Q & A: ‘The journey I’ve been on is a gift. I want to give thanks by giving back.’ – Makini Smith

Makini Smith is an international author/speaker/mentor to women and young girls. She helps educate and empower women to cultivate their courage through faith, to overcome adversities so they can live the lives they desire.

With a variety of accolades related to her philanthropic work, from being voted as one of ‘100 Black Women to Watch in Canada’ by the CIBWE, through being honoured by the Black Canadian Awards on their ‘National Wall of Role Models’, to being nominated for the Canadian REALTORS Care Foundation for her outstanding charitable work in the community, Makini is humbled through her principle of ‘giving thanks by giving’. She has been featured on major radio and television media in Canada,United States and Africa for her book series: ‘A Walk in My Stilettos’ an empowering resource for women worldwide. It is being called “a source of inspiration”.

In 2016 Makini expanded to speaking in many different parts of the US and kicked off 2017 with a book signing in Cape Town South Africa. Her first book “A Walk In My Stilettos: How To Get Through The Struggle With Grace” is currently in the process of being converted into a feature film.
We got the opportunity to feature Makini in our Q & A series and grabbed it by the lapel (lol) Read, enjoy and be inspired!

Who is Makini Smith?

Makini Smith is a woman determined to succeed against the odds. I’m a woman with a passion for stilettos, a fierce faith in God and a message on my heart.

From being raised in a single parent home and having my first child at 17, to divorce and being a single mother of 3, to starting life over as a full time entrepreneur and finding success over the past 8 years I’ve purposed myself to serve and show what’s really possible despite the cards we are dealt.

There was a time when I didn’t think that a powerful woman existed inside of me. Life hit me like a ton of bricks and I found myself feeling broken and defeated. It was in my lowest moments, when life had brought me to my knees that I realized I needed to stop living by fear and start living by faith. I made God my foundation and the life He’s helped me build is beyond what I could have imagined. Today, I walk in faith and courage with my head and my stilettos high.

I am an international mentor/speaker/author gracing platforms in Canada, the United States and Africa with my transparent storytelling of real life testimonies. Currently in Paris mentoring! My authenticity and relatable message empowers women to walk boldly with their head held high. I encourage the audience to overcome self-limiting thoughts of doubt and fear by cultivating confidence and courage through faith. Helping them to ultimately reach their goals through the message of belief and infinite potential given to us by God.

My “A Walk In My Stilettos” book series is being called a source of inspiration.

1. “A Walk In My Stilettos: How to get through the struggle with grace”

2. “A Walk In My Stilettos: 111 Affirmations to help you heal”

3. “A Walk In My Stilettos: Gratitude Journal

Self Help books I’ve created to help other women walk in greatness. The first book is in the works of being converted into a feature film.

Being bold in my truth has earned me a reputation amongst my peers as a resilient, integrity-powered professional and an example of strength and courage. It’s been humbling to be recognized by several organizations including making the CIBWE’s list of ‘100 Black Women to Watch in Canada’ and being placed on the Black Canadian Awards ‘National Wall of Role Models.’ I was thrilled to be the first woman featured at Chapters Indigo’s 2016 International Women’s Day event. My heart leaps every time I see Linda Proctor’s foreword in my first book, and Derrick Jaxn’s in my second.

But none of those accolades compare to the joy I feel when I see women just like you read my words or use my lessons as inspiration to overcome obstacles and become their most powerful selves. The journey I’ve been on is a gift. I want to give thanks by giving back.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far in life?

After my children, my greatest achievement has been the choice to pursue my passion and impact lives along the way. I am able to do what I love, serve, leave a legacy, and travel the world at the same time.

As an author, what inspired you to write “A walk in my stilettos”?
I always wanted to write a book. After my divorce and passing of my sister, I was sharing my story in support groups to heal. The women said my strength and transparency inspired them. They loved hearing the parts of my story where I kept going after every obstacle tried to knock me down. Through it all I allowed my faith to be strengthen and didn’t let it break me. Instead of continually sharing my story one to one, a book was a way to share it one to many. I originally called it “a walk in my shoes” but I’m known for my stilettos obsession. The metaphor of being lifted and strutting through life made me change the word “shoes” and use “stilettos”.

How and when did you realize you were called to serve?

In 2013 I became certified to serve through SisterTalk Circle Leadership Program designed for women leaders who would like to help other women live a more empowered & elevated life. The program has been featured on Oprah Lifeclass multiple times. It helped to unlock the tools to mentor women that want to take their life to the next level. I took the course in an effort to heal my own hurt from the divorce and loss of my sister. When I began leading, serving, and sharing with the women in my group I felt like I was walking in my purpose.

Would you say you have discovered your purpose in life? If yes… how?

Mentorship started as something I did for a year for free and have now made a career out of serving because it brought me so much joy. I feel I have discovered my purpose making a positive impact on the emotional well-being (personal development) of my community locally and globally. I turned my passion into my paycheck.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

My 3 children are my main “why” I do anything and everything in life. I am trying to be a better me for their future benefit. I am trying to heal others in the world for their future benefit. My desire to change and affect lives for the future benefit of my children motivates me to get out of bed in the morning. The desire to build a legacy they can be proud of.

Do you think motivational speaking is for everyone and what are the top 5 tips to consider before going into public speaking?

Although anyone can be a motivational speaker I do not think it is for everyone. The definition is someone that makes speeches intending to motivate or inspire. Everyone has a story to share and it can be used to impact others. I stopped using the title to describe myself. I don’t even like to make speeches but I enjoy sharing my testimony and having conversations that inspire growth. It no longer seems genuine to me to say I’m a motivational speaker. I don’t want to create speeches. It’s not something I enjoy. I just say I’m a “speaker” or “expert storyteller” or even “authentic conversationalist”.

5 tips towards becoming a great speaker:

1. Be authentic
2. Own your story so that it can’t own you, then use it as a catalyst
3. Show don’t tell (Paint a clear and concise picture they can envision)
4. Be willing to take risks
5. Your story isn’t enough. Couple it with 3 takeaways

What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?God is in control but He has given us freedom of choice. Our choices determine the results we see.

What is your favourite Quote?

“Where we start is not as important as where we finish” Zig Ziglar

What is your take on “women supporting women”?

I’m a believer in collaboration over competition so I genuinely support the success of other women. I can celebrate or uplift another woman because it does not take away from my shine. I’ve seen and been on the receiving end of women that say they support other women but have been very catty and tried to sabotage another woman to make themselves look better.

What would you say to a young woman looking to “Live Full”, conquer her fears and own her story?

Everything that I’ve ever wanted was on the other side of my fears so I had to do it anyway to reap my rewards. I use the acronym F.E.A R.

F = False
E = Evidence
A = Appearing
R = Real

F = Face
E = Everything
A = And
R = Rise

What would you like to be remembered for?

For my heart… to love, to heal, to help, to serve and to inspire.

Connect with Makini via 

Instagram: therealmakinismith

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