I am proud to be partnering with Young Women in Business, as they celebrate 10 years of continued achievement. Even as a little girl — I vividly remember sitting in my classroom in grade 5 and doing a class exercise to help determine our university/career path i.e: what do you want to be when you grow up. Having watched my Papa be a successful entrepreneur and build his own company from the ground up, all I knew was that I wanted to be like him. Beyond making money (bc money is not the most important thing in life, but it does give you freedom and choice) to provide for my family, I wanted to live large, take risks to build something bigger than me and have the freedoms (and responsibilities) of being my own boss.
While my career path is still taking shape and always evolving, I believe the decisions I have made up to this point have served me well in setting myself up to be successful moving forward. Life unfolds kind of like a game of Tetris, your choices (in this case the building blocks) can either take you higher if it’s placed correctly or fault you to start over should you make the wrong ones. The key is to keep trucking along, learning from all your mistakes and experiences to help you make better decisions the next time around. Like my Papa taught me, there is no such thing as failure — if you’re smart you’ll see and understand that failure is a crucial part of success because only when you fail can you truly know what will work the next go around. If you’re someone who folds easily at the first sign of defeat then I’m sorry to tell you, you probably won’t make it very far. But, if you’re someone who is determined to learn, open, tenacious and will stop at nothing, no one or no roadblocks then it’s really only a matter of time before all your building blocks start to add up to the bigger picture.
This all was a concept that was so foggy to me, but year after year, struggle after struggle, defeat after defeat, I’m happy to report the building blocks are finally all starting to line up! It’s exhilarating and exciting and nerve racking all at the same time. I’m no expert (by any means), I only speak on my own experiences and what I’ve learned along the way. Scroll down for 10 tips to creating your own lane:
- Get clear on your wants: you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Maybe you don’t even know what you want to do with your life! The easiest place to start is to get clear on the things you love, what your passions are and what you’d love to see yourself doing (despite any limiting beliefs that it’s out of reach or can’t happen for you) and figure out what you can do now. It’s never too late. Take initial steps and start getting yourself involved in those things and the rest will become clear as it’s suppose to.
- Get on the positivity train: this one sounds cheesy AF, but believe me when I say that the power of positivity is a REAL thing. I’ve become absolutely obsessed with self-help/entrepreneurial books that speak on this subject. Over the years I’ve read more and more about it and have learned so much. I’ve been paying closer attention to my thoughts, how I feel, what things/actions/people make me feel a certain way and learned to make necessary changes in order to look out for number one. Believe me when I say everyone has days when shit hits the fan but it’s our job to work through the feelings of frustration and nurture the lesson in what went wrong. If you really pay attention, it’s insane how quickly our minds can divert to the negative. Try to keep on with the positives. You attract what you put out.
- Be prepared to do your homework: it’s taken me five years of blogging to really develop my voice, aesthetic and personal style. It’s been and still is a constant state of learning and adjusting to get it right. Even before that, I worked 10 years in the Marketing/Advertising field trying to find my way. Be prepared to do the dirty work, work the shitty jobs and long hours, put your time in and work really hard to get in the direction of your choice. You can do it.
- Buckle up: entrepreneurial life is no joke. Sure it all looks fun and relaxing; working from home in sweats, making your own hours, working for big global brands but my oh my, if you could only see what goes on behind the scenes. There is ALOT of hustling that goes into it and you’ve got to buckle up and stick to your guns when the going gets tough. Many people think that being your own boss is something that can just sort of happen… with the right photos or a great Instagram account or hundreds of thousands of followers, but sadly that does not qualify anyone to knock it out of the park on those traits alone. Sure, some people get lucky, but usually it’s short-lived. I’m talking long-term longevity. Think about it.
- Have patience: they say nothing in life worth having comes easy. I believe this to be true. I wouldn’t trade my years of struggle for overnight success for anything. I know that in the long run those were lessons I needed to learn and in turn they will take me much further than having not learned them in the first place. Don’t get discouraged, everything takes time. I took almost 6 years to get my degree, mind you I was working a full-time job the entire time to build up my skill set buuuut I know exactly how it feels to feel like you’re never going to come out alive, never mind thriving. Have patience in trusting and knowing that everyone’s story is different and there’s probably good reason for yours to take a little longer.
- Network your city (and beyond): if there’s one thing that my profs were right to stress back in school its how critical networking is. In business, no matter what business it is, everything ultimately comes down to relationships. Let’s take blogging for instance, a lot of the big brands I work with regularly now, I worked for for years (for free) — building up a relationship of trust, understanding and value. Those brands are now repeat clients for me = more money in the long run. This is what I’m talking about, be prepared to have to develop relationships new and old to help support you in your career. You never know who might be that open door you need to make it to the next level. Even at University, I networked every chance I got and it lead me to getting my “dream job” straight out of uni. If it hadn’t been for lots and lots of email communication and coffee meetings after hours I would have never met half of the people who have been crucial in helping me grow my career.
- Be competitive, but in the right way: I believe that healthy competition is good for business. When we are all killing it, it almost pushes each other to do better, be better but keep it straight on ‘who’ you are becoming better for. When competition turns sour and heads down jealously lane, you’ve taken a wrong turn. Competition is not a bad thing when you’re competing with yourself but when it starts to affect your thinking i.e.; I’m not good enough or why did she get that or whatever the case may be, that’s where it starts to get ugly. Learn to support your peers and colleagues and friends/family but learn to keep it positive, know that any opportunities that they’re getting only mean more doors are open for you! Everyone’s timing is different and your time to shine will come when it is meant to. Which leads me to my next point….
- Who cares what everyone else is doing: don’t get sidetracked scrolling through instagram, keeping up with what everyone else is doing. Focus on your goal, stay in your own lane and make sure you are doing things for YOU and not because of what others may be doing around you. Like I said, learn to be supportive but let go of the comparison. It is the thief of joy, after all.
- Stay true to you: learn what makes you fired up and develop that. In the blogging world, we all speak to similar verticals in our own way. While a lot of the topics discussed are similar its your unique twist that makes it interesting so again, it’s important to not get too caught up in what others are doing but push for what YOU love. It’s your individuality that makes you special so let it shine. Not always easy I know, but it’s a journey and you can get there if you want/try.
- Love + take care of yourself: above all, it’s soooo important to love and take care of yourself. Working hard and self care go hand in hand. Work too hard without taking care of yourself and you’ll burn out. I use to get so run down and depleted to the point that I was getting migraines and taking days off at a time, which eventually just set me back. By making sure I’m carving out ‘me time’ each and every day (reading, getting fresh air, meditating, taking a bath or doing a face mask) I’m actually giving myself what I need in order to push even harder.