Be Loyal to Yourself First

“Don’t let these fools guilt trip you into anything.” — Bianca Payton

I was having a discussion with one of my frat brothers yesterday who is looking to change jobs. Issue is he doesn’t want to leave his current job hanging. I asked him what I ask everyone I know who is unhappy where they work but still wants to remain loyal: “Will the organization go on tomorrow if you die today? If the answer is ‘No,’ leave. If the answer is ‘Yes,’ leave.”

Don’t give your happiness up for anything or anyone who no longer adds value or purpose to your life. Sure, you won’t always be happy in any relationship, be it professional, platonic, romantic, or otherwise. But if the relationship resides in a state of seemingly eternal joylessness, you should consider terminating it. No one wants to get up for work every single day but no one should hate getting up for work every single day. And, unless you get fired, no one will end that “Wake up and hate it” cycle for you. Make the tough decision and have the uncomfortable conversation so you can live a more comfortable, fulfilling, purpose driven life.

Caveat to my “Seek Happiness” point of view: This may change when children are added into the equation. The moment you know you will be a parent, you have to consider the child’s well-being first because you brought him/her into this world and must provide necessities. But make sure you’re differentiating necessities from luxuries. If you’re working a job you hate and missing out on quality time with your family so you can purchase new iPhones for the family each year, you’re really selling the value of your time and happiness short.


Make loyalty to yourself a priority.


Maintaining Relationships

This past weekend, I had nothing to do and no one to hang out with (Desirée and her sorority sisters took a road trip), so I left work on Friday and hit the road for Charlotte. On my way there, I was posting periodically to my Instagram story and one of my friends of almost a decade, Bianca Payton of S&S Associates, shot me a message letting me know that one of her clients, Opera Carolina, would be having an early screening of “The Girl Of The West” that evening and she invited me to come as a “Tweet Seater” (blogger). I haven’t been to the opera in years but it is always nice to immerse yourself in settings that you aren’t regularly in. Not only did I get to see an awesome performance with spectacular music in an amazing venue (get tickets by clicking here), I was also able to meet some movers and shakers in the entrepreneurial and creative sphere, like photographer and re-branding consultant Josh Galloway and footwear designer La’Cario Sellers, owner of Customs by Cario. After the opera, my LB, author Brady S. Moore and I connected with our college friend, marketing specialist Brittany Maul.  Bianca and Josh met up with us there a bit later and we closed the bar.


The next morning, after a 2+ mile run on the south side of Charlotte, I went to visit family and then took some time to catch up with my friend and the best barber in North Carolina, Tim Doe of No Grease Exclusive in uptown Charlotte. I had about 30 minutes to kill so I took my camera bag and shot around downtown before grabbing an awesome brunch w/ Brittany at Mimosa Grill. I closed out my trip by trying to catch an NBA playoff game with Sean Johnson of Toshiba Business Solutions, Cory Bennett of XChange NC, Branden Reid of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and Tony McNeal of Bank of America (I say “trying” because we spent the time catching up and missed the game in its entirety).

Thing is, the game was just wishful thinking. That last chill session with friends is what the trip was about one thing: catching up. As those of you who’ve been rocking with me for a while know, I lived in Charlotte for four years after graduating from UNCG. I loved the city but ended up moving back to Durham to be closer to family. Though the Triangle will always have a place in my heart and it is great for Desirée and me right now, eventually, I hope we get the opportunity to move back to the greater Charlotte area. That being said, though it is years away, maintaining relationships in Charlotte will be key to my success as an entrepreneur. And, though phone calls and text messages are nice, there’s nothing like taking some time to go hang out with those in your circle who are in the physical area that you’re looking to be in. When I came to Charlotte the first time, I had an aesthetically appealing résumé with no experience and I was still developing my network. If I return, I will come with a network that opens doors and experience that closes deals. But to have those doors opened, you have to invest in your relationships on the front end.


Make professional development a priority.