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Free download: Three Steps You Must Take Today to Start Thriving in Life.
Nothing happens until YOU decide. Your destiny rests firmly in your own hands. Tanea Smith of She's Got Papers Hi, I’m Tanea.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Remember that lie?


Here are a few other words that were once used to describe me:

Black Teenaged Mother. Welfare Recipient. Statistic.


Over one million girls become pregnant in the United States each year. In 1994, I was one of those girls.

Here’s another word: Fear.

The word itself can paralyze you. Now imagine being young, pregnant, black, and living in the ghetto on public assistance. If you were filling out a form for “least likely to succeed,” you could check every box. I would’ve fit the description.

The entire nine months of my pregnancy was like walking through a fog. Some days it was so thick I couldn’t see a damn thing.

When my son was nine months old, something clicked. And I made a decision.

I decided that my choice to become a mother at the age of 19 would not define my life.

I decided I was going to walk the walk. While I knew I could not change my age nor the event of giving birth to my son, I was 1000% clear that I would be not be a statistic.

And this clarity showed up as a simple sentence I wrote in my journal every single day:

This Is Not My Reality.

Those five words. They changed the course of my life.

So, you see – words can hurt you. More importantly, they can also empower you, but you have to truly mean them.

Those five words meant that no matter how hard I had to work, I wasn’t going to quit on myself. Despite how many people whispered about me and attempted to shame me, I was going to hold my head high. I was going to keep talking to God, especially on the days when it seemed he wasn’t listening. In the face of any obstacle, I was determined to overcome.

I was going to Thrive. Against all odds.

Add in “Faith, Tenacity, and Determination” and I turned stigma and adversity into redemption and success.

Thank you for sharing your heart. I lived on Public Assistance too and felt hopeless at times. You really inspired me to never give up.
Tanea is the truth. Your words touched something in me and confirmed that we are all meant to be great.I Created A New Reality.

Transition is not easy, and very rarely is it painless. It’s going to cost you something. It will challenge everything about you - the good, the bad, the ugly, AND the awesome. All of your stuff.

It takes commitment and conviction, but what I know for a fact is with the will to succeed, and the proper guidance and support, you can absolutely win.

Free download: Three Steps You Must Take Today to Start Thriving in Life.
Working with Tanea has renewed my belief in myself. Her coaching style is like a shot of Vitamin C. She helped me to let me go of the excuses and get out of my own way. Tanea Smith has been featured in Essence, More and About.com. She's also been a guest speaker at: St. John's University, City College of New York, and New York University.