Is your invisible crown on today?

Lately, I have been finding myself in a bit of a bind, struggling the most on getting my foot in the door. The most common problem I think recent college grads face is being over qualified for regular jobs but under qualified for other jobs that are in your field of choice. Then theres the issue of doing what you NEED to do to make ends meet versus doing the jobs that you want to do.

I’m going to be completely honest, I’m struggling with patience right now. I thought I read somewhere in the University handbook that you’d be making 6 figures when you stepped foot across the stage… I guess I missed the tiny print that said “Non-valid until you have 5+ years experience.” Lol, Okay, I am being dramatic… but it doesn’t change the frustrations of hearing the heart-breaking word “no”. Over the past three month, I have experienced working in a place that wasn’t necessarily my first choice for a career after of course being told no for everything else. As I explained in my very first blog, I love kids and have worked with them forever and have nothing but time to reflect on how they have helped me deal with constant rejection.

The interview you just blew,will be okay.

The job you didn’t get, will be okay.

The test you just failed, will be okay.

That promotion you didn’t get, will be okay. 

The car you didn’t sell, will be okay. 

That team you didn’t make, will be okay.

That scholarship you didn’t get, will be okay.

Usually toddlers are taught to look up to adults, but at this moment, it is our opportunity to look up to them… The average toddler gets told no about 400 times a DAY on AVERAGE and I don’t know about you, but most toddlers do not even show reaction before they are on to their next task or activity. In this case, I’ll give up the benefit of the doubt and say that if anything, they may wine for a 15 seconds maximum and then you would have never guess anything happened.

Working at a daycare, I witnessed every day why i wanted to be like a toddler (looking back on it now of course). I was there to see every fall, every mistake, every broken toy but when mommy walks in the door and asks how their day was, they never remember ANY of the bad because they allow only the good to take up space in their mind!All the moms would ask, “How was your day?” & the children would always shout, “GOOD!” And add things like WE PAINTED TODAY MOMMY! WE WENT OUTSIDE. You could think about all the bad that has happened & the opportunities that didn’t come thru, or you can move on, make a choice to hold on to the good…. even remind yourself of the 10,000 other opportunities available. Can you continue your day as if it never happened? So what you just got told no… does that stop the show?

In real life terms, Sometimes, you are told NO because there’s better is coming. When better has come, what relevance is there in the times you were told no? Sometimes it takes you doing jobs that you dont want to do to sometimes get to where you want to go

I was stuck between, “if it doesn’t make you happy you shouldn’t do it and to always do what makes you happy.” I had to be real with myself at this point, happiness is truly a CHOICE. It isn’t based on the tangibles, your career or money… because what happens when those things are gone, or taken?

 

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Patience is a virture and the lens in which you view situations is the most important lens you will ever obtain in this lifetime. It is so easy to get wrapped up in opportunities that others are given or the places in life that others are at. But remember, your life, your journey, your pace, your story! Its never too late to rewrite a page or start a new chapter. This is where I knew I had a grown as woman when I was able to find value in almost all things good and bad.

Think of the game of Chess… a queen and king are able to move in any direction at any time, & that’s you.  Is your invisible crown on today?

Self-care is NOT Selfish

The process of becoming sound again can be very difficult, but along with happiness… it is a personal CHOICE. I like to think of it as having no other choice. Do you want to sit in your misery or do you want to be “healthy” again?

Notice in the definition of healing, it is a process… which means its almost never ending in order to obtain and maintain a healed lifestyle. When I think back to all of the times I needed to heal, it required a lot of  FOCUS.. and DEDICATION to want to feel and be better. During this process, it is so easy to forget about what you need right now when others are constantly voicing what they need from you..

I can remember repeatedly being called selfish for weeding out what I felt was toxic inmy life. It hurts to hear people misunderstand you or disregard the way that they have made you feel, but self care is NOT selfish. I started to second guess myself, asking the pertinent question of — “am I too hard on people?”

But then it dawned on me… just because you put you first (or regain control) doesn’t mean you are diminishing others.. you just simply aren’t giving them another opportunity to disturb your peace and this goes for ALL types of relationships…

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I learned the concept of healing and self-care at a very early age.(Thanks mom) I think this is why some people may consider me prideful or non-chalant… when in fact i just try to ALWAYS take care of me and unfortunately often disregard how it may be perceived.. It is so weird, because looking back, I can understand exactly why I am the way I am. As a kid, I would go to my mom, & she would always encourage me to do what I can to fix the problem that didn’t necessarily involve the person who may have caused the problem. For an example.. I’d say things like “Mom, Aaron is too close to me, can you tell him to move?” And she would respond — “no, you must move.. because you have the problem” … and I quote this verbatim. It’s just a prime example of taking matters into your own hands without depending on others or their understanding.

I was watching Being Mary Jane on Tuesday & amongst all of her great quotes she incorporates, one stuck out to me. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” — Bingo, it is brilliant!

Some people will never be able to grasp this concept. Constantly running in circles in hopes of changing things they can not control… instead of worrying about what they can control.

Everyone has to do what works for them, but the one thing I will say is once you accept, you take away the power in affecting you.

Three things that you will never able to control no matter how hard you try is:

1. People’s personalities They are made the way they are… they also may handle emotions differently than you do. More or less forgiving, jealous, simple, optimistic & the list goes on… Does it make them wrong, absolutely not! But accept or move on, but you will never able to control that

2. People’s decisions – Everyone will not ACT, talk the way you will or handle a situation the way you would. If you can communicate how it made you feel & they didn’t do what you would have liked or expected, you still can not change them. A part of healing is the acceptance for the differences of people, however it doesn’t mean you have to continue to deal with it.

3. People’s beliefs – Everyone is raised differently… you won’t always agree with the way that people think. Healing requires understanding of this. We are different & thats okay. What you can control is YOURSELF.

– Take responsibility for your feelings because although you hope people will, it is not their job to take care you. (It is YOUR job to take care of you.)

– Surrounding yourself with people who understand the importance of this.

– Set clear expectations & even clearer boundaries!

In the healing process, communication is key as with anything else because you can not assume people are aware of how they have affected you. However, it is also important to recognize the difference between mistakes and a personal choice. Did they know how you would feel, and just disregard it or did they truly just not know?

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It’s easier to forgive those who admit their mistakes, but it can definitely be a STRUGGLE to forgive those who just simply can not take responsibility. But in the midst of that, don’t allow people to shame you for the way that you protect & heal yourself. Because if you think about it, for all the times that you have “done”, people will only remember the one time you “didn’t”.

This conceptof self care is so important & I think is underrated. Theres something about control that makes this concept way deeper. Stay in control of you & take the time to understand you. This allows one to know when they need extra healing. I am again NO genius nor am I telling anyone how to heal themselves. I haven’t always handled every situation correctly… but I will say I am a firm believer in once you understand what works for you, your head will not only be but remain above water!       

xo,

Amani

 

Model: Nadirah Ali – Shots by Sed

Goal setting – Achieve your goals effectively

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If you are a goal oriented person, there may not be a better feeling the achieving a goal that you set. The next best feeling might be the moment you realize that you have a new goal you want to accomplish. The hardest thing about achieving your goals is knowing how to set them. Here are 5 tips on how to set goals.

 

SET GOALS THAT MOTIVATE YOU

A goal should inspire you, it should project the person you are hoping to become and be reflective of the priorities in your live. If the goals you have set don’t motivate you it is likely they aren’t aligned with your core. Feel free to let go of goals that don’t motivate you.

 

ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS

Invite a little structure into your life, by scheduling out your day by the hour. When you schedule a task focus on that particular task. Things like checking your email, surfing the web, browsing social media should have its own time. When you utilize a schedule it is clear what that time should be used for try to be strict on yourself.

CUT DOWN ON MULTI-TASKING

I get it multitasking sometimes seems like the only way to be productive. However doing more than one thing at a time can take away from doing quality work on one thing. At times it can & will drain your energy and scatter your mind. Focusing on one task at a time will allow you to focus and give maximum effort.

 

S.M.A.R.T GOALS.

•    Specific. Your goals should be clearly defined, anything less will leave you lost as it they do not provide clear direction

•    Measurable.Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success.

•    Attainable.If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

•    Relevant. Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take.

    •    Time Bound. Deadlines are added pressure and many of us work much better under pressure. The sense of urgency increases and so does the focus so that achievement will come much faster.

 

WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN

Dr. Gail Matthews a psychology professor at Dominican University in California conducted a experiment where she concluded that one is 42% more likely to achieve their goals if you write them down. Writing things down requires time and commitment it is an investment. As people we hate to lose our investment, we tend to do what we can to prevent it. By writing it down you have decided that this is a priority.

Be your own “Best Brand”

amanismallbusinessfinal23.jpgI know I am not the only one noticing the innovative small businesses flourishing. This is definitely the year of small businesses, branding and creative thinking.  I never had dreams of owning my own business or being my own brand, but your calling is something that you just can’t escape.  It will appear to be your best friend and your worse night mare, but I love to think of life as the greater the risk, the greater the reward.  Everyone is their own brand.  Whether you are thinking of creating a brand, starting your own business or you already have one, I just wanted to provide you with a few tips for a smooth transition, as this can be an overwhelming experience for many.  My suggestion, through all the trials and tribulations, just remember be your own “best brand”

1. Narrow a target audience:  I believe one of the biggest mistakes is thinking that every person has to love our business or be interested in our brand.  Sometimes choosing a smaller sector who would TRULY be interested in a product or service is key.  It’s quality over quantity meaning, it’s better to have 50 loyal customers versus 100 customers who only support once.

2. Be unique:  Separate your self from your competition.  For example, if you are interested opening a salon.  You should ask yourself a couple questions:   Who is your competition? What is your competitive advantage?  Yes, everyone is doing hair, but what makes your styles or services unique?  Do you provide signature deep conditioners, or do you provide a free trim before every style.  Consumers notice the little things that give you brand loyalty.

3. Live in your truth:  Don’t start a business or brand that your are not passionate about.  You are a walking billboard, therefore if you are not true to your brand, potential supporters will become insecure and seek out other businesses or brands in which they feel more comfortable with.  Living in your truth will give you the confidence you need for when opportunities present themselves.  If you are true, you will be ready, and if you stay ready, you will never have to get ready!

4. Don’t allow your own self to get in your way:  Many people get overwhelmed about the ground work necessary to build a business or brand.  They fail themselves before the business fails.  I can not stress enough the importance of exercising your ability to “Switch things up” or reinvent something that did not work as planned.  You should set your standards high, even if others don’t see the potential.

5. Be professional:  I have solicited many businesses that has an enormous amount of  potential, but they lack professionalism mainly do to becoming comfortable.  It’s important to hold yourself accountable as well as everyone who has a vested interested in your brand or business.  Appearance and how you present yourself is definitely a key contributor to the overall success of your business.  What statement are you trying to make about your business or brand?

6. Social media (A blessing and a curse):  People read and analyzing every thing you post.  Be yourself, but be professional.  Remember you are building a brand, posting and commenting on non business related issues can cause conflict with your supporters.  It may be a good ideal to have a personal page however, you must always consider your audience.

7. Presentation is everything :  The way you market is just as important as the product or service you are selling.  Whether promoting or presenting, you must always dress the part.  It is proven that your appearance can have some impact on how your audience reacts when presented with a product or service.

8. Network:  When you are genuine, it is even easier to make genuine connections.   It’s not about how many mentors you have, but more so the quality of the relationships you build.  It’s important never to burn bridges, you never know when you may need a reference, advice or favor.  Remember word of mouth is everything when building a brand or business, always be considerate when speaking to others in or out of your industry.

9. “The customer is always right”:  As a business owner or brand, your customer is one of the most important people you will come in contact with.  You should take responsibility when a customer is not happy. Have you ever noticed that people are quicker to share a bad experience than a good one? Be accountable to ensure that every customer you come in contact with is satisfied with your product or service.  By doing this you will create and increase longevity for years.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help:  You can still be the face of your brand without doing it entirely by yourself. It can be so easy to get discouraged when people don’t support your initial vision. Keep pushing and trust yourself and what you bring to the table.  However, you must be open to accept “CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM”.  Ask for feedback or opinions from friends and staff.  The power of patience and planning can take you further than you can even imagine.

11. Re-evaluate your surroundings:  Surround yourself  with people who want to see do well. Do not EXPECT people to work as hard as you.  It is not their JOB to promote your brand/business unless you have hired them.  Do not expect people to always support your brand or business regardless of the relationship you have with them.  It is your job to market and build your brand.  Ultimately people will support what they are engaged in so it’s important to think of ways we can increase engagement instead of begging for support.

12. Don’t forget to give back – No matter what your brand is, giving back to the community is big. There are so many ways that you can give back, and it doesn’t HAVE to involve money, it can simply involve time or providing opportunities or the chance for someone else to learn. If we want to keep resources and knowledge in rotation, then we must give back. Corporate social responsibility is PROVEN to impact consumers attitudes towards businesses and brands.  Big or little, don’t forget to give back in SOME capacity to help the community and our youth who are our future. Revenue is important, but so is the responsibility to make the world a better place beyond your business or brand.

XO,

Amani

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What’s on your label?

A great thing is happening among American shoppers.  Believe it or not, more people are taking a moment to flip over a label and ask, is it “Made in the USA”. It’s often less costly to make things in developing countries due to lower manufacturing costs.  However, when we were steered to offshore production of our clothing line, we saw a huge contradiction.  We decided to do some digging because we wanted to make the right decision, that would ultimately align with our mission to empower, inspire and impact lives. The word on the street is that if you want a lower price you have to go overseas and if you want “quality”, you produce in the U.S.A. However, we have found that the quality of your product is an issue that requires constant vigilance no matter where you choose to manufacture. That being said, having production in the USA means shipping costs are slashed, and quicker turnarounds to the customer are possible. It’s also somewhat easier to monitor your factory when it’s here in the U.S.A.  We take pride in the fact that our products are “Made in America”, and in the end we believe customers will appreciate that.