Build your Access: Understanding Your Opportunities

Photo of Jasmine Tooks

Disclaimer: In this blog post, we will get real here. It may seem harsh, painful, and upsetting. That means I am making you think. I want to you understand that I want better for you and this is what you are paying access for. You are ready for change and desire it now.

How can you have access to opportunities? It takes three things to change how you build your access. They may be closer than you think. Building your access to these things may take hard work and dedication. However, I want you to understand that it first starts from the internal benefit of driving change in your life.

And, I mean your life only. You are not in charge of how other people do things in their life (except for if you are a parent to a child under legal age). But, even then, you are in charge of your own design and future. People in your life did not consent to you trying to change them. Let that go, please, and stop trying to bring lazy people into your access circle. Let’s begin.

Mission

You need to understand that you need a reason why you are doing this. Developing your personal mission statement is more powerful than the fancy clothing, jewelry, and beauty products you have on your shelf. It gives you a reason to continue to make your choices in life.

Life comes with ups and downs. For some, right now is a down for them and a break away from their habits. For others, it is a moment to get clarity to clarify what you desire in life. This pandemic taught me more about people than marketing and history ever could. Why? You can see who the designer/hero of their story vs. the complainer blames the world for not going their way.

Let me tell you my mission statement:

I discover, tell and share stories about how people think.

More insight into who I am as a person:

I identify as a Humanist. I have an ENFJ personality.

Humanism:

noun.

origin. originally from the Renaissance era

an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

Exercise

  1. What drives you to get up every morning? If you do not like this answer, how will you change this answer?
  2. When you look into my personal mission statement, it tells you something about me. What do other people tell you about you?
  3. Why do you identify with this future image of yourself? Do they look happy from their environment (riches, comfortable lifestyle, partner, etc.), or do they look happy because of their internal joy?

Positioning

Are you in the place where you want to be? Answer the question with a yes or no statement out loud (no excuses or explanations). Now, I want to ask yourself, why are you not there?

Usually, you hear these excuses like the following:

“Sterling, I do not have the money to go where I want to be.”

“I don’t live in the place that gives me that option, Sterling.”

“My [insert race, gender, sexual orientation, educational status] does not get into those rooms.”

“I never go to these places because no one will go with me.”

“I hate talking to people.”

“I don’t want to ask because I know I can do it on my own. Or it seems awkward to ask a favor from my [insert parent, friend, coworker, mentor’s] friend.”

This is what I call a limiting mentality. You limit your outlook on life based on other people’s opinions, actions, and judgments. For example, my grandmother was the first of many things. A powerful Black woman from Mobile, Alabama, was the youngest out of 7 children. She went to university, graduated, went to the Air Force, got involved with the Civil Rights Movement, and became one of the first people to work at Alabama & Georgia Power. She was also the first single woman at 40 years old to adopt a child, my mother.

Her acts of service as the first woman and the first black woman in many spaces is why I do not adopt this limiting mentality in my daily life. Yes, life can be challenging. Even I had to work through my self-doubt, negativity, and judgment. In the end, I positioned myself to be better. I would not be here speaking to you if I did not.

Exercise

Do the following steps:

  1. Ask yourself mentally, ‘Are you in the position to become better?’
  2. Write down five things you need to do to get in this position. For example, you want to get into the luxury car sector. But you don’t know where to start. Break it down into small steps to make it less overwhelming to position yourself.The Steps:
    • Research key luxury cars like American vs. European.
    • Make a list of three car brands you want to know the history of
    • Develop a list of skills you can take into this industry, from marketing to tech,
    • Connect with your network of people you can pull from to get into the sector (like college alumni programs, Linkedin, friends & family)
    • Apply to local luxury car dealerships/company headquarters nearby.
  3. Get uncomfortable with yourself. If you have not realized this, ask yourself these questions, ‘Do you find yourself angry at yourself for not being where you should be? Or asking yourself why that other person got that opportunity and you didn’t?’ That is a sign that you have become too comfortable.

Reputation

Yes, I talk about branding in the sense of reputation a lot. Let’s talk about it in the act of what people who know you in real life understand about you. You may be known for not tolerating lazy and sloppy work. Or known as the person who has a high stance on boundaries with people.

Your internal drive to build that protection around you is a key insight to what you need to build your circle or close it. Your reputation is silent around you but loud to others. It is the friend that gets into the door at an exclusive club because someone likes you.

Exercises

  1. Do you find yourself looking at topics that don’t give you any value? (Gossip, Influencer Drama, Twitter low-value topics, etc.)
  2. Are you known for something good online vs. in person? What about something bad? [Don’t ask your friends, but ask someone who is an acquaintance. Most friends won’t tell you your bad qualities unless you built that relationship of honesty without consequences.]
  3. Are you the cause of your reputation going sour? Are you always known for getting into trouble from fights, spreading gossip, unmotivated & laziness in your life? (Get honest here with yourself).

Even your friends’ reputation can get you in trouble. There have been moments when I have decided not to work with a person who is friends with another person I do not like or agree with. Yes, they may be a nice person, but I do not want to attach myself to that stigma if something does go wrong. Birds of a feather flock together.

From Friends

  1. Do you have a friend that gives you underhanded compliments? Who always seems jealous or gives you red flags? Dump them. No excuses.
  2. Do you constantly check on a person you dislike or had a toxic relationship with? Remove yourself immediately.
  3. Do you find yourself embarrassed when you go out with your ‘friend’ to a place? Or do you think, ‘I can’t take [insert person’s name] to this place? Yes, it may not be because it is not their scene. But, I want you to think of the context if you feel the need to be on your guard for what they will do next (not in a positive way).
  4. Does this person always feel the need to use a situation for their benefit? Or does this person have a scarcity mindset when it comes to improving, like they are harmful when you invest in something?

In the end, it dives down to being selective with yourself always. Building your circle is as important as building yourself up for elevation. Please look through these questions, write them out and take a deep moment of reflection. Lastly, join the discord community server and let us know your thoughts about this blog post.