Work Problems

Work Problems

One of the core problems with every person I work with through the SCORE, mentoring or here at The Idea, Inc. is one that almost always surprises the person when I recommend their next move.

I’ll share this “problem” in a second.

When you talk to professionals about starting or growing a business, it is typically presented from a very black and white perspective. It’s either the best thing you could ever possibly do so go run out and do this simple, easy process and BAM! you have a successful business or it’s the hardest thing in life so stick with what you know.

I’m sorry, but in what adult world do you live in where life is ever that black and white? Not never. It’s almost always shades of grey. (Yes, I get the reference and I’ve read all 4 books twice. SMH!)

I’ve been running The Idea, Inc. successfully for 6 years. I’ve helped many people launch 6 figure businesses and streamline complex projects and what I know for sure is like everything else in life it isn’t that black and white.

…and that’s the fun of it. I’ll share more in the next post, but I had a crazy, hard time during the latter half of 2015.

What I know about doing work that calls to you and you to it, is to never let a finish line be your barometer for success. It is a nice added bonus, but no matter how much you love something, if you see it or yourself as a disappointment based on inconsequential measurements of success, you’ll hang it up quickly. A part of designing a work experience that is satisfying financially, as well as socially is to remember that course correcting is what makes the business a success.

I think of work very differently than most. Not how we traditionally think of work anyway. I’m talking about the kind you’re uniquely, qualified to do. Yes, the work you went to school for, to the work you fell into, to the kind of work that isn’t just “clocking” in a 9 to 5, but the work you speed home to do after the 9 to 5. It isn’t a bed of roses, but for you there is something in it that calls to you.

Doing work you are called to do isn’t necessarily coming from mount high. It may have fell into your lap or come from a what looked like a necessity. Either way, the work you do is in your bones.

It is the truth and the truth is freedom. Take my friend. For sake of one’s anonymity, I’ll refer to her as Pixie. Pixie is a landscape architect.

Sure, she could quit her job to start her own thing, but she sees herself as tied to someone else paying her bills and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this line of thinking. The woman has to eat, but she is also asking for freedom. By “freedom”, she means the room to stay at home when she wants, be around folks when she wants, perhaps use her skill set to direct the course of the company she works for. The list goes on.

And here is the issue I run into with the Pixies of the world who says to me, “I want to start a business.”

The problem with Pixie is she doesn’t really want to put a stake in the ground and do something different. She doesn’t really have problems… and that is the problem.

In fact, working for someone else means she doesn’t really face where the “real” problems lie. Most people are not going to test the boundaries of their “needs” in order to jump into the possible “real” problems. (ie. water, shelter, health <— although “affordable” health care has been a bit of a joke for your girl, but whatev!)

I know we hear “quit your job; live your dreams”, but think for a moment what it would ACTUALLY take for you to really, legit consider quitting what you do now to pursue a new gig or expand on what you’ve been doing for a while now.

Most people are not up and changing what they know for what they don’t know. Contrary to popular belief, millennials are not carelessly striking out on their own to pursue pipe dreams.

If this is true, are we just going around in circles? What is an example of a legit course of action for our girl, Pixie? What would you do?

Guest Post: The Weakening Definition of Diversity

Guest Post: The Weakening Definition of Diversity

What qualifies as a “diverse” workplace? Does it mean that employees are of a variety of different races and genders? Or does it mean they’ve had a variety of life experiences?

This article, written by Gillian B. White – a senior associate editor at The Atlantic – gives an interesting take on the how the evolving view of what diversity means in the workplace is impacting American business. This evolving view comes from the perspective of Millennial’s, and it questions whether this view of diversity meaning more than just demographics benefits those who have been disenfranchised in the business world – such as women and minorities.

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This is a departure from what older generations understand diversity to mean. “Millennials frame diversity as a means to a business outcome, which is in stark contrast to older generations that view diversity through the lens of morality (the right thing to do), compliance, and equality,” the study of more than 3,700 individuals spanning different generations, races, and genders found. According to Christie Smith, one of the study’s authors, this generation is already comfortable with the idea of diversity in a traditional sense and they’re looking to expand the definition, which could be a good thing.

Read the entire article here.

 

Does Your Business Cater to Diversity?

Does Your Business Cater to Diversity?

catertodiversityA white marketing executive from Atlanta was fired because of his Facebook post that gathered racist comments from his friends. Kudos to the company, Polaris Marketing Group, where this man worked! They clearly know that one of the greatest aspects in growing a business is having a team who has respect for each other and for others. Congratulations to them because they fought and won the battle against inequality and discrimination! They are a company with the reputation of a business which values people regardless of color.

On the other hand, the situation is a little frustrating. Even in these da
ys as we believe slavery is a thing of the past, we are still dealing with the consequences of the mark left by those now ancient times. Some people are still mistreated. Ignorant people are still on the loose. There are those who still don’t know how to take full responsibility for what they do – and social media opens the doors for the crazies to rampantly run their mouths.
So here’s the story, in case you haven’t already heard: The Facebook post consisted of a photo the perpetrator had taken with a black three year old kid in the background, who just so happened to be the son of his co-worker, Sydney Shelton. His name is Gerod Roth – whose Facebook profile was Geris Hilton and is now deactivated. After his post went viral and was subjected to negative attention, Mr. Roth claimed his words were taken out of context, and that it is not only the kid who was victimized – he had also been targeted. He wrote a letter of apology to his coworker, however, it was too little too late. Her son had already been bullied online, called names, ridiculed, and hurt. What is more painful to me is that, it was just a three year old kid who was subjected to this kind of inhumane acts.

This is the era of speedy things – internet, technological innovations, spread of news, action of the government to a problem, reaction of people to situations, etc. People need to remember to be more mindful of what they do because it is not easy – actually it is nearly impossible with the internet – to take things back. And it is there for everyone to see: the media, future employers, and potential customers or clients.
This is not the first story of an employee getting fired because of racial posts. A Filipino nurse in Singapore was also fired because of posting offensive comments against Singaporeans.

Read more about that story here: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/tan-tock-seng-hospital-fires-filipino-nurse-who-made-offensive-comments-on-facebook

Many accounts of this kind of story exist, and some serve as a clear indication that our businesses are becoming more considerate in the well-being of its members regardless of color, gender preference, language, or status in life. It means that they are open to diversity.

Is your idea of a business one that will cater to a diversified group of people? Let us know by commenting below!

 

Source: http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/30427294-story

Saying NO to Starting a Business.

Saying NO to Starting a Business.

So here’s the story: A few weeks back, Craig calls me. I was busy at the time but eventually got to return his call.

He lost his job and as a solution to ease his stress he wanted to know if he should start a business. If you’ve ever started a business or knows someone who has, you’ll find this comical to say the least. Collect yourself.

Any who, he calls, but I ignore it.

I’m usually busy throughout the day and if I talk to someone at certain times I can easily do that thing where you mentally rush a person off of the phone. Even though it is mostly in my head, it’s rude so I just don’t answer the phone.

It is why taking time off is important. It can be damn hard to “take off” when you do what you love, but it is important.

I mean really important. You can’t just take off a day here and there either. I mean really take the time to not do anything.

So here’s the thing: It has taken me years to get the benefit of it. When you feel called to something, you are driven by it. Some of this is ego, mind you. I don’t necessarily believe it is always a good or bad thing, but it can prevent you from thinking straight.

What I mean by “straight” is when it comes to your work, pick a lane. PICK A LANE. When you drive in too many lanes you may end up doing one or more of the following three things:

  1. Piss off your colleagues, team and powers that be (i.e. clients)
  2. Stop yourself from being good at one or two things, if you’re trying to be good at 5 or 6 things. We gettttt it! You’re impactful. You’re very accomplished. You’re smart and witty. You’re still just the one person who, despite how hard you’ve tried, is really only really good at the one or two things.  
  3. You’re avoiding a hard truth that I learned the hard way: Having your hand in 101 things (on the board of this, volunteer for that, attending 10 networking events in a 7 day span) will not necessarily mean you’ll be able to accomplish it all, see it all, fulfill it all or be it all to everyone. In short, trust that your lane is enough to make the impact it’s meant to make. Doing more than that means you’re really not accomplishing anything.

And when you have your car in different lanes, you take yourself too seriously. You fancy yourself more important than you actually are.

Anywho, Craig called and wanted to know if he should start a business.

I laughed. The answer is hell no. Hell. No. Hells No. Hellllllll NO!

Hell no. I didn’t say it this way, of course. What do you take me for? I’m no ass hole.

We all have that one friend or cousin who right after college said, “I should be a teacher!” It was determined right after school when said person did not get into the program they wanted or could not land the job they wanted to land.

I did it and was awful at it, but thought it was a good idea, because “Hey! Ebonni loves the kids.” I also am pretty good at English and how hard is it to teach someone? (I was 22. Give me a break, will you?!)

Anywho, the lesson here is… you guessed it… a good teacher is a great teacher because of the focus they devote to their craft. They learn it. They practice it. They work to improve it. For some, they are called and it is kind of disrespectful to blurt out “Let me try this on forsayingnotobusiness size!” on a whim. If you’re going to pick up a new trade or vocation, respect the industry enough to do something. Ask yourself, “If I knew I would question myself, my skill, my bank account – would I still want to do/be a {insert dream/business/idea}?”

If your answer is no or you’re wavering, you’ll want to ask yourself some more clarifying questions. We’ll get to them later.

Craig’s answer was no and my answer was good. Stay in your lane. It saves people, clients, family, friends and most importantly….you, time, money and sanity.

Guest Blog: The New Face of Corporate Activism

Guest Blog: The New Face of Corporate Activism

While we like the sound of our own voice here at The Idea Inc, every week we want to showcase the voices of other bloggers or articles we think do a good job of conveying an important message to business. We are a company that loves to work with businesses that have a purpose and much of the time that means some sort of social activism may come into play. This article looks at the face of corporate activism, and shares some interesting points on how that face is changing and how corporations can use it to their advantage. It is a very interesting read, and definitely worth your time.

The New Face of Corporate Activism (link to full article below):

Illustration by Mike Reddy

Illustration by Mike Reddy

From the Arab Spring to the protests in Baltimore, social movements have become a pervasive feature of contemporary society. Moreover, activists are increasingly targeting companies and even nonprofits. Although this environment creates new challenges for business, it also presents an opportunity for social intrapreneurs to change their companies for the better, from the inside out. – See more at: http://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_new_face_of_corporate_activism#sthash.VXQtl5aU.dpuf

Celebrating Reflection

I just want to take a cliche moment to celebrate life.

There is much to reflect on: the year is coming to a close, September was Suicide Awareness month, America has had more mass shootings than days in the year, the holiday season official begins with Halloween, and our business is on a turning point.

In the center of it all is the happenings of life, and I want to take a moment to appreciate and remember it. Life is at the center of The Idea Inc., from my team members to our partners and clients – we are all living purposefully. We are looking to be fulfilled and help others reach their purpose as well, in some way or another. That is what makes me work so hard and why we are so unique. We’re not tooting our horn about how great we are, we are pressing to you how necessary we are.

Necessary, indispensable management is more than just a tagline. It is a simple way of saying we are striving to be the solution that communities and society need. We are not perfect, but we are driven. It is more about our idealism than the company doings itself. The fact that we believe that everyone has the capability within themselves to do something greater, to go farther than where they are right now and push others to exceed the statute of limitations. Eat, work, and play is not enough. We aim to be consumed by everything, thrive at meeting our goals, and motivate the world to see a brighter light within the shadows.

I know my rhetoric may seem a little idealistic and magical, but we know about hard work – you don’t make dreams come true with fairy dust. Its with blood, sweat, tears, and a little wit that get past our breaking points to success.

So take a minute to reflect on your year and your life, and celebrate your time. Even if you are in a place that you don’t necessarily want to be, you are a place that can be improvement. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world and the pride an joy a little island called Jamaica – is training to break his own record. Some may say, he’s already the fastest man in the world, but a person with real purpose will understand the notion of no satisfaction. That is, “I am satisfied with the satisfaction that is never satisfied.” (Anonymous). It is a bit of a tongue twister, but its basically saying challenging us to always improve. Not just for the betterment of ourselves, but also for society – and those who are coming after us.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, was recently a guest on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Below is a link to a video of what he did on the show, and why it is so important not to take our only life and work for granted. Because we are the ones who inspire others to be.

Usain Bolt may have just lost his title:

https://www.facebook.com/ellentv/videos/vb.26012002239/10153807544392240/?type=2&theater

Revive

Revive

I am excited! Our website has a new look, Danielle continues with rebranding, and Ebonni constantly reaches out to solopreneurs/organizations/startups/growing businesses. It’s time that we revive the purpose of our company!

I’ve been working for The Idea Inc. (TII) for years now and I, too, have experienced the stage of stagnancy like what some relationships, businesses, and/or lives had. I focused on finishing my daily tasks for our clients, but I forgot about working with purpose. Though there is opportunity to learn from every day, I didn’t strive to maximize my ability to know new things and develop new skills. I stopped connecting with purposeful people. I neglected the thrills of the thought that we’re supporting people who are changing the world.

I bet you’ll agree: it happens in all relationships. There will come a time that you’ll lose the spark of love. You’ll stop noticing the little things that your partner does to make you happy. Or you will cease doing things to make him/her happy. You will start thinking that you just have to be there. But that’s not how a relationship should be. It’s not only being together. It’s about enjoying life together.

A relationship can be fantastic, but it can be very trying, too. It is the commitment with your better half that will survive it all.

Same holds true with your purpose. Sometimes you’ll lose enthusiasm, but it is the commitment that will push you through. Sometimes you’ll need to work on your commitment, to do things that you’re uncomfortable doing to make sure that you keep the flame burning scarlet. You’ll need to relive your purpose because you believe it is paramount to your existence and to the world.

Can’t you tell? I’m so looking forward to supporting people who want to relive their purposes.

 

-Queenie

Groceries: How to Shop Small and Make Change

Groceries: How to Shop Small and Make Change

Groceries Photo 1 I don’t know that people always realize the power they have when it comes to…well anything, but in this case I’m referring to the local economy. When your neighbor is doing well, when you are doing well, when businesses are doing well, we all benefit. by “well”, I am referring to something as simple as spending time at your local park, volunteering for a cause that is important to you, and/or buying your kid his new school outfit at the local uniform store. I don’t always realize the benefits of shopping local or playing local until recently. Read More »

Our #ShopSmall Movement: Day 1

Our #ShopSmall Movement: Day 1

Welp…I suck!

Let me start by saying how much I love pens. I have 3 very obvious obsessions if you know me.

  1. Jewelry (the more the merrier)
  2. Pens (the really thin point ones or calligraphy – i was born in the wrong time.)
  3. Magazines (don’t bend my pages!!)

Does this make me uber odd? Fine, I’ll take it.

I woke up this morning excited about going to the library to do some research and realized i didn’t have any of my pens. I can’t doodle or jot down randomness without a pencil or a thin pen!! The problem with this is I can’t just go to CVS or damn Walgreens to get my bloody pens.

It is 7:30am. I am so hungry my ribs are touching. There isn’t anything to eat of interest in my home and there aren’t any stinkin’ pens in my laptop book bag.

I got in the car to look for a diner before I head to the library. I passed 5 Mcdonalds. I don’t eat there often anyway, but on this day I would have stopped to get a mcmuffin. As I passed these perfectly fine breakfast places, I look for a Florida version of a bodega. If you are from the north, you’ll know what I’m referring to. If you aren’t, just think a mom and pop version of CVS. There are no mutha friggin bodegas in Florida! Bodegas always have pens or at the very least a 2 pack of pencils that I could sharpen with my cute little red sharpener.

I decided to forgo the pen and just get my egg sandwich from tower deli and diner in Fort Lauderdale, fl. I think my lesson is to consider what I’ll need for the next day, but I have another idea I’ll share with you later.

I finally get to the library, get settled and realize my time of the month has just rung the alarm. As you may have guessed based on the morning I’ve had I was not prepared for it. I had to buy tampax from the corner store. I felt a little bit better about it because it was a corner store, but still…I had already found a small company that makes tampons and maxi pads. My best friend reminded me about toxic shock syndrome when I mentioned I was getting tampons from a smaller company and not tampax. I assume she believes that unless you are large manufacturer, you are not as safe. I wonder if a lot of people have this school of thought. I did the research on the syndrome (read here)( http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxic-shock-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20021326). Needless to say, it does not occur often and any products that do cause it have been pulled off the shelf.

I did get pens from the corner store, as well.

I have talked nothing of food yet. I’ll share my first experience at the farm.

Questions? Thoughts? Ready to #shopsmall?