My yard sign collection has grown over the past year —
Partly due to quarantine.
Partly due to racial injustice.
Partly due to my Selfish Sabbatical.
Partly due to new (to me) faces (see who at end of post).
Confidence is sexy
There is no trait more attractive. In significant others. Friends. Coworkers. Do whatever you need to do to find yours.
Say no, without apology, with explanation, with hesitation
If you get asked to do something you don’t want to do, turn it down. Immediately. Politely. Directly. No “maybe down the road…”, no “if you wanna circle back to me…” Don’t give false hope. Don’t waste your time or theirs. Don’t justify. Don’t over analyze or second guess. “No” is a complete sentence.
There’s a human behind the handle
A “hi” or “hello” is a nice way to start a DM. Instead of “How do you start a business?” or “What mop do you recommend?” Especially if we’ve never interacted. Especially if we haven’t talked in 6 months, a year, 6 years. Showing appreciation for someone’s free content is a nice thing to do. “Thank you!” are good words to keep in your pocket.
Lift up peers
It’s wasted energy to worry about and compare yourself to competition. In fact, remove “competition” from your vocabulary. If they do what you do, they’re peers. And really, only you do what you do. Celebrate peers, cheer peers, support peers. They’ll in turn do the same and thus a positivity cycle rotates. Forever and ever and ever.
Such an easy way to respect someone’s time. If someone says “I’m loving Clubhouse!”, instead of asking “What’s Clubhouse?”, give it a google. If it’s a question that probably gets asked a lot, check to see if it’s been answered already — on someone’s FAQ page, in an Instagram highlight, in a book… Resources exist to help you and help the creator. Do the work to find them.
It’s ok to feel shitty
Rejection sucks. Disappointment sucks. Failure* sucks. Pain sucks. Sit in it till you’re ready to get up. You don’t have to wear a mask of happiness or “I’m fine.” If you’re not fine, be not fine. One day you’ll be fine, even good, even fabulous. *Instead of failure, what if you viewed it as a chance to learn, grow, turn ick into goodness? I said it twice cause sometimes you don’t hear it the first time — it’s ok to feel shitty.
If advice isn’t asked for, shhhhh
Sometimes we wanna vent about feeling unhealthy. Being bad with money. A frustrating boss. Sometimes we want advice on how to feel healthier, be better with money, deal with a boss. Keywords to watch for — “Any advice for…” “Help! Looking for suggestions…” If those aren’t there, pass on the Dear Abby. Even the best intentioned support can feel attack’y, heavy, too much. Solutions aren’t always the answer. When people are going through something, often they simply want empathy. An ear. A nod. Instead of trying to fix, be a witness.
Be your biggest fan
You. Are. Lovely. Know that. Believe that. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard for others to. If you don’t believe in yourself, life is hard. When you achieve or win or succeed, celebrate! Feel good! Share! If you have a product, a service, a business, give others the gift of knowing about your product, service, business. Promote yourself. Leave behind the “I’m not good at promotion…” sentiments. No one wants to hear it. They don’t serve you. You think they make you more palatable, less icky; they don’t. They make you a bird with a broken wing. When you self-promote, you’re not being narcissistic or sales’y, you’re valuing yourself.
This is how I make a living
Before you ask someone for something, ask yourself, “Does this person do this as their job? Is this something I can hire them for? Or otherwise support them?” If yes or yes, consider options for valuing their time and brain. You know when your tooth hurts, you make an appointment with your dentist? You don’t DM them your symptoms and ask for a diagnosis? You expect and happily pay the bill at the receptionist’s desk because you’re fixed and no longer in pain? Treat everyone as you treat the dentist. It can be easy to forget people’s jobs when they’re open, share’y, and accessible; when they’re in a space that feels like hanging out with a friend. Be cognizant of how they pay their bills.
Telling others how they can support you is helpful
I appreciate when people who provide me goodness tell me how I can support them. Beyond hiring them and sharing them, I’m often not sure what else I can do. When they provide a “Buy Me a Coffee” or Patreon link or they explain the complexities behind algorithms and the difference in liking, commenting, sharing, swiping, I’m grateful. When they behind the scenes affiliate links, ads, and partnerships, I experience a-ha’s.
Transparency and vulnerability show strength
See above. And also, being imperfect resonates. It’s refreshing. Flaws, uncertainty, and stumbles are beautiful and enlightening. They not only strengthen you, they strengthen those around you.
Free time ≠ availability
Blank calendar squares do not need to be filled. In fact, some of them need to be protected. Lose the “I’m busy” and “I don’t have time” reasons; if you’re being honest, you often aren’t busy and you do have the time, you just don’t want to. And that’s ok. Normalize nothingness being ok.
Social media ≠ availability
Just because someone posts at 10pm or on the weekend doesn’t mean they want to do work or are available at 10pm or on the weekend. Just because someone is easy to access doesn’t mean they’re easy to reach. Put thought into how you communicate. There’s a reason so many people turn off their DMs or include “Business inquiries via email only” in their profile. There’s a reason phone numbers are protected commodities. Business related DMs or texts are exhausting, unproductive, overwhelming, and invasive. Even personal DMs can be a lot — could you comment instead? Put your answer in a Question sticker? Those choices lessen noise and make social media more pleasant.
It’s ok to make money, spend money, like money
Treat yourself. Have nice things. Celebrate nice things. Share nice things. Just don’t be tone deaf or inappropriate. Use commonsense. There’s a time and place.
Rainbows are magical
Check how much color you have in your life. Is it just a few? Just one? There are so many, add some more! Contrast and variety make for a more interesting, representative, inclusive, and loving space. (Race, y’all. I’m talking about race.)
Live for yourself, not for others
You’re not going to please everyone so live to please yourself. You’ll probably please others along the way. You don’t need to explain yourself. You don’t need to answer every question. If someone doesn’t like how I live, they can leave (which they’ll probably announce 😂). Choose your choices for you. Breathe your breath for you. You’ll help others choose and breathe in the process.
2020 brought these humans to my forefront; give them a follow if above speaks to you. Anyone else you enjoy who speaks refreshingly on these topics of boundaries, loving self, and living your best life? Drop ’em in the comments —
- Shavonda Gardner
- Rachel of Bows and Bentos
- Carmeon Hamilton
- Sherry of YoungHouseLove
- Danni of Semicolon Bookstore
- Albie Knows
- Medina of Grillo Designs
- Luvvie Ajayi Jones
- Glo of Glographics