****This blog is no longer updated at this address! Come check it out at http://thinkandgrowchick.com. All of the archives are available there as well****

This site is my online journal that documents my attempts to reach various goals inspired by the principles found in the book, Think and Grow Rich. Join me as I strive to meet financial goals, fashion goals, school goals, hair-care goals, and everything in between. I hope that other young women will relate and find my journey useful to read about; this blog is for me as much as it is for women seeking resources for personal development and freedom. To get a daily dose, follow me on twitter and facebook...and don't forget to follow my blog!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Video: What is a Think and Grow Chick?

Here's a little video I made the morning, properly introducing just what a Think and Grow Chick is. Are you a Think and Grow Chick?

"Master-Mind" Your Sister Circle

Women know all too well how important "kickin' it" with the girls can be. While our male counterparts are scratching their heads wondering why on earth two or more women are necessary for one trip to the restroom, social ladies know that keeping your very best girlfriends at the ready, all the time, is actually pretty useful for a multitude of situations. When shopping, for instance, it always pays to bring your girl who isn't afraid to tell you that (1) your butt looks saggy in those jeans and (2) you're only buying them because they're on sale. Of course, this is insight you should be able to bring to yourself, but sometimes the extra eye and your girl's particularly keen sense of style makes all the difference in accomplishing your ultimate aim—finding the perfect pair of jeans. I find it particularly interesting then, that many woman don't translate this approach to collaboration when trying to achieve more substantial goals like starting a business. The same thing that makes our personal "sister circles" great—diverse yet like-minded friends who have strengths that compliment our weaknesses—is the same thing that can help us achieve the goals that are really important in our lives. In other words, put your more ambitious friends to work by orchestrating your own "mastermind" group.

Though the term "Mastermind" was coined by Napoleon Hill in many of his books (Think and Grow Rich, The Laws of Success, etc) the "mastermind" concept has been around since people have been around. Call it a mastermind, a sister circle, your inner clique, or your "fav 5", simply put, having an informal group of people with different, complimenting talents working together for you is really the key to achieving any singular goal.

"But I don't have any money to hire anybody," some might protest. A mastermind group isn't about hiring people, but about electing people to help you because you can help them too. Do you hire a friend to listen to you when deciding about what to do with a wayward boyfriend? Of course not; your friend is there for you because she likes you and she knows she can expect that same dedication from you in her time of need. So it is with the people in your mastermind group—helping you helps them help themselves. A prime example of this is an informal arrangement I currently have with a good friend of mine. She's a phenomenal connector in terms of networking and gaining contacts, while I'm a great orchestrator in terms of putting talents to profitable use. When I came to her for help in learning how to meet the right people for my projects, she happily obliged as she needed help with selling her networking skills as services for her own consulting business. Though no money exchanged hands, we traded something even better: our time and devotion for each other. By keeping track of the other's progress and meeting every few weeks just to check in, she and I have collectively gotten a lot farther working together than we could have hoped when previously on our own. For our specific goals, she and I employed our own little mastermind group of two...each other.

One of my favorite examples of a successful, large scale mastermind group online (though they don't refer to themselves as such) is the hair forum at longhaircareforum.com. Literally as often as every few minutes, thousands of Black women from all over the world get together to discuss and help each other achieve, long, healthy hair. If you spend a few minutes browsing the members' picture albums of their hair, the difference between the growth of their hair prior to joining the forum and after is almost astronomical. No one's hair grew any faster after joining the forum, of course; however, being privy to the groups collective knowledge and being held accountable for their individual goals allows virtually every member to retain longer hair quicker than they had been able to on their own.

If you look closely at pretty much any success story, big or small, a mastermind group was operating somewhere in the background, at some point in time. Is collaboration with like minded individuals a part of your strategy for success? Share your thoughts in the comments box or email me at thinkandgrowchick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Celebrating the Hair and Now

With the record breaking "snowpocalypse" ravaging the east coast and trapping me inside for a full 48 hours and counting, I was free to unapologatically wear my pajamas all day, eat cheese snacks, and watch VH1 Soul for hours on end. It was during this marathon that I happened upon Laura Izibor, an up-and-coming neo-soul singer of Nigerian and Irish decent.

(photo credit: lauraizibor.com)

With funky tracks and a delightfully different and interesting voice, a video featuring Izibor was a pleasant interruption to the monotony of my day. So I laid there, on the couch, in lazy bliss as my TV set blared Izibor's latest, "From My Heart to Yours". As I toe-tapped to the beat, however, I was troubled to find my attention quietly seduced away from the song by...

you guessed it...

...her hair. As beautiful and stylish as her ringlets are, I was somewhat suprised at my own reaction to her 'do. Normally when I see a chick with a rockin' 'fro, she is instantly filed away into my mental reservoir of "Holy Grail Hair" and I spend the next few weeks researching her routine and trying everything I can to get my hair on an equally fabulous level. Sitting on the couch and studying Izibor's tresses, however, led me to a different conclusion.

For the first time, looking at someone else's remarkable hair gave me an uncontrollable desire to get out there and celebrate my own, just as it is.

Blame it on delusion induced by snow day captivity, but by watching Izibor bop around in her music video with her artsy clothes, big hoop earrings, and larger than life hair, I felt remiss that for the last few weeks, I hadn't been celebrating myself in the same way. For the first time in American culture, there is a wealth of information about natural, African-American hair and it can be easy to get lost in the "tips and tricks" that'll help you make your hair longer, looser, shinier, or simply "something else". Learning about and trying things with natural hair (as any natural diva can attest to) can be great, but it is such an involved process that I think sometimes we can lose sight of the fun in rocking our hair as it is.

If we're not careful, such an "on to the next" attitude can permiate other aspects of our lives. While I'm not saying that ambition, drive, and trying to better yourself is a bad thing (after all, this blog is rooted in such characteristics),  it is something to manage correctly, as you do not want to wake up one day and realize that nothing you have or did was good enough because you were always looking for that next best thing. I've been guilty of this when studying other people's path to success, and I 've certainly been guilty of this when admiring other women's natural hair.

So dear readers, I challenge you to celebrate your current state of being in whatever facet of your life you may be struggling with the most, today. For example, If you're newly natural and find yourself drooling over pictures of Corinne Bailey Rae's long curls, try using accessories, stunning makeup, or just a more confident attitude to make you feel like the 'fro you've got is "all that and then some" until you reach your ultimate hair goal. Life's too short--make the most of what you have, when you have it, and the rest will fall in to place.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Think and Grow Chick" of the Day: Meet the Fabulous Kimmay

For those of you who don't know, Kim of KimmayTube on Youtube.com is a phenomenal lady to both watch and glean life advice from. I was lucky enough to score an interview with her, and I have to say that it is a real treat. Before we dive into the interview, check out one of my favorite videos from her entitled, "Advice to a 23 year old me—My financial Fall, Pt. 2"

(embeded with permission from KimmayTube)

Hello Kimmay! Welcome to Think & Grow Chick, a blog were I document achievement of goals important to young, black women. Can you start off by telling our readers what it is you do?

I'm a graphics consultant.  I help companies to see where they are going through info-graphics or other creative forms (like boardgames).  It has less to do with art and more with understanding processes and problem solving.  Having an art background has helped, but most people in my profession majored in business, journalism or marketing.

What is a typical day in your life like?

Honestly, there is no such thing as a typical day for me. Sometimes I have to travel, other times I work from home (in my pajamas). But a typical week includes exercise, preparing meals on my nights to cook and checking email/Youtube 50 million times. Now that I'm starting my new company LUV Naturals, I spend a lot of time researching, contacting manufacturers and making purchases for the website. I'm excited and everything is coming together nicely. But there is still a lot of work left to be done!

How did you get into your current space in life? Can you tell us about your background?

That is such an open ended question! All I can say is that I know what I want in life and I go for it.
I don't make excuses. Absolutely no excuses!  I'm motivated by the success and talents of others and I'm willing to plan & work for what I want out of life. That is key.  If you are discouraged by the success of others, that is a personal problem that needs to be worked out pronto! lol.  It will only hold you back and keep you from realizing your full potential. Even that slight tinge of jealousy or green envy is a sign that it is time to step up your game, not hate on theirs. I’ve been living by this “rule” for the past 10 years now.  It works. Lol.

What were your goals back in college or during your youth? Did they change over time, or did they always lead to what it is you are doing now?

There was no straight path to where I am in life today.  I've always known how to adapt and self-critique in order to improve myself. The only thing that has changed is that now I have a plan.  Having a plan is necessary to make your vision a reality.  You have to see it, schedule the steps required to get there and just do it.  Even if you don't have a full fleshed out plan, make a sketch of it, write something down. That will be the start of your journey.

Every lesson/skill that you've learned in life *should* automatically be applied to everything you do in the future.  Your unique experiences set you apart from the pack.

How did KimmayTube come about? What was your motivation?

I started kimmaytube because I believed I had something unique to offer to the natural hair community.  I love the entire creative process of taking a video from concept to final.

Also, I felt that if I didn't like the way natural hair was being presented, I needed to promote my ideals.  For example, I'm personally not a fan of weaves for naturals *ducks tomatoes*. Lol.  I'm not!  I think it sends the message that our hair can't be managed and worn on its own, without "help" in order to be beautiful and presentable to the world. So while I think it is perfectly fine for a natural to sport her weaves/wigs etc.

I want to help put forth an alternative message to the world (we are global on Youtube!) that we can.  At all stages, we can wear our own hair and be beautiful.

Plus the myth about afro-textured hair not being able to grow long needs to be dispelled! And then I won’t feel like weaves send a bad message about our self-image. They can simply be known as a styling option not a “crutch” or something to hide our hair beneath.

My channel is for everyone. No matter the race or hair type. People need to see more positive images of black women. To let the media tell it, we’re mostly, sad, angry, unhappy, unfulfilled etc. but this is the internet.  We can share our lives and show the world (and ourselves) who we really are or where we want to be.

Please describe some of the realities of promoting yourself using social media? How has it been for you?

I have found it to be incredibly easy because I AM A FAN OF YOUTUBE, period.
I don't just take cues from other naturals, I also watch what other non-hair related Youtubers are doing.  You can learn a lot from them (editing, graphics etc.).

Plus, I create videos on a regular basis. You have to be visible on Youtube in order to grow an audience. It happens gradually too (it has taken me 8 months to get this far).

And if the fans love what you're doing (and if you're helpful) they will spread the word about you (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.). I LOVE my subscribers!  They show me so much love and support and I am deeply grateful.

What would you describe to be your greatest moment since becoming a success on Youtube?

I enjoy making the top 15 highest rated in the How to Style category on a regular basis.  I love the emails and comments I get from my subscribers telling me how helpful or inspiring I've been.  It can be overwhelming at times!  But helping & teaching others is rewarding.

I see from your last video that you have are promoting LuvNaturals.com, your up-and-coming business. Can you tell us more about this project?

I've started an online retail company for hair accessories, hair products and hair education tools.   It will launch on February 14th.  I'll have more to say about it in a future video. :0)

You seem to be both an entrepreneurial and creative person in general. What is your stance on entrepreneurship? What are some of your personal entrepreneurial goals?

My goal is to launch and run a successful company! :-)

If you had to work with a young woman like you and help her get a dream or idea off of the ground, what are some key principles you would be certain to stress to her?

Give yourself permission to do whatever you want to do.  You don't need the approval of others to start your own business.  You need to be prepared and be willing to put in the work to make it successful.  It won't be handed to you.

Clearly the internet has been instrumental in developing KimmayTube. What are some of your recommendations for promoting on the internet?

Give people something of value and they will come back.  Connect with them.  Be yourself. (so cliché but true).

I love, love, love your summer and winter fashion videos, and the pieces you that you model for your fans! Can you describe your personal style?

Comfortable, Flexible, Interchangeable.  It is important to build a wardrobe with the basics/ the "classic" pieces that never go out of style. You can always mix & match and add new accessories to freshen up your basics. ;0)

How has your personal style developed over time?

As my age, profession, marital status changed, so did my style.  I shop at stores that offer clothing made of high quality materials.  I can look at the way a garment is constructed and determine if it's going to fall apart and fade easily.  I want my clothing to say that I'm a grown woman but also that I have a whimsical spirit. I'm well read/cultured,  interested in the arts and that I take pride in my appearance.  But I know that the way I carry myself and my body language also tells
these things and more.

How does your personal style affect your approach to your line of work and clients?

My personal style doesn't affect my approach with my clients. My feeling of confidence and competence does. They only care about whether or not I can deliver. I'm probably ten times more stylish when going on a date with my husband or to the grocery store! :0)

What are your recommendations to someone looking to develop their own personal style?

My advice is to know your body type.  Understand what is flattering on your figure and work it!  Allow your clothing choices to say something about you because your outside appearance is all that most people (everyday strangers) are going to see. Be comfortable & confident.  Confidence comes from knowing who you are and embracing what is unique about you.

Has the economy affected your approach to personal styling at all? What is your advice for looking fly on a budget?

The economy has not affected my personal hair styling because I never really spent a lot of money on my hair. Before launching LUV Naturals, I tried different products, but my collection happened gradually.  Literally, over the years. Ex: Some of my Miss Jessies products were bought in 2006!

Wearing your hair in protective styles (like two strand twists, braids, buns, tuck and go's-like my first video) are not expensive at all.  In fact, if you take care of your hair and not focus on having it "out and fly" all the time, you won't need silicone based products to mask your damage.

My staples, aloe vera juice, castor oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil & shea butter are all fairly inexpensive.

Many of your subscribers also love you because you have fabulous natural hair. Can briefly tell us about your natural experience?

My natural hair experience is not at all typical.  I've been working on this "natural thing" for 13 years now.  I was natural before hair forums, before there was any mainstream language about it all. Words like "transitioning" & "big chop" weren't common terms.

I ceased relaxing my hair back in 1997, wore braid extensions for a few years, then big chopped my hair several times between 1999 - 2005, got a texturizer in 2006 and hated it.  I had to cut drastically cut my hair until the texturized pieces were gone.  After that, I began to research about hair through books and when I discovered Youtube I really saw the amazing style options that I had never thought of doing. I practiced them on my hair and then discovered techniques on my own.  I've now grown my hair to the longest length it has ever been in my life. I continue to learn so much.

What are some of the products that you use? 

1) Giovanni Smooth As Silk Conditioner (I use for deep conditioning treatments)
2) 50/50 Hydrating Balance (as a detangling creme)
3) Kinky Curly Curling Custard (as a styling "treat" because I don't wear my hair in curly styles often)

Would you describe yourself as more of a minimalist or an addict when it comes to caring for your hair?

Somewhere in between, because now I buy products to test them on my hair (and friends/family) to determine whether or not they are worthy of a review (or for selling on LUV Naturals).

What is your advice for those just getting into the natural blogging game?

Know your purpose and what you have to offer. Take the time to understand what is missing in order to create opportunity. There is SO MUCH opportunity.  Find your niche and make sure it's something you'd do for free, then it's less like work.  But believe me, it'll STILL be work, just more enjoyable. :0)

What is the response to your hair given your business and the types of clients that you work with?

My hair has never been an issue. I wear my hair in styles that compliment my more conservative dress code when working in a professional environment. 

Do you consider your look to be professional?


What is your advice for women who want to break out on their own, but are concerned about how their hair or sense of style might affect people’s perceptions of them?

I have no advice for them. If they are overly-concerned with what others think of them, then they aren't ready.  Wow. I know that sounds mean. lol. But I seriously can't relate to people who allow others to dictate their precious time on earth, sorry.  Our lives are too short not to be lived and enjoyed and be ourselves. Life must be honored and respected every day.

I personally appreciated the four-part series on financial advice that you recently did. What's the best financial advice you feel every fly, confident female should know?

Live below your means. And just because you can buy it or barely afford it doesn't mean you should have it. The Repo Man will get you. Believe that! lol.

What are your personal measures of success? By your own standards, do you consider yourself successful?

Success is freedom to do whatever I want to do with my day. Everyday. Yes, I feel successful because I've accomplished many things I've set out to do, like traveling, establishing a reputation as person with an excellent work ethic, finding a life partner to love... I'm content with my life.

But I worked and continue to WORK for it. Sometimes that means literally working and putting in the time to perfect my craft or working on myself, personally.

What is a “Think and Grow Chick” to you?

I have no idea!  I'd never heard of the term until you presented it to me . I look forward to learning more though.  I think you’re on to something.  :-)

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to share some insight with my readers. You are truly a “Think and Grow Chick”! Is there anything else you’d like to share or that you want everyone to know about you? What are the best ways for one to get in contact with you?

No problem!  Thanks for asking me to share. :0)



Kimmay is freaking amazing. Make sure to check out her Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/kimmaytube