First things first, lets define “happiness”…
I titled my post the way I did to hopefully inspire those innately innovative people who stifle their creativity for job stability. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. So my goal isn’t to glorify working for yourself, the goal is for you to assess your present situation: Are you living the life of your dreams or are you making excuses for why you don’t have the time, energy or resources to execute upon your God given talents and ideas? I have a friend who’s an accountant but wishes she could be a choreographer. An uncle that’s a teacher but his passion is to be a children’s author, an aunt that’s a legal secretary who once aspired to be an actress. All dreams deferred and they’re not alone because many people would never give up their lifestyle to be uncomfortable for a season to pursue the career that would make them happy and fulfilled. Instead “They” (DJ Khaled voice) complain about their jobs, their coworkers, their commute, plus their past failures and setbacks which equals being a stagnant victim of your circumstances.
Now if you have children, I understand that you have different financial responsibilities. However, when a parent doesn’t accomplish their dreams, one of two things happen. The parent pushes their child to no avail because they want to live vicariously through them. Or they stifle their child’s creativity with doubt, fears, assumptions etc. So you also owe it to the little people that you’re raising to be the best version of yourself because it affects the way you interact with your children. *Steps off my Iyanla Vanzant soapbox.*
In previous positions, when I hit a ceiling financially and/or there wasn’t any room for growth, I’ve stayed because I needed the money and in exchange for my happiness I was frustrated, stressed out, exhausted, antisocial etc. all because my time was spent trying to make ends meet. That’s not for the glory of the Lord! So I resigned.
The Power Of “I Am…”Stop “aspiring” to do something you’re fully capable of doing. Click To Tweet
Four years ago, I moved to L.A. to direct music videos and commercials. Even though I’ve had my magazine since college, I had no idea that I would make a career in a competitive market like Los Angeles, as an entertainment journalist. So of course many of my colleagues know me as a journalist, which will forever be one of the ways in which I tell compelling stories, but it’s not the only way.
When I knew that I was coming to the end of my tenure at my previous job, which was also the end of 2016, I didn’t want to let another year go by without directing something. So I put all of my energy into executing the vision for my first video, “Old Wayz” by Long Beach rapper, Lavell Streets. With my freelance coins, I had absolutely no excess income or savings to dip into to produce a wedding theme video. But I humbly asked about ten friends if I could borrow money. From $50 to $250, God bless my friends that believed in my vision.
Who Have You Decided That You Wanted To Be?
If who you were in your previous position isn’t who you want to be in your next chapter, it’s time to rebrand yourself. My previous business cards were from my job so in the midst of putting the finishing touches on my music video, another immediate thing on my “to do” list was to design some new business cards and I loved the customization options that Zazzle had to offer.Think About How You Want To Be Announced When You Walk Into A Room. Click To Tweet
Admittedly there was trepidation like, ‘who do I think I am to have “Director” on my business card?’ Even though I DID just direct a music video, did I need to wait before I gave myself that title? Absolutely not because as soon as I put action behind my aspiration, I became a director.
Post & Go: It’s Okay To Take A Break From Social Media
Now this may seem contradictory because on one hand, you should definitely be highly visible during your transitional season because it will most likely lead to your next opportunity. But at the same time when you’ve just left your job, the beginning can seem like the bottom. So I’ve had to limit the time I spend stalking others perceived wins. I use Freedom app for my phone and the Self Control app for my computer when I’m writing posts, sending a series of emails, researching prospective event sponsors or references for my next video. These app block you from accessing social media for up to a day so you can focus on whatever you’re working on!
The steps to manifestation are similar to the stages of production. Pre-production may look like sticky notes, excel sheets, your new office being a coffee house where you’re brainstorming ideas and putting together the team to execute your vision…Production may look like shooting for hours, it’s hot or maybe it’s cold, you’re hungry but you aint got no job so you gotta pretend that gum you’re chewing is a cheddar bay biscuit….Post Production includes editing photos and/or videos for HOURS oftentimes days, coming up the perfect captions, hashtags and the social media roll out and finally “it’s” ready to be revealed! Wipes brow sheesh I’m exhausted from typing that out! ALL that work for a double tap! While there any many people making SIX FIGURES from social media, whatever you’re doing shouldn’t all be for the gram. It should be for the love of the process of collaborating and building something that you’re proud of. Two of my passion projects which I’ll be working on for the remainder of the year include revitalizing my lifestyle site to be more melaninated and doing some national work around my love for natural hair.
Invest In Your New Self
You might have received your last check from your job (raises hand) and you’re tempted to just pay all of your bills and stock up on top ramen…but your first priority should be to make sure that you stay ready for your next opportunity. With your new found freedom, your website, photos, social media, business cards and whatever other tools you use to market yourself need to be up to par.
Part of my reason for not jumping into another full time job immediately (continuing to freelance or contract work is my preference) is many digital media positions require way more than just a resume and a cover letter. They need you to have a website and portfolio plus they want to know your social media handles. So I’m taking the time to refine my current skill sets. YouTube University and Skillshare should be your best friend in your season of transition. There are so many things you can learn online for free. One of my goals is to strengthen my photo and video editing by teaching myself Premiere and Photoshop.
I’ve also had some ideas for a product line that I’m planning to demo in the next month but it’s going to be far more strategic. Since I sew my own clutches, my friends used to hype me up about selling my bags and I spent my hard earned freelance coins in making the mistake of mass producing so many bags and pillows and I didn’t make a return on my investment. From that experience I learned the importance of testing the waters with your idea, especially if your coins are limited and particularly if it’s apparel because you may love cheetah print fabric but it may not translate into sales. Moreover, I’m still not afraid to invest in my new idea. What I love about Zazzle is that I can have a small quantity of custom items of printed when some companies only have bulk order options. So I can literally print one custom canvas bag, a mug and possibly a t-shirt and based on the feedback, I can increase the quantity.
Last month when my grandfather died, I was devastated as we were close but seeing him in his hospital bed as well as at his funeral inspired me to work harder. My mind went to thinking, if God forbid I were to die at a young age, my obituary wouldn’t reflect that I had lived my life to the fullest. There are so many ideas in my head of videos I want to direct, documentaries I want to produce, places I want to travel and people I want to work with. Tomorrow isn’t promised so why am I wasting my time believing I’m tied to a job that’s not fulfilling? I know so many people that have only tapped into a ¼ of who they are and who they could be because they’re scared to truly bet on themselves.
Regardless of how scary and/or unprepared you may feel, what’s the point of living an unfulfilled life all for the sake of just getting by? So many people are making just enough money to pay their bills, with no savings, no retirement, no sense of purpose; So what exactly do you have to lose? I’m not ignoring my bills or my debt in this season but I also believe in the humbling sacrifices that I’ve recently made. My resignation was me declaring that I am my safety net because I possess the tools, talent, resources and now the time to create a life that I don’t need a vacation from. I’d rather die pursuing my passions than just exist in the purgatory of mediocrity and complacency. Click To Tweet
Let me know some of the steps you’re taking to live your best life?
3 years ago when my hair fell out (From a PROFESSIONAL Stylist dyeing it at a salon…) I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Little did I know that my journey of growing out my hair would become a major part of my brand. If you would have told me a couple years ago that my business cards would have my face on it I would have said '#Nah that's for actors & models'. But when this blonde puff & I walk into a room, I'm grateful for the reaffirming comments & people's curiosity about what I do. As a journalist (and now a director😊) I hope to empower other women that want to work in broadcast journalism that they're natural hair is acceptable. You are enough as you are. Thank you @Zazzle for printing these gorgeous cards which were a major step outside of my comfort zone. If you're in the midst of rebranding I would definitely suggest getting custom products from #Zazzle & you can use my promo code all month "DAMOURZAZZLE" Have y'all really started working on your #NewYearNewMe resolutions? If so what does that look like?! Let's talk! #ZazzleMade
I worked with Zazzle on this post but the opinions in this piece are solely my own.
Last modified: Jun 5, 2017