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
Last weekend I planned on attending a free fashion show in celebration of Barbados Fashion Week in Toronto, Ontario. Unfortunately, I did not make it to the show, missing out on a day full of culture and creativity. The only person I can blame for the disappointment is myself because I did not prioritize my travel time properly.
I was unaware of how important it is to plan ahead when traveling somewhere, and I am not just talking about arranging how you are going to get there. Until last weekend, that was the only worry I had, not realizing there are other difficulties to consider such as that I am not the only one dealing with the consequences of being late.
Although the Fashion Show was a lost opportunity, I was lucky that missing the event did not compromise anything in my life. However, this is a lesson to me, to be more careful and organized in case my job or a relationship is ruined because of my lazy actions.
Based on my personal experience, I have listed some tips to help you arrive on time, whether to an event, a meeting or a job interview consider these a wake up call to success.
Give yourself time to be late:
Pick a time to leave and then actually leave 10minutes before that. You never know what interruptions can happen on route to your destination, and because you left earlier, you can afford the time wasted. Arriving at your destination on time gives you space to prep and introduce yourself to new people. Plus, you look very professional and excited to be there, instead of rushing in giving the impression that you had better things to do.
Consider what could go wrong:
Like I mentioned in the previous point, many interruptions can cause you to be late for an event. In my case, I did not plan my time and because of my one mistake, my day continued to go downhill. I was stuck in traffic for 1.5 hours (it only takes 40 minutes to get downtown from where I live) and once I finally arrived at the fashion show, I spent another 20 minutes circling the building trying to find parking. Every parking lot was full, the streets were packed, and by the time I made a decision it was too late. I looked at my clock and the show was over.
When traveling by car, it is important to consider traffic because a short drive can feel like a road trip in no time. Other traveling mishaps to consider are subway delays (the worst!) and weather issues (Canadian’s know the struggle of the unpredictable weather lately).
Be prepared to pay:
Usually traveling downtown can be expensive, between having to pay for parking, gas or public transportation, you should carry extra cash. You do not want to show up late because you had to run to the bank to withdrawal money. Before heading downtown, search near by parking lots to see the flat rate and choose the most affordable and convenient. Phone Apps like Toronto Parking are available specifically for this reason.
Nobody likes hearing excuses, if you follow my advice and your only worry will be how to have fun. It is never a bad thing to be prepared, tardiness is unacceptable! Show up, own it and make the most of your days.
Girl, you’ve got to chill.
I can’t take any more complaining about your 9-5 job so I’m about to hand you a reality check and let you know why this season of your life has importance. The reason why you are not happy in your current situation is because you fail to find the beauty in your world of chaos. Not only do you fail to see the beauty through your lens but your narrow sight is delaying your blessings.
Why you sabotage yourself on purpose is beyond me.
The more you speak negativity into your life, the higher you build a wall between you and your destiny. Words have enormous power and if you don’t start filtering your language and talking to yourself with more respect, you’ll keep walking in circles. So my first suggestion is to start each day with 5-10 minutes of silence. At the very least, give God thanks for breathing air into your lungs. Be grateful for the fact that you have a damn job to wake up to when other people are still searching endlessly. Take a second to breathe and refrain from starting your day caught up in the false impressions of someone’s Instagram or Facebook profile. Give yourself 10 minutes to sit in silence and listen to the sounds of your breath and watch your chest rise. Wiggle your fingers and toes (still got ‘em? good). Bury yourself underneath the covers and just be.
Girl, you’ve got to chill.
I wrote a popular article about why my closet has not seen a track suit in nearly a decade and the main lesson was even if you don’t feel good, look great. Don’t ever bring yourself down to the level of looking like your mess. You may feel like one, but take a page from all the women we look up to. The one common thread they share is that positive thinking is always at the forefront of each of their success stories. It all starts with how you carry yourself.
When you get into the office, give your best effort. Not just some days, but every damn day. Because it’s real silly to ask for more when you haven’t even mastered less. You have big dreams and ideas, but don’t expect God to serve you blessings if you can’t master your current situation. If you want to be a success, there are levels to this. I don’t care where you work….
- flippin’ burgers at McDonald’s
- washing dishes at Burger King
- sorting mail at the Post Office
- operating coat check at the club
- customer service at the bank
Doesn’t matter. You make sure you are the best at what you do and show others what you’ve got. I know you have it in you so don’t make a lasting bad impression. You don’t know who’s watching and what power they hold. I also know how much you despise your position, but consider this practice for the big win. At every stage and every age, you need to be productive. Master this season so you can take the lesson and move on.
Girl, just take the lesson so you can move on.
The lesson is what will open the door to the next level of your life. I would never be where I am today if I didn’t do the same damn thing. I remember one of my first jobs out of college. I worked at an interior design firm; a very prestigious – multi million dollar company. My boss was an old Italian man (his name was Gino) who yelled at me daily. Honestly, I think that’s the way he just spoke. Loud and proud. But it scared me to death. I just started navigating the working world and could barely stand on my own two feet. Sometimes you could even find me in the bathroom crying on the floor. I despised him. I wanted out but was even too scared to quit … until one day I did. I told him I found a new position and I was leaving. He told me to come into his office and sit down. He then told me that I wasn’t going anywhere and asked me my price. I replied, “if you can match my new job, I will think about staying but the real reason I’m leaving is because I don’t think I can handle this environment.” Of course he looked at me puzzled, but quickly understood what I meant and for the first time we had a heart to heart. He told me that I was old enough to be his granddaughter and that he’s hard on me because he could tell I am built for challenge. He wanted to build my character and told me that if I ever wanted to be as successful as him I needed to build tougher skin.
Girl, there’s the lesson.
I’ve had my fair share of 9-5 jobs. But most people feel how you feel so I understand. But it doesn’t have to stunt your growth. Today, I’m a #girlboss. I run three successful companies, manage 22 part-time employees. Gino (and many other shitty jobs) definitely had a hand in giving me the confidence to take leaps and bounds. There’s no magic formula to this. Allow your circumstances to push you not close you.
Life may be hard but prayer changes everything. Don’t be too shy to reach up and hold God’s hand a bit tighter. He will guide your steps and pave a path meant just for you. Last but not least, hold on to your truths. Your success will only be as big as your appetite which means you will need vision in order to get through this. So keep pushing, keep dreaming and do it for the love of the possibilities.
Peace & Love,