Complex Career X 8 Essential Work Ethics
I recently made a commitment to myself and to my entrepreneurial venture. I publicly promised on social media that I will get up at 5 AM on the weekends as well as to give up ratchet reality shows to invest that time in an online course that will enhance my digital design skills. First of all you need to understand how much I enjoy senseless, ridiculous ratchet TV shows like, Love & HipHop and Real Housewives of Atlanta. Why? I don't know! I guess I am just very amused by the portrait of “black America” on reality television and I can literally switch off my entire brain while watching it. Giving this up is really no intellectual or moral loss for me, but definitely a loss of a"guilty pleasure". The reason I made that choice is that I have spent last Saturday working on branding and web development for a client, all day long. I started at 10AM while doing laundry on the side and finished at 11PM only to pick it up for another 2 hours from 12AM to 2AM. Crazy right? The moment I got up a 12AM in the night again, was because I hate starting design work and not finishing it, I feel that once you in the flow you should just goooooo till you done. As I laid in bed and kept thinking about fonts, lines, shapes and illustrations. It didn’t leave me alone. I knew I would lay in bed for hours, so I decided to get up again and simply finish what I started. While doing that I was thinking to myself, “had you only gotten up earlier, than you wouldn't be up that late.” and then it hit me! I am an entrepreneur, the normal Monday to Friday working systems do not apply for me at all. I work a full time Job and I am building my own business with my business partner Kim who is on another continent (New York) with whom I communicate and work almost daily. I really need to let go of the so called “conventional weekends” the way an employee sees it otherwise it won't work. I chose an unconventional career path and as our workload increases, I have to get ready to meet those requirements.
Granted, I had made adjustment before as in Getting up at 4:30am during the week to workout, read my bible and work a ‘lil bit on AddisonGreen stuff before I go to my 9 - 5 Job and then after getting home, I also work till around 1AM. I also choose to get up at 8AM on weekend to work too and that was fine so far. Last Saturday however, I have realized that I want to translate a lot of ideas and for that I need more time to work. That is when it hit me! Who says I cannot get up earlier weekends too? Nobody! I am the boss of AddisonGreen so I might as well act like one. What I am writing here must seem outlandish and crazy to some of you wonderful readers. Don't worry! I've been called a workaholic and crazy before so I am not hurt, offended or surprised if that thought came up on your mind. My type of career venture is not for everyone and that is a good thing. People are different and that makes the world beautiful. For me however that is the way to go. So how do I do it and can this help or benefit you as well? I've spent an hour to gather my thoughts, my routines and "wisdom" to pin down 8 Essentials work ethics that I want to share with you. Those essentials are based on my success and epic failings as an entrepreneur, a student and a leader in different disciplines as well as my observation of successful people I look up to, who are fellow entrepreneurs but also mothers, friends, co-workers, creatives and artist that I had the chance to learn from.
I will say this over and over again. If you don't love what you do, or if you cannot see the bigger picture - as in that you might need to do what you currently hate doing, to get to the level where you can be doing what you love - THAN QUIT! Love must be the source of everything you do. When it comes to Interpersonal relationships we are all clear and agree that love must be the foundation, so many of us however completely disregard that the same rule goes for your professional live. You will get physically, mentally drained and sick if you don't have love for what you are doing. Love is the fuel that keeps you going. It's because I love what I do, that I can get up that early and go to bed that late. And everyday I am tired, sometimes even frustrated with situations that did not go the way I wanted BUT I will still crack a big fat smile and thank God because at the end of the day I can do what I LOVE doing. If this is not your reality - STOP! Stop complaining, Stop looking at others with jealousy and get active! Analyze yourself, find what it is that you love and take practical steps towards that.
The worst you can be in this journey of life is a “know it all”, because Newsflash: You Do Not Know It All. People have gone before you and will come after you. Advise from experienced people will be just as valuable as young, fresh and challenging ideas of new comers. Are you open to learning from others, even as you teach people through your words, actions and example? Are you aware that even with the best team and preparations, things can and will go left from time to time? For about a year I worked for the Miami based PR & Branding Hero Yetunde Shorters ( www.icyacademy.com ) She has this thing she does that I picked up: She would start dancing when everything seemed to go wrong and let everyone on social media know! Instead of getting angry, screaming or having a breakdown, which I am sure she and all of us have at some point of our lives, she chooses to have an “emergency dance”. AMAZING! So why not try this - while you always take your work seriously, you always strive to maintain a sense of humor aka. Humility about yourself. Yes, I am sure you are great at many things and yes I am sure you are super talented and yes you are just amazing, still yet you face challenges and need help like all of us do. So chill - Be humble!
Being professional involves everything from how you present yourself in private and in the business world to the way you treat others. Professionalism is such a broad category, in fact, that it basically encompasses all the other elements of a strong work ethic. The main pillars to professionalism are, integrity, reliability, honesty, efficiency and excellence towards any client and situation. Not just the big money client but ANY client. I remember one client that wanted to book me to speak at a womens' empowerment conference. I loved the whole concept of that event and felt honored to come speak and encourage woman of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. The pay however was much lower than what we usually charge for me going to speak. In my "generous spirit of sowing seeds" I said " well everyone starts somewhere, including me, so let me do it anyways. " How nice of me right? -I hope you catch the irony. Though I said yes to the booking, patched myself on the back and agreed to the commitment and service for a lower pay, I had lost respect or better said lost honest interest in actually fulfilling that support that I just promised to the client. I wanted to do the bare minimum to " be supportive " but not feel exploited. What a terrible way of thinking right? But as always, it did not take long until, out of the foul abundance of my heart my mouth spoke and I killed the booking all together. I got irritated when the client asked for a few more days to make the payment. I responded to her request with " That is too much of a delay and complications for this small amount of money.”
I completely devalued the money the client was willing to hand to me, meaning the trust of value that the client wanted to hand to me. - Side note: Money isn't money, money handed to you is someone handing trust to you, same goes with a management contract. The person hands you rust over their career and business. Don't play with peoples trust, you are literally playing yourself if you choose to do that. - So clearly and rightfully the client canceled the entire booking. You can imagine how my business partner Kim went in on me. She put me on " mouth arrest” and I wasn't allowed to talk to non German clients directly for a while. I had to do some serious soul searching and repent cause what I did was so unprofessional and could have actually spread like a fire and destroy our lil and blossoming reputation, it's not even funny. I am telling you my epic fail moment, for you to understand that being professional, doesn't mean a good suit and superior demeanor. It means being consistent in quality and operations of your services. You do not treat people based on how much they pay or worse based on how you feel they deserve of you - Same excellent and kind treatment for everybody!
Trust me I have learned from this!
Respectfulness simply means " displaying of grace under pressure ": No matter how tight the deadline is or heated the tempers are, I try to always remain poised and diplomatic. Whether we’re serving a customer, meeting with a client or collaborating with creatives, we do our best to respect everyone’s opinions, especially under trying circumstances. This shows we value people’s individual worth as well as their professional contributions, which we do. Me and my business partner Kim are still growing into this when it comes to internal company conversations and meetings. And when I say growing that is exactly what I mean. Respecting clients is one vital thing however respecting you business partner is an even bigger challenge sometimes. Kim and I are both in our twenties and hyper driven. Kim is the money girl and I am the vision girl. Kim wants to safe money for our company and I want to invest money into our company. Both very good and needed positions, yet they clash often! I call Kim " Mrs. No, lets wait. " and clearly I am " Mrs. Yes, lets go for it and work extra hours and do all-nighters 'till we pass out, yes yes yes ! " I annoy her and she annoys me but we have learned to rather take a time out, postpone a conversation that is deadlocked and take a nap. One thing we NEVER do is get personal or neglect the other persons' perspective and contribution. Its easy to point fingers and say what someone cannot do in heated moments, but it is of greater benefit and respect to then remind yourself and let the person know that they are very valuable despite any disagreement, that accrues. I love and appreciate Kim, she impresses me in so many ways and I learn a lot from her and visa versa. I am 100% confident and sure about why I asked her to become partner and Co-CEO of AddisonGreen and hand her almost 50% (a big portion) of the company - it is the best decision I made. So make sure you respect the people you live, work or hangout with.
A significant character or rather personality trade of mine is that I won't stop until the job is done, and done right. “Good enough” is not good enough for me and that's the vision I have for AddisonGreen. I aim to be " outstanding " in everything I do. I gladly put in the extra hours to get things right, giving attention to detail and devotion to excellence, efficiency and practicality. My dedication is not only displayed in how hard I work but also in the results I achieve. Every time I show Kim what I have done for the client she says“Dang, I go to sleep and wake up and you made that proposal draft a freaking movie." That’s what I love! Showing people that there is more, that one can go further, that their ideas are a great spark and that with dedication the results will be mind blowing. Same goes for Kim, when she sits down to solve operational challenges and gets back to me, I tell her " Yo you are brilliant, you are a genius " Why? Because she actually sits down and thinks through ALL THESE operational processes our clients, partners or customers will have and finds the most efficient and customer friendly solution AND has the patience to explain that excel spreadsheet to me with all the " magical codes " not just once but until I get it. Dedication is impressive and it shows, it always shows in results.
Know this, obstacles will accrue. I can promise this to you: You will be a hurdles' runner for the rest of your life. That’s the condition you were birth into. What I say now sounds easy but its not and trust me I cry buckets of tears, vent to my family and friends, pray and shout to God because sometimes it just gets too much. I know! However: Do not let obstacles stop you! I have learned to enthusiastically embrace challenges like a mountain climber who ascends higher and higher until the summit is reached. I did my research before choosing to be an entrepreneur and I know that Kims' and my roles as entrepreneurs is to solve our clients’ problems and with that in mind we resolve to continually seek better and more innovative answers. With purpose and resilience, you push ahead, no matter how far you have to go. Let me keep it VERY REAL with you. Right now for example Kim and I are calculating back and forth about purchasing a new Notebook for me. Mine is broken now yet I have to do all my digital design work on a computer that is not fully capable for the type of work I am doing, plus its not just slow, old and broken - NO - it also just shuts down at times (that's when I do the emergency dance lol). Our clients are growing and therefore my deadlines are getting tighter. Still, yet we desire to stay in the greens as we reinvest almost all of income back into the maintenance of the company. It's an obstacle (and a bit of the hustle life) because I can't and would not want to take a loan - I took a loan and went broke before and learned from it - and Kim just got married and has new responsibilities to grow into. She cannot make " single woman " money decisions anymore. See? It's a hurdle, it is inconvenient, it is uncomfortable, it slows down my productivity level and yet I know we will find a solution and get over it! We can still smile and crack jokes'cause we know it's a temporary struggle. So we stay focused and determent to find suitable solutions!
I do my best to take personal responsibility for my actions and outcomes in every situation, and avoid making excuses when things don’t go as planned. I admit my mistakes and try to use them as learning experiences so I won’t make the same ones again. I also desire or rather expect the people I work with to meet the same high standards and support people with passion, who accept responsibility instead of blaming others. I have a whatsapp group with my 3 longest girlfriends in which I can share my daily or weekly accomplishments or fails and its such a huge win to my life. If you have no boss it is easy to cover up and hide errors. Therefore I made a deliberate decision to share what I do with these three ladies. Also, I have my mentor Charisse who I check in with about every week if, time allows even more often. They push me, check my ego, challenge me but also cheer for me and compliment me. The fact that I am a Christian of course adds an ultimate person to whom I am accountable to which is God. I encourage you to choose accountability partners with who you share your daily dealings. Choose them wisely based on love, respect, liking and inspiration. It keeps you healthy, responsible and accountable.
In my career field you must be relied on to keep your promises. To me personally " Word is bond "! It is such a painful experience from childhood, friendships and relationships when people promise something and do not deliver, weather it is small or big. It just sends me the signal that this person ultimately did not care about me or did not see his promise to me as a commitment and priority. And I have disappointed others and sent those same hurtful signals before as well. So don't get it twisted- I failed too and I still do at times! That is why I strive to be dependable and not make false promises or sell empty dreams to people - especially not to my clients. I must be on time and prepared for meetings, and deliver my work on schedule and on the budget given to me. My reputation for reliability will precede me because I’ve proven over time that customers, clients and colleagues can trust me to do everything I say I will. I am convinced that in an uncertain world and society, my friends, customers, colleagues and clients will appreciate the stability and dependability, I embody.
I hope these 8 Essentials were helpful to you!
Do me a favor and share this with anyone who you think can benefit from at least one of these essential ethics.