Motivate Me Mondays: Doing what you are passionate about

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela
I am always so inspired by those who truly tap into their passions in life. We live in a world where people feel as though their passion has to take a back seat to the things people expect of us. I truly believe it is important to be happy in life and to be happy you must do things you are truly passionate about. Never allow anyone to make you feel as though your passion is not good enough because we all know it takes a lot of courage to do what we love. Jenell is the perfect example of someone who has never been afraid to do what makes her happy and recently she started a business to fulfill her passion in life. I was able to ask her a few questions and I hope that her answers will help someone who may be having a hard time with following through with what they are passionate about, here is her story:

1. Who is Jenell? Tell a little bit about yourself
Jenell McMillon, 26, Event Planner and Entrepreneur. I was born, raised and currently reside in New Jersey. New Jersey is home but I decided to take a huge leap of faith in 2009 by attending thee Illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. Being 8 hours away from home, I had to learn to rely on myself to get things done. I’ve always had that independent mentality but there is a difference between being independent in your hometown versus a new state with no friends or family at the age of 17. Although it was difficult, the transition was needed and taught me things about myself that I would have never learned. I am a passionate, ambitious, self motivated and creative young black woman. God continues to be at the forefront of my life and I give him all the credit as I walk in the path that he has laid out for me. 
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2. When did you start your business ?
I launched my business on April 30, 2017 at 7:30pm EST.
3. What was the motivation behind starting your business ?
My sister and I decided to do a watch series for New Edition at our house in January for young adults (ages 25-35) from our church. As people were coming in, I was applying for jobs. I have a tendency of reading out loud before sending things over and one lady (Cortney) decided to ask more about my event planning since she overheard my experience.
Side note: I always seen Cortney in church but never spoke to her until this one day. 

I advised her that I have been planning events for 6 years. Starting with my sorority (DST) to BET Networks to my current place of employment, the list goes on. She was so impress and asked if I was interested in wedding planning. I told her that I’ve shadowed a wedding planner but never coordinated a wedding even though it is a future interest. She immediately asked why I was waiting and that I could use her wedding as my first wedding. As you can tell, the conversation moved so quick but I knew this was nothing but God pushing me towards my dreams of starting my own company. I told her yes and the start of JNicole Events begun. 

I will forever be thankful for Cortney and Amir. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin, thank you for putting your trust and faith in me to execute my first wedding for your special day!
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4. What obstacles and/or set backs have you had to overcome ?
As an event planner, we have to find ways to stand out amongst the rest especially in an area like the Tri-State. Competition is real. I became worried that I wouldn’t receive a lot of interest from prospective clients due to my location in South Jersey. Some may say that we are a state of our own. However, I have learned to use that to my advantage because people will need events no matter where you are. Word of mouth will always be the number one marketing tactic and this tactic has continued to be an asset for my company.
5. What keeps you motivated ?
This may sound cliché but it’s the smiles and satisfaction of my clients that keep me motivated. I love knowing that every detail they could have ever imagined was executed flawlessly.
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6. How much has it grown since you started?
Whooh! I am almost 3 months in and I currently have 10 booked events until the new year in New Jersey, DC and Atlanta. Oh, we are growing!
7. As you continue to expand, where would you like to see things going in the next 2-3 years?
I would love to see my company become my full time job within the next 3 years while continuing to provide my services beyond the Tri-State area.
8. What are 2-3 goals you would like to accomplish to help with expanding your business ?
  1. Obtaining my MBA in entrepreneurship
  2. Receiving my event certification
9. What advice do you have for young women like yourself?
Never be afraid to start your own! Continue to use your strengths to help others and you will always find your passion.
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10. What sets your apart from other event planning companies ? What makes you unique?
This was my main question that I asked myself before starting JNicole Events. I’ve always noticed that when people “make it” they are hesitant on talking about the day to day struggles it took to get to where they are currently at in their career. I decided to use my love for writing and photography into my company. Before the launch, I’d blogged daily to let my readers especially my young black readers understand that we all had to start from somewhere and here’s how it begun for me. I continue to write about the daily triumphs and challenges as I proceed to turn my dream into reality. I’ve used my love for photography and videography on my website/social media to increase all levels of creativity. I’ve been able to turn my 3 passions (event planning, writing and photography) into one with JNicole Events in hopes that people will use my story and company as motivation for starting their own business. 
11. If you could tell anyone who is trying to start a business one important thing, what would it be?
Trust your instinct!
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12. Where can people go to find out more about JNicole Events?
Please check me out at www.eventsbyjnicole.com
I am also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @JNicoleEvents
Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Mondays: Overcoming betrayal

“For me, I always wonder what’s worse: an emotional betrayal or a physical betrayal? That’s a really tough call.” – Hilarie Burton
Often times in life we always hear people say to be careful how you treat other people because you never know what other people have been through. Adriane Lanier decided to share her story of how she overcome certain betrayals in life that no one should ever have to deal with. Her story shows her strength as a woman and just as a human being because sometimes it is not easy to overcome the things we endure in life, here is her story:

Who is Adriane Lanier?
I am JMU double Duke (BBA/MBA) currently living in the DMV working as a Cybersecurity professional. I was born in California and raised in Virginia Beach by two amazing Georgia bred people.
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Do you mind sharing about the 3 different incidents you have dealt with throughout the course of your life?
My body has been disrespected in every since of the word. I have been sexually assaulted, molested, and raped by people I once held near and dear to me and strangers. The worst of them all [physically] was when I was setup by a coworker and attacked by 6 grown men. I had unspeakable things done to me and was not sure I would even make it out of there.
How did you handle dealing with all of this?
A lot of days I was literally just going through the motions of life. I felt numb for quite some time. I have had depression, severe ptsd and at one point I was even suicidal (it clearly didn’t work lol). For years I smiled and joked my way through the pain. I kept busy so I wouldn’t have to be alone in my misery and think about it until it became routine and my smiles became genuine again.
Is it possible to take back your life after something like this happens ?
It is definitely possible to regain control over your life, but a strong support system is imperative. Had it not been for my friends and sorors I would have never gotten help. It took YEARS of therapy. I have occasional flashbacks and nightmares, but its nowhere near what it used to be. There are still certain things that can trigger those feelings of fear and discomfort and I don’t think they will ever go away so I do my best to avoid them. My support system was there for me every step of the way to recovery. Discovering I had severe PTSD, facing reality of how damaged I really am, lifting me up when boys would leave me because they couldn’t handle my baggage, praying for me harder than I could pray for myself, uplifting me any time they felt like I was down, keeping me honest and always showering me with positive vibes and unconditional love.
How were you able to gain the courage to now be able to share your story with other people?
My support system has encouraged me to do it for years. I didn’t think my story would impact others, but the more I began to open up to other people I knew, the more I realized that my story can positively impact someone else who is fighting battles nobody knows about. I went from feeling embarrassed about it all to realizing that it was not my fault and I did nothing to deserve any of what happened to me. I got the courage to tell my story because I want women to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel more than I cared to bury this painful chapter of my past.
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At this very moment, if you had to choose one person to recognize that has helped you get past what you’ve been through who would that person be ?
Oh man…I can’t just choose one person because there were phases to the recovery and many obstacles. I have one best friend who was there from the very beginning up until my self declared freedom, Crystal Cole. I have friends I have grown apart from, but will always respect how they were there for me when things were at their worst (Aaron Campbell, Charlie Celesia, Kitara McMoore). However, I have met so many amazing people along the way that have helped me so much in so many ways that I could never tell my story and not think of them. When I say I have been blessed with a strong support system, I honestly don’t know what I did in life to deserve such amazing friends but I thank God for them daily (my JMU family – Its like 10 extra people lol).
What keeps you motivated ?
My desire to succeed and leave the world a better place than I found it.
How would you define success?
Success is whatever you want it to be. As long as it involves feelings of genuine happiness in most, if not all, aspects of life, I would call it success.
What is one thing you have accomplished in life so far that you are most proud of?
Learning the power of forgiveness and conflict resolution. For those who know my history and know how rowdy and unforgiving I once was, this was HUGE for me. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. When you carry hate or resentment for long periods of time it can affect your personal and professional growth. Learning to forgive makes handling conflict (personal and professional) much easier.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I plan to be a business owner leaving my mark on the Cybersecurity industry while spreading STEM awareness and love to the next generation so they can, too, leave the world a better place than they found it.
What are some things that you have achieved that make you proud ?
I am proud of my career accomplishments, but I am more proud of my personal growth. I never imagined I would have so many amazing opportunities and be where I am in my career at age 29. I also never thought I would be where I am today. I have found myself, I have found my inner peace (and plan to hold onto it with every ounce of my being), I have found self awareness, my smiles are genuine and my happiness is sincere. THAT is what I am most proud of.
What advice can you provide to those who have been raped, molested, and/or attacked?  
It is okay for you to tell your story and work towards reaching inner peace and stability, whatever that means to you. While you cannot undo what has happened, you CAN take back your life.There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just know you are not alone and there are plenty of people who love you and want you to know that your life is worth living.
Let Tay Tell It