End of Year Assessment. Say it with me...ACCOUNTABILITY!
Every year around this time resolutions, goals, and personal changes take over my mind and spirit.
Then six months into the New Year, old habits creeps in. Those New Year declarations become a distant memory and/or an “I’ll do it next year” task. How can one be so pumped for making a change for the New Year then allow time to pass by with no real work towards the goals?
Don’t get me wrong I’ve accomplished goals set but the personal changes have been hard for me to stick to. So how does one make a change for the upcoming year and commit to it!?!
I’ve done the vision boards, the list of goals, but that’s only half of the work. For me that was the easy part. One thing I had to do was seriously hold myself accountable for the changes that were not made in previous years.
Of course life happens and some goals had to roll over or be placed on a lower priority temporarily. But, mostly, I was in my own way and don’t even realize it.
Creating excuses and/or procrastinating were my biggies. It only takes one time to skip that yoga session or nightly routine of writing. A day turns into a week...a week turns into a month. You know the rest. My habits or lack thereof creating good habits, gave me a one way ticket to lost resolutions.
I had no one to blame but myself.
Also in my personal assessment, I found where I gave up too quickly, allowed that one rejection to change the goal, or I didn’t take the necessary small steps in between time. Rejection is part of any process. Yea yea yea we’ve heard that before. When you’re dealing with it, it’s the LAST thing you want to hear. Instead of turning that rejection into a blessing/lesson to learn from, I allowed the negative emotions to fester. This festering was a full-blown pity party and while I had the desire to move forward to reach goals, the party of pity was way more comfortable than trying again.
Here comes the REAL change.
Making small changes to fit our lifestyles to our goals for the New Year is a great way to start in sticking to your goals for the New Year, throughout that New Year. It’s easy to fall back into our old routine because that’s where the comfort lies. Slowly moving out of that zone will help in creating a change that lasts.
What small changes can I make daily to push me towards what I want to accomplish this year? In my list of goals, I started listing the small steps/changes I could make to achieve them. This helped in getting me on an organized path versus having the goal and no direction; making it easy to slip back into old habits.
Yes we make the goals but what about the steps in achieving them. We tend to forget about this important element because this is where you will find the discipline and endurance to maintain the tenacity to stick it out when things tend to go south throughout the year.
So the advice I’m giving to you (AND to myself), list the goals AND make note of the steps you can take to keep you on the right track.
Learning to be more patient with myself.
Getting here I wanted to hit the ground running. Book shoots/gigs for modeling, book auditions, get job interviews lined up, have an apartment ready, and just live like I’ve been here for years. But in changing locations (and costs of living areas), it takes time. I found out the hard way. I did well on the job front as I was able to do a few phone interviews from Georgia, that way once I was permanently in New York, I was already moving forward to the next process. With modeling, I was proactive in applying for various gigs that coincided with my relocation dates, a roof over my head was already in place prior to me leaving so that was done. Good job at me being proactive right?!? Well sort of…
Visiting NYC and actually living here are two different things. It wasn’t as if I was on one of my Fashion Week trips where I could splurge, hangout, and return home to my normal life and job. I had to figure out how I was going to survive. And in that, I had to remind myself “Heffa, you are not on vacation, YOU LIVE HERE!” when I found myself over-indulging.
New York is a constant hustle, which is one of the many reasons for me relocating here. So many opportunities to expand on what you’re already doing, while starting something new. However, if you’re not built for it, you can easily get lost in the shuffle which leaves you with an empty bank account and no direction as to what to do next.
Even with my proactive tasks, I still found myself not gaining the necessities I wanted within MY timeline. I had hoped to line up a job, get connected with a talent agency and be established within the first month. Crazy right! I had interview after interview but no job. Meanwhile, I dealt with my GA money not living up to NY costs. On top of that, it was harder than I thought to join the crowd of thousands of other dreamers who come here to pursue modeling and acting. I had to become more competitive with my marketing materials. More time and money needed. I felt like I didn't even pack enough warm clothes for this 20 degree weather!
When things didn’t go as planned, I felt like I was on my way to failure. Luckily, I had a close friend who constantly reminded me “Well you’ve only been there a month…you’re doing fine.” (Thanks Jazmyn!) It’s nice to have those reinforcements so that you don’t stay in your head feeling like you’ve made the wrong decision.
So my advice to anyone dealing with a change of location or any type of change, GIVE YOURSELF TIME! It doesn’t all have to work out at one time. Break down your goals into steps and one by one cross them off your list. Not that you can’t work on multiple goals at once, just don’t get upset if it all doesn’t come to pass at the same time. Take every step that doesn’t work out as a lesson and come back stronger. It’ll be okay. Also, it’s pretty cool to find the fun in the journey to where you want to be. So I find a way to laugh at the times I get lost on the train and take the bad interviews as a BLESSING and a lesson (But I did land a good gig THANK YOU JESUS!!).
I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, so I better make the best of it!
“I ask myself what am I doing here?...” – Alessia Cara
The Thoughts of Failing. My third night in New York, the fear started to set in. As I laid in bed, in the dark, I kept asking myself, “What am I doing?” “Why am I here?” I came up here with a plan, but…was it a SOLID plan. Given the history with some of my past “plans”, they tend to fail. I didn’t want to fail. I felt like failure was waiting right outside of my bedroom door, ready to greet me with his presence.
The Fear of the Unknown. Throughout the process of planning and executing my “faith move”, my doubts were overshadowed by my excitement of FINALLY getting out of GA. But once the plane ride landed, the day of exploration was done, and reality settled in, fear popped up and said, “Hey girl, Hey!”
With any new venture there’s always the “what ifs” and possibilities of falling straight on your ass. I was afraid that falling would send be running back home with my tail between my legs. Not that I care a lot about what others think, but I didn’t want to let myself down.
The Talent Agency Meeting. In my journey of continuing modeling and pursuing acting, I’ve dealt with agencies here and there in Atlanta. It’s been rough but in order for me to reach my goals, I knew I needed a good machine behind me to help in my development and to keep me competitive in this new market.
Booked a meeting with a talent agency, step one complete right? I thought I’d walk in, flash a smile and put on my southern charm as I explain what I’ve done (I do have a pretty good resume), in turn, they would tell me areas of improvement and how they could help me. WRONG! I’ve never felt so unprepared in my life! The questions flew at me like a flash of light. By the time I answered one, another was being thrown at me. Not being ready for the fast pace conversation made me feel like I’ve never even took an important meeting such as this before. I’ve been signed, I’ve taken meetings, and I’ve had opportunities afforded to me. So why was I acting like a beginner?
As the meeting went on, I knew I was done for. The agent was not fond of my head shots, I had issues pulling up my previous work, and the monologue that I’d been reciting at my cubicle, in the car, and throughout my apartment in Marietta was not coming to me when I needed it to. Let’s just say I blew it.
Walking out of the office, hearing the “We’ll let you know” phrase that really meant thank you for wasting my time, ringing in my head pulled my mood all the way down. So down that only a rum and coke with a call to my best friend would only help pick me up. But after the disappointment dust settled, I decided to take it as a learning opportunity. I’ve done great work and I can take what I had and use it to push me forward.
One mistake I made was that I didn’t walk into that office with the confidence that I KNOW I have. I got into my head, got in my own way. It wasn’t Alexcina Brown, the model/actress in that office. It was plain old Elana “maybe I’m in the wrong place” Brown standing in front of him.
With future meetings, I have to give myself a pep talk, rehearse my monologues that I KNOW I can deliver and walk into any office showing them that they need me on their roster. I appreciate my agency meeting bomb. It was just the practice and preparation I needed for the next big meeting.
The New Outlook: I’m NOT Going Back Home. In this moment, I had two choices. Allow that fear to take over and run back to my comfort zone OR actually give myself a fair chance. In this fair chance, I took on the understanding that everything isn’t going to be perfect or even go my way from the start. But, in making the decision to take whatever comes my way with an open mind and an opportunity for growth.
So here I am, sticking it out. It’s not easy, though the pictures and status updates may appear as me living my best life (don’t get me wrong I am living it up), everything isn’t peachy. Money doesn’t stretch as it did in GA, adjusting to the workings of a new city and its people can be frustrating. On top of that, the hustle of the city can eat you alive if you allow it. But in order to reach higher heights, you have to do what you’ve never done before.
Tell me...What do you do to combat fear, when you're embarking on a new journey?
With being in this cold azz city, I’ve discovered a new love for coffee shops. They’re all nice and dainty with a small cup of espresso (all this time I thought it was “expresso”, smh), coffee, or tea for nothing less than $3.something. Aside from the cost and the quantities, I’ve come to see why these types of places helps to birth creative ideas and projects. There’s something about a soothing hot beverage that ignites the spirit of the city within me. My desire to try these shops came from my obsession with the series Frasier. Watching Frasier and his brother Niles give comedic and dramatic exchanges over cups of coffee in their regular spot drew me to this place.
Also, coffee shop visits helps me to break free from the bar scene as I love it but it can’t be the only great venues to explore in the “Big Apple”.
First up, there’s Starbucks. Now me and Starbucks have a love/hate relationship. Mostly because they just can’t get my name right! Upon placing my order, I always give them my government name (Elana). Reason being, I thought it would be much easier to decipher than “Alexcina”. Despite the name flubs, this is my fav place to come wind down and regroup from dealing with the cold NYC streets, delayed trains, and meetings that produced at least one nerve wrecking issue. People come in, mind their business, and at some locations, there are cozy seats, convenient outlets for the mobile devices, and a nice ambiance to get the creative vibes flowing. (My Fav location so far: 771 Broadway, New York, NY 10003).
I always order a caramel macchiato…Talk about staying within the comfort zone. When I’m feeling like something cool, I’ll get an iced green tea which is very good and refreshing. But I’m ready to expand my horizons and I’m open to more suggestions, so I’ll need your help. In the comment section below, drop me a line and tell me what you think I should try!
Chocolate Shop: Chocolat Michel Cluizel. This place isn’t necessarily a “coffee shop” but you can definitely pop in for a cup along with some great assortments of chocolate treats. Stumbling into this place, I ordered a cute cup of earl gray tea. For $4.00 a cup I was treated to good service with a nice quaint atmosphere. AND a special chocolate treat with my tea. This place is definitely on my list to return as there is more than just tea and a free piece of chocolate to indulge in.
With the chic décor, I’d say Chocolat Michel Cluizel would serve as a good first date spot OR a short business meeting. My reason, to chill and sip tea solo dolo (meaning by myself), was just enough to get me inside to see the sweet treats this place has to offer.
Espresso Bar Crawl: The place visited, Zibetto Espresso Bar. Great location for offices nearby who need a morning start or a midday pick up. And even with their menu guide, I was still confused. (Not their fault tho, I just need an Espresso 101 lesson lol)
Never knew the deal with espresso. Thought it was just another regular cup of “joe”. Little did I know, this tiny cup was packed with high amounts of caffeine and although I wondered where was the rest of the beverage. I read up on what I was actually drinking to understand how to order.
So here’s the deal: I found this awesome blog (TheSpruce.com) that broke it down for me.
According to Lindsey Goodwin's blog, Deciphering the Coffeehouse Menu's Espresso Drinks:
Espresso (ess-PRESS-oh) is a full-flavored, concentrated form of coffee that is served in "shots." Espresso is made by forcing pressurized, hot water through very finely ground coffee beans. This process is called "pulling a shot." Regardless of the size, espressos are usually poured into a demitasse (a small, 2- to 4-ounce cup).
The blog also breaks down how to order as well as info on Café Latte’s, Cappacinos, and more!
Read full blog here!
So now I feel equipped to walk back into Zibetto and confidently order! Wish me luck!
My New Obsession Just in Time for the Cold Weather!
First and foremost, I’ll never turn my back on my crop tops because they are my first love! However, being a “New” New Yorker, I must pick up more stylish favs to stay warm and function in this upcoming cold season. Along with getting my faux furs on deck, my legs needed a lil extra attention as well.
I was gifted these leg warmers the year before last for Christmas, and being that I was still in GA, they had a permanent place in my sock drawer. With the dropping temperatures above the Mason-Dixon Line, I needed to make sure the calves would have a more coverage with my leggings.
Taking a stroll through Central Park with everything covered, I was able to enjoy a beautiful fall day; breathing in the crisp air. No complaining or leaving early due to being too cold. I love these leg warmers. I know they aren’t too popular as they were in the 80s but I’m going to need stores to get on these because I need an assortment of styles, patterns, and colors to wear for this NYC weather!
If you see a cute pair, let me know! Drop the location in the comments!!!
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