We had the good fortune of connecting with Letitia Blacksher and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Letitia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
It took me years to resign from my corporate job. Deep down I knew I had another purpose, however, I was afraid of quitting a job that guaranteed a steady paycheck, benefits, sick hours, etc. Rather than embark on a risky decision, I fell into a depression that lasted for about a year. I cried to God. I asked for answers. Deep down I knew what I wanted, however I hoped the answer would be given to me. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to go after what you want. You have to trust your intuition and trust that the universe will guide you, while also being comfortable with the possibility of a situation not working out in your favor. I had to take a step back and be honest with myself. If I leave this amazing job, which was my college dream job, to pursue my passion in health, fitness, and wellness, what was the risk? I listed out the pros and cons of this decision. Ironically, the cons circled back to me having to return to a job where I was unfulfilled in Corporate America and to be honest I was already living out my worse case scenario. So what was the alternative? Staying complacent in life and in a career where I had lost my passion because I was scared of taking that leap? I was establishing a precedent for my life on the basis that I would avoid taking risks because of fear. To me that was unacceptable. If I failed, I failed. That means I’d try something else. But I never wanted to look back on life and think “I wish I would have” or “what if.” It’d be a disservice to myself and others who would have loved to hold my position in Corporate America. There’s a balance of fully committing yourself to a major life decision while trusting yourself along the journey, and also practicing detachment if the situation doesn’t go as planned. Taking a risk is unpredictable and it can be scary; however, risks lead to change and change is necessary for personal and professional growth.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I mentioned earlier, health and fitness is a saturated industry and there’s a lot of different information out there. It’s challenging to filter science and experiential based knowledge from industry trends and what looks ‘cool’ or ‘fun’ on social media. Fitness stems beyond the gym. A truly healthy lifestyle is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Exercise and weightlifting instills an unspoken confidence that is empowering through all aspects of life. I’ve experienced it myself and I’ve seen the impeccable impacts on my clients. To be able to move in a way that you never thought was possible opens a new world of possibilities that you didn’t think were achievable in your personal and professional life as well. I’m most excited about instilling this confidence in others and teaching the importance of self-love and the long-term health benefits of investing in your mental and physical well-being. My clients have full access to my in regards to individualized programs, virtual training, nutrition, and programmed exercises separate from our one-on-one sessions. As a certified nutritionist, I guide my clients through nutrition coaching and create a healthy relationship with food by providing tools to ensure long-term maintenance of healthy eating. Healthy eating does not translate to eating salads 24/7. It’s not so black and white and it’s possible to enjoy food while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Although I’ve come a long way, I’m still growing and there’s a lot more I still need to learn. This is the exciting part! Health and fitness is an ever-evolving industry and the more that I learn, the better I can become and the better I can help my clients. I’d say the most challenging part about this journey was the personal work I had to do for myself. I had to dig deep and find my self-value and self-love before spreading the word to others. After leaving my corporate job, I placed a lot of pressure on myself. I fell into the trap of comparison from social media. I was scattered and didn’t withhold the confidence and compassion for myself that I thought I had, which was an even scarier feeling. I overcame these challenges by incorporating positive habits within my daily routine. I learned the importance of gratitude and affirmations. The first thing I do every morning as soon as I open my eyes is thank God. I give gratitude to 3 things I’m grateful for in my personal and professional life, 3 things I love about myself, and 3-5 self- affirmations. I noticed a huge shift in my life since doing this and I’ve seen the positive effect it’s had on my personal and professional relationships, and the relationship I have with myself. If I’m not in a good mental space, my work will reflect this as well. This piece is essential.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There’s so many places to visit in Oakland and I often take this for granted. We’d first visit Southern Cafe on Fruitvale, which is hands down the best Southern food in Oakland (aside from my mother’s home cooking of course). Southern Cafe provides an ambiance that resembles the best home cooked southern food matched with nostalgic music and a taste of modern culture. If truly feels like home when you step inside the restaurant. I’d also take them to my favorite taco truck, Tacos Mi Rancho, near Lake Merritt. You’re not a true Oakland native if you haven’t eaten here. We’d visit Jack London Square, located on the waterfront of Oakland, where we’d find a great view of the Bay and an array of restaurants and various social activities, depending on the season. During the holidays, we would ice skate at the rink next following the annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration. In the summertime, we’d visit the food trucks while listening to live entertainment. After hitting the food scene, we would make a visit to Marcus Books, the the most historic Black independent bookstore that opened in the 60s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I give all thanks to my mother, who gave me her support and blessing, which eased by fears and validated my decision to embark on this journey. I’d also like to shoutout my close friends whom I consider family. They supported me since day one and affirmed that this was my calling. I would not have gotten this far without the mentorship and coaching of Jordan Pierce, owner of Movin Weight Personal Training, and Will Montgomery. Health and fitness is such a saturated industry and it’s easy to fall susceptible to misinformation from social media and ever-changing trends. Jordan took a chance on me and allowed me to shadow her clients while providing educational tools to advance my knowledge in the field. My knowledge and confidence as a trainer has grown immensely under Jordan and Will’s mentorship. Finally, I have to shoutout my cousin, Shakina McKneal, for her emotional support, professional advice, and for her introduction to the 510MediaFoundation. The Hope Entrepreneur course hosted by 510Media Foundation has immensely contributed to my personal growth, which carried over to my professional growth and confidence as I grow my own business.