I've witnessed some of the most elaborate schemes both men and women have undergone in order to shoot their shot at a potential love interest. Detailed research, consistent DMs, songs dedicated in their honor, and even cut-to-the-chase declarations of love. With so many outlets encouraging us to shoot our shots in order to find the "one", why can't we shoot shots in order to secure the bag?
According to a 2003 psychology study by Joyce Ehrlinger and Justin Kruger measuring perceived competence and assertiveness, women on average rated themselves a 6.5 out of 10, whereas men gave themselves a 7.6. In all areas tested in the study, men overestimated their abilities and performance, whereas women underestimated themselves despite similar rates of accuracy. Due to institutional and historic inequalities further impacting women of color in comparison to their white counterparts, it would not be surprising if research showed lower rates of perceived competence for WOC.
Doom and gloom aside: Don't be your biggest obstacle. As said by Wayne Gretzky: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." In other words, you are guaranteed failure unless you try. Stick your hand out, introduce yourself, go after that promotion, be ass(HER)tive.
Here are 5 tips to help you shoot your professional shot.
Have you ever looked up to a particular person and thought they were the ultimate definition of your #goals? A great tip is to research their profile from start to finish and see what steps are attainable within your own life.
Say your professional idol is Michelle Obama. From researching her profile, you will learn that she majored in Sociology, was involved in a number of multicultural organizations during college, received amazing grades, attended a top law school, worked at a law top firm, had local organizing experience, worked with non-profits, etc. From the top looking down, we see "Michelle: the BOSS First Lady" but not "Michelle: the local organizer and non-profit executive director". She too was once a hustling 20- and 30-something.
Find bits and pieces that are possible for you at this stage and build from the ground up. Cast a wide net and pursue people and apply for opportunities that will help you build a strong profile over time.
Attend Conferences & Speaking Engagements
The same way a bar or social event might bring together people you might click with on a romantic level, conferences and speaking engagements bring together a wide group of potential career matches. Go to conferences not only with the intent to learn something new from the outlined agenda but with the intent to network with attendees and presenters. You never know what opportunities may be of interest to you at a later time in your life or who might be able to connect you with your dream job. Take notes, bring business cards, send LinkedIn requests, and view every contact as a potential opportunity. Your network = Your net worth.
Reach Out to Mutual Friends Within Your Professional Network
Even 2-5 years out of your first job, you have former friends and colleagues who have spread out across the country and onto schools and opportunities that you may now be interested in. If you are about to apply for a position that your former classmate is now the head of, shoot her a quick email. If your neighbor's cousin works for the university you are about to apply to for graduate school, simply ask if she knows anyone that can advise you about the application process. Your former boss moved on to a create a business venture you're interested in, ask if she can take 10 mins one evening to review your business plan. Don't leave the low hanging fruit unpicked – secure every small win you have within your grasp.
Send Coffee Chat Invites & Thank You Emails
I'll never forget the one time I sent a coffee chat invite to the global head of my department... and he responded in seconds. Upon meeting with him, he went on to tell me how few meeting requests he receives from interns and how he loves learning from junior employees. I was shook. Little did he know that the 15 minutes before I sent the email, I deleted and rewrote it 10 times, fearful that I was being "too forward" and overstepping my role. I could have missed out on a major opportunity. After our coffee chat, I sent him a short, genuine thank you note and he went on to greet me by name for the rest of the summer. Long story short: closed mouths don't get fed. The worst that can happen is your desired contact doesn't respond, and even then, you can send a follow-up note. Put your best foot forward and hope for the best.
Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready
Even CEOs have to take the elevator or grab a quick bite to eat. Don't corner them or be too forward, but definitely introduce yourself and directly articulate your request and add value if you run into someone you want to connect with professionally. A strong elevator pitch has the following components: captures attention, is clear and concise, provides value or proof of results, has a call to action, and comes across as natural. It takes practice, but at the right moment, it can be a game-changer.
Remember:Rejection is not a dead end – persistence and self-confidence are key. Don't stop until you get that "yes" that makes everything worth it.
Lydia is a recent Ivy League graduate who is passionate about using her voice to enact change in minority and female communities. Dubbed the "Intern Queen," she has worked 8+ internships in diverse industries, including Wall Street firms and the Obama White House, and is now bringing her career and lifestyle tips to you! Meet Lydia on Instagram @queen_of_anglin and Twitter @its_lit_dia.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports