It’s okay to be lost.

It’s okay to be lost.

Going to school has a way of putting pressure on us. And I’m not just talking about college. Whether you’re a senior in high school, under grad, grad school, or maybe taking online classes for a specific trade – there’s this notion that if you’re not doing something right away, you’ll be nothing. Who started that?

I run into a lot of twentysomethings that truly believe because they don’t have it figured out, they’re already behind. They feel that because they’ve been out of school for 5 minutes and aren’t running Google or drowning in cash from their aspiring fashion line, that they’ve failed. These same people look around and double tap pictures of their peers in their professions with covetousness because they’re not where they want to be or better yet, don’t have a clue of where they want to be at all.

But you don’t have to.

Do you feel this pressure because your high school teachers are saying if you don’t go to college you should apply early to your nearest McDonalds? Or do you feel the way you do because college professors are sure that your best shot after it’s all over is a $32,000 salary? Oh no, it’s because your West Indian parents know for a fact that if you aren’t studying to be a doctor you’re basically selling drugs. Is that it?

Regardless, while it is easier said than done, the truth is none of that should matter.

There’s no golden guide that you follow to become the person that you want to be. There’s no cheat codes to this life thing, and no matter where you look, every question of doubt won’t have answers, and if you do find some, they may not even be the ones you want. But what you do have is time. You have time to make mistakes your greatest experiences. You have time to trial and error in different fields of work. You have time to take more classes, and you have time to make opportunities and take chances.

You don’t have to wake up in the morning and know for a fact you want to be a designer because you happen to know how to draw and you went to school for it. If your heart’s not it, why do it? What you should do is work toward something. This post isn’t an ally to you sitting at home on the couch “finding yourself” in the next bag of chips. It’s a wake up call. If you don’t know what’s next, draw your map. If you’re on route but got side tracked, go down the path that you aren’t familiar with. Make yourself uncomfortable until you find a new comfort zone.

Nobody knows what they’re doing, and the first billionaire you meet that says that they did is lying. I think this is what our years are for. We’re here to make the best of the time that we have with the people that we love. Your goals whether written down to the T or just thoughts running through your mind, should be to create, to give, to build, to grow, and establish.

And while I may have started with the reference to twentysomethings, I think this is valid for those who have been at their jobs for 20 years, who are well over their college days, who are mothers and fathers, and who are grown and still don’t know what’s next or want more but don’t know what it is. You may have more responsibilities and people relying on your next decision, but ultimately, your next decisions should be for you. You might not know what’s next but it’s okay. Work hard at something until you do. Just because you’ve been doing a job for years doesn’t mean it’s the one for you.

But hey, what do I know? I’m just taking my own advice. However, I must admit, so far so good.

Key Takeaway:
You don't have to know what your exact next moves will be, but the fact that you 
realize you need them is already a step in the right direction. Work toward something. Write, design, cold call, market, or give birth to a start up. Whatever you 
do don't feel sorry for yourself. Everyone's time is different, it's what you do 
with yours that counts.
Long Distance

Long Distance

I truly believe relationships are only as hard as you make them.

Don’t get me wrong, being with someone full-time is work. It’s sometimes putting someone else before yourself, it’s spending money on someone besides your own, it’s dedicating time… it’s sacrifice. But then again, love always is. However, I don’t believe it should hurt.

I’m currently in a long distance relationship… I’m talking across the Atlantic, different time zones long. He’s been in my life since I was 14, and eight years later I still get butterflies in my stomach when I know I’m about to see him. But it wasn’t always like that. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, and even further downs. I can recall a span of almost two years when I didn’t even know where he was, or what he was up to, and not caring. That was mainly because we’ve always had the problem of communication.

I can imagine the guys reading this and are probably getting ready to scroll to the next page while the females are saying to themselves “yup, girl, it always is!”

But the problem was something we both knew too well. Every time one of us did something the other really didn’t like, or was hurt by, we’d shut down and block the other person out. There were situations where if he did something I didn’t like, I would try to do it back just so he could feel the way that I did in hopes of him not doing it again, only to find out that those very actions would push him away. There was a time where I saw something I didn’t like, and automatically felt a way about it. Instead of telling him, I just assumed he should know. So when he texted me casually the next day, I remember turning my read receipts on and not replying. And because he saw that I read and didn’t respond, he didn’t write back! Literally taking being “petty” to new heights.

However, I’m Petty Labelle.

Long story short we wasted so much time battling each other instead of loving each other. We wanted to teach each other lessons, turn each other into people we thought we wanted, so much so that it drove us a part. Looking back now, I believe it was probably for the best. I think we needed to grow a little more individually before becoming the people to truly make each other happy. There were times I felt farther away from him when he was standing right next to me than I do now with him overseas.

We disagree, we have our arguments, but we also have patience. And I’ve learned that whether your person is ten minutes away or 10,000 miles away, you have to have that same patience to understand where the other person is coming from through times of disagreement; you have to be patient with your own thoughts because sometimes what you see isn’t always what it seems, and when it is, trust me you’ll know. You must be patient with yourself and with your partner as you learn to love each other. Nothing is done over night, and that goes for relationships too, there’s no need to rush through the stages.

I have so many friends that are often comparing their relationship or where they are in there lives to what others are doing. I believe that’s natural simply because we live in a social era where we’re constantly surrounded by updates, photos, and ‘likes.’ However, people only post when they’re at their best and the fastest way to lose yourself is when trying to be someone else.

Love, relationships, they both require growth. My boyfriend and I both needed that to be where we are today, and I think that time was necessary because it made us strong enough to withstand being a part for such long periods now. Long distance relationships aren’t for everyone, and I honestly wouldn’t recommend it. But I know I rather FaceTime him every night knowing we’ve built something worth keeping rather than settling for the next close thing. It’s work… a lot of work, but the most beautiful things in life are.

What are you willing build?

 

How I Got a Dream Job After College

How I Got a Dream Job After College

I knew  I needed to be doing something after graduation. I also knew that something wasn’t going to be a retail sales position.

Spring semester of my senior year of college was grind season. I wanted to have as much fun as possible with my friends, travel, and finally be done with homework, tests, and lectures, but at the same time, I wanted to prepare myself for the much talked about “real world” ahead. So, I made lists. Everyday.

I made brand new ‘to-do’ lists at the beginning of each day. Detailing when assignments were do, how far I had done them, and at which point and time they should be completed. I reserved rooms in the library for days in the week that were dedicated to job applications. For approximately two to three hours, I would research companies and industries I thought were interesting, I would search for positions like beginner to intermediate fashion assistant, public relations, social media management, assistant editorial, and all related positions under the sun, on job search engines like Indeed, Monster, Craigs List, and honestly Google. I worked two jobs during school, so I made sure homework was always done either right after class, or during the slow times at my office morning job. There were times I even found myself scheduling meals with friends!

It was crazy, but for me, it worked. It worked because I work well with schedules. I took on many different roles in school and took part in so many different activities to diversify myself, the people around me, and the skills I gained. It even got to the point where people knew before anything got done, it had to go on my list.

When April came around, all of my time spent on job applications started coming together. I was receiving follow up emails, phone calls, and had scheduled interviews for when I got home after graduation. I was in awe. I just couldn’t believe the hard work was going to pay off. They say it all the time, but when you actually look back and see how far you’ve come is when you truly appreciate the journey.

I graduated on May 17, 2015 with my Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with a focus in Journalism. I was hired on spot of my second interview with Atlantic Management Group to be a marketing representative for their new product line called Makeover Essentials, the following Thursday.

Those might have been the best and worst 3 weeks of my life.

I completely misunderstood the job description. When they said marketing team, I thought I was going to be putting together campaigns to our demographic of men and women who believe in great makeup for an even greater price. What I didn’t see coming was me walking up down Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, NY for 6hours a day with a set of 20 make up kits hoping someone would want to buy one for the amazing price of just 20 bucks! Oh, I mean $21.75 after tax… but who was giving a girl selling make up out of book bag tax? And if I was lucky, I’d sell the flat iron I held underneath my arm for the whopping good deal of just 40 bucks today!

I knew the job was weird from the first day. But I kept going back for the 3 weeks because I realized I had the gift of gab.  I was dropping bags like Santa on Christmas. I had guys not even taking the bags but giving me $20 because they liked my hustle! I even got a free trip to Texas. (But that’s a whole other story, sorry folks, maybe next post)

I left shortly after making enough money to pay for a trip to Canada for a festival in Toronto.

For me, working isn’t all about the money. It’s about waking up every day and genuinely loving what I do with an additive that the money is also good. I wanted to do something that inspired others, added to the world, or just simply be a part of something bigger than myself. Selling bags of make up, hoping to get enough people on my team to level up, wasn’t that.

So, I ended up being where I never wanted to be. Jobless.

But I never wanted to feel comfortable doing nothing. I woke up every morning for a month and a half at 7am like I had a job. I went back to creating lists and formed a routine. I worked out each morning for about two hours a day, showered, ate, and spent the rest of my afternoon applying to jobs, going on interviews, and reading. I put so much pressure on myself because I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents, or feel like they put all their money into school for no reason. Failing them wasn’t an option.

I went weeks with nothing. No calls, no follow ups. But I still tried to wake up everyday energized to begin anew. I tried to think of the time as just another summer break. I scheduled some random hangouts with friends, but I tried not to go out too often. I felt going out was only called for if you had something to celebrate, and as far as I was concerned, I was in no position for party hats.

It wasn’t until my mother had to sit me down and tell me to relax a bit. “You just went away to college and graduated. Those are two different things. Not many people can say that. Just because you aren’t where you want to be right now, doesn’t mean you’ll never get there. Enjoy the time you have off while you can, because when you do start work, you’ll miss it.”

She was right.

I eased up on the schedule, but still added to my resume and began doing a little freelancing for a fashion and social media buzz blog through a friend from school. That connection sparked the idea of taking advantage of the people I knew.

I spoke to people from my church, camp, places that I used to work, and began handing my resumes in to everyone. The more people’s hands it was in, the more chances of someone actually reading it. Yelp, a digital marketing firm, and Adobe got back to me within that same week. I went from having nothing for 3 weeks to having 3 job opportunities in one.

I thought about the creative direction I wanted to go in, my love for magazine, design, and just writing as a whole and realized Adobe’s 99U team would be the perfect opportunity to wake up to each morning. After going on countless interviews, meeting the team felt natural and it was easy to talk about things I loved with people who could relate.

While I made the choice to work for Adobe over the marketing firm, and they made the choice to hire me as their Assistant Editor, I’d say Time finalized everything for the both of us.

Key Takeaway:
We have to realize that things happen in our lives not when we want them to, but when they are supposed to. Failure, disappointment, financial burdens, highs, and lows, they are all a part of the journey to whatever it is that you want to do, and where ever it is that you want to go. In order to get up, you must be willing to fall, but what separates those that are standing from those still on the ground is the push you make after each let down. Make lists, make connections, and take advantage of the people and situations around you. Rest and start again.
When Passion Meets Action

When Passion Meets Action

Everyone has a passion for something. There are people who live, breath, and think music on all levels at all times. Some of these kinds of people are called audiophiles. “An audiophile is a person enthusiastic about high fidelity sound reproduction,” by Wikipedia definition. This kind of person is passionate about creation, innovation and the idea of bringing music to life through different outlets and by any means. Music legends that began in the era before mine found this very niche; their sound, their vibe, lingo and style carried out into the generations after mine. And this was because they believed in something bigger then themselves, so much so that the world began to believe in it too.

That’s the funny thing about dream chasing and loving something for what it is not what it can bring you. We have the power to be and do anything we set our minds to but we must first be willing to take the risk. It’s not easy following the path you love, whether your passion is writing, music, fashion, dance, painting, singing, drawing, teaching or even building things, the list is endless. However, the recognition of a talent is only the beginning. It’s the work that goes into making it more than just something you do alone that sets you a part.

To become an entrepreneur, an owner, or an innovator you must first be a dream chaser. You have to draft the most outrageous goals and believe that each day you will get closer to achieving them. This journey is far from easy. You will have financial burdens, difficult decisions to make and people around you who are afraid to believe in what you can do, these people will try to stop you and bring you down. But God always helps those who help themselves and never puts more on you than you can bear. To be great, you must believe that you are.

It is so easy to stay in bed instead of starting your days earlier. It is easy to break yourself down than it is to build yourself up. It is easy to tell yourself you can’t rather than you can, and it is easier to give up than to keep going.

Today, I challenge you take the road less traveled and do what everyone thinks you can’t. I challenge you to say yes to the opportunity you are afraid to take because you are unsure of where it might lead. Today, I challenge you to step out on faith and do exactly what you want to do not what’s expected of you. Money will come, people will go and change will arise, but the only thing standing in the space of the difference in your life is you.

Are you ready to step out of your way?

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

generation-y

It’s a beautiful thing to have hopes, dreams and vision, for without a vision or a plan I think people would perish. But is there such a thing as having too much ambition?

Today, I’m surrounded by a generation confused that the hustle to take care of their young families, buy clothes, or post likable pictures, lies in the scheme of the quick come up. We live in a world where instead of living to work, we work to live and that need for money and status kind of drowns out the very things this land was said to be built upon, such as, morals and integrity. We want so bad that we will do anything to get it.

We each have different motives; different reasons for doing what we do and how we do it, but does that justify stealing from your neighbor so that you can be supported? We have misunderstood what it means to really hustle and grind. When I think of hustling I think of 2 jobs, late nights studying for that masters degree, an internship and a meeting with the mayor in the morning. But in these growing times, it’s the “zoe,” the scams, the stealing, the lies and deception. I watch and hear of people going to great lengths for fast cash so that they can reach their goals. But is there no accountability for the lives disrupted on the way there? What bothers me the most is that no one even cares.

I’m seeing how consumed we are in our own ambitions and dreams that there is no second look to the people we step on to get to where we want to be. There’s no one to blame, we are just a part of society so eager to win the race that we’re off before anyone has given directions. Our situations and needs are different, but I think it’s safe to say our end result is the same… to be comfortably happy. I believe we can be, without hurting one another to do it.

I was inspired to write today. I stood right next to a group of seemingly innocent kids on the bus in Staten Island. The incoming rush of new passengers, ringing cellphones, people talking, “normal” public transportation behavior occurred until this girl snatches an older man’s phone right from his hand and runs off the bus. The bus is rattled. The older man wastes no time. He’s out of his seat and out of the back door running after the girl, who is no older than 14, with the gang of her friends chasing after him with alleged crowbars. The bus driver closes the door and pulls off to continue the bus route.

I can’t help but feel like we are losing sight of what it means to really go after our dreams. I think the tough times are seeping into the growing generation, implanting the idea that ambition is doing whatever you have to by any means, even if it means hurting those around you.I don’t have the answers; I admit I’ve been a slave to my dreams as well. I guess the first step in doing better is realizing you have to.

Dangerously in Love…

Dangerously in Love…

Have you ever been so deep in love with someone that the feeling scared you?

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I’ve always questioned the authenticity of love in it of itself. It’s such a complex emotion, that it makes you do things, and say things, and feel so crazy. I think it makes people the craziest, me particularly, because it is the only emotion that I literally cannot control.

I have no say in who it is that I will love, how long I will love that person, and the hardest sometimes has been to pinpoint the very reason(s) why I love that person at all. Love makes me second guess myself, the things that I was once so sure about, the way in which I go about my day or even what it is that I want to say. Love makes me rewrite text messages to not only get whatever it is that I need to say out, but in the way most appealing to the person receiving it. Love makes me cuddle with my phone on the nights I can’t cuddle up with him. Love just… makes me.

It scares me more so than anything just because I’m willing to do and be anything for that person. I’m okay with putting myself aside, if it means that person will be just a little bit happier. But the best part for me is when they don’t even want me to.

I can hardly fully express the way love makes me operate. I guess that’s one of the hidden beauties of love, the simple fact that you just don’t know, but instead you simply…feel. Maybe the term scared is a bit much. Love isn’t so much scary, but instead so bold that depending on the situation it can be intimidating.

If there is anyone out there with a feeling at all similar to mine, I encourage you to take the challenge and love completely. There’s no sense of being afraid of the unknown or intimidating. We were built to last. The worst that can happen is what you thought was love simply wasn’t. But there’s another crazy thing about it… when it’s real, you just know.

-Kiana S.