Meet Ahlumba Harris
Ahlumba Harris is a powerful voice with a passion to inspire anyone who has lost their way. She knows fully the struggle and helplessness of life’s circumstances, for she was financially incapable, overweight, insecure, and in search of more, yet unsure of how to realize her potential.
It was not until she lost everything that she decided to make a positive change and take her life back, one crawl at a time, until she was able to walk again.
Ahlumba has since been featured on AJC.com, and has appeared on several programmes, such as PBS’s “The Weigh We Were”, WATC “Atlanta Live”, and WATB’s “Sharing the Truth”. Today, she is an Author, Speaker, and Founder and CEO of Inspired2Prosper International, LLC.
A Conversation with Ahlumba
NT: Welcome, Ahlumba. I’m thrilled to have you here. You have an interesting name. Is there a story behind it?
AH: Wow! Thank you, Nadine! First, I want to convey my appreciation and thankfulness to you for this opportunity. Okay, now to your question (laughs).
Well, as a child, I always hated the name my parents chose to give me, for it was something that caused me great embarrassment. I learned that people, out of ignorance and lack of understanding, mock what they don’t understand. I now own and love my name, for it stands alone.
NT: I love your attitude. Now, you shared with me that, for several years, you worked at jobs that left you feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. You believed in yourself, stepped out in faith, quit your job, and followed your passion. Did you have a plan in place, and if so, how did you know when to put it in motion?
AH: Oh my goodness, no! I had no plan, at least not a well-formulated one. You see, I despised my job. I worked at a dead-end job that offered me barely enough to maintain my home. I had not received a raise in over six years, so my cheque went from flat-lining to actually decreasing every year. I was very unhappy with my professional life, but I was even more dissatisfied with my personal life. I felt that life was literally passing me by. It was as if my life centered around getting ready for work, driving to work, being at work, and driving home from work, just to do it all again the next day. I yearned for life, I wanted to live, for I felt that there was no life in me. But in my heart, I knew there was something more to me then the mediocre life of struggle I lived. That helped to bring about my first book Inspired2Prosper. I thought, if I was going to struggle while working at a job I didn’t like, why not struggle while building something I believed in? At the time, I believed I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
NT: I had to nod at everything you said, and I’m sure many of our readers will be able to identify. What advice would you give to someone who is in a similar position to the one you were in?
AH: If you know with all your heart that the Lord placed a dream, vision, or goal in your heart to achieve, then no matter what adversity you face, have the boldness, faith, belief, and fearlessness to reach for it, and refuse to give up until it’s achieved.
NT: You’re living proof of that. You also shared your belief that there isn’t a shortcut to success. What’s your definition of success?
AH: I believe that success is being better than you previously were. It’s so imperative that we take the time to celebrate the achievements that we perceive too small to matter. Without those small victories, it is virtually impossible to realize the big ones.
NT: “Being better than you previously were.” I wish I could frame that for my wall! And you’re not just all talk. Today, you’re the Founder and CEO of Inspired2Prosper International. Tell us about your organisation, and its work and mission.
AH: Initially, I set out to create an outlet where one could go and be inspired by the journey of others, to help them realize that if you set your mind, you can achieve anything. Also, I publish and occasionally consult with individuals who have an interest in publishing their own work.
To be honest, I am learning as I go along. All I strive to do is to bring young and old back to the remembrance of dreams they’ve let go, because they seemed impossible. I believe that with faith in God, belief in self, hard work, perseverance, and a will that never dies, there is nothing one cannot achieve
NT: I know you couldn’t have done it all alone, even with your strong faith and will. Who makes up your support network?
AH: Though I have felt alone many a day, I know that’s not true. My daughter has been a strong supporter. She inspires me to do, and be, better. My mother, father, all my sisters, and brother have also played a role in inspiring me. However, I also credit individuals, such as yourself, who have the strength to reach for their dreams. I am uplifted and inspired by any person’s story or journey to success, because it always has the power to encourage and push me to be better and do more to reach my goal.
NT: Thank you! So, how does a boss lady like yourself balance me-time with the demands of work and family?
AH: (laughs) Me a boss lady! Wow, I never viewed myself in that light. Let me think. I guess it’s fairly easy. I am single, so I don’t have to concern myself with being a wife. As a mother, the freedom of choice that entrepreneurship allows me is one of the main reasons I was determined to be one. I always make time for my daughter. I love that she attends most of my events with me, which introduces her to things and places that I never experienced as a child.
NT: I wouldn’t be surprised if the entrepreneurial bug bites her, too. On top of all that you do, you’re also an author of four books, which you’ve self-published. What was your writing and self-publishing journey like?
AH: Being an author has opened up several doors that were previously closed to me.
It created a platform. I have made so many mistakes in my self-publishing journey, it’s not even funny, though I am sure there are some that are. I have learned through trial and error, and I’m still learning. My books are not perfect, but they are perfect for the person who needs it. I never let what I don’t have stop me from doing what needs to be done.
NT: Share a little about your latest book, Release and Unleash: The Path to Greatness, and what readers can expect from it.
AH: Release and Unleash is like a continuation of my first book Inspired2Prosper. It chronicles what happens after the fire that motivated you to prosper has diminished, and you are left with lack, doubt, and uncertainty.
Yet, you know there is so much more to you than the current life you are experiencing. Sometimes we think that adversity is specific to just us, when in no way is it personal. When you have big dreams, one must be prepared to experience suffering.
NT: Keeping in mind what you’ve just said, if you could press a “Reset” button on your life, would you do anything differently?
AH: It’s been a very hard road, and at times, it’s still difficult, but I would not change a thing.
NT: That’s just amazing! Ahlumba, you’ve shared so many wonderful nuggets of wisdom. Do you have any more to share, especially for budding female entrepreneurs?
AH: Dreams! Goals! Achievement! Ambition! Purpose! The thing that binds us is our desire for greater. No matter your status, background, ethnicity, or education level, we all have to persist in the pursuit of our dreams. I am learning that it does not matter who you are, success seems to require a boon. Faith in self, hard work, endurance, belief, persistence, and, at times, long-suffering appear to be the preferred payment of choice before they will relinquish what we seek – the attainment of what was only previously dreamed.
Ask yourself “How badly do you want to succeed?” and be sure to remember the answer to that when you are faced with adversity on every side, when doubt begins to trouble you, and all you hear is “Can’t”, “It will never happen”, “What was I thinking?”, “Just give up.” Hold your dreams tight. Protect what was placed in your heart, and do what was said could not be done. Most importantly, never give up on you.
NT: Ahlumba, you’re an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story, your experience, and your hard-earned wisdom. I wish you continued success in all that you do.
AH: Thank you, Nadine, for your kindness and generosity in allowing me access to your audience.
Connect with Ahlumba on her website and on Facebook. Her books Inspired2Prosper, Morning Cup of Jo: Inspiration Brings Life, Fat Girl Pick Your Head Up, and Release and Unleash: The Path to Greatness are available on Amazon.