You Are Uniquely Suited to Tell Your Story
In college I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do. Numbers made sense to me so I lazily chose a job in investment banking. It felt right. It was a secure job where I learned from some of the smartest people on earth and really gained my corporate demeanor. I was a hard worker who kept her eye on the big picture and was always ready to negotiate. However, I quickly realized that I didn’t love it. My heart wasn’t interested in the financial markets 24/7 or reading the Wall Street journal non-stop. In my spare time I found that I was constantly reading about people, brands, and faraway places that drew me closer to the humanity of the world. I wanted a job where I could communicate the heart of something, you know, really tell a story.
I knew that job existed, but I also questioned that I would be good at it. How is the nerd that can whip up a financial model in minutes suited for storytelling? Who was I to leave a secure job for the unknown? I did the calculation and it became clear to me that it would be more of a risk to stay in my current situation than to pursue my passion. After 2.5 years I said goodbye to finance and started my new career in marketing. Since that leap I’ve worked in consumer marketing, gone to business school, worked in digital marketing for a luxury alcohol company, ran the digital business development group for a luxury retailer, and now am the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of a digitally native beauty brand. I ruthlessly pursued my truth and I’m stronger and smarter for it. Along the way, I’ve kept a few thoughts close.
Follow Your Passion Is A Rallying Cry
'Follow your passion' isn’t some nice Hallmark statement written on a poster in a teen girl’s room; it is a call to action. It’s saying not tomorrow or in the distant future, but right now, this second, do what you can to get closer to your true calling. Discover the thing that brightens your day, that lights your fire and go after it. Chase it like a lifeline because it is one. Write it on a bright post-it on your desk, your fridge, the mirror in your bathroom and never forget.
Black Girl Magic is Real
I used to think #blackgirlmagic was cute. Now I know it’s real. I opened my eyes to the #blackgirlmagic around me and it forced me to see it in myself. Sometimes you can forget that you are out here working towards something and your friends are too, and collectively you all are changing the world. It sounds like a big idea, but it’s real. You have to take moments to acknowledge that and celebrate it because if you won’t, who will?
No One Can Tell You Who You Are
I let others define me too many times. I allowed their expectations, their threat of disappointment, their rude behavior box me and diminish me. I went silent, still, safe, or small for the sake of others. Truthfully, many of them didn’t know it or didn’t mean to, but I applied it to my life as if they did. And then one day I realized you can’t live for other people. You will absolutely disappoint them, but the real ones will stay around. No one can tell you who you are and you have to live with the freedom and consequence of that. It is your ultimate responsibility to figure out who you are and live that truth.
To be a #baus is goals and I hope everyone finds their version of that truth.
Amanda E. Johnson