Preparation is Key

We’re three weeks from 2019. WTH? This year has flown by. It could’ve been a little better or it could’ve been a lot worse.

As we get ready for Jan. 1, I implore you to really take an honest inventory of what 2018 looked like for you. What goals did you hit? Which ones did you miss? How far off are you? Can you still accomplish these goals in the next three weeks?

Now, as you plan for next year, adjust accordingly. If you didn’t finish something you still want to finish, reset the goal and give yourself a realistic time frame.

On this Monday, let’s start getting the vision for next year together. Sure, everything we plan for won’t happen the way we expect it to but we can at least prepare for what we can, right? Build that vision board. Set a defined list of goals and steps that will help you reach them along with a timeline. Schedule the difficult review or meeting now so that you know how to move going forward.

Do the hard work now to help offset the additional amount of work next year will bring. Make 2019 your year by putting pen to paper in December of 2018. Let’s get it.

By the way, I’ve got some 🔥 coming next week to help you start 2019 off the right way. Follow @DanDailyReader on IG to be apart (and win some cool stuff).

Make proper planning a priority.

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I Know How But You Could Learn

I’m beating a dead horse. But, and I say again, stop asking millennial employees to be your office’s tech gurus. Outside of those of us who are in I.T., we do have things on our plates that do not involve helping everyone figure out how to set up an out of office e-mail response.

Google is a beautiful thing. Before going to your younger counterpart’s office/cubicle/desk, take advantage of your search bar. If you’ve done that, then feel free to ask I.T. or even one of your more tech savvy coworkers. But please don’t waste time asking for help if you haven’t made an effort.

–MGMT

(This post was inspired by yet another of many conversations with my peers.)

Make continuing education a priority.

Never Give Up Your Peace

As we figure out this thing called life (which will never truly be figured out), we have to remember never to let go of our peace. Peace is the place where we find hope. Without the former, we cannot have the latter. Not only must you never give it up; your peace must be protected. I love storytelling, be it with a pen or a lens. While writing and photographing are business endeavors for me, there are pieces, both written and visual, that will not be seen during my lifetime. Those pieces are my protected peace.

Where is your solitude? What space do you keep sacred? Don’t lose it to work or family or money. Keep something that leads you to hope in your most challenging times. It can be running or sketching or singing in the shower or writing a book that only you plan to read. And it can change form over time. The point is, wherever you find peace*, make time to go there.

 

Make protecting your peace a priority.

 

*Peace isn’t always that thing that makes you feel “good.” It has to be healthy to be true peace.

Doing Your Own Projects

This morning, I got together with Greg Hill, my fraternity brother and friend of 9 years. I was talking to Greg about a project that I had dropped because it wasn’t getting the response I wanted it to get.

Greg reminded me that every project doesn’t have to be a hit like The Reader. Sometimes, we need to take on projects that we love just for the love.

 

Make letting passion drive a project a priority.

Respect Your Business

“I can’t help the poor if I’m one of them, so I got rich and gave back. To me, that’s the win-win.” — JAY Z

Tonight, I had a business contact ask me if I could volunteer as a photographer for an event that the very established nonprofit he works for is hosting. I had to decline.

Two years ago, I did some free photography for them. Two years ago, I was an amateur. Two years ago, it was a side hustle. Two years ago, I had two years less experience. Today, I have a fairly full schedule and bookings 13 months down the road. I’ve been paid to photograph top educational institutions, world-renowned events, and multi-millionaires with hit television shows (ok, just one TV star but she dope enough to be five separate ones). I have talent, my equipment is expensive, and I’m always working to get better. I respect myself enough to charge.

Do I volunteer still? Certainly. But I do it for my organizations and, even then, there is a limit. What I do, be it photography or consulting, is a business. Your business is a business. Jeff Bezos’ business is a business. The squeegee man’s business is a business. Exposure is all well and good but now, as opposed to investing time in exposure for my businesses, I’m investing it in exposing businesses to the world.

Mentees don’t choose their mentors, charities don’t choose their philanthropists, and organizations don’t choose their volunteers. That’s not me saying “Don’t ask.” I’m not offended that I was asked. I am honored. And, if I would’ve said “Yes” but didn’t get asked, that is worse than a “No.” But it’s an organization that I will give my time to in exchange for some of their budget.

Make knowing your worth a priority.

It’s Time to Grow (Paraphrased)

Let me get in front of this and say I took this title from my pastor’s sermon this morning (I’m writing this on Sunday night). Really, I’m just going to paraphrase what he preached on today. To get the full scope, click and watch/listen the link below and begin at 30:30.

As my friend and pastor Dr. Byron L. Benton prepares to transition into his new role as Pastor of Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC, he spoke to the fact that, if there is no movement, there is no growth. Now, whether you’re religious or not, you can’t refute that. Though it may be challenging to let go of your comfort zone, you have to do it. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Serve the purpose you’re meant to serve for the season you’re meant to serve it in. But do yourself a favor and move when it’s time.

I hope you start this week with this message and contemplating how you need to prepare to move to the next place in your life. It’s imperative that you grow not only for yourself but for others. It’ll be painful at first, just like all growth is, but it is a part of our human experience.

Dr. B said a lot more during that his sermon about what to do during your sedentary seasons. Check out the sermon here. You can start at the 30:30 mark if you’re not looking to capture the worship side of things.

 

Make growth a priority.

Create 🤬 You’d Pay For

Today, I was at the Triangle’s dopest barbershop, Rock’s. Not only do I get a consistently phenomenal haircut from Jennifer but I also get a craft beer with every cut. Today, I chose a Founder’s IPA and, right under the can’s rim were the words, “BREWED FOR US.” I thought that was great. They brew the kind of beer they want to drink.

Some people say you should make products or provide services that your customers would like. While I agree with that, I also think that you should never create something that you, yourself, don’t consider dope enough to pay for. In the case of barbers, yes, there are people who want really weird cuts and stuff. But that’s ok. Just think of it this way: if I was that kind of person, would I pay me for this caliber of cut?

If it’s not quality, don’t do it. Every photo I give clients is a photograph I would love to put in my portfolio. Every résumé and cover letter I craft is one that I would provide an employer with myself.

Be proud enough of your work to never give anything that isn’t good enough for you. And, if they want something that you wouldn’t be proud to tell others you did, turn down the business. It’s not worth it.

 

Make creating 🤬 you like a priority.