A Love Note to Aspiring Hustlers Everywhere

What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now! What are we gonna do about it and when? Well see what had happened was…

For many that freedom we seek comes in the form of being able to call the shots as it relates to our time. Unless you’re independently wealthy (Yay. For. You.), this also means that you’re going to need a hustle to fund it. If you’re still on payroll somewhere, you may have your foot in both worlds, but anyone paying attention to the economy knows the deal.

What’s it gonna be? We are almost at the top of the third month of the first quarter. At the end of 2014 many toasted to the year gone by and made promises to begin anew on January 1, 2015. We don’t want this year to be a repeat or worse…a three-peat (and so on) of years past. We’re looking March squarely in the eye. No matter what we do, time will pass. Let’s work that gift to its fullest potential and watch some things bloom in the near future.

Initially, this was going to be Top Five *insert rim shot here*, however because I simply could not let two rest for this round, we now have Top Seven. And seven is a divine number, so we’re gonna just roll with that. J

Let’s get this party started…

No job is the best job unless you are the boss lady – Uncle Errol

This sage advice came to me on the heels of scoring a fantastic promotion. I was super-excited to be hand-selected for a new position, I didn’t have to interview, it included a nice salary bump, generous perks and a swanky Upper Eastside address. I was young, well-thought of, respected by colleagues twice my age, bullet proof. On fire if you will. You couldn’t tell me nada about anything on that day, way back in antiquity in the year that was 1997.

Fresh off the LIRR I went straight to mom’s apartment where she was holding court with the usual suspects (several play aunties and associates) on a typical fish-fry, spades and margaritas Friday. With all the exuberance of Charlie finding the golden ticket, I went on and on about this new fantastic opportunity and all the bells and whistles. I’m sure at some point I declared it to be “the best thing ever.” Everyone was so happy for me and my mother was so proud. After I ran out of breathe recounting all the fabulousness that was this new gig, Uncle Errol chimes in:

“I am happy you are doing well baby girl, but let me tell you, no job is the best job unless you are the boss lady”, he said.

It all happened in slow motion. His usual rapid-fire speaking cadence was noticeably dulled and ever-punctuated with a thick Jamaican accent as to ensure each word would stick. In my youth, I didn’t understand. At. All. I have to admit I was annoyed. Nope, I was mad, lol. I was silent for the rest of the night.

Fast forward almost 18 years and I am well-equipped with loads of experience in a variety of corporate and nonprofit settings *insert side-eye here*. Can I tell you how much I OVERSTAND the wisdom of each one of Uncle Errol’s words now?? Each time I see him, I remind him of that story and each time he asks me why I still work for other people. And so here we are.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
Starting is important, agreed? Before you can perfect a thing, you have to work from a draft. Actually, back pedal a bit…you have to create a draft. Some may need to work from a blueprint. The main idea is to get started…doing something. Put some legs on it, bring your vision to fruition. The end result is not possible without a beginning. As the classic Rufus featuring Chaka tune exclaims “Once you get started…” You never know what other ideas may spark or inspiration may strike once you’re in the thick of creation.

Dreamers can often get stuck in what’s known as analysis paralysis. Don’t get stuck trying to figure it all out. Some of the kinks may have to be left to be worked out by the inertia of doing. And that’s ok.

The time is now.

Speaking of perfection. Mother Maya has graced us with volumes of gems to carry us through, ministering to her many daughters. This one is lesser known but oh-so-awesome and right on time.

“I wrote some of the worst poetry west from the Mississippi River, but I wrote. And I finally sometimes got it right.” – Maya Angelou
All of the greats were not greats coming out the gate. I’m loosely paraphrasing here but Michael Jordan missed many more shots than he ever made and not one of those missed shots impacts his legacy. He took shots, and many of them. Practice makes perfect, it gets no more tried and true than that. Aside from analysis paralysis, the quest for perfection and the desire to “do epic ish” can be intimidating as well as limiting. Who cares if it’s perfect, just get it done. Raise your hand if everything you’ve ever done was a fantastic first run? Exactly. Next.

“Do. Or do Not. There is no try.” -Yoda – Jedi Master

You’re not going to try, you are going to do. End of story. Yoda isn’t having any of that try business. In Empire Strikes back, Luke is at the end of his will and cannot raise his fighter from the swamp. He’s hollerin’ back at Yoda about trying. To make it plain, think about how the context of the following two statements:

I did.


I tried.

Decide which of those two teams resonates best for your future and just do the darn thing already. Yoda said.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

By far this is the most poetic way of stating “do over”. Don’t get stuck on what didn’t work. I could get lost in cliché right now.

If first you don’t succeed…

Failure isn’t final

Anyone that has ever done anything has faced off with failure. It is not the end of the world but it could be if you don’t press on. Your prize could very well be on the other side of your biggest flop. Keep your eyes on it.

“This above all, to thine own self be true” – Shakespeare
Contrary to popular belief, don’t be an imitation, it’s not flattery in any form. We need authenticity. We don’t need clones. You are the only you there is, be true to yourself and don’t worry about what others are doing. The best work comes from the core, your own heart and soul. You can’t do great stuff based on another’s core. You just can’t. It’s not sustainable. And really, there’s enough room for everyone.

While the Good Book says, there’s nothing new under the sun, your experience is new. Your point of view, your story, your eye, your voice; all unique. All sacred Don’t sacrifice any of it to compete, to sell or get “likes”. Build it in to your brand.

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives” – FLOTUS Michelle Obama

How can your hustle, gift, talent serve mankind? This is a win-win. To be clear, it’s not about using service to solely elevate your hustle, but using your gifts to elevate humanity. Is there a better use of our gifts? I think not. Find a way to be of service – it may not even be directly related but the love and light that comes from it will weave its way in and through all that you do.

With all of the avenues for promotion available it may be hard to resist the validation of being seen and heard. You want to cash in on your innovation. Not mad at that at all. Top billing might yield more revenue than doing the right thing. I have a good hunch that if you use your superpowers for good, the money thing works itself out. Keep your mind on the bigger picture, your fellow man and know that all that glitters isn’t gold.

Ok, so we’re about to wrap this thing up. In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t think I’d be able to connect my Uncle Errol with Yoda, Shakespeare, the FLOTUS, Samuel Beckett, Maya Angelou and Arthur Ashe. I’m thinking it’d be really masterful if I could have somehow have them all walking in a bar, make it funny and keep it clean. But I digress.

We have our marching orders chicas! Be a boss lady, awesome, right? We know that we need to get started, to stop trying and just go on and do it, already. We know that it won’t be perfect initially, or maybe ever (perfection is highly-subjective anyway). But we must keep trying no matter how many times we fall while being true to ourselves and not to get caught up in paper chase. And how cool would it be to also do some good with it all.

Got it? Good! Who’s got next?








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