Boss101

BOSS 101: Interview with Alicia West

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews. Life happened and I didn't post last Wednesday but wanted to make sure I ended off the month on a strong note! I'm honored to finish off this powerful month with Alicia West #JustAceIt, who I first came into contact with at a conference in 2016. However, while we only briefly connected at the conference, her candid IG stories, her ability to speak things into existence and land bomb influencer deals (hey Jordan!) is what made me realize she's def a BOSS in her own right and has an amazing story that I wanted to be sure and highlight. My goal of these #BOSS101 interviews is to give more visibility to everyday women, just like you who are making their dreams come true. It's not luck or by chance, these women work hard!  I'm so honored that Alicia took the time to catch up wand share some boss tips and behind the scenes info on how she's making a name for herself in the entertainment industry, one day at a time.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am the digital editor for the Detroit market at Radio One. I write, produce, and shoot content for three different radio stations websites and social media. I am also an on-air talent. I host different segments for the websites as well as for my own and interview artists and other celebrities. Pretty much if it’s digital, I do it!

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What inspired you to work in Entertainment?

Ever since I can remember I wanted to work in entertainment. I was always into pop culture, pretended like I was on TV, wrote songs, sang (although I can’t hit a note if my life depended on it) and a bunch of crazy stuff I’ll refrain from mentioning. When it came time in high school to pick your potential careers, I wrote down that I wanted to be a video jock for Much Music, which is pretty much the Canadian version of MTV. I saw talent like Tyra Banks hosting ANTM, LaLa Anthony on TRL, Angie Martinez on HOT 97, Ryan Seacrest hosting American Idol and his syndicated radio shows and wanted to be just like them!

You moved from to Toronto to the U.S., tell us about that journey.

The journey has been hectic and is still crazy to this day! Since I was in middle school, I’ve been researching and planning on how I can move to the U.S. Originally the plan was to go to high school/university on a basketball scholarship but that didn’t work out as planned. After graduating in 2012 from my Radio post-grad program in Toronto, I decided to move to D.C. for an internship at WPGC. I stayed out there for 4 months before I realized I had to go back to Toronto. I didn’t have enough experience to get the work visa I needed to stay in the U.S. Then again, in 2016, after losing my job the previous year, I decided to chase after my dreams and auditioned for a program called the WEEN Academy which was held in New York City. I ended up getting into the program which meant I had to move to NYC for 4 weeks..I decided to stay until I got a job in America (which I totally did!). From there I moved to Detroit, where I have been for just over a year.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I haven’t done anything crazy to secure a meeting but I do remember the first time I reached out to someone for coffee. Her name is Pauleanna Reid, a super dope writer, motivational speaker, mentor, business owner, etc. Anyways, I ended up being 15 minutes late. She wasn’t pleased and was straight up with me on why it wasn’t a good look especially as a first impression. I don’t think I was ever late for a meeting again.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your career?

Networking is EVERYTHING! I needed to build my network particularly in the U.S. in order to get the work permit I needed. A lot of people are scared to take chances on just anyone especially when it comes to industries like this. I feel as if you are able to really hone in on your industry relationships, they will be able to help open the doors. That doesn’t mean you will be automatically get the job, you still have to do the WORK to get those opportunities, but it makes the process of finding jobs and securing the interviews a little bit easier when you have great relationships. Now that I think of it, I’ve gotten all my jobs through references. Most hiring managers look within a company, and ask their network before hiring from external job boards.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women out there that are looking to start a career in radio/entertainment?

Be willing to work! It’s true when they say women have to work 2x hard than a man and black women have to work 2x harder than that. This is such a male dominant industry, so the respect isn’t always there. If you do your work, show your passion and don’t put up with anything, you will be able to gain the respect you need to flourish.

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What challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a woman of color?

I have seen men be hired over women. I have seen people go to the men for answers before the females (who are actually in charge of the men). Luckily I have yet to face a challenge that was blatantly because I am a biracial female. I work for an African-American company that is owned by a woman. That is pretty empowering and allows me to feel as if I can’t be stopped.

I do feel as if the opportunities aren’t always present but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. Over the past year we have seen plenty of women of color taking charge, and owning the space. And I believe every female needs to be unapologetic and have faith that they can do whatever they want.

You also have a brand of your own, tell us more about that.

I started justaceit.co because I needed to motivate myself to chase after my dreams. I was stuck working a regular job at an advertising agency. It was okay but it wasn't what I wanted. I knew that I wanted to work in media, so I started the blog to remind myself that whatever goals I have (whether fitness, travel, career) to always go out and just ace it. Since then it has become more than just a blog, it’s a lifestyle, a mantra. I focus on spreading positivity to women of color who are unapologetically badass through different digital mediums. On YouTube, I do videos of my experiences, and tips on how to get into the industry. Interview WOC who work in entertainment/media for my #justaceit podcast (available on iTunes), and I just started this thing called ACE-ism, where I share 30 seconds (ish) of inspiration on Instagram. I have a lot more in the works for 2018. It’s been a learning lessons trying to manage a full-time job and working on my own brand.

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

Authenticity. If it’s fake it won’t stick. Do something you are truly passionate about. When you do, people will be more drawn to you. And, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You really can’t become successful without stepping out of your comfort zone. Go meet people, explore your interests, put yourself in uncomfortable situations….that’s when you’ll figure out what your brand truly is.

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What inspires you?

When I see other people living their life to their fullest potential and doing great things. It honestly inspires me to step up my game. I love a person that knows how to hustle.

What Quote do you live by?

I love quotes...so much that I have my own quote book. Every time I find a quote that resonates with me, I write it down in it. One quote that’s really been on my mind lately is “Make yourself at home but don’t get comfortable.” It’s from the TV show Being Mary Jane when she moved from Atlanta to NYC. It resonated with me because I just moved to Detroit at the time of the episode airing. I now have it on a sticky note by my bedroom door so I can read it every morning. I use it as a reminder that it is okay to make a city my home, but to not let it make me complacent. It’s easy to settle when things are going okay….I don’t ever want to settle again.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

#justaceit…..whatever you want to do is possible. Often we give ourselves a grocery list of reasons why we can’t achieve our wildest dreams. In reality, all we have to do is go out and #justaceit.

Do you have any parting words, advice, or tips, to help a millennial woman aspiring to build her brand, her career, and/or a side hustle?

I lost my job in Nov. 2015 and didn’t work for a full year. I didn’t do it because I wasn’t employable. I did it because I was tired of settling and being average. I knew my passions lived elsewhere and I was ready to sacrifice my savings, playtime and whatever other luxury I could have done if I was employed. I knew that it was what I needed to do in order to focus myself on my goals. I made a promise that I wasn’t going to go back to work until I got a job in radio, and I did just that. Anything is literally possible. Your dreams are possible. You have to go out and #justaceit.

 

BOSS 101: Interview with Karinn Chavarria

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews every Wednesday throughout the month of March, with some bad@$$ women that are redefining the "B" word. I'm honored to continue this month off with a high school friend, Karinn, who I feel like I've witnessed blossom into this Food and Fitness Boss Lady in such a short time. It's crazy, because social media has allowed me the opportunity to keep in touch with people I may have never had the opportunity otherwise -- Karinn is definitely one of those, since I haven't seen her in over a decade; but I get to stay up to date on all her fun shenanigans via her blogging and social platforms. From Karinn's insta stories to her candid and honest posts, she's definitely someone you should be following for motivation, gymspiration, and a good laugh. Her blog and brand @feedthecurves is definitely on the rise and I'm so glad I was able to catch up with her as she offered up some boss tips on how to lean into your passions, hustle everyday, and live as your most authentic self.

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Karinn, I'm from Houston, TX and I'm on a mission to inspire women, minorities like myself and entrepreneurs to do what they love. I consider myself to be a hustler. I've been called that many times and I'm coming to terms with being able to say that myself. But what do I do exactly? For starters, I run a blog and brand called Feed the Curves. I'm also the co-founder of the fitness movement #FindYourSweat. I wear many hats from developing recipes for my blog to  restaurant marketing. I also curate and host events and work with companies for social media content!

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Tell us more about your blog/brand FeedTheCurves & FindYourSweat

Feed the Curves is all about celebrating your body by feeding it what it needs from the inside out. I've been overweight to emaciated and the last thing I'd want someone to do when embarking on a lifestyle change is to feel deprived or lost. So, I found a solution-- to advocate a mindful balance between food, fitness and a social life.  I'm a proponent of moderation and keeping it real so you'll find me posting a healthy meal one day then enjoying tasty libations at the newest restaurant the next.

I recently worked with Whole Foods for #VeganViernes, my weekly dose of vegan recipes, which was a highlight of 2018 so far. I'm not a vegan but I find there to be a disparity of education on the subject amongst blacks and hispanics. You can find me blog about ALL things food/fitness/and social events related on Instagram @feedthecurves. Be on the lookout for my website relaunch!

Find Your Sweat originally started as a hashtag and challenge to encourage women to find a workout that they truly enjoy and inspire them to fall in love or back in love with being active. My partner Cori and I completed 30 consecutive workouts in 30 days to showcase the variety of ways to get active in Houston. We tried everything from jiu-jitsu to samba (Brazilian dance) to boxing then posted about it on our social media channels. We quickly garnered media exposure and the response was far more than we expected and very humbling. We made a commitment to ourselves and to each other and found solace and unity when things got tough. We didn't want FYS to end after the challenge. We wanted women to experience the same camaraderie we did when you work together and not against each other. From that, the idea of hosting empowering events through fitness was born. We now host events in Houston and plan on taking it further! You can find more about our story here and subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming events here!

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Give us a little background on who Karinn is and what aspects of your early adulthood guided you to where you are now.

I'm multi-faceted and very complex to say the least. I've dabbled in so many things and experienced a lot in order to realize my potential and purpose. In college, I worked for a start-up gold trading business located inside of a grocery store. I also worked as a brand ambassador for numerous marketing agencies and events. Working both simultaneously equipped me with knowledge of running a small business, people skills and passion for production. The gold trade proved to be lucrative and soon everyone was buying and selling so the company expanded from 1 store to over 100 in a matter of a couple of years. I was there to see this company grow from conception so I fell even more in love with business. I loved it until they went corporate and I had to follow rules like a dress code haha. I received my degree in Journalism and Global Business but upon graduation my life took a different turn. Instead of pursuing journalism, I moved on a whim to Denver start my own business. At 23, I registered my first LLC and opened my first brick and mortar store in Colorado. Having my own business was great but I was pursuing a trade that my heart wasn't in. I thought that I'd be fulfilled monetarily but I hated it. I promised to never go into something that I'm not wholeheartedly willing to lose sleep for. I moved back to Houston and that's when the soul searching and going back to the drawing board began.

What inspired you to pursue a job outside of the traditional 9-5?

Because of my free-spirited nature I always knew that I didn't belong in one place but in many and I also don't do well with authority, so I knew I had to be my own boss from the beginning. But when I moved back to the H from Denver, I felt experience and tenure was lacking on resume. It was so frustrating getting back into the job market and receiving denials. That's when I really started hating the corporate world. I worked with temp agencies and couldn't find a job that suited my search for creativity and culture. I knew I was capable of anything and nobody would give me a chance. After each rejection, I thought to myself, "Like, y'all have never met me. I'm badass and can do that job just as good as the next person and probably better."

That's when I landed an Account Executive position with the Houston Press. I worked in digital and print sales with mostly restaurants and bars. This position gifted me more insight into business and events so I loved it but I also hated being a slave to the clock. When I got laid off, that added more fuel to the fire. I felt like a number, so I started thinking how I could turn my passions into a profession. I used my work experience from college and the short stint at the press to reinvent my life and say no-more to the traditional 9-5.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I needed to find the owner of a bar and he was not reachable via phone. So I decided to become a bar fly and just hang out for a week until he showed up lol. I became a regular.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your brand/business?

You've probably heard that your network is your net worth which I can attest to. Networking is so important to your business because it gives you access to a pool of opportunity and can help you form incredible relationships. Relationships and how you nurture them are just as important. I believe having a good reputation will set you apart so be the person that you'd want to work with or for when shaking hands.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women that want to pursue a career outside of the traditional 9-5?

Be passionate about your idea and believe in yourself. The three P's of success are Passion, Persistence, and Patience.

What inspires you?

My mother's valiant and beautiful story of being an immigrant and achieving the American Dream. She moved to the U.S. from another country to live a better life. She had two children and my father left us when we were toddlers. She'd scrub toilets in order to ensure food was on the table. She built her own janitorial business. Wanting to leave that laborious industry, she sought out new opportunities. She then became the Director of Operations for a multi-million dollar company THEN opened up her own business. My mom is a self-made boss and didn't even have the resources that we have now (or know English!). She is my hero and everything I could have asked for when God blessed me with a mother. She is the reason I'm inspired by women and minorities.

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What Challenges have you faced as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges have you faced as a minority woman? -- if any?

I haven't personally experienced gender-bias in the blogging field because it is comprised of mostly women. However, this "crowded" space of female influencers can tend to be competitive. I hate to say it, but you'll meet some inauthentic people along the way who only have their best interest in mind. I don't view this as a big challenge though, I view it as unfortunate human nature and personality disorders hahaha.  

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

I'd say figuring out your niche is highly valuable. You have to target the right audience to create content that connects and receive reciprocation. Without knowing these things, getting traction and engagement will be difficult. Once you have a niche, people view you as an expert in that field so you naturally gain a loyal readership/following. When you do attain this, asking for feedback from time to time is a good idea (ie. what would you like to see more of, how can I improve, how was your experience etc.).

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When we embark on a journey of building any sort of business, we imagine it going a particular way. How do you deal with inevitable disappointments?

Inevitable disappointments should be a part of the business plan. If you painted a pretty picture of your business and how it's supposed to be, let me be the first to tell you that you're in for a rude awakening. What you do with mistakes and disappointments is learn from them. Use them to strengthen your character and be constructive not destructive. Your setbacks and how you overcome them is what makes your journey that much sweeter and better. With the faith of a mustard seed and the strength of a bull, there's nothing that can stop you.

What Quote do you live by?

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." - William Shakespeare

Not the most conventional or modern quote but indeed one of my all time favorites about courage and nobility. A coward has died so many times from not taking risks or standing up for what they believe in, thus dying inside numerous times before their actual death. The courageous only experience death once because they face the challenges and calamities that life throws at them.

What tips do you have for others working to be noticed by brands/partners?

Being authentic and yourself is what can set you apart. You can find me cussing, twerking, then I'm interviewing a restaurant owner. I never felt the need to be cookie cutter because it's not who I am. I'd like to think that brands like authenticity.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

Bold- Bold are those who take risks and get to where they need to be regardless of circumstance. Be bold in your word, your presence, your conviction. I believe that bold women rule the world.

Any parting words for the #BossTribe?

Don't compare yourself to someone else and don't give yourself excuses. Excuses and comparisons has killed many dreams. I know it can be daunting to take a risk but face your fear and do it anyways, pave your own road of success. You're never too old or too late in the game so start now! As I like to say, one persons chapter 27 is another's first page.

 

5 Reasons Oprah Would Make A Great President

Unless you are living under a rock, you saw that last night Oprah declared her bid for Presidency in 2020. Okay, not really...but it sure felt like it. Last night #Oprah2020 trended on Twitter and for good reason. In less than 8 mins, Oprah managed to address uncertain times, condemn tyranny, champion journalism and free speech, and, most powerfully, crusade for justice for women and people of color who are marginalized, silenced, and denied justice. She was political, but universal.

What makes Oprah so damn good? Reese Witherspoon summed it up nicely as she introduced her last night at the Golden Globe Awards: "There's only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling. And that is Oprah."

Here's our five reasons we think Oprah would make a great President.

She's self-made.

Oprah is shaped, but not defined, by an incredibly difficult childhood. Her road to prominence as a network chief, producer, actress and philanthropist began with a rocky childhood that caused her to consider taking her own life. Everyone loves a good rags to riches story, and Oprah's is filled with way more than any one person should have to endure. From growing up poor, being moved around from her grandmothers, to her mothers, to her fathers and back again -- to being raped at nine, and sexually harassed/molested many times thereafter by multiple people, to a miscarriage at 14. A baby that was the product of rape by her Uncle (which she often credits as her second chance). Then of course the and racial and gender discrimination she faced throughout her career, which is really just skimming the surface.

Yet, through all of that, here she stands sixty-three years later, worth over 2.5 billion dollars, with a legitimate empire. 

She's genuine.

Nothing feels more real, than hearing her stories like last night when she recounted the story of "sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee" in 1964 watching Sidney Poitier win the Oscar for best actor. Winfrey goes on to say: "I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses."

In that moment, we ALL are sitting on that floor with Oprah in 1964. Few presidents have felt real. Felt human. How many billionaires make you feel like you're besties? Oprah does that.

And if you're a super fan, like myself. I literally "watched" Oprah get ready for the Globes. Her new Instagram feed is one to die for. All of the B-T-S footage, literally adds to her realness. From watching her get her hair done, to trying on her dress and finally telling her bestie Gayle she needed lotion on her elbows, Oprah is just so real

She's a woman.

I mean obviously Oprah's a woman, but after last year's election -- we all feel it. We all want it. Well, let me not say all -- because 53% of white women voted for Trump, but who is counting? I don't know the age demographics within this set of women, but I'd make an educated guess that the majority of them are not millennial women.  Nevertheless, many women, young and old feel robbed after last year's election. It was like we were so close to making history and society reminded us -- that even if you are the most qualified woman, we still live in a day and age where the last qualified man can beat you out for a job that you spent your whole life preparing for.

It was gut-wrenching. It was a hard pill to swallow. To realized that we still lived in a country where that could happen. But America needed that. We needed that mirror to hold up to us and see all the things that are wrong so that we can to truly seek to change for the better. But wouldn't it make a great "ending" if after that heart-crushing lost in 2016 that we could be rewarded with Auntie "O" in 2020?

She gives a voice to the voiceless.

Most presidents have a way words. It's like the par for the course to be president of the United States. However, not only does Oprah have a way with words...when she speaks, people listen. And she uses her platform to tell the stories of those who never had the chance or may ever have the opportunity to speak their truth. Perhaps it's her decades of experience in media or perhaps that no matter how much money she's worth -- she has a way about her that makes you feel like your best friends. 

Last night, she used her platform to tell the story of RecyTaylor and it literally gave me chills. Recy Taylor's name was trending because Oprah was the first black woman to win this award and during her moment, she chose to use her platform to tell her story instead -- along with the stories of many women who were never allowed the opportunity to do so.

She inspires people to take action.

For decades her words have inspire us to action. On her talk show, in her magazine, on her network, in her movies, plays, you name it --  Oprah has always provided a blueprint. Be better, here's how, and I'll do it with you.

What other reasons do you think Oprah would make a great president? And if you can't get enough like we can, her full speech below.

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4 QUESTIONS TO HELP BREAK OUT OF YOUR CAREER CRISIS

HAVE YOU FOUND YOURSELF IN A CAREER CRISIS? 

IN THE WORDS OF RIHANNA...

"CHILL OUT BRO"

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Just kidding, I'm not sure if Rihanna has ever uttered those exact words. But judging from that picture above, I'm going to venture and say yes, yes she has. 

In this day and age, the old idea of staying at a job for 30 years and having a natural progression in your career advancement has been thrown out the window (or so you think). Social media will have you in your feelings, thinking that everyone is finding their dream jobs or quitting their day jobs and becoming their own bosses.

You likely suffer from workplace stress and to make matters worse, you surf the internet, hear about everyone else's jobs and entrepreneurial successes. Meanwhile, you feel like you’re treading water and going nowhere.  

Then you lookup one day and realize you are in a career crisis.

Afterwards, comes the self reflection. Am I doing enough? Could I be doing more? Am I happy? Is this it? Is there more to life? Can I see myself in this career for 30 years? Should I be working to make a difference in the world? Should I be more passionate about my job? 

Well, I'm here to deliver you a nice dose of "chill out bro" and a remind you that the internet is about as real as the 26 inches of wavy Brazilian locks in my hair. So hop off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and dig deep and do the work to find your happiness in your current role. And if you can't find it, then perhaps it is time to start applying for jobs. But before you do that,  I've compiled a list of 4 questions to ask yourself (with some real Rihanna quotes for inspo) so you can self reflect before you go put in a two week's notice. 

1) Why am I feeling stuck in my present career?

The problem may not be your actual career. You could be feeling stuck because you're not inspired. You may be working for the wrong company or doing work that you aren't passionate about.  Personally, when I work on uninspiring projects, I struggle. It shows up in my work and I mess up things that I don't typically screw up when I'm inspired.  It is quite difficult to get good at something that you don’t even like.

If you are doing something that you like, but are still feeling stuck... it is likely because you have grown apathetic and have not taken responsibility of your own career growth. If that's the case, stop reading and check out my post about ten steps you can take now to improve your career. You probably are in the right career, just lack the passion or support to get out of the rut. If you're still not sure you're in the right career, keep reading.

What Would Rihanna Say: People think, because we’re young, we aren’t complex, but that’s not true. We deal with life and love... in the same way [someone] older might. – Rihanna

2) Have I outgrown my current role?

Make a list of all the knowledge, skills, and talent you have developed so far in your career. Is this what you want to work on or are you working very hard at getting ahead in a career that you have long since outgrown? Perhaps, you’re working as a Marketing Coordinator, but feel you could easily become a Marketing Manager; perhaps, you’re a nurse's aid, but feel that you could easily run be a nurse; or perhaps, you work as a retail clerk in a department store, but have more than enough sales skills to be a manager. If that's the case, then you're not necessarily in a career crisis. You just need to be mapping your next move and designing your pitch to your boss, to get you the role you now deserve.

What Would Rihanna Really SaySuccess for me isn’t a destination it’s a journey. Everybody’s working to get to the top but where is the top? It’s all about working harder and getting better and moving up and up. – Rihanna

3) If I like my career choice, am I doing it in the right place?

Perhaps, you have already found the right career, but management isn't progressive or their values don't align with your own. Reporting to someone who supports #45 is an exhausting is a task in itself -- that I'm thankful I don't have to deal with on a daily.  Or maybe it's not your bosses political views that are causing your crisis, but perhaps you are not advancing in your role simply because you are working in a company that is not interested in helping you grow. In this case, use your job as a training vehicle to develop all the competencies that you need to either force higher management to notice you or to become a highly attractive prospect for another company. Make a list of what you are not doing that you could be doing better. Think of yourself as an independent contractor rather than an employee. Begin to become highly proactive in your current position to prepare you for where you want to go. When I approach the job hunt, I always remind myself that while I work for a company, I am a CEO of one. That means, I need to make decisions for my career based on what's best for me: financially, emotionally, career progression, and resume wise.

What Would Rihanna Really Say:  "All in baby, don’t hold nothing back. Wanna take control, Nothing wrong with that."– Rihanna

4) What is the career that I really want to pursue?

If after asking yourself the first three questions, you determined that it is not your job, but it is in fact your career, then become very clear what type of career you would like to pursue. Clarity is the first step to goal-setting. You must be able to see the destination to start walking in the right direction. Without clarity, you can’t set goals, and without goals, you can’t make plans, and without plans, you can’t move forward. And then you'll be stuck (you see a pattern here?).

What Would Rihanna Really Say And my runway never looked so clear. But the hottest b*tch in heels right here.– Rihanna

Conclusion

If you are stuck in a career that you don’t like, you have to take responsibility for your situation and figure out what you would like to happen. These four questions should help you reflect on where you are now and become clear about where you want to go. Once you have clarity, then you will be able to move forward with creating the career that fills you with passion and enthusiasm and that will financially reward you for your knowledge, skills, and effort.

If you are still feeling stuck, #TheBisForBoss would love to work with you to help bring you some more clarity. Check out our Career Services that will get you help you get unstuck so that pursue the job you desire and deserve. 

Closing words from Rihanna: "#TheBisForBoss is a dope community, full of dope women, doing dope things. Join the #BossTribe or you will regret it!

You Tell em' Rih!

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10 Lessons to Learn for your Career NOW

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Taking control of your career is not easy. Whether it's switching careers, going back to school, or walking away from a 9-5 to start your own business,  it takes courage.

However, courage will only get you so far. You also need guidance. Without it, you will learn some difficult lessons, the hard way. While many successful entrepreneurs and business people will say failing often and failing fast, is important to growth. I'm here to tell you why fail often if you have resources to eliminate more mistakes?

I’m going to assume you’re like me and don’t have rich parents that paved the way for you, a millionaire mentor or some other person who is going to show you the ropes and explain each step you need to take to take charge of your career.

When I set out on my own, to New York City at 23, all I had was my appetite to succeed, my youthful ignorance and unawareness of what "cost of living" truly meant. Those three things allowed me to take the risk and move here on my own to take charge of my career. At the time I thought that was all I needed to succeed. 

It helped for sure, but there's more one needs to succeed in their career. Along the way, I've picked up mentors, friends, a network, and key learnings to help me but for the most part, I learned a lot by trial and error. 

I want to share with you some of my biggest lessons learned with so that you can take charge of your career today (without as many mistakes). As I look back on these lessons, I realize that they’re really great reminders for us all no matter what stage you are in your career.

1. Confidence is Mandatory

Confidence is a crucial quality to possess in a successful career, and embracing it fully will take you places you never imagined. No one is stopping you from accomplishing your goals but yourself. Think about it...all you need is the confidence to know that you can do whatever you have set  out to do, and have the confidence to convince others the same. Why should anyone believe in you, your ideas, or your abilities if you didn’t believe in them yourself? It takes confidence to reach new heights and approach new challenges.

One thing every successful person has in common, is that they exude confidence. It's not the success that made them confident, it's their own belief in themselves to achieve the very thing they are doing. People who are not confident tend to stay in their comfort zones. Which is why people who lack confidence get stuck in dead-end jobs or don't pursue business ideas or ventures they have. They are content with letting opportunities pass them by.

2. You are the "Average" of the company you keep

Renowned businessman Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” But it’s common for women to underestimate the importance of the company they keep. Bottom line: The people around you matter.

You need people who will challenge you and make you better, thereby raising your average or helping you maintain a high one. Many women strive to be the best or the smartest in the room. But if you're always the smartest person, you're hurting yourself. You want to surround yourself with people who are exponentially better in a variety of ways, so that you are constantly improving.

Here’s the really hard part: Giving a silent assessment of the people you keep around you may sound judgmental, but understanding their influence on your performance is critical to your success.  If someone is bringing down your average, you have to reduce his or her involvement in your life. Not doing so may hinder your energy, vision and ultimate success.

3. The Slight Edge will either propel you towards success or failure

Why is it that some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else?

One simple reason: those that are "successful" have found their SLIGHT EDGE!

The Slight Edge by Greg Olson, is easily one of my favorite books.  In his book, he talks about a way of thinking, a way of processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success you desire. It is a philosophy that is powerful in its simplicity.

I highly recommend this book. In short, the slight edge is realizing that "simple daily disciplines - little productive actions, repeated consistently over time - add up to the difference between failure and success." So, essentially every decision you make, no matter how small is a steps towards success or a step towards failure. So if you want to lose 10 lbs, every work out gets you closer to your goal weight. While every burger will get you further away. Will you lose 10 pounds in one workout or ruin it by eating one burger? No, but those small actions added up over time will determine how successful (or unsuccessful) you are in your weight loss goals. The same goes for your career and business.

 

 

4. Everything you do NOW is for your FUTURE

Do you ever look back and think man, who knew that doing X would lead to Y? It could be the college you chose to go to in high school, the guy you dumped, or the friend you never reconciled with. Every decision you make, every action you take is impacting your future in some shape or form. Similar to the slight edge, recognizing that every career and/or business decision you make TODAY is paving your future should help you be more aware of the decisions you are making now. I say this all the time to people who complain about the work they are doing. You can't be a BOSS without being a worker. So when you are grinding, doing busy work for your boss, remember that at one point they had to do it too. In order for you to LEAD, you have to first be LED. If you want a million followers and a growing business, you have to first make the network and build influence. Your future self will thank you for the things you are doing now.

Also, for those of you who think "I'm still young"... and are blowing off your twenties. I have news for you... you don't wake up in your thirties with life all figured out. So I suggest if you aren't in a career you love, or aren't in the field you want to work in... start taking steps TODAY to get you where you want to be in five years.

5. You are living the life you designed

Successful people aren’t deterred by obstacles, which is how they rise up in the first place. However, unsuccessful people often feel at the mercy of external circumstances. 

NEWS FLASH! You are not a victim of circumstance. No one can force you to make decisions and take actions that are contrary to your aspirations. The circumstances you’re living in today are your own — you created them. 

Likewise, your future is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams.

When it’s time to take action, remember that even Drake started from the bottom.

6. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even when you don't want to.

Discipline is a concept everyone is aware of, but few truly understand or execute. The most successful people in life exert discipline on a daily basis. Too many people are susceptible to instant gratification. Lacking discipline will have long-term effects on your career and business. Discipline is turning down drinks with your friends when you need to spend the time working on your business venture. Discipline is squeezing in a workout after working a ten hour day. Discipline is making promises to yourself and making sure you deliver. If you can make the genuine effort to align your actions and behaviors with your thoughts you can garner the success you seek. It additionally gives you the authority to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

7. Invest in yourself

Investing in yourself is the one of the best investments you can make.  Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, reading a book, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others. It is your responsibility to take the time to develop your gifts and talents, so you can be better at your job -- whether you are an entrepreneur or work in Corporate America. 

When you invest in yourself, a world of opportunities will open up for you. And honestly, if you  want to invest in something with a small risk and big return, investing in yourself is the smartest thing to do.

8. You don't get promotions/raises for doing your job

This was a lesson was a tough pill for me to swallow, but I'm glad I learned it early on. In m y first job out of college, I worked really hard, but I did not work smart. I was good at my job, but I was not great at it. I grew up with the being taught that if you work hard, you would get rewarded for it. But in Corporate America that simply is not true. And in entrepreneurship, it definitely does not apply. Because you can work hard and still not get any clients. In both your career and business, just doing your job is not enough. You have to go above and beyond. 

At all of my corporate jobs, every raise or promotion I have ever received was due to me managing up and carrying out roles and responsibilities for the next position, while also doing my current job seamlessly. Is it fair to do work for a job you are not being paid for? Not necessarily. Is that how you get raises and promotions? In short -- YES!

Think of it like this, when you are looking for a new hairstylist, or a new restaurant to check out. Are you going to let someone touch your hair when they have only a satisfactory rating? Or let's think about it in school terms, do you want a dentist who made all C's through college, performing your oral surgery? While C's get degrees, you likely want the dentist that was an A or at least B+ student. 

The same goes for work and owning a business! Your employer doesn't want to reward you for being average and your potential client doesn't want to spend their hard earned money on an average product or service. You need to be willing to go above and beyond to prove you are ready for that next step (or that future client's business).

9. Focus on solutions, NOT PROBLEMS

All too often, the first thing people do when adversity strikes is focus on the problem. While it is easy is to focus on the negative when tough times arise, you really should be directing every bit of your energy towards the solution.

This applies to basically everything that we do. Work, personal, and everything in between, you have to remember that what you focus on expands. So if you focus on a problem, you will be met with more problems. If you focus on a solution, you will get more solutions.

The individuals and companies that are able to get through tremendous setbacks and actually grow because of them are the ones who focus on solutions, not more problems. 

Failure is never a final end result unless you allow it to be. Women that use every experience to get one step closer to where they want to be are able to navigate through tremendous setbacks and actually grow from them because they are the ones who focus on solutions, not more problems. 

Taking the time to fully analyze your situation in solitude, while focusing on solutions instead of problems, can revitalize your mind and help you focus on where you are headed, how you feel, and more important, how you view failure from that moment on.

10. Be intentional, not busy

When I first heard the phrase, “‘Busy’ has become the new ‘Fine’" I knew I was apart of this  growing epidemic. In fact, I still struggle with this. Before when you asked somebody how they were doing, they used to answer, “Fine.” But nowadays, everybody answers, “Busy.” 

In this day in age, Busy is “cool”, and has become the default state for too many of our lives. Even worse, individuals and companies often wear busyness as a badge of honor. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Busy is not inevitable.

So many women are half-living each day as a reaction to the constant barrage of never-ending to-do lists, social obligations, work functions, status updates, and more. This reactive, autopilot busyness, is not our purpose on this Earth. 

My definition of Purpose is being intentional about what you do daily.

When you give up control in micro doses, one teeny, seemingly harmless morsel at a time, you end up in a steady pace without purpose until you wake up years later—if you wake up—only to discover you are no where close to where you thought you would be. 

Each of us can take intentional steps to unbusy our lives. 

Intentions aren't to be confused with goals: Intentions are about who you want to be, what you wish to contribute to the world, and how you choose to touch the lives of others. 

Without awareness of this, there can be no intention. Without intention, you lose the ability to choose what matters. Everyday, set intentions. 

#BossTribe, what other lessons have you learned in your career and businesses along the way? Drop them in the comments below.

 

7 Steps You Can Take Today, To Start Living Your Best/Boss Life

In life, we get so busy trying to hit our goals and achieve success, that we forget to live in the present and enjoy the moment. In order to be happy and live your best life, you don’t need a million dollars or a new Chanel bag. Often times you just need to take the first step and put one foot in front of the other to feel accomplished like you are progressing.

Here are seven easy steps you can start today, to start living your best BOSSIEST life!

1. Stop Procrastinating

Take one step towards the thing you have been dreaming about! Buy that domain name for $9.99. Spend 30 minutes applying for that job. Write that thank you note. Go to the gym. Whatever it is you have been putting off, take one action step towards it today. 

2. Add Affirmations to your Daily Routine!

There is so much power in the words “I AM”. Every morning I tell myself “I AM” three things. Everyday it’s something different. Today...

  • I AM Intelligent
  • I AM  Unstoppable
  • I AM Powerful!

3. Power Pose (like Beyonce)

Go to a mirror. Stand in front of it with your hands on your hips for 30 seconds! *Bonus* Repeat your three affirmations in this pose. (It feels silly, but I promise you will feels so damn good afterwardsJust like Bey standing with your hands on your hips can boost your confidence. “Research shows that standing tall with your chest out and hands on your hips can make you feel bolder. In fact, in a Ted Talk social psychologist Amy Cuddy noted that holding this pose for just two minutes can boost your levels of testosterone and lower your levels cortisol, and that these hormonal change can configure your brain to be assertive, confident and comfortable.”

4. Do Something Nice for Someone less fortunate

Buy a homeless person a meal, donate all those clothes your closet you haven’t worn in  years. There’s something about giving that just lifts your spirits. Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this blog (you have access to a computer and wifi) so that in itself is a privilege.

5.   Be Grateful!

This one is huge! We all want more. We all want better. But stop today and write down three things you are grateful for. And tomorrow write three more. If you do this everyday for a week, you will have 21 things you are grateful for and will be on your way to appreciating and living your happiest (and bossiest) life.

6.  Forgive her/him

The person in your life, that has controlled your thoughts for far too long, forgive them! It will add years to your life. Key word, is to forgive (not forget). Trust me! You’re doing yourself more harm than good by holding on to old hurt, pain, or resentment. How can you live your bossiest life, if you’re constantly cursing someone in your head?

7. Compliment someone

Because paying a sincere compliment feels even better than receiving one....and best of all it’s free! We all know how great it is to receive a compliment; research shows getting a sincere compliment gives us the same positive boost as receiving cash! But did you know that the health and happiness benefits to the compliment giver are also well-documented? Compliments really are one of the easiest two-way streets available in terms of spreading happiness around you and increasing your own. The more you compliment, the better you feel.

 

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