‘Preparation Breeds Confidence.’ Sway In The Morning Co-Host Tracy G. Has The Best Advice On Staying In Your LaneRadio personality Tracy G. has all of the wisdom that comes from being in your 30s, despite not looking a day over 18. Having survived her 20s initially pursuing a career in fashion, then journalism, Tracy is an accomplished writer having penned articles for Marie Claire, Billboard, Rolling Stone and Complex (to name a few). She also had a stint as an editor for VIBE prior to finally finding her niche in radio. Tracy has gems for days when it comes to being confident in who you are and what you bring to the table.
The “Sway In The Morning” co-host recently shared her career wisdom with an intimate group of women who attended a brunch in her honor produced by event planning firm, United We Function. During a Mexican inspired feast in Austin, Texas, Tracy got candid about some of the most embarrassing and humbling moments in her career.
As the creator of the popular “audio vision board” podcasts through her personal brand “She’s Beauty And The Beast”, Tracy also touches on making the conscious decision to speak positive and affirming thoughts into her life regardless of her circumstances.
In an oversaturated entertainment industry with many people vying for similar audiences with their brands, Tracy also shares a refreshingly dope perspective on how to stay in your lane and navigate competition amongst your peers. Check out excerpts from the conversation below.
Zon D’Amour: When you’re just starting out in your career, any mistakes you make on the job or with your brand can seem detrimental. Can you share an instance that made you feel like it was the end of the world and what you did to bounce back?
Tracy G: We had Sean “P.Diddy” Combs on “Sway In The Morning” as a guest when it was his birthday. So think about the amount of energy that we were positioning in the room, it’s all celebratory, spirits are high and I had a question in mind from like two days before hand that I was super glued to. I really wanted to humanize Puff because we very rarely hear about those high profile characters having any of their flaws on display. So I very simply wanted to know what it was that he wasn’t good at. Because we’ve seen his hands in so many circles, it seems like everything he does turns to gold. But what happened to me is…when it comes to interviewing, yes it’s great to be prepared and have some form of an agenda but because you really want it to be a conversation, you have to be fluid with it. You can’t be rigid with it and I was rigid as fuck.
Everyone was asking happy questions because of the fact that it was his birthday but when I asked my question, he gave me the “Making The Band” stare like my name was Aubrey (O’Day, former member of Danity Kane) Diddy was like, ‘Yo, yo baby girl, it’s my birthday, I don’t want to talk about what I’m not good at.’
That big chunky moment of silence… I did a podcast episode on “She’s Beauty & The Beast” where I talked about this, I have all of the sound effects so that you can hear the moment and experience it as much as I did. Some people told me it’s not that bad…but it was BAD. Right after that, I ran somewhere and I needed a good hot cry for like three minutes. I had never interviewed Diddy before and he was one of the people in New York that if you meet him, you want to have the best impression ever handed on a silver platter and I handed it on a rusty ass can (Laughs). I felt it inside.
The key is to immediately extract the lessons because, in my opinion, life is easier if you believe in God.
…Having a strong faith in God and knowing that a higher power is always working for my benefit means that God’s fingerprints are on every experience, even if it’s buried like gold, I can just dig it up.
ZD: A major part of your brand includes your “audio vision board” podcast where you’re simply yet powerfully reciting positive affirmations to empower your listeners. How do you balance having a happy, uplifting brand during the times where you’re having a bad day?
TG: If anyone follows my brand, I’m very transparent. On my podcast, I have a couple episodes where I’m very raw and speak about the moments where I’ve felt like I’m closer to the pavement than I am to the sky and I’m open about every step along the way the more that I fall in love with myself. At the end of the day, it’s about dating myself and being honest.
But I wouldn’t put out something on front street if I feel like my peace is contingent upon the other person’s opinion, if that’s the case, then I’m not ready, I’m actually just over sharing because I’m hoping that this person is going to give me a response that’ll make me feel good but that’s not always the case. They could be like ‘WTF (what the fuck), what were you doing Tracy?” If I was really depending on them to provide me with this surge of comfort that they didn’t give me, I would crumble. At the end of the day, I have to be okay with any large or small falls that I’ve had.
Preparation breeds confidence
As far as being positive, I’ve been depressed before and I’ve been on the brink of suicide but it doesn’t feel good to continuously feed myself negative statements or negative thoughts. If you give yourself positivity at the same level you give yourself negativity no progress happens. You have to be more positive. If I ate too much at brunch, I can’t just do my regular work out to burn off my brunch, I have to do more to cancel it out. So I’m always trying to be around a tribe that’s keeping me fueled.
If I can’t be the one to have my chin towards the clouds then what am I listening to? I have to take inventory of my space: what is it out there that’s trying to grab a piece of my consciousness and work it with whatever agenda it has? What music am I listen to? What podcasts? How can I recreate this energy to my benefit? There’s energy in every emotion…You know we’re having this popping moment with adult coloring books? It’s a never-ending terrain when you lock something in your brain. Being able to get it out of our brain really works.
ZD: As a woman, especially a woman of color, working in a male dominated industry can seem intimidating. If you receive an opportunity to have a seat at the table whether that’s in the form of an internship, job or you’re just taking a meeting in a room full of heavy hitters, how do you move in these circles and take advantage of these opportunities with confidence?
TG: Preparation breeds confidence. If you’re not prepared and lets say serendipity brought you to a room and you’ve never written a magazine article before [for example] but it’s your dream, you’re in a position to ask a lot of questions not to make a lot of statements. That doesn’t mean you’re coming from the role of the weak, it just means you’re being strategic and understanding that life is always a flip flop of either being a student or being a teacher.
With social media and everyone having a set of followers, a lot of young people feel entitled in many ways. [Social media] makes you feel like an expert in every aspect of your life but I’ll tell you this, if you want to learn from someone but you’re not humble you’re not going to become my mentee if you’re treating the situation as if we’re best friends or on the same level and obviously we can get to that point but for a mentee, you need to show that you’re willing to be vulnerable so I can work with you otherwise you’re a peer and that’s a completely different relationship.
Some people are just meant to be your friend, not your partner in progress
ZD: Speaking of friendships in the entertainment industry, people love to post quotes and social media statuses that say their only competition is themselves but it’s next to impossible not to notice other people winning. How can you maintain confidence with wherever you are in your career when you’re always coming across people on social media who seem as if they’re further along?
TG: [Friendly competition] gives me fuel…one of my friends, Lauren Ash is the Founder of “Black Girl In Om” (a self-care, self-love community for women of color) I’m like, ‘damn, Lauren’s killin it!’ It gives me a drive but it’s not necessarily about beating Lauren but there’s a little bit of a discomfort that reminds me to make sure I’m on my shit because Lauren was on her shit and look what happened.
A podcast I love is called, “The Art Of Charm”, it’s in my Top 3 favorite podcast. Jordan Harbinger who’s the host was interviewing Jeremy Anderberg, editor of another brand called, “The Art Of Manliness” and I thought it was so interesting because they both have similar names and similar concepts centering around personal development for men but women can also listen to it and gain so many gems. I loved it because Jordan started off acknowledging their similarities and it was so easy for him to speak to his “competition” But if it were a woman she’d be like, ‘damn, how is she gonna have the same brand as me? Now I have to do something completely different.’ If there were twins in the room, their fingerprints are different; there will always be something that’s different if you’re being true to yourself.
If you’ve ever had McDonalds or Burger King, they’re essentially the same thing but you know the differences and the nuances: the burgers and the fries are different. When I was younger, I would go to Six Flags in New Jersey, my sister and I would go to McDonald’s for the fries and Burger King for the burger.
You take what works because you recognize the differences. There’s enough room for everyone.
I believe even though some things may look great on the surface, you don’t want the fine print that comes with it. I’d prefer to jump into Kelly Rowland’s body than Beyonce’s, in terms of walking in their shoes. Because I couldn’t deal with all of the shit that inevitably comes with being Beyonce but we just see the good side [of her life] and we want more. We look at the person who has the most stuff, but you don’t know about the maintenance. You want the big beautiful house but theres an even bigger bill that comes with it.
You can look at someone and say this is excellent but this really wouldn’t have worked with my personality or my lifestyle. Some people love being in front of the camera all of the time and I love it 50% of the time. So you can’t just want the rewards and not the work.
ZD: As you continue to rise to new levels professionally, how do you discern who has access to you and how do you maintain your relationships with friends that seem to lack your same drive and ambition?
TG: When I was younger and would look at people who didn’t want to do more, I assumed that they were lazy or lacking ambition but just because you don’t want to be in the entertainment industry or you don’t want to be a millionaire doesn’t mean shit. Some people could be at peace with where they are and also move at a different pace.
That’s why I like traveling because when I come to Austin, the pace is slower but people are still happy versus New York if shit isn’t moving fast people don’t feel like doing anything. So it’s really about, what does this person want? If you know their goals and they’re saying out loud they want to do “X” but the fact is actually opposite, then you can go ahead and make a judgment call. But if someone is at peace with where they’re at and you’re doing all this shit and you’re stressed out, who really has the better life?[bctt tweet=”Even though some things may look great on the surface, you don’t want the fine print that comes with it.” username=”itstracyg”]
For example, if you knew someone making $50K, which is amazing, I would take that, but you have aspirations of making $100 million and you’re working nonstop to have $100 million but this person is chilling and you’re like ‘don’t you want more?’ They’re at peace, they could be perfectly happy. Just because they don’t want to strive for more, they still have a purpose.
Sometimes you don’t know their entire story. I listen to people to find out their goals and assess if their actions are in alignment. But if you don’t know their true goals and they can spend their Saturdays at peace binge watching TV, that’s amazing as well. You may call certain friends specifically when you want to go out and have a good time. Some people are just meant to be your friend, not your partner in progress.
#StoryTime: This week was my birthday (#March15) but instead of celebrating I was in New Orleans at the hospital by my grandpa's side as his health deteriorated following a series of seizures & strokes. Imagine the stress of doctors saying every other day that he isn't going to make it but somehow he continues to prevail (still in critical condition) It's been very somber & stressful at home, I desperately needed a break so I drove EIGHT hours from #NOLA to #Austin to support my best friend's @WaverlyMColeman intimate #SXSW brunch with Sway In The Morning Co-Host @itstracyg I needed to laugh, cry, get clarity and confirmation on some moves that I'm making and this afternoon exceeded my expectations. I'm so grateful to have friendships with so many phenomenal women (I tagged a couple) where even in my darkest hour a call, text or quality time with them re-centers me and reminds me not to give up on myself and my goals. I don't take y'all for granted, #ThankYou! Love -D'Amour ?