MEET: Chantaé Candize
CAREER: Founder and Content Director
I am Ingrid’s Daughter. My hero hails from the immaculately beautiful, rich and lively island of Jamaica. At the age of 24, my mother moved to Canada to pursue a new life and 4 years later, I was blessed with the opportunity to be introduced to the world as Ingrid’s daughter.
As her first, last and only born, my mom and I shared every moment of my upbringing together. A single mother with the best and most pure intentions for me, my mom shined nothing but bright as she did and continues to do everything and more for me. I participated in every activity possible such as dance, swimming, ukulele lessons, karate, gymnastics and Girl Guides. My mom aspired for me to be an educated, well versed, experienced, and open young black woman. A young, single mom, doing this all for me.
Always trying to provide beneficial opportunities and a better life for me, my mom always made a house a home wherever we were and was always determined for us to reside in the best neighbourhood and enrol me in the best schools as I was growing up . Two homes and a condo later, my mom purchased and owned all properties on her own..
My mom would surprise me with trips so I could explore beyond Toronto with her and break down the protected mentality of my surroundings. She forced me to challenge societal norms and know my grounds. She always taught me to know my worth, protect my heart and always give back–three concepts you can never do enough.
Through the challenging times of our lives when things were tight, my mom never let a sense of fear or hopelessness crack or dampen into my dreams. Every step, my mom encouraged me to do what I love in hopes to find my greater purpose for being on this earth. My mom always supports me with my education endeavours and thriving career, however, most of all, my mom is with me for every step as I evolve into my best self.
My mom is outstanding to say the least. To see a woman have so much love, compassion, strength, ambition and wit never fails to amaze me as I aspire to have such a desirable character as she does.
As I have grown to see my mom give it all for me, even now as I am a nearly 21 year old full time university student, leaves me at a loss of words. I know there are times when I can challenge my mom, but my undeniable and purest love for my her is endless and goes beyond words. I owe my mom the world and more.
Here’s a toast to the one and only queen in my life; My hero- My Mom. I love you.
Nothing I’ve experienced yet can match the exhilaration I felt while walking across the stage to accept my Bachelor’s Degree. My decision to forego my sight for beauty caused everything to be a blur, except for the red folder waiting for me at the other end. My back was straight, my face was beat for the cheap seats (yes, tickets were free, but I digress). My walk was steady but paced at a notch just under “too fast!” I was a hybrid of a model and soldier; I felt my curls bounce with every step. This was my moment and I was surely going to bask in it, even if it lasted all of 9 seconds. I walked up to the dean of my program and outstretched my right hand to shake his. My left hand patiently waited to accept my degree and an alumni pin (seriously felt like I was in a secret society). “Congratulations”, the Dean said.
And I was off.
It has been exactly a year since then and the thought of that day still brings a tear to my eye. The amount of: hard work, sleepless nights, positive self-talk (in reaction to negative self-talk), money spent, energy consumed, experience gained, missed opportunities, junk food, study sessions, mistakes, achievements and of course, education needed to get through my university years; were all worth it when I slipped on my cap and gown.
That time has since passed. I turned in my gown at the end of the ceremony and my degree. My graduation cap sit at a makeshift graduation shrine in my room. Clearly, this was major for me. But what now? I thought I’d be asking the question sooner; but with a fun-filled summer and the start of a new job, I don’t think my high permitted me to come down and ask this question.
But now four full seasons have passed and I wonder where the next high will come from. Will I land a job or position that allows me to practice theories and techniques I spent so much time learning? Will I attain a salary that matches what a “university graduate” deserves? Surely these feats would be a call for celebration. But what about the smaller accomplishments in my life? There won’t be any applause, champagne in fancy glasses, cameras from five family memories asking me to “look here, now over here!”
How will I know I am doing a good job without the celebration? Are my achievements really achievements without a graduation of sorts to mark the ending of a chapter? Even the concept of progress is now skewed for me… Without a pass or fail grade how will I know to move to the next level? How does one who’s found comfort in the institution of education mark success for themselves after they leave school?
I am still figuring it out.
Two solutions I am trying came from Lisa Nichols and a meme, seriously. According to many of Lisa Nichols’ videos on Youtube, we as people tend to focus too much on the “macro wins” in our lives. These our end goals. For example; buying a home, having a book published, saving a certain amount of money or getting a certain amount of clients to support your business, may all be what we will mark as the moment to celebrate, relax or just breathe a little bit. What Lisa Nichols advises though, is to have 10 “micro wins” that will lead to your “macro win”. These are considered benchmarks and they will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by all it takes to finally reach your macro win. She states that having these micro wins established will help to keep you on the right track and organized in terms of where to go next.
A meme I once read said, “celebrate the small victories”. And this automatically made me think of the common expression “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”
This means if you’ve taken steps in the right direction, acknowledge your commitment to getting that task completed. Say you are looking to have your first novel published. Have you done research on publishing houses who have published books similar to yours? Cheers! Have you put your research down on paper? Cheers! Have you completed your first five chapters? Cheers! Now, this is not to say that you should totally slack off after hitting one milestone, but you should give yourself some credit for the work put in. Progress is a process and focusing on the finish line may sometimes have us feeling dismayed and as if we aren’t doing enough.
Have you experienced this? After graduating, or just in general? I’d love to hear some of the tools you use to mark your progress. Or let me now if you’ve tried the tools above and how they worked (or didn’t work) for you. I know success is sweet, but sometimes stopping to smell the roses on the way there, isn’t so bad either.
MEET: Chenelle Lewis
To Others She Is Connie But I Am Blessed To Call Her Mom
My mother is the brightest shining light in my life. As I sit here writing this I can hear her laughing in the other room and it is like music to my ears. Her happiness brings me joy; it is the driving force behind my desire to be successful and for this reason I consider her my hero.
She is the most loving, tolerant and supportive person I know and I admire her for these traits. When I was a child I was very mischievous, like the time I burned my right forearm with her curling iron or the time I stood on a chair trying to sneak crackers from the top shelf in the kitchen, fell off and fractured my skull. During these two episodes and many others like them, my mom remained patient and never lashed out at me. As I grew older these childhood antics turned into teenage angst as a result of puberty, I went from being the bravest little girl in the world to timid and quiet. It was during these years that I really appreciated my mom for her words of encouragement to pursue my passions despite my fears. If it weren’t for her I would not have applied to my dream university or even attended for that matter because I didn’t think I was capable of doing so.
She believes in me possibly even more than I believe in myself and because of this I do not want to let her down. In my adult life, I have made some poor decisions. One situation involved a young man, and while I didn’t tell my mother about it right when it happened she wasn’t as angry as I thought she would be when she found out and she supported me through it. This was the moment when I knew my mom is my hero because she is always there when I need her to hold my hand, wipe away my tears or tell me exactly when I need to hear right when I need to hear it.
I can only hope I adopt her level of patience and understanding when I am ready to have children of my own.
MEET: Katie-Ann Wallace
New Girl on the Block Mentee since January 2017
CAREER/PASSION PROJECT: Public Relations
SHE SAYS: This might be a bit of a cliché, but I would have to say that I don’t have just one woman I would consider my hero. I idolize all the strong-hearted, knowledge -lending women I’ve encountered to date. No matter what age, creed or colour, I can honestly say every woman currently in my life has impacted my growth tremendously. From my mother, aunts, and grandmothers, to my younger sister whom I look up to in ways she will never understand. Then you have my best friends, my girlfriends; the ladies I hold dear to my heart. My mentors and teachers, the women who have helped guide me without ask. All these women would be considered my heroes for many reasons. I am inspired by the way they love and take on life full force every day without hesitance. I am grateful for the way they have sacrificed for those they love. No matter what I am going through there is always an ear to listen and someone to embrace.
Of these women if I had to shed light on just one, it would be my younger sister. She has a heart of gold. She is one of the most emotional people I’ve ever met and I love her for it. She wears her heart on her sleeve in every aspect of her life. Whether it be her family or her work as a student and interior designer, she, takes it on with her heart as her shield. She has taught me so much about having patience and taking the time to find the passion in the things I do. At least once a week, she gets quite emotional and expresses how much she looks up to me as her older sister, which is expected as a younger sibling. But at 20 years old she is still yet to understand why I look up her though she is the younger one. While she tells the world she wants to be just like me, I always say I want be just like her when I get older. I want to love like her, and see the world the way she does.
When I was growing up, there were a few restrictions I always gave myself. “I will never work at a job with cubicles”, was one I would say often.
To be honest, I can’t really say how I made this decision at the ripe age of 8 years old. I don’t know whether it was the way I heard adults on TV relate cubicle jobs to failed dreams or if it brought back memories of watching the tragic characters on The Drew Carey Show before bed. Whatever it was, cubicle jobs were not for me. I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to get paid to play depressing roles that made adults feel better about their lives. I wanted to play the role of a powerful police woman like in NYPD Blue. I also wanted to play a beautiful princess, like Belle – so little girls could scoot closer and closer to the TV, to get a closer look at a woman they wanted to be – or be like, in the future. To put it plain, I wanted a dynamic, extraordinary life.
Nineteen years later, at the age of 27 (and a half), a recent Human Relations graduate – I write this blog post from a computer owned by my employer. With my ergonomically correct posture and head set to my ears listening to Maren Morris, I type away in none other than my very own… CUBICLE!! That’s right, the same thing I said I never wanted, is exactly what I got. If you study the Law of Attraction then you know that is usually the case… But that is for a different day. So yes, I now work in an environment that I always thought would make me unhappy. But I am not, and I will tell you why.
I currently work at the customer center of a very successful retail company. Being in this space alone I have the opportunity to get a look at how a business is ran. Through work experience I have come to learn some important information: why policies and procedures are so important to create and adhere to, how marketing and ease of use will enhance a customer’s experience, and one of my favorites which is learning how connecting on human level equals sales. In addition to this free knowledge I also get one thing that will help me, help myself and that is income.
I make money at my job that I can use to invest in myself. Whether it is a new laptop, a driver’s license, or just money for the materials needed to build my brand- I have means to financial capital. Yes, I spend about 8 hours of my time helping a company gain more success- but I go home and invest at minimum 2 hours in myself. I am able to see it this way because I walk with an attitude of gratitude (as my brother, Kaliph puts it), instead of regret or impatience. In my experience, I have never gotten to the next step without being present and grateful at the preceding one. Yes, it’s been said that big dreams should make you uncomfortable- but no one said they should make you hateful of your current state.
I am no expert but I can tell you the three ways gratitude has helped me tackle a plethora of accomplishments:
1) When my thoughts are positive, positivity accepts the invitation into my life.
⦁ Would you show up to an event you didn’t think you’d be welcomed at? Positivity works the same way.
⦁ Adversely, this is the same for negativity. If you think you are going to have a bad day, you will create it. Self-fulfilling prophecy is real.
2) Being present and grateful in the moment, helps me see things for what they really are. I am also able to analyze the situation in a healthy, rational way.
⦁ So you currently hate your current job. Ask: What good things does it offer (bonuses, benefits, connections), what experience has it taught you that you can use to apply to a new job, or become self-employed?
⦁ School is hard and keeping you from “real life” (I have been there). Ask: How long do you have left? Will what you are studying help you reach your goals? Are you studying at the right place? What are the pros and cons of leaving?
3) I can take action when I am in a grateful place.
⦁ Brooding on all the wrongs going on in my life only leaves me sitting in all my mess.
⦁ You ever hear someone say “I’m so mad, I can’t even think straight”? Yeah, that’s what happens. They can’t think straight, can’t get things done, or done right, at least.
I can’t tell you my way is the right way, but it has helped me thus far. I work in my cubicle yes; but I work calmly, efficiently and with a mind open to learning and intent on progressing. I also have a collection of Post-it notes motivating me to keep on going! It may be my current location, but I’d be doing myself a disservice to not recognize the tools it equips me with to propel to my next level, whatever that may be.
Welcome Spring 2017!
Spring is a time when the weather is getting warmer, the flowers begin to bloom and the rain washes away all the slush and dirt. The season means a fresh start and growth and is a time of celebration to welcome in the new. Spring cleaning is known world-wide, the indication to throw out the old and bring in new and trendy clothes, but instead of refining your wardrobe, positively change your attitude for a better, healthier and happier you. Throw away the self-hate, leave the negative people behind and stand up for yourself, because these toxic affairs necessarily need to be eliminated.
Inevitably, everyone has people in their lives who continuously put you down, and although, you cannot change anyone, you can ensure you, are surrounded with positivity. Change may seem scary and difficult, but that does not mean you should have to deal with something/someone who is not deserving of your time.
So, before you start removing everything from your life, re-evaluate and notice the good and the bad and make critical decisions that will positively impact your, well-being. Below, I will give you tips on how to clean out the negative and begin to bloom into the brand new season.
Get Some Fresh air:
Any time of the year is stressful and the best way to overcome stress, is to take a break and clear your minds. Stop what you are doing and take 5 minutes out of your day to breathe in the fresh Spring air and appreciate the beauty of the earth around you. Go for a walk or sit out side, even just opening a window and letting the wind blow in, will do the trick. Also, I swear tea is God sent and cures all problems. Drink up and enjoy the day.
Get Rid of the Old:
Whatever useless junk is consuming your life, get rid of it, now. Whether it is a bad habit or a job that constantly after all you hard work and dedication, makes you feel unappreciated, leave it behind. These things are holding you back and are preventing any opportunity for growth.
“Sometimes we get so used to “being” a certain way that we lose sight of our ability to actively get rid of the negative from our life.” – Lisabeth Saunders Medlock, Huffington Post.
In terms of people, communication is always key to getting a better understanding about what is going on. You want to make sure you are eliminating the people who do not want the best for you, and you do not want to accidentally end a relationship with someone because of poor communication. Talk it through. Let the person know that their actions are unacceptable and you do not deserve to be treated this way. Especially if you are someone who hates the idea of losing people in your life, odds are this person is not aware how much they are hurting you and will work harder to ensure your relationship remains. However, this is not to say to always excuse their behaviour, if they are continuously apologizing for their insensitivity. If it is constantly a problem, it will always be a problem. Otherwise, communing will also let the person see your strength and courage to stand up for yourself.
Let go of the pain and anxiety of trying to make something work because in your heart you know it never will, and it is easier to leave it behind than to feel emotionally exhausted with the idea that someone/something will change. You put in your effort, and now it is time to move on.