A couple of weekends ago, I was able to be a part of the inaugural OWNING THE BLOCK event with Karleen Roy. The Memphis native wanted to do bring an event to her home town and I’ll have to admit, I was pretty excited about. I mean, this is Karleen Roy of The Vanity Group, an exclusive event production company who’s worked with the likes of Rick Ross, Cardi B, and so many more. I’ll also admit that when Karleen first announced the title, I immediately thought about the late Nipsey Hussle and his push for owning the block through literally owning our communities. Well, Karleen had a different idea. Owning the block doesn’t exclusively mean owning a building or some sort of edifice. It can also mean owning the parts of you that you can give to the world, the community, or even yourself. She wanted to encourage us to take ownership of our lives and design the life we want.
Ok! I’m here for it, but what I wasn’t here for was another women’s empowerment event that leaves you high off of the drinks and atmosphere, but with very little substance to apply to life. BOY WAS I WRONG! Karleen invited Myleik Teele, founder and CEO of The Curlbox, as the speaker to kick of this event. I’ve been following Myleik for a while and she has become of my faves on social media. She keeps it all the way real and drops little gems of wisdom on the daily. So, needless to say, I was loving the idea of this event at this point.
Held at the intimate Memphis Botanic Gardens, the atmosphere was set by The Runway DJ and the motivational energy was on 10. Everyone came ready to receive all they needed in ordered to level up in all areas of their lives. So what did they say?? I literally started thinking about this blog post while I was sitting in the room taking mental (and video) notes. Gosh, there was so much, but I wanted to document it here to share with others and as a reminder to myself when I needed it.
When talking about taking ownership of your life, your business, your brand…
One of the first things to do is take inventory of who you are and who you are not. And BE HONEST about it! Taking the time to figure out who you want to be, what type of life you want to have and what you want in general is so important. But here’s the key, be able to verbalize it. I’m reminded of the young lady who, during the Q/A session with Myleik, was asked what she wanted her business to be. She stuttered through an answer. She didn’t know. Listen, you can’t work on something you can’t verbalize. Habakkuk 2:2, “Write the vision and make it plain”. You gotta say and see it before you SEE it, right?
Start at the Beginning
It’s ok to be a beginner. Our microwave society is constantly in search of perfection quickly. Everyone wants to come out and be on top right out of the gate, but that’s often NOT how it works. Growth takes time, effort, and work, with lots of emphasis on the work. You’re not going to know it all, but you can make operating in excellence and investing in yourself a top priority. No matter how good you are, there is always something you don’t know, so NEVER STOP LEARNING. Take the time to learn what you don’t know. It’s also important to know that you’re ok with not being liked by everyone. Whether it’s you personally or your product or business, the people for whom you are meant to create will find you and like you. We may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we are definitely someone’s glass of champagne! Cheers!
Find Your Zero Balance
This is huge because whether we’re talking owning the block literally or figuratively, the currency conversation needs to be had. A part of leveling up in life is getting finances in order. I know I’ve been guilty of frivolous spending and not saving enough far too often, so this one hit home. Your zero balance is the point that your bank account hits before you “stop playing”. Paying attention to money is a major factor in owning the block, wealth building, and leaving a legacy (because isn’t that the whole purpose of owning the block?) This number may start off as a literal $0 balance, but with focus on income, budgeting, and saving, hopefully this grows. Karleen said her actual zero balance was once $0 and grew to $2500 and then on to a 5-figure number. That zero balance is humbling but also a learning experience. Those low places are a reminder to GET and STAY focused. There are distractions all around that can throw you off of your game, so when that zero balance hits, spend less time complaining and more time strategizing and planning. A WHOLE WORD!
Be Consumed with Reputation
What do people say about you, your character, your work ethic, your brand when you’re not in the room?? Your outfit can be dope, but that only lasts for a moment. While I’m a firm believer (Myleik and Karleen are too) in presenting yourself to the world decently, YOU are who people will vouch for and want to work with. The focus has to shift from putting all of the energy into the outside and making sure that inner beauty shines because that’s what people will remember. That’s what they’ll recommend. That’s what they’ll always want to collaborate with. Yeah, she’s cute and her bag is nice, but she’s going kill it in the court room, the board room, the room at the clinic (teehee), or any room she steps in! And those who encounter her will always be left with something positive.
Know Your Worth
Are there people who are better, prettier, have more time?? YES. And there always will be but YOU are valuable, too. No one else has your personal perspective. This one really ministered to me because as a 40+ mom of 2 with a full time career + blogging on the side in a world full of 20-somethings doing the same thing can be a bit overwhelming and even discouraging at times. I have to remember though, when I’m in certain rooms, I’m supposed to be there. Don’t let fear and intimidation stop you! Comparison of credentials, education, whatever, can be the thief of joy, so don’t let that get the best of you! You’re obviously where you are because they see something special and unique in you. You’re worthy of every amazing opportunity that comes your way! KNOW IT & OWN IT! And whatever your unique thing is, big or small, the world needs it!
Dress : Jason Wu for Target (sold out) | Boots : Calvin Klein via Dillard’s (similar)
According to Q, Owning the Block was awesome and full of applicable pearls of wisdom. Whew!!!! I won’t be forgetting any of this anytime soon. If you missed it, don’t worry. Karleen plans to make this an annual event and I can’t wait to see how Owning the Block grows and gets bigger and better every year.
Are you ready to OWN THE BLOCK???