Community of Awesomeness – June 2018

Photo by Crown Agency on Unsplash

Shout-out to everyone who submitted something to this month’s Community of Awesomeness post. Folks shared requests + offers for everything from international pen-pals to a YouTube web series. I’m truly blessed + thankful to be connected to so many wonderful people all around the world, and hope to do this project again in September 2018.

If you’re reading this you’re invited to participate! 

Aight. Here’s how this works.

  • Take a look at the lists below, and reach out to anyone you’re willing to support and/or solicit resources from. All exchanges come at zero monetary costs. If it eventually turns into a business thing, that’s for you both to discuss.
  • Be kind, be honest, and don’t spam anyone.
  • If you’re nervous to reach out, that’s okay. Just start your email to them with, “Hey, I heard you were requesting/offering _______ from this post and go from there. Then, press send.
  • Everything is posted in alphabetical order by name.
  • You got this. Amazing-ness happens when you do the brave thing. Reach out to someone!

Awesome Requests 📬

Alexandra is requesting career

Courtney is requesting an academic writing buddy to commit to a few hours of writing each week, in addition to a weekly writing debrief (in person or by video conference, text, email, fax, carrier pigeon, etc).

Erin is requesting content ideas for a YouTube series and writes: “I co-created a web series called “The Adventures of Fab Jenkins”. It’s a blaxploitation parody about a stylist that is driven to save the world from a tacky fashion empire. I launched the show in 2016 with the goal of creating additional content promoting independent fashion and beauty brands. I plan to create an inclusive, global community celebrating diverse voices within the industry. After a number of setbacks, I am committed to revamping the Fab Jenkins brand in 2018. I am requesting ideas for content. If you are an up and coming fashion designer, launched a skincare line, or are making other moves in fashion and beauty, this opportunity is for you. If you are interested in being involved in any other way, I’d love to hear from you too. To view Season One, visit the watch page.

Hilary is requesting relationship

Jamier is requesting acting opportunities and writes: “I’m starting out in the acting business. If you know casting directors that are looking for actors or any great casting calls, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

Jeanie is a medical student requesting advice and encouragement and writes: “I’m a  non-traditional MS1 starting this August. I’m seeking current or recent medical students for advice/insight, encouragement, studying resources, and/or friendship.”

Katie is requesting a book club to join that can help with finding good summer reads.

Marisa is requesting a pen pal and writes: “I am a high school English teacher from New Jersey who loves to write. I think this is a great opportunity to create a new friendship while adding a little zest to our lives.”

Wren is requesting a bucket list partner and writes: “I’m seeking bucket list partner pen pals for mutually supporting each other’s willingness to dream and act on those dreams.”


Amazing Free Offers 📤

Amy is offering been there, done that advice to people considering or actively pursuing graduate degrees.

Ana is offering to proofread/edit your work (i.e. paper, thesis, presentation, short story, blog, etc.).

Benedicta is offering to be your pen pal, and said, “I love meeting new people, sharing stories, laughs, and memories! I lavish in the beauty within human connections and think they are so important!”

Betsy is a longtime professional artist and creative with an art degree offering feedback on the work of any young artists (school age through college) + offering encouragement to any young creatives who are wondering what to do with their careers/lives. Feel free to check out Betsy’s work before you reach out.

Dr. Prime is offering leadership advice, personal development advice, public speaking advice, mediation + relationship advice with co-workers, and advice on how to improve your interactions with people.

Emily is offering a handwritten letter to any destination in the U.S.A. and will even put stickers on the envelope in true kid pen-pal style.

Jasmine is offering summer reading recommendations and book reviews and said, “Writing is my absolute passion. Last year I started a blog. It offers simple, easy-to-follow recipes, toddler arts and crafts and everyday stories about parenting, good and bad. I enjoy offering these blog posts because, as a stay at home mom, I understand how important it is to be able to relate to others and not feel alone through the journey.”

Jennifer is offering encouragement. Especially for anyone experiencing panic or anxiety.

Katie is offering to send out love and send up prayers for anyone who needs it.

Lacey is offering a resume review to current students and recent graduates, and said, In my career, I’ve hired nearly 100 interns and staff positions, and looked through many more resumes…I can and I will prioritize requests of those from low-income backgrounds, students of color, or those who are first-generation college students. Please share as an editable Google Doc. I will do my best to respond to all requests.”

Megan is offering travel tips and recommendations for anyone visiting South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR), China/Hong Kong, London, New York City, and northern Florida.

Rachael is offering coaching + mentoring and said, “I usually work with people involved in education, simply because I work in this field. However, I’m happy to coach/mentor people with other occupations.  I just might need you to explain your job to me.”

Sokari is offering travel advice for anyone visiting Southern Spain, Morocco, and the UK (London + the Lake District).


If this works out for you, or if you have any feedback on this project, hit me up at anytime.



Why Everything I Thought About Humility Was Wrong

I have been a terrible example of humility in my public and private life. Much of what I’ve done has been to receive credit. It is scary as heck to admit that, especially since I’m so concerned about what others think about me. But, I want those who are influenced by me to know who I really am: flawed and human. I want anyone struggling with being humble to read this and realize that they are not alone. Kanye, if you’re reading this, hello.

I used to think that people who constantly preached about staying humble did it to be condescending or mystical. Whatever their motives were (probably to help me be a better person) I didn’t want to hear it. Anyone who knows me knows that I love being in the spotlight. It’s who I’ve always been. But, what happens when the spotlight goes to my head?

I have had seasoned folks say things about my millennial generation.They talk about how we are painfully entitled, but they complain about how we want recognition for building a webpage, getting 2,000 social media followers, or finishing the sandwich we ordered. There is some truth to that, but I’m hit hardest when they say: “It’s not all about you.” Great. Just great. What the heck does that mean? I rarely ask for an explanation. I just feel offended and want to walk away. But, I respect my elders, so I listen. They go on to tell me that other people need attention too, or that other issues are bigger than me. I begin to understand and I get over myself a bit more each time. Then they go on to tell me about how frustrated they are with my generation and all the selfies we take. The conversation becomes about social media and usually ends there. I get that. I could totally take less selfies and spend less time on social media, but humility goes deeper than that. It requires me to ask myself: how does focusing less on myself benefit others? I have spent hours helping any community I’ve lived in since I was a kid. We, the helpers, have dedicated much of our lives to help others. Why are we required to be humble if we are doing selfless work for others? Here’s the thing: anytime we want recognition for the things we have done, have our egos stroked, or receive validation from others, we are not being completely selfless. Okay, I’m getting a little too philosophical. Let me get to what I hope you take from all this.

The topic of humility has been on my mind for a long time. Recently, it occurred to me that there were aspects of humility I have not explored. I realized that it went beyond  shying away when a person gives you praise. It is more noble than saying, “My team is who we should really thank for that.” I do better with lists, so…

Here Are Three Things I Now Understand About Humility 

1. When people sayIt’s not all about you”, it is NOT a diss. It is time to stop feeling offended every time I hear this. This phrase is just a reminder that while I can receive recognition for each good deed I do, there are others doing good things at the same time. It all counts. I have yet to find anyone that likes the person on the team that seeks to absorb all the attention. It gets us off track and isolates said attention seeker. When one wins, we all do. It’s not all about you also means that you are not the only one suffering at any given moment. (Though your suffering shouldn’t be diminished and you deserve care and support). Someone is always going through a more devastating situation. When I can, I need to be mindful enough to shorten my sulking hour, and get back to supporting those who need me.

Next steps: Learn to be okay when others do not acknowledge the work you do, and take the initiative to collaborate and be of service to others. But do not neglect yourself. If you need help, ask for it. You can’t always help. Others can pitch in too.

2. Focus less on looking good and more on doing good for others. At one point, I sought advice from at least three people before I posted status update or Instagram photo. Okay, that is sad. While it is important to get approval on things, especially when we represent our organizations, companies, families, and selves at any moment, we can over do it. If your intentions are good and you are looking to improve the lives of others, take some of the focus off how polished you and your project will look, and put more effort into what you’re actually doing. The people you are serving are more concerned with what they’re receiving than you and your image. I recently started writing positive and uplifting letters to anyone who wants one at my institution. I put up a Google Form so people can request a kind note from me or someone on my letter writing team. One day I noticed that some of my teammates were signing each note: “from someone who cares.” I asked them why they didn’t write their name. I had been signing every letter with my first name so I could get credit for sending it. I sat with this for a few days, and realized that my ego had been getting the best of me in other areas of my life. I had such a thirst for validation that I was a loving and amazing person, that I made sure everyone knew all the cool things I was doing. I am enough without doing a thing. So, why do I try so hard?

Next steps: Get better at loving and taking care of you. Look at what you do and ask: “Am I pleased with this?” If the answer is no, switch it up, and figure out what you’d like to thank yourself for later. I’m terrible at this one. So if you are too, know you’re not alone. It feels good in the moments when I do well at loving me.

3. Invite others to join you without even trying. Whenever I try to prove myself to the world, I get ignored or make a fool of myself. It is usually when I have the courage to be vulnerable and honest with others, that people are drawn to me and what I’m doing. I end up not even noticing that people are drawn to my honesty, and I fully enjoy the conversations I have with others about how their experiences relate to my story. I’ve been trying to be a rockstar at life all this time, and all anyone wants to interact with is the real version of  me. This might be true for you. I don’t know, I’m not a psychic. If it is you, I challenge you to stop trying so hard to be the Big Shot that has tons of fans. Recognition won’t keep you warm night after night. It is not your best friend. It’s a reminder of what someone thinks about you. Humility makes that recognition so much sweeter when it finally arrives, because you’ve been appreciating yourself all along, and putting your work out there with better intentions. People are either going to love you, hate you, dismiss you, or never hear about you. If we continue to base our self value on what others care about rather than commit ourselves to helping others, we are going to be miserable, alone, and the world won’t get the special flavor we bring to it. And, I know you bring something special to our world.

Next steps: Give humility a try. Be honest with others about who you are and what you bring. Put yourself out there a little – the real you – and see what happens. If people shoot you down, take time to heal, work on finding like minded people, and repeat.

Obligatory concluding sentence: there isn’t one. That would be people pleasing.