Five Lessons From 2011

This is me in Italy... May 2011

It’s been a while, but… I’m back!

The new year has arrived and, like many of you, I took a little time to reflect on the last year before the new one began. I am of the opinion that you can not stay the same year after year. There’s no way that you started 2011 in the exact same place that you started 2012. Things have changed, and experiences help you grow. I came up with this list of five lessons that I learned in 2011, that I hope will be the foundation to prepare me for even higher heights in 2012. Here they are:

1.) Faith REALLY Is Confidence In What We’ve Hoped For & Assurance Of Things We Haven’t Seen: Growing up in church this scripture was drilled into me. When you’re a kid though, you learn things, recite them, but never apply them. Experience forces that. It’s easy to say that you have faith, but you don’t know what it means to put it into action until you are truly tested. When things aren’t going your way, you still have possess an unwavering confidence that the promises God (whoever you believe in) has made to you will indeed come to pass. Although plenty of doors were closed on me in 2011, every goal that I set came to to fruition. In 2012, know that you have to stay faithful.

2.) Never Doubt Your Skills Or Compare Your Gift To Someone Else’s: When I got confirmation that I’d been approved for press clearance to the 2011 BET Awards… I couldn’t believe it. I was excited, at first, and then anxiety started setting in. Am I good enough for this? Do I get enough hits for this? Why did they choose me? How am I going to do this by myself? These were all the questions racing through my mind on the flight out to LA. They lingered as I visited the awards venue and took my place backstage. I was nervous, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let that stop me. At some point in time, everyone gets that feeling that they may not deserve something, but the trick is, to never let anyone see you sweat. I decided to act like I belonged, before they changed their minds and threw me out. I introduced myself to EVERYONE that walked in the door. I was working alone, but I used all the tools that I had to my advantage and adapted to the situation. The result: an opportunity to meet and connect with some of entertainments biggest stars, a backstage pass to one of the biggest award shows of the summer, and unprecedented access to many industry insiders. At one point during the show, I looked up and realized I was blogging away at a table with Necole Bitchie and the team from Global Grind, and I was meant to be right where I was in that space and time. I didn’t have any desire to be better than the next blogger, I was only doing what I could to be the best version of myself, and it paid off. That confidence has now given me the strength to pursue even more lofty goals for 2012. This year, focus on doing you, instead of worrying about what anyone else is doing. You are the only person stopping you from achieving your goals.

3.) Hearing And Listening Are Two Different Things: I’ve always been a source of information for my friends. When they want to know something, they come to me. I have an overflowing wealth of random knowledge that comes from my inquisitive nature, and my insatiable appetite for reading. That by default, has put me in the position to be the go to girl for advice as well. I don’t claim to know everything, but… I do know some, and I share that whenever I can. In 2011, however, I learned the importance of listening. While I’ve always been very observant, and and allow myself to hear things often, I would sometimes find myself interjecting opinions before really LISTENING to the situation and everything that comes with it. Sometimes, friends don’t need advice, they just need someone to truly LISTEN to them and encourage them through affirmation. In 2012, make a pledge to yourself, to not only hear what people say, but to truly listen to what is going on. Get an understanding of the situation before you open your mouth.

4.) You Teach People How To Treat You: My mom says this all the time (Hi Mom.) Sometimes when you want something (or someone) so badly, or you’re concerned about hurting someone else’s feelings, that you neglect yourself and your feelings in the process. From my experiences in 2011, I know that all that does, in the end, is lead to pain and disappointment on your end. You can’t be mad at someone for treating you badly, if you continue to let them do so. The main lesson: never settle. In 2012, don’t be afraid to say what you feel, and speak up for yourself when you feel like you’re being treated unfairly.

5.) Do Not Be Afraid To Love & Enjoy The Life You Have: Love can be a distraction, but really loving someone (and I mean REALLY, not that ‘luv” love) is a cool feeling. It’s part of the experience of life. It’s easy to allow yourself to get caught up in other people’s expectations of what you should be doing at whatever point in your life you’re at. 2011 was my first year 100% free of school since kindergarten. At first, it was a difficult transition away from the structure of traditional education, classrooms, schedules and the like, but in all the freedom allowed me to do things that I would have never had the opportunity to do. In 2011, I traveled out of the country for the first time, by myself. I went to states that I’d never been before. I experienced new food, music, festivals, concerts, plays, movies and any other type of cultural experience that I could find. I dated, and found out what it really means to get to know, and love a person for who they are, and not what they could be. I started on the path to looking at people the way God looks at us, and that has made me a better person. In 2012, don’t be afraid to try. If you’ve been hurt, use that pain as a lesson for what NOT to do ever again. Let your best days be ahead of you.

I wish you all the best success in the new year. I hope that you continue to follow me on this journey, through this blog, as I document my experiences on the road to success. Stay tuned… it only gets better from here! 

Here are a few pics from my adventures in 2011, Enjoy!:

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