I was recently featured on More Rich Than Famous (think Humans of New York but through the lens of millennial entrepreneurs of color) to share some lessons I've learned building my legal and diversity practice.
Here are a few snippets of the interview:
ON FINDING SUCCESS:
I still do not really feel like I am in the spotlight. I think that is the real catch -you are always chasing more. That is curse of ambition, that you are never pleased. Other people see things for you like, 'oh my gosh, you are doing such big things' and you are like 'am I really?' because yesterday I was beating myself up about the fact that I am not doing enough. I honestly do not feel like I am in any spotlight at all. I still definitely feel like I am on the grind, I am holding the cable cords, the grip...I feel like I am doing it all right now.
I feel like the work is never done and if at some point somebody gives you a pat on the back - that is great, it helps you get through the low moments- but you can not live for that, you just know that the work has to get done and you have to do it for yourself.
BIGGEST CAREER LESSON LEARNED:
I had a boss who, at the time, would go to these meetings and talk about these things as if he had done them. He did not acknowledge me at all. It was like I did not exist. I remember sitting in a board meeting with him and him doing it and then calling my aunt afterwards. And I called her sobbing like 'he took all the credit' and I was so upset about it. She was like 'girl that's life. That means you are doing a good job.'
At the time, that was not adequate for me and in 20/20 hindsight he, honestly, was probably one of the best bosses I have ever had because he did not micro manage me. He hired me because he believed in what I said I could do and he let me do it.
The larger lesson that I learned is: stop worrying about recognition and accolades and just do the work. Just do the work. Too many people are caught up in and worried about getting recognition, getting shine, and it's like 'do the work' and in due time it will come for you.
That is probably the biggest lessons I learned and I learned it on my first job. He has passed away, but if he were alive I would definitely go back and thank him for letting me flourish and be me in the work place.
DEALING WITH FAILURE:
When I hit those valleys I cry, I drink Jack Daniels, I mean it is real. I do not want people to sell themselves some dream of like you do not sit and cry and [say] 'I made the wrong decision. I need to go get a 9 to 5 again or I need to start over.' At some point you do. Some people take a leap and it is a little too early.
I think those low points really help you to take stock of is this a good idea or what is my area of opportunity? Is this something that I can rebound from or do I really just need to scratch this and start over? Do I need to face the reality of 'this just is not my walk and this is a clear sign'. You have to take that time and ask yourself more questions than doing. Because if you keep doing, doing, doing, you are going to overlook the mistakes that you are making or why you even got in that place in the first place. So really sitting and asking yourself the hard question of like, 'How did I get here? Did I get here because of something that was small that I can improve upon? Or did I get here because I should not be doing it?'
To me, when I hit those low points that is what I think about: did I not work hard enough or am I working hard on the wrong things?
READ THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW OVER AT: MoreRichThanFamous.com