It's no surprise that a Black woman is the phenomenal agent behind getting Jalen Hurt a record-breaking $225 million Philadelphia Eagles contract. I mean, Nicole Lynn has been a force to be reckoned with for quite some time, and y'all know we, as Black women, have that special mojo (along with the tenacity, smarts, and hard work) to get ish done.
Yep, I said it. Toot. Toot.
When the news broke about Hurt becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history (another feat for a Black king that we should be shouting about from the mountaintops for centuries to come), it was refreshing to see Lynn actually get her flowers as a professional who paid her dues and boldly achieved excellence.
Let's take a look at a few lessons we can all learn about business, career advancement, and legacy from Lynn's journey to success:
1. Being strategic about the career path you choose is essential.
Lynn studied business management, earned a law degree, and worked on Wall Street before becoming the first woman to represent PlayersRep, an NFL agency. (By the way, that company was acquired by Lil' Wayne's Young Money APAA Sport's Agency. Yes, Young Moolah, baby.) She went on to thrive as one of the youngest sports agents in the game.
Her education and background working in the tough and high-stress world of financial services (in one of the most competitive and powerful markets in the world) surely prepped her for her current success in sports, and she was super-deliberate about that.
"Every educational and career decision I made has been extremely calculated with the same endgame in mind," Lynn told xoNecole in a 2019 interview. "I realize it can be rare for someone to almost always have known what they wanted to do in life, but that was the case for me."
2. When possible, allow adversity and challenges to fuel your drive to succeed.
According to her website, Lynn attributes her success to the mindset shift she experienced that was sparked by her time facing adversity as a child. "I knew I wanted to escape that life, and I had to work hard to do it. So I have always done just that. I owe every bit of success I've achieved to my extremely dedicated work ethic and my unwavering faith in God."
Many ambitious and successful Black women who are pioneers in their fields have shared their stories of overcoming adversity within both their personal and professional journeys, especially when they have to fight against sexism and racism in order to break glass ceilings.
"I know that I have worked extremely hard to get here and that I am just as capable as my male counterparts. For this reason, I went into this industry knowing that I didn't want to just exist," she told xoNecole. "I made it a goal of mine to break stereotypes and make history. When my client's name was called at the 2019 NFL Draft, two people's dreams came true. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be recognized as the first and I look forward to continuing to shift the perception of women in this industry."
3. Take time to learn from others in your network and industry—even if they don't look like you—in order to reach new career heights.
"I was preparing to be a financial adviser and then learned through our financial advisers that represented athletes," she told Sports Illustrated. When she ventured into working in sports full-time, legendary agent Ken Sarnoff was reportedly her mentor. In a male-dominated industry where super-agents represent 90% of NFL players, networking and learning from others, whether they look like you or not.
Sadly, equity has not been achieved for women in many industries, and while women have found comradery, sponsorship, and advocacy from other women, many who have moved up the ranks are mentored by men.
(I'm no millionaire superagent, but several of my most prolific and life-changing mentors who poured into me and actually advocated for me in ways that led to true advancement and career development were men, a bittersweet fact of life for ambitious women professionals.)
The main point of this: Connect with professionals not just because they are from the same culture or neighborhood or just because they identify as the same gender as you. Find ways to work with people who you can relate to, and who you can learn from. And in return, serve by offering your own talents and perspective to ensure growth and prosperity in what you do.
4. Adopt a holistic approach in doing the work you do so that you're truly a leader.
Lynn has been touted as a successful agent who goes beyond just brokering deals and gets into the holistic needs of her clients. “I'd say the job of an agent is to negotiate a contract for a player, get them on a team,” Lynn told Sports Illustrated. “That is it. That is what we are paid to do. I'm passionate about teaching financial literacy, teaching ‘adulting’ skills, and really getting these guys across the finish line, and in and out of a career in the NFL into the rest of their lives.”
The fact that she reportedly sees things beyond just the dollar signs when it comes to her clients says a lot about her vision and integrity. It's also something that can be advantageous when you're trying to build a legacy with what you do for a living versus just chasing checks. Caring about the people you work with and for, and taking a stance of service ensures that you'll not only build lasting relationships that go beyond the superficial but that you'll be remembered as someone who is a true leader.
Having vision and taking on the holistic approach in all that you do (whether it's related to projects, goals, or professional relationships) ensures you can see the big picture, add real value that stands the test of time, and be strategic.
Lynn's record-breaking success serves as a reminder we all need that hard work, intelligence, and vision are vital to be among the greats in one's industry and to reach our highest professional potential.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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