Luvvie Ajayi Jones says being inspiration for others is ‘the joy of my career’

The New York Times best-selling author spoke with theGrio about her newly released book 'PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER: The Fear-Fighter Manual'

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Luvvie Ajayi Jones newly released book PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER: The Fear-Fighter Manual brings wit and wisdom to the forefront guiding readers through personal journeys. It stands as her second book following her well-received debut release, IM JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual.

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“Of course, there are times in my life where I’ll be scared to say something or do something because it feels too big or it feels like I’m standing by myself. Why am I getting in trouble, whatever that looks like? And in those moments, it’s understanding that you’re not alone by feeling afraid,” she said to theGrio‘s Natasha Alford during an interview on her purpose behind her second book.

Luvvie Ajayi Jones thegrio.com
Luvvie Ajayi attends the 11th Annual ADCOLOR Awards at Loews Hollywood Hotel on September 19, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for ADCOLOR)

“I think I wrote my book to really make it clear that people who do extraordinary things who people see as these larger-than-life creatures or who are visible or people who just do epic things, trailblazers…It’s not that they just woke up one day and were like, I’m going to do this, or be this. It’s that they made moment-to-moment decisions that might have felt big in that time, but in that moment they chose to do something that somebody else might have chosen not to.”

The 17-year blogging veteran has used her skills with words to excel as a public speaker and professional writer. Ajayi Jones is also the host of the Rants & Randomness podcast and is the co-host of Jesus & Jollof with Yvonne Orji. She has used her personal and professional experiences to inform others through her work with a comedic style.

13th Annual ADCOLOR Conference and Awards – Awards
Luvvie Ajayi speaks onstage at the 13th Annual ADCOLOR Awards at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on September 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for ADCOLOR)

The professional speaker and host also shared how the late Congressman John Lewis impacted her work and outlook on life, His influenced helped the author define a “professional troublemaker.”

“I quote John Lewis in Chapter six because he talked about making good trouble. I think professional troublemakers are people who are themselves, who do not bow to face that in a world that asks them to,” she remarked. “They are people who always strive to do things that are bigger than themselves and just abundantly are committed to leaving this world better than they found it. And oftentimes it means disrupting what is happening that is not okay, Professional troublemakers, [are] the person who’s like whether it gets me in trouble, I would do what’s right and what’s best for the greater good.”

In a recent social media post, Ajayi Jones also shared media recommendations for readers to help “fighting fear in your life,” a theme of the book. The list includes songs from Megan Thee Stallion, Janelle Monae, Lizzo, and more.

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The best-selling also shared with theGrio her hesitance to label herself a writer a decade ago due to lack of representation who looked or wrote in a similar manner. She leveraged social media to build an audience as she honed and elevated her skills, a technique currently used by many emerging writers.

“I really take that seriously, that idea of like showing a different example of what thriving looks like. I remember ten years ago when I was afraid to call myself a writer because I didn’t see a writer that looked like me or did it in the way that I did it,” she remarked. “I was like, Toni Morrison‘s a writer…calling myself a writer next to Toni Morrison, oh that’s not possible.”

She continued, “The examples that we see really do matter. They really do teach us what is possible. Our brain sometimes will put itself in a cage where it thinks ‘if I have not seen, it’s definitely not possible.’ For me, mine definitely did. I did not call myself a writer for so long because I was like “ain’t no writers randomly just putting their thoughts online and making a living.’ So I became that example for myself. But to your point, the representation, the fact that another person, another girl somewhere who writes in her, whatever random way she loves to write, can now look at me and say like it was possible for her means everything. It is the it is the joy of my career.”

13th Annual ADCOLOR Conference and Awards – Awards
Host Luvvie Ajayi speaks onstage during the 13th Annual ADCOLOR Awards at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on September 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for ADCOLOR)

PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER: The Fear-Fighter Manual is separated into sections with individual themes and messages. In one section of the book titled Fire Yourself, Ajayi Jones makes the case against the “superwoman complex.”

“The superwoman complex that a lot of us have like we could do everything ourselves. It’s killing us. Fire yourself,the author explained to theGrio.

“The thing about women is we are guilted with being this woman who’s supposed to handle everything. We’re supposed to be great domestically and in career, at the same time. We must be amazing moms, sisters, friends, wives, at the same time. We saw our mom do all things. She cook[ed] four meals a day and went to work. I don’t want them struggles. I’m good. I don’t got nothing to prove to nobody. Outsource yourself, fire yourself by honestly understand that you’re not supposed to be good at everything at the same time for everybody because you’re not a robot.”

Published by Penguin Life, the book is available where books are sold or streamed today.

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