Monthly Archives: June 2014

7 Networking Secrets Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s

1. Effective networking involves focus, attention, and strategy.

Many of us network haphazardly. We join some industry groups. We meet coworkers after work for a drink, but we don’t have a plan. We might even think the more people we meet, the better. But meeting the right people is most important. The right people are those that can help you reach your career goal. The right people are those people who are willing to speak up for you. You need to focus on people with whom you can build strong mutually beneficial relationships.

2. There is a direct relationship between networking strategically and increased income.

Upwardly Mobile, Inc., with the support of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business Management, conducted research in April 2008 about how professionals use networking. They surveyed more than 600 high-earning “elite” professionals about how they use networking to cultivate richer relationships, gain more access and enjoy more success in their careers and personal lives. Their findings confirm that “networking is a key driver behind higher salaries and career advancement.”

3. Keeping in touch with former alums and colleagues is money in the bank.

When I wanted to make a career move after having lost out on a promotion, I tapped into my network and let people know I was looking for a new opportunity. Almost immediately, a former colleague gave me information about an opening in her company. She worked in another business unit there and knew the management team. Not only did she give me the lead, but she pre-sold me to the key stakeholders. I interviewed for the position and landed the job. My income almost doubled.

4. Paying it forward pays off.

One important lesson I’ve learned is that the more you invest in your network, the more valuable your network is. Taking calls, responding to emails, offering to help people creates a strong bond. People trust that you will be there for them and are often willing to respond in kind. It’s important to network proactively so you have these relationships when you need help.

One of my clients is a great example of this. Lisa was always willing to offer her help and support to her former colleagues. An executive with a long history in banking, Lisa took a risk and joined a technology startup as COO. After one year, it was apparent that this new opportunity wasn’t working out. Lisa was let go. The primary breadwinner in her family, she needed another high-level job as soon as possible.

She immediately let her network know what she was looking for. They gave her leads about openings and she was able to secure a senior executive position within a month and a half. The job had not even been formally posted yet. The time and energy she invested in helping her network contacts paid off.

5. Collecting business cards is better than handing them out.

Do you go to networking events armed with a stack of business cards? We have been instructed that giving out our cards is the best way to make connections. The secret to effective networking, however, is to make sure you collect business cards of those people you meet. This way you can control the follow up. You give away your card, you give away the control. After you go to a networking event, write notes on the back of the cards about the conversation you had with this person and potential ways to follow up.

6. Forget the elevator pitch; find commonality.

I often hear from clients that they don’t know what to say when they first meet people at networking events. They stumble over their elevator pitch trying to impress someone with their title or expertise. Here’s the thing to remember: It’s the commonality that matters. Enter into conversations and ask questions and listen. The things you might have in common help to establish a connection that will blossom over time.

7. Don’t just network with people you like and people like you.

Our comfort zone is to hang out with people most like us, but research supports the benefits of diverse networks.

Ronald S. Burt, professor of sociology and strategy at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business, has done extensive research on the efficacy of diverse networks.

“Indeed, it might not be who or what you know that creates advantage, but rather more simply, who you become by dint of how you hang out — the disadvantaged hang out with folks just like themselves, while the advantaged engage folks of diverse opinion and practice.”

How are you currently networking? It takes focus and intention to network effectively for your career advancement.

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Why Is Popular Music Turning Folks Into Mush?

2 days ago I was scrolling down my Instagram timeline and saw a clip of a girl getting down in her hip-hop dance class. I LOVE music and I’ve always loved to dance — I’ve just put it aside to focus on my businesses and Christ walk.

Upon watching the clip, my first instinct was to groove to the song playing because the artist that the class was dancing to sounded a little like Cassie (the tone of her voice is phenomenal I must say). After thinking on it a bit more I decided to try to catch some of the lyrics and Goggle them to see how the entire song sounded. This is what I found:


Watching the video just ruined the entire song for me. I could clearly see that while the song had a catchy tune, the lyrics are a mess! I already don’t listen to main stream music as it is (unless I’m in a car with someone playing it) but this here made me feel like the oldest soul in America. Why? Because I immediately felt sorry for the people who soundtrack their lives with lyrics like this. Live fast, get high, die young. I can now understand why popular music and so-called hip hop is turning people into mush.


Just what I said. I used to be one of those people who operated on music. Music WAS me. I used music to express every emotion I felt and a lot of my psyche was honestly controlled by it. When I was feeling terrible and wanted to smash something, I just turned on a crunk song, hit up the ABC store, and hit the club with my girls. NOW I know that this is dangerous. Let’s look at this thing….

The girl singing is a very pretty girl, but I can tell this song was written FOR her and it was probably written by a guy. To me, it is not “lady-like” for a girl to be going on about:

“If you a lame, nigga you ain’t making no noise
Get faded, turn up with the big boys
Live fast, die young that’s my choice
Get money, get money like the invoice

We can mob all in the whip
Make the money make the grip
I be stuntin’ with my clique
Getting faded ’till we trip

Man, I love to get on
I love to get 2 on
When the drink be too strong
When the tree be way too strong
Get faded, turn up, pour it on up
Till I can’t even think no more
Get ratchet, go dumb, then go more dumb
Then we can keep it lit, let’s roll”

I am going to put it simply….this sounds like a girl putting herself in a situation where she’s can be raped. When you get ‘too faded’ you don’t remember ANYTHING — and even if you do, your functions slow down and you become what we call a “sloppy drunk” or “geeked”. That’s when folk make the decisions that they regret and wish they didn’t make. WHY did [I] get that tattoo? WHY did [I] sleep with that guy? WHY did [I] puke my life away on that bus? WHY did [I] lose my stuff in that club?

Think on this. If you’re trying to study for a vocabulary test what do you do? How do you remember stuff and get it to where you can rattle it off?

You look at it constantly and say the words over to yourself until you remember them. You get to the point to where the words are engraved into your psyche.

The same goes for songs like this — if you singing day and night about how you want to get faded ….it’s going to make you want to get faded. Pretty soon, you’re going to crave that fast life in the songs you listen to and it’s something you will aspire to have. You would want to live the life that you sing about RIGHT?!?!

(if you say no, you’re a liar. You can’t say that at least an itty bitty part of you would want to do this stuff more and more)

I’m not saying we didn’t have “bad influences” back in my day. We had songs like this too, but doggone it wasn’t this blatant! Maybe we had Lil Kim saying something or MC Lyte talking about a ruff necks — but it wasn’t EVERY DOGGONE SONG!

No girl needs to be acting like a dude trying to live the fast life — it leaves the open to being labeled a hoe. It’s not right, but it’s the truth.

I admit the beat of this song and the singer’s voice are catchy, but it’s sad that this is all kids have to listen to these days. You live reckless if you want to, it WILL catch up with you one day, hit your tail with a stop sign, and make you slow down — either that, or you will be able to cash in on that fast life/die young mantra you’re always singing about.

Just my thoughts.

– Joc

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I Am a Sinner Who’s Probably Gonna Sin Again: When Conviction Doesn’t Kill Our Vibe (via UrbanCusp)

I Am a Sinner Who’s Probably Gonna Sin Again: When Conviction Doesn’t Kill Our Vibe


We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; there’s no denying that fact. It’s stated explicitly in Romans 3:23. That verse is sure to give any self-righteous Christian a healthy reality check, or at least I hope it would. However, lately I’ve been noticing that many Christians like to use verses like Romans 3:23 to justify staying in a perpetual state of sin. Even I have been guilty of this. While I am fully aware of the grace we have been granted through Christ’s sacrifice, I am a firm believer in Luke 24:8, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

I do not subscribe to the idea that grace gives us license to live however we feel because forgiveness is only a hand clasp away. I actually resent the idea of people using grace as an excuse to not live according to the standard God has set for us in His word. I also don’t care to debate with other self-proclaimed Christians about what constitutes sin, because I believe that as long as you read the word and have a relationship with Christ, you should know what His precepts are. The issue many of us have is not really being ignorant to what God wants from us; it’s the obedience part that we tend to have a problem with.

If you are any at all a Christian, you have experienced the uncomfortable yet beautiful feeling of conviction, when you’re not walking in accordance to God’s will. But what you do with that conviction speaks volumes about your relationship with Him. Merely acknowledging that you “feel some type of way” about what you’re doing, or not doing, is not enough if you’re not taking the necessary steps to correct that area of your life. I’m a Christian who takes pride in my ability to keep it real. My days of feigning perfection left me about 5 years ago. However, there’s a difference between being transparent about your imperfections as a person, and blatantly and shamelessly broadcasting your sins. We should never be so comfortable in a state of sin that we proudly share it as everyday news with others. The moment we no longer feel convicted about something we know is wrong, we need to be very concerned.

Recently a brother asked me if I could see myself being with a “struggling Christian man.” I kind of laughed to myself when I read the text, because now a days the word struggle is used very very loosely among Christians. Struggling now a days could mean, “I can’t control my sexual urges so I have sex from time to time, but God knows my heart, and  knows I want to do better.” Struggling can also mean, “Lately I’ve been feeling convicted about my drinking, but when I’m in a social setting I just can’t be the only one not sipping, so I’m going to sip, but only on occasions.” Struggling now a days seems to mean acknowledging that what you’re doing is wrong, but continuing to do it, because it’s much easier to “repent,” and possibly deal with the guilt, than to really make an effort to curb whatever your sin happens to be. That’s not struggle, that’s disobedience. Let’s get technical for a second. The word struggle means, “to contend resolutelywith a task, problem, etc.” and the word disobedience is defined as, “lack of obedience or refusal to comply; disregard or transgression.” So if you’re not resolute in your decision to refrain from a particular sin, you are not struggling; you are disregarding your conviction and simply refusing to comply with God’s precepts.

When Christ died for us, He did not die just to give us forgiveness for the sins He anticipated us committing; He died to give us power over those sins, so we would not become slaves to them.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Roman 6:1-4

As Christians we should not accommodate sin in our lives by making excuses or justifications for it, or living in anticipation of committing them. Instead of just being sinners who are probably going to sin again, we should live every day resolved to walk in the newness of life that grace has afforded us. And in those moments of falling short, we should allow our convictions to kill our sinful vibes, instead of basking in them. Our lack of effort to walk circumspectly is disrespectful to Christ; He did not die an extraordinary death for us to live mediocre Christian lives.

Ashlee Wisdom is a graduate of Howard University, where she received a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Biology. While studying in Washington, DC, Ashlee joined the Urban Cusp team as an intern, and has since been appointed to the position of Managing Editor. Merging her passions for healthcare and writing, she also works as a grant writer for a non-profit health center in New York. Ashlee is most passionate about her faith in God, black feminism, and combating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in healthcare. You can follow her on twitter @WisdomsEssence.

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