MEET: Melisha Fletcher
Most people misunderstand mentoring, I certainly did. For the longest time, I thought in order to have a mentor you had to be doing something big in life, have a business, or even being famous. That is, until one of my good friends mentioned this mentorship program called, New Girl On The Block.
Finding a mentor takes time because there are things you need to take into consideration. Like, finding someone you want to be like or admire. Study the person. Get in contact with he/she. Let the relationship evolve organically and don’t check out when you feel challenged.
For about 5 years I’ve been struggling with depression or perhaps it could’ve been longer than that. But, nonetheless I didn’t notice it until 5 years ago. Depression is something that I watched my mother go through and seen that it was something she had no control over. I began to realize that there were times when I had no control over my moods as well. It was like a switch that would turn off and on depending on what I was experiencing at the time or what I was thinking about.
It is normal to experience feelings of sadness and now I understand that. I didn’t know Depression was common. In fact, one in three people will experience a major depressive episode at some stage in their lives.
Through The New Girl On The Block Mentorship program, Pauleanna taught me how to overcome my fears by learning how to love myself again. Through weekly assignments based on self-love practices and weekly check-ins that hold me accountable for my actions, I can now say that I’ve become much more intuitive and very aware about the things I want for my life. I’ve learned that saying “No” is not a selfish act.
We all know the importance of finding other women to serve as our mentors. Having someone to look up to and turn to for advice will help you get anywhere in your personal life and career. It’s not always easy to find that special someone who has the time to serve as your mentor.
Pauleanna has become a true inspiration for me in my life and I’m finally getting back to truly loving and understanding myself again. Having depression took over my life and made it harder for me to be around people. As, Karlyn Pencil says, “checking in and confronting your elephant” is the best thing you can do for yourself. “I am committed to doing the work to unleash the best within me”. Through my weekly personal assignments and my check- ins with Pauleanna it has allowed me to knock down my walls and open up more and I couldn’t have done this without the mentorship program.
MEET: Travisha Rudder
As a Capricorn at heart, crying is naturally not easy for me to do. This year I joined New Girl on The Block to help me focus on what is most important to me. But like anyone else in the world, problems and conflicts always arise. The NGOTB mentor program has helped me overcome my personal issues and focus on myself and my business. But I also struggle with depression and sometimes issues can seem to be above what is really most important to you.
The past two weeks, feelings of depression have been overwhelming me, and naturally I fell back into old habits and did nothing about it. I forgot all about my journal, and all the self-love practices NGOTB has taught me. I then started stressing about things that are out of my control like money, and the fact that I hate my living situation right now. I also sat on my ass during all of my free-time moping about what should be, instead of doing all that I can in that very moment.
As the week carried on, I did begin to uplift myself again, but talking to Pauleanna was really all I needed. She said something to me that I feel will stick with me forever. “Sometimes, all I need is a good cry, a bath, and a nap.” My whole life I have felt like it’s not okay to cry. Even though crying has many benefits like, relieving stress or simply improving your mood. Even while I was talking to Pauleanna my eyes started to water and I was telling myself, “Travisha do not cry right now!” One, because naturally I feel it’s weird to cry in front of people, and two because I wanted to listen to what she was saying because we only had 30 minutes together. But when our conversation ended, I was like why did I feel it wasn’t okay to cry? And I remembered all the times in my child hood when I would repress my feelings. I then felt a rush of sadness and I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t! I realized what I need to do is cry a little bit more often, not for sympathy but just to let out all the emotions that we tend to hold onto, that prevent the hustle of our success.
I came across a wikihow called: How to Cry and Let It All Out. I know Wikipedia is not the most reliable source for information and it does state some pretty “common sense” tips. But sometimes all you really need is for some else to reassure those common sense ideas.
I hope that this blog helps anyone who is dealing with depression, or anyone who is having a hard time dealing with all the shit we got going on in our lives. I know when I go home later tonight, I tend to have myself a good bawl.
MEET: Tiffany C. Brown
You never realize until life comes back full circle; until it makes you uncomfortable and makes you dig deep and re-evaluate your life.
I’d been fired from my job, where I thought I would spend the remaining of my adult life. Everyone told me that I was so lucky and should make sure I kept this job. “Girl, you have a government job with great benefits and retirement.
And for the 1st time in life, I feel free. Granted, I understand I need money. Something just lifted from me, I feel renewed. I feel ok about being in any uncomfortable place in my life, unsure of my next move or destination.
The past 12 years I honestly felt trapped. After spending five years stressed out and sick while working at a very popular cell phone provider, just to get fired because they refused to accommodate my medical problem.
Being hired as a government contract two weeks and the day of being fired in 2010 where I spent the last 6 years excelling and providing for myself just to be turned down for every promotion, even though I had the time and experience. To be accepted into a competitive student program for a sector of the government in 2016 to be fired 2017. I was hurt, and I realize there are some things that I could have done differently, but I also felt like I had no support. But I believe everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and everything is a lesson.
I always knew there should be something else I should be doing. I didn’t realize the universe would force me into it. Now, here I am 34 years old, seven months from my 35th Birthday, and I am back to square one. It’s never too late, and never be ashamed to start over.
- Tell us about yourself (name, age, where you live, school, what you are studying, etc.)
My name is Kayla McLaughlin, I am 20 years old, and attending Ryerson University for Journalism with a minor in English. Throughout the school year I commute from Stouffville, Ont., which is approximately an hour North East of Toronto.
- What made you decide to raise your hand and apply for the NGOTB scholarship?
I decided to apply for the scholarship because after hearing about Pauleanna Reid and speaking to her on the phone, I felt like NGOTB was a great organization, empowering and strengthening women; a sisterhood I would love to be a part of. When I realized that I met the qualifications, there was no reason for me not to try. Commuting to school, paying for books, food and transportation can really take a toll on the university student. Recognition for hard work can really be the push you need to keep going through the stress of exams, essays, and all of the other university bliss.
- How did you make use of the scholarship money?
At the beginning of the year, I went to meet my friend in Germany who was studying abroad. We travelled Europe for almost a month, which ended up being very costly. The scholarship money mostly went to this, because so much learning and life experience is gained outside of the classroom. The trip and experience has inspired so much of my writing since then, as well as my outlook on life. Travelling has always been important to me, so the extra money certainly helped me to take advantage of the opportunity.
- What have you been up to over the last six months?
When I returned from my trip, I completed my third year of university, started building a website and put together a promo video of my broadcasting capabilities. I volunteered for the iHeart Radio Much Music Video Awards for the second year in a row, and have been working two jobs to save up for my last semester of university in the fall.
- Best lesson learned this year?
The best lesson I learned this year is that preparation is key. Life has a funny way of throwing opportunities at you whether you are ready or not. By constantly perfecting your craft and staying up-to-date, you can embrace change and opportunity instead of running from it.
- What’s next for you? What goals are you aiming to achieve for the remainder of this year and 2018.
I will be completing university this December, a semester earlier than expected because of the extra classes I took each year. One of my final requirements is doing an internship, which I am very excited for, and hoping to gain journalistic experience, network with industry professionals, and continue building toward my career. Throughout this year and in 2018, I hope to be more diligent in maintaining my website and building my brand through business cards, promotion, and online presence. Lastly, financial stability has been a big goal for me this year; I plan on continuing to strive toward my savings goal for the year, being very conscious of my monetary decisions.
It’s common for us to wish that any journey that we take in our lives will be smooth, straight forward and easy.
But it’s never like that.
Self-doubt, negative self-talk and fears that are within our own minds often hold us back from taking chances on the new beginnings we deserve to have.
That’s why many people complain about the state that their life is in without making any moves to drive themselves towards the life they deserve to have.
Just a few years ago after graduating from university, I found myself in that same position.
I had dreams of becoming a lawyer, but knew I would be burnt out in that career by 29, so I decided to land a ‘good job’ in finance for two years to figure out how to navigate in the world.
As much I as loved the people around me at work, I knew there was something bigger and better out there for me to pursue, despite everyone around me telling me that I should be comfortable with ‘security’ that wasn’t even secure.
So one night, after tossing and turning in my sleep after having a day from hell at work, I decided to choose faith.
At that point in my life I knew I was too young and gifted not to follow a path that God had destined for me when I had conversations with Him crying and pleading about leaving everything in the midst of figuring out why He wants me here.
With no immediate plan, I typed up my resignation letter, put it in an envelope and gave it to my boss the next day.
Was I scared out of my mind? Of course I was an emotional wreck knowing that my family would tell me how disappointed they would be knowing I left an opportunity that only they saw as being life changing for me.
But leaving the job I had gave me the opportunity to discover not only who I am, but why faith is so important in my journey – no matter the ups and downs, bad days and good ones!
My journey to develop my own personal brand, which is to inspire other millennials like myself who want to take the leap of faith but are afraid to do so, helped me understand that having a mentor will help to make sense of things when it feels like it doesn’t.
Taking on a new journey requires someone who’s been through the journey before. They can tell you how to avoid the some of the mistakes they made so you can learn and grow from them too, while providing the opportunity to build a relationship, gain confidence and learn how important your progress is to someone else.
So when you choose faith over your fears, have someone who will hold you accountable, guide you through the process and show you the way to get to where you need to be on your journey in life.
– Laura Opoku