Fuck The Money, Be Happy.
Last night I was presented with the opportunity to attend the DC screening of Kenny Burns’ documentary B.U.R.N.S. at the E Street Theater in DC. As someone who is not only a huge fan of Kenny, but inspired by his words and actions, I was surprised to learn a lot of new things about him through this documentary. B.U.R.N.S. (and acronym for Be Ultimately Realistic & Never Sellout) depicted the early years of Kenny’s life in the entertainment industry, narrated with Kenny’s insights on the behind-the-scenes things that we as the general public never really saw or thought about. Having worked with many of today’s biggest entertainment icons (ex. Diddy, Jay-Z, Dame Dash, Kanye West, many top record label execs., etc) in their pre-fame days, Kenny realized that the path that once brought him so much success, did not necessarily bring him an equal amount of happiness. Although the film opened my eyes to a world I am not privy to, I must say that the question and answer portion after the screening was more educational. As silly (and if you know him, you’d know what I am talking about) as Kenny can be, the things he says are true, serious, and can really make you think about what you are doing, what you plan to do, and who YOU are. As much laughter and comfort as Kenny brings, he also possesses the ability to challenge your thinking and inspire many. I felt like a dork for taking notes while he was talking, but I am sure I am not the only one. Kenny said two things that really stood out to me: 1) Manage your expectations, don’t exceed your efforts 2) Lose the emotion, keep the passion These two lines hit me because I could relate some of my own experiences to what he was talking about, and I was able to realize that most people learn similar life lessons through different means. Kenny saw the industry corrupt people, ruin friendships, and take lives right in front of his eyes. From that point, he constructed his own path and has developed Kenny Burns as a brand en route to his continued success. Truly an inspiration, grateful for this opportunity; The DREAM is REAL!
As a result of this, I really began to think about my own situation and what my future plans might be. I wake up every morning and ask myself three questions:
1) Am I happy?
2) Do I LOVE what I do?
3) Am I doing everything I can to better myself AND my team?
I discovered this morning that almost everyday I answer NO to all three of these questions. I am NOT happy, I do NOT love what I do, and although I am making valiant efforts to help myself and those around me, I could probably be doing more. I HATE this feeling, but I am at a point in my life where I do not necessarily know which step to take next. While engaging in an intense BBM conversation with a friend of mine last night, he asked me: “WHAT IS IT YOU WANT TO DO?”…My response was a firm I DON’T KNOW. When he kept asking me, I really began to believe that I didn’t know. Yes, I know my strengths (or at least what I think are my strengths) and I know some of my prominent interests, but I do not know how to mesh all of those things into something that will truly make me a success and happy in life. I am about to turn 23, and a part of me feels like I am very young and SHOULDN’T HAVE TO know what I “want to be when I grow up” quite yet, but another part of me feels like the days are FLYING passed me and I am wasting time and getting nowhere! Truth is, I DO have goals and I HAVE begun to plant seeds that I hope will grow into the things that I am passionate about, but how do I make sure those seeds take root and grow into something positive for me?!
Sometimes I just feel defeated. I have a desire to go back to school for my MBA (and if I don’t get in anywhere, I will attempt to go back and at least continue to take classes—-NEVER stop learning), but I have begun to realize that as much as I would like my masters, I might be doing it for the wrong reasons. Gaining employment in any of the industries I would enjoy/be best fit in are all male dominated (as is the world), and I think another degree would help people take me more seriously. I don’t always want to just be the pretty one, I am also the smart one, and I want people to see that and start respecting me for my thoughts and the things I say. My friend told me that as wonderful as another degree is, it cannot replace the HUSTLE. I have always believed that too…and I guess I just lost sight of it. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” is the motto I always used to live by growing up, and it has gotten me this far…. I need to continue the hustle and just await my turn, I know I have time and one of those seeds will eventually grow into something wonderful for me. Patience is a virtue and although it is one thing I do not have, I’m trying to just focus on doing what I CAN do currently to better myself because even the smallest advancements matter.
Fortunately, I am surrounded by A LOT of successful people that I can learn from and, more importantly, I am loved and guided by a select handful of people (family and a few friends I trust) that I know want the best for me and will always do what they can to help me out when I need it. Even little conversations, like the one I had last night, help me take the next step, and that’s all I can do….progress….one step at a time.