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Money Energy, Pt. 1: I Have a Personal Question for You…

What’s your relationship with money like?

I know, sorry. If you just sighed, laughed facetiously, and/or cried a little, I understand. Money is a stressful thing. It seems to me that so many people, especially millennials and young people, have a negative relationship with money. It’s hard to save money these days, and many of us struggle to find jobs that’ll pay a decent wage, despite all the college degrees and credentials we thought would be the key to a happy–or at least amicable–relationship with da cash.

 

In reality, after we got those degrees, we had to watch those entry level or “new professional” (read: kinda low pay) jobs scoff at our lack of the prerequisite 5-7 years of post-degree, full-time experience. So some of us became frustrated. We shifted our gaze to other things (read: lower pay jobs). Things like unpaid internships. Things like slightly above minimum wage jobs. Things like “just getting by” enough to afford the next meal and pay the damn electric bill. I’m not here to provide my take on the merits of these things, or my thoughts on the state of the U.S. job market, or even a rebuttal to a Boomer’s accusation that millennials generally lack grit–perhaps some other time. I’m here to talk about the relationship between young adults and money.

 

Doesn’t it seem pretty bad?

 

Just the mention of the word “money” generates a flutter of excitement, followed by a wave of anxiety and stress for so many people who have actually already given up hope, not for a relationship with money, but for a good relationship with money. I’m no expert, but that sounds unhealthy to me. Anyway, I feel like that dynamic tends to contribute to the formation of pretty sour feelings toward money, in general. At least from my observation. It’s a strange dynamic because everyone wants it, but most people are totally jaded by it. It’s a vice. Talking about it is taboo. It’s a shallow pursuit. Those who fervently chase it are greedy. Right…?

 

Genuinely curious here, but is it possible to change our relationship with money from unhealthy to…great? Even given the state of the job market in the U.S. What would that look like? How would we pursue it? How would we perceive it? How would we perceive ourselves? And before you go there, no I’m not talking about what we perceive as value or valuable or wealth. Health is wealth, family/friends is wealth–I get all that. But I’m talking about actual cash right now.

 

I remember reading that money is an expression of energy. Think about that one for a while.

 

Be Gallant.
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Learn to Negotiate Virtually!

Good news! I’m hosting a webinar on How to Negotiate Fair Compensation this Sunday, April 3rd at 1pm PST.

Can’t make that? Well guess what! I’m hosting it again the following day, Monday, April 4th at 5:30pm PST!

Negotiating for compensation can be really intimidating, and many people have never actually tried to do it at all. But negotiating is a crucial step to ensuring that you get what you truly deserve (you could wind up making $1000s more per year, or with additional vacation, a flexible schedule, etc.).

Join me for an hour and learn the skills you need to successfully negotiate your way into what you deserve! Click below to sign up now!

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Career Coach Meditations…

Just thought I’d share a recent of mine reflection with those of you who are interested. I think it’s extremely relevant!:

Job searching and career management are hard. There are resources to help manage those hardships, but many communities don’t have access to them. Whether it’s financial constraints, lack of resource availability in their sphere, or lack of awareness of available resources, there are those who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own, and as a result, the task of managing their work journey is that much harder. And what about the people who may not have the space to make career fulfillment a priority because they have to do just about ANYTHING just to keep the lights on this month?

As a career coach myself:
*What role do I play in this scene?
*How can I make my outreach and services more reachable?
*How can I serve other people AND myself in ways that feel right?

As career coaches collectively:
*How can we do a better job of not carelessly upholding various status quos that disenfranchise marginalized communities?
*How often do we take a look at our services and the ways we facilitate them to evaluate how ethical they are?
*Who benefits the most from the services we offer and opportunities we create?

Happy Friday! Be more Gallant today than yesterday.

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Mission Matters Podcast Appearance!

Hi everyone! I was recently a guest on the Mission Matters podcast. Check out the video below!

Got any questions about how I can help you? Let me know in the comments, or get in touch with me via the contact page! Take care and be safe, everyone.

~Brandon

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the influence of my mom, so allow me to share a special experience I had with her a little while back: sailing with her to Spain and Croatia!

Check out the story HERE and follow my travel blog for other stories and photos at www.brandonthegallant.com.

Also, in light of this special day and the current difficulties created by COVID-19, I’ll be offering my resume and cover letter services at a 75% discount up through May 20th.

I want to hear from you all, so don’t be afraid to reach out!

~Brandon

 

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Am I From California or the U.S.?

Brandon the Gallant

Is African Californian a thing?

My first travel abroad experience was funny. Yup, that’s how I’d describe it. Not like “ha ha” funny (even though there was a whole lotta that too), but funny like “Ya know, I never really thought about [insert experience]. Funny.” I saw, learned, felt a lot of things I’d never really considered before. It changed a lot for me. What’s also funny is that I expected that. I knew I was in for a wild ride that would have a big impact on me. I just couldn’t predict the particulars.

The way you perceive yourself changes over time. Identities can morph and evolve–some come to the forefront at times, while others fade into the background. For me, I’d never actually thought about the fact that I’m an American until I was 20 years old and found myself in a whole other country for the first…

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New Travel Blog!

New travel blog is up and running! One thing I’ve always been particularly passionate about is the connections and experiences you can have while traveling abroad. As a black American man who loves to travel, I wanted to start a blog that discussed and demonstrated what traveling abroad may look and feel like as a person of color.

Head on over to http://www.brandonthegallant.com to check out the new blog and first article.

Poke around, take a look at the photos and captions, and please subscribe and share! I’m looking forward to engaging with all of you in a new way!

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Find a New Career Path…but How?!

Do you remember that one question literally all of us were asked when we were kids? You know, the one that went something like: “So, what do you wanna be when you grow up?” It’s almost a rite of passage — the first official step everyone has to take on the long winding road to finding a career. Many of us probably had some of the common answers in mind: doctor, police officer, astronaut, firefighter. Still, you probably figured that was a problem for you to solve. Well, as it turns out, future-you is here now, and that question might be even more confusing than it was back when you were missing your two front teeth.

In case you’ve been wondering, no, it’s not just you. Deciding on a career is a hard thing to do for most people, especially in today’s society in which the number of different careers is ever-increasing. You have a lot of interests, but how do you decide which one to pursue professionally, or even academically? Maybe you were lucky enough to discover your passion area early on in life, but how can that translate into a sustainable money-making job for you? Ultimately, HOW DO I CHOOSE A CAREER? All of these are important and intimidating questions, and the answers to them may not be immediately obvious. Luckily — for all of us — there are four basic, yet effective steps we can employ (pun intended) to help narrow down the field.

Step 1: Start at the Root — Know Thyself

Socrates said it, Drake said it, and so did many people in between: Know yourself. Not only is it great psychological advice, it also happens to be savvy career advice. The first step in figuring out what career path is right for you is figuring out who you are. One of the main reasons looking for a career can be tough is that we might not even know what to look for, but getting to know yourself better can help shed some light. Here’s a quick exercise. Ask yourself:

What are my values (personally, socially, professionally)?

Do I like being around people, or do they drain my energy?

What do I enjoy doing?

What am I good at?

If you value the freedom to move around and be exposed to various environments, you might not want to go for a career that would have you seated in a cubicle all week. If you really don’t enjoy (or aren’t good at) tasks that require a high degree of technical skills, it would probably be best to steer clear of electrical engineering. These questions are much simpler than “What do you want to do for your career?” but they can uncover key clues about they type of work that might suit you best. AND you don’t have to find these answers on your own. Connecting with a career advisor or completing some online skills inventories can assist you on your hunt.

Step 2: Build a List

So you’ve gotten to know yourself a little better, but where do you go from there? Now it’s time to start compiling a list of careers that sound interesting to you. An important thing to note here is that this list simply contains occupations you want to explore. You don’t have to be at the point where you’re ready to commit yet. For example, say you wanted to be an electrical engineer when you were in middle school. If that still sounds like something you might enjoy, throw it on the list! If you were fascinated by an online article you read about a UX Designer’s typical day at work, throw it on the list! After you’ve compiled a sizeable list of careers that seem to pique your interest, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Research and Explore!

Now that you have a list of careers you want to explore — whether you found them at the end of a personality assessment, read about them in an online article, or just haven’t let go of that childhood dream of being an astronaut — it’s time to…explore them.

Exploration can happen in a variety of ways. Reading job descriptions online, checking degree requirements, conducting informational interviews of people who hold those positions, and a course at your local community college all apply here. As you go through your list, start comparing the information you acquired to what you’ve learned about yourself. Which of the careers on your list don’t seem to fit you so well? Which ones seem to be right up your alley? The more you research, the more items you’ll be able to knock off your list. And guess what? This step can last as long as you need it to and you can always come back and revisit it!

Step 4: Make a Choice…or Two…and a Plan

You’ve taken the time to get to know your skills, values, and inclinations, you’ve built a list of careers you want to explore, and you’ve researched the items on that list, allowing you to narrow it down. At this point, you are probably ready to pick one of the items on your list to delve into a little deeper. Go with the option that you believe will bring you the most satisfaction, both professionally and personally. Make a plan for what you want your path into and through this career to look like, both in the short-term and the long-term. Armed with the knowledge you acquired about yourself and your career of choice, go forth and conquer! And remember, you are allowed do-overs. If you discover that the career path you chose doesn’t quite work for you, you are free to return to Step 1!

Keep in mind that finding a career is a marathon, and you don’t have to hit the nail square on the head on the first go-around. Learn to see your career as a set of stepping stones, and have faith in your ability to build yourself a career worth having.

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Sh*t Rappers Taught Me

When I was growing up, my older brother was really into hip hop. So of course, I got really into it at a pretty young age. As I got older, I started to realise that rap is more than just rhythm, profanity, and bravado — there’s artful lyricism, there’s history, there’s economics. I don’t need to go into detail about my personal thoughts and feelings on the quality of the genre, BUT I did pick up on something I think is worth sharing:

Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Are you interested in perhaps wading into the waters of freelancing, side hustling, or full on business owning? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you should study a rapper.

No, really. Find you a rapper, and listen to their come up story. I promise it won’t be hard. It’s all over their discography. If you want, I can even give you a list of some of my favourites that do an excellent job at describing what it’s like. You’ll have to ask for that, but in the meantime, let me show you a quick list of some sh*t rappers taught me.

1. Believe in Yourself More than Anyone Else

“They told me don’t believe the hype, but I felt like this about myself before the mic.”

-Nipsey Hussle

“When I’m back home, I’m the best in the South. When I’m in LA, I’m the best in the West.”

-J. Cole

The late great Nipsey Hussle once said, “They told me don’t believe the hype, but I felt like this about myself before the mic.” What he’s describing here is pretty straightforward. Once he established himself as a rap icon, especially in Los Angeles, people tried to warn him to not let the hype go to his head. Little did they know, he thought of himself as a champion well before he rose to fame, while he was still just selling CDs out of the trunk of his car. When you strike out on your own as an entrepreneur, it’s likely that it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You will inevitably take lots of punches on that kind of journey, and you’ll find plenty of reasons for why you can’t make something happen. Believing in your own capacity to succeed as an entrepreneur or freelancer is not a suggestion, it’s an imperative, and you have to believe in it even when it may not seem like there’s much reason to from the outside.

2. Goals are Good. Just not Good Enough

“I’m a hustla, baaaaby.”

-Pharrell Williams

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business mannnn.”

-Jay-Z

How many rappers have you heard speak about “the grind” or “the hustle” or “the come up”? Rhetorical question, but the answer is a lot. What’s so special about that? Every aspiring rapper has dreams of making it big, being on stage, and touring the world, but only a few of them actually turn that into a reality. Among a number of other reasons, one of them is that while all of these aspiring rappers have dreams of stardom, only a few recognise that a goal on its own simply isn’t going to get the job done, and combine that recognition with a powerful work ethic. Goals and ideals are good. They’re amazing! You need them. But, as an entrepreneur, you need more than that. You need a plan. You need a strategy that comes with guidelines. You need knowledge. You need a work ethic that matches the size of your goals. And with that work ethic, you need to develop a spirit of resilience that forces you to get back up when you get knocked off the pathway to your goals.

3. Stay the Course

“Ain’t really trip on the credit. I just paid all of my dues. I just respected the game. Now my name all in the news.”

-Nipsey Hussle

“Can’t tell you where I’m going, just know I won’t stop. Goodbye to the bottom, hello to the top!”

-J. Cole

Is being an entrepreneur always fun? Is the pathway to achieving your goal always clear? Noooooo. Nope. No. But if you don’t stay the course, here’s what’ll happen:

Nothing.

Even when it’s not glamorous, and even when you have no idea what to do, you have to keep moving. Pay your dues. Respect the process. Recognise that, sometimes, good things take time and that failure is just part of the process. These are the things that can eventually provide you with some semblance of clarity. Study hard and apply until you break through. As they say, stick to the script and stay down.

4. Follow YOUR Rules and Beware of “Advice”

Excuse me, is you saying something? Uh uh you can’t tell me NOTHIN’”

-Kanye West

“‘Don’t ever take advice,’ that was great advice.”

-Drake

The only person who truly understands what you have to go through while on your journey as a freelancer is YOU, so while advice can be helpful, it may not always apply to you. What works for other people will not necessarily work for you, but that’s okay. That means you get to develop your own set of rules by which you play, and you get to insist that other people play by your rules when they interact with your business. That can be awkward and uncomfortable at times, but consider the alternative: When you don’t insist that people play by your rules when they interact with your business, that means they get to break your rules and impose their own. They’ve become an exception in your process. At that point, you no longer have rules. You’re back to having goals and ideals. See #1.

While these aren’t the only things I’ve learned from rappers, they are some of the most transferable lessons I’ve picked up on. At least when it comes to working for yourself. Anyway, go find some super confident, hustlin’ rappers to listen to.

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Money Energy Project, Ep.1

A while back I wrote an article about the awkward and perhaps even tense relationship between young adults and their money (or lack thereof). That led me to a good convo with someone who sparked a really cool idea–make a video series about all the untalked about money taboos for young people and then post it on the internet for everyone to see. Of course–it’s so obvious! Except that I have no video-making experience whatsoever. None. Zero times 2. Oh, and I also didn’t have any equipment for this sort of thing outside of my iPhone with a lightly cracked screen and my handy dandy GoPro lol. But I have a pretty competent network that was willing to help me out with stuff like that. It’s far from perfect, but it has been a fun learning process and we’ve already found some easy ways to make future vids much better. Check out Episode 1 here. I’ll make a page to house the others once they’re done. I’ll keep ya posted. Obviously.

~B