We were meeting up for our usual happy hour date, eager to unwind from the day and search for the strongest cocktail on the menu. It had become our beloved tradition. Three friends from Howard — Kim, Kori and Kwaku — back home in The D, taking a much-needed pause from our hectic lives to confide in one another about the tumultuous life experiences of 20-something adulthood.
In between sips, bites and boozy giggles, we took turns giving the full rundown on our careers, love lives, goals, accomplishments and shortcomings. Admittedly, I was in a very weird space at the time. I felt like I’d hit a mental and spiritual roadblock, which caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety. So when I shared what I had been going through with Kim and Kwaku that day, I didn’t just need encouragement — I was desperate for it.
“You know what you need to do?” Kwaku’s eyes and voice lit up simultaneously. His positive, ambitious energy has always given me life, so I knew whatever he was about to say was definitely gonna be something worth listening to.
“What?” I asked.
“You need to pitch to I Don’t Do Clubs to become a Detroit Influencer.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar, I Don’t Do Clubs (IDDC) is a popular blog site highlighting events in major cities that appeal to young Black professionals. Its team consists of the site’s founder (Genese Jamilah) and a team of “influencers,” or brand ambassadors that provide weekly event listicles for their respective cities.
“Omg yesss, Kori!” Kim chimed in excitedly. “Girl, that’s right up your alley!”
But I had already rejected the idea in my head. I figured I didn’t need to be committing to anything else until I got my own shit together.
“Ehhh, I don’t know, y’all. I got a lot going on right now.”
“Kori, you seriously need to do this. It’s perfect for you,” Kwaku said. “IDDC is dope, you’re a dope writer, and people need to know about all the dope shit that’s happening around Detroit — we need this. And plus, think of all the great exposure you’d get!”
It sounded good, but I still wasn’t sold. I felt like I needed to figure some things out first before I started putting myself out there like that. But Kwaku wasn’t having it.
“So today is Friday,” he said. “I’m giving you until Sunday to make a final decision.”
He then proceeded to pull out his planner from his sleek, leather backpack and wrote a note to himself to check in with me on Sunday. This negro really wasn’t playing. All I could do was smile and say, “Okay, I’ll think about it.”
I honestly didn’t wanna do it, y’all. The motivation just wasn’t there and my confidence wasn’t where it needed to be at the time. But when Kwaku texted me for my decision on Sunday, I told him I would give it a shot. He helped me put together this cool little presentation that highlighted all of the things happening around Detroit, and by the end of the week, I submitted it. A couple days later, I received an email from IDDC saying they weren’t hiring at the time. This was back in March.
Fast forward to about a month ago in June. Kwaku sends me a screenshot of a post from IDDC’s Instagram page saying they were looking to hire a Detroit Influencer. Along with the screenshot was a text from Kwaku comprised of three words in all caps: “GET ON THIS.” I did. And after submitting two rounds of writing assignments, I received an email stating that I had been selected to be an IDDC Detroit Influencer. My first event listicle went live earlier this week. 🙂
Anyway, I shared this story with y’all to emphasize how important it is to have friends who will push you outside of your comfort zone — even if it’s against your will. Friends who will hold you accountable and challenge you to take on new challenges. Friends who see your potential and will constantly speak life into you. Those friends. Sure, we all have our friends who we share secrets with and ones we can turn up with, but having friends who will also actively push you to the next level? Those are few and far between.
So how about y’all? Do you have any Kim’s and Kwaku’s in your circle? If so, what’s something they’ve done to help push you to your potential?