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How A Career Breakdown Led To Social Media Doctor Lauren Elise's Breakthrough

When you're the boss, the only one who can stop your hustle is you.

BOSS UP

When you're standing at the edge of a cliff, staring down into a valley at the ground that will not so gracefully catch you if you fail, the last thing you may want to do is jump. But if you're someone who's been struggling to take a leap of faith, don't sweat it, sis. In fact, some of your biggest blessings can come from being unwillingly pushed into your power.

Meet Dr. Lauren Elise, an Atlanta-based entrepreneur who can bump Gucci Mane in the streets and code switch like a mug in a Monday morning boardroom meeting.

The Set-Up

Shot by @quturemedia

After earning her bachelor's from Middle Tennessee State University, her master's from Belmont, and her doctorate from Argosy Atlanta, Lauren is one social media doctor with credentials, and you should put some respect on all three of them. She told xoNecole, "No matter if I do have a doctorate degree, I still can rap Gucci Mane lyrics. I still stay true to myself and I think a lot of times people are drawn into authenticity and that they're also drawn into a little bit of transparency."

In the past, Lauren says that she never really had an entrepreneur's mindset, but today she spends most of her time putting other budding CEOs on game with her consulting business, The Social Media Doctor, running her non-profit organization Adjust Your Crown Mentoring, and getting flewed out to a number of paid speaking engagements around the country. So far, she's secured partnerships with Micheal Kors, and given away a number of scholarships to women in need, and according to Lauren, she's just getting started.

While this 32-year-old CEO may be killing the entrepreneurial game now, things weren't always this way. In 2016, less than four years after moving to Atlanta to forge a new career path, Lauren was hit with a major bombshell that would permanently alter the trajectory of her future. In a shocking announcement from her employer of four years, she learned that she would now be forced to look for a new place of work.

The Breakdown

The news sent the multimedia maven's life into a tailspin and although the company had given her a hefty severance package upon her dismissal, Lauren was still left without the security and stability that was previously offered by her 9 to 5.

Along with dealing with the emotional weight of being hundreds of miles away from home, Lauren also had to consider the residual effect that her latest career transition would have on her financial obligations. She explained, "I have a whole mortgage. I bought a house in 2014, so I was just like whoa. That was a big shocker, to go from having a job for four years to them saying, 'Oh, here are the options to get severance.' And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up."

Feeling alone in a new city and lost without her former professional title, Lauren felt as though her sky was falling and there was nothing that she could do to stop it. "I was so distraught, like, oh my goodness, what am I gonna do? I didn't even want to leave the house."

Soon after, Lauren found work at a significantly smaller company where she continued to polish her skills in social media management, but still didn't quite feel fulfilled. In 2018, the one-day entrepreneur caught a serious case of deja vu when, for a second time, she was let go from her job and tasked with starting a new career journey from scratch. But two years later, hearing that news hit different for the would-be entrepreneur because this time around, she had a secret weapon: insight.

The Breakthrough

Shot by @quturemedia

Throughout her experience, the business owner said that there is one quote that has proven to be law: "'Sometimes God gives you the same test because you didn't pass the first time.' I saw it on my timeline three times and it was like, that's my sign. I literally didn't pass the first time, here's another opportunity. That time around honey, I didn't stress."

Even though her severance package was non-existent and her plan was even more unplanned than the first time she was let go, Lauren said that since she had already started her own business a year prior, her vision was clearer than ever before. "In my mind, I was already ready to go because it wasn't what it was in the beginning. It changed. It wasn't fun. It was stressful. It was hostile. So when that happened it was like, 'Oh, thank you.'"

It was then that Lauren decided to become the master of her destiny and took on the task of running The Social Media Doctor full-time because when you're the boss, the only one who can stop your hustle is you.

"It basically just changed my mindset on businesses and how they operate. Like they have the last say so. They can make whatever decision, and you just have to accept it. You can't get so bent out of shape because that was your time ending there."

Lessons Learned

Like any toxic relationship, failed career decisions don't always start out that way. When your part-time hustle that was meant to fund your dreams turns into a full-time burden that can only pay the bills, it's easy to forget that you deserve better.

Sometimes it takes God pushing us out of a situation to realize that we were never meant to be there in the first place, and in Lauren's mind, being laid off was one of the best things that could have happened to her because it was the first real step into the destiny she deserves.

"Some people are forced into some of their blessings because they probably didn't want to willingly do it. But if you don't, you'll eventually be forced. Inevitably, you're going to go willingly or you are going to be pushed."

There's nobody who can do you, like you, and Lauren is a testament of the glory that comes when you capitalize on your weakest moments instead of criticizing yourself for them.

Learn more about Lauren and her clever endeavors by following her on Instagram @dr.laurenelise and get your social media all the way together @TheSocialMediaDr!

Featured image by @lavishpixels.

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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