entrepreneurship

Did you know….. .your mind does this really weird, crazy, unique awesome thing?

Anytime you ask your mind a question, it searches for an answer. No, really. I saw this on Youtube so you know its true. It may not sound too exciting to you at the moment, but just hear me out.

You’re sitting at home and you say to yourself “mmmm I’m hungry” then you ask yourself, “what do I want to eat?” Neurons take off and race to find an answer to that question. Different ideas my come to mind. You think about that Phill Cheesesteak Stuffed Garlice Bread recipe you saw online. You can almost taste your mother’s meatloaf or that penne pasta you love to make. But your brain is smart, it will not stop until it settles on the BEST answer to that question. Now, I’m not a scientist so I’m paraphrasing and butchering science pretty badly but my takeaway from that is this: ASK BETTER QUESTIONS so that you can get to BETTER RESULTS!

We ask ourselves all day long and many times those questions just stay in our heads because we are too afraid to share our thoughts with others. This is a mistake. Ive learned that when I ask for what I need and say aloud what I don’t know, the universe activates its magic and conspires to helping me find an answer to my questions. People seek me out and those I know seek out others to assist me. Ultimately, I get to answers quicker than if I held it in and kept it to myself.

Asking questions puts us in a vulnerable place because it makes us admit that we do not know something. But in the wise words of Ms. Erykah Badu, “the man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all.” So ask. Ask boldly and receive graciously. Welcome feedback. Always be willing to improve.

Three Questions to AsK Yourself:

  1. What do I really want out of life?
  2. Why do I want this?
  3. How can I live a life that gets me closer to what I want?

Three Questions You Can Ask I Work:

  1. What am I doing well?
  2. How can I do this better?
  3. What are my growth areas?

Three Questions You Can Ask Your Family:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What makes you sad?
  3. What can we do more of together?

Three Questions to Ask in Relationships

  1. How can I support you?
  2. What am I doing to add value to this relationship?
  3. Is there anything that I could change to improve the quality of this relationship?

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BEING ORGANIZED IS BEING IN CONTROL

entrepreneurship, organization

Let me start off by saying, I’m preaching to myself here. I mean, I go through phases of organization and disorganization yet I find that I am my most productive, most successful and the most happy when my life is organized.

Is your life organized? House clean? Dishes washed? Bills paid on time? If I asked you for a paper clip right now could you easily find it?

If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, p.s. I hate you (not really jk lol) But most of us, at some level, struggle with staying organized. For me, planning ahead and keeping a calendar helps me stay on track. This year, and for the last two years, I purchased a Passion Planner to stay organized. On Sunday night I plan out my week and color code each activity. The Passion planner has time slots, weekly layout and a monthly layout. I use both and refer to it often. I also schedule these tasks/events in google calendar so that I may receive a notification on my phone. Productivity tip: Set a time limit for EVERYTHING.

To-do lists are cool but rarely do they ensure that things get done. You have to set priorities, then set a date with yourself and refuse to allow things to linger. Dishes tonight from 5:30-5:45. Working on my goals 6:00-7:30pm. Yes, schedule time to work on your goals whatever those might be. I even schedule my social media posts and accountability check it’s. it’s all there so it can all get done.

When I do this I feel powerful. I know what’s coming and what is required of me. I don’t have to wonder what I’m supposed to be doing or where I’m going? It’s all there. If there is something I want to do, I plan it.

This ain’t always the case but it is becoming more natural to do this. And….I like it.

What organizational tips do you have? Where do you struggle? Leave a comment and let me know.

#BrandyWasHere

4 Ways I Protect My Energy While Accomplishing My Goals

entrepreneurship, organization


It has been said that you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So think about that. You are the average. This means some people are high frequency and others are low frequency and you are in between. You take in the characteristics, behaviors and choices of your friends. This is not to say they are actively pressuring you to do so, but this happens both consciously and subconsciously. 
There’s a book by Walter C. Willer called Thinfluence: Thin-flu-ence (noun) the powerful and surprising effect friends, family, work, and environment have on weight. The subtitle basically says it all. Want to lose weight? Hang around people who are in shape. Want to be successful? Hang around people who are. 
At times we get distracted. Our goal is to save money and our friend says, “hey girl, BBD going on tour.” And you think, “Omg I love BBD. That New Edition Movie had me hype. I HAVE TO GO TO THIS!” So you drop that $100 on the ticket then you spend the rest of your work day shopping online for the perfect outfit. You call your hairdresser and make an appointment. And already you’ve gone from 2017 will be the year I save and invest to where did that $500 go? 

INFLUENCE.
Maybe you’re starting a business which requires research, creating content, scheduling social media posts, sketching designs, etc. So you’ve set aside time to do just that. Then your cell phone rings. “Hey, wyd?” Your gut reaction is to say “nothing”. But of course, you’re doing something; something really important to you and for your future. Now the caller/texter on the other side of the phone has the green light to GO IN and that they do. Hours later you’re staring at your computer screen with nothing done and now, Scandal is on so this will have to wait until tomorrow to finish this very important work task. Where did the time go? I need more than 24 hours in a day, you say. 
I give those examples because they are common. The prople we love want our time and rightly so. But do y’all want these goals or nah? It’s not fool proof but, the more we can align ourselves with people who have what we want or on the path to getting where we’re trying to go, the easier and quicker our success will come. This means finding people who VALUE what you value. 

I recently stopped eating pork. And even though my mother says she understands she truly doesn’t get why is so such a thing. What did pork ever do to me? So when I tell her I don’t eat pork, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s put on a roast for Sunday and invited me over. Does that make sense? If it is something I value, it’s up to me to make the decision not to indulge. Likewise, you’ve expressed to friends and family that you are committed to losing weight and are on a strict diet. This will not stop them from inviting you to Applebee’s on a Friday night. It’s your value not theirs. Just like a friend of yours may value going to church everyday whereas for you, listening to Kirk Franklin on the way to brunch is enough.
Just because your values are different doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. But you should stick closest to those who share your values so that they may, in the words of Oprah, life you higher.
So where do you find such people? How do you identify your tribe?
Here are a couple different ways

1. Read.My search for positive influence came through reading. I started reading books by people I admired. Reading books always connects you to other books and other authors which “influences” who I follow on social media, what I watch on YouTube, etc. 

2. Ask. Create a post on social media that says. “I’m looking to connect with people who ________ Please tag who you know.” Believe it or not, your current network can help you expand and/or strengthen your new network.

3. Meetup.com There are thousands of groups listed for whatever you’re into. I’ve found, that the paid groups are more serious and meet more consistently. I’ve joined book clubs, running clubs, parenting meet ups, etc on this platform. At one point I even created a group of my mom for mothers who were also entrepreneurs. 

4. Work. If you want to be a boss one day, hang out with other bosses. Perhaps, your current boss. Go the extra mile, attend conferences and company events. Network with the higher ups and learn. Let them know your goals. They may be willing to help, mentor or provide you with resources.

LAST POINT. Remember that while people are constantly influencing you and your life, you’re giving out your energy to others. Are you a positive or negative influence in the life of others’? What type of impression are you looking to leave? What small thing can you do to affect someone’s life in a meaningful way.

PEACE ‚úĆūüŹĺ#BrandyWasHere 

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

business, entrepreneurship, organization

diddycswsMany of our heroes express gratitude and humility in awe-inspiring ways, but humble is not a word I’d use to describe Sean “Diddy” Combs. Out the gate he had something to prove and was determined not to stop until it was done. His mantra “can’t stop, won’t stop” essentially became the creed of young hustlers and go-getters everywhere!

It takes a lot to follow a vision that no one sees but you and he did JUST THAT. Despite rumors, arrests, fainting loyalty he crafted a record label that is internationally known and recognized. That provided the opportunities to impart knowledge and success into the careers of dozens of people signed to Bad Boy Entertainment and hundreds of others who have worked for and with Mr. Combs. It also open doors for film, television and world tours. Bad Boy is a dynasty whether you like it or not.

The release of the documentary,¬†Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop chronicled the journey to craft and present the Bad Boy Anniversary Tour. This one hour documentary served as a window into Combs’ values, processes and business acumen. Here are five absolute gems I found in the film. I hope you can learn something from it. Oh, and watch the documentary!

  1. Make Your Purpose Crystal Clear

One of the things Diddy says in the film is that when he first got the idea for Bad Boy he knew he wanted to be different. Instead of following the emerging trend of gangsta rap, he knew he wanted to make people dance and have a good time. Now think of iconic Bad Boy songs like “Hypnotize”, “Feels So Good” and “Only You”. The music certainly matched the mission and so did the style, the visual details and the personas. Because his purpose was clear, the foundation that he built was unshakable. Have you identified your unique gift to the world? What’s your purpose?

2. Opportunities Are Greater Than Money

Diddy interned for Andre Harrell for two years without pay. In that time, he was able to learn the music business and network with up and coming artists. Here, he perfected his grind and his idea for a record label of his own. Are you taking advantage of opportunities that can challenge and grow you into the person you want to be?

cantstopmeme

3. Fight For What You Want

At times the vision became cloudy especially as controversy began to creep into the company. The very image Diddy was trying to avoid seemed to chase them down as a friendship between Biggie and Tupac became vicious. But this didn’t deter Diddy was his mission. In fact, it urged him to fight harder, do more, connect on a higher level. He was able to constantly brand and re-brand Bad Boy as the premier record label for not only hip-hop artists, but young professionals.¬†How are you pushing through circumstances to achieve your goals?

4. Don’t Stay in Your Lane, Explore the Entire Highway

Diddy began managing artists and dabbled in producing and directing music videos. The clarity of his vision served to make him a curator of content which allowed him to easily traverse between roles. Yes, he was always dancing in the music videos, but he was also sitting at round tables negotiating deals, making hit records, designing clothing (Sean John), opening restaurants (Justin’s) and producing tv shows (Making the Band). While all of these entities are distinctly different they fall under one umbrella, Bad Boy. The brand’s image was strong enough to be translated in any industry. Because of his fearless, Diddy was able to make his record label a global entertainment brand.¬†Are you limiting your talents to just one arena?

5. Build a Team That Believes in You

Don’t surround yourself with people who want to get ahead or make money. But make sure there are people on your team who believe in YOU, the creator of the brand. If they buy into you, they will do whatever it takes to make your vision come alive. This is crucial to Diddy’s success. In the film, Mase explains that Diddy brought artists into bad boy under the premise that if they trusted him he would make sure they were legends. And…the rest is history.¬†Does your team trust you?

fall1headshot_03

I’ve run out of goals¬†

business, entrepreneurship, organization

Impossible, I say. But as I opened up my Passion Planner last week to conduct my mid-year check-in, I stared at the page….and stared at the page. 

What do you want, Brandy? What will be your BIG push for the second half of the year? What’s on your list?

Nothing…

Sadness came over me. Am I finished? I thought, but pushed the idea aside. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been chasing one goal after another; accomplishing and failing; starting and restarting; learning and growing. I’ve read countless books about goal-setting, success, mindset and all the woo-woo pseudo scientifically texts about attraction and manifesting you can name. I wouldn’t say that I’ve mastered these systems but my skillset has grown and I have evidence to the effect that I make more shots than I miss. 

Almost two years ago now I did the possible and quit my full-time teaching job. Ha! What an adventure that has been. Anyways, when I did, I hit the goriund running overachieving and overworking myself into the ground. 2015 was my year! My side hustle became my main thing Anf I was roooolllliiiiinnnn! Cloud 9.

So what happened? 

I finally started to grow into the person I’ve always wanted to become. I mean, things I envisioned for myself as a child finally came into fruition. I am, in many ways, living my dream. So at some point…I stopped dreaming.

Don’t get me wrong, on a smaller scale there are still things I want to do (spa days, girls trip, tattoos, save money, etc). But the big, hairy, omg scary goals…. I can’t think of any.

I can’t think of any because I never thought beyond THIS, what I have right now. My whole life I’ve been focused on “getting there” and now I’m here. I never thought about what to do once here. I am reminded of the adage “what got you her won’t keep you here”. Although I think this is supposed to bring me solace, it makes me uneasy. What do I do now?

I decided to control what I can and not stress it. The other day I gave my sister-friend the gift of “yet” and with it, the power to control what is immediately in your control. So, I decided to give myself that gift as well. 

For too long I’ve lived each day truly like it was my last and worried that if I made one misstep or took my eyes off the road to blink I would die…literally. I think at 30 years old, I deserve to not have everything figured out. I will take this time however to learn me and evaluate what makes sense in my life and what my next step will be. Right now no goals, just a commitment to live my best life – on my terms. #BrandyWasHere

Here’s What I’ve Learned in My First Year As A Full-Time Entrepreneur (must read)

business

January 21, 2016 was my last day as an employee.

I did it.

I quit.

I walked away from a career I could have grown in; a career in which I had the opportunity to impact hundreds or thousands; a career I chose and had fallen in love with.

There are many circumstances that led to that decision. But ultimately, I felt that my role, my purpose was bigger than the classroom I was teaching in.

You see, I was telling kids they could change the world and they could be, have and do anything they wanted….and here I was not being, having or doing any of that. I quit because my values weren’t aligned with my actions. That needed to change.

So January 22, 2016. Here I am. Now what? While I knew the journey wouldn’t be easy, let me just be candid with you: THIS SHIT IS SO FUCKING HARD. But if you believe in yourself and believe in your vision, it is worth it even if it doesn’t seem that way now. Trust me on this.

I am often asked what advice I would give to new entrepreneurs so here it goes. Here’s what I’ve learned as a full-time entrepreneur:

  1. As an entrepreneur, you own your time.

Here’s where most entrepreneurs mess up. The difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur is time. Whereas employees are compensated for the amount of time they work, entrepreneurs are compensated based on the value of the work they perform. For example, if I am employed by Starbucks and I make $10 an hour, I will have for work for an hour to receive $10. Pretty simple, right. If I want to make $150, I will need to work…yes, 15 hours. (Let’s ignore taxes for this example. But in real life, come correct with the IRS) As an entrepreneur, I can sell a product or provide a service and value that product or service at an amount that makes sense. I can sell a box of cookies for $15 and sell x amount of boxes in an hour.

Your success is dependent upon how you manage and schedule your time. Now, you could spend your day getting your hair and nails done and having lunch with your girls, but you also have to work. How much you want/need to work is up to you! That, of course, can be scary because “what if”. Don’t worry about that. Create a schedule that reflects the work you want to be doing and put in the effort.

2. At least in the beginning, you will work more than you’re used to.

Unless you have really planned this out (which I absolutely did not) you will most likely begin your entrepreneurial journey solo. This means, you will take on any and all roles associated with your business. You should expect to put in lots of hours toward your business so don’t go planning any vacations just yet. My first 5 months in business I was working 70+ hours per week! As a teacher, my contract hours were 37.5 hours per week. Be prepared to lose sleep, lock yourself out the house and spell your name wrong from pure exhaustion. This is…until you are able to attract the right individuals to help you live out your vision.

3. No matter what business you have, build your e-mail list.

If you plans to start a business, start requesting those e-mail addresses. I sort of did this, but realized, my list was no where near where it needed to be. An e-mail list is important for a number of reasons. For starters, this is how you will contact your potential customers. But I have social media… Correction: social media has YOU!¬†If your favorite social media site shut down today how would you contact those xx,xxx followers? You would only hope that they’d find you. But e-mail addresses you own. Large companies pay big bucks for e-mail addresses. You, of course, will earn yours.

Your e-mail list becomes your network and those people will support you business in unimaginable ways outside of purchasing your product. Don’t send them spam. Create a newsletter that you send our consistently letting them know what you’re up to, what they can expect and answer their questions. This is how you establish credibility and form relationships.

4. Learn all you can about your industry, product, location, organizations, etc.

Networking is important but going out for drinks won’t cut it (unless you’re in the entertainment industry or something similar). You will need to find ways to network with professional organizations and learn as much as you can. This will look different for every entrepreneur. For me, this means reading and research.

Large companies don’t have to work as hard but you, young entrepreneur are trying to build trust and credibility. In order to present yourself as an expert, you kinda actually have to be one. This means, being recognized among your industry peers, knowing your neighborhood and competing businesses, demographics of your target market, trends in your industry as well as professional organizations and conferences to attend. You must stay on your toes and stay relevant. Never stop learning!

5. Look for opportunities…EVERYWHERE!

Your current friends, co-workers (ex-coworkers), workout buddy, local coffee shop, etc are all places to inquiry about opportunities. If you plan to sell your products at events, ask around and see what’s happening and where. A question I love to post on my Facebook ever so often¬†Tag someone you think I should follow and give me one reason why.¬†New people present new opportunities. If you provide a service here’s a question you can bring up to a friend over the phone:¬†Hey girl, I’m looking to expand my business. Who do you know that could use_____ (service you offer)? Talk about your business. Look for ways to gain visibility and sustainability.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Like I’ve said, in the beginning it will be you, you and you. But as you seek to expand, don’t be shy. Ask your family and friends for help, but don’t wear them out. Here you have to make a decision, do you want you friends and family as customers or part of your support system, you should not expect both. I have some friends that use my products and other who will show up at an event to give me a bathroom break. Remember, this is YOUR business and it needs to be supported by customers. You have to go out and find the customers. However, you have loved ones willing to lend a helping hand. You also have access to great apps like TaskRabbit and Fiverr where you can hire professionals at a reasonable cost to assist you with tasks you may not have time for or be an expert in that particular area. Yes, it is your business, but don’t struggle alone.

7. Create systems that help your business function smoothly.

Now, I would suggest before you run off to hire someone or ask for help, take an inventory of your business and assess your needs. Create a mind map and write out everything that you do on a daily basis for your business. Every. Little. Thing. From checking e-mails to post on social media to making runs to the post office and hosting webinars, etc. Everything. Then you can begin to categorize these tasks and place a value on them. Tasks of the highest value you may want to take on like…creating content for your webinar. Whereas tasks like laundry, you may want to outsource. Now that you know where you want to focus your personal energy, spend some time creating a guide or how-to if you will for someone else to take on those other tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean hire an assistant (if you’ve got the cash to spare though, go ahead with your bad self!), but you should be prepared to hand off tasks when the opportunity presents itself. For example, your boyfriend/girlfriend calls and says “Bae you’re working so hard is there anything I can do for you?”¬†This is when you send Bae on the store run and to drop off your orders at the post office. Be ready and open to assistance. Create a system for doing things that makes it easy to be done by others.

Another really simple thing to do, template e-mails. This will save you a ton of time. You’ll learn that you constantly get the same questions or will need the same information from different people. Create a template that a helper can easily cut and past to reply to those hundreds of unread e-mails (all of our inboxes look the same I know).

8. Have multiple streams of income…in and outside of your business.

MAJOR KEY ALERT: You want to start small in the beginning, yes. But you will build your business quicker if you have money coming in from different areas. For example, Louis Vuitton sells shoes, purses and clothing. You should offer x, y and z. Create levels within your business to appeal to a larger demographic. Offer a low-end and high-end product, Sell though different channels which include your website, FB ads, Pinterest, Pop-Up Shops, Wholesale, etc.

For many entrepreneurs, this means taking on a part-time job to supplement their income. But that may not be appealing or possible for everyone. I would personally suggest staying at your 9-5 a little longer and saving some dough. Then, I’d suggest becoming an affiliate for various other companies. Affiliate marketers can earn between 2-10% on each sale they make for other companies. If you have a large following on your personal social media account or if you’re a blogger where you can easily place ads, you can bring in good money each month to help fuel your business.

Then, there’s Lyft and Uber. You can become an ambassador and sign up new drivers and riders. Or, you can become a driver and earn up to $1,500 a week! Yes, I drive Lyft, too. It’s a great option because you can drive when and where you want and cash out as needed. Having money on demand will come in handy when business gets slow. And it will get slow.

9. Take breaks. Self-Care is important and necessary.

Last, but absolutely not least is taking care of yourself. Many entrepreneurs get burnt completely out in quarter one and have nothing left to give. While you will need to work hard, you will also need to rest and relax and at some point sleep. You cannot live off of energy drinks (this is what I tell myself). Create a routine in which self-care is central. Incorporate exercise, meditation, sleep, drinking water, laughter and socializing. These are mandatory. Your goal is to become a successful entrepreneur not an overweight hermit! Spending too much time alone is never good as we can easily slip into depression when things don’t go right in our business. If you work from home, make it a point to leave the house at least once a day. If you work in an office setting, make it a point to go out for lunch or set meetings at another location. A change of scenery is great.

 

 

A Few Major Keys From DJ Khaled on Parenting

brilliant ideas, MOMMY THOUGHTS, parenting

While he may have welcomed some criticism for snapchatting the birth of his child…in the days since Asahd Tuck Khaled has entered the world, DJ Khaled has totally embraced fatherhood in surprising and entertaining ways.

The snapchat king, of course, floods his story and timeline with endless photos and videos of the infant but I believe, Khaled is teaching us, new and veteran parents something about parenthood.

Image result for dj khaled son

1.You Can Never Say “I Love You” Enough

Khaled is a man in love with the world. From shouting at the sky and holding roses in his and whispering “I love you” we know that Khaled is all about spreading positive vibes. This is no different when it comes to little Asahd. Khaled showers his son in I love you’s to which Asahd just smiles.

Being open to our children is important as it provides them with an example of how to be vulnerable and share their emotions. Saying I love you plays a very important role in their development. It makes them feel safe and strong. We need to do this more!

2. Surround Your Children With People Who Inspire & Influence

Image result for alicia keys and asahd

Who we bring our children around is very important. Since DAY ONE Khaled has made it a point to surround Asahd with only the best! Here you see Alicia Keys holding little Asahd. And, wait, there are others with Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, August Alsin and more. Khaled wants his son to soak up that greatness and be inspired by those who are at the top of their game. Soooooo…what’s your circle looking like

 

3. Encourage Your Children With Positive Affirmations

Saying I love you is one thing. But Khaled lays on the compliments and affirmations thick. “You are blessed Asahd”, “You are a don, an icon, a legend”, “you’re amazing.” If you’re wondering how you can encourage and speak positively to your child. Check out this list of 66 Positive Things To Say To A Child

4. Take Them With You

DJ Khaled is a busy man and is one of the few amongst us that did not seem to take any L’s in 2016. He’s all over social media and your tv screen with various endorsements and contracts. And nowadays, so is Asahd. Khaled is giving his son a front row seat to his hard work and showing him how its done. I can imagine with Asahd grows up, he will grind just as hard as his father; not because he has to but because he’s been taught to.

Often times we keep our work a secret from our children and then wonder why they grow up lazy and entitled. Train up your children. Show them the ropes, even at a young age so they understand that they have to work for what they want in life. No freebies. No shortcuts, No excuses. That’s a major key!

5. Make Them Your Business Partner

Image result for dj khaled names son executive producer

Khaled announced via social media that his son, Asahd, is the executive producer of his album. Wait….what?! Yes, Asahd Khaled will be listed as co-executive producer of Khaled’s next album. Silly some may say. But there’s a reason behind it. Listing Asahd as executive producer will not only put his name in the industry but gets him listed on royalty checks. yes, that means Asahd will have his own money! *John Amos voice from Coming to America* Other rappers like Khaled’s buddy Nas has done this to ensure their children will always have an income. Khaled has committed to not only making his son an heir to the throne, but is laying the foundation for him to create his own when the time should come.

In what ways can you do this in your family?

Now, I cannot say what kind of parent DJ Khaled will become or if Asahd will indeed be the golden child, I am saying that watching DJ Khaled love his son has inspired me to love mine even more. Hopefully this does the same for you.

 

3 Business Hacks That Help Me Stay Productive

business

Productivity. Productivity. Productivity.

As entrepreneurs we are always looking for ways to be more productive and efficient in our work. Now, I’ve read a lot of books and articles on the subject and I can attest to the fact that increasing your productivity means minimizing and or removing distractions from your life.

Ha! Now consider the fact that most entrepreneurs deal with adhd and insomnia and you’ll understand my scoff a moment ago.

Nevertheless, successful entrepreneurs get more done! How? Over the last couple of weeks I’ve tried a few different techniques, apps and even modified my behavior. Here are 3 Hacks that help me operate as my most productive self:

Set a Timer

I heard on one of my fvaorite podcast The Mind Your Business Podcast¬†¬†that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This is known as Parkinson’s Law. When I heard that I grabbed my calendar and started to assign time limits to the tasks I had set out for the week. This was tough at first because I had to develop the discipline to STOP tasks even if they were unfinished at the moment. I know, let’s all cringe together. However, after a few days (or weeks). I saw that by literally setting a timer, I would become more forced on completing the task. And guess what else, many times I completed the task before the time ended.

For example, I’d set aside 2 hours to schedule social media posts and an hour later I’d be finishing up. You see, it would take me 2 hours when I was unfocused, drinking tea, checking my phone, etc. But now, I plan accordingly, schedule my work and set my timers. I get more done in less time!

Turn off Notifications (e-mail, social media, calls, etc.)

I’m a chronic e-mail checker. I also hate to see that little red 1 on my phone or to see e-mails left unread and I always feel the need to respond immediately to texts. Yes, even when I’m driving (pray for me), even in meetings, even when I’m hard at work. But great news! I am breaking the habit.

Recently, very recently, in fact, like a week ago, I went into mky iPhone and changed my notifications settings.¬†One day I posted a photo on instagram and my notification suddenly became LIT! My phone was ringing back to back letting me know that radtad99bad liked your photo and skinsosoftboss commented “cute”. This was also the day 9/10 of my Facebook friends decided to go live and share their lunch, makeup of the day and opinions on the election. Needless to say, I couldn’t get anything done nor could I put the phone done. I decided to change my settings.

I turned off notifications for all of my social media accounts including my e-mail and as a bonus, I logged out. This meant that in order to see what was happening I would have to go throught the tedious task of logging back in and checking things out.

I will say so far so good. I’d estimate I’d spend 2 hours out of my day checking socila media and responding to, reading or deleting e-mails. TWO FREAKING HOURS! I have now cut that down to about 20 minutes.

**BONUS TIP: When I am working on a project and need to concentrate I will put my phone on “do not disturb” so that any incoming calls are sent to voicemail. This is with the exception of my mother and my son’s school. Those calls always come straight through

Take Breaks

All work. No play. Whoever made that up is wack and probably had a miserable life. But that’s not our reality. Right? Staycations/Daycations are my new thing. So not only do I schedule breaks for myself just as I would if I had a regular 9-5. Every couple of weeks there’s time set aside for fun. This means NO WORK! Now this doesn’t have to be extravagant. For me this may mean binge reading a new book, shopping with a friend or trying a new restaurant. Breaks are essential because they allow us to recharge and refocus. As entrepreneurs we understand that we only eat what we kill and the pressure to perform and provide can haunt us. However, working nonstop could kill us. Take care of yourself and your health. Rest when needed.

Stay Gold!

brilliant ideas, MOMMY THOUGHTS, parenting

I caught a glimpse of my son today in usual form: aloof, mouth wide open, probably thinking about basketball. I immediately thought about how beautiful he was. You know, he looks like me, but lighter skinned. People have always said he’s my twin. But he’s different than me in so many ways.

We were driving home on our usual afternoon commute from West Oakland to South Richmond. Normally we’d be full of conversation, but today Apple Music serenaded us with hits from Janet Jackson radio. Among the jams were Michael’s “Beat It” and Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us”

Traffic was heavy and I found myself yawning constantly. I looked at my son who seemed to be doing the same. If I asked him what he was thinking about he’s probably bring up a 3rd down during some college football game from two years ago and explain to me what he would’ve done differently. (He loves sports btw). I laughed in my head imagining what our conversations would be like in years to come. We talk about everything from sports to God to gummy bears and homework. Our minds often wander. That we DO share in common.

I wanted to, in that moment, preserve his innocence so he could stay this free forever. I know that there’s a point in a young boy’s life when that ends and I am aware, that for young Black boys that day comes even sooner.

He’s not like most 8 year old’s whose eyes tell a story of tough times and mannerisms that demonstrate their eagerness to fight an invisible war. He’s carefree. Naive. Empathetic. Friendly. Curious. He’s my baby.

I ache, already, for that day when some little heffa breaks his heart or shit gets real and someone close to him dies; the day he realizes we live in the ghetto and that top ramen isn’t as fancy as I make it out to be. I’m cringing for the day he understands that being Black is both a badge of honor, and a target.

He understands now, as a child would. But one day he’ll be a man.

I looked at my son again and loved him harder. Loved him more because this world won’t. Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” was playing. And as I glanced back on the highway he says to me, “Mommy you’re my greatest love of all” and he meant it. Every word. I said “You’re my greatest love of all too!” and he felt it. I knew he felt every single word.

I know it is said that nothing gold can stay, but I’m hoping you are the exception.

My 2016 Book List

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I’m an avid reader. If you’ve been been following this blog or follow me on any of my social media accounts you knew this already. You also know that I constantly battle between quantity and quality when it comes to read. In 2013 I challenged myself to read a book a week and in 2015 I only completed 10 new reads. While my reading interests lead me to non-fiction texts, particularly those focused on business or self-improvement, I have been known to read a novel or two…or three.

In 2016 I took a different approach. I only read books that were directly recommended to me. I pillared through the list of over 200 texts that friends, colleagues and acquantices have offered as “life-changing” or “inspirational”. I compared that to books recommended from my favorite podcasts, blogs and thought-leaders.

Woooo!!! Exhausting.

Milestone: I’ve read over 40 books this year (even got a subscription to Audible.com and Amazon Prime to make reading on demand easier.)

These 8 books I consider to be essential to your growth and personal development as a human being on this planet. Read them all and read them again! Share them with friends. Blog about them. Thank the authors!

  1. The Year of Yes by Shondra Rhimes:Image result for the year of yes

    ¬†#Fact I’ve never seen any of the shows she’s produced. However, the advice in this book is clear: DO¬†SOMETHING EVERYDAY TO SURPRISE YOURSELF. Push your limits beyond what you can imagine.

  2. Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

    Image result for between the world and me

    A crystal clear almost haunting depiction of what is means to be Black, woke and parenting in America.

  3. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison:Image result for god help the child toni morrison

    An amazing journey of self-love and discovering and the power to reinvent one’s self. Belle’s beauty, boldness and confidence shines through despite the emotional scars she tries to hide.

  4. Miss Jessies’s Creating a Successful Business From Scratch by Titi Branch and Miko Branch :Image result for miss jessie's book barnes and noble

    It’s more than a hair product, Miss Jessie’s ¬†sparked a movement among women that has transformed the way we think about hair and business. This in-depth book not only tells the story of two entrepreneurial sisters, but gives real-world advice for the budding business owner.

  5. Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor:Image result for writing my wrongs by shaka senghor

    I, for some reason, read alot of texts by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men. While this one contains all the grim and ghastly details of prison life, it also tells the story of a man seeking to make amends with himself, his family and those he hurt. 

  6. The Power of Broke by Damon John:Image result for the power of broke

    A Shark Tank favorite, Damon John is well known for starting the urban clothing line FUBU. Since then, John has started and helped other start countless profitable businesses. Here, in this book, he calls on other business to share their experience in harnessing the power of broke to push past excuses right into their dreams.

  7. The Science of Self by Supreme Understanding and C’BS Alife Allah:Image result for the science of self by supreme understanding

    Know thyself. Learn the science. If you snoozed through all of your science classes or like me, attended them all wide awake and left confused then this book is for you! Free from all the academic clutter in textbooks, this books breaks down the science of who we are, why we are here and how we relate to one another.

  8. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy MorinImage result for 13 things mentally strong people don't do

    There’s power in saying no to things and recognizing what you don’t want. Morin helps the reader understand how breaking free of a few mentally¬†draining bad habits can help us make sense of our life and get closer to what we actually want.