Is Your Blade Growing Dull?

When I was in undergrad, I intellectually stimulated almost every day. Sure, there were the Saturday nights when the most intellectual discussion was how fast can we finish the beers at the track team’s party (shoutout to the homie Devon Smith), but regular days consisted of my group tossing around ideas about how we would take over the world while either eating in the cafe, working off our cafe eating in the gym, or making sure we still had access to the cafe/gym next semester by sitting in the library to keep our scholarship dollars rolling in.

I miss those days — the days when we dreamt and planned more than we worked ourselves into an apathetic torpor. Whether the goal was entrepreneurship or figuring out how we would climb the corporate ladder or improving the quality of life for others, we used our minds in an unconventionally imaginative fashion.  Their iron sharpened mine and mine theirs.

I still talk to (but rarely see) many from my circle, as many of us have gotten bogged down in the mundane and monotonous movement from Monday to Friday, only to pray on Friday for the weekend to move in the slowest motion possible and, conversely, for Monday morning to prey on us as hard as we pray on Monday for Friday. This is week in and week out. We do it for the bills and the insurance, the 401(k) matches and the paid days of sick leave, benefits which ultimately catalyze the very mental health days that we end up taking and retirement we long for (because I am convinced that I will never truly want to retire from a passion but I’ll be in a hurry to leave a job). Security holds many of us hostage, which is ironic, because our “security” only secures the prison we have chosen for ourselves.

Instead of security, we should reach for risk, which lies in having those around you  keep you sharp and hungry and thinking outside of the box that would become a cell were you to think inside of it. To keep from being a prisoner of habit, you must have friends with whom you can toss ideas around over a glass of bourbon on the rocks or a good game of Spades. Those who remind you that you are not the smartest person in the room. A circle whose skill sets don’t mirror yours but, instead, complement them. People who specialize in various fields so that, when one of their clients/friends needs help in your field, you’re going to be the first to get the referral.

Today, I charge you to reconnect with an old friend who once inspired you. Whether they pushed you to strengthen yourself spiritually, financially, physically, professionally, or otherwise, give them a call or shoot them a text. See when you all can get together for coffee or lunch or a drink after work. If they’re in a different city, find a time when you all can meet somewhere just to catch up. While I love technology, there is something magical about tossing ideas across an actual table and working through a problem face to face. In short, allow their iron to sharpen yours and do the same for them. It’s the only way you’ll get out of this stagnant stupor that “security” supplies.

 

Make sharpening your sword a priority.

Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co.

A man’s wardrobe choices can make or break his entire career. But, what many don’t realize is, a man’s choice in accessories can make or break his entire wardrobe. Now, often, the most prominent accessory a man in business professional/formal attire is his tie. That being said, where do you think you ought to build your wardrobe’s versatility? If you guessed “From my tie rack,” you’re today’s winner.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetYou’ve likely heard of my go-to groomer Vince Jamael, of Adrian Fanus Grooming, Inc. (and if you haven’t, just click this whole sentence and you’ll get taken to a handful of posts on this site dealing with his greatness). One thing you may not know about Vince is that he’s not only a well-groomed groomer, but he’s also something like a style icon in his own circle. Always well-dressed for any occasion, Vince is constantly asked where he gets his threads. And, more often than you’d believe, his answer is “From XYZ Vintage Clothing Shop.” Much of his style is vintage with an intentional new school flare. Head to toe, the brother is sharp and I don’t say that about everyone.

I can recall the year after I graduated from undergrad and was sleeping on Vince’s living room couch (times were tough but look what God has done five years later), and I saw that he had this dope tie. Now, I didn’t have any skinny ties in my wardrobe at the time and, not only was this one skinny but it was a vibrant shade of red and made of cotton. Far outside my realm of comfort but it had my attention. Vince caught me checking it out and said I could have it if I wanted it. That was my first step to exploring more nontraditional styles of neckwear.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFast forward to present day and Vince has started his own neckwear company, Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co., based out of Brooklyn. His business model is a unique one, in which he carefully curates only the most exclusive neckties from vintage shops, both across the United States and in his international travels. His goal is to provide his clientele with the caliber of tie that their grandfather would look for at a reasonable price. The curation, purchase, and restoration of these timeless pieces are responsibilities that fall squarely on Vince’s shoulders alone, but ones that he accepts.

“My passion for helping young men and women feel their best when they put on a necktie is helping to make this dream a reality,” Vince said when asked why he’s investing so much into this vision. “I recall looking at classic photos of gentlemen from older days and thinking ‘What if we combined their knowledge of proper dress with this generation’s fashion sense? We’d be unstoppable.’ So here I am, trying to create a brand that is truly timeless.”

Initially doing private consultations to present clients with his neckwear, Vince is now able to be contacted on Instagram at @vtg_ties. As the brand grows, he will develop more avenues through which his pieces can be purchased but right now, he prefers “personal style consultations to cold cash-based sales.”

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You can’t put a tie on without a shirt without looking like a Chippendale, so get the shirt and trousers together but, when you’ve got those two checked off, make sure your neck speaks to a level of distinction without breaking the bank. The best way to do that? Grab a distinguishing necktie from Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co. and let it tell a story without you having to say a word.

Make quality neckwear a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 9

Does guest posting even work anymore? by Olivia Angelscu
After five years of successful blogging, I frequently have aspiring bloggers reach out to me and ask for advice. One of the many staple suggestions I provide is to offer to guest blog on other sites. This article examines how effective that suggestion really is and how to do it strategically.

What is the Best Résumé Font for You?
As a professional development consultant, I review and work on quite a few résumés each week and one thing I will say is that fonts do matter. You want to catch someone’s eye but not scare them off. Keeping a solid résumé ready is a must for young professionals like those of you who are reading this blog.

5 Common Mistakes Leaders Make: Which Ones Are You Guilty Of? by Jordan Kasteler
Consulting is a tough gig. Some people start off by rolling the dice but it’s always good to have some insight on best practices. This article gives some solid tips on how you can keep from ruining relationships that could pay dividends in the long run.

 

Make professional development a priority.

Four Women Redefine the Term ‘Bougie’ for Women of Color (Review)

Last night, while I was in bed, I came across this article and said “WOW! So Bougie isn’t a curse word anymore?” I love when people take words that have negative connotations and make them positives. This piece about these four lovely sisters rebranding “bougie” for their own entrepreneurial endeavors is awesome and I wish them all the success.

The term bourgeois carries a negative connotation that suggests women who aim high in their career, love life and inner circle are materialistic and self-centered. What happens when you take the term and redefine it to show camaraderie and empowerment? Meet The Bougie Bunch: Ericka Hatfield, Chief Executive Officer; Lyndsay Christian, Chief Marketing Officer; Shawanda Green, Chief Operations Officer; and Joi Adams, Chief Technology Officer, organizers of The Bougie Brunch.

Check the rest of Marsha Badger’s article out here on the Huffington Post’s site by clicking here.

 

 

Make shifting the culture forward a priority.

Brand It… All of It

Where is your logo? Where is your brand on things?

I hope you pride yourself on doing exceptional work. I don't like putting out anything that is not quality. And I believe that, when I put out quality work, people will share it. As a matter of fact, I hope that my work gets shared. But what if it does and my mark isn't on it?

I don't need to brand it so that I get recognition for recognition's sake. I need it to be identifiable so that my previous work is able to be seen and can help others. I need it to be identifiable so that my future work continues to help young professionals as I evolve and have more experiences.

My logo hasn't been on each of my Instagram creations before but, from this second on, it will be. Create quality content and make sure that it can be traced back to where it came from.

 

Make professional development a priority.