Through our partnership with the Coalition of Black Excellence founded by Angela J. we have the pleasure of sitting down with speaker, author, financial coach, and clinical psychologist Dr. Rosche Brown. She sits down with us to discuss her website, Doctor of Rethinking, and she shares some wisdom for young black professionals. We also promote CBE Week, an event designed to highlight excellence in the black community, connect black professionals across sectors, and provide opportunities for professional development and community engagement.
Find out more about CBE/CBE Week! https://www.cbeweek.com/
Ade: What’s up, everybody? It’s Ade, and listen, we’re–Living Corporate is partnering with the Coalition of Black Excellence, like some of you may know. Coalition of Black Excellence is a non-profit organization based in California, and we’re bringing a Special Speaker series to promote CBE Week, which is an annual week-long event designed to highlight excellence in the black community, connect black professionals across sectors, and provide opportunities for professional development and community engagement that will positively transform the black community. This special series is one wherein we’ll spotlight movers and shakers who will be speakers during CBE Week. Today we have with us Dr. Rosche Brown. Dr. Rosche Brown is a PsyD–I don’t know too many of those. Congratulations on your awesome.
Rosche: Oh, thank you.
Ade: And a licensed clinical psychologist based out in California. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Rosche: Thank you for having me.
Ade: Most certainly, most certainly. So like I mentioned before, we’re just gonna have a conversation. We’re great fans of mental health, mental wellness, on this show, and it’s so great to meet and speak to other proponents who are not just, you know, talking the talk, they’re walking the walk in a lot of ways. What brought you to becoming a mental health professional?
Rosche: So I became a mental health professional mainly because of my background and my childhood.; There was a lot of dysfunction within, like, my family, and also my community, with violence and substance abuse, and, you know, lack of communication, as is always in most families, and so actually at a very young age, when I was about 14 years old, I actually decided that I wanted to be called a doctor, and I wanted to be able to help people. People were already telling me about their lives, and I was like, “I can do this.” And so at a very young age, I had already placed in my mind that I was gonna become a doctor of some sort, either a (pediatrician or a psychologist?), so I began to figure out, you know, what the steps were to becoming a mental health professional, or either one of those professions actually. So I ended up going to Xavier University, which is an HBCU, so it’s a historically black college, in New Orleans, and by going to that university, it was all about placing African-Americans into medical school, and so there was–like, that’s when I really understood black excellence to a whole ‘nother level, just being around so many people who were at the top of their classes that were actually there, and so I went through that process, and with my major being psychology/pre-med initially–I had enjoyed psychology, and actually from there continued to go into grad school instead of going the medical school route.
Ade: That’s amazing. For one, your tenacity–you were in school from 2001 to–to how long?
Rosche: I graduated actually in 2009.
Ade: Oh, my God.
Rosche: Yeah. Well, it was a long time. You know, I understand that’s a long time in school, but in the grand scheme of things, from, like, the way that my life was, I actually was done with my degree at 25 years old, which is very young, and I was–I had my doctorate. I had my Bachelor’s, my Bachelor’s and my doctorate by that point. Like, my 26th birthday was like, “Happy 26th birthday, Dr. Rosche Brown.”
Ade: Wow, that’s incredible.
Rosche: Yeah, so it was awesome. I mean, so even though it took some time, I was so used to school that it was a lot easier compared to people who would take a break and then [inaudible].
Ade: Right, yeah. You just went straight through. Yeah, that isn’t easy. What are some of the biggest–I don’t know, what were some of the biggest issues that you dealt with kind of pushing your way through school? I know you said from a young age you kind of made a decision about the path that you wanted, but did you ever come across any obstacles in your education? How’d that go for you?
Rosche: Yes, I did. [laughs] So I went to school, you know, out of–I mean, in a whole other world, right? Like, going to New Orleans coming from California. So, you know, I did get a good group of people who were around me, and so that part was great. However, you know, like I said, I was pre-med initially, and one big challenge–which was kind of an interesting challenge that most people wouldn’t think of–but one big challenge was mostly, like, the MCAT, which MCAT is the test that you take to get into medical school, and the part that was hard for me was actually kind of growing up in–you know, in the hood, in the community. I was so used to, more than anything, not having to–I didn’t have to read that much in life. Like, (Pops?) would make me read. I wasn’t a person who liked reading. Like, it was very, very difficult for me, and most people wouldn’t think so ’cause I did well in school. It wasn’t like it was so difficult where I couldn’t excel, but it was difficult when it came down to the MCAT because it was all of those, like, reading comprehension tasks. You ever have, like, on SATs or anything like that? [inaudible], and they wanted me to comprehend, and I was like, “Oh, Lord. I got ADD. I know I do.” Like, “I cannot focus for this long.” It was, like, an 8-hour test, and I just couldn’t–even when they were asking me certain questions that I could know the answer to, because the way in which they were asking it, it was very difficult for me. I took a lot of prep courses, and in the process of taking those prep courses, when they translated it for me, I was good to go. Like, when they translated it, I was like, “Oh, I know the answer to that,” but I had difficulty with translating it on my own, if that makes sense.
Ade: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense actually.
Rosche: Yeah. So it was really hard for me to–so even when they were asking me about biology, any chemistry questions, physics questions, all of those had reading passages, and that’s where I really struggled. And so I end up going through school doing pretty well. Like, my GPA was fine. I had, like, a 3.5 or more, so I was doing well, but I got to that place where it was time to, like, apply to medical school, and my MCAT scores were just not, like, really making the–making the cut, and a lot of it had to do with just really poor reading comprehension and the fact that I wasn’t, like, in a school or–wasn’t in kind of, like, a family environment in a household that really encouraged reading.
Ade: Right, yeah. That makes a ton of sense, and I can absolutely see the repercussions. You mentioned that you struggle with a learning disorder. How does that affect–well, how did that affect your education generally, and how does it affect you now?
Rosche: I don’t know specifically if I have a learning disorder. It’s never been diagnosed as a learning disorder at all, but it’s a lot of–it’s more about me attending to things. Like, I just don’t stay long enough to pay attention to, you know, the words and everything for reading comprehension, and so it’s always–and it probably was always a struggle throughout school, but I never noticed it until that point, and then currently with me being an entrepreneur and the aspects of being an entrepreneur, you really want to read as much as you can. You want to read Think And Grow Rich and How To Win Friends and Influence People, all of these, like, great books that are gonna just motivate you and inspire you to be better and push yourself. It’s always a struggle for me to sit down and focus in order to even read those types of books because I–my mind goes all kind of different places. So I want the information in the book, but sitting down and having to read it can be very difficult. Even to this day, like, I still would say I dislike reading, even though (I don’t often say that?), but I’ma make my book reports and everything. I’m just gonna make them love it. [laughs]
Ade: I can totally get that. I get that. So what impact–just kind of pivot a bit and talk a little bit more about your career as a mental health care professional. What impact has, I guess, your background, coming from Oakland, going to this illustrious HBCU in Louisiana, what has that–how has that added to your practice?
Rosche: It has added a lot, you know? When I first started in school, you know–considering that I was so young, right? I was 21, 22. Most people in my class were, like, in their 30s, and so I felt like I–felt like I was, like, an impostor. Like, “How did I get into grad school?” You know, “How did they accept me?” You know? And feeling like I just didn’t have enough life experience initially in order to do the work that I was doing, so initially it was, like, a struggle just to be–to try to do therapy, but then after some time–I would say, like, after I graduated, maybe around 26, 27, coming into my own as just a woman in general and having had a lot more experience in it, I started realizing, like, my background of life experience actually was really helping me, because the places that I was working, I was working in, you know, urban communities. I was working in Richmond. I was working in Oakland. I was working in communities that were very [inaudible] the same community that I grew up in, and so I realized that the way to build rapport and the way to build connection was really by utilizing what I already knew, the stuff that was even outside of grad school. It was just knowing even just practical skills that I had learned on my own. I learned how to navigate certain worlds, you know? I learned how to even just–I guess you say code switch, but I learned how to navigate in the community, but I also learned how navigate when I was in professional settings, and because I was able to do that, it really worked very well for me to build the best relationships with my clients. And then also I served as a role model, even unintentionally, that you can be something better. So, like, even the idea of just striving for excellence, the way that I saw my clients was like, “You can [inaudible] a doctorate. No matter what.” Like, “I see your skill, where you are right now and what family circumstances you come from. I have expectations of you to get a doctorate if that’s what you desire.” I don’t have lower expectations like some of my–I would say my white counterparts would often sometimes feel. Just like, “At least they’re coming.” I’m like, “No, your expectations should be a lot higher for them.”
Ade: Right, right. I’m so glad you said that because I think–I’ve heard a lot of conversation around the danger of lowered expectations and how important it is to kind of expect better of yourself, and I imagine that it is much easier to do so when you are surrounded by people who are doing the same.
Rosche: Yes, definitely.
Ade: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cut you off.
Rosche: No, no, no. Just definitely. I agree.
Ade: Yeah. So tell us about–speak a little bit more about kind of your practice and how you–any suggestions that you might have for young professionals who are navigating their way and kind of noticing a decline in their mental wellness.
Rosche: So I think you mentioned something really good on the last point of, like, just the level of surrounding yourself by good people. I think that’s always the biggest thing, right? So I would say #1 – surround yourself with the right people. I have an–I have an acronym that I often talk to people about, and it’s called Check Your Pace, and what it means is, like, you know–have you ever noticed, like, when you’ve been physically walking with someone, and that person maybe started walking slower, or maybe they’re unhealthy, out of shape, and you find yourself kind of, like, slowing down your pace in order to stay in connection with them, and then vice versa, versus you end up going with somebody who’s walking fast. They’re super healthy, and you’re like, “Oh, my God, I’m trying to keep up with you,” and if we can physically do that, like, unconsciously take on the pace of the person that we’re walking with in a physical way, we ultimately do that mentally and spiritually and socially and financially, right? That, you know, we’ll take on just kind of the energy of the people that are around us without even paying attention that we’re doing so. So I just believe that it’s so important when we’re in this–like, just levels of being professionals or wanting to strive for excellence, that we first, like–the first part of pace is P, [inaudible], check the people that you’re around, right? Because you are the average of the five people that you’re around the most, right? So you want to check “Where is their money like?” You know what I mean? “Where is their career?” Like, you know, “What kind of degrees do they have? What’s happening around them?” It’s gonna be a reflection on what’s gonna ultimately happen with you, and then also I think when it comes down to people, you also want to check what’s all the–I call the A, the A part of pace, is alignment. Like, who are you aligning yourself with? And alignment to me is more vertical, like, you know, who’s doing better than you in your world? Significantly better than you. You want to make sure you’re aligning with that person who’s making good money. If you’re, like, making $50,000, and you want to make six figures, you need to be around a six-figure earner, right? You’re a six-figure earner and you want to make $250,000, you need to be around somebody who’s making $250,000, because there’s no way for me to get there if I’m not around somebody who’s actually showing me the habits that’s necessary, the skills that are necessary to get there, right? So I have to be, like, in alignment with somebody who’s even doing better than me in certain areas. So I believe that that’s another area. The C part of pace is choices, and so you want to check every single choice that you make, right? And I was just actually at specifically this thing–this lady named Renae Bluitt, she just did a documentary called “She Did That,” and it was talking about black women entrepreneurs, and what came out in that a lot was the level of not–of self-care and not practicing self-care, you know? Having that, like, Superwoman type of complex. Like, “I can do it all. I can do all of everything,” you know? Like, “I can do family life. I can be–I can do everything in my career and not even outsource it, and I’m taking on too much,” right? And I know I’ve been there. I live in that space a little bit now still, right? Where I haven’t really figured out a way to release all control over what’s necessary in my business, but it’s also–it’s creating a level of stress, and I think that we’re just so used–specifically within our community, I would say we’re always so used to juggling so much. So the mental health thing, we need to learn how to take breaks. We need to learn how to, like, you know, do even just mindfulness breathing. All about mindfulness, and I often tell people, even if you think it’s weird, start with just five deep breaths, you know? We should, like, have five deep breaths, like, into our nose, holding it and breathing out. In our community, we know how to, you know, breathe in and–well, not just in black communities, but all communities clearly because now it’s legal. People know how to breathe in and hold, right? Like, that’s part of something that they do, but there’s a way to do that without needing a product or an assistant. You can actually just learn the power of just breathing in, like, life force, and then being able to, like, hold it and then breathe out just kind of the waste and toxins that are in our body and even just, you know, negativity, and be able to learn how to, like, you know–to think more clearly. Like, “What’s my next move?” Versus us just kind of going and going and going. And so that’s a level of–that’s the C. So kind of checking your choices. Sorry, I’m all over the place, but that’s a part of my checking your pace. The C part is just check your choices. What choices are you making, and are they making you get towards your goal or away from your goal? And are you taking care of yourself in that process? And the E part of pace is expectations. Like, what are you expecting from your life? Because whatever we expect in our lives we will manifest in our lives, things that we’re expecting unconsciously or even consciously. We need to really pay attention. “What is happening? What am I bringing into my life?” You know, people call it law of attraction or whatever it may be, but, you know, what’s always coming into my life that I dislike, and how am I on accident and unintentionally bringing it into my life?” So, like, kind of check your expectations.
Ade: That is–I’d really love to, like, follow up with that so that we can have a quick write-up for our listeners, but that was a great framework for kind of understanding your mental health and taking charge of that. Thank you for sharing it. Is there anywhere that–do you have any material that we can follow up with [inaudible] or anything that you would like to share or plug?
Rosche: Yeah. I mean, I guess people definitely can go to my website. My business name is Doctor of Rethinking, and so my website is DoctorOfRethinking.com, and that’s D-O-C-T-O-R-O-F-R-E-T-H-I-N-K-I-N-G. So DoctorOfRethinking.com. So, you know, on there you can get information about, you know, how to, like–you know, doing, like, coaching with me, or doing, you know–it can be therapy as well. I’m in more state of more solution-focused levels where we kind of visit the past, but we don’t stick in the past as much as what therapy does anymore. And then also I do financial coaching, because I’ve come to realize that there’s definitely, like, a psychology to the way that people spend and save their money, and so you can also go on there and be able to get information around, like, the financial area and even setting up an appointment with me for us to, you know, maybe meet and check and get educated on finances, what should you do next with your finances, and see what kind of solutions that are out there that might be helpful.
Ade: That’s a great point. I know that for quite a few of the people in my circle, a lot of our stress is financial. Being, you know, kind of the first person in your family to be a professional or the first person in your family to “make it,” as it were, is a burden. Like, it’s a blessing, but it’s also a burden in a lot of ways, and so just finding out ways to develop healthy relationships with your finances cuts out a bit of the stress that you experience, yeah.
Rosche: I mean, I totally agree. I mean, when you’re the first person in your family to even be making money, and everybody around you, right, never knew how to, like, manage theirs, then now you have a lot of it and you’re mismanaging yours because you don’t understand how to manage your money, right? And you may even have a lot of emotions tied to your money, and then you also have family expectations that are tied to the money, right? And how do you set boundaries that are correct? I’ll give you, like, just kind of–it’s a simple example, but when I was–I used to work with foster youth, and I used to work with them in the community, and my client, her mom was a substance abuser, and I had substance abusers within my family as well, and she had–she had just got her first job, right? And she was like, “My mom always asks me for my money. What do I do?” And, like, for me, I know, like, coming from the community, I couldn’t just tell her, “Don’t give her nothing.” You know? It doesn’t really work like that. It doesn’t work in families to just say, “I’m giving you zero,” but I do believe that you should have a budget in mind of what you’re planning on or willing to give to your family, if that’s–you know, ’cause that’s kind of how it works. I mean, “I know that I’m gonna have to give them something, but if I don’t pay attention to what I’m giving them, I’ll give them too much,” right? And so what I often–what I told her, and I think it’s the same even as we get older, is I told her, like, you know, put your real money–like, if you have $100, you know, you might want to put $90 of it in one pocket and then the $10 in the other pocket, and then when your mom says, “Oh, I need something,” you pull out the 10 and say, “This is all I have,” so hopefully she’ll only want to take 5. [inaudible] you pulling out the 90, she’ll need all 90, you know? Because she’ll think that you’re in overflow, and I feel like that’s the same type of concept that even as we get older and we start to have more money that you have an idea of what I’m willing to pull out for my family so they don’t end up taking my all and I’m finding myself in debt and, you know, poor credit and all this kind of stuff because I’m always bailing them out, right? And I’m ultimately bailing out irresponsibility. I’m never really teaching them to the skills to be better. I’m just–they’re irresponsible, and I’m just gonna keep on helping their irresponsibility, and they’re gonna always need me, right? So I need to figure out, like, what’s the best way that I could, you know, bless them and, you know, all of that, but also make sure that I’m still doing what’s right for me and my future.
Ade: Right. That was perfect. Thank you so much for sharing that. We’ve kind of reaching the end of our planned conversation for today, but if there’s anything else, any other wisdom that you’d like to share for young black professionals who are just kind of figuring it out on our own?
Rosche: Yeah. I mean, it’s–it’s a process is all I would say, and I feel like every single step of the way, you know, you’ve just got to get help. You’ve got to get support when you need to. I recently–this is my own personal journey. I’ve been saying that you need to break up with your old self, and you have to break up with your old self, like, daily. Like, you know? And so I would say, like–so for me I feel like there’s always–there’s a part of me that’s kind of holding me back at times, and it can be based on whatever – your personal experience, your child experience, backgrounds and everything like that, but some things are always holding you back, and so you have to kind of get to a place where, like, “Hm, how do I break up with that part of myself that’s not really, like, serving me anymore,” you know? Maybe it served me when I was younger, but it’s not serving me now, and I need to really think about that a little bit. [inaudible]. Like, how do I–like, how do I go through the process of breaking up with myself and moving into my new, better, excellent self? Like an upgrade to myself, on a regular basis, and it could be simple things. It could be breaking up with, like, self-doubt, right? It could be breaking up with, like, your fears, breaking up with insecurities, you know, breaking up with poor habits, a lack of discipline. You know, all of those things, ’cause those things are really holding you back from your greatness. And like I said, I notice it in myself, right? And though other people outside of me can be like, “Oh, you’re awesome, you’re doing this, you’re killing the game,” but you know what you’re capable of, right? And so sometimes you know that there’s more that you could–that you can pull forth and you’re not pulling it forth, and so you kind of have to find time to just, like, “Oh, I got to break up with this part.” Like, when I lack discipline, when I don’t want to wake up, when I want to be a little lazy, like, “No, get up. You have to do this,” because, like, there’s a better you that’s out there, and the world is gonna miss out on that person if you don’t–you know, don’t get out of your own way basically.
Ade: Right. Yeah, that was amazing to hear, and I’m probably gonna right down “break up with yourself” on some Post-it notes and put them in my workspace. For one, it’s important to know that you’re not the only one having certain experiences, right? So when you said that there are things that have served you in the past that no longer apply or no longer fit into this new world you’re in, I can’t tell you how hard I relate to that, and even further, that there are people overcoming those circumstances, you know, that that path has been walked before, is good to know, good to hear, and very, very useful. Well, I want to thank you so much, Dr. Brown, for joining us, for spending time with us today and for sharing your wisdom. It’s been helpful in a ton of ways, and I just wanted to know if you have any Favorite Things or any shout-outs, anything that you’d like to share with our listeners before we go.
Rosche: I don’t know. Just continue–I often say, like, you know, “Don’t be ordinary when you can throw some extra on it,” you know?
Ade: That is so cool. I love that.
Rosche: So I’m all about “throw some extra on it,” so what is that little extra that you need to do? I have no idea what I’m gonna be talking about specifically during the CBE Week, so maybe some of these same concepts might come up again. Don’t be mad at me. You might need it again though at that point, but just I’m all like–we always have to do a little extra, so go ahead and put some extra out there and be, like, the best you that you were designed and destined to be.
Ade: That’s awesome, thank you. All right, that does it for us. Thank you for joining us on the Living Corporate podcast, everybody. Do make sure to follow us on Instagram at LivingCorporate, on Twitter at LivingCorp_Pod, and subscribe to our newsletter through www.living-corporate.com. If you have a question you’d like for us to answer and read on the show, please make sure you email us at email@example.com. This has been Ade, and you’ve been listening to Dr. Brown. Peace.