If the worst answer to a question or an action that will get me closer my dreams is “no,” I stopped negotiating with myself on whether I would ask the question or take the action. The answer will always be, “yes, I will ask; yes, I will act.” I want to be told “no” one thousand times because that means I had the courage to try one thousand times.

Life doesn’t come in perfect shapes. As I have grown older and arguably wiser, I have come to understand that life is a puzzle, and some pieces will be missing. Some pieces simply will not exist. There have been some pieces that I have had to create for myself. I’ve had to become comfortable saying, “I don’t know, but I will absolutely figure it out.”

When I began the entrepreneurial journey in 2016, I left a high-paying law firm job to go down the proverbial “road less-traveled.” The immensely rewarding journey to becoming my own boss started with the question, “what would happen if I followed my dreams?”

Random people and even close associates made snide remarks when I disclosed that I was leaving my law firm. I heard the question, “are you sure?” uttered frequently in response to my decision to voluntarily leave a high-paying position with a prestigious law firm. At the time, I was not sure where the road would lead me, but I was sure of my determination to live the life that I have always imagined for myself. Although I had lots of fear when I made the final decision to leave, I was confident that my unyielding grit and tenacity would never let me fail. In many ways, I felt like my grandfather had likely felt in the 1950s when he was building his family home, his literal “forever home,” the home in which both he and my grandmother took their final breathes.

While building his home, people ridiculed him, telling him that he was just digging at a patch of dirt. But, with fortitude, laying each brick, he built a structure that was never to be destroyed. How? Because he one day started digging at that patch of dirt. One brick, two bricks, three bricks, thousands of bricks—a patch of dirt evolved into a home that generations to come would live, laugh, fellowship, and love in. Over the last several years, through entrepreneurship, I, too, have built a foundation that has allowed me to live my deepest truth, serving myself, my community, and my dreams in the most authentic, unfettered way that I can imagine. Along the way, I have discovered the amusing reality that when you do something that challenges the status quo, some people will think that you are an inspiration, some people will think you are a unicorn, and some people will think you are strange. They are all right because every opinion is just that—an opinion. Keep going.

Your dream may not be to become an entrepreneur. Your dream may be to become a parent, publish an essay, take a cooking course, pursue a graduate degree, take up a new hobby, start a new fitness routine, etc. Whatever your dream is, ask the questions to make it happen.

Your results will be big if your dreams are big. Stop apologizing; stop playing yourself small, take up all the space, and ask every question that will get you closer to your dreams.


  • Ms. Childress is the managing attorney and founder of the Childress Firm PLLC, an employment law firm based in Washington, D.C. Ms. Childress holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Ms. Childress graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Distinction from the University of Virginia in 2007. After law school, Ms. Childress served as a federal judicial law clerk in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Ms. Childress has served as an associate at two global law firms and as an attorney for the United States Department of Justice. Ms. Childress represents clients in all aspects of employment law. Ms. Childress has litigated retaliation, discrimination, sexual harassment, non-competition, trade secret, unfair labor practice, and whistleblower cases before various tribunals. In addition to being an attorney, Ms. Childress is the creator and author of the Juris P. Prudence children's book collection, featuring fictional 11-year-old lawyer, Juris P. Prudence. Ms. Childress has held leadership roles in the National Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and the Washington Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. She has been the recipient of several honors, including the National Bar Association’s 2018 Young Lawyer of the Year Award, the Washington Bar Association’s 2017-2018 Young Lawyer of the Year Award, the National Bar Association’s 40 under 40 Best Advocates Award, the Kim Keenan Leadership & Advocacy Award, the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Rising Star Award, and recognition by the National Black Lawyers as one of the top 100 black attorneys. Ms. Childress has been featured in numerous publications, including Forbes, Essence, the Huffington Post, Success, and Entrepreneur.