High school is a place of many labels—designer, off-brand, popular, geek, and otherwise. Have you considered the impact high school has had on your professional life? Well, I have. I think that in high school, there are seeds to who we recreate ourselves to be, and for me specifically, seeds for the entrepreneurs that we become.
Here are four labels that I either wore or relate to, and how each has served as a positive influence for my company, Turns of Phrase.
The labels are: Challenger of Obstacles, Nerd, Young Talent, and Contrarian.
Challenger of Obstacles: From challenges, foibles and in-you-face “lessons” about race, intra-race and class to a bout of childhood trauma to both benefiting and not benefiting from my parents’ divorce to general everyday puberty-ridden teenaged life and trying to figure things out with many mistakes along the way, times were tough. Yet, in surviving these experiences, ironically, the default effect is that you develop the fortitude to continue moving forward when you’ve reached your max. Facing obstacles and necessary to survival. One obstacle I faced early-on was being told that I lacked clear vision. After initially feeling "salty," or slightly wounded, I stepped outside of myself to take an objective look. I did lack vision, and for one month searched for my identity via a trilogy post dubbed The Soul of a Business. Long story short, I developed my mission, and now work with the person who shared this information with me.
Nerd: I am impressed by my high school self. She graduated in the top 20% of her class, was on the National Honor Roll, earned enough college credits through AP courses to fill a semester of college, and earned an award that only 10% of people in the country earned, and from a foundation from a world-respected entrepreneur. Wow. I was on fire, and like a phoenix in 2017, still am. I am just reinvented for a new era. According to this Inc. article, 42% of businesses surveyed in a post-mortem study from CB Insights failed because they didn’t fill a market need. Yet, I did the "homework" to learn that a market for writing exists through freelancing opportunities and researching successful entrepreneurs. This market includes magazines, web content, blogging, white papers, PR, ghostwriting, the list continues. I've done projects for all of these types of writing.
Young Talent: This label refers more to the idea of taking time to cultivate a talent or skill, which develops discipline and also the understanding of delayed gratification. One that I developed throughout my childhood was dance, which was cultivated to the point that I auditioned for a show at the Kennedy Center my freshman year of college and “made the cut.” I still have the playbill as a member of the cast of Dancing in the Wings, which was a great experience. This discipline has helped me to exercise more patience. After investing my time and money for nearly two years, I am finally starting to see the fruits of my labor. For example, I am excited to now regularly work with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Technology Association of Georgia, Digital Ignition, RIISE Ventures, Bantunium Labs, and now TechSquare Labs.
Contrarian: I went through this stage post-high school, just two years after, and include it because I relate. During this era, I was inspired by the fashion styles of music artists such as Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Madonna, India Arie, Erykah Badu, Aaliyah, TLC, the list goes on. My looks—which were sometimes photographed by the photographer of the college newspaper—included purple highlights, gloves, one earring at a time in one ear, oversized jeans, and leggings. I stood out and see now that I was, through fashion, searching unapologetically for my voice, who I was in calibration with my life experiences. Who else are contrarians? In many cases, entrepreneurs. I work a great deal with them and am one myself. Yet I think that versatility is important and also work with companies in logistics, motivational speaking, and translation and interpretation, too. For everyone I work with, the concept is the same--figure out who you are and say it without apology.
In short, high school has its highs, and it has its lows. And I’m pretty sure that it will always have its labels. Nevertheless, I was and still consider myself a veritable misfit, an amalgam of many different identities that all find their place within Turns of Phrase today, and have contributed to my ability to work with a motley crew of individuals and companies.
Learn more about writing-as-a-service (WaaS) from Turns of Phrase at www.turnsofphrase.com.
Facebook: Turns of Phrase
Thank you for reading.