Do not worry about sales. Do not allow the number of books you sell to determine the book’s worth and your worth. You are terrific if you decided to write a book. It takes boldness and relentlessness to publish a book. Kudos to you for pursuing your dream! Your book will be for who it needs to be for. If you touch one life, you have changed the world.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristin Brittany Smith.
Kristin Brittany Smith is an educator with over a decade of experience in teaching and mentoring in the inner city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Memphis, TN. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership. She is now an author.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born and raised in a two-parent household in Memphis, Tn. I have four siblings (three brothers and one sister); two of my brothers lived in the household with me, the other two (younger brother and sister) lived with their mom. I was raised in the church with a firm conviction to live for God and treat others with respect. When I was about two years old, one side of my head was flat, so I was taken to the hospital where the doctors performed cosmetic surgery on my skull. The doctors informed my parents that my speech would be impaired and that I would be a slow learner.
I was unaware of the surgery and the doctor’s remarks until I became an adolescent, and I noticed that I would have pains in my head along the surgery scar when school was difficult. My mother then revealed to me the reason behind the scar and the doctors’ remarks, and from that day, we both began to pray and speak scriptures and positive affirmations over my life. Our goal was to prove the doctor wrong.
I did just that! I graduated from high school, received my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite “life lesson quote” is a scripture: I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me; Philippians 4:13. This was the scripture that got me through my childhood, those awkward teenage stages, and through adulthood. When life happens and gets complicated, I have relied on my faith in God to strengthen me in places where I am weak. Throughout my childhood and through those teen years, I repeatedly heard that my brothers were smarter than me because they were fast learners, and it took me longer to understand different things. As an adult, I was frequently overlooked for opportunities or promotions despite my qualifications, and the only thing that has gotten me through life is my faith. I know that I can do anything I desire because of Jesus that lives within me. I am stronger, wiser, and better because of my confidence in God and myself.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I do not want this to sound cliché, but the Bible has significantly impacted me. To some, the Bible is a compilation of fictitious stories, and God is a fictitious being. To me, the Bible is a compilation of real stories told by real people born to a real God. The Bible resonates with me so much because I can read, study, and learn about others’ successes and failures. What better way to become a student of success and failure than by reading the autobiography of people? Not only that, but I can also gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom on how to live life. If you listen to the motivational speakers of past generations and current generations, they all reference scriptures in the Bible to inspire others. If you listen to successful business owners, they have taken some of their principles from the Bible. What better book to learn about life lessons than the Bible?
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the Pandemic began, I was an educator of twelve years. Also, I tutored students when I was not teaching. If you are licensed or a certified educator, it is not difficult to find teaching jobs. At the bare minimum, if you are an average teacher, it is not difficult to hold on to your job for years. There will always be a need for teachers, as the population continues to grow. December 2019 was when I made a conscious decision to step away from teaching and take a mental break. In January 2020, my previous employer heard that I was taking a mental break and wanted me to do some part-time work in preparing their students for state testing in April. State testing never happened due to schools being shut down by the spread and early stages of Covid-19. Because I was part-time, the school no longer needed me, and I found myself unemployed like many Americans.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
During my mental break in March of 2020, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit telling me to write a book. I was confused because, at the time, I only saw myself as an educator. I was not a writer nor had experience as an author. I did not know where to begin and how to approach this enormous task. But again, as stated earlier, my favorite scripture, my confidence in myself, and my faith in God gave me the motivation to write. I did not know that in April, that Covid-19 would shut down my city and leave me unemployed. Like everyone else, I thought that this virus would pass and that I would be able to run my summer camp during the summer, but that was not the case. This virus was here to stay, and stay it did.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
In April, as I noticed how the world was starting to be affected by the virus, I began to receive my “aha moment.” I needed to start this path because, unaware of future events, my book would be about faith (Fighting the Good Fight of Faith). Although the world was facing unprecedented times, this was the perfect opportunity to restore hope in this world by writing this book. This book will remind believers to lean towards their faith and trust in the God that they worship. This book will persuade nonbelievers to develop a relationship with God to receive hope and answers to their problems. This book will push all of us to love everyone regardless of race and political party, especially during this election season.
How are things going with this new initiative?
It is going super, great, fantastic. I have gotten great reviews on the book and how it has refreshed and renewed people’s thinking. The book has also done well in sales. Also, I have written a children’s book that will build a child’s self-esteem and self-image. I was more excited about the children’s book than the first book because I have experience working with children. I am writing two more books for teenagers, and they will be released in December 2020. I am also helping a young author, a fourth-grader, write her first book. I would have never imagined that I would become an author, especially during a pandemic. I would have never thought that I would have the courage to step out and do something new, especially during a world crisis.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful for my aunt and uncle (the Smiths). In February 2020, I made plans to move out of the city, but my aunt and uncle allowed me to live with them until it was time to move. As we all know, in June of 2020, is when many cities began to shut down, and that prevented me from opening my summer camp and moving towards the end of summer. My aunt and uncle were compassionate and understanding and allowed me to stay with them and work on my book in peace. They did not hassle me for rent, even though I paid my share each month, or discourage me from writing. They were more excited for me than I was for me. They promoted my book wherever they went and were genuinely supportive during this entire process.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Since I became an author, the most exciting story that has happened to me is the number of lives that have been touched by me being bold and pursuing something new. A stranger on Facebook saw my book, heard my story, and said that I encouraged her to continue writing. My aunt and uncle have also been encouraged by my fearlessness that they both have allowed me to either rerelease a book or write a children’s book. I have had a celebrity to say that my book cover was “dope”! A lot of exciting things have been happening because of this book.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Be yourself. Do not try to copy the writing style of others. Write how you speak and allow spell check, Grammarly, or an editor to make the necessary revisions, but do not lose your voice. When you lose your voice, you lose the essence of who you are. You are unique, and your uniqueness should come out on the pages.
- Just do it. Do not allow fear to stop you from doing something new. Of course, you will not know everything initially, but if you thirst for knowledge, you will learn as you go. Whatever mistakes you make, let them be life lessons to help yourself and to help other people.
- Look for help. Other people have done what you want to do. Humble yourself and ask for help. Some mistakes can be avoided if you ask for help and use google search.
- Do not worry about sales. Do not allow the number of books you sell to determine the book’s worth and your worth. You are terrific if you decided to write a book. It takes boldness and relentlessness to publish a book. Kudos to you for pursuing your dream! Your book will be for who it needs to be for. If you touch one life, you have changed the world.
- Create a writing schedule. I did not create a writing schedule at the beginning stages, and I was exhausted and overwhelmed. When I created a writing schedule, I could write freely, work, relax, and enjoy the rest of the day. Do not neglect yourself when you start writing your book. Create a schedule so that you can give your best to all areas of your life.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
Do not neglect yourself.
Do not stress over things that are out of your control.
When it is time to work, work, but when it is not working time, enjoy life.
Take as many mental breaks as needed.
Turn off all technology and breath.
Spend time with your loved ones.
Spend time with God.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I could inspire a movement, I would become a motivational speaker and a mentor. Through technology, a motivational speaker can touch the lives of millions of people through a short video. Words are powerful, and they either can give life or take away life. I know that my story can impact others’ lives, and by sharing my story through social media platforms, I could start a movement of faith, hope, and love. With those that have individual needs, I would be able to mentor and coach them to a prosperous life, and thus they would be able to reciprocate the process.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have lunch with Tony Gaskins Jr. Tony Gaskins is an author, life coach, and businessman. I started following him on Facebook in 2012. It is 2020, and he has been one of the most influential people in my life. He has consistently shown himself to be true to himself, his family, and God. There has never been a scandal nor rumors about him or his character, which lets you know that he is the real deal. With Mr. Gaskins, I adopted new thinking regarding my self-image and my purpose. Because of him, I received guidance through the “Birth Your Book” course when I started writing my first book. I am thankful that he was obedient to his calling because he has helped countless people become self-aware regarding their brain, body, and brand.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow me on YouTube @ Kristin Brittany or Twitter @ KristinBrittan1
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!