“I once took part in a ‘life coaching’ exercise that at first sounded rather macabre. It was this: write your own eulogy. Shocked? Don’t be. The point is to articulate how you would like to be remembered. And once you’ve done it, ask yourself if you are that person today. If not, then no better time to start than immediately. After all, it’s too easy to look across the tracks and see successful people (whatever form that ‘success’ might take to be relevant to you) and muse that they’ve only done it because they were born in the right month, to the right family or with an excess of luck on their side. It’s much harder to perceive your destiny as your own responsibility.
And yet, what is it that permits some to rise to fame, fortune or respect? It strikes me that there are common threads that have very little to do with background, providence or prosperity. And so I proffer my observations and my own life learnings thus far… To do anything well, you must first care. Passionately. And be enthusiastic. Be hungry. Stay hungry. Be proactive. Do more than your job description. In fact, create your own job. Understand that receiving criticism is the quickest way to improve. And that sometimes being fired, or not getting what you want, is absolutely the best thing that could happen. Be a team player. Give credit where credit is due; ‘we’ is always stronger than ‘I’. But if something goes wrong, take responsibility, stand up and be counted. Love your life outside work – it’s the only way to stay sane, and that’s more important the higher up you go. Know your physical limits, but never stop dreaming. Never mock another person’s dreams. Don’t be a quitter. If you believe you can do something, you’ve already done the hard part. Be curious. Stay curious. Rules are overrated but respect is everything. Play for win/win scenarios. Don’t ask permission to succeed, just get on with it. If something hasn’t been done before, it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. In short, dream, believe, do! But be prepared to work bloody hard, over and above expectations. Never cheat. Don’t gossip. Have a moral code. Enjoy the ride. The aim is to screech to a halt when you finally get to those pearly gates and say wow, what a blast! Not oops, I forgot something.”
-Michelle Ogundehin, editor-in-chief of Elle Decor UK
I think I decided the day I got the offer from my company, in fact I think I’m still deciding (luckily I’m with an amazing company that gives us that room to grow/change).
Before I was here I was at Harpers Bazaar and I had no idea which direction I wanted to take- I applied for jobs in fashion, media, press and at a few record labels. I even considered starting up an e-bakery. Get involved now while you have the freedom and flexibility: travel, intern intern and then intern some more: I worked at a showroom, as a brand ambassador for BCBG, with a start-up site similar to Shop Bop, I was editor in chief of an awesome fashion magazine in college, I spent every summer in New York…I stayed really busy: all of these experiences taught me so much about what I wanted, but more importantly what I didn’t want and what kind of lifestyle I valued.
It wasn’t easy or simple: there were a lot of tears along the way, homesickness, a lack of understanding from parents, I was dirt poor (NY will do this), and just generally worn down but it was (definitely) worth it. Put yourself out there and if an opportunity or position doesn’t exist- find a person or company that will let you create it. You’ve still got so much time to decide, don’t make up your mind just yet or feel like you need to know what’s over the hill that is graduation (if you’re anything like me than this last bit will fall on deaf ears.) Spoiler alert: no one really knows exactly what they want- ever. Spoiler alert #2: it will all work out the way it’s supposed to.
No, definitely not. I went through some very personal dark/unhappy times growing up and throughout college. Family issues, bad relationships, friendship, money, the future, etc. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do, I’ve dealt with insecurities, I’ve had bad relationships that made me unhappy, and at times I was the cause of my own unhappiness. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out but I can safely say that I have never felt this secure: in my career, with myself, and in my relationships, both with friends and with the man I love to no end, Alex. A quote to live by (and much better put!)….
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.