Dear 23-year-old Ashley,
Right now, you have no idea that you are laying the foundation for your future. Seize every opportunity, knock on every door, glean from every experience.
Those dreams that keep you up at night will finally become a reality. You just have to be brave enough to take that leap of faith. You have to be relentless enough to sacrifice some sleep, nights out with the girls and even those shoes you’ve been eyeing.
Now, before you head down this path to success, let me give you my five must-remember tips:
5. For a season, for a reason – As you and your life begin to take shape, some people, places and things just aren’t going to fit anymore. You might outgrow some relationships and friendships. Never burn a bridge, but don’t be afraid to cross and walk away from one either.
4. “Fall down seven times, get up eight” – Girl, you are going to make so many mistakes. Be humble and strategic. Own up to them but learn from them. Then, seek advice from wiser council so that you don’t make that same mistake twice.
3. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – You must stay connected to your network and tap into your resources. All of those former classmates, colleagues and acquaintances have a wealth of knowledge and contacts. Nuture those relationships and remember to help others.
2. “Be your own cheerleader” – Not everyone is going to be as excited about your dreams as you. You also can’t share your dream with everyone. Don’t get discouraged. Find allies who want to hear about your vision and will work with you to help your business grow. Also, market yourself and your products outside your inner circle and start building a loyal customer base.
1. Don’t ever give up. You are stronger than you think.
30-year-old Ashley Foxx
Ashley Foxx, an author, educator, and artist, fell in love with children’s books while teaching kindergarten and first grade in Memphis, TN. She absolutely loves telling stories, creating art and, of course, causing mischief. She collaborated with her sister, April Foxx, on their first children’s book, Keisha Cane and Her Very Sweet Tooth. Ms. Foxx has been featured in Glamour Magazine, Grace Magazine, The Commercial Appeal and on Essence.com, Black Enterprise.com, and Clutch.com. Ms. Foxx is also the Executive Director of Kifani, Incorporated, a small media and publishing company based in Memphis, TN. Kifani’s current project, Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama has been featured in Ebony Magazine and on Essence.com, Ebony.com, Colorlines.com and Huffington Post. Find her on twitter @foxxology, on facebook at facebook.com/authorashleyfoxx and on her website, www.foxxology.com.