I’ve been a long time fan of Beyonce. So when she dropped her long-awaited seventh studio album, Renaissance, the lead single called “Break My Soul” quickly became mine as well as a fan favorite.
The main hook of this high energy tune has Queen Bey repeatedly belting out: “You won’t break my soul. You won’t break my soul. You won’t break my soul. You won’t break my soul.”
It’s an inspiring ode to the power of survival and resilience in the face of any and all adversity.
But one of the most important lyrics in the song is when Beyonce declares: “I’m building my own foundation …” which got me thinking about the ways in which we can, indeed, create our own strong foundations.
As it turns out, Break My Soul isn’t just a catchy banger. This track is a reminder of the importance of putting yourself on rock-solid ground — emotionally, financially, and otherwise.
Here are three steps to take to build a strong foundation in your life: a foundation that no one, and no outside forces, can break.
Step 1: Don’t Let Your Job Define You
In the first verse of Break My Soul, Beyonce sings:
I just fell in love
And I just quit my job
I’m gonna find new drive
Damn, they work me so damn hard
Work by nine, then off past five
And they work my nerves
That’s why I cannot sleep at night
Millions of dissatisfied employees can probably relate to Beyonce talking about feeling overworked and putting in long hours. That’s just one reason we’ve had an ongoing “Great Resignation” where people are quitting their jobs and saying “No” to low-paying positions, stressful work or overly demanding careers. The pandemic intensified this trend.
For many folks, though, a job title or a career is intricately tied to their identity and feelings of self-worth.
But it doesn’t matter whether you’re a doctor or a delivery driver, a Wall Street wizard or a waitress … you should always remember that you – the soul and essence of you – are NOT your job or what you do professionally.
Don’t get so wrapped up in your title or role that you allow your perception of yourself and your value to be tied solely, or primarily, to your work.
Recognize your value in relation to others: as a friend, a parent, a sibling, etc., as well as your value as a human being. There’s only one you on the planet! Just being you makes you unique, special and valuable!
Step 2: Plan for the Unexpected
People often feel rocked by changes in their lives when any number of events seem to happen “out of the blue.” These life-changing events typically fall under one of the following 5 categories that I collectively call The Dreaded Ds.
Death of a loved one
Why should we kid ourselves into thinking that misfortune will never land on our doorsteps? It’s naïve, short-sighted, and unrealistic to think and act as if troubled times or difficult circumstances will never rear their ugly heads.
And I’m saying this as a person who’s naturally optimistic, positive and a “glass half full” individual.
So, what’s the solution? Take inventory of your life and think though a range of “what if” scenarios … in other words, the stuff that can go wrong … and then start guarding against these possible pitfalls and risks.
For example, are you married or contemplating walking down the aisle in the future?
Then consider a pre-nuptial agreement or even a post-nup to deal with the possibility of a breakup. Establish your own savings and credit accounts, along with joint accounts with your partner, to lay the foundation for financial independence and your own good credit. Have a conversation with your spouse about protecting one another with life insurance, in the event that either of you pass away.
In general: Stop procrastinating about taking the financial steps you know you need to do – whether that’s investing or finally getting around to making a last will and testament.
By tackling any number of these tasks, you’re empowering yourself and building a strong foundation.
Step 3: Know Your Center
Finally, to build your own foundation, you have to draw upon something that isn’t based on outside, or external forces.
This is why Beyonce’s determination just pours through in Break My Soul when she sings:
I’m lookin’ for motivation
I’m lookin’ for a new foundation, yeah
And I’m on that new vibration
I’m buildin’ my own foundation, yeah
You don’t have to a member of the BeyHive or a die-hard Beyonce fan to know that Bey is not getting her happiness and validation from the public. Not from social media approval, or “likes” or album sales. She’s saying none of that is what gives her inner contentment and peace.
You need to think the same way!
This is admittedly easier said than done because it calls on you to be reflective and to dig deep into what really matters. For some of us, our center is rooted in our faith and/or spirituality. For others, our center is tied to our families, or to serving and fulfilling our purpose in life. Your “center” — what grounds you and gives you fortitude, plus a foundation — can even be a combination of these things.
On the financial front, knowing your center is more straight-forward. It’s all about knowing your numbers.
A few examples: What are your monthly bills and routine expenses? What does your cash flow look like? Is your net worth growing each year? Are you even tracking any of this stuff?
If not, now is the time to get started.
Life will always throw you curve balls and challenges that sometimes seem to never end. As my husband, Earl, often says: “It’s always something!”
But if you take the time to prepare for life’s inevitable ups and downs, and to gird yourself emotionally and financially, you can definitely build your own foundation that will help you weather any storm.
Beyonce would definitely approve!