Book Review| Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neal Hurston

Book Review| Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neal Hurston

 Let’s Just Say Hurston is Southern Black Girl Magic

Zora Neale Hurston’s Book, Dust Tracks On A Road is a testament to southern black girl magic. Hurston tells the story of her life growing up in a well-off, black, and southern township in Florida. In the book, readers can get a sense of how growing up in a place built for black people, by black people in 1891 shaped her views on race and how she saw herself. Zora is interesting because she never had to mold herself in response to a “white gaze” at a time where terms like “white gaze” may have gotten her killed.

I listened to this book on Audible and it was perfect. She is so southern and the language she uses is unapologetically so. This is incredible when you consider the book was first published in 1942. One of the things I have come to love about her is how she let herself enjoy the stages of her life. When Hurston was a child she held onto the whims of childhood, and as a young woman finding her way she did the same. That is harder to do today in the face of all the millennial millionaires who seem to have come out of the womb knowing exactly what they want and how to get it. We love these people, they gave us snap chat and facebook but it was refreshing to listen someone tell the story of life at her own pace and on her own terms.

Zora is my kind of girl and her experiences will leave you absolutely delighted! From her birth to being a grown woman in new york, I often found myself in laughter or examining my own racial and gender conscience.

If you are looking for a great tale of #unbothered black girl magic, give the book a listen or if you prefer, a read.

XO

Lessons from a Terrible Boss

3 Lesson I Learned from the Worst Boss Ever

Even a bad boss can teach us something, This is what mine taught me.

What is the saying “People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses”? It’s true for so many of us – a bad boss will shake your confidence to the core. It happened to me – I was a new marketer and eager to please. I worked for a woman who loved me one day and would berate me to tears the next (and I am not a cryer).  I was incredibly over-worked, underpaid and I fought for every success I achieved and eventually I left but not before learning some incredible lessons:

Be Resourceful. When you work for someone who is not helpful, you need to make friends. The great thing about bad bosses is they are typically terrible to more than just you. Find someone in the office who has weathered the storm to help you get the job done. This person knows where the files you need are located, they know the things that trigger your boss, they know the office politics and they are a sounding board to work out the “WTF” days. Caution: Don’t become the negative Nancy. Ask for solutions, no one wants to listen to you whine all the time.  

CYA. Always cover your own ass – it’s saving grace in a tough work situation. Keep an email trail of conversations, re-cap via email with your boss or others on projects, and make sure you have clear action items on the things you are supposed to complete. The best place to be with a bad boss is “on top of it”. Once you have a good handle on the basics, don’t be afraid to branch out and shine for some other people in leadership. Your boss may not brag on you, seek out advocates for yourself.

It’s Never Personal. Although we often forget it, managers, supervisors, team leads … even CEOs are just people. Their terribleness often has nothing to do with you, sometimes they are overworked or unappreciated themselves. Maybe their home life is in shambles – you never know, just don’t take their negative behavior to mean something is wrong with you. I will say it again for thePeople pleasers” your boss sucks, you do not. “You…Girl, are a goddamned Rockstar.” Do the best work possible, gain what there is to gain and move on.

Having a bad manager can kill your motivation and your creativity. And it feels impossible especially when you need the experience (or the money) – but it’s doable. Do not worry about twisting yourself into shapes for them, winning is learning a lot and surviving long enough to leave on your own terms.  

Good luck Girl.

Good Wishes for the new year 2018

Glam, Goals and Good Wishes: Wishes for Girls in the new year 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Another year is before us and however 2016 treated you, it’s history now. So we look forward to new chances to shine. Here are my wishes for Glam, Goals and Good Wishes this year.

Glam: Let’s get back to real personal style. I was thinking about the styles of people like Grace Jones, Audrey Hepburn, and Jennifer Lopez. These are three women who are iconic because they had a way of being that was reflected in everything they did including what they wore. It says something about how well they knew and understood themselves and how much they understood how we saw them. I personally want to be this stylishly self-aware someday but for now, it’s baby steps.

Goals: Let’s set fewer goals and have more action. In my years of making lists of goals I have found that the more I have to achieve in a single year, the less likely it is that anything gets completed. You are simply spread too thin. But when you really think about the things that you really want, pick 2 for the year, and set a clear path to completion. It’s much easier to achieve them. Start your process with – “At this time next year, I would be happy if I achieved X.”

My Good Wish for 2017 is that we continue to unlearn the things that keep us tied up – things like… You have to be the “cool girl”, Busy = productive, Black Girls don’t [insert dumb thought], etc. We will talk more about these things more; I am sure, but in the meantime, let’s continue to question some of the “common nonsense” in our lives and live a more complete existence.   

A toast to you, the girls, for an amazing year to come.

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Getting Your Focus Back at Work

How to Get Your Focus Back at Work

Keeping Your Focus on the Big

Picture at Work 

The story is all the same…. you come into a new job blazing and fired up but after a year or three, your only focus becomes how soon you can get to the weekend.

The burnout affects us all. It happened to me. I was at a company where I loved my boss but the work was limiting. I unplugged and thought I could coast until one day I was asked to join an important call and on the spot asked to lead it. I bombed! I had not been paying attention to what was happening in my department and could not confidently speak to it in my boss’s absence…even though it was a small team and I was briefed. I was embarrassed and it was then and there that I knew I need to kick my own ass back into focus.

No matter how great the company is or how much you love or loathe your boss and/or co-workers a career drag is bound to happen because no matter how sweet the gig… work is still work. When you find yourself dragging, negative, and feeling the burnout a vacation cannot fix, try these five steps back to career focus.

Sweat the small stuff. It’s been said before but again,  for many of us, a lack of focus can hinge on how you kick off the day. Are you lingering in bed cruisin IG? Are you constantly running behind and doing your makeup in the car? A simple way to kick off some focus is to get organized the night before, get up on time, give yourself enough time to get dressed and eat and be alert!

Be a student again.  Sometimes the reason for feeling unfocused is that we are simply not interested anymore. If you are a marketer like myself, you know there is always another skill to add. A great way to get excited about work is to plug back into learning. Lots of organizations offer opportunities to go to conferences, take workshops or cross train with other aspects of your department. Take advantage of those opportunities. Learning something new and applying it will help you get engaged and if not, at the very least you have another skill to add to your resume.

Network with motivated strangers. The best way to get fired up is to network with people that are fired up. The whole energy transfer thing is true – this definitely works. Talking with others in your profession at different levels allows you to give advice to some and gain advice from others and it motivating for all.

Reconnect with your end goal. I have a little, framed sign on my desk at all times that says “Remember why YOU are here”. It’s all about perspective – get back to your big goal. Maybe you took this job as a stepping stone to another goal or opportunity? Remember what that was and get working on it. It’s not about where you are today, it’s about where you see yourself in the future. More on this later.

Maybe…you need a new job. So you have gotten organized, learned something new and started networking but work still feels like a drag. Outgrowing a position or department is natural – maybe it’s time for a step up or a step out!

These are just a few tips I have used to self-motivate in times of Meh.  Tell me about your tips in the comments below. 

why online dating works

Why I Loved Online Dating and How to do it Right

A Case for Online Dating 

I recently took an online quiz that said I have “overwhelmingly positive views on online dating” and so do 11% of Americans. Online dating is a great way to meet people if you can allow yourself to just have fun…even on the free sites. In my online dating experience, I met all kind of guys – there was the guy who was all about getting married, the funny fireman, the guy who used to be fat and actually shared those photos on the date and finally the love of my life who I met on OKCupid.com – go figure. Oh, the stories I can share but the point is love and new experiences are possible.

Listen, Linda! I get it. I know you went on that one date with the guy who looked nothing like his photo, or the guy who told you he wanted to find “someone special” but then talked about sex the entire date. I hear you but dare I say – these people gave you red flags before the date was set. As an online dating success story (so humble), I want to share a few ways I was able to plow through the trash, meet some great people and go on to find love.

First, you have to ask yourself some important questions about your intentions. Are you looking for a hookup? Are you looking for Mr.Right Now? Are you looking to close the Mrs. deal? Get clear and make sure you are ready for what you are seeking. An example, You cannot be hung up on your ex and dating for the Mrs. title, maybe a boy toy is more your speed right now. Once you are clear, build the profile accordingly. Looking for sex – be sexy. Looking for love – tell the boys about yourself and be positive.

Second, ok..you are getting inbox hits – you are looking for certain types of responses. If you are looking to play a bit, the options are endless but if you are looking for love or just long term, respond to people who are also looking for love or at least not just sex because…men. When he writes you initially, did he say “ Hey, I love podcasts too, who is your favorite? “ or “You saw Hamilton twice, how?” these are good openers because – they actually took the time to look for a good opening in your profile.  If his first statement is “What’s New?”, eh… it’s all new to him – move on. If his opening line is “Damn girl, you thick”,  nope.  You get the point.

Finally, you are chatting – it’s going well. you have learned that Serial changed his life and he has dreams of going to bartending school just so he can make the best cocktails. This guy sounds perfect – chat a week, maybe 2 and get moving to the coffee date. Do not linger online or over the phone, the point is to find out sooner rather than later if you are being catfished by a cousin who wanted to get back at you for calling her a fat ass Kelly Price (this was really on an episode). Girls complain about the coffee date because we want a meal. If you are dating for free food, that’s fine but you said you wanted love. If he hesitates to meet up…run but otherwise, go and have fun. Be casual – let the conversation flow, if it feels good, keep dating if it doesn’t keep it moving – it’s all in fun. Do not get hung up on the notion that people online are somehow more creepy than real life, remember YOU are online and the TV show “Who the (bleep) did I marry” exists. The point is, it’s all risky at least online dating gives you the chance to meet tons of people from all walks of life in the safe space of behind your screen (where you can do an extensive google search before you ever meet them).

 

Why You Should Break-up with Toxic Friends

How Toxic Friendships can Kill Your Whole Vibe 

Have you ever had a friend do something so foul that it left you wondering if you were ever really friends? Yes. Me too. It happens. 

The solution is the value yourself and the energy to give to people. Always treat people’s access to your time, space, affections, and love like exactly what it is, a privilege.  

Your inner circle should be made of people who offer mutual respect, encouragement, and love, not just who has been around the longest. It’s hard to let go of people who you have known since high school. These girls have shared in some pretty great milestones with you, now, and your needs have changed.

That friend who is never happy for you or cracks mean-spirited jokes about your weight is taking the space of friends who will actually champion you and think your curves are slaying – go find those people.

This is not a break-up. No announcements, declarations or exit interviews need to occur – you are simply no longer available for their bullshit. This is not mean. You are not required to give everyone repeated chances to hurt you. The only person’s feelings you should be concerned with are your own, you have been generous with everyone else this time give a little of that love to yourself.