So, usually a bucket list includes outlandish things you’d do before you die. But what if you could make a wish list of things you’d like to accomplish in your career and a plan for executing to make those wishes reality?
I will admit, I’ve had issues with fear. As a very hard-on-myself Capricorn, I’d rather avoid failure and be good at what I know versus stepping out into unknown waters and trying to swim. I love the benefits of being great, but never wanted to be at the forefront. However, true bosses don’t live like that. Failures are lessons and motivators, and it’s actually OK to strive for more.
I’ve been nudged and pushed to do just that, especially this past year. There were people who could see things I couldn’t — or was afraid to—see.
Nudge: My mentor put the bird in my ear that I could actually make it in one of the largest media markets in the world and helped me map out a plan—despite my frustrations and laments. “Push through it. Do what you do best, and do it well. The rest will work itself out.”
Push: The very fabulous and enterprising Elayne Fluker told me, “Don’t talk about it. Write it,” sparking this very blog. (And she actually made the first financial investment in what I thought was just some wild, on-a-whim idea sparked from a phrase I’d often use around the office and on Twitter.)
Nudge: A fellow Hamptonian and CEO of Skool Boye Inc., Tenisha Percell came to me and said, “Girl, you gotta come speak to these students. It’s not even a request. You’re the bomb. I’m putting you on the program.”
Push: At a mutual friend’s home, my mentor (a banking VP), was speaking to a student about finding her purpose. “I worked for Red Lobster as a manager, someone was handling business of mine, and I didn’t like the way they were handling it,” she said. “I decided to get the education and worked my way up. I was passionate about it, and I took the steps to get paid to do what I was passionate about.”
I once interviewed Arthur Wylie, a self-made millionaire and author of Only the Crazy and Fearless Win Big, who told me something about fear I’ll never forget: Entrepreneurs and innovators are not afraid of failing. They are afraid of NOT trying or NOT making things happen by NOT acting on urges to be innovative and self-sufficient. They are afraid of ever having someone else map out their path to success or control their threshold of achievement.
“Sometimes it’s a bigger risk not doing anything that goes above and beyond the norm,” he added.
Thus, I’ve chosen to make the fear of NOT experiencing what’s at the end of the tunnel bigger than the fear of walking through it. Here’s my bucket list for 2013, one I will briefly share with hopes it will empower and inspire you to do the same, not disregarding fear and process but making them companions to keep you pushing forward.
(And forget that age-old “Be careful what you share” cautionary quip. I have faith that what is for me is indeed for me, regardless of any outside forces or factors.):
1. Book publishing: I’ve always been a writer and have been working on several books since childhood. It’s time I finish one. And I don’t care if only one person buys or reads it.
Execution: Three chapters a month beginning January 1. Complete the full book. Edit. Evaluate with a mentor. Publish.
2. Web expansion: Time to really get out there and brand, brand, brand. There are so many opportunities in the digital space, and many ways to use my skills, without having to break the bank. Execution, networking and building is key. Nothing to it—literally—but to do it.
Execution: Research. Map out major components. Hire a designer. Build and publish. Add hosting to my budget. Launch. Share and network.
3. Europe and Africa: I’ve spoken and studied two languages, but never really practiced them fluently, nor have I been able to experience the culture that goes with them. So it’s time to go ahead and take the leap. My vision is to expand what I already do in the U.S. abroad, and connect with young professionals of color in the diaspora. I know too many seasoned travelers not to really spread my wings, and exploring options for missionary work, fellowships and programs will be my first stop.
Execution: Network with church members, entrepreneurs, travelers and nonprofit leaders. Volunteer. Add to savings budget. Go.
4. Volunteering and Mentoring: I love being an inspiration. I take it very seriously and find it to be more rewarding than any shopping spree, bonus check or high honor. I’d like to do more than just be a mentor. I’d like to build a network, and include other women who seek to empower young professionals— especially girls and women—the way I do.
Execution: Tap into networks I am already associated with. Volunteer. Get certified. Collaborate on and speak at more events. Map out a program. Launch my own. Add to my network. Repeat.
Wild Card — Monetizing extra-curricular skills: I absolutely love fashion and beauty, especially when it comes to hair! I’m literally a fanatic, and grew up learning alongside hairstylists in salons. I want to take something that’s a personal hobby and expand on it to build something that could be a legacy for one of my favorite little people in the world: my one and only niece, Queen.
Execution: Get official training and qualifications. (Hey, I can do some hair and I know more than enough about beauty products and techniques—including natural hair and weaving— but licensing and certifications makes one more marketable and sharper at what they do). Expand network of fellow hair fanatics and professionals. Provide a service that encompasses the aforementioned. Monetize it.
I challenge you to make that bucket list. It doesn’t matter if you don’t totally complete all of the above in 2013. What matters is taking the steps and continuing to move forward. The true key: Put it out there, make a plan to get it done and then execute. You fail, you learn, you reevaluate, you amend, and you try again. You can cry, scream, get sick or complain, but walk through it while you do. All of the greats had to push through hardship, so why not try and see what can happen?
Hey, maybe the plan will be amended or changed altogether, but I think there’s infinite beauty and amazing fun in knowing there’s always something bigger and better to chase.
What’s on your boss moves bucket list? Share and follow me on Twitter @JPHazelwood #bossmoves.