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S.N.O.B. Life for the Win

Early last year, I was invited to speak at a local Meet the Authors event.  I didn't receive much guidance, so I started writing what I was living. In case you missed it, read my speech below and learn how you, too, can live the S.N.O.B. Life. For the win.

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Step out on faith.

No self-comparison.

Own your story.

Bet on yourself.


Those are the four takeaways I want you to leave with today and to keep thinking about as you continue your journey as authors, entrepreneurs, and professionals.  To help you remember, you may or may not have noticed that the first letter of each of those takeaways create an acronym, and that acronym is S.N.O.B. 

 

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear that word?


 

Mainly negative things, right?  Snob has a negative connotation.  One definition is “a person who believes themself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field.”


Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “I’m a wine snob” or “I’m a restaurant snob” or a “hotel snob.”  Things that aren’t that serious in the grand scheme of things. And people typically aren’t saying they think less of anyone who isn’t into the same wine, restaurants, or hotels. Instead, they're indicating they have a particular set of standards for those things that they aren’t willing to compromise or sacrifice for any reason.

 

It's in that context that I want you to be a snob and remember it as an acronym you apply in your life, business, writing, and other endeavors.


Let’s start with:

 

1. Stepping out on faith. 

 

To dive into this one, I have to share a little of my background.  I’m fairly new to Wichita. I live in Park City with my husband Corinthian.  We’re from Newport News, VA. Corinthian moved here some years ago to pursue graduate school at Wichita State University and wanted me to come as well.



It was a no for me, dawg, as there was no ring (a story for another day).


Thankfully, there was a ring on December 18, 2021, and that’s what brought me here.


The way I told that story made the move sound easy, right?  On the contrary.

 

Corinthian and I have known each other 13 years. When we reconnected this last time, it didn’t take long for us to be on the same page about getting married.  What we weren’t on the same page about was where we would live.  Who was going to move?  Would he come to DC, where I was living and working, or would I move halfway across the country to Kansas?  After much prayerful contemplation and discussion, I knew I was headed to Kansas. But, there was a whole lot I was leery about. 


I’m an adjunct professor at George Mason University, where I teach (now virtually) first-year students.  I also mentor young women in high school and college.  One thing I encourage them to do is consider taking advantage of opportunities to move away from their hometown or to study abroad.  I advocate for this as someone who exists with anxiety, particularly social anxiety, which makes going to a place (and I’m talking something others might think as small, like going to a new gym) anywhere from daunting to terrifying.  However, I know from experience that leaving home, my comfort zone, was one of the best moves I ever made. 

 

I attended a small liberal arts college in Newport News then went to grad school at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, which is only about 30 minutes away from home.  About midway through my second year of the program, I applied for a job with the U.S. Department of Education in D.C. and was selected for the position.  For the first time, I was really moving away from home.  About five hours away, depending on the day and the traffic.  For years, I thought this was my big move.  I’d even say, “I think it’s important to move away, experience different places and things. But, this is far enough for me. I could never see myself moving across the country.” 


I said that more times than you know, and look at me now! In the span of one year, I moved to Maryland to help my mom during Covid, got engaged, closed on a home in Kansas that I’d never seen in person, got married, drove from Virginia to Kansas, moved into the new home, and officially became a Kansas resident.  Moving to Kansas was one of the biggest leaps I have ever taken.  It was the epitome of the S in snob: stepping out on faith. Even though living in DC, Baltimore, and Northern VA were "away from home," I still had easy access to family and friends.  After almost a decade, I'd become familiar with DC. It wasn’t home, but it was now a different comfort zone that I was afraid to leave. 


Things I feared about leaving that comfort zone were:

 

  • no longer being able to hop on 95 and drive 45 minutes to see my mom, brother, and nephew; a couple of hours to see my dad or childhood friends; or half an hour to get into shenanigans with my best friend;

 

  • needing to find all new doctors who would take my health seriously and listen to my concerns;

 

  • losing the "right-fit" therapist it took forever to find;

 

  • transitioning to a new region and chapter in my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc;

 

  • finding work I enjoyed and that would pay me what I’m worth. 

 

But God!


  • I probably talk to and "see" the friends and family I was so concerned about missing more now than I did when we lived in close proximity. 

 

  • I quickly learned the differences between Midwest and East Coast healthcare systems and, in a matter of months, had a new care team in place.

 

  • That includes a therapist who looks like me, understands my unique experiences as a Black woman in this society, challenges me, and supports me.

 

  • I’ve been embraced by the Central Region and Wichita Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

 

  • The U.S. Department of Education allowed me to keep my job, working remotely, and I landed a new job in July.

 

So, every major concern I had? Solved. Addressed. Was never an issue.


I stepped out on faith and God saw to it that every worry I had was addressed.  In 2021, all I knew was I wanted to be with my husband, but I couldn’t envision what that looked like if I moved to Kansas.




Clearly, I didn't need to, because God did!


2. No self-comparison

 

So, I’m in Kansas. Gainfully employed.  Getting to know my in-laws and new nieces and nephews better.  Active in my sorority.  Now what? 


I am Founder and CEO of The Millennial Black Professor, LLC—The MBP for short.  The MBP was established December 2020 based on what I perceived as a disconnect between academia and Black culture.  The MBP was intended to be a place where academia meets Black society.  A place where research and writing about the Black experience is valued.  Where I could present with an academic lens, but in a relatable and accessible way, a wide array of topics relevant and significant to us, demonstrating that we are not a monolith and that the multiple perspectives and voices that make up the culture matter.

 

Unfortunately, the socializing agent that is our higher education system both mirrors and models practices intended to keep marginalized and underrepresented groups in those places – to maintain the status quo.  The system is structured to reward publication of articles in academic journals as a primary pathway to advance in your career as a professor, scholar, or researcher. However, for me and other Black academics attempting to write about more than Black struggle—because we're more than that—this poses a significant barrier to our advancement. When we write about Black joy, Black resilience, Black love, Black success—topics that put our humanity on display and clearly dismantle and negate the dehumanizing narratives that are consistently fed to society—we’re often denied access by people judging our work who don’t look like us, who don’t care to know us, and who have no legitimate context to aid in their understanding.


So, I decided to do it myself.



I’d find or create other avenues to share my work.  From that decision, The MBP was born.  What began as an online hub for a blog, podcast, and requests for speaking engagements—outlets where I’d have no restrictions on my writing and voice—quickly evolved to meet another growing, local need through the addition of document preparation and educational consulting services. 


Over the past two years, The MBP has had highs and lows.  I’ve had moments of high activity, interest in my work, website traffic, service inquiries…and stretches of inactivity.  Even aware of the obvious fact that it takes time to build a business, let alone a thriving business, those downtimes are discouraging.  This is particularly true if you fall into the trap of self-comparison, and one of the primary breeding grounds for self-comparison is social media.

 

I’m not here to convince you that you should or shouldn't use social media. But, if you choose to leverage it for personal or business purposes, be intentional about curating your feed.  We’re human, so it’s one thing to say "don’t compare yourself to others"—their business, successes, and progress—but, realistically, it’s easier said than done.  So, instead of lecturing you about something that’s a very human, common behavior, I’m telling you what I’ve done to minimize the chances of it occurring. 

 

The Instagram algorithm may be ever changing and difficult to keep up with, but we know it’s there.  On a basic level, the more you look at and interact with certain types of profiles and content, the more you’ll see it.  It can be self-help content, health and wellness, celebrity gossip—the more you view it, the more you’ll see it.  If you know certain pages and profiles make you second-guess yourself, remove them from the equation.  If you don’t want to totally block the person's page, mute them so you don’t see anything they post. Do what you gotta do.

 

3. Own your story. 

  

Another way to combat self-comparison is owning your story.  When you compare yourself to others, you likely don’t know their story and what it took to get where they are.  And you don’t need to.  It’s none of your business.  What is your business is what you’ve accomplished, how far you’ve come, and what challenges, blessings, and successes your next page, chapter, and book have in store. 


Remember that you’re the expert on your life, your dissertation, your business, your story, your challenges, your successes.  You and no one else.  When in need, this is something you can fall back on. Whether it’s during an interview and you get stuck, mid-pitch and you lose your thought, or during a casual conversation and your anxiety kicks in: own your story. Make a connection to what you know best! Yourself. Owning your story—having a strong command of it—helps you better control your narrative and internal self-talk and to course correct when needed.

 

4. Bet on yourself.

   

Once you’re in command of your story, when all else fails and even when all else is well, always bet on yourself.  Remember that you and your unique lived experiences—your way of existing in and encountering the world, your reason for doing it that way—are different from anyone else’s, and therein lies their value and subsequent impact.  



To recap, let’s revisit the definition of snob we covered at the start of this:

 


“a person who believes themself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field.” 

 

When it comes to you, your life, and your business, you should consider yourself the expert and connoisseur.  Anyone who maliciously aims to make you feel otherwise should be held at arm’s length. 


The next time you're facing opposition from haters or from yourself, and it's causing you to feel stuck, remember that it's always S.N.O.B. Life for the win.

 

STEP OUT ON FAITH.

NO SELF-COMPARISON.

OWN YOUR STORY.

BET ON YOURSELF (ALWAYS).


Oh, and drink your water and mind your business. Dr. Tasha's orders.

תגובות


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