Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It only takes one YES.

So often we see people writing about how they have become successful and that it takes a ton of failure. We know these stories of how Michael Jordan didn't make a basketball team or how Albert Einstein's mother was told that he was stupid and couldn't amount to anything. Hearing these stories does help when things don't work out, but actually going through that failure hurts. Rejection, being told no, being told you aren't good enough, can't do something, etc. hurts. It just hurts. it is OK that it hurts. LET it hurt. That is one thing through my many failures that I've learned - don't act like you didn't care or that it doesn't hurt. That hurts you even more in the long run - it's like avoiding an injury and continuing to use the injured part of you. Acknowledge it.

The second thing I do in a failure situation is setting a time for me to be done wallowing. Now, don't get me wrong, I STILL WALLOW. I just set a realistic timeline of how long I will be wallowing before I try something again or pick myself up and try something new. In addition to setting the timeline for the wallowing, I also have my typical things I do that cheer me up. If I get cut from a dance audition, I always eat something ridiculously awful. A whole pizza or something covered in spicy queso or even a Cajun Fondue PoBoy (where I ask them to put the fondue straight on the bread so I don't have to mess with the dipping). That doesn't mean I go crazy forever of being unhealthy, but I allow myself the indulgence. I also watch random movies or go out with friends. I do something I've been putting off like spot cleaning the carpet or heck, why not make the apartment spotless?! I do those things within my timeline of wallowing.

Then I get back on the wagon and try again. It sounds cliche, but I cannot even begin to count the amount of failures I've had, even if we try to narrow it down to dancing, work, school, following societal norms for women my age, etc. A good friend once told me to NEVER stop trying. You might get a million "no's" but it only takes one yes. IT ONLY TAKES ONE YES. That yes can change your life. And you only need one of them. That mantra gets me through every stinging, horrible rejection I've ever had. It helps me to keep going, to keep trying and to not quit. If something is important enough to you to try, keep trying. I'll balance this out by saying if you are putting yourself in a harmful situation (physically, emotionally, etc.) then definitely quit that, I'm talking more about dreams, hopes and goals. Don't give up on that. Don't give up on YOU.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Take what is yours, but no more

I pride myself in working hard to ensure that I can live the way I want without worrying about my finances. I make sure to hold multiple jobs, if necessary, and take no days off. Sometimes that rocks and sometimes that really sucks. I recently had my first full weekend off in months and seriously didn't know what to do with myself. It was truly refreshing, but I'm not sure if I want that all the time. I like to be doing things or thinking about things. I've heard this is a Millennial type trait, but for me, it's a necessary part of life. If I want certain things, I have to do certain things to get the things that I want.

One thing that has been a constant for me is that I want to spend what I earn and not what other people earn. It's nice to be treated by my significant other or friends every so often, but I feel personally responsible for myself and my well being. That isn't to say that I feel that I shouldn't donate money or treat my friends back, but I do make sure I can handle whatever expenditures that I incur.

This isn't a post to shame others who can't take care of themselves - there are some situations that are horrible, tragic, and all too common. I'm happy to lend a hand when people are in need because I've been in need and didn't receive much help. I didn't even know I needed help, to be honest. Most people don't. Offering help and love sans judgement is important and a part of being a good friend, person and human.

This is a post about knowing what is yours and what isn't yours to take. I'm not only referring to materials; I'm referring to time, love, etc. I love Beyonce's "
Formation" and I love that she says "take what's mine." She doesn't say take what isn't hers. She doesn't say steal. She says what is hers. Remember to take what is yours, but not more.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Remember to turn on the light

I know y'all are thinking - WOW two posts in two days? Or maybe not, but I'm liking having some time to think and write, so I'm happy to share it with you! Yesterday's post was about keeping it real - having that tough conversation with yourself in a negative time to turn that situation around for the better. Today's thoughts are about how to get to that positive and run with it.

One thing that has been a constant for me is that I'm a very independent person who sometimes (often) gets lost in my day to day tasks and forgets to connect with my friends and family. Social media sites give me a quick way to check in and I can text and such asking how things are going, but I mean really CONNECT. Connecting to me is talking with the person about what they and I are passionate about. They might not be the same, but doing so brings you to such a great place. I have a couple of examples of how I chose to start this Monday out - by connecting.

Since I have some extra time, I've been more thoughtful in my day job tasks and initiatives. I was contemplating the best way to do launch a new piece of collateral that we created (it is SUPER cool, so stay tuned for how we launch it) in a timely manner. One thing about my organization and the industry that we are in is that everything is very fast paced - it's necessary for the operations sides of things. While it is important to execute in a timely fashion, I didn't want to sacrifice this great piece of collateral - I didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle of Monday posts. So Sunday, I was thinking about the best way to do this and had a few ideas, but wasn't sure what would be the best way. So what do I do? I call my friend Jill to talk through them. I've worked with her for a long time and see her as being a great thinker and doer - she sees things others don't AND I also wanted to catch up with her on a personal level. That conversation not only helped with one task, but might have offered a great opportunity for her AND me, simply from a phone call. I drove into work feeling great, confident and like I had a good purpose for today.

Halfway through my morning, I texted my friend, Jenna from high school just to chat. She popped into my head and I thought I'd say hello. I ended up talking with her for just under two hours while I was doing my day to day tasks about anything and everything that was going on with our lives, how past events lead to them, our feelings about current events, travel, etc. I haven't spoken with her in person for a while now and she gave me even more of a purpose for my day than I had talking with Jill. I also remembered that I DO have a great friend sitting in a different state that I can lean on when I need it and I think Jenna realized that I can be that person for her too. Even though we are far apart, we still can be supportive through happy and difficult times and events.

I named this post after one of my FAVORITE Harry Potter quotes by Albus Dumbledore (even though Severus Snape is the best character of all time). Remembering to turn on the light is huge. I'm not even in a "darkest of time" scenario, but I was forgetting to turn on the light. I was struggling to find purpose and direction, but didn't remember that I can turn on the smallest of lights that can help me find my way. For me, the way to turn on that light is to connect. To actually sit down and give time to the people who care about me and who I care about - with no other purpose than to say hello and see what's up. When you're stuck in a situation, find the switch, and turn on the light.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Keepin it Real

Hey y'all! It's been a LONG time since my last post. Honestly, life has gotten busy and I haven't had as much time to think through things - I'm not going to post for posts sake. One of the things that I've been grappling with lately is what I really want to do with my life. Everyone makes it sound so simple - have a family, a career, travel the world, etc. That isn't really what I'm talking about, though those are great goals to aspire to - I'm talking about what do you want to do day to day to be happy and fulfilled. THAT is a much harder question. The thing that makes it so hard is that you THINK certain things will make you happy and they do, but the over time, it becomes another chore in life.

Personally, I struggle with the whole closure thing. I'm not good at knowing that something good has run its course and having the courage to walk away. I'm always trying so hard to hold onto every little positive thing or success that sometimes I hold on too tightly and end up stressing myself out. I also loathe the phrase "Are you stressed? when my entire life is stress. It might not be stress about my survival, more like, self imposed stress. I'm trying to do a good job with everything I do and make sure I can balance my many commitments. I'm digressing, but I wanted to make that point - life is stress for me.

Back to my earlier point, how do you know when to walk away from something and try something new? What would that something new be? Well, as I said, I'm not the best at identifying that. Typically, something happens that forces me into a new position. I'll admit, the biggest obstacle is overcoming my own fear. Even if things are going badly, I think about that it could be worse and the unknown is worse. That isn't necessarily true, but that's my line of thought. People always say the grass is greener on the other side (until you get to the other side and then it's not as nice as you think it is).

I also struggle with knowing if I'm giving up or not. I'd describe myself as persistent and resilient and I don't want to feel like a quitter. I always am trying to get better and trying to do more, but at what point is that futile? I think that it takes a good look in the mirror and some honest questions - is this helping me or the other party anymore? Is this great job, relationship, hobby, etc. what it should be? If not, is it worth my energy to repair it, or do I need a break or to move on?

Now, I've admitted I'm not good at this, but one thing I know is that every time I've lost a job or relationship that is stressing me out, I've felt like a huge weight is lifted. I'm upset, sure, but I feel like I'm breathing air rather than drowning in water. Maybe placing yourself on the "greener" side theoretically would help, maybe jumping headfirst in would help.

By doing the above, you can start to get real with yourself. What do you want out of life? What do you want to contribute? What do you hope to see, do, experience? I'm a NOT a planner as it limits me, personally, but a rough understanding of yourself is necessary to be open to opportunities or experiences that will change your life. Keep it real with yourself and your life.

Monday, September 21, 2015


I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY! That was my first drama lesson in high school. I remember going into the class being excited to learn something new, but it was a little out of my element. I had danced and am a vocal person, but I always portrayed myself, rather than others. Everyone in my class was SO much better than me at this stuff and I kind of wanted to sit back and watch. Learn, observe and then try. Well, Mr. Ramseur had other ideas. We were to each go on stage and say that phrase loudly. Ok – I am a LOUD person, but I was terrified to do this! It was just a couple of words in front of people I knew, but I kept thinking, what if I do it wrong, what if I’m not loud enough, I have this reputation of being vocal I want to uphold, I dance, I should be able to do this…..all of those thoughts swirling in my head. I got up on stage and did it. It wasn’t perfect, I was told to be louder and separate the words, but I did and strangely, that one drama lesson comes up in my mind over and over again throughout life.

I DO have something to say – lots to say. Now, I’m not trying to say I should vocalize every thought, but putting them together to say SOMETHING is necessary. Staying silent because you aren’t sure if it is perfect or if you will say it right isn’t ok. You have to try, fail, adjust to say your something. There isn’t a perfect time to say it – you sometimes just have to go with it. I think many of us have something to say and we don’t because of the above reasons and more.
What sparked me writing this entry is that I read someone’s Facebook status today that was so well put together and a sad social commentary on how she sees the world treating her and her family based upon their ethnicity and religion. It had to have been scary to put that out there. You never know who of your “friends” will disregard your words and thoughts and make it a big joke. You never know if you are inadvertently offending someone or if someone will think less of you based on what you put out there. I would hope that as friends that you both would care enough to understand the issue at hand and be EMPATHETIC of others’ situations, even if you disagree.

That’s my something to say. I think that we lack empathy as a whole. If something doesn’t affect you directly, you are less likely to empathize with those that do. And then do something to change their situation, no matter how small. Take the step back and really SEE people. So – I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY and today it’s a challenge to see the world in a different way and understand other perspectives. Empathize with plights and help celebrate successes. And have something to say. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ain’t No Follow Back Girl

I recently had to go through and reduce the number of handles that I follow on Twitter as I hit my 2,000 limit since I have less than 2,000 followers (barely). As I was going through and unfollowing those that don’t follow me back, I was REALLY upset to find that most of these were large brands that I really LOVE! These brands I have interacted with at least once, mostly positively. I felt like I didn’t matter to them – that my tweet that their product made my day or that I loved something that they did was falling on deaf ears. That may not be the case, but that is how I felt.

Now, I work for a large brand’s social media team and we do have some guidelines surrounding following fans, but there aren’t many. Most of the time, I’ve seen following happening when we want to engage via DM (direct message). We also utilize it with positive interactions to further our conversation and send little gifts. It would make my DAY if brands I loved or brands that helped me through a tough situation would follow me back. They might not read every tweet I send out, but it would make me feel as if they are listening and that I’m more than just a number on a chart to them. 
I got to thinking as to why this wasn’t a standard practice. Maybe there was some big reason I was missing for following people back. Would they get crazy DMs? Would following result in people thinking you agree with a specific user’s views? Or is it pure laziness – do we only react to tweets and not think about an ongoing relationship with a fan?

I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions, but I think they are worth asking. What are the potential drawbacks to following fans and even employees? What are the potential benefits? Why do we not do this already? I’d love to hear any thoughts around it! My stance is this – engagement isn’t a one-time thing. We want to grow relationships as much as we can online between brands and fans. (Goes along with being genuine and authentic). But when I notice that none of my favorite brands follow me when I interact with them on the regular, it makes me feel like those interactions are fake, disingenuous and inauthentic. That is exactly NOT how I would want a fan of my brand to feel. So give the follow back to your fans – it goes a long way! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Story

I was asked to write a biography for a dance team that I recently auditioned for (and was unfortunately, not selected). I had no idea what to write! I felt like some things they wouldn't care to hear or it wouldn't come across as professional. It might not have, but after writing it and reading it, I was so PROUD. I didn't realize how far I had actually come, how many failures I've had to endure just to get to the few really amazing successes. I think we all have gone through these types of ups and downs, but putting it on paper made a huge difference. It also showed me just how many people have touched my life in so many positive ways!
Here is my dance story -

I have danced since the age of 3. I studied many forms throughout the years and being open to learning new styles and genres has afforded me many opportunities that I could never have predicted. I split my childhood between Maryland and Georgia. While in Maryland, I joined a company called Rhythm N Shoes and was on one of the first competitive pee-wee/mini groups in the state. We competed all over the Northeast. Due to the unique nature of my team, we were asked to audition to be a part of a Prudential Life Insurance Commercial. The producers and director picked 5 girls and I was chosen! That was one of my first experiences dancing as a job and I loved every minute of filming.

Moving to Georgia at age 8 was one of the biggest transitions I’ve ever undergone. Not only was it a completely different culture than in Maryland (and the fact that I had to make all new friends), the dance scene was very different. The big thing at the time there was clogging. I joined 2 studios in the area to get a feel for the differences – one competed and one did not. The studio that competed required that all dancers take clogging classes in addition to ballet, tap and jazz. I had never heard of such a thing, but was eager to try. Clogging became one of my most favorite forms of dance after that! I went on to compete nationally and take home many championships with my team. We also got very unique opportunities to perform all over the country and abroad. I was part of a group that did a mini-tour through the south and we performed at the Grand Old Opry, Sea World in Florida and on a Disney Cruise (the ship itself and at one of the islands in the Caribbean). You can still catch me doing it in the grocery store today!

 In addition to the competition scene, I still trained and the non-competitive studio. The owner was Royal Academy trained in ballet and she had a stellar staff that included a
former Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader. Once I got to high school, I tried out for my cheer team but did not make it and was really discouraged. I consulted with the former professional cheerleader to see how I could improve and she offered me a spot on the Junior Atlanta Falcons Cheerleading team. I was able to perform during pre-game and halftime shows at the Georgia Dome and got my first look into the world of professional cheer and dance for sports teams. I was hooked. Through that organization, I was able to audition for the NBA All Stargame dancers when the game came through Atlanta and was selected! I was assigned as a back-up dancer for the halftime performance with Mariah Carey - which is probably the most surreal experience I’ve ever had (I'm in the back right wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey). I knew that I wanted to do this long term. In addition to that, I participated in many ballet productions with this studio including The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music and Scrooge the Musical. Fun fact – I nearly almost always played a boy in these productions because I loved to jump and turn.

After high school, I decided to attend UT Dallas on an academic scholarship for two reasons. The first was that the university was a great fit for me from an academic and student life standpoint - lots of research, clubs and organizations available. The other was that I wanted to experience the dance scene in Dallas, which was and is very different than in Atlanta. I did not make the dance team at UTD, which was one of the primary reasons I selected the school, so I tried out for cheerleading thinking that I probably would not make it, just like high school. However, to my surprise, I was selected and cheered all four years for the Comets. I also accidentally got a minor in dance in addition to my degree in Psychology. Accidentally, because I was not actively pursuing it – I just took so many classes and participated in the UTD Dance Ensemble that my advisor told me to declare it as I had the hours already. I also took my first modern/contemporary class at UTD, which led to many performances with other universities in the area as well as great companies like Battleworks. UTD also gave me the great experience of being in a sorority – Kappa Alpha Theta. I could write a novel on how that organization has shaped my life and helped me, but I won’t here. I can say that they lead me to never give up on my dreams, kept me dreaming big, introduced me to my favorite philanthropic cause that I still support today and helped me to evolve and grow in almost every aspect of my life. Thorough that organization, I was awarded academic, philanthropy and spirit awards. I also represented Theta as Ms. Greek at UTD. I still am an active alumnae for Theta and am a volunteer advisor for recruitment for my chapter – I want to give back some of what I have been given.

After my undergrad years, dance had to take a backseat to my graduate degree. While pursuing my masters, I did teach dance at a recreation center and was the sole dance person on staff. I taught ages 3-15 in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and cheer. That was my outlet amongst the difficulties of graduate school. I loved my studies and work within the field today (Industrial Organizational Psychology), but it really took all of my time and attention to be able to perform well and grasp the information. It wasn’t just about classes – I had to conduct research and present findings on national levels. My research, symposiums and posters, were accepted at UT Arlington’s ResearchFair, Industrial Organizational/Organizational Development conference and the Society of Industrial Organizational Psychologists conferences. I can talk all day about selection, statistics and human resources if you ask me! I love that my job helps people find the best fit for them for a job and for an organization. I don’t take any selection decisions lightly as it affects people’s lives and well beings. In addition to this background, I got heavily into social media and digital marketing through my first job as a research consultant. I love being able to help people more efficiently and impact them in positive ways. I still brought dance into the workplace by coordinating flash mobs and routines for conferences or events like Taco Bell’s 50th anniversary. I love bringing that component of myself to my coworkers and associates – it makes people happy.

Once I became financially stable following graduate school, I decided to re-try my dream of dancing on a sports team in Dallas. I have to be honest – this city intimidated me. Everyone was so put-together, had amazing training and knew so much that I did not. In addition, I was coming into the game late at 25 years old when many of these talented women enter the game at 18. I had to catch up and fast. I had to learn the styles in Dallas and lose the weight I put on through school. I had to learn nutrition which is no easy task later in life. I lost a total of 26 pounds and made the Texas TornadoSiren Dancers in 2012 and loved every minute of being on that team. I had never really experienced hockey up close and now I follow it and am a huge fan! The following year, I danced with the Texas Revolution Dancers and loved that I got yet another experience with a different team and sport. Through those experiences, I’ve met so many people, made life-long friendships with girls on my teams or girls I met in classes and learned so many things that I don’t want to stop dancing, if I can help it.

 I’ll leave you with one of the best quotes that was shared with me, especially during times of failure as I’ve had my share of them – Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined – Thoreau. While I love that quote, I want to the live the life I cannot imagine – sometimes you just can’t imagine the best and most beautiful experiences in life!