As we wrap up the first quarter of the year, I am reminded of the resolutions many of us made for ourselves. Weight loss, changing your job, quitting smoking, getting rid of/staying away from that no good ex once and for all, or putting down that alcohol. How have you done on staying committed to your goals and resolutions?
Some of you might not know that I teach a course on Leading Talent Development at NYU Wagner. One of the reasons I decided to add "Professor" next to my name is because I wanted to help influence the next generation of leaders and managers in relation to how they see human capital in the workplace. More importantly, I wanted to reinforce how they should invest in human capital that might not look or identity like they do.
Today, as we head into the last official week of Black History Month, we want to continue to shout out trailblazers. Every year, we hear about the usual names: Rosa, Malcolm, Martin, Sojourner. While they have certainly earned their right to grace the pages of our textbooks and our social consciousness, there were so many others blazing a trail in history.
Here are four black women trailblazers that you may or may not have heard about.
This won’t be a Memo that tells you to pull a list together of all of your new resolutions or even create a vision board.
Do I think some of these frameworks help us manifest our desires? I absolutely do, but by now you should know that anything we want to manifest will take work on our part. For instance, I can’t put out a book without writing it first. I can’t lose weight without changing my diet and putting in the work.
The one question I will ask you is what behaviors will you enhance or eliminate as you move forward in your life this year?
Almost three years ago, I decided I needed something more out of life.
I wanted to lend support to other women striving to obtain their career goals, and I felt like my experiences up to that point would be able to lend a diverse voice to the career development conversation.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t 100 percent sure how I would do this, or what it would look like.
How ready are you for your next big career opportunity? If the person who could change your life offered you a shot at your dream career right now, would you be ready?
You need to be prepared for what comes next, even if you aren’t certain what that next opportunity looks like.
Here are a few tips to make sure you #stayready...
Whether you’re applying for your first job, your tenth job, or you’re making a huge career shift, interviews can be nerve wracking. You want to make a great first impression, but often pre-interview anxiety can get in the way of letting your true colors shine through.
Make a plan ahead of time.
Is the interview in a brand-new location? Use Google Maps a few days before the interview to plan your route, figure out the directions beforehand, and determine how much time to allot to travel. Also consider going to the location a few days in advance to ensure that you won’t get lost on the day of the interview.
By: Grace Peters, Editorial Analyst, The Memo
“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, 'There you are' and those who say, 'Here I am.'” - Pauline Phillips
Some new hires are the “here I am!” kind of employees: seeking praise for every accomplishment. Managers do not always have time for that. The “there you are” new employees, on the other hand, spend their time listening and observing. They watch and listen carefully to get the lay of the land. They learn how things are done and follow their supervisor’s instructions.
For those of you embarking on your first job this summer, here are a few basic tips – including some things many wish they had known at their first jobs. These tips are also useful for those of you transitioning careers and beginning at a brand new workplace.
1. Learn office procedures and follow basic protocol. – Gail E., Attorney
2. Follow directions and ask questions if you’re not sure how your supervisor wants something done (but don’t be a pest!) – Liz L., Professor
3. Understand office politics. – Jessica B., Teacher
4. Be friendly, but don’t gossip! – Gracie P., Intern
5. Be diplomatic. – Theresa K., Writer
6. Watch out for other burnouts! The people who complain all day about the job and directly or indirectly try to bring you down in the process. Don’t let them! – Sam C.
7. Read a lot of articles and books about your industry. Know how to use business software. If you’re confused about something, use Google rather than giving up at the first roadblock! – Ellen S., Realtor
8. Network, Network, NETWORK. – Everyone!
Tell us about your first job! What would you add to this list?
Trust Your Gut
1) Do you remember the moment when you said, I have to pursue my dreams and do work that I am passionate about?
Absolutely! I was living in Toronto, at a job I could not stand and that I dreaded going to every day. I KNEW that it was absolutely NOT the life I was meant to be living. I vowed to do everything I could to drastically change my situation. First, I did the responsible thing and started saving every single penny – I downsized my home, liquidated most of my material items, and even sold my car to be able to have as much saved money as possible. Then I did the ultimate crazy thing and
moved thousands of miles away, to a city I had never lived in, and where I did not know a single person. Plus, I had no idea how I would support myself. My gut told me that I needed to be there at that time and I listened. Craziest and best decision I ever made!
2) What’s next for you in 2016?
This year has already been a huge one for me! I can honestly say that I have never been better or happier than right now! I have finally come to terms with being a typical Gemini in all things, including my career. For years, I battled between focusing on practical/ business/ left brain pursuits versus artistic/creative/right brain interests. I have now created a career that is the perfect marriage of the two! I know I am the only person able to do what I do exactly in the way I do it, and that is incredibly gratifying. I love being a wardrobe stylist, working on set and dressing my private clients just as much as I love putting together social media marketing campaigns for retail stores, training beauty corporations on how to make the best use of Snapchat, and posting on Instagram on behalf of a favorite fashion brand. Merging my love of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle with my obsession for social media in this way is what my education, training and experience has been leading me to. I have a number of fashion editorials coming out in print this season and I did costume design for my first film, which comes out this summer. I also have a limited list of incredible social media clients that I am super proud of!
3) Where does your inspiration come from?
Everywhere! From a cup of tea, the street style I see on daily walks through my Hollywood neighborhood, or the ideas I get during my yoga practice... all of my experiences inform my work.
4) How important is a good support system?
Having a good support system is huge! As an entrepreneur, I know having the right support can mean the difference between success and failure. No woman is an island and it is a waste of time and energy to think you need to do, be, or handle everything on your own. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I did not know a single person and it has taken me time to find the right group of positive, driven, energetic people to surround myself with. It has been 5 years and I am still working on it, but I am finally in a place where I feel brave and comfortable enough to turn to my system and ask for help when I need it.
5) What advice would you give women who want to start a business and/or pursue their dream?
The best advice I have ever received and the one thing I will say time and time again is TRUST YOUR GUT. You have all the answers to every possible question you can think of, because only you know what is best for you! Learn to listen to that inner voice that might be very quiet right now. Regardless of how weird, crazy, or counter intuitive the voice might seem, trust what you hear, and everything else will come naturally.
6) You’ve been in the entertainment/fashion industry for some time now, what are some lessons learned?
I'll double back to the previous answer here, because after making so many mistakes I realized that if I had been able to trust my gut a lot sooner, I could have saved myself a whole lot of money, time and disappointment. Besides this, the best lessons I have learned are:
Stay true to yourself.
Be 100% true to your word.
Punctuality is a game changer.
Impossibility is relative
Jettison trends, wear what makes you feel like your best self.
You only have 1 pair of feet so be good to them, even if that means wearing sneakers to work!
7) What are a few of your favorite must-haves?
My phone (obviously)
My rescue pit bull/ service animal, Stokely
My styling kit (because I never know when I might receive a last-minute booking)
Tea in a travel mug
A killer pair of sunglasses (right now I am absolutely obsessed with a new local brand, Burkinabae)
A few years ago, one of my mentors told me to stop apologizing so much in the workplace. At first, I was offended, because I thought I was being polite; but looking back--that was one of the best pieces of career advice I’ve ever received! For a week, I counted how many times I said, “I’m sorry,” and I said it so much, I wanted to put a muzzle over my mouth. I noticed the men in my office were rarely apologetic for voicing their point of view. As women--why do we feel the need to explain ourselves or apologize for voicing our opinions? Part of being confident is owning your actions and being authentic!
Here are three videos that do a great job of reminding us to stay strong, confident, and not to participate in a culture that encourages women to feel ashamed of speaking up and owning it!
: http://videos.nymag.com/video/Inside-Amy-Schumer-I-m-Sorry#c=8680372DVZQXJ0MY&t='Inside Amy Schumer': I'm Sorry
If you are reading today’s Memo, we made it to see another Monday! I challenge you to look at today differently--today is not just another Monday! Let’s try and see this week as another opportunity to go after our career goals. Set an intention right after reading this--to do one thing this week that puts you one step closer to your goals. It might be asking for that long awaited raise, ironing your clothes tonight, in order to give you a little extra time tomorrow to savor the moments, or setting time aside this afternoon to research your new job. Whatever it is, I encourage you not to put it off another day. In 2013, my little brother wrote a song called Go On, one verse goes: “Every day that I wake, every day that I get is a new, fresh, 24 on the shot clock..I’mma go on.” This week you get another shot towards the life and career you desire.
Below are five tips to help you look at this week differently:
Have faith; even if Tuesday starts to look rocky---set your intention!
Surround yourself with people that want to see you win. Don’t listen to the haters!
Never be afraid to fail. A winner never quits on themselves!
Be you! You were never created to be like everyone else. We love you just the way you are.
Patience is real. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but there was a process. Respect your process, which leads to PROGRESS!
Cheers to an awesome week! Tell us what you intend to do this week, so we can root you on!
Several months ago, my co-founder, Lauren sent me a Ted Talk by Dr. Brené Brown and The Power of Vulnerability. Two weeks ago, I was at Harvard University participating in a Global Leadership Program and once again I had the pleasure of learning more about Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown came up with The Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto. At some point in our lives we’ll lead and be lead; so it’s best to equip ourselves with tools to become effective leaders. I found this manifesto useful as I think about the way I lead. Do you have a manifesto you live by? If not, hopefully you can find some synergies from Dr. Brown.
I realize that carrying around hurtful stuff might take time to heal, but you can start celebrating the life you get back. Think about how much energy you gave those moments in your life. I think about one instance in particular and now I laugh out loud about it. And back then, I could barely get out of the bed because it made me so sad. Find your faith, say RIP to the past, and put on your best outfit, because we have your future to celebrate.
The band Journey made a song called, Don't Stop Believing. The chorus goes, "Don't stop believin', Hold on to that feelin', Streetlight people, Don't stop believin' Hold on." This song reminds me of when I was a young girl and would practice writing my signature on countless pieces of loose leaf paper. Did you do that too? As kids we thought someone might want our autograph one day. As little girls we had no problem dreaming BIG! Anything we dreamed of--we pictured ourselves doing it. You could be a teacher, a movie star, and a doctor all in the same day and no one could tell you differently. When I was young, my cousin Frank and I used to ride our bicycles around town and pretend to be police officers. We had badges and everything! My fantasy shift always ended early because I couldn’t stay outside as long as Frank. Where am I going with all of this? Don’t stop believing in yourself! Let’s get back to the days when we saw ourselves climbing the highest mountains and nothing could stand in our way. If you want to go back to school; take the necessary steps. If you want to travel more; start saving! If you are still waiting for love; don’t give up! Your dreams and goals are important and should be handled with care. Find your Monday motivation and don’t stop believing!
Ps: My cousin Frank grew up and became an actor. He has starred in several television shows portraying law enforcement officers (smile). Dreams do come true!