#winning

 

Contrary to the title of this blog I feel like I’ve been losing lately. Over the course of the summer I was hit with harsh life situations that, in review, I did not handle well. Death of relatives and friends, money issues and the stress of filming and financing my first commercial all took a toll on me. I spent a lot of time feeling shitty about myself, and how I was handling life. I felt like I couldn’t roll with the punches and I was failing hard. I was ashamed of what my life looked like and anxious about paying my bills. I believed that I was trapped in a situation that I could work myself out of. Problem with that is, I was working but not getting anything done. My time wasn’t being spent well, so I was working hard, but working dumb.  Side hustling made me feel less anxious but I wasn’t really solving my money issues.
I got to the point that I couldn’t enjoy life. Summer is my favorite time of year. I feel like my city comes alive in the summer. Instead of going to rap concerts, hiking, hanging with friends I was working all the time. Despite the grind, the problems weren’t going away. My stress grew. My shame grew. My anger grew.
I was falling the fuck off.

 

I was scrolling through Facebook this week. I saw Issa Rae, Jackie Aina, Lena Waithe and started to feel bad. Jealous of their amazing growth and shine, my curated feed of black girl magic was killing me. I felt like trash. Not sure if I mentioned this, but I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of the many mentioned Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and it sparked a memory. In the book, Gladwell introduces the concept of 10,000 hours. Basically, to become the master of a craft you must invest at least 10,000 hours in developing their skills. I started this business 3 years ago. 1 hour on average a day x 365 days a year x 3 years =1095 hours. I want the shine. I want accolades. I want sales. I want security based on my creative gifts, but the reality is I have work to do.  It’s okay to be sad, or anxious, but it’s not okay to quit. This is the life I chose for myself. As my mom says this it’s the price you pay for the life you lead.  Losing isn’t being broke. Losing isn’t messing up. Losing is quitting before you win.
I have a renewed energy. It’s not some infomercial scam where I sell you the secrets to my smile. My energy is rooted in the realization I have I work to do. It’s wrapped in the reality that some days I will be straight trash and fail at everything. I am energetic because I am accepting that my imperfections and passions live in the same heart.

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Networking is Awkward

Originally Posted 5/15/16

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 Why is networking so weird? I mean it’s like the first day of middle school, plus flirting in bars, plus any sort of public speaking; BUT WORSE. In those other situations, aiming for personal gain is frowned upon. I’m okay with that. I believe in building relationships and finding your tribe, but networking seems different. Some how you have to balance what you need, with the needs of who you are trying to network with. In that way this symbolic relationship is beautiful, like a dance. Unfortunately, I have two left feet.

Since I’m using this dance analogy, let’s say that I have committed to two stepping my way through the party. Instead of staying in my house, I have filled my calendar with events that connect me with other entrepreneurs, not just designers. I want to take full advantage of my city and meet people who will inspire and challenge me. Worst case scenario I have a new follower on Instagram ( are you following the line on insta? @p29:18 DO IT). Best case scenario I get a gem: an industry tidbit I didn’t know; a potential mentor; a sales lead.  Basically new dance partners can teach you new moves. So I’m gonna stay on floor long enough to learn something.

Okay, I know this dance analogy is getting hackneyed. I’ll stop.  

So who am I networking with? I attended designer seminars through Seattle Fashion Week lead by a buyer from Amazon. I have attended a number of local fashion shows. I joined two business incubators  Ventures and  Black Dot Union. Both have  helped me set up systems for my business even though neither are focused on fashion.

Maybe I’ll get good at all of this. My business card will be pretty and always in hand; my pitches professional and effective; and maybe I’ll even have a mentor or two one day. But that day is not today. I’ll just keep moving toward that put together, flawless moment.