Personal Development

Building Your Network - When You Know No One

In April 2017, I said goodbye to family and friends and headed to the airport with 2 suitcases. I was doing it. I was traveling abroad for the very first time. I was moving across the world and I didn’t know anyone.

As a person that’s really big on relationships, it was more alarming to not have any connections than it was to be moving overseas and away from familiarity. Taking a lesson from our girl Issa Rae: "it's not about networking up, it's about networking across" - I focused on connecting with people that were 'in the trenches with me, struggling with me and just as hungry as me' (no, seriously, LOTS of lunch and dinner dates). Here are 4 strategies to build your tribe in 2018, the same tactics that helped me build a tribe in a country where I knew no one:

1. Tap into your network.
Start with your circle: ask your company for introductions, reach out to your family, friends and professional contacts.

Shortly after being offered my teaching role, I proposed to the hiring manager that I would start and manage a FaceBook group for new hires and current teachers. He was thrilled. I created the group and in a few days - it slowly grew with people from all over the world planning to move to Bangkok. We connected. We all shared our doubt, excitement, and advice. And we made plans to meetup in town as everyone flew in.

Within the first 2 hours of arriving, I was walking out of my Airbnb to the skytrain to meet people from the group. (Shout out to Bangkok for the WARM welcome: literally and figuratively). I am still very close to this circle and we’ve had many experiences together. From Khao San Road (good times) to island hopping, the memories are priceless.

2. Network online.
Connect with people on social media and forums.

  • Join FB groups - Recently, I posted in several expat groups searching for a swim instructor. Enter my new friend, Mimi, that was also looking for a swim instructor. We compiled research together, all via FB Messenger and a Google Drive spreadsheet. A week later, we met for the first time at a pool for a swim lesson. That's insane to me. Mimi and I immediately connected and supported each other throughout the swim lesson. We even made a bet - whoever comes up from underwater first buys the first drink! The world is truly beautiful.
     
  • Start conversations on IG - I love shopping. I knew that shopping for curvy sizes, and American sizes period, would be a challenge while living in SE Asia. So, I searched for industry contacts on Instagram. I connected with two plus size bloggers and brands and I continuously nurture the connections. This has also helped me leverage these connections for future collaborations and opportunities.
     
  • Comment in forums/blogs - I asked several questions on different travel forums such as Trip Advisor. I’ve found relatable contacts that understand issues like shopping for hair products (the struggle) and I get random contact requests via different forums.
     
  • Connect with professionals in your industry on LinkedIn. One of my best roles I've had as a Digital Marketing Manager at Texas Instruments (TI) started as a simple LinkedIn message. I connected with someone from my alma mater (Hook 'Em!) who had just been hired at TI and asked her how she found the opp and about her experience thus far. I had no expectations. Yet, that simple message led to me being flown out to Dallas for interviews as well as 2.5 years of great corporate experience - all without even filling out a job application. LinkedIn provides a platform to connect with hundreds of millions of professionals all over the world for FREE - take advantage of it. 
image_6483441.JPG

3. Get out and make in-person connections.

  • Go to networking events. I’m all about attending conferences, professional happy hours, etc. We all know the pros of in-person networking. Before even moving to Bangkok, I had RSVPed for an upcoming American Chamber of Commerce happy hour. I now have a few corporate connections in different industries from different parts of the world.
     
  • Join meetup groups and actually go to the events. Going to large networking events isn’t for everyone but meetup.com provides a space to find intimate groups with people that share the same interests ranging from book clubs to hiking. There’s a group out there for you. And if there isn’t a group for your interest, create one (see tip #4).
     
  • Volunteer. A couple months ago, I emailed an Opera organization to manage marketing and PR, on a volunteer basis. Because of one email, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the CEO of a top PR agency that has offices in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Volunteering also allowed me to attend events where I was introduced to Ambassadors and members/associates of the Thai Royal Family. Golden.

4. If all else fails, create your own small community.
Before moving, I searched for a space for Black professionals living in Bangkok to no avail. So, I created a group on meetup.com that now has over 50 members and has created so many connections, both socially and professionally. We’ve had great times together, shared professional advice and collaborated with each other at planned networking events. I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings us!

About Tori
Tori moved to Bangkok 8 months ago as an English teacher because she was eager to explore other parts of the world for a year. Before moving, she was a PR and Marketing Consultant helping to promote startup companies as well as high profile events and clients such as FoxTV via press releases, red carpet media interviews, social media and press conferences. 

She has also worked in corporate marketing, radio and as a Media Buyer for an advertising agency. After living in Bangkok for a couple months, she grew in love with the city and decided to settle in for a bit. She is now working at a marketing agency and venturing into arts and media in Bangkok with plans to launch an online shop and blog, ToriTalks, in 2018.

       

 

 

 

 

TEA TIME THURSDAYS: TEA WITH MY B'S

alisa-anton-267175.jpg

HEY LADIES, IT'S TEA TIME.

Each and every Thursday, we host "Tea with my B's" where the #BossTribe can submit questions all week long and on Thursdays, we will answer your burning career, branding, and business questions. Remember to submit your questions here each week to have them answered!  Enjoy.

I need some advice on how to communicate with my boss/make my case for a promotion. I know this is something you have done or are extremely familiar with and I am looking for tips and advice ahead of a meeting I have with my boss this Wednesday.

Every company I have worked for has a self-review process where I had to the opportunity to put into writing all of the things I had achieved in the past year, along with how I was tracking towards goals I set the previous review cycle. Whether your company has a self-review process or an in-person process where you will have to make your case in person to your boss, I recommend doing the following:

1) Print out your current job description and the job description for the role you want to get promoted to and have examples ready of how you are doing your current job well as well as you are already doing work for the next role.

The shitty thing about Corporate America is that the expectation is that you are doing your job well and are already "playing up"and doing the next job well too. So it's important to make it plain that why you are wanting a promotion; truth is you probably have already been doing the work of the next level. Therefore, I would be sure to spell this out to your boss in your review. For example, when I was looking to get promoted, I made sure my manager was aware of all the work I was doing well but also the work I was doing that was technically above my job title i.e., mentioning something like " Over the past year, I have managed a budget of $XX amount of dollars. This is a responsibility that is typically handled by an Account Director, however I have successfully been able to take on this task as an Account Supervisor.

2) Keep track of all of your verbal/written compliments and kudos to reference in your review. 

Year round I keep a folder in my outlook inbox titled "Girl Boss". Every time that I get a compliment from a client, colleague, manager etc. I save it to this folder. During review times I always go to this folder and sprinkle them throughout my self review. So for example, if Communication/Relationship Management is one of my areas I sat out as a goal I wanted to improve in, I would write something like "This past year, I have been able to improve my communication and relationship management skills by fostering relationships with this new client. This client even mentioned that "Thanks for the quick response Sade. Your ability to solve problems for my brand is greatly appreciated" -Client exec.

**Pro Tip: This folder is also something good to keep on days you are having a bad day. When I feel off my game or if a client just read me my rights, I would go visit this folder and  read over the past year all of the compliments, kudos, etc. I had received and remember that I was capable and culpable and everyone else is just annoying that day. Obviously it's a little difficult to reference this if you haven't been doing this since day one, but i'd go back through your emails as recent as you can and make a note to do this moving forward. 

3) Tell your boss you want to be promoted. 

It sounds simple; but the mistake people often make is that they don't  just say it. Similar to dating, if you don't tell a guy that you are ready for a relationship or are looking for one, you just going to get stuck in some long, drawn out situationship. I always set the expectation with my boss year round that my goal is to do my best work for our clients but also grow my career. In my bi-weekly 1-1's with my manager, I always make a point at least once every two months to drop a line about "What can I be doing more to deliver at the next level, as that is a goal for me, to take the next step in my career to be a [insert title]." Other times, I'm less direct and I will schedule one-on-ones with different people at work that I don't report to but are at the next level or two levels up and purposely ask them questions about the role I want to be in. Then when I talk to my manger, I'd drop hints like "I met with V.P Joe Schmo., who gave me some interesting insight about how at an A.D. level I should be able to do XYZ. I've been working on that and wanted to get your thoughts as I want to ensure I'm making progress so I'm ready for that role when the time comes". Again because this is more of a year round expectation, if you haven't been throwing hints I would say for your upcoming meeting - go all in on #1 and #2.

What are the keys to negotiating salary, and getting it for a new job?

This is a tough one, as it varies based on what level you're at, how much experience you have, and how hard of a worker you are. Something I encourage anyone that I work with, is that before you go into salary negotiations for a new job, looking for a 10-15% increase... make sure you are worth it. I know we all want to make more money, however I can't tell you the number of times people have come to me and tell me they want to make more money. But then when I ask them, what have they done to deserve an increase... they can't name three things they have achieved in their current role. If you can't convince a stranger, who has no idea of your day-to-day that you are worthy of a higher salary, chances are you won't be able to, to a new employer who will know the ins and outs of your role. That aside, here are my top level tips:

Know your value, do some research! Glassdoor is your friend. The first step in negotiating a salary is to make sure you are being paid market value. If you’re going to get the pay you deserve, it’s crucial to know the going rate for your position in your specific industry and in your geographic location.

Talk to Recruiters Another way to do some research? Pick up those calls from recruiters. They know what people with your experience and expertise are worth, so use it to your advantage! The next time one reaches out to you, engage in a conversation about the position’s responsibilities and pay. You may not get a specific number, but even a range is helpful.

Pick the Top of the Range As you’re doing your research, you’ll likely come up with a range that represents your market value. It can be tempting to ask for something in the middle of the range, but instead you should ask for something toward the top. First of all, you should assume you’re entitled to top pay, says She Negotiates founder Victoria Pynchon.

Know the (Exact) Number. According to researchers at Columbia Business School, you should ask for a very specific number—say, $64,750 rather than $65,000. Turns out, when employees use a more precise number in their initial negotiation request, they are more likely to get a final offer closer to what they were hoping for. This is because the employer will assume you’ve done more extensive research into your market value to reach that specific number.

Be Willing to Walk Away When considering your numbers, you should also come up with a “walk away point”—a final offer that’s so low that you have to turn it down. This could be based on financial need, market value, or simply what you need to feel good about the salary you’re bringing home.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

In all honesty I really don't have the best work/life balance. In fact, I'm currently up writing this post at 1 in the a.m. However, I will say my work/life balance most definitely comes in ebbs and flows. There are some months where I am operating like a well oiled machine and  I hit a stride where I have the perfect work/life balance. However, there are other months (more often than not) where I feel like I'm constantly under water or in a hamster wheel doing endless circles. 

However, I will say this. On the months when I am achieving a good work/life balance, I will say that I am getting 7-8 hours of sleep, exercising, and only allowing myself to check work emails once in the evening. Another tip, is don't wake up checking your email. When you wake up, take a shower, brush your teeth, listen to some music, cook some breakfast, anything.

If you're like most people, you wake up to an alarm ringing on your smartphone. Then you probably roll over and check your work email. Research shows that if you wake up and read your email, that's a dangerous way to start the day, Reading just one negative email could lead you to report having a bad day hours later, says Michelle Gielan, former national CBS News anchor turned psychology researcher and best-selling author. The same goes with reading stressful or negative news, according to a study Gielan conducted with Arianna Huffington and her husband, happiness researcher and author Shawn Achor.

My advice...make sure you take the time to ease into your day as well as ease out. This transition helps you decompress so you're either ready to take on the day or leave the previous day behind you.

signature.png

How Leaving Your Comfort Zone Is Key to Growth and Success

black-girl-relaxing-chs-6.JPG

Comfort is overrated. 

It doesn’t guarantee happiness. It doesn't guarantee stability. Comfort actually can make us lazy. Many people are so comfortable they’re miserable. You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress. Think about it: Have you ever accomplished anything amazing, while in auto pilot? Probably not. 

You can either be comfortable and become stagnant or stretch yourself — become uncomfortable — and grow.  I'm here to tell you... choose the latter.

"In an increasingly competitive and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty are often those who reap the biggest rewards [and find success.]" - Margie Warrell, Forbes

Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change and adapt. Discomfort is a sign we’re advancing our lives. Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation isn't every easy, but it’s worth it. 

When I first left my parents’ home in Houston, Texas at twenty three to move to New York City, I was anxious, nervous, excited, and of course terrified. Here I was, working on a contract gig, that ended in 8 weeks with only my savings and two suitcases to get by. I knew one person, my roommate, but I had only visited New York once prior and hadn't even seen the the apartment I would be moving into. I was  completely outside of my comfort zone. When I arrived, I learned so many things (through trial and error) -- including the subway system, the challenges of living in a five story walk-up, that A/C nor washing and dryers were considered standard amenities, and countless more. Fast forward five years and I've grown accustomed to the fast pace life of a New Yorker. I have my own apartment four blocks from Central Park -- with an elevator (Thank God!), I have grown my career and expertise exponentially, and now lead my own team, doing a job I love, and I have established life long friendships and business relationships beyond the one person I moved here knowing. While I've had more than my fair share of ups and downs along the way, the one thing that has proven true time and time again, is that no worthwhile aspiration or endeavor can be accomplished from within my comfort zone. Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunities, become more capable, and grow our lives and careers.  

ian-dooley-331063.jpg

Trust me, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your life. The challenge is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so you can benefit from the discomfort. When you try a new exercise routine for the first time, you know it's going to hurt, you're going to be tired, but once you push yourself to finish the workout, you feel so much better afterwards. The expression, “no pain, no gain” is not only true in the gym, but it's true in life as well. 

Throughout our lives and careers we must continually assess whether we are letting our fear of failure  keep us from taking the actions, and engaging in the conversations, that will move us forward and make the impact we desire. Of course, being willing to take a risk doesn’t mean everything you try will work out

But as John F. Kennedy once said, "Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished with a guarantee of success." Nothing ever will be.

Envision your life, five, ten, fifteen years from now.

    If you knew that no matter what happened, you could handle it, what actions would you take, what conversations would you have that you’ve been putting off, where would you step out more fully and boldly in your own life - and in doing so, open up the possibility for new opportunities, relationships, and ideas?

    Envision your life, five, ten, fifteen years from now -- and ask yourself :

    1. What do I want to be doing?
    2. Who do I want to be doing it with?
    3. Where do I want to be in life/career/relationships?
    4. When am I going to leave my comfort zone?
    5.  Why am I waiting to make my dreams a reality?

    CHANGE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

    signature.png

    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"

    rihanna-paris-fashion-week-2014-3.jpg

    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!

    bafb0879c008a84199c65b7f46c0f6f4--rihanna-fashion-rihanna-casual.jpg
    The_B_Is_For_Boss_Signature (2).png

    THE POWER OF RESETTING & REFOCUSING

    refocus.jpg

    Have you ever abandoned a goal you made for yourself? Whether it was a goal for the new year, for the quarter, or the start of a week...trust me, you’re not alone. It’s common to get blasted with work, projects, or responsibilities you didn’t plan for when making your goals.  If you’re struggling to stay the course, don’t abandon all hope and give up just yet.

    Long-term goals require an investment that often don't pay noticeable dividends for weeks or months. Just as your 401K takes time to achieve the desired results, so does many of the goals you set for yourself. However, there is power in resetting and refocusing. So don't be ashamed if you fail, or if you're like me and just need a break. Let me explain... Four months ago, I launched this blog. The response was amazing. I was excited at how well it was received. I couldn't believe I had finally accomplished a goal, I had set out for myself over a year ago and was starting to see the fruits of my labor. However, I had the game all messed up! I was unaware of the amount of time, dedication, planning, and organization maintaining a blog and developing a second stream of income would require. I was getting inquiries about my services, people were booking consulting sessions, and purchasing resume reviews and  and then of course, the dreaded favors/freebie requests poured in from friends and family. I was doing my best to keep up but realized quickly, this would not be an easy task between work, working out, spending time with my family/friends/boyfriend, side hustle, repeat.

    After going on a much needed vacation for my birthday back in August, I thought I had pressed the necessary reset buttons, to get refocused and hit the ground running. Boy was I wrong! When I retuned back to my 9-5 (read: 9-7), I was swamped with the start of the NFL season.  I came back to a couple of PR crisis', a client revamp and then to add to my load, President Trump called all on the NFL to fire all NFL players who kneeled, right before he called them S-O-B's. I won't even get into my thoughts on that whole fiasco right now, but unless you have been living a rock, that caused a huge media swirl. Since all of my clients are NFL Sponsors, I was in full crisis communications mode -- which has hit its own peaks and valleys -- but hasn't stopped and doesn't show signs of slowing down anytime soon. Then, I had a work trip to Cincinnati, followed by a personal trip to LA. Once I returned, I was full swing back to work along with serving on the board of a non-profit, called RaisingAPro.org which is piloting some programs this Fall. Finally, I had an unexpected opportunity come my way that I have been working on, that I'll be able to announce in a couple weeks, so stay tuned!

    Needless to say, life came at me fast and I looked up and had taken a two month hiatus from blogging. And while I'm not proud of falling off in that regard, I know that it was needed andit was necessary. It allowed me the opportunity to make some changes, look inward and remember why I started, and most of all, make me better -- so I could better serve my community of boss women. I've made some changes and I'm still a work in progress, but I have officially hit the reset button and I'm ready for the challenge. I've put some systems in place to make me more effective, I'm structuring my day more efficiently and I'm currently looking for an intern and assistant.

    Now back to the topic at hand...I'm here to tell you that we all fall short sometimes. But instead of getting down on yourself, go ahead:

     

    RE-focus, RE-set, RE-new, RE-juvenate, RE-launch, RE-brand, and RE-do as many times as you need to.

     

    Proper Perspective and Purpose
    It takes a certain degree of perspective and purpose to succeed on any journey. Just think of the word “journey”. It implies traveling along an arduous path toward a worthy outcome. Most people are looking for something easier and quicker than that, and this is precisely why they fail to reach their goals.

    A goal that isn’t attached to something deep and personal within you is a dead end.Make sure you’ve measured what’s at stake if you don’t accomplish your goal and what’s the benefit if you do. 

    A goal that’s worth the effort will take months or even years to achieve. If you think it’s going to happen overnight, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In fact, you will hit many bumps in the road. You will have to refocus, you will have to reset, you will have to redo.

    But, examine what you’ve set out to attain and why you chose it. Take aim at the target, remain steadfast in your pursuit, and accomplish it. You can do it. I believe in you! I believe in us.

    The_B_Is_For_Boss_Signature (2).png

    10 Lessons to Learn for your Career NOW

    s12 (1).jpg

    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.