#PODBYKY EPI 16 MILLENNIAL MOGULS W/AMOI

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Amoi, (how cool is her name?) is the creator of ” Making of A Millennial Mogul”which is an online show where millennial entrepreneurs and moguls in the making share their journeys giving viewers an inside look into what it takes to achieve success. Amoi and I met at a Blavity conference and the bond was formed since. Both of us are pisces (born just days apart),Christians (we love the lord), and we often refer to ourselves as the future Ava + Oprah, speaking success into existence.

During this podcast we discussed millennials, the importance of sharing your whole success story (bad times included) and what our dream jobs would look like.

When we think of successful people, we often get the cookie cutter version of their story. We don’t get the “grind” narrative but the overnight-success one. I felt that it was important to interview Amoi because I am over those stories, and I believe she is doing something monumental to change that. She’s talking to millennials while they are on their journey, shooting interviews that are candid and transparent, so the path to attaining success that we often see is not misleading but real. One of her first interviews for her show was with Damali Elliot , Founder of Petals -N-Belles, which you can watch here. Since then, (we shot this podcast in Sept 2016), she has shot a few more interviews that are absolutely captivating.

As always I asked her if she’s living in purpose and what she wants to be remembered for. At first,while editing this recently, I thought, why would I ask such a heavy question? But putting our lives into perspective is something we all should do. Focusing on the present is monumental, but if you don’t have an idea of what you’re working towards, and the type of success you seek, then how will you remain consistent?

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Follow Amoi:

Website: http://www.millimogul.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MilliMogul/

IG @Millimogul

Twitter @Amoi_MilliMogul

Follow Lifestylebyky podcast on Itunes Lifestylebyky and Soundcloud 

Lessons I’ve Learned While Changing Careers

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Media Mogul. I wrote the words on a yellow post it, with a black sharpie and pasted it on my bed frame so I could be reminded of my goal every day. But I was not moving towards that goal as an Executive Assistant to a financial tycoon on Wall Street. I was moving him towards his goal. It felt comfortable. I was safe. I was liked by everyone. I had job security. That was the scary part. The scary part is that they always thought I would be there. That I would be content in my role for the rest of my life. That I wouldn’t think more of myself. Or that I didn’t think more of myself. That I didn’t have the same goals as the CEO of the company. That when I sat in his chair while he wasn’t in the office, it felt comfortable, like I deserved to be in the corner office too. But I would never become what I wanted to be in the financial world. I knew it early on that it wasn’t for me. The greed. The money hungriness. The conservatives. The biases. The glass ceilings. The white collars. The suits and slicked black hair. The façade. The boredom. The numbers. The yelling and screaming. The perfectionism. The micro- aggressions. The lack of women or minorities in “the room.” It just wasn’t for me. And yet I stayed and endured for 5-years. 1,825 days. During that time, my emotions were filled with ups and downs. At first, I was excited to even have a job. Then I realized there was nothing to be excited about-Then I had to humble myself-Then I was promoted and was excited again-Then I realized I wasn’t being paid enough. I should’ve been making more doing the caliber of work that was required of me. I kept the office going. I kept everyone sane. I was a perfectionist, even if it meant staying at work until 9pm. I did more than what was required of me. I worked long and hard. I waited for my boss to ask me “What do you want to do with your life?” I wanted him to invest in my future just as much as I invested in his. But the question never came and the reality hit me that it was time to move on.

Lesson #1: It’s so important to have a boss that knows your goals and pushes you to get there. It’s important to have a boss who doesn’t want to see you doing the same thing in 10-years but wants to see you grow. It’s important to have a boss that believes enough in you to include you. A supportive boss can do wonders for your career. Be weary of the ones that are not. 

If my boss wouldn’t mentor me then someone else would have to. Eventually, I found just the person. A woman and a lawyer. She had a successful legal career in the financial sector and when she started at my company we bonded over our shared Pisces astrological sign. This woman saw something in me and pushed me like no other. She made sure I applied to jobs every chance I got and took me out on lunch dates to encourage me. I never had a mentor before and I soon realized God was saving someone special for me when I needed her the most.

Lesson #2 I used to be jealous of people with mentors because I never had one. What was wrong with me that no one wanted to be my mentor? But a mentor is not a fairy godmother. They’re not going to just appear. I had to “court” my mentor. A few weeks after meeting her, I asked if she would take a walk with me to tell me about herself and I would do the same. She said yes, and the rest was history. I realized she would be a perfect mentor after our walk. But I had to take the initiative and make the first step in building our relationship.

So as I prepared to change careers, there was one more kick that happened that pushed me like no other. When I say push, I mean set the fire in my back. That was me finding out what others were making in my same position. I won’t say how but I did. I also confirmed this by simply googling the average for what someone in my position should be making compared to what I was making. It amazed me that I could work so hard and still not be paid for the work I was doing. But I didn’t speak up. My boss and I had a relationship where I revered him like a father almost. I didn’t know how to confront him about my pay so I just wallowed in my misery. I was literally taunted by it at least twice a month. He paid for my lunch and I received bonuses but that didn’t count when my salary was not where it should’ve been. I needed to make the move. But first I had to decide was this really about money? Or was I seeking a job that I was passionate about?

Lesson Three: Money or Passion? I applied for a hedge fund in the midst of my fury and got an interview. I later declined the interview. I made a decision to myself a long time ago that I would not sell my soul for money, my salary, or material things. My career would have to make me happy and would not feel like work. It would feel like I am just doing what I loved. So yes, I declined an interview for a job that started at 115k because it was just like the job I had, maybe even worst. For some people, even some friends, they would call me crazy but that’s what separates me from a lot of people. My happiness far outweighs my salary pursuits. My next job would just have to make me happy and pay me what I deserved!

I needed the motivation to apply to jobs consistently. Job-hunting is really tedious. I tried everything, including using spreadsheets, keeping track of what I already applied to and what I didn’t apply to. I applied to jobs every-Thursday bi-weekly from January to August. I remained consistent. If Thursday was a day where I had an event, then it was pushed to Friday or the weekend but I never stopped. I went on Linkedin and searched for jobs on there too. Linkedin is really a powerhouse. I reread my resume and cover letter every other week, making adjustments as the months progressed. I didn’t hear from anyone and I began to get anxiety. At work, I was getting anxious and panicked. I hated my job and it was beginning to show.

Lesson Four: Stay Consistent!

It was in August that I received a call for an interview. During the interview process my side gigs came up a lot. I do a lot of things on the side in addition to a 9-5. I blog, podcast, produce, direct, read, volunteer etc. Never in a million years would I have guessed that these side projects would separate me from other candidates. Initially, I started them to fill a void that I was feeling at work. My work was unfulfilling to be honest. But then, it became a part of me. I’m a blogger. I’m a podcaster. I directed a documentary. All of these things shaped me into who I am and separated me from the pack. Some people look down on side projects. They call it mere hobbies. They say it’s not worth your time and to focus solely on your 9-5. But I disagree. Your 6 to 10 hustle is what you can call your own. Your baby. Your passion project. Your unique vision that will exalt you into your destiny. Its these projects that takes me one step closer to my dream and ultimately landed me a position at my dream company because a couple of months later, I got the job!

Lesson Five: Passion projects/6-10 hustles, are so important. I’ve had people question why I spend my time doing what I do. I had people doubt my side projects. I’ve had people who I couldn’t reveal any news on these projects to because they didn’t understand. I’ve had people question why I would ever work for an up and coming travel platform for black millennia’s for free? I’ve had people question why I would ever volunteer my time as a Sunday School teacher from 7am-3pm without pay? I’ve had people question all of my ventures and I never cared. It will take some people longer than others to discover their passions and destinies. Some may always be too afraid to uncover it. But I don’t want to ever live my life that way. Never underestimate an idea that you have in your heart or a talent that you haven’t uncovered since childhood. It may be the key to finding purpose in your career.

I say this all to say, figuring out what you want to do in life is hard work. Gaining the courage to leave a secure job for a career in an totally different industry is scary. But you’ll never know if  success is waiting for you on the other side of the door if you don’t try. We have to believe in ourselves enough to know that we will be successful and that our lives will have purpose. We have to catch ourselves when we are secure and complacent and push ourselves for more.

I wore my natural hair to work for the first time…

I wore my natural hair to work for the first time and it felt awesome! Some people might be surprised that it took 4-years for me to wear my natural hair to work but getting the courage to do so was a journey in it self.

I started my natural journey in 2011, and it has been a very long four years since then. Sometimes, I can’t believe it’s been that long. My hair journey is complicated. To give you the short version of the story, I big chopped when I was about to graduate from Penn State, wore wigs for 2-years and then during the summer of 2013 I got so sick of wearing a wig every day, I decided to wear my natural hair on the weekends(Baby steps).

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The beautiful summer day in 2013 when I decided I would start wearing my natural hair, but only under one condition–during the weekends ONLY!

Continue reading “I wore my natural hair to work for the first time…”

Surviving After Work Drinks

I have always been against going to after work drinks. I think as a black woman, working in Corporate America, we sometimes feel like an “other” or a piece in the puzzle that doesn’t necessarily fit, so these situations are often awkward for us, (well for me at least). Since I started working at my company, about four years ago, I can only remember going out with my colleagues 5 times. I dread when someone invites me out at work. A sense of doom comes over me, as I go through the possible white lies I could tell them to get myself out of the situation. However, I learned recently, we have to bite the bullet and attend these work events, because its necessary if we want to advance our career, make connections, and understand how our office really functions, and the role everyone plays in it.

On this particular day, I had no idea I would be asked out for drinks. I headed to work like I normally would, reading my book The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Woman by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy Mclean, when I got to chapter 19 entitled Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. This chapter emphasized the importance of connecting with your colleagues and getting to know them on a personal level—asking them out for coffee or going out for drinks when you’re asked and if you are not asked, inviting yourself. Before getting off the train, I concluded that these authors were completely insane and there was no way I would ever invite myself to someone’s after work drinks.

Around 3PM, my favorite executives in the office, who also happens to be leaving the company, invited me out for drinks. Really? I politely thanked him for the invite, but remembered it was Tuesday and I had to go to prayer meeting. When another co-worker asked if I was going, I told him about church—He replied, “You’re really strange, but you have to go out with us.” Now, I felt guilty and anxious. My job is going through major changes, and this could possibly be the last time we all get together; I also knew that if I didn’t go, I would feel guilty because he went out of his way to invite me. I couldn’t concentrate. The sweet sounds of Lauryn Hill playing through my headphones no longer soothed my soul, I had to go to drinks with my co-workers….THE HORROR. Continue reading “Surviving After Work Drinks”

Peace. Love & Let God.

As the holiday season is among us, I am reminded of the immense work that God has done in my life. Unfortunately, by the people around me who are doing reflections of their year and overall life and feel like it’s not enough; They are not doing enough; they are not fulfilling a purpose; My heart is heavy as I hear their pleas of inadequacy, searching for the right words to calm their discontented spirits.

In November 2013, I was in the same predicament. I had no peace in my life nor in my heart. I wanted more. I worried about the past, the present and the future. I had very little hope that change would come. I found myself in Barnes and Nobles one Sunday morning, wanting so desperately for my life to change. I spent the whole day reading books. Books about travel, books about pursuing a higher degree, books about writing my own book and books about relationships and wedding planning. What exactly did I want out of my life? All of these things. The question was, how to take the first steps towards attaining my inner most desires? I found that the answer was in humility. My number one issue was that I was not happy with my present. I felt stuck. I didn’t feel like I was progressing as fast enough as my peers. I hate to admit it now, because I always consider myself my own competition, but I was looking at others and comparing their success to my own, which is the worst thing to do. I didn’t feel like I was growing professionally, I felt more than competent to take on more responsibility at work but didn’t see an avenue to pursue this growth. I’d never traveled beyond the Caribbean and I wanted to see the world so bad, I didn’t have my own apartment nor did I have a car (which was a personal choice) but hey it could’ve been nice, and I was single and hadn’t been in a substantial relationships since I was in my late teens. Humility came with acknowledging that I was more than capable of having everything my heart desired simply by putting my life in God’s hands wholeheartedly. I wouldn’t complain about my job, I would thank God for it. I wouldn’t pout when hopping into a friend’s new car I would thank God for their blessings. I shut my mouth and continued to pursue excellence in all aspects of my life even though I didn’t see nor did I fathom the plans and the ways God would shake up my life in 2014. I found peace, not only in my present but in my future. My security in God grew stronger and I learned how to truly forgive. Forgive my past, forgive those who said something to me or did something to me that did not align with how God defined me, now all that was left to do was watch God’s plans unfold and it did.

After getting baptized in January and declaring publicly that the lord was my savior, I soon booked a trip to Europe that changed my life. I planned my first event for my organization Reserved that turned out to be a success. I went to a seminar that taught me how to write and publish my own book. I then went on to travel through Europe and all the cities I only dreamed of seeing. It changed my life and showed me that all things were possible through God. I came back from Europe only to discover that I was getting a raise and a bonus at work…what? I wasn’t expecting both. I completely bounced back financially over night, it was as if I never took money out of my bank account to pay for Europe-all was covered. I started dedicating my Tuesday nights to prayer meeting at my church. The thing that I enjoyed about prayer meeting was that it taught me how to be selfless. We didn’t spend 2-hours praying for ourselves and our own problems, we prayed for others. We prayed for those individuals living in rural Asia, India and Haiti or the forgotten Native Americans suffering from alcoholism and poverty on reservations. We prayed for women caught up in human trafficking and for people whose family members were suffering from cancer, mental illness and other serious ailments. I learned that the world didn’t revolve around me, I learned to pray and I learned to worship. I even began listening to gospel music-Alpha and Omega by Israel Houghton is my favorite song ever. Eventually things began to look up for me.

I began to take the idea of going back to school seriously. What I would go to school for was still a mystery but I knew I was beginning to love business and entrepreneurship and I always wanted to be a writer and write for a magazine.

I stopped partying as much, matter fact I didn’t party at all, yet one day I decided to go to an event called “The Greatest Day Ever” and met my boyfriend. Turns out he’s so gentle, giving, and intelligent, a little bit CRAY-CRAY, very introverted but overall a great person and I am happy he’s in my life. I soon realized in order to pursue a new relationship I would need to make sure my closet was completely cleaned and all skeletons were gone. I co-hosted a sister circle with some of my closest friends. We spent the whole day forgiving; forgiving our past, confronting skeletons that were holding us back and praying for one another. We wrote our insecurities on an index card and released it out of our souls. It was one of the highlights of my year. All was forgiven.

Later on in the year I began to plan to go to South Africa. Africa, was just a mere dream of mine and it was just about to become a reality when my manager left the company and I was promoted into her position. Promotion comes from God, and that had God’s promise written all over it. Now, I am sitting in my bed pretty much typing my year in review anticipating my conclusion so I can thank God for his blessings. But before I do that, I want to share the inspiration for this post. I was listening to a sermon today by my Pastor Cymbala and he preached about peace and the four types of peace we need to have in our lives and in this New Year:

  • Peace with God (When you have peace with God, there’s an understanding that you’re covered. Humble yourself)
  • Peace that covers our past (Letting go of the recriminations and sorrowful memories that might be holding you back. It is what it is; you can’t change your past all you can do is forgive yourself and others)
  • Peace that covers the present (Letting go of those feelings of inadequacy and desires of not having what you want at a certain age or not being where you want to be. Be content in what you are blessed with but continue to pursue your goals.)
  • Peace that covers the future (being secure in that all things work together for the greater good)

In life there are ups and downs, highs and lows, good days and bad days. But one of the things God has shown me this year is that he has a plan for each and every one of our lives and there is no coincidence that we are where we currently are. The present, no matter how monotonous it might be is preparing us for our future and our past cannot be changed so let go of the baggage. God has mapped out our life from when we take our first breath to when we take our last and we have to be secure in knowing he knows what’s best for us and he will provide beyond our inner most desires. He will unleash dreams we never imagined could unfold in our lives. So get ready.

Peace, Love and Happy Holidays!

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Who are you here with?

The question immediately made me feel like I didn’t belong, like I was an outsider of some sort. In a lot of ways I was, however it was too soon for my outlier complex to get the best of me.

I progressed into the country club, with a group of elitist African Americans who worked for a prestigious billion-dollar corporation; I was among the best of the best but  I was new blood and they could smell it.

I proceeded to the bar, in hopes that a drink would calm my nerve and then to the hors d’oeuvres buffet where I munched on some delicious appetizers before being told to take my place in the dining room.

It felt like everyone was watching me, I wasn’t a part of any of their circles, I wasn’t best friends with their children, I was a guest of a guest, talk about three degrees of separation.

As the night went on, I began to loosen up and even received the chance to interview some of the honorees, yet I felt somewhat unworthy…I know I am super blessed to be among such greats, I knew God put me among these groups of people for a reason that is unbeknownst to me.

I ended the night feeling defeated. I didn’t belong, I would probably never have the country club membership and call executives for a billion dollar company my friends. My heart hurt as I wanted to belong so bad but I felt like an obscure puzzle piece being forced to fit in the wrong puzzle. As far as I was concerned it would never fit.