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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

Why the “Best Times Are the Detours” in Your Career Journey




“You have to stay open. You can't operate with blinders on because you can pass that next detour that can yield a greater journey.” – Juanita Slappy, Head of Multicultural Marketing for Cadillac


Detours like…


🌟 Working with Regina King, Big Sean, Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, Steve Harvey, Winnie Mandela, and a host of other top talent.


🌟 Contributing to national publicity and experiential efforts for ESSENCE Festival and Super Bowl XL.


🌟 And leading DEI and multicultural marketing and communications programs for Ford, Lincoln, General Motors, and now Cadillac.


But one detour derailed Slappy from her passion for driving impact. So she came to me. Here’s how she got back on track…


Transform Detours into Onramps


What was your dream when you started on your career journey? Slappy’s dream was to be Oprah. That’s why she studied broadcast journalism and forged a career in communications and television advertising.


What derailed her?


Her mindset.


Even though her roles weren’t always to spearhead DEI and multicultural awareness, they still presented opportunities for her to enlighten influential people, so she could bring them on her journey.


And in those “detours” she CREATED onramps to advance her mission.



She educated.


She formed alliances.


She attracted advocates.


In communicating who she was, what her mission was, and how people could help her help the world, she mobilized colleagues. And she couldn’t have done it without her own support network of mentors and confidants (including me!).


She KNEW she didn’t have all the answers, so she leaned in for feedback and guidance in shifting her career narrative.


And so will YOU…

5 Mindset Shifts for Navigating Your Career Detours


The biggest takeaway from Slappy’s transformation (and professional progress)? It started with her mindset. She made the decision to reframe detours as onramps to other avenues to the SAME goal.


But what do these mindset shifts look like for navigating your career from day to day? She shares some of the ones she uses below:


Shift 1: “Prioritize the Positive”


Most situations have two sides: positive and negative. For example, if you ran late for a meeting because you had to turn around and get your phone, you could be angry for being late. Or, you could be happy you have your phone. YOU choose how to view your story.


Shift 2: Set Realistic Expectations


“Nothing happens overnight,” says Slappy. This is especially true in corporate America. You have to do the work to get where you want to be, and that includes…


Shift 3: Be Open


Because you will be asked to take roles that you’ve done before and thought didn’t serve you. It’s not a straight shot to the top. View these positions as on-the-job training for building your professional muscles.

Shift 4: Give Yourself Grace


If you’ve ever exercised to get in shape, you know it takes time to build muscle — but with perseverance, you WILL get stronger. You may not navigate every situation perfectly. The key is continually learning, growing, and improving. Remember her motto to help give yourself some grace and stay motivated:


“Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better. And your better is best. You can only do and be what you are in that moment.



Shift 5: Own Your Stuff


You can’t learn and improve without accountability. And if you’re only drinking your own Kool-Aid, you have no clue what’s happening around the watercooler. That’s why you have to seek out feedback. It is your career currency. Bank it.


Ready for Your Reframe?


Me too! If you’d like the same support I gave Juanita Slappy when she felt derailed from her mission, then book your 1-1 with me today. We’ll get you back on the highway to your passion-led career — one reframe at a time.

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