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Don’t let my exterior package fool you. I was born and raised in one of the toughest public housing communities in Brooklyn, New York. Ever heard of Marcy Projects? Watch the Hard Knock Life video from Jay-Z and that will give you a modest glimpse of where I came from. In fact Jay-Z was my neighbor. It would have been easy to rule me out and bet money I would not one day run my own successful business. But I believe everyone is born with an entrepreneurial mind and it takes the hustle to continually learn, solve problems, and leverage your opportunities to make the impossible possible. I’m living proof of it.
When starting out or even trying to take it to the next level it’s easy to think every opportunity is a blessing, especially when there is a financial incentive to back it up. But hone in on your gut check and make wise decisions before accepting anything. People can treat their favors as commodities and will expect payment in one form or another. Ask yourself; are you ready to conform into the person this opportunity could make you? Are you willing to change your comfort level and use this moment to leverage more moments? There is always a cause and effect with each break. Your gut should always have the last say. Trust it and make sure there are no hidden agendas in accepting an offer for help when committing to changing the game.
At some point the BIG whale swims by and you have to decide if you want it, or if you will let the shark swimming up fast behind it take it from you. There will be such an opportunity that can frighten you to let it swim away. You will never know if that was the one that could finally unlock all the doors you have been seeking to open. Believe you deserve it and take it! People will notice and you will be able to leverage that moment to ease into other opportunities that would have never been on your radar. Keep the “I got this!” attitude and see that opportunity through completion. I promise you there will be more where that came from.
When I started my company I knew I needed headshots for social media representation and to look professional on my website. I’m a go hard or go home kind of girl. (Could be the result of my upbringing as I never had much to lose then.) I decided to make an investment and call in favors to create epic headshots on a 14th floor terrace using New York City skyscrapers as my backdrop. I took this opportunity to have beautiful photos taken that could one day make a cover of a magazine. Well what do you know? Always be prepared to use an opportunity in more ways than one. It could be the only shot you get (literally).
Never take advantage of someone’s kindness. Trust and loyalty take tremendous amount of time to earn and can be lost in a matter of seconds. If you are lucky to meet in person one of your great mentors, be wise with their time and specific with your questions. Publically share your appreciation for their insight. Support them by buying their products and services if they are a business you admire. If you only take and never give, you are an Opportunist that will be quickly discovered and discarded. No one wants to put value in someone that does not appreciate the value given to them. This is one of my cardinal rules. I have been lucky to meet some incredible people in my life, both famous and chance takers who believed I could deliver. They have given me opportunities I wisely recognized were priceless gifts not to be taken for granted. Everyday I am grateful, inspired with new motives to use my opportunities to help others. That is the sole purpose of leveraging opportunities.
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