We've all asked ourselves, "Why haven't I landed my dream job or internship yet?"
Well, Oprah Winfrey answered this question best when she dropped the classic line: "Whatever our dreams, ideas, or projects, we plant a seed, nurture it and then reap the fruits of our labor."
Taking the time to grow and cultivate your talents first is the not-so-secret sauce to making your dreams a reality but in today's social media driven culture, where many crave instant gratification and viral posts launch people to overnight success, it's easy to want to speed up your climb to the top and believe that there are shortcuts to prosperity. However, embracing the journey that comes along with pursuing your chosen professional path (aka the process) is one of the most necessary and rewarding parts of life.
Of course, the act of practicing patience when it comes to your career is testing and easier said than done. It's natural for us to want to map out where we want to be in the near and distant future and while setting goals is good practice, chasing after your aspirations isn't meant to be one of those easily planned out things in life. Achieving long-term fortune and fulfillment is contingent upon continual development.
To get to where you want to be later, you have to realize that the present is for working on getting better.
While you may not be able to add your ideal job title to your resume just yet, every position you take now and going forward should be looked at as a part of the bigger picture. They are learning opportunities and chances to get a step closer to the working woman you desire to be. You deserve to offer yourself the gift of not rushing and instead take time to elevate your skillset. Those who stay the course learn the importance of commitment, dedication, and hard work which are essential when trying to building a long-lasting life that you love.
Attempting to travel down the shortened path to living out your passions increases the odds of failure dramatically.
Failing to commit to the process of success makes it harder to become your best self. By taking shortcuts, you don't allow yourself to flourish and grow the way you need to personally and professionally. When you get something too soon or that you cut corners to achieve, you aren't equipped with the tools or mindset to properly value or sustain that success. You have to build a solid foundation for your career to stand on or everything will topple over.
Whenever you find yourself wishing you could quickly check off boxes on your career goal to-do list, remember this:
It took nearly 10 years to make Issa Rae's TV dreams became a reality...
Actress Issa Rae began creating content on YouTube 10 years ago and first experienced widespread notoriety in 2011 with her web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
Her hit HBO series Insecure didn't come to fruition until 2016, and it wasn't until this year that she secured a deal to executive produce two shows on the same network.
Kahlana Barfield put in over a decade of work before becoming Editor-at-Large...
InStyle's Fashion and Beauty Editor-at-Large Kahlana Barfield got her start in the editorial world with an internship at Suede Magazine during its existence between 2004-2005.
Since her stint at Suede, Barfield has put in over a decade of work. She has interned at InStyle, secured her first position at the magazine as an Assistant Editor, and has been promoted six times within the company.
It took Jennifer Hudson almost 5 Years to strike gold with a debut album...
Grammy award-winning songstress Jennifer Hudson worked as a performer on Disney cruise ships the same year she auditioned for the show that would change her life, American Idol.
After becoming a finalist on the singing competition in 2004, it took Hudson two years to snag her Oscar-winning role in Dreamgirls and four years to release her gold-selling self-titled album.
Oprah put in 11 years before landing the show that propelled her empire...
And billionaire media maven Oprah Winfrey was once just a 19-year-old anchor at a television station in Nashville, Tennessee.
It wasn't until nearly 11 years later that the iconic The Oprah Winfrey Show made its debut and propelled Winfrey to the household name and brand she is today.
These women are the powerhouses we know today because they diligently put in work at every stage of their career. They are living testaments to the saying "patience is a virtue." They used their experiences as building blocks and continued to make moves that readied them for their current roles. Women like Barfield, Hudson, and Winfrey were students of the game first, which in turn prepared them to eventually level up to their now boss woman status.
You may feel like others are progressing ahead of you but remembering that your purpose is meant to be lived out one step at a time is key to putting things back into perspective.
There is no deadline on dreams.
Opportunities for advancement and success will always present themselves to those who have a track record of being prepared. And though the route to making your dreams a reality will take some time and be shaped by various experiences, one thing that is certain is that if you do the work and respect the process, the rest will follow.
Featured image by Getty Images
Olivia Hancock is a writer who can constantly be found putting pen to paper or typing away at her keyboard. The transplant ATLien is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Journalism and roots for all things #BlackGirlMagic. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @oliviahancock_.
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Switching things up in our careers---and thriving at doing so---is nothing new to us. Since, as ambitious Black women in our own right, we're often tasked with challenging ourselves, pushing ourselves past the status quo, and fighting to live out the best careers we can.
Alison Threadgill, senior director of talent relations at Revolt, made a pivot from serving as a publicist to working with top entertainment personalities in talent relations, and in her more than 15 years of experience, she's been able to elevate through the ranks of entertainment---previously at TV One and its sister companies Radio One, iOne, Reach Media and One Solution.
"I get to cast and highlight artists and creators and cultural leaders who are really driving the culture forward," she said. "At Revolt, we are very unapologetically hip-hop, and so I'm always searching for fresh voices and undiscovered artists. Revolt really is a platform that's for people like that to be showcased to the world. ... It's exciting to work in this world where I have the opportunity to really elevate Black voices and Black audiences."
I caught up with Alison to talk about why she chose to shift from PR to her current post, how we can all truly lift as we climb--even in industries that might have reputations for being super-competitive, and how she's working the job of her dreams to the max.
Marcus Ingram / Contributor/Getty
xoNecole: You mentioned pushing the culture forward. What does that specifically mean for Revolt as a network?
Alison Threadgill: One of the things that makes Revolt unique is that we represent a very Gen Z and millennial voice. What the status quo is, is not what we're about. We are sparking conversations that are going to bring about change, to make people think differently, to get people to realize that just because something has been a certain way, doesn't mean that's the way that it should be or should continue to be. We pride ourselves on being very disruptive and bringing about voices that showcase that.
We have a new show that's coming later this year where there will be lots of different voices.
We're coming up on an election year, and so being able to have voices in our community that are talking about issues that are important to us and understanding that there's a lot wrong in the world, our people are so often overlooked and mistreated, and so what do we as a community need to do to really impact change? Who are the people we need to empower who are not just going to give us lip service but are actually going to do things to create change?
It's about starting those conversations and understanding, for our audience, that Revolt is a place you can come to hear that and see that.
xoN: You pivoted from PR to talent relations. What transferable skills have helped you in doing so?
AT: One of the things that is a skill set that you have to have for both is working with very different personalities. Working in PR, I worked very closely with talent all of the time. I think that was probably the key skill set between the two---understanding that, especially in the celebrity world, you can work with very challenging personalities, whether it be on the management or agent side, to the talent themselves. Just understanding how to work with all kinds of personalities to be able to get your job done, I would say, would be the No. 1 skill between the two.
xoN: What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a pivot into talent relations?
AT: Can I speak to entertainment in general? This is something that can work in both. I think one thing that a lot of people---especially for [those] who are not in large markets--a New York, an Atlanta, an LA--it can be daunting. How do I break in? [It's by] volunteering, even with something at the local level, so that you're gaining experience in entertainment. What you're doing as a volunteer may not be something you absolutely love, but it's giving you the exposure to all these other entertainment jobs, what other people are doing, that you didn't even know existed that interests you. Volunteering is huge in figuring out what you want to [do] and giving you exposure to other areas.
The other thing that I think we don't do enough, especially as Black people---and sometimes as women--- is using our network---talking to your network. Telling your friends, colleagues, and associates about things that interest you in entertainment.
It's important to put yourself out there because if people don't know, they can't help you. It may not be a situation where it's something they know about, but a friend of [a] friend might mention that they're looking for somebody or know somebody.
It's easy to not share because you assume people may not be tapped in, but you don't know who they know---so just really be open to putting yourself out there. So much about this industry is about relationships, and doors open because of your relationships.
Also, using LinkedIn as a tool if you don't know anybody in entertainment or there's a role you're interested in.
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Featured image by Shawne Turrentine/Art Trends LLC