Are you Ready for Success?

Hi everyone!!! I hope all of you are enjoying yourselves during this holiday season! I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone already, and that the new year is right around the corner. I must say, 2015 has been an AMAZING year for me, and because of all the hard work I’ve done, I will tell you that a lot of big things are already in the works for this blog for 2016, as well as for a lot of other things I’m working on as well.  A lot of new opportunities, growth, and most of all success is ahead of me, and I’m sure the same things are in the plans for a lot of you as well. However, are we really ready for success? Do we know what that even means? This week, while thinking about the things that are about to happen for me in a few months, I really started to wonder if I was.

Success is a Process

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For those of you who are fans of the Hip Hop genre of music, I’m sure you are very familiar with Dj Khaled. Dj Khaled released an album called Suffering from Success in 2013. I was intrigued by the name of his album, so I did some research to see what he had to say about it. During an interview for his album, Dj Khaled explained the concept behind “Suffering from Success”.  He defined it as the stress, struggle, trials, and tribulations that people have to endure on the road to becoming successful, and that it’s important to realize that there’s a lot that comes with becoming successful in the first place. While watching this interview, I thought “wow, this pretty much sums up all of my blog posts for the year”. In all of the blog posts I’ve  shared these past 12 months, I’ve talked all about how to achieve success, and how to pursue your dreams. From your mindset, to investing in yourself, to commitment, to the “suffering from success” that Dj Khaled talks about, all the way to the passion and belief you must have in yourself. It made me realize that success is a process, and that it’s a process that doesn’t end even after you’ve achieve success- something I hadn’t thought about.

What happens after you’ve achieved success?

So as you already know, success is a process. There’s the mindset, hard work, and commitment and all the other things I talked about in all my blog posts that pertain to the road to becoming successful. However, what about the other part of this process? That’s what I was missing. When Dj Khaled talked about Suffering from Success, he focused on the suffering you endure before you’ve become successful and the suffering you endured as you were becoming successful, and that’s what my blog has focused on too. However, what about the suffering that you endure while being successful? What does it look like? Does it even exist? I hate to say it, but yes, it does exist, and if you aren’t aware of it, you won’t be ready to deal with it. So, for those of you who are on the road to success or are thinking about it, I  thought I’d share what I thought to be some of the most common ways you can still indeed “suffer from success” even after you’ve achieved it.

1.People change

When you become successful, no matter what it is you’ve done,  you’re going to run into changes in the people around you. You may gain some haters. There’s always someone who’s going to be “salty” at the fact that you’re doing better than them. Some people may come out of the wood work. Now that you’ve got money, or have lost weight, or whatever it is that you’ve achieved people who could have cared less about you yesterday, are suddenly concerned today. You may run into intimidation. People who were super confident and comfortable around you before,  may feel intimidated, inferior, nervous, or embarrassed to be around you now that you’re successful.

2.You change

In most cases, success causes changes within yourself. Most times these changes are good, but they can also be bad. You may have a new outlook on life, a new mindset. You may change the places you shop, the food you eat, the people you associate with, the things you do. However, you may begin to feel haughty and better than others- larger than life. You may refuse to help those who are striving to do what you did, to achieve their dreams. You may forget about the people who were there for you when you were still pursuing your dreams, and struggling to win. You may forget how you had to suffer for success and make it from the bottom to the top.

3.You become the center of attention

Sometimes your success puts you in a position where you have to maintain a certain image and constantly be in the public eye. Everyone is watching your every move, criticizing your decisions, reading into everything you say, and following every step you take. How are you going to handle that? For some people, this isn’t a problem, but for others, it can be very hard to deal with.

4.You fail to realize when enough is enough

Once some of you get a taste of success, you become addicted to it. However, this addiction to success isn’t always a healthy one. Whether it’s money or a new job, or fame, or what have you, you find yourself never being satisfied. You find yourself wanting more and more to the point where it’s detrimental to you , others around you, and your current success. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve as much as possible- the sky is the limit. However,  it can become problematic if you become greedy and take it too far.

5.You start feeling like it’s too much

Often times with success may come many new responsibilities- more than you were planning on. Juggling this and everything else I just mentioned above along with maintaining time for you, your health, and your well being can pose quite the challenge for some people. Sometimes, too much of a challenge to handle alone. Success comes with a lot at times, and if you aren’t sure how to handle that, you may find ways to handle it that aren’t in the best interest of you or anyone for that matter.

Success is like Opening Pandora’s Box

I don’t want any of you to think that there’s nothing good about achieving your dreams and being successful. Following your dreams is one of the best decisions you can make in life-That’s what this whole blog is about! However, I just want you to think about what you’re fully stepping into when you decide to  follow your dreams. Success is like opening pandora’s box. Once you open it, there is no going back, and you have to be prepared for what may or may not happen. You have to be okay with the fact that it may be perfectly fine, or that it may be really hard and scary. You have to understand that your life is going to change. The things you do may change, the people you’re around may change- you’re going to change. None of us really knows what the future holds for us, and we can’t control it. However, there is nothing wrong with preparing yourself. This week, I’m challenging all of you to really be aware of what comes with following your dreams, and to really think about if you’re fully prepared for what that could mean for you and your life. Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary, you don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond. I hope you have a Happy New Year! ❤

-Kayla ❤

 

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Choose Your Path

December is an exciting yet stressful time of the year for all of you fellow college students! For some of you, December means long nights of studying, sweatpants, lots of coffee,4am papers, and dreaded final exams. For others, December means Christmas break, going home, and graduation!!! Graduation is like a breath of fresh air- you did it! You’ve hit a major milestone- your college degree! Now it’s time  take everything you’ve learned and take the real world by storm!! Kiss all of your fun college days goodbye- it’s time for your career! It’s time for reality.

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Exactly a year ago, this was me. I was graduating Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Oswego. I applied to grad school and was accepted at Syracuse University’s Falk School of Social Work, and I was preparing to step into the world of professional careers and 401 K’s…I remember thinking “I’m so ready for this! My resume is amazing, my grades a superb, and I’m en route to receiving my Masters Degree!” I was on top of the world!!! Everything was in place, I was doing everything right.

A few weeks after graduating college, reality really began to hit me. Everyone I talked to was congratulating me on graduating and it was cool to have accomplished something so great. I didn’t mind telling  everyone about all of my success! However, the expected life questions followed soon after:

“So, what’s next?”

“Do you have a job?”

“Are you continuing your education?”

“Did you get into grad school?”

Luckily for me, the answer to all of those was yes, and I was damn proud of my answer! I was going back to school, I had a job. Everyone was so proud, so excited about everything I was doing.Based on society’s expectations,  I was on the right path!

Sure, it was the “right path”, but was it the “right path” for me?

I was working with children in the inner city, and to be honest I loved it, because I loved kids. However, I began to realize that this was going to be life now (until grad school). There were no more summer vacations! There were no more month long winter breaks! There were no more 4 day weekends, and having class at 2 in the afternoon! I was in the real world, and as exciting as it was to have received your degree and to land a job in your career field, it was also very sobering in a sense.  I sort of began feeling like this was life. Your job and your career that is. All of your time and energy goes into working full time! By the time I got home everyday, I didn’t want to do anything. I was tired, and just wanted to sleep! I remember my colleagues saying, “welcome to the real world girl!” For me, I began to be afraid…but then I remembered-this is the expectation! This is why you went to school! This is what you’ve prepared for! On top of that,  I was going back to college in just 8 short months!

As I just mentioned, I was also preparing to return to school in the fall in the midst of working full time. I had just mailed in my confirmation to start grad school, and I was scheming on how I could build my resume and gain experience so that I could nail an awesome internship come August. I was ready. However, as Syracuse University began sending me more information about my graduate program, the more stressed I became.  My first semester consisted of 16 credits of courses which roughly equals a course load of about 5 classes. Another requirement for the fall semester was a 25 hour per week internship equaling 250 hours for the semester. When I first saw this, I was like “Okay, nothing I’m not used to. Typical college demands.”  However, the 25 hour a week “unpaid” internship was a little problematic. How in the world was I going to intern for 25 hours a week, go to class, study, FIND SOME TIME TO WORK, and have any time to myself or to do anything else? I talked to my advisor about it, and she told me that she had just finished the semester I was dreading beginning. She said she basically struggled to make ends meet, and to survive, but it was necessary for success. I thought about it, and agreed with her and didn’t worry about it anymore. I was on the right path, and I had made it into grad school, so I had to keep going and keep achieving. This is what I had to do!  I also began to delve into the life of “graduate school financial  aid”. Out of the $60,000+ cost of attendance for SU, I was only awarded $20,000 in assistance. Where was the other $30,000 coming from? I had no idea. Sallie Mae knew where it was coming from though. Of course their were fellowships, grad assistant jobs, and other options to help, but with my course load and internship requirements there was no way I was going to have time for that.  I knew every other student was doing this and probably having the same concerns as me, but I knew I had to make it work. That’s just how it goes in college. Everyone else was doing it, and it was the right thing to do. I had to get my Masters right? So, I prepared to sign my life away for the next two years, and rack up another $120,000 in loans to obtain my Masters Degree. It was what I had to do. It was the next step on the path to success.

Ten days after I graduated from college, I thought about my life. I thought about my dreams. I had so many dreams, so many things I wanted to do! In the midst of working a job full time, I began feeling like I was never going to have time for those dreams anymore. It was time to put my dreams away. However, I was not feeling that at all. I was really passionate about a lot of different things! Writing, traveling, entrepreneurship, business, motivational speaking and the list goes on! However, I kept telling myself, “this is what you’re supposed to do. This is the path to success!” Every day, I tried to convince myself of this, but my dreams!!! Sure I loved social work, and kids- I truly did and still do love those things, but my dreams!! I knew I had to go to grad school and continue my education, BUT MY DREAMS!!!! My dreams meant so much more to me, and I was not about to fall into the “real world” and “right path” box! I was not gonna end up like everyone else who decided to sacrifice their dreams to meet the expectations of society. So, I didn’t. I followed my dreams.

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I created this blog that January following my graduation, and it was such an amazing experience. All of this was weighing on my heart so much, to the point where I knew that, that was what this blog was going to be about- following your dreams, choosing your path! It was like it all happened on purpose, all at the right time! I prayed long and hard, and I knew this was what I was supposed to do, so I went for it! I chose my path. I dove into entrepreneurship, I picked up writing, I began traveling, and doing everything I was truly passionate about! I wasn’t gonna give up on my dreams. I went  hard  for them and I still am! I didn’t end up going to grad school either. Sure, people were disappointed. I got the whole “you need it to be successful”,  “you’re already so successful, why stop now?”, “it’s such a prestigious school”, and my favorite “how are you gonna throw it all away.”

“How are you gonna throw it all away?” They’re right. How could I just throw my dreams away?

For almost a year now, I have been working on my dreams. Do a lot of people think it’s crazy? Why, of course. I sacrificed grad school, and really “building” my career, and “sticking to the status quo” to pursue my dreams! I still have a long way to go, but this past year has shown me nothing but growth and success. I see my dreams coming true! Stepping out on a path of my own was scary. However, it wasn’t as scary as it looks. I still take care of my business. I still have my full-time job. I still pay my bills, I take care of my responsibilities- those don’t just go away. I just didn’t let my dreams go away because of those things and neither should you. Yes, life and society have this pre-made path that everyone is supposed to follow, but you don’t have to follow it. I chose my path. I chose me.

At the end of  the classic Disney movie, Pocahontas, in the scene where her father is about to kill John Smith, Pocahontas falls on top of John Smith and says,

“This is the path I choose father, what will yours be?”

I challenge all of you to answer this question.  What will your path be? You have to choose. Especially those of you preparing to move into a new chapter of life. I’m not saying don’t go to grad school if that’s your plan or change your whole life plan around after reading this, I’m just saying make sure you choose your path. Not the “right” path or the “expected” path or the “realistic” path, but YOUR PATH. It may not  be what everyone wants you to do. It may not be what everyone expects it to look like. It may look crazy to the rest of the world! It may look childish, it may look risky, it may look unrealistic, but it’s yours!  It’s not supposed to look like anyone else’s and if it does, well, you may be on the wrong path. This week, I’m telling you to follow your dreams. Take a chance, take a leap of faith! I did, and I promise you, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Choose your path today.

It’s not too late, child. Let the spirits of the Earth guide you. You know your path, child. Now follow it!

-Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

Remember you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond.”

-Kayla ❤

 

 

Put your Pride Away!!

Happy Monday! I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday- I know I did! Aside from eating 50 plates of food and decorating the Christmas tree, every year, my mom and I have a tradition of going Black Friday shopping together. This year,while shopping at Target, we saw a woman who was trying to buy a giant television. She was a very small lady and trying to carry the television was nearly impossible for her. A few customers and store associates offered her help numerous times, but she rudely declined each time even though it was clear she needed help and clear that she wanted help. Unfortunately for her, she ended up dropping the television, but luckily a man was there and was able to help prevent it from falling on the floor. The lady then rudely thanked him for helping her. The man proceeded to ask,

“Why didn’t you just ask for help?”

Annoyed she responded,

“I don’t need to ask for help. Everyone saw me struggling and no one bothered to help me.”

I could not believe my ears after hearing her say this! There were people offering their help to her left and right, but she refused their offers even though she wanted people to help her! This my friends is called PRIDE! Not the positive, healthy pride that one may have in themselves, but the “stubborn suffer in silence”, “impertinent” pride. She almost lost her television because she was too proud to ask for help, or to accept the help she was offered! Like this wonderful little lady, a lot of us let our pride get the BEST of us at the WORSE possible times as well! Especially when it comes to our dreams and goals!

A lot us have goals, dreams, and things we aspire to do and become. When it comes to our dreams, goals, and aspirations we don’t always know exactly what we’re doing or how difficult things might be. Sometimes, we don’t even know where to start! For some people this is a no brainer-they immediately ask for help and guidance! However, for other people, they refuse to ask for help! They will sit there and forfeit their dreams and goals because they are too prideful to ask for help, get information, and accept guidance. They refuse to let people know they even want to pursue their dreams. They know they need help, they know they’re curious, and they know they really want to pursue their dreams, but their pride gets in the way.

Pride Prevents Progress!

Although some of us feel like we’re too good to ask for help or too good to ask questions, we are really holding ourselves and our dreams back with our pride! Asking questions, being curious, and accepting guidance and help doesn’t make you inferior! It doesn’t make you stupid, and it doesn’t make you less than you are! It allows you to progress! It allows you to grow! When you have a dream or goal that you are passionate about, you would do anything to make that dream a reality! Nothing would stop you from being successful, nothing would stop you from winning!

Today, I challenge you to put your pride away! Go for your dreams even if that means asking questions, learning something new, and accepting help from others! If your pride prevents you from progressing, if your pride prevents you from following your dreams, then I challenge you to check your PASSION. Without passion you have nothing! don’t forget that!

Remember, you don’t have to be average you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond!

-Kayla ❤