Work In Progress

The truth, drumroll please, you can't do everything.

Whoa, that truth proclamation just released some major tension in my neck. If you are like 99.9% of the world who is trying to do everything including: drink 8-8 ounce glasses of water daily, workout 1-3 times a week, stay away from the news and off social media consistently, and breath. Then welcome to the club of 'work in progress.'

The club of 'work in progress' happens to be the story of my life. And no matter how many times I hear "take one day at a time, " "do what you can," and "control the controllables," there is still a piece of me that wants to move mountains until I hit my financial, physical, and life goals. 

It's madness. 

What I've recently learned is that you can't lean too much on institutions (religious, educational, or corporate). You must trust the process of your work and don't be afraid to fail because with the attempt you learn a whole heck-of-a-lot about yourself.

You must believe that the journey is ultimately yours. You have to own the good and bad times (just ask Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso). 

When I was laid off from my fancy job in the oil and gas industry a couple of years ago, the boss gave a riveting lecture about the benefits of starting a new chapter paired with Warren Buffet quotes. At the time I thought, sheesh, I don't think this is the time to be spouting off your favorite bookmarked quotes when six people just lost their job, but it taught me that nothing is permanent. And until I take full control of my dreams, my business, and my future I will always be at the mercy of someone else's. 

It's fine to work for people if that is your thing but remember when the going get's tough you may be laid off. 

Find your thing. 

I read. I write. I watch documentaries on Netflix. I engage people in the pursuit to discover more about myself and my likes and dislikes. 

And then I focus, at least try to, on just that. On just the new nugget that has inspired something in me until the next gem comes along. 

I discovered a Facebook Live interview with Mark Manson, New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k. I believe he has some pretty cool and honest things to say. Check him out! 

 

When Triplets Celebrate A Birthday

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the two other people that came into the world with me! You both have filled my life with more joy and fun than I deserve. 

As we celebrate the big one (the number we shall not mention). I reflect back to our childhood. Three little black girls, born in a small house with a red door, to a police officer and a bus driver. Mom made sure we had what we needed but most of all we had each other. 

I have not always enjoyed being a triplet because sharing everything I've ever had was not always fun, but it taught me sacrifice, and I learned to live with less, filling my moments instead with laughs, hugs, and tugs. 

Even though I was born one minute before you, Erica and three minutes before you Lina, you both treat me like the "big sister" of our crew, sharing with me your joy, heartbreak, and hang-ups. For me, it is time well spent because seeing you both happy is one of my life's goals. 

You both are resilient and determined. I remember the day you two left to follow your dreams in California, departing with little money and one plan, to make it in Hollywood. As I watched you both drive away, I knew I was looking at a piece of me live courageously. 

You two inspire me. Being your "big" sister is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

The Pursuit of Meaningful Work

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Instead of who do you love? I like to sometimes ask what do you love? Are you living and enjoying that? If you only had six months to live what would you do?

These are such big, emotional, and substantial questions but they matter. They matter and they are practical if you look at them from the small moment in time you are here. Hang with me. It felt like yesterday, I was 23 years old and in two weeks I will be 30. 

Where has the time gone? Who stole it from me and how can I get it back?

The truth is I will never get the time back. I heard someone say that after your twentieth birthday you spend the rest of your life in reflection. So the questions of what do you love and if you only had six months to live what would you do are valid questions.

Yes, there are pieces of green paper in your wallet to worry about. Your kids who you have spoiled are now teenagers who want you to provide their every desire. There also is that gas-monster SUV you bought last year because you thought Frank, your next door neighbor, would say hi more or his wife Lisa would take notice of your upward mobility. All wrong reasons to have enslaved yourself.

The first step to answering those questions I posed earlier is to take baby steps toward your freedom. 

You must decide you want to be free and then free yourself. Not of the people, but of the things that have enslaved you and the people you love. In pursuit of meaning work, you have no other choice. You have no choice but to free yourself from what you cannot take with you into the next life. Sorry, to get morbid on you but it's the truth and the truth is better than a lie. 

My mother said she cried when she turned thirty. I am not sure why.

I shall do no such thing. Today, with my life, I am only in search of that which fuels me. I hope to loose track of time in this daily pursuit. In an attempt to look back over my life and smile.

You have a choice. Continue down the course of least resistance or decide to view your life as a short adventure. The challenge it will take to chart a new course will be hard but remember this is an adventure. You have everything to gain.

What do you say? 

Creatives You're In the Business of Sales Too

Nothing happens until a sale is made. - Tom Watson Sr., IBM Founder

That paint brush you are holding, the camera in your hands, the paper you write on and the computer you design with all started in a warehouse waiting to be sold to a store and purchased by you. 

Without a sale or a buy taking place, your dreams would be impossible to achieve. 

If you are in business for yourself, if you are operating or would like to one-day operate a creative business you must come to the realization that you are in the business of sales. You are in the business of informing a potential client about your service or product before they have enough confidence in you to buy.  

 your clothing line needs sales support. 

your clothing line needs sales support. 

You can come to this understanding one of two ways: when a gallery owner informs you that you need a larger platform for them to take the risk on your work or by creating a product and releasing it to the quiet sound of nothingness. No sales. No customers. No impact. No financial independence. 

After I wrote and self-published my second book, The Beginner's Guide to Finding Your Brave, this realization hit me. I must adjust my way of thinking if I want to sell books. I am not waiting on an agent, publishing house, the writing community to choose me. We must choose ourselves. Technology has made the barrier to entry accessible to people like you and me who are driven and hungry to create things in our lives. 

I spent my senior year in college and the first six years of my professional career in the sales industry. It was hard work but the skills I learned are invaluable to the way business is done today. 

I initially thought my writing and I could drift off into the sunset, and because I wrote a book, people would buy it and read it, wrong, wrong, wrong. Once you write your book, you take your photos, and you sing your songs it all needs selling to generate a profit. 

The challenge is yours. Will you take your creative business in your hands or wait to be picked? 

I recommended this book to my sales staff, and I will recommend it to you: Selling 101. If you would like to chat about goals for your creative business visit www.earlinagreen.com and click on the "I want 15-minutes" button. 

See you at the top! 

4 things I learned from working in the male-dominated sports industry

You can learn a lot from your professional experience. If you look hard enough, you will see a common thread between everything you’ve done and everything you will do. 

I began my stint in the sports industry as a junior in college by volunteering for player foundations in the NFL (National Football League). The work was grueling. I spent a lot of my time organizing volunteers to man concession stands for hours at the old Cowboys Stadium. Depending on how you look at the work, it can be training or brutal. I choose training. 

What I learned from my time in sports is that with enough passion and focus the ride to the top can be enjoyable. Here are four additional key takeaways: 

1.) Know what you want and share your goals with those that can help. Very often, we go into situations unsure of what we want but the reason I will encourage you to have an idea because those in upper management tend to be goal oriented individuals. How can someone assist you to achieve your goals if you don’t have any or don’t know where to start? I suggest you question everything. Ask specific questions. Dig. Find a blueprint that can help you uncover your wants and allow the journey to unfold. 

Specificity is the key to goal attainment. 

2.) Know who you are. What are your non-negotiables? How far is too far? I’ve found that by having a center of gravity, non-negotiables, that I have been able to avoid the pitfalls of a fast paced entertainment driven industry like the sports industry. If you don’t know who you are, there are those eager to define that for you. 

Decide. 

3.) Do you know the art of negotiation? You want something. Great! So does the other person. Michael Mamas of Entrepreneur Magazine put out a great article on the how to master the art of negotiation. To sum it up, building relationships is key. The best way to get what you want is by helping others get what they want, and the way you do this is by remembering it is not all about you. 

Eye contact doesn't hurt either. 

4.) Never give up on your dreams no matter where the journey takes you. I made up in my mind that the boys would not have all the fun and so my goal to be the first minority female majority owner of an NBA team is an homage to that way of thinking. 

What is your audacious goal? And what does it matter if it is in an industry led by men? The challenge is yours for the taking.

Creativity & Freedom

 "Silliness" (To create this image took three photo editing apps, 2 hours. The process, frustrating. The outcome, execution.) 

"Silliness" (To create this image took three photo editing apps, 2 hours. The process, frustrating. The outcome, execution.) 

Let's face it. We are all creators. We are creators of wild ideas and dinner party concepts. We are designers of our personal looks and ninja creatives around saving money and fun. I believe each time we create anything we can call ourselves creators. 

You probably would not call yourself a creator because you believe creators are “artsy,” they went to fancy design schools, or have the best styled social media accounts.

If you want to create, create. There is no limit on any human’s ability to create something from nothing.

Is permission-seeking holding you back? Or self-esteem? Or confidence?

Whatever the thought is holding you back, that too is merely an idea you’ve created based on your understanding of the creative process. 

In her documentary, “Between the Lines,” Agnes Martin spoke about the topic of creativity. Martin discussed how she created for twenty years and at the end of that time trashed the work she produced. Argued in the video, Martin believes in creating with her back against the world. She created every day and edited her work vehemently.

Martin cancels the opinions of others from her creative process and creates, over and over again.

Today, Martin’s work is known all around the world. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and referrred to her work as abstract expressionism.

What if you created with your back to the world? What would you construct? I bet it would be awesome! 

Whether you have created a child, a career or a poem, you are a creator. You were made to create. 

You and I may not be Agnes Martin, but with practice, time, and hard work we will look back on our creations with great pride and humility for the road we journeyed.  

What will you create?