****This blog is no longer updated at this address!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!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Evolution of a Protective Style Series, Part 2

Hey everyone! Here's the next video in my series showing the styles that helped me get over my irrational obsession with wearing my hair "out". Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things to Do When Waiting for Water to Boil*

Though my mom has since expressed guilt for allowing my dad to subject me and my sister to such an unhealthy habit, one of my favorite things to whip up in the kitchen with my dad as a child was none other than Top Ramen Noodles. With a full 800 mg of sodium in every pack, I was delighted by the various flavors these little noodles possessed, of which was only enhanced by my father's inventive additions of smoked sausage slices. Though this simple meal generally took less than 10 minutes to make, my childhood appetite always felt prisoner to the 5 or so minutes it would take just to get the water boiling. Instructing me to go play until our lunch was ready, my father informed me on my way into the play room that water always takes longer to boil if you watch it, and that before I even had time to get into a second round of make-believe with my stuffed animals, my little bowl of noodles would be ready.

Though I've since (mostly) kicked the habit of Top Ramen lunches as a young adult, the principle of trying not to watch "water boil" has remained. More often than not, many of the goals we want to achieve require both time and patience before they can come to fruition. It is interesting then, that as children we learn not to watch water boil, but we keep an eye on our progress towards our personal goals like a hawk. I'm most guilty of this with my goals related to my hair (and I suspect that many of you are too) but this can be a problem with almost any kind of goal. As an easy remedy for all of us, here's an easy list of things to do when waiting for your particular "pot of water" to "boil":

  1. Since you can't watch your hair grow on a daily basis, add other positive activities to your line-up that can be performed on a daily basis. For example, you can start exercising so that you have something to direct your attention to daily. Plus, by the time you hair (or whatever your goal is) gets to where you want it, you'll have a nice, toned body to go with it.
  2. Become an avid reader. You all know that my philosophy is that you can never read enough books on a subject that interest you, because you should never stop learning. Use this opportunity to even read books directly related to your goal, as the information you read might help you get to your goal that much faster. Or, if you think reading books about the goal you're working on will just make you crazier, find an easy novel or fiction book to dive into instead.
  3. Help someone else with their goals. Yep, take the focus and pressure off of yourself and reach out and help someone else with their dreams. There's a reason why helping others is more than a nice virtue; helping others is also a way to help yourself.

And would you look at that? The water's ready...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Evolution of a Protective Style Series, Part 1

They say you can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results, so I finally bit the bullet and did what I'd never thought I'd do.

I started wearing my hair in protective styles more often.

Formally a ride-or-die 'fro enthusiast, my hair hadn't seen so much as a ponytail since I escaped the grip of my mother's box braids and barrettes during my childhood. Below is the first video of my series, chronicling how I achieve my style and maintain my sanity without having my hair out all the time.

I know many of you readers vary in your affinity for (or against) protective styles. How do you rock your hair when trying to achieve your length goals? What works for you the best?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tyra Banks and the Personal Mission Statement

Jam-packed and hung very closely together, I forcefully waded through the racks trying to keep my composure as a mixed scent of moth balls and black coconut incense wafted through the air. Grungy jeans I'd never wear, grandma's old night gowns, and pilling maternity knits all got pushed to the side as I continued on my mission. With the sun shining and the weather slightly warm, I had carved out a chunk of my day just to come there and do what I was doing at the moment. I was in a thrift store...and I was in heaven. The great thing about thrift stores is that one way or another, they are all alike. Though I happen to be a strict secondhand clothing connoisseur, there always seems to be a never ending supply of knick-knacks barraging the first 20 feet of the store.

True to form, on this particular shopping trip, I encountered a large, old television set, propped up on a crate playing none other than The Tyra Show. Mildly intrigued, I listened on as I continued my quest for vintage treasure. This particular episode was dealing with teenage girls who are trying to escape abusive relationships. To encourage the young women, Tyra had brought on Jaslene Gonzalez, America's Next Top Model Cycle 8 winner and admitted survivor of an abusive relationship. As the conversation drew on (and I became more frustrated as I couldn't find one gem in the mass of "gently used" madness), Jaslene suddenly turned to Tyra, eyes full of grateful tears, and sobbed as she thanked Tyra over and over again for giving her the opportunity of a lifetime and "taking her all over the world". Maybe I was just moved by the moment and of course I'm biased because I've always been a Tyra fan, but right then and there, I really respected Tyra's business dealings more than I ever had before.

In her own words, Tyra's mission is to use her modeling career as a tool to get other women (and the fashion industry) to change the way they think about beauty and the way they see themselves. Say what you want about Tyra, and long before Top Model and the Tyra Show, she has worked towards that end. I think this is really critical, because in essence, Tyra is saying that she has a positive personal mission statement that permeates the mission of whatever endeavor she may be working on. In a world where everyone from Bernie Madoff to Karrine Stefans has a personal mission statement of "get rich by any means necessary", it's both refreshing and a good reminder to make sure our personal mission statements are both positive and bigger than just ourselves.

As rule, women don't generally have to be reminded to weave some "do good" into their businesses or projects because women tend to be more nurturing than men. What I do see a lot of women do, however, is swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and feel that they have to be totally consumed by helping others, so they never do anything for themselves. I praise Tyra for walking that line well; her modeling and talk show career were obviously for her and to fulfill her own interest and talents, however she allowed her personal mission to drive her to "do some good" at the same time. Another role model in this area is none other than Hill Harper. No, he's not a woman and no, his work isn't directed to help women (unless you count his charm and amazing good looks), but Hill has used his rising star to spearhead a self-esteem building movement for young, black men. Not only was this an altruistic moves on his part, but a strategic one I think. No matter how you slice it, doing the right thing is always the best choice—even to your bottom line.

So how do you identify your personal mission statement? Think about who you are, what's most important to you, then write it down! Also think about which of the world's ill's speak to you the most, then think about how your God-given talents can have a positive effect. Get inspiration from other leaders and role models who are making an impact in the field that you want to be in. Most importantly, live out your personal mission and use it to guide you in your everyday dealings. When you feel overwhelmed by your activities and can't even remember why you got started in the first place, let your personal mission statement be a reminder that your goal is bigger than the obstacles that temporarily lay before you. After all, if Tyra can do it all the way to the top of supermodel stardom, then so can you.