"I NEED THE ROOM NOW!"
Four days out of the week, I was screamed at for not having a patient's room ready. I sat there for two years every evening, including weekends and holidays, being talked to like I was a stupid human being. Stuck in a windowless office in the heart of Washington Heights, I felt tired and uninspired. I wondered during those times if I would ever get to see my Big Apple dreams realized.
You see, I left Howard University with an air of arrogance. I had this bomb resume and a degree from my illustrious alma mater and no one could tell me anything. I felt like Kanye circa the Graduation album. However, three months after my commencement I was hit was a large dose of humility. I was unemployed and later underemployed. I was equipped with a degree that I was proud of, but I was embarrassed because I felt like I wasn't living up to the hype. Everyday was hard as I watched my peers gain promotions and cool job opportunities, while I wallowed through my setback. I wondered how I could get that old thang back – meaning my confidence, faith and motivation.
There was inspiration all around me when I attended Howard. Choosing to attend my alma mater allowed me to be surrounded by individuals who sought to be challenged and pushed to reach their full potential. Before moving to the District, I lived in a place that tore me down more than it uplifted me. I searched high and low for spaces where I could be myself and surround myself with positivity. It seemed as though I was in the same predicament once again and I needed to find a space or a group of people to encourage, inspire and uplift me.
It can be a hard task, but there are ways to find inspiration and support even when you may feel alone or discouraged about your possibilities. Not all of us were lucky to be in a space that promotes a healthy environment to succeed, but it's not too late to find the right group of people to push you towards your potential. Here are some ways to find your place of inspiration.
1. FIND AN ONLINE COMMUNITY
I find inspiration in online communities like Levo. During my post-graduate job search, I connected with Lauren Millan Bias, an entrepreneur that I followed on Twitter. She suggested that I create a profile on Levo. The online media hub started off as a place where Millennials could connect with one another and it granted access to industry power players that signed on as mentors. Since then, Levo has added other offerings like video chats, city networking events, career tips and inspirational articles. These online media communities are a great place to connect with likeminded people. Since then other lifestyle sites like xoNecole, Her Agenda, In Her Shoes, Brit + Co. and Career Contessa feature great content to help you become your best self. These sites also have an amazing community of followers who you can connect with for support and encouragement. Participate in a twitter chat, attend the site's events and make use of the various ways to connect.
2. DON'T SHY AWAY FROM ALUMNI OR PEOPLE FROM YOUR HOMETOWN
When I moved to New York, I interned at a mid-size PR firm where I had the chance to work with someone from my hometown. He supervised the social media accounts for Taco Bell and Diageo beverage brands, and now he is a marketing director at Apple Music. Knowing and watching someone who is exceptionally exceeding is cool, but what makes him extraordinary to me is the fact that he comes from the same city as me. Some people are able to make it out of the barrel of crabs, so when someone from your hometown does, its an incredible thing to witness. Knowing him and having the chance to work with him was amazing because he understood the journey that I was on, which made him a great source for navigating through tough times. Therefore when you find a connection to someone you admire, stop living vicariously through them on Snap Chat and find a way to connect with them. If you see an alumnus from your alma mater making strides in their career, don't be afraid to reach out. A simple, “I see you sis!" can go a long way. They may be able to lead you to the right resources to get you started on your journey.
[Tweet "Don't be afraid to reach out to alumnus from your alma mater making strides in their career."]
3. GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
The best way to combat complaining is doing something about it. Invest in your current community to discover and fall in love with it again. I was so impressed when my friend decided to get involved with her city. She is on the board of the local museum, she is a community volunteer for the county, and she oversees the Southeast region of her sorority's alumni chapters. Her involvement allows her to utilize her degree and work in her purpose until she is able to get a full-time job doing what she loves. She is making it work for her and meeting people who support what she is doing. Get active in at your church or community center. Implement projects that will impact your community, but also refuel your sense of purpose.
4. STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to find the space and people that you want in your life. I was so nervous to leave my parents and all the people that I knew and love, but I had to leave to find the inspiration that I was looking for. Even though my journey had a few road blocks, I was reminded why I choose this life every time I stepped foot on a rooftop. The 360-degree views of Manhattan proved to me how far I had come and showed me how far I could go. Without risks there are no rewards. You have to take the fear out of not knowing and start doing things that you've never done before. Join a travel group and explore foreign lands or pack up your bags and move to a new city. You'll begin a journey of self-discovery that may lead you to the space and people you've been waiting for. It's okay to shake up your world.
[Tweet "Have people in your corner who see the greatness in you."]
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE DOERS
Surrounding yourself with a group of people who push you to be your very best and inspire you to want more is an important thing to have. We've been told time and time again to surround ourselves with greatness and to surround ourselves with dreamers and doers. We've also been told to have people in your corner who see greatness in you, and it's so true. My friends were always a great source of positivity and encouragement and together we continue to strive and thrive.
What are some places that you go and people that you connect with to find inspiration?