They say we overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. Well let me tell you, at the start of 2010, I had no clue how much the universe had in store for me over the next 10 years.
Just think about it. At the beginning of the decade, there was no Naima-Kourtnae 😵, I had never set foot on the Digicel Rising Stars’ set, much less host it 🤯, and quite interestingly, I had no clue I’d be making an entire career out of media, a field which I had never studied and only dabbled in at the time.
What a difference a decade makes.
Going through so many life and career changes in the 2010s taught me a lot of lessons about personal and professional growth that I want to take with me throughout the rest of my life. But I don’t want to keep them to myself, because I believe that you can learn as much from others’ experience as you do your own. So let me share the top 10 lessons I learned in 2010 with you.
1. Build excellence into everything you do
No matter whether I’m working at some massive international conference, giving a talk to a small group of people or just having a conversation with someone I meet while out and about, I give the same 110% effort everywhere I go. Why? Because you never know who you will meet, how you can contribute to their lives, and how they can contribute to yours. Excellence must become a habit. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you need to give it your full attention and effort, or don’t do it at all.
2. Your story is your best asset, use it
My secret formula when hosting or speaking at events is very simple – tell a good story and relate it to the topic at hand. Stories are powerful. People don’t just learn from them, like they would with a few bullet points on a slide, but they evoke emotions and provide the kind of natural humour to which people can relate very easily. Whenever you’re tasked with writing something or public speaking, just find a story from your life that you believe will resonate with your audience and reflect your message. I promise you, it will stick with your audience far longer than your 100-page PowerPoint.
3. Be authentically you in every setting
I speak my truth everyday and I encourage others to do the same. I am positive, but transparent, and open enough to speak about the journey and process rather than show off the destination. I practice what I preach and I wouldn’t ever give advice that I wouldn’t take. I use my platform to inspire growth, development, empathy and respect for all. I champion causes that matter to me and push for social change especially where our women and children are concerned. My page and access to my community are not for sale and I will not share anything I don’t believe in or stand by.
4. “Dress” for the job you want
Dressing for the job you want isn’t just about the actual clothes you wear. It’s about where you go, the activities you partake in, and the associates you keep. So often, I meet people who want to become successful in their careers, but when I ask them what they have done so far to achieve this goal…crickets. You can’t wait until you get the dream opportunity to do the hard work. It will never come. It’s those who do the hard work and set themselves up to attract the opportunities that get them.
5. You control your life, even if it doesn’t feel that way
Life throws curveballs at us all the time. All you need is to plan a clear path ahead for life to just throw a few obstacles in your way and send you off-track. You get lost and start feeling like you have zero control over your life. So why bother planning when it’s just going to fail, right?
Wrong. You may not be able to control the circumstances of life, but you have full control over the way you respond to them. If an obstacle falls in your way, figure out how to work around it or through it to get back on track. Or better yet, you may find that the obstacle isn’t even an obstacle at all – it’s just an opportunity you hadn’t yet considered.
6. Being a parent is the most rewarding job of them all
Of all the wonderful things that have happened to me in the last decade, becoming a mother and seeing my daughter grow up tops the list, no contest. My sharp-tongued and witty grandmother (Millicent Audrey Scott) is single handedly responsible for the woman I am today. She prepared me to be a great speaker but more importantly a decent human being, and these are the same principles I pass on to Naima. Seeing her personality take the shape of a confident, independent, yet helpful and caring person, who just loves learning and exploring new things, is more than I could hope for.
7. Don’t be afraid to change paths, embrace it
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I never even dreamed of becoming a media personality and host. I grew up loving animals and went all the way to Cuba to study veterinary medicine (which is a story in itself), only to come home and find out that I couldn’t practice in Jamaica. My friends recommended I try out radio, because I had the personality for it, and then I got the opportunity to do Digicel Rising Stars. The rest, as they say, is history. Had I turned down that first radio opportunity or treated it as a throwaway job to pass the time, I would have never found the success and happiness that I have doing what I do today.
8. What you give on social media is what you’ll get
My social media posts and engagement have led to people from across the world inviting me to host and speak at events like the Entrepreneurship Immersion Programme in Singapore I spoke at last year. The organizer followed me across platforms and was blown away by the level of engagement I manage to achieve across all my platforms and how I was able to tailor my content per platform while maintaining my core values and authenticity.
Many people see social media as a just a way to be entertained or shoot the breeze with friends and acquaintances, but when you realize the potential it has to showcase who you are and connect you with people all over the world, you’ll see just how powerful it can be.
9. You can be active online and still have a private life
I am generally a private person. I like my privacy and I think it is important to choose wisely what we choose to share on public platforms. My production crew didn’t even know I was 4 1/2 months pregnant while hosting my first season of Digicel Rising Stars.
One of the main core values I display consistently to the community I’ve cultivated is respect. Like attracts like. The persons who have become a part of my online community have been exposed to what matters the most to me (my privacy being one of them) and they have acknowledged that and they don’t go out of their way to unearth things that I choose to keep private.
Don’t be disillusioned by social media. Treat it as if it’s your house. Not everyone is invited , some stay at the gate, some may come inside but never go further than the living room.
10. Never stop doing the things that bring you joy
Did I mention that my daughter participates in 7 co-curricular activities, all of her own volition? That means most times being a mom is just code for a glorified chauffeur. Haha! Between raising a child and having an active career that requires frequent travel and attending events, things can get pretty busy around here.
However, whenever I do have a break, I am reading a book (I close off 2019 having read 45 books), hiding away at some of Jamaica’s hidden gems like the Kanopi House, or traveling. I am an introvert, which comes as a surprise to everyone, so I tend to revel in peace and quiet. I believe that no matter how hectic life gets, you should always find a way to take some time for yourself and do the things that fill you up because that is the only way you will be able to give your all.