Let Your Job Fuel Your Career

Okay folks, here’s the thing, a lot of us are running around wasting years of our time lost and following after things that bring no value, nor add to values we already have set in place. For years I thought the best way to be successful and come up is by paying my dues to others. Working my way up in someone else’s company and learning a set of skills that would benefit my career. Yes internships are great, jobs are very beneficial financially but are these jobs, internships, voluntary services you provide getting you closer to your career, to your dream position?! Of course, sometimes life isn’t fair and we do have to work jobs that aren’t ideal but do get things done! Still, make sure that you are working to your fullest potential and the job is allowing you to.

Just like setting standards and values to make the right connection with people, the same applies to jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Do not lower your standards or compromise your values just because someone told you the pay looks nice or because it’s what everyone is getting into. You must make choices for you! More importantly, if your focus is only on money, you are seriously in trouble. Life is not about making money to have the best things in life, because those things will soon fade away, but its more so about the relationships you have with people. Money will never be able to give you the things you truly desire, like love, a peace of mind, or fellowships with others, GREAT HEALTH!

Know exactly what you want to do, and why you want to do it. This was something I started to learn last year when a guy I was working for broke it down to me. I was all over the place with part-time jobs, back and forth working for him, and wanting to start my clothing line. I knew in my heart that I wanted to do my clothing line, and although working for him was beneficial in that he was a photographer and had connects to models, yet the work I did was not leading me in the right direction to what I wanted to do…design and make clothes! We finally sat down one day for a staff meeting and I explained to him that I would have to back off from the company because I needed something with more pay. I am a single mom of three, no support of any kind from the donor(biological father), and the state gave as much as they could before having to end my monetary benefits. Something had to be done, I had mouths to feed, bills to pay, and most of all I wanted to begin financing MY business. He explained that I didn’t need money, I needed food, utilities, and supplies to began making clothes. Money is just a tool to get the things I need, and he asked were there any other ways to get the things I needed without money. People, that’s when my brain went into overdrive. I started thinking of ways to get what I needed without having to look for a regular job. I am a talented individual that had resources in place to make the money I wanted.

That meeting catapulted me so high, I saw my journey laid out years ahead and when I came down from my “aha” moment, I took off running towards my dreams. As much as my old boss helped me, I had to leave because working for him did not add the value I needed and more importantly, I wasn’t adding value to his company because I wasn’t working to my full potential. When you are working just to be working and you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, you will, in essence, take away from what someone else has built. Of course, not everyone is meant to leave a job and began working for themselves and some are not even interested in starting something of their own. A lot of people have dreams to work for companies already established and are passionate about helping others grow. Just make sure its a company that has values and employees aligned with your core values!

Right now I am still a full-time mother and I am utilizing the skills and disciplines of being a mother and applying them to my career. Part of me wants to get a regular job but circumstances won’t allow it…so I embrace where I am and look forward to where I am going. Being a single mother is very hard and requires a lot of discipline as my children get older and become wiser. My children look to me for everything! So, with that, time management is very important tool in being successful. I also have to budget EVERYTHING!!!! I try not to stress because all that I do here at home, prepares me for my career. In the same way that I look at each task I do at home, look at your job the same way. Never take for granted the task that you are given. Sure its fun to dream of the ultimate career but what steps, skills, and disciplines do you need to acquire in order to get you to the next level of your career?! Figure those steps out and see if you are already perfecting them in the job you are currently in!

 

 

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Cutting The Balancing Act…

It was the month of April and as usual, I’m juggling housework, the kids and their homework, and an audacious 7-month-old, lol. The evening is approaching and I’m rushing to get dinner started while trying to help my oldest son with homework. In the background is bickering between my 8-year-old and 4 years old and Zachary(7 months old) screaming his little eyes out because he is strapped in his swing until mommy gets dinner in the oven. Of course, my heart melts and I’m overwhelmed from hearing my baby cry from neglect. So, I do what any real mom would do…ask my 8-year-old daughter Kynzly to hold her baby brother while I put a pot in the oven, it would only take a second. Now, the idea was to occupy Kynzly so that she would stop arguing with her little brother Kemryck(4-year-old)  and allow Kurtyz(12-year-old) to finish his homework. Middle school work in this day and age requires laser focus and attending a Paideia school doesn’t make it better; I have currently found myself Googling half the things he has questions about and I’m only 32!!! So, to bring peace and harmony back into the house, and some quietness to allow me to breathe for a second, I had devised the best foolproof plan every mother would be proud to nod their head at, except one thing…I did not plan for my daughter to NOT listen.

 

Within a mere minute, our lives changed forever. Kynzly grabbed Zachary but did not stay in the kitchen with me or go sit down in plain view so that I could watch them. Instead, she went to her room because she also had a plan of how to soothe her baby brother! Kynzly laid Zachary on her twin size bed, walked to her closet to grab a toy, and did not realize that her baby brother could roll over so fast. As soon as I closed the oven door and turned around, Kynzly and Zachary were not in sight, and the next noise I heard was a blood-curdling scream from Zachary. Every mother knows that scream and knows that when that high pitch scream rings in the air, life pauses and our minds have made it to wherever the child is before our foot even takes a step. Kurtyz even stopped doing his homework and we both raced to Kynzly’s room and saw Zachary lying on the floor, face down. Kynzly is pale at this point and I am holding Zachary and pressing all over his body to see if there are any injuries, to see if I get a reaction of discomfort. With Zachary clutched in my arms still crying, I turn to Kynzly, yelling, “what happened?!”  Kynzly explained that she was only trying to help calm Zachary down by getting a toy for him. “And the award for worst mother of the year goes to….Kendra Sands!”

 

By the end of the night, I had calmed Zachary down and watched over him until the next morning because he had indeed been injured. Every time he moved his left arm he would cry and a key tip that I learned with Kemryck when he was 1 and fractured his leg, he immediately went to sleep, the same thing happened with Zachary. Once we got to the hospital, the x-ray had concluded that Zachary had a fracture on the inside of his left arm, right at the curve before going deep into the underarm. Already feeling worthless and irresponsible, nausea swept over me because my baby was in pain and I could do nothing to calm him and now these doctors would be judging this single black mom of four. To my surprise, the doctors assured me that Zachary would be fine, that he had already begun to heal because he could move his arm without much crying. However, DCS(Department of Child Services) had to be called because of the type of injury Zachary had obtained at such a young age; a regular procedure that is done when children come in with unusual injuries. I managed to stay calm and had no worries because I knew that Zachary’s injury was an accident. Though at times, I felt like a worthless mom, overall, I am truly grateful for my children and work hard to try an keep them safe.

 

I for sure am not grateful for the pain that the kids and I went through because of this accident, but was relieved at the fact that someone evaluated the situation and gave an honest referral for what needed to happen next. From my perspective, I believe Kynzly did not listen because days prior to the incident, Kynzly did not listen to me on small matters and I allowed the disobedience to slip by because I saw them as “minor” acts of disobedience and I was just too busy to take the time and handle each situation. Kynzly is a great child, very kind and cheerful, and is a natural nurture, so what caused Kynzly to act out that eventually led to a major accident that affected the entire family?! As I mentioned in the beginning, I am a busy mom, juggling many things, wearing many hats, and became so focused on creating a perfect atmosphere for my children and me, that I forgot to include my children. My boys, they are easy going, only need about 5 to 10 minutes of my attention and then they are off to do daring, and courageous stuff, Kynzly, however, is the only girl. I did not realize until that moment in April that the neglect had reached its boiling point. The kids had always reminded me that I sometimes did not listen to them and of course I would drop everything for an hour and split that time between them…horrible idea!

 

So DCS called in a partner organization(Health Connect America) that works with families that have minor issues. They called in a specialist to come to evaluate the atmosphere of the child in need and over a six month period or more, teaches strategies the WHOLE family can use to better communicate on a regular basis. I am happy to say that over the past six months, the children and I have evolved even more since Kynzly’s mentor(therapist), has come. Anna is a very insightful woman that came in and from the beginning, respected our home and our values and has offered so much advice that flows naturally with how we choose to live. Embracing this moment in my family’s life has allowed me to let go of trying to have everything perfect. Some days I will not be able to work the hours I desire because my children need me, and my family comes before my career…the whole point of working from home is so that I can be there for them! Sometimes I have to enforce bedtime so that I can get some sleep in order to get up at 3:45 am and get my work done, as well as allow their bodies to rest.

 

I’ve cut the balancing act of trying to be 50/50 in life because it does not exist, but what I do is, integrate the three most important things in my life…Religion, family, and career. For instance, when trying to solve a problem between the children, I will ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” or like now, I have carved out time with Kynzly to come to sew with me. There were days when I wanted to work alone and get projects done, but now, I allow Kynzly into that part of my world and it turns out that Kynzly is great at it and offers great design ideas, she even sews a little herself and makes clothes for her dolls. Now, Kynzly desires to be a premier ballet dancer, so I took that and integrated that with my fashion designing and I am making her own tutu. When I feel overwhelmed and I know I need to take a break from sewing or house chores, I will go and play a game with Kurtyz and Kemryck, or roll around on the floor with Zachary. Our life isn’t perfect, some nights, dinner is a bowl of cereal and some breakfast days are pizza. We have a blueprint on how to live, but we choose the details that fulfill us and respects our environment.

Surrendering The Pressure…

Once again I found myself under pressure and completely confused about why I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed when I was now able to be successful in getting work done! Just months ago, I struggled for a while to discipline myself and become consistent with completing things on time! I struggled to keep the schedule I made for myself, I struggled to keep my word to the few subscribers on my YouTube channel, I even struggled to take care of my physical appearances from time to time! Now, here I am again, crushed by pressure and stressed because I don’t want to go back to living an ordinary lifestyle. I like being neat and organized, having a plan and executing the task set for the day, and living in harmony with my children. I had tasted freedom and damn it I want more of it!!!

Last month I became aware that I was literally talking myself out of doing anything but the bare minimum for my children and career. I wanted to take a break from sewing, writing, even parenting! Yeah, I know, I sound like a horrible mom, but no…not walk out on my children or stop handling their basic needs.No, I wanted to literally leave their morals and ethical values in the hands of their teachers and peers and my parents. I just wanted to wake up, get them ready for school, kiss them goodbye for the moment, and go back to bed. As far as my career, I wanted to pack up every sewing assignment I was working on and tell my clients to find someone else to finish the garment. I wanted to deactivate my Word Press and pretty much push my book and essays aside until I FELT ready to work again. Now, there is nothing wrong with taking breaks and in my house, being that I am a single mom of 4…breaks are not scheduled, they come and go as they please, especially when it comes to my 13-month-old and 4.5 years old.

I took breaks all the time, whether I liked it or not; half the time I hated it because my breaks always came right when I had gained momentum on my work and I knew that I would not be able to get back to my work unless I stayed up past my children’s bedtime or I let go of the pressure of having to finish an assignment right then and wait til my hours of solitude. After much consideration…I surrendered the pressure and began going to bed on time and waking up at 3:45 am to do my prayer and bible study, and then get to work. Oh my gosh, 3:45am to 7:00am are pieces of Heaven that I love to indulge in because ALL of my children are asleep and for three straight hours I get to push myself as hard as I need to without any breaks. Those moments take me back to when I just had my two oldest and I would drop them off at school, get back home and design a garment without having to eat or the times I would meet with my mentor to work on an article. It was those blissful moments that I miss so much! Finally had reached that happiness again after years of getting side-tracked and doing things that almost destroyed my life and my children’s loves! So why was I depressed and overwhelmed last night after achieving a long sought-after goal?!

My children are doing great at home…for the most part, lol and thriving brilliantly at school, and each day I learn a new way to communicate and share my wisdom with them. I have finished assignments, not on time, but days before the due date! What in the hell could be going on with me when things seemed so good?! In my last upload, I could see myself, as I vlogged, actually break down the emotions that I was feeling, in the midst of the moment and by the end of the video I was able to pinpoint exactly what was going on with me!

The first thing that I noticed about myself, was that I let go of the pressure to upload a “perfect” video. My kids were talking in the background, one walked pass crying and right in the middle of the video, I catered to his need, #mommyflex moment, lol. It felt so great to let go of that pressure to produce a perfect video and as a bonus, I was able to deliver a #uglyduckling moment that I had created my channel for! So, once I let go of the pressure, I was able to free myself from judgment and allow myself to embrace the emotion. Embracing that moment let me know that I was safe and that I was human and that I was not feeling this way because of work, I had finished my work. My children were also not the problem because I let them be free as much as they need to within the guidelines of our family ethical values. The only thing left that I had to evaluate was the upcoming move to California.

Yesss, the children and I are taking the big step and moving away from the familiar and exploring an entirely new way of life on the west coast. Every person I tell that to freaks out and replies, “that’s an expensive place”, “you know that Los Angeles is a fast-paced city…huge city compared to Chattanooga”, or the famous doubtful question, “how do you plan to do that?!” Of course, I simply reply with the basics, “I know it’s a big city, that’s why we are moving, we want to try a new living style and the lessons and skills I have obtained here, I can simply apply there!” They look with surprise, a shake of the head, grin, and say, “okay, wish you the best!” That was it, that was what was applying the pressure…I was scared about the move!!! NO!!!! I am even more eager to leave now,  because people continue to look at my circumstance, the scars of my past, and think that I am not smart enough to handle a city like Los Angeles!

The pressure wasn’t fear, but that I am longing to hurry up and move! I have been consistent with my responsibilities only for a good week and already thinking that I am ready to move! The longing became so intense that it almost caused me to move 10 years back, back to the days of my 20’s where I was working, but not working in the direction I needed to elevate to the next level. Here I am, thinking that all it takes is one great assignment completed, one great picture, caption posted and the opportunities will come pouring in! Nope! Because God is having me to pave out a new avenue, things cannot come so easy, nor do I want them to. However, I wanted to see tremendous progress after I had worked on a project for so long. I wanted the great efforts that I put in to be rewarded by great leaps of recognition and monetary rewards, lol. Now that my mind has been elevated, the children and I are wanting to travel and experience things that we had not thought of before.

The children and I have less than a month to go before the big move. Looking at everything going on in our lives…the move doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. I am still waiting on paperwork to be finalized, I still have packing to do, the kids are upset and sad that they will have to leave friends and their grandparents behind. Yet I keep telling people, I keep telling the kids, my parents, myself that we are moving next month! I’m on the edge of my seat because one minute I am ready to go, another minute, something happens and I am asking myself…”Kendra, are you really ready to go, are you disciplined enough, are you focused enough to handle the new life waiting for you?!” Only time will tell and until then…I will keep working!

Balancing Out

How do you balance out your life? With self-discipline, in my opinion, but I have found it very difficult to do! I’ve written out schedules, used various task apps and applied a time management formula to get on board with this thing, yet some how I can’t seem to get going! Sure life happens and interrupts the schedule planned out, but when it comes to being off schedule every single day, going to bed at various hours, it poses a problem for this mom-preneur! It is vital that I become consistent, focused, reliable, and dedicated or I will soon crash and burn. On to the next level of this journey…going from “starting” to “preserving”!

Let Go…

I tried to hold on to this thing as long as I could, afraid of being called a quitter but who cares! I’d rather be happy than suffer the blows of insecurity, complacency,and rejection. I yearn for that freedom to be only me, no make-up, no name brands, no material things, just clothed with love. I want my love to over-flow, exposing my wild heart and vibrant soul! So I let go, eyes wide open and I jump. I want to see my beauty unfold, evolve right in front of me. I want to experience that acceptance like never before. Here I am universe, naked and radiating in the essence of He, the one who saved me….

I released that fear of having my work negatively judged and jumped. I let go of that fear that my work may be stolen, copied and I jumped. I’m all in at this point bursting with so many ideas and work to show. I’ve been ready for a long time to do the things I love, yet fearful that I “may” not be good enough.  Well, universe…here I am!

I leave my past behind, live in the present, and anticipate the future. I did what I did, I made the choice, and yet I am still alive to move beyond those things. I let go and live in the presence. I live with a wild heart and a vibrant soul.

I let go and told him the truth, laying all my cards on the table and watched as he walked away. To no avail his response pierced my heart quickly and I fell. I struggled for days to understand and tried to calculate what I did wrong. I clinched to the hope that my love would win and lost sight of where I was going. The hurt, the rejection weighed down on me, forcing me to fall faster, causing me to miss the moment of falling, so I let go. I released that desire to understand and celebrated the confidence to at least let him know. I let go and fall at a steady pace…

Law of Attraction, Connecting with the right people!

Okay, so in my last post I said I would talk about relationships and networking the following week…I apologize…no I was not, no I did not. I noticed that the last post were on the 12th and 28th. I thought it was cool and wanted to stick with it. Well I have been observant of myself and those that are disciplined in their lives and found that people are much more productive and motivated at the beginning of the week, month, year and need to refuel again at the half way mark. So I will be posting on the 2nd and 21 of every month, occasionally I will post on the 14th if the theme of the month calls for it.

I sincerely apologize for the late post and will try to be more disciplined in being consistent and working with integrity. I will admit that this month has been a trying month for me and I have been playing catch up with a few things. I moved at the beginning of this month and right in the middle of this month I took a big hit to my finances and I fell hard. However, I got back up and began to look at what was going on and became educated on how to handle the situation and prevent it from happening next time. After looking things over, I was not financially ready to move, but God has plans for me and this move was required.

**Know this, God will never move you to a place unprepared! I had plenty of opportunities to get prepared but failed to because my focus was on other things…**

Now, here I am in the suburbs and pretty much stagnant. There is no reliable transportation available, no close amenities to where I can really get out to, and the kids are out for the summer. Looking at things with a glance, one would say that this move was a horrible move. Step back and look again…don’t worry, I had to. How I see it, God moved me from a place that was stunting my growth and removed me from relationships that were not only toxic to my health, life in general, but to my career!

In order to move forward, to move up, one would have to let go of excess baggage. I had to get rid of bad habits and dead-end relationships that influenced those bad habits! For others it may be a girlfriend,boyfriend, friends, family,jobs,etc. Know that sometimes bad habits leave scars that remind you of your past decisions, choices but that’s okay because its fuel to keep you FLEEING in the right direction. They are a constant reminder as to why you cut certain relationships off! It will be hard the first time letting go when some relationships don’t show dramatic damage in the beginning, but trust me, if you observe and evaluate the relationship as a whole and see that it will or is currently blocking your journey, it is best to go ahead and “rip the band-aid” now than wait years down the line for things to get worse.

Well, how does one know that they are in a bad relationship?! LAW OF ATTRACTION, my friend…namely in the philosophy of thought. Are your relationships in alignment with your core values, do they have a positive or negative effect on the things that you value? No, people don’t have to have the exact same interest but there has to be something there that makes the connection awesome…mainly what each of you value. Why values, because people live, make choices by the things they value most. If you are not able to connect mentally,(by guided wisdom) then you are bound to be at odds and eventually clash! There has to be more to relationships than, “what’s in it for me?!”

I will admit that majority of my relationships stemmed from selfish desires…I did not want to be alone, I wanted acceptance, and to be social. Of course there is nothing wrong with those feelings, but when those feelings lead you into and keep you in toxic relationships and have you to make horrible decisions, then its a problem. You must be fully aware of who you are, what you value, and set standards that uphold your values so others will know and so it will not leave the door open for you to be manipulated by others that say they have your best interest at heart! People will say anything to get close to you, but observe,(carefully watch and patiently wait to see how things unfold). Listen to people, watch to see if their words are aligned with their actions, and if their life reaps what they have been sewing,(“preaching”).

Because I had not clearly defined who I was *to myself* and set realistic standards, I fell for everything, did some of everything, worked in all kinds of business fields just to “feel” like I belonged. I even put myself in situations that went greatly against my values and my standards were based on what people thought they should be. Boy am I glad to be out here in the middle of no where, all to myself with my children. Now I embrace this season of loneliness because it allows me to be by myself, to evaluate my past mistakes and work on setting standards that are based on what I value most. I have really been in tune with my thoughts and cleared out relationships that hindered me. With that, because I have rid myself of those relationships, I have also rid myself of habits that caused setbacks mentally and physically!

With my life cleared out, I am open to accept new relationships, to network and socialize with the right people, based on the standards I have set for myself and my family!!! I now know to:

Be who I am, do the things I love to do, be where I want to be. Through law of attraction, I will attract the right things because I am in the environment that aligns with my values, not chasing after others and their values…trying to change myself.

I have adapted good habits of  listening and being observant instead of talking so much. Sometimes, when you talk to much, you miss out on things. Your focus is on you and less on who you should be watching out for!

Listen to what people have to say, see if their values match yours and observe their actions to see if it aligns with their words.

I have also learned that I don’t have to chase after friends, God will surround you with the right people. He will allow the law of attraction to take place if you remain true to who you are…”who you are or what you think you are…you will attract!”

Cheers 🙂

The Expense Of Convenience

Convenience….the state of doing something with little to no effort! Although that may sound great, it is one of the worst things to do when owning your own business, even worse to do when starting up.

I’m still on ground level but excited because I am putting in the work! Did I always have this mind-set, uh no! It dawned on me last week when I realized that I did not have the funds to hire a fit model to complete my sample garments, merely looking to hire a model out of sheer convenience! I thought it would be easier to construct my garments and my work would look much more professional draped on a model.

I found myself stressed out trying to come up with money to pay a consultant to write up a contract that would state how much and when I would be able to pay the model. Needless to say, this took up to much of my work time that should have been used to finish my garments, garments I had originally measured and draped for my size!

So, here I am putting in the work, the hours, and the creativity to make sure I am constructing my garments right. And for the record….I do not have a dress form…can’t afford one right now.
My focus is to put in the efforts to finish my garments,use the resources I have and allow my blood, sweat, and tears to create revenue. When the time is right, I will be able to upgrade to much more professional resources without having to chase after them.

There is nothing more rewarding than to receive the right recognition for your work when you have put your all into it and not cut corners! Sometimes it’s better to start with just you, learn your craft well for yourself and then start building a team,(I will talk about team building and networking in part 2 on next week)!

Tipping The Barrel….

So, I’m on a mission to learn the business of fashion design, and not in the traditional way(college). I’m pretty much following successful business owners and listening in on key principles that they follow, that got them off the ground and keeps them going. Looking to learn about the world of business any way I can. I’ve kicked this damn barrel that I am scraping and said, “to hell with scraping” lets create some revenue, lets open your mind to new ways of working smarter!

I will admit, I got a little discouraged and wanted to go put in an application for a job somewhere because when I read about entrepreneurs, half of them started young, fresh out of high school and partnered up with others like themselves. Here I am at 30 still trying to build a dream, vision that I’ve had since 5. I know what you may be thinking…”its time to let go!” Well, that’s why it has taken so long for me to emerge. I spent half my 20’s trying new things, giving up when I  made a mistake on a garment. I talked myself out of my dream and let others do the same, but I can’t give up, won’t give up because fashion design is what I am destined to do!

I look back over my life and I see those moments where God allowed me to develop my gift and where I had opportunities but allowed fear to step in. I use to look at those moments as wasted efforts and losses but now I see them as fuel for motivates, lessons learned. I look back and see where I went wrong, where  I was mentally and turn those moments into principles that I can use now as I move forward. I take every “no”, rejection, environmental set back as a tool to catapulte me forward into my career, in my life as a whole. I am so ready and HUNGRY for this!

Scraping The Bottom of the Barrel

I’m a 30-year-old single mom, still pursuing a career in fashion design. I have been striving to get my career off the ground since I was 16, yeah…extremely long time! I’ve had my ups and downs with this passion of mine. I’ve gone from taking sewing classes, to doing “made-up” internships with local business owners who I thought would be of a great asset and mentor to me as well as allow me to use the knowledge I learn in business school. Needless to say…I encountered dead ends!

I found myself working for others, traveling down roads that led to other’s dreams and lost sight of what I was created to do. It was fun and rewarding to help others, but when it gets to a point where others are having you doubt your gifts just to keep you as a slave for them, its time to go! Of course I went back and forth with the idea to step out on my own and seek knowledge else where. I was scared and also had become comfortable with people providing me with knowledge and their way of thinking.

At that point, I was no longer myself, I did not recognize who I was, why I did the things I did, and I found myself struggling to function in my personal life and in my career. I had to just trust God and step out on faith. It was scary not knowing what my next step would be but I figured it would be better than what I was in right then! So I jumped.

Here I am now, making moves for myself. No, everything is not perfect, and things didn’t just happened once I stepped out. It took time to get where I am and honestly, I am still at ground zero. I am learning the art of business and fashion by myself. Secondary school is not an option right now, I haven’t received a loan  to get my brand started, I am basically using the resources around me, finding ways to create with no cash flow. I am literally scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to get my brand off the ground.