What I’ve Learned From The Last 6 Months

The first 6 months and your next 6 months will not be the same. We are now in July which means we are in the second half of 2018 so you will face a new series of challenges, blessings, and obstacles that will look different.  You choose to have that difference be a “good different” or “a bad different”. Only you have the power to do that. One of the best feelings is when you realize how much power you have in your own life to do the things you want to do.

I usually do a “What I’ve Learned From: [Month]” but considering now that we are halfway through the year I wanted to take the time to reflect on the first half of 2018. I hope you all can learn from some of the things I have learned these past few months.

I knew 2018 was going to be a hard year but I’ve grown so much because of it. Last year had nothing on the growth I’ve had in the past 6 months alone. Not all of that growth has been good. There have been dark times and a lot of nights where I kept asking “Why?”. I know this year was hard for a lot of people and I’m in awe how some people can handle the things life throws at them. I’m truly inspired by that. I love seeing the good in people come out in times of adversity. I saw that within myself too.

I told myself that 2018 was going to be a selfish year for me. I’m turning 21 in a couple of weeks and I also launched my brand + platform on January 17 of this year. 1/17/2018. I’ve seen myself grow throughout my platform in so many ways and I think my platform is a really good representation of where my headspace is at. It hasn’t been in the most positive places and due to some traumatic experiences, I found myself desperately needing myself more and more. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to save me. I was in a really toxic place. I struggled with an eating disorder which had severe impacts on my overall health. I wasn’t healthy at the time but I have come a long way since. My relationship with food is steadily improving because I stopped punishing myself for things that had nothing to do with me to begin with.

Learning how to take care of myself

I’ve learned what taking care of yourself looks like and how valuable peace, energy, and light is in my life. I spend a lot of my time focusing on my own peace and protecting that because I’ve seen myself in a place where I wasn’t doing that. I wasn’t giving myself the love and energy I was giving other people. I think it’s easy to look outwards for happiness, love, and validation but when I catch myself doing that I always ask myself “Am I providing that for myself first?”. That behavior is something I’ve practiced over time.

A lot of the self-love and me taking care of myself was new to me so I didn’t what it looked like. I had to make the conscious choice to take care of myself every single day.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, so far, is you have to take care of yourself before you do anything. I wasn’t a good friend, a good partner, a good energy to those I cared about because I didn’t know how to properly take care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It really affected a lot of my relationships around me and my health too.

You don’t really ever get taught to do that. I don’t we teach how to take care of yourself in a way that’s deeper than the surface level things like face masks, relaxing, etc. We focus so much on being stable financially and in our careers but never take a step back to look at the person who has to go through this. In order to go through anything, you have to be okay with yourself first. Before I hated to be alone and now I value my independence so much more because I know that only I can offer that peace of mind in life.

The Newness

The first 6 months of this year have been some of my darkest days and a lot of new transitions. I’m learning that your early 20s are some of the hardest times because you are in between being a real adult and still being a teenager. There are so many firsts that happen to a lot of us during this time that can be overwhelming. Your first move, your first real job, your first big heartbreak, the first bill you have to start paying. Whatever it is, it’s new for us. But the new isn’t impossible, it’s just unfamiliar which can be scary. It was for me. I’ve learned that once things become more of a practice they do become a lot easier. It takes time but it’s a valuable time of learning.

Moving to a new city by myself was a lot more lonely than I ever anticipated. I am also in a new role in a completely different company. I’ve been sharing my internship help guide for all of you to benefit from it and go through this together.

What I’ve done to help myself with the newness is to take a step back, look at it for what it is, and be grateful for it all. I think about how lucky I am to have these opportunities to do what I am empowered to do. Even when I am overwhelmed, I thank God for everything because I know that He is shaping me to be the woman I am supposed to be. So of course, it’s going to be a little difficult.

Relationships

Let’s get a little personal… If you have been reading my content for awhile, you know that one of the last relationships I was in wasn’t very healthy.  I fell into an awful mental cycle that I have since pulled myself out of. I wasn’t taking care of myself.

There are things that I still battle daily to overcome it but you can’t rush the healing process. I am also a very forgiving person so despite what’s happened I chose to forgive and move past what happened. I didn’t want to carry any animosity with me because it would have bled into other aspects of my life. I do still love this person and will continue to have love for this person despite how much it affected me.

With other relationships, I’ve realized that sometimes taking the time to work on yourself before you can even commit to anyone else. It’s a working progress and something I try to be mindful of every single day. This goes back to being honest with yourself in order to find peace in what you do and who you want to do it with. Take accountability when you mess up, if you want something just go do it, and don’t take any of the growing process for granted.

I’ve also given myself the permission to take time away from certain circumstances. I need to keep everything and everyone at an arm’s length before I welcome them back into my circle or space. Everyone you meet comes with their own energy, their own conditioning, and I think it’s perfectly okay to say “Hey, I don’t want to have this in my life right now while I learn to figure some things out on my own”. You need to communicate that to those around you if you need the space to process the chaos in your world. I think it’s perfectly healthy to do that. The people around you will want to help and support you but somethings you need to digest at your own pace. They may not understand but if you need to do it for yourself, they’ll have to accept it.

My Brand Baby

I love talking about this because this is a place where I can really be myself. My brand, my platform, my social media is really important to me. Some people may think it’s superficial or may not be sustainable however I feel like I am being called to share my stories with you all. The whole development of building a brand is so much more than people think. You are your own boss so you have to keep yourself accountable and motivated to do whatever it is. Whether it be creating social media templates or reaching out to brands, you have to stay on it. I get to create things that reflect me in a way that engages people. I don’t need 1000 followers who don’t engage with my content. I’d much rather have a few who are really listening to offer feedback and show support. I love hearing from you guys and talking to you all.

I’d like to think that my brand has been successful in the past 6 months since it’s conception. I started it because I wanted to express myself to people who felt like no one was listening to them. I get to be myself: authentically and organically. ALSO, it’s a creative outlet for me. There is so much that goes into social media behind just posting. Now, there is a new social media industry that wasn’t there before. There are so many jobs that got created because bloggers and influencers took a leap of faith to share their thoughts with the world. This industry may seem competitive but I don’t really believe in that word. I think there is so much out there already that people can connect to and just because you connect with one person doesn’t mean you don’t connect with other people. It’s created a community of creators who want to support one another. I know there are some snakes out there but so far, I’ve met some of the most incredible girl bosses because of my platform.

It’s something that I have worked a lot on and put a lot of energy into so I protect it like it’s my own. You all will see a new face of my brand very soon and I am so excited. I get to evolve with Is Anyone Really Listening? Again, this speaks back to the self-power.

Steminist: More than Just A Movement.

By definition, a steminist is an advocate for increasing the presence of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. A word that is to define this existing movement of women who have been on the frontiers of innovative change that inspires the world we live in. These women are our mothers, friends, daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends, and beyond. This isn’t a role or a fancy name. It’s efforts of progression in a more connected, global world.

I am beyond proud to be on the campaign started by Girl Boss herself, Naomi Thomas. Naomi has been more than a mentor to me. I met her my freshman year of UNCG and since then she has been nothing but a inspiration, role model, and friend to me. I look at Naomi as the future of women leaders who lead with their passion and hard work. She’s not only an inspiring person, she is also a kind-hearted woman who values the empowerment of people in her network and beyond.

This campaign is more than just a set of pictures and t-shirts. It’s been the heartbeat behind every project, line of code, and data that I have been a part of. Being a woman in technology is no easy feat and as I begin my career of using data as a form of storytelling I am motivated by the people I am able to call my friends and also be able to look up to. How cool is that? Having people that inspire you to be who you are but are also down to get brunch every once in awhile.

Steminist is more than a movement. It’s the collection of all people who are encouraging the fearless women in their lives to be better in their respected disciplines. I am so honored to be showcased alongside these other incredible, badass, strong women.

This platform that I have founded and sought refuge in, is more to me than just a collection of my stories. It’s a stage where I can evoke change, inspire others, and bring together people who are multifaceted in their own right. If you’re reading this and you’re listening, understand that whatever it is you are called to do. Do it. Lead with your heart and the best intentions and all of the good that you are seeking will be revealed right inside of you. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll also attract people who will see it too. This is more than a platform. This more than a movement.

I know that some people may look at this and roll their eyes but imagine what it would do if you opened your mind and heart the possibility of inspiring the young girls who want to be the next Elon Musk. Imagine giving the kids the ability to create with technology. I think there would be a lot more good in this world.

If you use my link to purchase, 30% of the profits will be donated to Girls In Tech . One of the many organizations that inspire the next generation of women in technology leaders through education, engagement, and empowerment.

Spotify’s Latest App Integration With Instagram

You know when a new album drops and you tap through Instagram Stories of everybody posting the same screenshot of the same song?

Well.. things just got a whole lot easier.

Instagram’s latest app integration can allow you to go into Spotify and directly share the song you’re listening to right to your Instagram stories. It takes the extra step of screenshotting and encourages you to share artists directly from Spotify.

How to use it

  • Go into Spotify to your favorite song. I have been loving Bazzi’s new album lately.
  • Tap the three circles underneath the music image
  • Tap share and Instagram stories
    and boom! All your followers can see what music you’re feeling

I consider app integrations as company collaborations. They are both implementing a feature that allows you to use both of their platforms to help one another or make an experience easier.

I never thought I’d be excited about something like this but it just makes me curious to see how Instagram will integrate with other applications. On a business profile side, I want to see what insight/analytics integrations they can offer accounts or personal brands to grow their platforms. On a personal account side, maybe there will more filters or fun graphics to put into stories.

 

 

Data policies are being updated. This is why.

Your inbox may be looking a little something like this recently. Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so many other companies are updating their terms and conditions.
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Here’s why

If you’re unaware, the terms of conditions you click “agree” to before you log into a service or do anything nowadays on the Internet lays out, in detail, what that company will or won’t do with your personal information, usage on their platform, and the data it collects from you. Depending on the platform, they will collect different things but for tech giants like Google they can track anything from your late night Google searches to what ads you like or videos you watch on Youtube. We have so much access to data nowadays. So much in fact, as analysts, some of the challenges we face is what to do with it all and what’s important.

Terms and Conditions are written to be super lengthy, wordy, and long on purpose because companies know 1. that you won’t read them because who actually does? 2. the longer, wordier it is the less likely you are to understand it or try to read it. That can be dangerous because companies can sneak in policies that you “agree” to that harm the user and can be a misuse of your sensitive information. As a user, you may not directly see the direct effects of misused data but you should pay attention to how companies use it. Most of the time, companies use your information to advertise or they just sell it to the highest bidder.

Now the reason your email inbox is getting spammed with updates is because of a European Data Governance regulation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I’ll spare you the 261-page read and give you the highlights.

The GDPR is going to make sure that companies don’t sneak in documents or terms within their Terms and Conditions that can affect their users. Since companies know that most people don’t read the conditions, the GDPR is hoping to make sure the information is transparent so users know what they are getting into. This is a huge step because information about how you use technology is so important. You want to know who sees your information and how it’s being used. The terms and conditions explain it we just don’t take the time to read it. I’m guilty of it too.