Buying a home may be top five most stressful purchases of all time, and doing it with a significant other pushes it to number one; FOR SURE. My fiancé and I just bought our first home and man was it tough. We learned a lot about the home buying process, so we thought I should impart some of that wisdom on our fellow readers. Read on for three tips for first time home buyers.
If you had a work study job when you were in college, then you know how easy it was to slide by. I’ve always been someone who does my best in everything I do, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t slack off a sometimes because of how easy they took it on me at my work study jobs. The culture is completely different between working at your university and working in the “real world”. You might have already known that or maybe you might not have. I always expected things to be different in the “real world” but I wasn’t sure how it would be different. I’ve been working at an office for about a month now, and I can already see the differences! I want to share with you the top three things I’ve noticed.
Networking is Key
Networking has always been a big deal to me, so I honestly thought I was already in good when it came to that. Wrong! I’m technically an extrovert so I have no problem with speaking to new people and finding a reason to connect with them, but that means nothing if I don’t see the value in what I’m doing. My mom always instilled in me the importance of connecting to anyone I meet. She told me to build relationships not only for my benefit, but to benefit others’ lives too. I was recently reading an article that brought my mom’s words to life for me. This article talked about networking advice from women and one of the recurring pieces of advice was this: “when going into a situation where you are going to network with others, go into it thinking about what you can offer them and not what they can offer you.”
I currently work in the nonprofit world where networking is a huge deal. You always hear that, “ It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know”, but honestly, it’s both. Yes, having connections can get you places, but how are you going to perform when you get there? How will you show how capable you are of being in there in the first place? I’m learning everyday that knowing the right people can get you good places and having the right skills can also get you good places. But knowing the right people AND having the right skills? That can get you to the right places.
Image is Important
So, this probably seems pretty simple, right? “ Be on ten at all times because you never know who is watching you.” We’ve all been told this time and time again. Well you can be told something 20 thousand times but until you have to go through that type of situation, it will never stick with you. Now that I’ve transition from a college student office job to a “real” office job, I definitely understand what was being told to me all those years. Everything is done differently, from the way you dress to the things you can and cannot do at your own desk. I’ve been trying to sit back and observe more in order to learn before I have to be taught. Here is what I’ve observed.
What you wear is important. Don’t wear anything questionable to the office if you haven’t seen someone in a higher position than you wearing something similar. In fact, if you have to question it, don’t even wear it.
What you say is important. There are ears all over. Think about something three times before you let it come out of your mouth. Don’t partake in office gossip and DO NOT share too many details of your personal life if you’re still trying to figure out the culture of the office. Just be nice, be friendly and be genuine.
How you act and react to things says a lot about you. My biggest struggle is the way I control my facial expressions. I have to be able to master the “ I hear you and I understand you” face if I want to work with clients one day. Don’t let someone get under your skin at the office. If they do, don’t let it be known by the way you react to the situation. That could be a test and you could have just failed it.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to learn any of the lessons the hard way and for your sake, I hope you don’t either.
Be Prepared to be Late
Now, we all know the etiquette if calling ahead if you’re running late. But, what if you don’t have any contact information yet? Do you cancel your appointment or do you just show up late and hope for the best? Which one will get you the best result? If you make the wrong choice, that’s a big ole’ bullet you’re going to have to bite. The first time I was going to be late to work, my mom kindly reminded me that is was my responsibility to get the contact information of those around me in case I ever needed. This isn’t college anymore where I can just call the office and they leave a message. This is the real world.
If you have an appointment, it’s your responsibility to let your boss know before the time comes. Coming to your boss too often saying “ Hey, just so you know, I have to leave early for an appointment today” might work the first few times but just think about how many more times you’re going to be able to do that before it’s a problem.
One of my favorite things about life is how much each situation you encounter can teach you. I’m so grateful to be able to work in an environment where I can learn something new every day. I challenge you to take a moment to think about what you’ve learned in the past month.
My mother always says "God never burdens your shoulders with more than He knows you can bear." Or something like that- she's had a lot of sayings over the years, but this one seems to always stick with me. Probably because it rings the truest, considering everything I've witnessed her go through as a hard-working, God-fearing single mother.
Tough times don't last, but tough people do. And tough people last because they are built to endure the hardships of the path God has set forth for them. Setbacks and losses force us to go back to drawing board and assess what went wrong, eventually preparing ourselves for a major bounce-back. Life is going to weigh on you at some point, whether it's work/school related, relationship based or something much more personal- we all get down at times because we're not robots, we're humans and shit happens. But the greatest gift God has bestowed upon us is the ability to weather storms, push through and rise up- He built us this way. God designed you for the grind He's putting you through. Look at Job, Daniel, David or Jesus (well no duh, but still though), God designed them all to withstand the trials and tribulations of their life journeys. Their faith never wavered or withered, and they were rewarded for staying strong and believing in God.
Whatever tough time you're experiencing, remember that this was always God's plan for you and that He built you for that exact struggle- and that there isn't a thing you can't overcome. Happy Monday, folks!
For some with my experience, a seasoned young professional, a lateral move at that point may have not been appealing. But for me I saw the lateral move as an opportunity to grow, challenge myself, expand my network, and prepare me for my dream job in healthcare. A lateral move may not always be the best move but for the circumstances I just described I thought it was the perfect move. I accepted and decided the lateral move was right for me for two major reasons.
Check this out!
In anticipation of one the most important movies in Black Film History, Black Panther, check this interview out with Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler. I watch/listen to a ton of online content while I work.,This was not my first time hearing Coogler speak so I anticipated the typical radio interview but after listening, I was pleasantly surprised with a very strong impression about two things:
The realness of Coogler. I remember vaguely Coogler having a studder when listening to interview for Fruitvale, but during this one it was refreshing just to hear and see an African American Man being himself. Not changing his speech, tone or pattern but being his genuine self. And even more important publicly being accepted and praised for it; Oscar nominated, Big Box Office acknowledged, Critically acclaimed and still being his authentic self.
The other big thing for me was how he spoke about Africa. I have a couple friends that have been and have shared their experience with me, it was never anything earth shaking. I’m ashamed to say now but I never really had the desire to go to Africa. But after listening to Ryan's descriptions, experience, and reverence he speaks about his Africa trip for Black Panther research, it had me planning a trip immediately.
It’s a good listen, and will build your anticipation for the movie. I recommend you give it a listen.
3 Powers of 2017
After reading Ben’s post on 2017 I began reflecting on my own year. And 2017 was one hellva year. I locked into serious dream chasing mode, pursing goals I long dreamed about but never gave a shot. And I immediately ran into struggles… but I persevered to experience new highs, personally and professionally. Now immediately running into problems may have broken the old me but this year was different. This year I was mentally and spiritually stronger than ever. But why? What made me different this year than any other year? Powers… I honed and realized several powers in my life. Helping me accomplish new highs in my career, real estate business, marriage, and T6. These are my three powers for 2017:
Power of Writing Things DownIn late 2016 I came across a video with Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter, he noted the key to his success was writing down all of his goals. Nothing earth shaking there, goes right in line with vision boards and other goal visualization techniques. But what caught my attention was his own technique before he starts his day. He would write his dos and don’ts for the day. The daily regimen of writing down the small things kept him in line with big picture goals. I started doing this exact regimen in late 2016 and carried it into 2017. It’s transformed over the year but it’s amazing to see goals on paper being brought to life. Doing this daily created a habit and there is a ton of power in habit. I also began waking at the same time, praying first thing in the morning, affirmations, and worshipping. If I skipped doing any of these I could feel my day shift and my energy be off. I realized it’s important to have these healthy habits so the outside world doesn’t dictate how your day goes and keeps you on track to accomplish something.
Power of ReadingI was never a big reader growing up but over this last year I began to understand the importance of reading for sharping your mind, maintaining a strong mental state and improving your writing ability. Some of my favorites this year: The Obstacle is the Way, Think and Grow Rich, A Course in Miracles, Relentless, Black Privilege, Jump, Creative Visualization, Audiobook How the Law of Attraction Made me a Millionaire, and The Magic of Believing. Reading provided me information but more importantly it enhanced my imagination, it opened a world full of possibility. After reading, I’d come up with a million ideas and I’d then take these ideas/visualizations and immediately throw them in my daily do’s list. “Imagination is everything, it’s the preview of life’s coming attractions”- Einstein
Power of your SurroundingsThere are no limits except the ones we set on ourselves. “The main thing people are controlled by… the perception of themselves.”- Kanye. When I think of my surroundings, I think of actual people rather than objects. I learned the importance of controlling the individuals you let in your private life has influence on your perception. Perception is reality. Anything that felt toxic and negative I eliminated. As some of my goals began to feel overwhelming I began to learn who I could share with and who I couldn’t. I learned who would lift me up and then those who would nudge me to quit (some very close relatives). Surround yourself with the positive energy and goals don’t feel as big, problems don’t seem impossible, you create a positive perception of yourself, and the positive thoughts drown the doubt. Constantly reevaluate the individuals you let in your world.
“...for the Lord your God will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 John 4:10a
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us...”
I’ve found myself throwing around the word “Love” too often. I realized this and then it began to bother me when I heard others throw it around. Love - what is it and what does it mean? How is it represented? For some it’s seen in actions, others words, materials, relationships, or sex. Pondering these ideas I go to the Bible, which for me has always been a source of answers. There are two scriptures that help explain what love is and how it should be displayed. The first scripture, Deuteronomy 31:6 the second scripture 1 John 4:10a. Deuteronomy shows God being God to us no matter what we do. And 1 John shows us even if we don’t love God, that He loves us because it’s who He is. I say that to say this, God is love, it’s not something that He does, it’s who He is. We sin, a lot of time willingly and He still loves us unconditionally. The greatest demonstration of love isn’t attraction, it’s loyalty. Daily we fall short of perfect and yet God loves us, never to leave usbecause our faults won’t stop Him from being who He is.
One thing I don’t want you to be is society’s sheep, meaning I don’t want you to be mediocre and settle for average. Prove to yourself that you are a wolf among sheep, prove that you will take life for all it is giving, and prove that you are willing to give all the potential you have been granted in life to move to places that you can control.
Black excellence was in full display on yesterday's episode of FOX's underrated sports talk show "UNDISPUTED". UNDISPUTED features two anchors; the LeBron hater Skip Bayless and the black history making, durag wearing, black empowering, black & mild smoking, YAK drinking son of a gun *Insert a “WOOOOO” in my best Ric Flair impression* Shannon Sharpe. He is a proud, woke black man who continues to showcase that every day and has proven time and time again that he is not only unapologetically black, but that he also stands with the African American community. Learn from Shannon! Be unapologetically you!
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the capstone..."
Looking at the life of Jesus, much of his interaction with his "peers" or "colleagues" was filled with judgement and doubt for not only who he was but for what he was capable of doing. We walk through life, looking for purpose and then looking for ways to fulfill such purpose. Along the way we find that not everyone is welcoming with open arms or good intentions. They try to plant seeds of doubt and fear, attempt to downgrade you or your work. Jesus, for me always serves as a perfect example of how I should live. Not only spiritually but everyday interacting with the people I come across. Whether it's a co-worker, a neighbor or whomever it is. Jesus lived life with all eyes on him daily. Every move he made was watched and criticized and that was without him having to post it on Twitter. As he lived his life in ministry, opposition came. He took it and responded. Never losing his cool, remaining true to who he knew he was, a child of the King. They doubted him, he still worked miracles, they laughed at him, he still preached loud and proud. They spit on him, he continued to carry the cross. He knew who he was and he knew his purpose. It didn't matter that they didn't understand or accept him. It didn't matter that his own people didn't accept him as the son of God. All that mattered is that even though he was looked at as the rejected stone, he knew that he was the only stone that mattered. He knew that he was the foundation. So as you go through the week, accept that people will talk about you, laugh at your ideas, throw dirt on your name. Remember who and who's you are. For some you're the one that rejected, for others you're the cornerstone.
I was on spring break this April when I had an anxiety attack while driving on the highway. I came home took my meds, and on the couch I stayed for 4 days. Saying goodbye to them was like ending an abusive relationship. I looked in the mirror and decided I was worth fighting for.
I refused to let the "help" kill me!
So with The Talented 6 having thrown our first professional’s networking event last week, here are a few tips for the average millennial who have either never been to a networking event or who may have been like me when I attended my first event, frightened! These five tips will help you dive deep into your networking bag! This that special networking cloth talk!