalism. I don’t know that any entrepreneur would truly call starting a business easy, but being able to work virtually and use social media eliminated a lot of the barriers to entry that are traditionally associated with starting a business. The biggest challenges were my own self-doubt, fears around putting myself and work out there, and being new to the field itself. I overcame these challenges by working with my own coach to identify what mental blocks and old stories were getting in the way of showing up and figuring out how to promote my business in a way that made sense for me and my ideal clients.
As an awkward Black girl with anxiety and gifted child from a single-parent household with limited resources who grew up to be a highly-anxious overachieving adult who thought my ceiling would be a “good paying job” with benefits that I go to everyday until I retire at 65, it is important for me to show and help other women believe for themselves that there is so much more for us in this world. We can build wealth, we can have fun, we can work less, we can travel regularly and have hobbies and be happy. We can have fulfilling relationships with other women and experience the fullness of life right now. Not when we’re 65 but right now! I practice what I preach and my clients experience this for themselves everyday through our work.
Some of the things I have learned along the way are:
1. One of the most important things anyone can do is learn how to make the next decision and take the next best step. People get caught up on doing the right or wrong thing and not wanting to fail when none of these things are predictable and there are a lot of “right” ways. Another way to state it is learning how to fail and move forward with the data. It’s all data.
2. Everyone is making shit up as they go. Just because something worked for someone else does not mean it will automatically work for you. Try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else, but just because people are doing things a certain way does not mean it is the best or only way.
3. Everything is made up! Literally all of it. Some of it is helpful but most of it. Not really. You can decide for yourself how you live your life. Most people encouraging you to follow the rules either aren’t following them themselves or are miserable because they do. Choose for yourself.
4. Don’t take things personally, especially when someone doesn’t know you personally. You’re still human, so if something hurts your feelings, that’s ok. Be human. Cry, feel, then question why. If someone criticizes you or gives you feedback, it’s up to you to determine whether that feedback is relevant or valid. Either way, don’t make it about your value as a person or (insert title here). Learn from it if you can, release it if not.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a bit of a homebody and newer to Houston, so my list may be a little limited. My favorite brunch spot and the place I recommend for all people coming from out of town is the Breakfast Klub. I don’t care what anyone says, the food slaps and I love the service. Just go on a weekday. For a vibe, I recommend Little Hen or the Honey Hole. They’re super cute and IG worthy but also have good food. I would also recommend Wild Coffee Shop, Bar, and Dispensary for their croissant and coffee if you want to take a little break and chat. Then head over to Sixty Vines for some good food and wine. One of my favorite places to visit weekly is Kindred Stories, a Black owned bookstore in the 3rd ward. If you like oysters, hit up Caracol for their happy hour. If you’re trying to get fancy, Steak 48 wins for me every time for their ribeye, dessert, and ambiance. Otherwise, I’m in the house.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are way too many people to name. This work does not happen without many resources, supporters, and mentors. If I had to name someone, I would have to shoutout my business bestie, Wanda Swan, who is the CEO of Start by Talking, LLC, anti-oppression education, assessment, and multimedia company that supports leaders and organizations in interrogating their personal and professional relationships with anti-Blackness and White Supremacy. She has been such a huge supporter and friend as a fellow entrepreneur and is doing amazing anti-oppressive work in the coaching and consulting space. She keeps me encouraged and continues to show me what is possible when you stay committed to your vision!
Jess Golden of Jess Golden Photography