Don't Listen to the Negative Shanaynay's! Featuring Syerena Orr- Designer of Overconfident

As a creative and an entrepreneur, I have to be quick to internalize experiences and to be able to pivot. I am constantly changing and growing, and my methods constantly have to be tweaked and redirected. I am still learning how to mitigate the fine line between protecting the ideas I have in my head and sharing them with others for feedback. I have had so many experiences where I share a good idea, or my goals/dreams with someone only for it to be shot down, picked apart or met with apathy. I've questioned and even deaded  ideas because of negative feedback from people who have no idea what they are talking about. I've dragged my feet on starting on projects or pivoting in a new direction because of people telling me why I can't. On a path that is already so unsure, staying positive is so important to my progress. For this reason, I have become extremely protective of my thoughts and goals. I'm careful about who I share my ideas with because all it takes is one drop of negativity to slow down momentum to push forward. The desires and dreams I have for my life are massive and extraordinary. I've learned that there are some people who are intimidated by my vision and simply can not see it. 

I recently shot the winter collection for Syerena Orr (pictured blessing my lens below) the founder and designer of Overconfident, a luxury womens clothing brand (check out pictures from the shoot here).  I met this bada*s boss babe about one year ago and have watched in awe of all her success as a designer. In addition to being a successful designer, she is also a successful real estate investor. Syerena shared her thoughts on her career and dealing with the negative blahblah.

What are some of your greatest accomplishments in your career as a creative entrepreneur? 

Definitely my 200th sale with Overconfident! But of course it's much more profitable to sell in bulk-this year my goal is to harass buyers and get my looks in boutiques and later on major retailers! 


How do you stay positive on the long, bumpy, crazy road of entrepreneurship? 

By realizing as an entrepreneur, you're in complete control of your success. It's in your hands. This isn't a 9 to 5- you're not relying on  your boss for your success, for that promotion. You're relying completely on yourself. What I mean by that is, not everyone will say yes. It's your job to hear 20 nos, to fail, just to get to that one yes. To never quit. Not every project or goal will be successful at the first attempt.  It's up to you to figure out how to get what you want. How to tweak your methods for success. Having determination, discipline and a solid plan alone will get you what you want- knowing that really keeps me positive. It may not happen exactly when you want or exactly how you want but never quitting will always get you success in the end. 


How do you keep naysayers and negative people from getting in the way of your positivist and progress? 

I'd be lying if I said that negative people didn't at times kill my mood! Sometimes it's hard not to take negativity personal- but that's it,  it's not personal! Never have I heard negative comments or bad energy about my goals when speaking with a successful or ambitious person. The successful ones are always upbeat and excited about my goals! They encourage me and even give me advice toward them. However the negative ones are always the ones with no goals, a job they hate or a dissatisfaction with how their life is going.  Their negativity is how they cope- they are self reflecting their problems onto me. Understanding that keeps me positive! I tune them out and never take their unsolicited advice seriously!


Let me know your thoughts on dealing with negativity as an entrepreneur and creative or anyone pursuing big dreams!! 

Setting Goals and Sticking to Them: A Strategy for Achieving your Biggest Dreams!

Is it just me, or do you get overwhelmed thinking about all of the goals you want to achieve? Trying to figure out what to focus on and where to start stresses me out particularly because I have so many different interests. Besides photography, entrepreneurship, Haiti and chocolate chip cookies, I also love real estate investor. I listen to real estate podcasts (biggerpockets podcast is my absolute favorite) and spend a lot of time soaking up information about real estate investing wherever I can find it. Last month, I attended a real estate meetup which I was expecting to be very technical and dense. Instead, the meeting was about goal setting strategies for life and business. The moderator was a successful real estate investor and he shared his strategy for goal setting in his own life. I found his approach to setting goals, starting with long-term descriptive goals, to be completely life-altering(I'm dramatic, I know). Below, I'll share the strategy I learned in this meeting. It's taken me a month to write out all my goals and the process has made me really think about what I truly want. If you do decide to try this strategy, please share your thoughts! If you have other strategies for setting goals, I would love to hear them! I hope it is as beneficial to you as it was for me.

The cornerstone of this strategy is setting specific long term goals, then working backwards and breaking them up into smaller, measurable benchmarks. Goals go unfulfilled because there is no plan of action or accountability to accompany them. The dream seems so big and unattainable, its hard to know where to start and you end up not starting at all. Using this strategy, you will set big goals, break them down and hold yourself accountable to reaching specific benchmarks.

10 Year Goal: 

Make a list of goals you want to accomplish for the the following categories: Personal, Career/Finance and Play(fun stuff just to make you happy). 

Notes on your 10 year goal list: 

-These goals should be BIG! Take your biggest dreams, and triple them! Don't limit yourself from the very beginning by thinking small. 

-Use descriptive and specific language for these goals. Instead of saying 'I want to be rich', decide what income you want to make(then triple it!!!) and where the income is coming from (job, investments, business etc).  

-This should be a completely exhaustive brain dump kind of list. Every dream, goal and desire you can think of that you want should be included. 

Once you have your three lists, choose the top three goals from each that are most important to you. This will allow you to direct your focus towards specific goals. It took me a looooong time to choose my three goals but forced me to be introspective about what I truly want my future to look like. 

5 year goals: 

Repeat the same process. 

Make and exhaustive, brain dump list for your personal, career/finance, play goals. Use descriptive language. Choose the top 3 you want to focus on. 

3 year goals:

Same process! 

1 Year goals: 

Same process!! 

Break your 1 year goals down into quarterly goals.

Then break your quarterly goals down into monthly goals. 

Every month, sit down and set weekly goals that will put you on the path to achieving your monthly goal. 

Set aside time every week to review your entire goal list, starting with the 10 year goals. Review your progress over the last week and your goals for the upcoming week. Write down action items in your calendar for the week that will allow you to achieve those goals. Scheduling action items is KEY!! If it isn't on a calendar, it's not happening. Another really important part of this strategy is having an accountability buddy. This is someone you schedule a call with every week to go over your goals and progress and vice versa. 

Who this person should not be: 

someone who will not keep the weekly meetings, someone who will cut you slack when you don't make progress, someone who lacks focus and follow through, someone who doesn't have big goals and dreams. 

Who this person should be: 

someone who is comfortable giving you crap if you slack off, someone who is focused and reliable, someone who will force you to do the weekly call even when you don't feel like it. 

Let's try this with a concrete example 

Let's say we have a 5 year finance goal of building an emergency fund of 10,000 dollars(that's a lot!)  In 3 years, you should have 6,000 saved. Every year, you have to save 2,000 dollars. 2,000 dollars per year may still seem like a lot but if you do the math, we see that you have to save 500 dollars every quarter to reach your goal. If we save 167 per month, we will reach our quarterly goal (not so bad!) We need to save 42 dollars each week in order to reach our monthly goal. Our action item could be that we transfer 42 to savings every week at a scheduled time that we write down on our calendar (like right after you get your paycheck so you don't spend it on something else!) We could also decide to do a daily transfer to our savings of 6 dollars every night before we go to bed and we would reach our weekly goal. You and your accountability buddy have 'transfer money to savings' as an event on your google calendar at an agreed time. You have to text your accountability buddy after you make the transfer, and if they don't get a text from you they WILL nicely harass you about it. If you don't make the transfer one week because you say you are low on cash, but you post an IG story of you drinking mojitos at the club, they will respond to your story with question marks and the money bag emoji. 


Go forth, set goals and prosper!! 

Let me know what you think of this strategy and if you have any of your own!