Attention-Seekers, Please Read

“Don’t toot your own horn.” — Yuridiana Ortiz

I’m all for motivating yourself to yourself but be wary of speaking too highly of all that you’ve done in front of others. You know what you’ve accomplished. You know that it was good. Let that be enough. A hunger for attention is an unhealthy hunger, like a hunger for candy or ice cream. As a treat, it can be wonderful but too much can be sickening. The difference between attention and ice cream is that feeding too much ice cream to yourself makes you sick. Feeding too much attention to yourself makes those around you sick. They can no longer stomach you and, therefore, they avoid you.

When you’re truly doing well and are humble about it, the accolades and admiration will come. People will approach you and say “Great job.” But when you tell everyone else how much you’ve done before they do, you’ll feel underappreciated, which leads you to continue talking about how much you do, which leads you to feel more underappreciated. It’s a vicious cycle that only you can end by working hard and shutting up.

Humility is and always will be important. Don’t berate yourself but be cognizant of how you come across. You’ll never be seen as perfect but you can be less self-centered. I quickly joke with my close friends about how I’m the smartest guy in the crew but I will never walk into a room of associates and come across like that. It’s unbecoming, even if I know I am.

In this era of self-promotion, things get fuzzy because we must be able to draw a boundary between productive branding and problematic bragging. It took me a while to differentiate one from the other and, there are still times when I struggle with it, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re trying to separate the two. The wonderful thing is that every day is another opportunity to get better.

One more thing: The time to toot your horn (with some class, of course) is when you’re interviewing for a job and talking about your accomplishments or when you’re up for a raise/promotion. But, at that point, no one should be sick to the stomach if you’ve exhibited humility up to either of those points so, play that horn with confidence.

 

Make humility a priority.

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#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 12

Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life by Chris Weller and Skye Gould
Now, as with everything, take this with a grain of salt. Some of the best people in certain fields have been late bloomers. But, at the same time, it adds a bit of perspective when you’re thinking about where you want to be in your life, personally and professionally.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Being a Good Bar Regular by Tracy Moore
I like a good drink, every now and then. And I, while I like having them at home because it’s cheaper, there are times when I just want to hang out at a bar. While I knew many of these basic rules, like leave a $1 tip for a beer and $2 for a cocktail, it’s always nice to hear a bartender’s perspective on how to be a good (and respectful) regular at your neighborhood bar. Oh, and though written for gentlemen, ladies you may want to read this, either for your own knowledge and to share with the men in your life.

3 Suit Rules That Seem Stupid But Matter
I don’t wear suits all the time anymore. Very few of my friends do. But it’s still important to know how to wear one when the time comes. Check out this article and figure out how you (or someone you know) can benefit from it.

To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well by Jesse Sostrin
I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the best at delegating (but I’m getting better, now that I’m in my second position with a dedicated person playing a support role). I like to do everything I can myself. That’s why this article was so important to me. I hope it can help you along the process of becoming stronger at delegating tasks.

Make professional development a priority.

Once In a Lifetime OPERAtunity

There are plenty of people I know who have not attended an opera. Even more have not been to New York Fashion Week (NYFW). On Saturday, September 9, I had the opportunity to see both at the same time. Opera Carolina, founded in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club, is known across the nation and does a phenomenal job of maintaining the integrity of the art form.

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Opera Carolina’s presentation of “Opera Recycles” at the Crowne Plaza Time Square Manhattan hotel was not only artistic in nature, but designers Kristen Alyce, Emily Kramer, Sarah Danee McGee, Malou Cordery, Venie Tadeo, Lyndsee Hairston and Rocio Llusca brought a level of environmental awareness to the runway by creating couture fashion using its recycled printed materials. The fashion was not the only innovative component of this one-of-a-kind performance; Producer Jerome Jewetto created the runway music for Opera Recycles’ fashion show that incorporated hip hop and opera, including songs from “O Fortuna”, “Carmen”, and “The Marriage of Figaro.” Such fusion of opera, hip-hop, fashion, and recycled playbills embraces a cultural integration that, in recent history, would have been frowned upon by opera and fashion purists alike, but is now thought-provoking and impactful.

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The ability of trained opera singers to not only sing but to properly represent the artistic views of the designers was awe-inspiring. As one who has been intrigued by fashion since my early days of undergraduate studies, but who also is constantly gaining an understanding of the need for sustainability, this performance illuminated both the right and left sides of my brain. I was able to appreciate the beauty in the designs as well as the musical selections while realizing the need for more sustainable sources of fashion. Will I be wearing all of my used bill envelopes to work tomorrow morning? Probably not. But why not, going forward, start patching up a hole in a pair of pants as opposed to going out to buy a whole new pair? I already thrift but could I do it more? Certainly. Sustainability in fashion set to a soundtrack of classic melodies and unconventional rhythms made an indelible impact on me.

When fashion, sustainability, and music intersect, they etch a memory into one’s mind and that memory creates dreams of what is possible if we think outside the box. It is not every day that you hear something that changes the world but, on September 9, 2017, I did. Opera Carolina’s “Opera Recycles” presentation was not only one of artistic excellence; it was a call to environmental action. That is certainly a melody that I will dance to.

 

Make having experiences and sustainability priorities.

Breaking Monotony

Everyone has a style. I encourage and respect that (even if I don’t always like certain people’s). Do what works for you.

But, sometimes, you have to try something new. We’re not Amish (unless you are, in which case I’m assuming someone printed this post for you). Therefore, you have wardrobe options. If you’re always bright and colorful, try some earthy fall colors in the coming months. If you’re constantly wearing black, go buy a crimson tie or canary skirt to add a bit of flare to your wardrobe. You never know how a different look will make you feel until you try it.

And that doesn’t just go for color schemes but grooming as well. For months at a time, I’ll let my hair and beard grow. Then one day I’ll get bored, cut both off, and start fresh. The beautiful thing (right now) is that it’ll all grow back. Or, ladies, if you’re thinking about trying a different hairdo, look at some folks who have a similar head shape, bone structure, and complexion and, if you like the way they wear their hair, go for it. The worst that can happen is you hate it and, in 3 months, you’ll be able to move back toward what you had before.

While we’re talking about switching up styles, know that different outfits serve different purposes. It is a must that I tailor some of my clothes because of the caliber of event they’re regularly worn to. Others can be worn right off the rack. And the accessories change with events too. If I’m shooting for a night on the town, I may don a suit and v-neck with loafers and earrings if I want to sauce it up. But, when I feel like looking smart but stylish for a meeting with a client, I’m throwing on cosmetic frames with a suit and well-polished hard bottoms (Note to myself and you: Polish shoes tonight). Either way, it’s about looking confident and comfortable in whatever you wear. And you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone daily but you should do it frequently enough to shake things up.

You never know what you’ll need to look like in your next work environment, so developing versatility and comfort now should be the game plan. Whether your employer, your significant other, or that barista at Starbucks that has been giving you the eye for the past few months, it’s nice to see that you can try something new and still look (and perform) like a winner.

All in all, no matter how old you are, you’re too young not to have fun and enjoy life.

Make being well-dressed and well-groomed priorities.

Oh, by the way, I’ve got a crazy post coming for next week’s fashion post. Make sure you’re subscribed to the blog so you don’t miss out on #TailoredAndTaperedTuesdays.

Black & White

I just got a call to shoot this event for this company I do some freelance photography for.

The event is an all white affair.

Last time, I shot an event and I had to show up in all black.

As basic as these two colors may be, they’ll never really go out of style. All black and all white affairs will always find their ways into social settings.

All men should have a white shirt. All women should have a white blouse. Go out and find yourself a black shirt, black skirt, black dress, white dress, black slacks, and/or white slacks. Then get them tailored. The last thing you want to do is to rush out in hopes of finding an ill-fitting outfit for a prestigious event.

That’s just not cool.

 

Make being well-dressed a priority.

Pick Your Battles

Whether I’m discussing the relationships between myself and my wife, boss, mother, or friends, picking my battles is one of the most important things I’ve learned since I graduated college (a lesson that I really began developing back in the first semester of my junior year).

Some things aren’t worth fighting over. And some things aren’t to be fought over. I don’t go to work and say what I won’t do (as long as it’s ethical and not degrading). I have a responsibility to do my job. I don’t tell Desirée that I’m not washing the dishes when it’s my night to wash. There are some battles that aren’t worth it (and that I probably won’t win).

Conversely, there are some that must be fought. When something isn’t that big of a deal, let it slide. Because, eventually, you’re going to have something that you have to speak up against and you don’t want to be pegged as someone whose always pushing every envelope you can.

Your pride is important. But know when you need to put it to the side and when you need to say “This is something I won’t budge on.” You cannot not budge on everything and everything cannot go your way. That is juvenile.

 

Make professional development a priority.