Having What Matters: The Black Woman's Guide to Creating the Life You Really Want

Having What Matters: The Black Woman's Guide to Creating the Life You Really Want




Now is the time to take your joy off layaway! In this practical and informative guide, Monique Greenwood offers easy-to-follow, down-to-earth advice and anecdotes for creating the life you really want. From financial freedom to finding or enjoying a healthy relationship, Greenwood covers all the bases. She charts her own incredible journey from anonymity to the top of the Essence masthead, from an unfit size-eighteen body to a shapely size twelve, from a cramped rental apartment to a mansion of her own, from countless bad relationships to a sweet union. Her bootstrapping strategies work!

Having What Matters offers:

  • Inspiration for defining success on your own terms
  • Methods for identifying the illusions that hold you back
  • Steps for putting yourself at the top of your-to-do list
  • Guidance on how to say no to what drains you and yes to what drives you
  • Techniques for accumulating and sustaining wealth
  • Tips for finding or appreciating your sexy soul mate ... and more

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060507886
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/17/2002
Edition description: FIRST AMISTAD
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

A graduate of Howard University, Monique Greenwood is the owner of the world-famous Akwaaba Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Brooklyn, New York, and its sister businesses, Akwaaba Cafe, a Brooklyn restaurant, and Akwaaba by the Sea, a bedand-breakfast inn in Cape May, New Jersey. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband of twelve years, who still calls her "love goddess," and her nine-year-old daughter, who calls her "cool."

First Chapter

Chapter One

A Legacy of Greatness

You and I, my sister, are the children of the dream. Our ability to secure decent, and in some cases top-paying jobs is the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of our parents, our grandparents, and our enslaved ancestors before them. It is through their lives that we can learn principle and pride. Of course, the struggle is not over and the road is not unfettered. But the fact is, we have gone from picking cotton to picking blue-chip stocks. It humbles me to be able to move ahead because of the sacrifices made by those who came before me.

Success is our birthright, given the monumental challenges we have fought to overcome. Some of our struggles have made the history books and some have not. I need look no further than my own family tree to see how the indomitable spirit and determination of our people have won out over hardships and obstacles. In the early 1920s my grandfather Benjamin Ordway Greenwood opened a modest corner grocery store in southeast Washington, D.C. But a white man with a competing store across the street complained to the wholesaler that he didn't want his food delivered in the same truck as a black man's. The wholesaler caved in and halted delivery of my grandfather's goods.

Papa, as we called him, didn't grow bitter, just more determined. He scraped together enough money to buy a horse and wagon, then picked up the groceries himself from the wholesaler's warehouse. When Papa wasn't carrying food to his store, he hauled trash for other businesses. In the process a moving business was born -- Greenwood's Transfer Moving and Storage Company. It would go on to becomeone of the country's leading black-owned businesses.

In 1927 Papa bought his first truck and expanded his business to include transporting horses, which at that time were still used to pull wagons. When automobiles took over the roadways, that end of the business came to a halt. But my grandfather changed with the times. He knew that the only way to make the family business grow was to secure federal contracts. That would mean financing, since the government took about a month to pay its bills. Papa knocked on door after door until one bank, National Capital, granted a line of credit to a hardworking black man who always paid his bills on time.

As inspiring a story as Papa's was, you might think I grew up hearing it. Hardly. In fact, in the early eighties, had I not found myself rummaging through a drawer of report cards and other documents looking for my college degree, I might never have learned of Papa's struggles at all. In my search I came across a yellowed newspaper article from the front page of a 1975 edition of the Washington Post, "Oldest D.C. Black-Owned Firm Grew with Effort," the title read. And there, under the big type, was a small photo of my grandfather in his cap and knickers, standing in front of the truck he bought in 1927. The article detailed the growth of Papa's business and the fortitude of a man with vision. It said that in 1983, Greenwood's Transfer Moving and Storage Company made Black Enterprise magazine's list of the nation's top one hundred black businesses, boasting gross sales of $1.5 million!

I screamed! I had no idea that the family business my daddy had worked for as a moving man all my life was so successful, no idea of my grandfather's amazing fortitude. My Aunt Helen took over the business in 1964 when Papa died. I was only five. My father sold my aunt his share of the stock Papa had left him to help pay down the mortgage on the house he and my mother raised us five kids in (they still live there today). So my father had a moving man's salary, and I had no idea of the company's greatness.

I ran through the house clutching that newspaper, looking for my father, looking for an explanation. "Why didn't you tell me about Papa -- all he went through, all he accomplished?" I demanded when I met up with my daddy. My father at first looked puzzled. Then he took a deep breath and explained. Papa's success had been tinged with the shame of having doors closed in his face, tainted by the reality of black entrepreneurs simply not having the same options as whites. Papa, my father told me, had wanted to shield his family from the pain and humiliation of his being treated as less than a man because of the color of his skin. And although he was proud of the moving business, he might never have started it at all had that wholesaler decided not to deliver a black man's groceries.

But what Papa regarded as a shameful chapter, I saw as testament to a true bootstrapper's will and commitment. Papa showed the world that while discrimination might slow him down, nothing could stop him from pressing on. And even though I came to know that part of my history relatively late in life, it has ignited in me a turning determination as well.

The Bootstrapper's Way

Papa's story is a clear example of a poor, black man in America bootstrapping his way to the top. A bootstrapper is a person of very modest means who, by dint of sheer will and determination, excels beyond imagination. A bootstrapper doesn't have much, but a bootstrapper doesn't need much either. Through my Papa, and perhaps your mama or papa, there is a powerful lesson in creating your own destiny -- even if you're one generation, or one paycheck, away from poverty. A bootstrapper casts her bucket where she is and begins to run the race with fortitude and conviction...

Having What Matters. Copyright © by Monique Greenwood. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1A Legacy of Greatness5
Chapter 2Successfully Defining Success25
Chapter 3"Me" Time49
Chapter 4A Great Career65
Chapter 5Financial Freedom97
Chapter 6A Sexy Soul Mate125
Chapter 7Looking Good, Feeling Great161
Chapter 8Loving Family and Friends199
Chapter 9Leaving the World a Better Place229

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