Why “FOMO is a MOFO

*(Fomo is an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.)*

Remember back in high school when every party was the last party? Remember your college years when attending the third rage cage and beer pong filled night was more of a priority than whatever boring subject you had to study for.

It never really clicked in your mind that there would be a dozen more parties right after your midterm, but then again….Fomo. It never once clicked that missing that one party would not cause global warming or accelerate the rising of the sea level. As a teen and 20-something year old, it was tough to process the fact that nobody really cared.

An old, wise woman once told me that the older you get the more you realize that nobody cares if you go to the party.

In life, there are more parties than those with keg stands and beer pongs. The party is a metaphor for anything that you may feel obligated to go to simply because everyone else is. The party is the distraction that often comes between you and whatever it is that you are after. For some, the party is hanging out with friends that do not add value to your like. For others, the party might be watching every episode of that one show that everyone else is watching.

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It is normal to feel the need to always be in the know and continuously show up to where everyone is; in fact, it is a social norm for us to stop what we actually want to do in order to do what everyone else is doing. Believe it or not, some people don’t want to watch that game, yet they feel the need to because they think that everyone around them actually cares.

I know this sounds mean but it is true. It’s ironic because we let these things impede our personal growth and prolong our stagnation while simultaneously idolizing those who choose to bypass the social pressures and instead focus on their own growth.

If you internalize the idea that nobody cares if you go to the party then you will liberate yourself from the false obligation of always showing up to things that have nothing to do with your vision. There is a true sense of freedom that comes with knowing how people really feel about you, showing up to another party or another superbowl get together. Yes, some may miss you in the moment but after a few cold ones it will be as if you never existed.

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When you chose to overlook social pressures and instead choose your own destiny, over time people will actually start to care about what you are doing and respect you more for your decision to remain committed to your vision. People are interested in those who do not conform to the norm, those who choose to miss the party in order to record that album or bypass the club to build that new app.

When I say nobody cares if you go to the party, I am not doing so to stop you from a good time, I am doing so to remind you that you are free to make your own choices in this life. Choosing YOU will benefit both yourself and others far more than “going to that party.”

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Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

Seek to “INNERstand”

To understand your audience is one thing; but to truly reach into the deepest parts of another individual, to fully comprehend their drives, inhibitions, desires, and motives; this is to INNERstand them. Whether you are an individual with a burning message to share with the world or an organization with a life-changing product to provide to those in need; both cases require a certain level of innerstanding. Much like within interpersonal relationships, understanding the point of view the other is crucial. The best relationships do not form due to similar tastes in movies or music, but by allocating quality time with pure intention to fully grasp where exactly the other person is coming from.

In this new economy, it is essential to treat your relationship with your customers, as you would treat a friendship. For instance, if you had some news that you wanted to share with a friend, would you deliver it to them in a compelling story that is relevant to their own life experience or just give them a generic statement that you kinda, sort, think makes sense? For far too long, advertisers have been talking at their audience instead of speaking with them; and by speaking with them I do not mean some focus group that is being paid to taste your new Acai recipe. I mean a true conversation; a back and forth dialogue that is deeper than “which one tastes better”. Social Media has made it possible for individuals and companies alike to maintain a streamline of communication. There are no longer any excuses for not getting to know the true beneficiaries of your brand. This sort of symbiotic relationship creates a win-win situation; both parties receive exactly what they want while reciprocating the value.

Take the extra time to know your customer. Ask them questions. Know why they buy from you and not the place next door. Ask them why their kids love the place. This may seem self-serving, but for those with a true sense of care for their community, this conversation allows for a greater customer experience and in return you will have a larger community to serve as they spread the word about the wonderful good or service that you so wholeheartedly provide.

-Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

https://photos.icons8.com

A Culture of Complaining

My fitness mentor, Coach Bobby Bluford, one of the most brutally honest men that I know, once said “nobody cares if you win or lose.” Though I am a fan of truth served with no sugar, this statement caused me to cringe. Not because of its “harshness,” but due to its unrelenting truth. We all see the crowd cheer for the winner and cry for the second place in a two person competition, but in day-to-day reality nobody cares if you follow your dreams or not. The irony of this idea runs deep because it is almost necessary for some to live out their visions in order to inspire the other potential dream chasers, however whether or not you have the faith necessary to take actions towards your goals is something that nobody cares about until you do.

Those who dream but do not do, seldom have an impact on those around them, let alone the world as a whole. Einstein, Joan of Arc, Picasso, Oprah, these individuals changed the course of history profoundly, however if they chose to live in their doubt and ego-driven fear, they would have had no impact on our society. As much as it now seems like the world would have never been the same if these people had not existed, if they had not pursued the unseen, the world would still go on. Nobody cares until you do.

If you are somebody who now leads a team of employees or is working towards growth then you understand the former statement. The fact that you cared enough to bring your vision into reality is the reason why people not only care, but have become invested in you and your vision for a better world; some because they rely on you for a paycheck and others because they have fallen in love with your offerings.

Whether you’re a one person business or have a fully staffed company, nobody cares whether you grow or not so long as you don’t. Your employees would love promotions and to say they work for an organization that is doing big things, but then again they could just move on to the next company who’s not afraid to scale themselves and provide their services to the world abroad.

I did not create this chapter as a way to hurt your feelings or even as a form of tough love, I wrote this to inspire you to care whether or not your company grows. Until this point you might not have cared, because if you did you would have been taking those actions that you wrote out in your business plan five years ago.

There is no secret recipe for giving a damn about growth, but there is a way in which you can practice seeing the bigger picture of what the growth of your organization will do. As I mentioned in the opening statement of this chapter, growth does not just affect you, but all those around you. As you probably know the more companies of value that open up within a certain region, the more the value of the region goes up.  Granted the question of value is subjective, however the reality is that development spawns development.

When you make a decision to care more about people and look to serve them before all else, it is not just you who feels better but every single human being that you come into contact with thereafter. Your decision to be a better person or as one of my earliest clients stated “just not be an asshole,” has ripple effects throughout your community. Your kids, parents, friends, customers, employees, and all others who are in your circle of influence will be affected by your character growth and in turn those they come in contact with will have the same happen for them. Exponential growth.

So just image what can happen if you’re able to supply a thousand more customers with the freshest produce within the marketplace or create a law firm with a thousand lawyers that are dedicated to true justice for the innocent. It does not matter what industry you are in, caring is caring and it is felt when it is shown. Caring is contagious and everybody benefits from it. We’ve become a culture obsessed with “IDGAF.” If you do not know what this abbreviation means, I dare you to look it up. The phrase “I don’t care” has become more popular than it should be, though its use is in vain; humans by default were crafted to care, if not about one thing then at least another.

Put the same care that you put into the less important things in life into your business and you will see it grow into something that serves many and not just your own day-to-day needs.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

https://photos.icons8.com (Original Picture Source)

Remember To Breathe

The first time I ever met my partner in growth and soulmate I was in a phase of my life where I was essentially going nowhere at an extremely fast pace. At the time, I was doing a sales job for a meal prep company working off of commission… and for anybody who’s ever had to make a living off of commisions, I am sure you know how taxing it can be.

My days were filled with prospecting customers, creating sales pitchs, meeting with customers, digging into sales books and such. I had become used to moving from one side of town to the other, meeting potential clients and pushing a product that I didn’t even believe in (a vegan selling meat based meal plans, can somebody say hippo crit?). I wouldn’t admit it then, but quite frankly I had lost myself. Mentally, I was the same person that I am right now, however there was this cognitive dissonance between the person I was and who actually wanted to be. I had forgotten about the simple things that actually mattered. One of those things being my breath.

My partner did not directly tell me to breathe but did what most great impactors and influencers do; lead by example. I noticed her taking the deepest breaths I had ever seen as she sat in the front seat of a mutual friends car. I could not help but notice her breath more so than the conversation taking place at the time. Intuitively, I followed suit. And almost in an instant, I remembered. I remembered to breathe.

In this rapidly changing world, complicated has become the new norm and a form of simplicity within itself (notice how I did not say evolving world as many would say). Don’t get me wrong, technology has definitely made it easier for us to live day by day. After all, our ancestors struggled to merely survive most of the time, whereas today we seldom have to think of our own mortality.

We have taken the complexities of human life and solved them through algorithms, apps and Adsense. The one problem we have yet to solve is the one of remaining human throughout this process of perceived progress.

Being a self diagnosed workaholic, I am as guilty as any when it comes to getting caught up in the ever turning hamster wheel that is modern society. In fact, most of us have become accustomed to living our lives on this perpetual track to nowhere. We wake up, scroll down, brush that, grab this, eat that, scroll up, look for that, drive this, eat that, park this, type that, eat this, talk smack… and this all takes place before your 30-minute lunch break.

We forget about the gift that is the present moment as we go through the day taking shorter and shorter anxiety, stress, worry, and doubt-filled breathes. We view the perpetual hamster wheel as being the norm, yet the rat race did not exist within the first million or so years of our existence. What did exist, however, was stillness, patience, reflection, community, connection and BREATH.

I understand that it is close to impossible to spend your entire life breathing with intention every step of the way… just take this as a friendly reminder to take a moment out of your day to breathe.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

Are You a Creator or a Consumer

Whether you are a business owner, an employee, a free-spirited artist, a baby, a person of advanced age, or a moose, this ideology affects you.

In this world we have two types of people; the creators and the consumers. There is somebody who makes the thing and another who digests it. From a piece of art to a piece of cake, there is somebody who makes it and somebody who takes it. This is not a piece to demean either side but to point out a very important concept that will help you live a more fulfilled life.

I do not buy into the limiting belief that some people are creators and others are made to simply consumer, Every single person was born with some inclination to create, it is a literal part of our genetic makeup. Sure, not everybody can write a song or paint a Basquiat style painting, but everybody has the capacity to create within their own gifts and talents.

It’s always fascinating how we tend to view those who have fully committed themselves to their craft as geniuses or some sort of superhuman. We praise Beyonce on stage and are enamored by the compelling screen performances of Hilary Swank. Yet when we look at ourselves, we see nothing more than a person who likes to listen to music and watch movies. We seldom take the time to explore ourselves and find out what it is that we have been gifted with. Our attraction and resonation to one piece of artwork or another might just be a compass in the direction of whatever it is we are called to. For example the most important woman in my life, next to the woman who birthed me, believed she was merely a lover and listener of music. This was until she challenged herself to put some rhymes to a beat. Now she’s created a plethora of self composed songs that get better by the listen. It took one defining moment for her to go from a consumer of the music to a creator.

Nothing on this planet is more liberating than the process of creation. It is the reason for our existence or at least gives a reason for it. From the creation of a business to the creation of a family; being a participant in the action is where life lives. The reason why television took off was because it allowed us to vicariously live through those who chose to live within their gifting. It is a subtle reminder of who we are within and the potential we have that has been dormant for so much of our lives.

This is no “how to guide” or call to action, but a subtle reminder that you are far more than a consumer. You are an endless vessel of creativity and it is only you who can find where that endless vessel lies.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

Why I Cut Myself Off

The idea of cutting people off has become something of a cultural mantra. Everybody and their grandmother now speaks on who they cut off for being a fake, toxic and negative influence within their lives. I, too, was one of these individuals always looking outward for the toxicity in my life, heck sometimes I even catch myself in that same place now.

The mecca of all realizations came to me not too long ago; my decision to step away from certain relationships that no longer served the highest version of myself had nothing to do with cutting anybody off. At least not anybody external. The person I was truly cutting all ties with was the version of myself I was no longer happy with.

Life is a process of continual development and when we choose to be on life’s side, we are guided in the direction of growth which often comes in the form of testing times and tough sacrifices.

We usually look at the purging process of our own toxicity as this romanticized scene right out of a Ryan Gosling ROCO in which we find our true selves within a minute and a half long montage. 

The true “cutting off” process is painful, daunting and often comes in the form of pretty much losing our sh**. From those long nights crying over old memories, to the sacrifices of pizza and soda for a kale smoothie and a spinach salad, cutting off the old version of ourselves is truly a mourning process.

In most cases, our old friends and sometimes family where never truly the problem since we were the ones who let them continuously treat us the way they did. The old version of ourselves had some sort of attachment to the negativity that came from abusive and manipulative situations. I have a saying that goes “the first time it happens, you are a victim, the second time it happens, you are a participant.”

Most of the time we are participants within our own torment, but the moment we finally say enough is enough is usually when the greater version of ourselves kicks in and begins to engage in a full on purge of our past selves. The self that is to be cut off.

((Tayla’s Chapter ))

When we actually start to acknowledge and honor our deepest self, we find that we are naturally guided to exit certain relationships and stop participating in activities that never really made us feel good. We realize that all the anxiety and worry we used to have was due to the fact that we were not living authentically.

We feel like the whole world is on our shoulders, everyone is depending on our presence and participation at the party. Let me be completely frank… the world does not revolve around you. People don’t care as much as you think, if at all, whether you are in attendance. They are far too worried about their own appearance and compliance with the social pressures. Sure, they might hear that you didn’t make it and say “awh I miss Tina or what happened to Bobby?” but the thought is fleeting and they move onto “enjoy” (hopefully) the party. Even better, people may hear that you didn’t make it and think “damn, look at Stacy go, do you boo!”

Even when it comes to family members. I used to feel so horrible for missing a family function, trying to formulate the best, most reasonable excuse for why I flat out just wanted to do something else or spend time with someone else that day. Once I realized that the party didn’t stop, people didn’t mourn my absence, the world didn’t revolve around me… a huge weight was lifted. I could breathe again.

By forcing ourselves into situations because we feel obligated, we think we will hurt someone or let them down, or any other excuse we are so good at formulating, we not only hurt ourselves by way of distancing ourselves from our goals and aspirations, we unknowingly hurt others through our lack of authenticity and presence during our interactions. If you go to an event, party, gathering, etc. out of obligation, put on a facade, act like you’re having a good time, yet really wish you were somewhere else doing anything else, you are lying to yourself as well as those you love.

Fake, inauthentic interactions truly serve no one involved, especially yourself. Hate to break it to you, but at the end of the day, you are stuck by yourself, with yourself. I am a firm practitioner of loving others. However, loving yourself is the most important practice of your life. Period. In fact, you will never be able to truly love others without first loving and honoring yourself. So, LISTEN. Follow that little voice telling you that you don’t really want to go out tonight or have people over, something inside you needs some alone time… HONOR this. You are being guided every moment by your intuition. Tuning into this takes practice and discernment. Being able to tell the difference between choosing to allocate your time to things you actually care about and plain old laziness takes practice as well…. (to be continued…?)

Tayla M. Hasselbach & Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

Problems are Opportunities.

Would you believe me if told you that every single problem is nothing more than an opportunity in disguise? I believe that the first creation of anything came from somebody complaining about something. I can see it now: our primitive ancestors grunting and groaning about the lack of light in the night skies. While the entire tribe grunted on, night after night, one chose to do something about it and WOOP all of a sudden there was fire.

Ok maybe it didn’t go exactly like that, but I’m sure that it wasn’t far off. Every successful and even failed business was most likely created in the hopes of solving some problem. Nike was created as a comfortable shoe to run in and google as a way to look up weird sh** and find information in a fast, vast and efficient manner. Whole Foods was created for the purpose of making organic produce the norm and Taco Bell was created to keep your backside on a toilet seat for the next 30 minutes. For better or for worse, every company that you see around you solves some kind of problem for somebody; some of these problems being the product of the mind.

When you look at the true definition of an entrepreneur, it is somebody that lives their life solving other people’s problems. A complaint to them is nothing more than an opportunity. Many people fail in business due to their intention. If a business is created because somebody simply wants to be freed from the corporate matrix then only one person’s problem is being solved. This is selfish by nature and selfishness is an impossible foundation on which to build a successful organization.

Problem solving is not only an empathetic way of relating to your fellow humans but also a practical way of operating business. If you decide to create something that nobody has a need for or maybe the hundredth thing within a certain marketplace, then you will go nowhere. For every one Chipotle there are a million different taquerias that are open and closed each year. The difference with Chipotle and the other taquerias is not their product, but the service in which they deliver the product. They focused on creating an experience of efficiency that had never been done within their industry and this was something people were willing to pay for.

When you create a business simply on the basis that YOU love it, yet it does not aid others, it will become the problem; and a very expensive one at that. Even if the most self-centered, egotistical individual wants to create a business, they must begin to think about others first. Organization building is a selfless act within itself and is usually destroyed in the management process when a CEO with more ego than heart is put in charge. I digress. As the founder, your job is to find other people’s problems and then some. Unless you’re living in Perfectopolus, this world will never run out of problems and people will never run out of complaints.  

There are little segments within your own business that you often see as a problem or a burden; these are the same pinpoints that someone with a true entrepreneurial mind would see as a unique opportunity. When Warby Parker realized how inconvenient and expensive buying new spectacles was, they did not sit around and complain about how unfair the system was but instead looked to solve the problem.

Though figures like Martin Luther King and Gandhi were not “entrepreneurs” per say, they had the same spirit as one; they led organizations that solved some of the largest systemic problems in known history. They saw how unjustly certain humans were being treated, but unlike a majority of us, they chose to be a part of the solution and create the change that would leave lasting effects for generations to come.

No woman, man, nor child is born ingrained with such a mindset; it is something that must be picked up, taught, and practiced diligently. In a society full of negative chatter, we must not indulge in this practice but rather put on the lenses of a problem solver, one who seeks to find a way and not just accept the reality they have they were handed.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)