January 11, 2019 was my last day working at a 9-5.
As I walked out of my dusty old office and said 'bye Felicia' to that boss that I couldn't stand, I just knew that I would be entering into my ultimate girlboss life as a full-time CEO. But then, the unexpected happened.
During the first few months as a full-time entrepreneur, I was a hot mess. My days were all mixed up, I either was working too much or too little, and honestly, I just didn't have a lot of direction in the way I tackled my day.
Because of this, I found myself in those first few months lacking focus, feeling unsure of myself, and struggling more than necessary. During this time, I knew that one of the most important things that I needed to do was learn how to effectively start my day. The start of your day has so much influence and impact on how the rest of your day will flow, so I knew it was critical for me to get that in order so that everything else could fall in place. It wasn't until the end of the spring that I finally got a grip on my new life as a full-time entrepreneur, but once I did, life as an entrepreneur became more fruitful and my business began to blossom.
Fast-forward to today, I'm one year in as a full-time entrepreneur and I'm still learning. Even though I have a pretty great system now, I've been wanting to pick the brain of some of my favorite boss women on how they spend the first hour of their day.
Here's what these leading ladies shared with me:
Courtesy of Kezia Williams
CEO of Black upStart
"I can be the wealthiest Black woman in the world, empowered to own any asset at my fingertips. But if I do not have time, my wealth is worthless. I cannot buy one minute of time. I cannot bargain another to own theirs. I cannot trade my minute for the next man's. My minutes are mine alone and every day I wake up, my cup is replenished with 1,440 marvelous, irreplaceable minutes of opportunity. I start my day at 5am because frankly - like Wiz said - it's some real boss shit.
"I can be the wealthiest Black woman in the world, empowered to own any asset at my fingertips. But if I do not have time, my wealth is worthless."
"I invest my minutes in appreciating intangible commodities: prayer, to-do lists, personal notes, #ProfessorKez videos because my first energy is always my best, cardio and finally CNN. My early morning initial investments - I try to multiply during the day - spirituality, organization, responsiveness, values, energy and information. And when late evening comes - and my body acknowledges I can't pour from an empty cup, I take care of me. Rest and repeat."
Courtesy of Isa Watson
Founder & CEO of Squad
"My early mornings are dedicated to getting my mind and body right for the day. I wake up by 5:30am each day and the first thing I do is look out of my NYC window that overlooks the Hudson River and say the following sentence aloud: 'Today I feel grateful for [insert gratitude].' I do a short 5-10-minute meditation, followed by an 8-minute Tae Bo routine and a 10-12-minute conditioning workout that my younger brother makes for me each week. A shorter, but effective, workout like this in the morning is most conducive to my productivity throughout the day.
"Moving out of my morning self-care practice, I then get dressed, catch up on emails and prepare my lunch. Making and bringing my lunch to work has helped me get a bit healthier and save a ton of money."
Courtesy of Alicia Scott
Founder/CEO of Range Beauty
"The first hour of my day is crucial to set my intention for that day. I always begin with prayer, my daily devotional, and meditation for the first 30 minutes. Next, with breakfast, I review my weekly to-do board which is a whiteboard that has the days of the week listed and each day is divided by Morning, Afternoon, and Evening (great Target find!). I set this up every Sunday for the week ahead and then adjust the night prior or throughout the day. This helps me block out when to begin and end tasks and I use it with my weekly planner to stay focused. After this, I typically check emails and respond to any urgent requests."
Courtesy of LaKeasha Brown
Chief Juicing Officer at 1987 Juices
"I wake up everyday before 7am, I spend time with nature, God, and my priorities for the day. No emails, phone calls or social media. Before I put my feet to the ground, I meditate. In bed, eyes closed but mouth open and upward. 'Thank you God for waking me up this morning. Thank you God for every breath in my body. Thank you God for my peace of mind. Thank you God for an amazing day today, and thank you God for everyone one who experiences you through me today. Give me strength, give me courage, give me wisdom. Amen!' This sets the tone for the entire day.
"I then map out the entire day in the bathroom by order of importance and time. I write out my top 3-5 major tasks/goals for the day and set alarms to them in my phone. Setting an alarm to each goal reminds me to complete it but the time in between each alarm ensures that it's actually completed before moving on to the next. I'm extremely intentional about completing tasks, it's a form of self-care for me to finish what I'm setting out to do. I rarely plan more than 5 major goals a day, this helps me stay on track and makes sure I don't leave items for tomorrow to handle.
"From there, I drink my first cup of warm water, I make my green juice for the day (a Green Mile from 1987 Juices) and have my second cup of water before making breakfast. It's important to start the day off feeding your body with energy. This has done wonders for my digestive tract, mood and keeps my energy up daily.
"Next, I check my bank account. When it comes to money. I plan the big picture and break everything down into daily deposits. For instance, If I want to save $5k for at the end of the month, it starts with daily deposits of $167 daily. Checking my account each morning keeps me mindful about my flow of income and spending. Lastly, I step outside and smile at the sun. I spend a lot of time indoors. Whether it's pressing in the kitchen or at our Grab & Go location. The sun and the air are like charging stations in the morning. I plug in and go."
Courtesy of Yve-Car Momperousse
Founder of Kreyol Essence
"I wake up between 3am-5am, depending on what my intentions are for that day. In the first hour, I try to focus on some aspect of self-care to center myself. I often listen to one of my favorite podcasts such as Jay Shetty's On Purpose Radio, Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, Red Table Talk with Jada, or TD Jakes.
"I try to work out three times a week so when my body needs physicality, I either do CrossFit or go for a good run. For those mornings when I need to be reflective, I turn to journaling, meditation, and prayer. I know this is quite a mix of activity but when I direct my morning, I own the day versus it owning me."
"When I direct my morning, I own the day versus it owning me."
Featured image courtesy of Isa Watson
Originally published on February 17, 2020
Brittani Hunter is a proud PVAMU alumni and the founder of The Mogul Millennial, a business and career platform for Black Millennials. Meet Brittani on Twitter and on the Gram at @BrittaniLHunter and @mogulmillennial.
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7 Sex-Related Problems That Ruin Sex (And Possibly Your Relationship)
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to define one of the main purposes of sex in a long-term relationship: “Probably the most intimate form of communication that we have is sex because it’s an act that connects one’s physical, mental and emotional state to another human being simultaneously — and communication doesn’t get much more profound than that.”
That’s part of the reason why the term “casual sex” irks me to the billionth degree (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”); it’s because, even if you think that sex with someone is next-to-nothing, there is so much going on within you (oxytocin highs, if you’re unprotected, fluid bonding, chemical reactions in your brain, etc.) that doesn’t know if someone is “the one” (in your mind) or not. So, in many ways, it acts like they are (check out this YouTube video from a Catholic woman who studies some unexpected ways that sex affects us physically here; sex goes deep, y’all!).
Yeah, sex is so much more than a notion, and that’s why I’m a firm believer that it is such a barometer for long-term relationships overall — because, as I’ve shared before, I once read that, “Good sex in a relationship is 10 percent of the relationship while bad sex in a relationship is 90 percent of the relationship because sex tends to set the tone for what’s happening in the rest of the house.”
And that’s why I think that there are certain sex-related issues that can not only damage your sex life with your partner but could also end up ruining your relationship if you’re not careful (very careful). Let’s get into seven of them now.
1. Being Unaware of Your “Body Clock”Giphy
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who’ve come to me in some serious trouble, in part due to their flailing (or partly nonexistent) sex life. When I ask them if they went to premarital counseling (if you’re engaged, please do; you have a 33 percent greater chance of avoiding divorce when counseling transpires), many say “no” and the ones who say “yes” usually say that it was no more than 3-5 sessions and the topic of sex barely came up (le sigh). Meanwhile, with my premarital meetings, I try and stick with intimacy for three months if I can because there is a lot to unpack, from what you learned as a child, to your first time (or if you are a virgin), to your needs and fantasies, to how you see it from a spiritual perspective — like I said, there is a lot to unpack there.
Take the mere practicality of sex, for example — and more specifically, your body clock. Do you prefer to have sex at night or in the daytime? A lot of couples struggle with intimacy because one prefers the former while the other likes the latter. Do you keep track of when you’re ovulating? It’s pure science why you are probably hornier during that time of the month (because your body is signaling that it’s time to conceive) vs. the fact that you might not be the most interested in sex when you’re PMS’ing. Are you premenopausal? Hormones shift a lot during that time, and here’s the thing — while menopause only lasts a year, the premenopausal stage (which typically starts between 45-55) can last between 7-14 years. Even paying attention to when you have more energy (some do in the day…morning sex, anyone? While others do early in the evening) can play a role.
So yeah, getting to know your body clock (and discussing your partner’s clock with them) can play a role in how much — or how little — sex you have…and that can add life or drain it from the relationship overall.
2. Comparing Your Present with Your PastGiphy
There is a wife of almost 20 years I know who, when I asked her if she thought that her husband was good in bed, she paused for a second, shrugged her shoulders, and simply said, “I was a virgin when I got married, so I have nothing to compare him to. I mean, he’s good to me.” On the flip side, there’s a now divorced couple who I also know (who almost made it to 20 years) who had multiple partners before each other while also having a deep interest in porn who once said to me, “Sometimes, there’s as much as 15 people in our bed because of all of the people from our past and the porn that we’ve seen that’s running through our heads.” Yeah, y’all can act like body counts don’t matter, but there is so much evidence out here that says otherwise — that couple just gave one that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
You know, one of my favorite throwback shows is King of Queens (Kevin James, Leah Remini). A few weeks ago, I watched a rerun where Doug and Carrie were talking about the images that come up in their minds, sometimes during sex. Neither was too happy about it, and I can totally see why. I mean, if sex was just about “getting off” (and it’s not), then whatever. However, AGAIN, it’s also about connecting with your partner on a mental and emotional level, and that’s hard to do if you’re there with them in the body while you’re fantasizing about a celebrity, a porn actor (porn is usually acting, don’t let it fool you) or an ex (check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?”).
And what if that is what’s going on? I once spoke with a sex therapist about this very thing. What she said is people should be less concerned about celebs (if it’s on occasion) and more concerned about that ex because rarely is sex with an ex…just about the sex.
And that’s why this point made the list. If you’re physically with your partner and mentally or emotionally with your ex at the same time, please don’t ignore that. There are definitely some unresolved issues there that you need to work through, whether it’s with a therapist, counselor, or coach, a trusted friend (who won’t add fuel to the literal fire), or even with your ex — although you might want to run that by your partner first because…I’m pretty sure you’d want him to do that with/for you. RIGHT?
3. Not Being Clear About Your Sexual NeedsGiphy
Question — if someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what your top seven sexual needs are, along with what your top five sexual dealbreakers are, would you be able to answer? It really is kind of wild how many people get upset with their partner for not being able to sexually satisfy them when even they can’t articulate what they need/require in order for that to happen. Yeah, it’s another article for another time about how many people UNREALISTICALLY (and yes, I am yelling it) think that someone loving them well means that they should be able to read their mind. Nope.
It truly can’t be said enough that sex — especially good sex — is about communication. Hmph. It makes me think about a clip that I saw from Tonight’s Conversation podcast (can’t find it at the moment; sorry) where a woman asked how she should tell her partner that he hasn’t been pleasing her, I believe she said for years. My first thought was if he doesn’t know that, she must be faking orgasms (more on that in a bit) which is not only lying — well, it is —, but it’s also pretty counterproductive because while he thinks that he’s “getting the job done,” she’s not fulfilled and resentment is setting in.
Please don’t let rom-coms (fiction) and social media (which is oftentimes fictitious) have you out here thinking that a good lover is someone you automatically gel with who knows exactly what to do; sometimes that is the case, and oftentimes it isn’t.
So, if the sex-related issue that you’re having in your relationship is that your sexual needs aren’t being met, first do you (and your partner) a favor by doing some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can tangibly see what those needs are and then plan time within the next week or so to pour a couple of glasses of wine, put on some 90s R&B and discuss with your partner what you need. Because actually, what a good lover is, is someone who listens and retains. This brings me to the next point.
4. Minimizing Your Partner’s Sexual NeedsGiphy
A husband once told that when he and his wife were in premarital counseling, something that he mentioned was a bona fide need was fellatio. According to him, his wife told both him and their counselor that she loved giving head. Fast forward to eight years of being in their union, and guess how many times that act went down? A measly four. FOUR TIMES (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”).
It’s another message for another time, the amount of people who will “false advertise” during the dating stage in order to get to their goal of marriage. It’s also another message for another time how much that is a form of manipulation that tends to backfire in ways that the manipulator is oftentimes not prepared for.
For now, what I will say, is never think that just because something may not be a need for you that it isn’t a legitimate one for someone else. I mean, how would you feel if that’s how someone treated you? Yeah…exactly.
Yet that is just what happens in a lot of relationships, including when it comes to their bedroom. They will think that their needs should be met, hands down, yet when their partner comes with what’s important to them, all of a sudden, there is dismissiveness, nonchalance, and/or excuses — and how could that not rear its ugly head on so many levels?
Your partner’s sexual needs are essential, even if they are not your own. Never assume that you automatically know everything about them. Also, never assume that what worked two years ago is what will “scratch the itch” now. Hmph. Come to think of it, while you’re sipping on that wine and clearly articulating to him what turns you on, use that as an opportunity to ask him to return the favor. Listen with humility, receptiveness, and intent — the best kind of relationships process their partner’s needs with this kind of vibe…across the board.
5. Taking the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” ApproachGiphy
Lazy lovers. When you hear that phrase, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s someone who is just lying there during sex, that would certainly qualify; however, I’m actually speaking of a different kind of laziness here. Believe it or not, some synonyms for lazy include words like apathetic, inattentive, tired, passive (cough, cough), procrastinating, neglectful, and slacking. So yeah, if you and/or your partner can use any of these words to define what sex is consistently like between the two of you — red flag, red flag…RED FREAKIN’ FLAG.
Speaking of being passive, another potentially serious sex-related problem is taking on the attitude that if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. What I mean by that is, just because you know that getting on top and riding for exactly six-and-a-half minutes is what will get your partner off, that doesn’t mean that it should be your automatic go-to all of the damn time.
Why? Because. While a part of the fun of having sex is “reaching the peak,” another component that should never be underestimated is discovering new territory: trying new positions, creating a sex bucket list, taking (more) sexcations, playing sex-themed board games (put that phrase in Amazon or on Etsy’s site and go ham!)…you know, doing what will inspire creativity and deter either of you from becoming bored.
That said, a husband of 17 years once told me, “A man can be satisfied with the same woman. We just don’t want the same kind of sex with her.” Words to live by. Yes, indeed.
6. Using Sex as a Deflection or Coping MechanismGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good” — and with good cause. Words cannot express how many divorced (or soon-to-be divorced) women have told me that a part of what kept them in their marriage, for as long as they stayed in it, was the fact that the sex with their husband was beyond amazing…even though so much other stuff completely and totally sucked. Hey, good sex isn’t a bad thing (c’mon now); however, if it’s the only real thing that’s keeping you with someone, it can turn out to be a toxic deflector.
The reason why I say that is the purpose of sex isn’t to make love; it’s to celebrate it. And if all you’re doing with your partner is f — king and fighting or avoiding issues by stripping down or thinking that sex will “make it all better,” all the while not really knowing what the problem/issue is or what needs to be done to get down to the root of it, that is using sex as a pacifier and again, that’s not what sex is designed to be. Sex doesn’t deserve the pressure of being the end-all to “fixing” ish.
So, if what’s transpiring in your relationship lately is very little talking and a whole lot of sexing, and then once the sex is over, something still feels “off,” that’s a good indication that you’re misusing sex on some level. Get out of the bed, put on a robe, and do some talking (preferably in a room other than the bedroom; leave that space for sex and sleep only as much as possible). Because remember — as much as the wives that I mentioned said that their husbands once had them climbing the walls, those men are still ex-husbands now. Bottom line, sex is good, yet when it comes to keeping a relationship together, it will never be enough. Again, it was never designed to be.
7. Faking ItGiphy
I will never be a fan of faking orgasms. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini (we may be a lot of things, but “fake” isn’t really our style). Maybe it’s because I’m a very word-literal individual, and I know that fake means things like “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)” and “to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive.” Or perhaps it’s because I don’t get how acting like you’re sexually fulfilled when you actually aren’t is doing anyone any good. Whatever it is, whenever a client (or someone in general because men fakealmost as much as women do) tells me that it’s something they do, I immediately find myself on a mission to shut that mess down (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP”). ALL THE WAY DOWN.
The main reason is that, regardless of if the motive is to hurry things along, not hurt your partner’s feelings, or it’s something more cryptic than that (cough, cough, some form of manipulation tactic), there’s no way around the fact that fakeness is tied to deception and deception is a word that should never be connected to a healthy sexual dynamic.
Besides, one could argue that faking is a form of deflection as well because…wouldn’t it be better to just get it all out in the open WHY you are doing it than to keep pretending when life is too short and great sex is too good to not get the absolute most out of it, as much as possible?
Besides, again, chances are that if you’re faking that you’re sexually pleased, you’re probably faking something else in your relationship (or situation), and how could that possibly be good, right, or beneficial?
Yeah, when it comes to being satisfied across the board, please don’t fake it. State your case in the way that you’d like to hear something said to you, and let the chips fall where they may. If you’ve got a good man, he’s gonna — no pun — rise to the occasion. If his ego can’t handle it, well…that’s something that you should find out sooner than later — when it comes to the bedroom and outside of it? Right? #shoyouright
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Featured image by Giphy