millennials

UPDATE: 22 Newsletters That Should Slide Into Your Inbox

UPDATE: 22 Newsletters That Should Slide Into Your Inbox

While most people don't like their inbox cluttered with more mail than it needs, I actually look forward to receiving certain e-newsletters on a daily and weekly basis. I love reading and learning new things, so each newsletter is an opportunity for me to add to my toolbox of knowledge (or 'stay woke' as the kids say.)

So in no particular order, peep the 22 e-newsletters that you should to subscribe to ASAPington.

Fresh Take Friday: Jonathan Jones

FRESH TAKE FRIDAY IS A BI-MONTHLY SERIES SPOTLIGHTING CREATIVES OF COLOR AND THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON CREATIVITY, POSITIVITY AND GETTING SH*T DONE. TODAY, I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO AUTHOR AND TRANSFORMATIONAL SPEAKER JONATHAN JONES.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JONATHAN'S WORK, BE SURE TO FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM.

Photo: Jonathan Jones

Photo: Jonathan Jones

Your latest book focuses on a subject that our generation often wrestles with - PROCESS. What lessons have you learned on your own journey about the power of process, and what advice do you have for our generation on the importance of enduring and appreciating it? 

JJ: First, I had to learn to be patient. Nothing happens overnight; we’re in a rush to make it to the top of the mountain, but why? I’ve learned that most growth and fulfillment takes place through the midst of working and through daily perseverance.  By learning to go through the process of our lives, you realize that you cannot skip steps. Imagine if a caterpillar just turned into a butterfly without going into its cocoon; it wouldn’t have the strength that it would need in order to fly. The process is necessary for your own personal growth.  When we skip steps, we miss out on valuable information and life lessons that we need to access the next stage in our lives.

Next, like the old folks use to say, “Get your house in order.” If we’re being honest, there are some challenges that each and every one of us face. You know that thing that you may have blocked off or that you are currently have trouble dealing with, I suggest seeking help. I want you to know that you aren’t alone; we all have some type of baggage. There are many therapists, recovery programs, and church initiatives for whatever that need may be. We all have some area of opportunities (others label them as weaknesses) in our lives that could be a little bit stronger. Once you begin to invest in yourself by dealing with these issues you will begin to feel freer than you’ve ever been. Don’t allow your past to hold you back from being present in your future!

One of your recent blog posts discusses "Mountains and Valleys in Entrepreneurship" and how everything about working for yourself isn't always going to be glitter and gold. When did you realize that you wanted to pursue entrepreneurship full-time, and how did you prepare? What keeps you focused on executing to the best of your ability, even when you're faced with adversity? 

JJ: Out one day, exhausted at the last retail job I had, I thought to myself, "This can't be it." From delivering phone books door-to-door, to tossing boxes off the back of a delivery truck. I knew that the calling on my life was far greater than for me to sit here working at a retail job the rest of my life. After realizing that I had a voice and realizing that I wanted to be the individual that wanted to inspire my generation, I said it’s time for me to step it up.  

First, I hired my father, Dr. Fred Jones, to walk me through the process of writing my Amazon #1 Best-Selling book. He showed me that by writing my book, it would create instant credibility and make me the expert of my own story. Next, I hired a coach because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so utilizing the knowledge of someone who’s been in this space for sometime in conjunction with the information my father shared, I began to slowly put the pieces in place. During this time, I already had one foot out the door at my job, while still working to create my own personal enterprise. Lastly, I left my full time job and began to drive for Uber during nights and weekends while I had my days to work on balancing business and graduate school.

The best way to keep me focused might sound contradictory, but it's creating an interruption in my daily routine. I have to get up and away from my desk to be able to gather my thoughts. Sometimes this may look like taking a casual 30 minute nap Sunday afternoon that turns into two hours, but then I'm charged and ready to work through the hours of the creative at around 2 or 3 am. When adversity strikes, I have to get out of my head! Some days just taking a leisurely stroll around the block to unplug leaving all electronics behind and to be present with the world around me, the birds chirping and the sun shining. Following this, I return to my to-do list with a clear mind and an attack mindset!

In a 'perfect' world, what does a day of productivity look like to you? What tools are you using to get sh*t done, and what are major distractions you do you best to avoid? 

JJ: My most productive days start off with my gospel grooves playlist, followed by me taking in some bible verses and prayer to center myself, getting my mind, body and soul focused on the day ahead. I’ve realized that without a daily planner, my thoughts are scattered all over the place. 

With my daily planner, I take notes and utilize a system called time blocking so that I will be able to be most effective for that day. The strategy of time blocking is simple: create a list, label which projects are of the highest priority or which have quickly approaching deadlines. Next, I incorporate them into my Google Calendar, allotting a certain amount of time each item. This way, I create mini deadlines or checkpoints to hold myself accountable. I also set reminders on my iPhone and use Hootsuite to pre-schedule my social media content. 

If you don’t follow the guidelines you set, it’ll begin to infect your relationships, your lifestyle and most definitely your business. Respect your schedule and value your time.

When you find yourself in a rut, (emotionally or creatively) what are some things that you do change your mood? Who (or what) do you turn to for encouragement, and how do you persevere, even when you may want to remain stuck in your feelings? 

JJ: I take a moment for myself and I have to literally give it to God. No matter how bad the mood may be in, I have to shoot up a quick prayer. Then, there are few people that I will call to help me snap out of those dark places and dark moments. One is my best friend, Mahiri Takai; he helps remind me not to be so hard on myself and continues to encourage me. Also watching YouTube videos of people like Will Smith, Tony Robbins, Kobe Bryant and other individuals who have been able to yield success in their respective fields. Lastly, I’ve realized that when I find myself stuck in my feelings, the thing that really brightens my day is giving back and helping others. It might be doing a favor for a friend or taking someone out to eat. When you can, begin to channel that energy that you are focusing on yourself and shift the focus to doing something for others, I think that’s the best way to see what truly matters in life. I whole heartily believe we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

How would you describe your 'fresh take' on creativity? What keeps you inspired to develop new ideas and collaborate with other creatives? 

JJ: USE YOUR GIFT! I don't care who you are, you are more creative than you think, I promise. It’s just tough for me when I hear people reflecting on their lives saying, “I wish I did this or I should have done that,” often seeming like they allowed themselves to have these regrets that could have potentially been eliminated.

I love to collaborate with others because I know that I am not a Jack-of-all-trades.  I view collaboration as an opportunity to expand the impact and increase the reach while making a world of difference. Working with other experts, they are able to present different approaches or dynamics that I couldn't have even dreamed of. I'm inspired to offer fuel to empower our generation and the generation looking up to us because there’s so much potential in each individual. I’m a firm believer if I do my part to just spark the mind of somebody to do something, then I’ve done my job. Bob Marley said it best, “The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”

We must continue to strive to make a difference daily and collaborating with other creative makes this all possible! Stay true to the #process!

Fresh Take Friday: Ashley Coleman

Fresh Take Friday is a bi-monthly series spotlighting creatives of color and their perspectives on creativity, positivity and getting sh*t done. For the inaugural post, I'd like to present to some and introduce to others, author and creator of WriteLaughDream.com Ashley Coleman. 

To learn more about Ashley's work, be sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Your latest book, "Love On Purpose" sheds light on why we must be intentional when we choose to show love to others - mostly romantically. but there are a number of great gems that can be adapted to platonic relationships, too. What inspired you to dig deeper into what it really means to love with purpose? Where there any challenges you faced during your writing process, and if so, how did you overcome them?

AC: Honestly, it just came from watching so many misconceptions on my timeline. People spew out their thoughts on various different things all day. And I just realize that so many people have it all wrong when it comes to what love really entails. They’re so selfish when they think about relationships and I remembered when my now husband, boyfriend at the time, first said to me, “Love is a choice, it’s a decision.” It really changed so much about what I thought love really was. It helped me understand my responsibility when it came to love. When you accept that, I think that everything else changes. How you speak to other people, how you communicate with your partner, all that. And then there was my revelation of how God loves us. He gave his son, that was an action. If we are in his image, then we ought to love like he loves, which means in action, not just words, and not just when it feels good to us.

There’s always challenges in writing. I took off running at first and then hit a crazy lull. I had so many other projects going on and then finally I said, you need to finish this book. All the other stuff you are doing is not as important as this message. So what could have essentially took about 6 months, probably took about two and a half years just by virtue of stopping and starting.

In a 'perfect' world, what does a day of productivity look like to you? What tools are you using to get sh*t done, and what are major distractions you do you best to avoid?

AC: In a perfect world, productivity is definitely those moments when you cross everything off the list you wrote that day. Ha! Nothing gives me more satisfaction than putting a line through tasks. But honestly there are just some days when you’re like, “What did I even accomplish?” It’s all about staying focused. That’s the biggest challenge for me at times. The biggest distraction is definitely my phone. It’s like, you come to a task that’s harder than expected or a page is taking too long to load and there I am scrolling and wasting time. I’ve resolved to putting it across the room or sometimes in another room when I really need to buckle down.

The tools I really swear by at the moment are my notebook, yes a pen and paper. My Passion Planner which keeps me on course. My chalkboard wallies where I write out my projects for the quarter, Asana, an online project management interface, and Google Drive.

As a blogger, you've often discussed consistency and how it is important to building your brand. How can creatives become better at creating systems for themselves so that they producing content (whatever it may be) regularly?

AC: Consistency really is key. I know that it sounds like this thing that people just say, but think of most of the people you admire and then think about how consistent they have been in producing quality content. Success and consistency really go hand and hand. When it comes to creating better systems, I think it’s really just knowing what works for you. Like, research other peoples’ systems and then sort out what fits with your personality. The biggest systems I have in place are really:  

+ Batch writing, writing multiple posts at one designated time.

+ A designated writing day. Every Wednesday, I make sure I have either completed a newsletter, blog post, or filled in an outline for a new project.

+ Scheduling social. Every Sunday, I schedule social posts for the upcoming week.

+ Timed Writing. Instead of focusing on pages or word counts, when working on a book, I would set timers for 30 minutes to write, uninterrupted.

Whatever your field, you have to just try some things on for size and see if they help produce better results. For me, these are a few of the things that have just tried and I liked the results. But only after spinning my wheels and feeling completely overwhelmed at times and knowing that I had to figure out a better way to get it all done.

Photo: Ashley Coleman

Photo: Ashley Coleman

When you find yourself in a rut, (emotionally or creatively) what are some things that you do change your mood? Who (or what) do you turn to for encouragement, and how do you persevere, even when you may want to remain stuck in your feelings?

AC: Well, first and foremost, I feel like it’s important to say that sometimes I just allow myself to be there. Sometimes we are so caught up in the grind that we don’t give ourselves time to just feel whatever we’re feeling. Sure, you can’t stay there, but I think you are doing yourself a disservice if you keep pushing those feelings down which sometimes affects your craft in the long run anyway. Outside of that, I will sometimes read which always gives me new ideas and new ways of thinking of things. I will just do something I enjoy that has NOTHING to do with business like going to the movies or hosting friends. I typically will turn to my husband because we are such a big support system for one another in that way. We talk each other off the ledge constantly as we are both creatives. I persevere by knowing that my work is really bigger than me and how I feel at the moment. For those of us who believe in God, we know that we were put here for a purpose and we don’t really have the time to waste. God will get it done, with or without you. And I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure I am on the team. So I push past being uninspired or doubt or whatever else we come up with knowing that my work is needed.

How would you describe your 'fresh take' on creativity? What keeps you inspired to develop new ideas and collaborate with other creatives?

AC: Man, I think my freshest take on creativity at the moment is being in tune with you and that little voice inside. We are SO distracted. We’re looking too much at other people and their lives and we have to really turn inward and assess, who am I? What do I want? How will my creativity exacerbate my greatest gifts? And really being present. Art and creativity is honestly just this reflection of what it means to live, to experience, to participate. We have to make sure that we are actually doing those things in order to keep creating. So I’m inspired by every part of living and breathing. Everything that I see, taste, touch, hear, and smell inspires me. I literally have new ideas everyday, at times it’s overwhelming. But I never want it to stop and I have just learned to write them down and some ideas I explore and others may be for later. But I always write them down.

 

Just An Update.

Happy May, kiddos.  These last few months have been quite the whirlwind for me personally. From dealing with awkward transitions to encountering unexpected surprises and even heartbreak, adulting for me has been realer than real. But more often than not, the good always outweighs the bad -- which is always a blessing.

Below are a few cool things that have happened since my last post:

  • Earlier in April, I took at 2-week hiatus from social media, and it was probably the best decision I had made in a while. Yes, I love Snapchat and Twitter just as much as the next millennial, but I found that I wasn't getting a lot accomplished trying to keep up with everybody and everything. During my break, I noticed that time moves slower than usual when you aren't tethered to your phone waiting for the latest update. I'm learning to use social media as a tool, not a validation of my ideas or success. It is definitely an exercise I highly suggest practicing on a quarterly basis. 
  • I participated in my friend Tyece Wilkins' #WYAOApril challenge. While I didn't complete all of the prompts, I did pen four pieces that challenged me to go there with my writing. You can read them here.
  • I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, and celebrated by hitting the cleanest milly rock that you ever did see.
  • I sat on a millennial panel for Chianti Lomax's "The Happy Pop-Up" event and it was just the positive experience I needed to remind me that I've got so much to be thankful for.

HappyPopUp

Each of these moments, while vulnerable in their own way, have taught me to fully embrace the discomfort and beauty that often comes with growing up. They also taught me that self-care is vital and that it is okay not to know what comes next. The important thing is to have faith in your ability to bring to life your dreams and ambitions.

This month in particular, I've promised to myself to be more consistent and intentional about posting in order to continue my growth as a writer. I want to be resourceful and provide you, the reader, with content that not only allows for me to share my authenticity and expertise, but gives you the opportunity to share who you are as well.

It's only May 2nd, which means there is so much more for us to accomplish before the year is up. I will continue to operate from a place of gratitude and I hope that you do the same. Let's keep it moving, shall we? 

Love + light,

Chasity

#WisdomWednesday 'Practice What You Preach' Periscope Re-cap

Happy Wednesday!

For those of you who weren't able to join me for this afternoon's Wisdom Wednesday Periscope chat, I've shared the points I covered below.

Also, for a limited time, you can watch the broadcast by clicking here.

Many thanks to everyone who joined me today!

CHASperiscope

Six Ways Millennials Can Practice What They Preach

1. Don't let comparison steal your joy!

2. Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible with your methods.

3. Recognize your weaknesses and figure our how your strengths can help you improve them.

4. Show your work! (Literally, and read the book!)

5. Celebrate small victories.

6. Don't let fear hold you back.

*Bonus: Be resourceful! Don't be afraid to ask for help.

I hope that you find this helpful! Until next time!

-Chasity