All Articles Tagged "dreams"
As the impending new season of American Idol looms forward we are usually introduced to a barrage of people auditioning who are not good singers. You might be one of those people who only watch the bad auditions because: ”You can’t laugh at good people.” So you watch, you laugh and you actively wonder, “Do these people not hear themselves? Do they really think they sound good right now?!” Then, when they get rejected some people honestly seem surprised; then you feel sorry for them, but only for a short time because the producers are bringing a new lamb to be emotionally slaughtered on national television.
As much as it can be entertaining, to be honest, it sort of sets a small amount of fear in me. I sit back and wonder, what about me? There are so many things that I have planned for my life and I wonder, am I ambitious, or just delusional?
Sometimes, people have these passion visions, which is just tunnel vision but fancier. Some people can pinpoint what they want to do in life and then obsess over it. Now, this can be okay if you’re actively working toward it, strengthening your talent in it, and you’re improving. But it’s a bad thing when you… let’s say want to be an Olympic diver, but you’ve never been beyond the kiddie pool.
I’ve been there a number of times, like my convoluted plan to participate in a triathlon when my fear of drowning won’t let me get past 5 feet deep water. Until I get over this fear, and start back swimming, I can’t participate in the triathlon. I mean, that’s just the truth. Success doesn’t usually come in great leaps and bounds, no matter how ambitious we are.
But first, let’s address a few things. Now, no matter how crazy sounding some of those people on “American Idol” are; when they audition, they should also be applauded for stepping out on a limb and trying it. So many times we stop ourselves from progressing because of fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of hard work, or even fear of success. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know, so allow your ambition to take that extra step toward where you want to go in life.
Next, let’s address the possibility of failure. Anytime you try to follow a passion you’re ultimately going to meet that scary being called failure. It’s a part of the game. But, true success seems to come to people who are persistent. Don’t allow your delusion to make you think that just because one failure came that just putting yourself out there once is enough to help you reach your dreams. Celeb success stories are examples of people who were persistent in following their passions. People who made adjustments where things needed to be fixed and talents needed to be honed.
Finally, let’s discuss adjusting. We as humans are meant to adapt. So let’s say you try to succeed in something, you have that passion vision and you’re going hardcore toward your dream; and then before you know it, the road to that dream is cut off. Take Jillian Michaels for example. She started out a personal trainer and then decided to follow her dream of being a Hollywood agent. She was going good for a few years and then got fired. Now being an agent was something that she felt was a big dream of hers and she spent years pursuing it and making it a career. But even though she hit that roadblock, she went back to personal training and the connections that she made as an agent helped her to get celebrity clients, and opened a door for her to be one of the trainers on “The Biggest Loser.”
A “no” doesn’t have to equate the end of success. Just because you hit a stop with what you were originally pursuing doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful in another arena. Keep your heart open to other avenues that you might be successful in. You want to be a rapper, but your YouTube videos are getting bad comments, maybe you’d be better at music producing? You want to be a model, but you’re not getting booked, maybe your success lies in photography? Success isn’t a one way street, keep your ambitions for a better life, but try to avoid the delusional road blocks.
But hey, what do I know? Look at William Hung…
Kendra Koger is ambitious but trying not to be delusional as well. Discuss the difference with her on her twitter @kkoger.
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It started as a hobby, something I snuck away to do every now and then, a little something special just for me. This weekend, my hobby saw me hunkered down into what I’ve dubbed “my writing nook”, the little corner in my apartment in which I spend hours tapping into a computer keyboard, reading the day’s news, and getting a feel for what the world is talking about. Writing, you see, is my side hustle. What I do for pleasure, I also now do for pay. What started as the occasional blog post and short story for friends only is now a second prong in my career, complete with working primarily on nights and weekends, promoting my pieces on social media networks, and the keeping up with the go-go-go of being about my own business. That go-go-go is no different than the grind of a weekday nine-to-five and, lucky for me, both go hand-in-hand with building the skill set I hope will serve me through the trajectory of my career.
I once worked with a girl named Kelly who went as hard in her side hustle as she did in our office. Graphic design was her passion, she said, and the idea that she could turn it into profit (she provided freelance services for many well-known corporations) and add the experience as a bullet point on her resume provided a second wind of motivation. Kelly’s side hustle was a boon for her skill set, and it eventually landed her a full-time gig that more closely resembled her dream than the corporate world did.
It seems that more and more twenty-somethings comprise a Generation-Y workforce that keeps two sets of business cards, one printed for us by our employers and ones we have designed ourselves for the work we do on our own time.
As writer Larissa Faw noted in Forbes Magazine:
Today’s young professionals…aren’t easily categorized. I still can’t figure out what to prioritize on my LinkedIn profile. I am a journalist, marketing consultant, and co-partner for an internet company. All are equally important to my identity.
Perhaps that explains the little twinge I get when someone asks me what I do; I’m always compelled to make sure a person knows all that my career encompasses beyond my weekday title. Faw goes on to indicate that, “This generation of millennial does not identify with one company or career…[T]heir priorities are their own skill set.”
Side hustles are not just the stuff of dream chasing, but also indicators of the economy’s brunt on recent graduates and those looking for full-time work. For many, the extra gig is what makes the student loan payment every month.
Scan your social media profiles and you’re likely to find a friend or follower who is a personal trainer and a life coach and a blogger and a consultant and a web designer and a karaoke DJ and a photographer. Oh, and they’re working on their first novel. Last month, I wrote about being busy for busy’s sake and not being as diligent about having a full, well-rounded life as we are about creating solid careers. The side hustle is not the antithesis of that. It is, instead, a way of allocating our working hours to serve both our employers and our personal passions. It’s also not for a lack of focus. Millennials, it seems, are okay with clocking 40 hours a week at their full-time job and an additional 10-20 hours a week on a job that pays a few bills and brings them closer to their personal goals.
The concept of working for the same company from college graduation until retirement belong to the days of old, it seems. Perhaps the generational boom in professional versatility is due to Generation Y’s unprecedented access to resources that were once only available to corporations. Millennials are the first group to grow up connected, with Internet-capable computers in their classrooms and music available with the click of a mouse. Couple our seemingly in-built affinity for technology with social media, and we can build a worldwide sphere of influence without spending a dime on a marketing campaign.
The same graphic design programs once only affordable to big businesses with big budgets are now accessible to Kelly who can produce professional quality work from home. The aspiring film maker can now film and edit movies on his own and do it inexpensively (and preview the finished product on YouTube). For young professionals, the barriers to entry that once existed are all but extinct. Technology has likely triggered a shifting mindset as well. Our phones, our televisions, our music players and our computers have almost always been customizable. Why not our careers, too?
What’s your side hustle? How do you balance it with your full-time job?
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Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down: Why Your Career Aspirations Shouldn’t Take A Backseat To Your Relationship
While soaking in the summer sun and reading news articles on my phone a couple of weeks ago, something caught my eye. It wasn’t about the record breaking heat wave we were going through across the country, or Mitt Romney getting booed at the NAACP for stating he would repeal Obamacare if elected, it was Katie Holmes. Why you ask? Well if you don’t own a TV or care about celebrities, then you probably don’t know that Katie Holmes divorced actor Tom Cruise after five years of marriage. While people are stating different reasons for the split, many have started focusing on her career and how it may be affected after her divorce is final. Affected in a good way that is.
Reports near and far said she would be able to star in bigger budget films, and that the end of her relationship could be a whole new beginning for the star. She’s already nabbed a few new roles in movies coming out this year and next year, and she just seems more of the “It” girl in mainstream media. Now, I don’t follow Holmes’s career, but I do think that it’s strange for people to only become successful after everything else in their life falls apart. The same situation happened with Cruise’s last wife, Nicole Kidman. Post their divorce in 2001, Kidman blew up huge in her acting career, even going on to win an Academy Award for her role in The Hours just a year later. That’s a huge achievement for a woman who had to just put on a smile and wave while her superstar husband soaked up all the fame and notoriety. Women can be successful in their relationships, but also in their careers just as much as men can be if there is enough focus on it.
The idea of the career-orientated woman is something that was almost extinct just a couple of decades ago. In the past, women were often viewed as more domestic and less worried about their careers than men. Many institutions like the University of Michigan and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have put ladies in that very box with studies showing that women have been somewhat ‘forced’ into the role of a maid, having to do all the cleaning, cooking and more in a home. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2006, 84 percent of women spent time managing the home rather than their careers.
Just six years later things are looking up. More women are making big changes in almost everything including business, government, entertainment and sports.
In a study from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), women of color (African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) make up 14.5 percent of the American workforce, and African American women are in the lead with 7.6 percent in the workforce.
Your goals and that gutsy mindset shouldn’t be skewed by your relationship, or the fact that you’re in a relationship. Sometimes we as women take on other goals and responsibilities in a relationship and when it’s over, we feel that we gave up or missed out on so much through too many sacrifices. It’s time to focus on ourselves and not bypass the goals we set for someone else so that their light can shine while ours only dims.
We hear the heartbreaking songs from Adele, and Mary J. about how love has scorned them and how they moved on. Their experiences turn into melodies, melodies into songs, and songs into success. But I digress here. Your career isn’t given a death sentence because you’re in a relationship, and at the same time, your work isn’t your life and your life isn’t work. But the more time you put into the things that you want, the more fulfilled you will feel (and the less resentful). Sadly, there aren’t too many people who feel this way.
In the June issue of The Atlantic, the cover read “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” The article was written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, current international affairs professor at Princeton, and she believes that women can’t be successful and have a stable marriage and regular life. She left her job as the policy director for the State Department in Washington D.C. because trying to maintain her job got in the way of raising her 14-year-old son. Some questions that came to mind were, where was the balance in her relationships? Why wasn’t the spouse or father of her son helping? The article doesn’t answer these questions at all, but it does bring up the continued conversation on success in relationships and ultimately “having it all.” Does that mean that you have the perfect marriage, or perfect children? If so, is it really even possible to “have it all”?
Success is something that not just women, but men want to have. Balance, understanding and support in a relationship can mean all the difference in getting to your goal instead of pushing it back. You shouldn’t have to continuously put your hopes and goals on hold so your significant other can solely reach theirs. Why can’t you both be a success together?
What do you think? Do you believe that it’s impossible to be able to focus on a career in a relationship? Or is it better to be single and work towards your goals?
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She was a thriving young professional whom I’ll call *Shelley. One year, when she was working in the marketing law department of her downtown firm, Shelley was assigned to advise a bright-eyed Ivy League law student during his stint as a summer associate at her company.
“I figured he was one of these smooth brothers who could talk straight and impress people. So we had lunch, and he had this bad sport jacket and a cigarette dangling from his mouth, and I thought: ‘Oh, here you go. Here’s this good-looking, smooth talking guy. I’ve been down this road before.’”
Shelley, a woman who was not one to fall all over a man at an instant, had already formed an impression of her mentee.
“His car had so much rust that there was a rusted hole in the passenger door. You could see the ground when you were driving…It would shake ferociously when it would start up. I thought, ‘This brother is not interested in ever making a dime,’” she said. She also mentioned that “he had no money; he was really broke. He wasn’t ever going to impress me with things. His wardrobe was kind of cruddy.”
When her mentee continually offered to take her on a proper date, Shelley often rebuffed his advances on the basis of professionalism. Not that Shelley was materialistic; she was simply making moves. With student loans to repay upon graduation and an exposure to the working-class life of her parents, she accepted a hefty starting salary at a large firm. She worked hard, but as her brother often noted, the high standards Shelley maintained in her professional life bled into her dating life as well.
When it comes to the dating game, I’ve heard this type of narrative a time or two, sometimes from the mouths of my girlfriends and other times through my own teeth. We were never without a flurry of reasons why Mr. Interested and Mr. Persistent weren’t up to par. “I don’t think my standards are too high,” the conversation goes. “I’m just looking for someone who’s a little more established” or, my personal favorite, “I just want someone who is on my level.”
The problem with this discussion? My girlfriends and I often based our “levels” on things that are fleeting: jobs that could be lost in an instant, titles that could be stripped away, and clothes that were likely purchased on maxed-out credit cards. At one time, those things signified a sense of ambition to us, and because we had earned our way to bright and shiny lives, the men who stepped to us would have to have done the same. How could it have been shallow and unreasonable? After all, we weren’t asking for more than we were able to give.
“People tend to look for status in a mate when they should be looking for potential,” writes Hill Harper in his 2010 book “The Conversation: How Black Men and Women can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships.” Harper notes that without “the window dressing” of flashy cars and cufflinks, men and women are deflated. A disheartening consideration, since without an intrinsic sense of passion and purpose, we allow the sheen of our on-paper lives to make or break us.
Men are not absolved from the search for status either. Just as fleeting as the coins and corner offices are the standards of beauty and hot bodies that men seek when they’re looking for the right woman. The concept of status for men, Harper notes, also involves the notion that some men don’t like to share status with women. A woman “with her own money and some authority can be intimidating to some men,” Harper writes. “If she’s the boss at work, that might very well mean that she’ll expect to be the boss in their relationship.”
Shelley’s mentee seemed to subscribe to Harper’s counterpoint on the subject of status: that a man should be inspired by a woman who can stand on her own two feet. Soon after the summer associate was hired, he and Shelley began trading personal stories in her office after business hours, with him sitting on the edge of her desk as she relaxed into the nook of her office chair. Interestingly enough, she learned that they shared a similar background and that he had a heart for serving the community. While his pursuits were not the most lucrative, he was insistent on seeking his passion and purpose at a grassroots level.
Shelley eventually obliged him in his request to take her to the art museum and to see Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing at the local movie theater. The two became an item. When Shelley took him to meet her family, her brother liked her new suitor, thought he was a nice guy, but likely to be among the men whom his sister would see a couple of times and never again. Eventually, Shelley and her former mentee were married, had two children, and settled into a white picket fence life that would be anything but.
Today, Shelley –whose real name is Michelle Obama— stands by her former mentee, Barack Obama, as he seeks re-election as the President of the United States. What was it that drew her to him in those early years? “He was always special, you know? And not special, like, ‘He’s gonna be important, he’s gonna be president.’ He was special in terms of his honesty, his sincerity, his compassion for other people,” the First Lady told Katie Couric in 2009. She went on to extol a few words of advice for single women:
“Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. Look at how the guy treats his mother and what he says about women. How he acts with children he doesn’t know. And, more important, how does he treat you? When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. You should never feel less than. You should never doubt yourself.”
With this understanding and the benefit of our own hard-fought experiences, my girlfriends and I have learned to shift our focus to the things that count in a man. While success is the result of hard work and there’s no problem with enjoying its spoils, we should place more value on a potential mate’s sense of purpose than on his current position. Is he driven solely by material gain, or does he have a heart for something deeper? His passion could be coupled with an understanding that success doesn’t come in an instant and that he may have to work in the mailroom for a while, earning his way to the top floor by learning his field from the bottom up. It could mean working as a community organizer to get a sense for the individuals who would eventually comprise his constituency. (Even at that first family dinner nearly twenty years before his inauguration, President Obama told Michelle’s brother Craig that he’d set his sights on the White House.) More than “What does he do?” and “Where does he live?” the questions my girlfriends and I ask each other are about how our men make us feel, where their passions lie, and what makes our men special.
How do you gauge passion and purpose in a potential mate?
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“They say” if you have a dream you should chase it by any means necessary. But does that still ring true if you’re a single mother who just received her last paycheck? For Racquel Bailey, that’s exactly what it meant. This 23 year old aspiring actress from New Jersey spent her last paycheck on a billboard placed in Atlanta that she hopes will be noticed by…Tyler Perry.
Yes, we’re all reading it correctly – the girl spent her last dollars trying to become the “next big thing.” ESSENCE caught up with her to discuss this bold move and she explained it by saying that she wanted to find a way to stand out. She, like many of us, knows that casting directors see hundreds of faces on a daily basis and this was the best idea. Racquel said the ad company laughed at first but agreed that it was a great idea. Many others agree but the one person who matters – Tyler Perry – has yet to contact her. She said the last time she checked his office had not commented.
Now on one hand, maybe we should give Racquel a round of applause for trying a different approach and attempting to get Perry’s attention since she loves and respects his work. But on the other hand, let’s get real: you have a child and you spent your last check (the theater company she owns works with Newark Public Schools and since summer is coming, the program will not be running) on the hope that Tyler or someone in his camp will see the billboard. By the way, Racquel hasn’t even seen the billboard so she’ll be scraping up her pennies to take her family to Atlanta this summer to see it.
What do you think? Considering your own responsibilities, how far are you willing to go to chase a dream?
Donna Fountain, 38, had five simple dreams for her life that she carried around with her on a piece of paper everywhere she went: work on her dream job, buy a house by age 45, create housing for gay and lesbian teens, marry the woman of her dreams, and make sure her son, Elijah, graduates from college.
Unfortunately, the single mother won’t ever see her dreams come true. On Christmas morning she was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Brooklyn while heading to work as a home health care aide, leaving behind an 8-year-old son.
Police officers found the list of Fountain’s dreams at the scene of the accident and passed it on to her neighbor.
“She gave everything she had to her son and worked so hard for him,” her friend, Dena Baveghems, says.
“She was all about making her dreams come true. Nothing could have stopped her except this.”
Donna’s brother, Ben Fountain, says investigators are reviewing traffic cameras are confident they can track down the careless driver. Still that won’t bring back his sister who planned to work her early Christmas shift then return home to open presents with her son.
“She talked about saving up to buy his gifts. She was looking forward to being with him on Christmas,” Baveghems says.
“I’m devastated for him. To lose the person who took care of him on Christmas is the worst thing I can imagine.”
Elijah will be taken in by relatives who will try their best to live up to the standards Donna, who her brother calls an “exceptional woman,” set for herself and her son.
“She did it all on her own. She built herself up,” her brother says. “She believed in herself. She had the normal problems any single parent has, but she persevered and fought for her dreams.”
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Every woman has dreams, or goals she wants to accomplish. Far too often many of our wishes fail to materialize. You can go to school to learn how to do just about anything except getting exactly what you want out of life. While there’s always some element of learning as you go, it doesn’t hurt to have a sense of direction, like a compass that points to happiness. Alas, there is no magic compass to dream living.
But we can use a few life hacks to help get things in order. Getting “it” together is really all about organization. And having personal cheats to circumvent the flaws always working to trip you up – for example, it took me 25 years to realize I needed a pocket valet right by the door. It makes it so easy to dump my keys, wallet and cash somewhere I can’t miss when I’m on my way back out. I must be saving hours each week thanks to that little hack.
If you’re at all interested in getting closer to your dreams, a few easy tips, cheats and hacks will do you well. Here’s a few to get you started.
From the time I was a year old Cinderella was my favorite Disney princess. This was the Golden Books story version, not the movie. The way my parents relayed the story, Cinderella and the Prince danced “round and around and around.” For some reason, as a baby, I liked that image.
Then as I got older and started watching the movie I identified with the fact that she was able to escape a very bad situation and live happily ever after. I wasn’t living in a bad situation but the story was universal. Cinderella made it out and I could respect that. As a kid that’s all I took from the story.
It wasn’t until I got older, like during my preteen days, that I started to realize my girl Cinderella and all of her Disney princess friends weren’t sending the most realistic messages about life and love. I started to notice that for many of the princesses their entire existence centered around being beautiful and getting a man. That’s what they sang about, dreamed about and in some of their cases, struggled to obtain. You can see what I’m talking about in this illustration below:
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, finding a man and living happily ever after. As little girls we all wanted to be considered beautiful and live in some fantasy land with our latest elementary school crush. The problem comes in when you focus every fiber of your being on snagging the man. Becoming so consumed with him that you forget to nurture your passions and talents. The above illustration represents some gross exaggerations. I sincerely doubt little girls were cognizant of these messages. (With the exception of Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” even as a child I recognized the fact that baby girl had to give up everything to get the man). But that’s not the point. As little girls it takes time for us to understand the concept of self fulfillment, balancing a relationship and achieving your own goals. That doesn’t come until much later.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a concept Disney couldn’t utilize in their lucrative movie-making empire to promote. Thankfully, somewhere along the line somebody at Disney realized this.
You want to know how I know? Two words.
Now “The Princess and the Frog” wasn’t perfect but aside from the fact that she was a black woman, Princess Tiana was different from any of the other Disney princesses. Tiana had a dream, an empowering one at that. While she was gifted with the pretty domestic ability of being a good cook, Tiana wanted to own a restaurant. And while the other princesses were working toward getting the man, Tiana was working to get her restaurant. And I mean working hard. I’m not embarrassed to say that I was invested in her character. Watching her work tirelessly only to save a few pennies at the end of the day had me exhausted.
But at the conclusion of the movie what I dug about Tiana’s character was the fact that she brought something to the table. In fact, she had more on the ball than the Prince she would eventually marry. So much so that she taught him a thing or two about work ethic and drive. And he taught her something about taking time to enjoy life. Reciprocal relationships. Now that’s a story I can relate to.
And while little ones might not experience the movie on that level, please believe they notice how hard Princess Tiana worked for her dream and how her work eventually paid off. That’s a lesson little girls need to learn and I’m happy they received that lesson from Disney’s first black princess.
Getting your dream and the man. That’s the perfect definition of “Happily Ever After.”
We know that Willow is well beyond her years when it comes musical talent and stage presence. But we’re glad to see that this little one’s mind is equally advanced.
In a behind the scenes shoot of one of her studio sessions we see Willow’s first foray into song writing. The song “Epiphany” has a deep message about pursuing your dreams– even if you have more than one. Something I didn’t realize until I was a junior in college.
This video is a tad dated in internet time– it’s almost a month old– but it’s worthy of sharing so check it out. (I’m also more impressed with her vocal range on this song as well.)
Snaps for little Miss Smith!
(New York Times) — Most of us have limited resources, like time, money, energy and skills. At the same time, we have needs, goals and dreams. All too often they exceed the limited resources we have, so balancing these two areas of our personal economy can be tricky. We also need to understand that over time both of these circles change. Sometimes the resources we have will be greater and allow us to do more of the things we want. Other times our needs and wants will seem to dwarf the limited resources we have to throw at them. But it’s not something that we decide once and then check off the list. It’s a challenge we have to revisit regularly. So here’s how to think about both of the circles. First, we need to stop focusing on things outside our control. When we do that, we miss opportunities during both good times and bad (like now) to find our financial balance. Don’t put off making important and necessary adjustments, because no one else will do it for you.