I’m officially at the point where everything in my life is being thrown into disarray. I’ll be graduating from college in a few months and I’ll be moving to a new city to start my first full-time job. I’ll have to make new friends and I’ll probably have to date (ew), all while doing my best maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Through this post, I’m going to breakdown the ways that I’ve begun to think about and work through these impending changes. Maybe it will help you too.
WAY 1: Learning to lead with love and not fear
As someone who gets very anxious very quickly, the thought of anything new can be daunting for me. Even when I’m incredibly excited about what’s to come, I often find myself listing and calculating the ways in which everything could go wrong. I have to stop myself mid-thought and remind myself to breathe through the fear.
Towards the end of last year, I decided to make “lead with love and not fear” my mantra for my twenties. I wanted to get ahead of the changes that I was about to experience in order to make sure that I don’t make the mistake of being skeptical about everything that’s to come. When you lead your life with fear, it’s so easy to become negative about EVERYTHING. You can only see the downsides of things or the ways in which things will go horribly wrong. It makes it difficult to embrace the good and to bask in the excitement of a new chapter. Leading with love allows you to be optimistic about both the future and the present. You learn that the challenges you faced in your past were all preparing you to tackle the unknowns ahead of you and were not negative reinforcements of the downsides of life. Our time on this earth feels too long and too short all in the same breath. I don’t want to pressure myself to look at everything as a timeline. I want to see it as a continuous series of events that add value to my experiences and help me add value to the experiences of others.
WAY 2: Finding Yoga
In November 2018, I stumbled upon a YouTuber called Sjana Earp. She’s an Australian vlogger, yoga instructor and ball of sunshine whose positivity about life is impossible to not be inspired by. Sjana got me started on my yoga journey which is a personal attempt to connect to the earth and my own body on a deeper level. The practice, that started in India in 3000 B.C., intends to connect the heart and the soul.
I make sure to take time every day to connect to the universe through breath and movement. I’ve found that this has helped to control my anxiety better. Even my friends say that I’m a more positive person because I give myself the space to be mindful.
Yoga has allowed me to workout anywhere at any time and in any place. I have fewer excuses as to why I can’t get up and do something both physical and spiritual. I don’t need equipment, I don’t need a personal trainer and I don’t need to get dressed in any specific way. I just need to get going.
WAY 3: Connecting with a mentor
My mentor is Allen Bosworth, Co-President at EP+Co (an advertising agency headquartered in South Carolina with an office in New York). We met in my junior year when I attended a talk led by him and EP+Co’s other co-president, Con Williamson.
It was at that talk that Allen and Con solidified the fact that advertising was the right track for me. It was also at that talk that my interest in EP+Co was piqued. One thank you email, one phone call and one exasperated question later, Allen had agreed to be my mentor.
As a mentor, Allen has exposed me to the endless possibilities there are in advertising and has helped me find my personal niche in strategy (with a hint of creative). He’s introduced me to copywriters, media buyers, account planners and all the people who make up an agency in order for me to have a better understanding of what a career in the field will actually look like. Before we began our mentorship, I had little to no knowledge of how agencies operate. He was kind enough to invite me to shadow his agency during my spring break and took a chance on me by offering me my first job out of college!
Allen continues to make time for any questions I may have and allows me to go on tangential spiels about purchasing behavior or famous bloggers. He’s continues to affirm that not everyone in advertising is cut throat, mildly racist and overtly sexist. He takes the time to connect with people.
Not only has Allen taught me how to prepare for a life in advertising, he’s also taught me how to be a better person. His most frequent advice is that there’s no replacement for good people and that no one wants to hire an asshole. Kindness can get you far.
Allen has been generous and welcoming, introducing me to his family and unapologetically showing pride in being my mentor. As a young black woman who’s chosen a career path occupied mainly by people who don’t look at all like me, this last fact is all the more powerful.
A good mentor provides a meaningful example of someone who has done whatever it is you want to do and a great mentor is the kind of person you want to emulate. I’d like to be as kind, intelligent and humble as Allen.
WAY 4: Soliciting Familial Advice
My family means the world to me, and they know me better than anybody else. They know exactly when and how to comfort me or give me a kick in the rear end.
My brother, who is five years older than me, is currently living in his 3rd country since leaving home. He is an expert at adapting, settling in and making new friends. He always has a plethora of tips and tricks available whenever I text or call him. Speaking to him eases my mind because I know that it is indeed possible to survive change. He also adds humor and warmth to my moments of fear.
My father is great for practical advice and support when I need to rage. He lets me go on and on for hours talking about how annoying it is to find accommodation or how irritating people who don’t pull their weights in group projects are. He always makes sure to ask what he can do to help, especially with administrative needs. The most important thing for him is that I succeed in whatever it is I do so ensures that I have the support necessary to do that.
And then there’s my mother – my rock. She is great for emotional support and constant phone calls throughout the week. She also acts as a database of resources, knowing which direction to point me in or how to help me come up with a step-by-step process to check things off my mental to-do lists. She always manages to make herself available to me and my needs and has a unique way of taking my mind off impending doom if that’s what I need at the time.
WAY 5: Talking to friends.
My friends are the only other people in my life who are going through the exact same things that I am! We are all in similar boats floating down the Adulthood River so it’s always nice to gather together to support one another’s endeavors (or just to complain). Each one of us has a piece of advice or a resource that can be helpful to someone else we know.
My friends are incredible because they know exactly how to be supportive without ever overstepping their bounds. We’re always there for each other academically, professionally, socially and spiritually.
Though change can be scary, it is inevitable. The best thing that we can do is learn to not fear it. It’s normal to have reservations about the future, but I’ve found that letting those reservations lead your actions can be incredibly crippling and awful for your mental health. I don’t know what the future holds, because everything could change tomorrow, but I’m challenging myself to breathe through the anxiety and embrace the change.