Hustle Hard

Mark Cuban Quote

It’s been a little while since my last blog, and that is entirely because of my hectic school schedule.  It’s crunch time now, and the stress is real.  Through all the chaos this semester though, I’ve come to appreciate the amount of work I have to do and have always done.

So many times I hear people who have gotten crazy opportunities but I know it was just a stroke of luck.  I know they don’t work nearly as hard as I do, and yet things are handed to them.  This would bother me to absolutely no end.  As I work my butt off, I’m being denied and rejected from opportunities that I’m applying for.  While these people who could ultimately care less are handed things on a silver platter.

This semester I took six classes, worked two jobs, and had an internship where I had to contribute a minimum of 90 hours for school credit.  I have reached a point of complete exhaustion.  However, as the end approaches, I’m extremely proud of myself for somehow managing to not quit.

And that’s just the thing, I never quit.  I never really appreciated that quality about myself until recently, probably until this semester.  Anything that I start, I finish.  When someone tells me I can’t do something, you better believe I will do it.  When people count me out, they are in for a rude awakening.  Don’t ever count me out.

I appreciate the amount of work I have to do because I know that no one can ever take it from me.  Nothing gets handed to me, but that also means nothing can be taken from me.  I don’t owe any accomplishment to anyone except myself (and my parents for their support).  In the long run, I’m more grateful for having to instill that work ethic in myself instead of getting the luck card distributed to me.  Having to work for every accomplishment builds character and changes your outlook on life.  You become aware that nothing is permanent, not success or struggle.

As finals week approaches for college kids, appreciate the hard work you have to do because in the end it’s only helping you.  Pressure can either burst pipes or make a diamond.  Be a diamond.

Hustle until you no longer have to introduce yourself.  And when you no longer have to introduce yourself, what a wonderful feeling it will be to know that it’s because of you and your hard work, not because of introductions from others.

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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

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The infamous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that gets asked God only knows how many times.  The answers that I’ve had throughout the years are scattered all over the place.  When I was five, I wanted to be a vet – until I found out that they had to clean the animal’s butts.  As I started dance, I wanted to be a dance teacher.  Continuing dance, I wanted to be a Broadway dancer, then a Rockette, then a professional choreographer… all up until my knee fell apart (that’s a story for another blog).  Then I wanted to be a singer/songwriter, then a music producer… Leading to my current decision of journalist, preferably a sports journalist.

Yesterday I made my schedule for next semester; my final semester of college – and let me tell you – it’s getting real.  It’s a little scary knowing that after next semester I’ve got to come up with a game plan to start my career.  And as I try to get a game plan going, I’m asking myself that infamous question, “Kristina, what do you really want to be when you grow up?” I love writing, I’m told that I’m good at it.  I love sports, they make me happy.  And yet, here I am, questioning my career choice.

Last night, after a pep talk from my parents, I did some thinking.  I realized that the reason I’m questioning sports journalism as my career is because the things I hope to get from my career have changed; because, I’ve changed.

When I wanted to be a vet, I didn’t know what I wanted out of job, because let’s face it – my concept of what a job is at the age of five was probably not exactly up to par.  As I got older, I realized I wanted to do something I was really passionate about – that being dance. All I wanted from my career was just fun; I wanted to do something that was fun for me and that I was good at.  After my knee injury, being older, I took into account that I also want longevity from my career.  Hence, my transition into music production and music in general.  A part of me also wanted to pursue music because, I’m not going to lie, I wanted everyone to know who I was.  I wanted that fame, that celebrity lifestyle; I think mostly because of the struggles I had to overcome throughout junior high and high school.  At the time, the only way I thought you could become a known name was through the entertainment industry.  Getting older, I became a little more realistic.  Not to say that I couldn’t make it in the entertainment industry because I absolutely have that drive; but I figured if that was really my true calling, I would have been way more motivated with all of it.

So then my senior year of high school, applying for college, I reevaluated my life basically.  And I realized that I love writing and my main concern with a career was being able to do something that I loved.  Now, as a senior in college – soon to embark on my final semester, the once fun question becomes serious.  I still have the same concern, I want to be able to wake up every morning truly excited to go to work.  However, you do learn new things about yourself in college.  And for me, over the past four years, I’ve realized that I really want to make a difference in this world and influence change.  So that infamous question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has turned into, “What are you going to do to make a difference?”

My goal in life is no longer to have a career with a superfluous salary (though, if it happens that way – I won’t complain), or have a career to simply become famous (even though I was voted most likely to be famous in high school), or do something that is simply just fun.  My career goal now reflects the growth I’ve made thus far in life.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?  Well, as I continue to grow up, I still want that career that makes me excited to go to work every morning.  But now, I realize I want to also wake up every morning with the potential to start change.  And as I write this blog, I realize that the best way that I, Kristina Konrad, can promote change is through writing.  As for what I’ll be writing, the medium I’ll be writing for… I guess I’ll have to sit back, ride it out, and see where this universe leads me.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

…What do I want to be when I grow up?  A happy person who makes a difference.

Final answer.

The Nectar List

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My professor used the word nectar in a sentence in one of my classes today.  I had never heard the word nectar used in any other class but science, you know to describe a flower.  So, me being the English dork that I am, googled it.  Turns out, nectar is slang for “to live.”  As I googled though I came across something called, “The Nectar Lists.”  I was intrigued, read up on it, and feel the need to share it.

It’s sort of like a bucket list, but instead of acknowledging things that you want to do, it’s acknowledging things that you have already done that you feel are noteworthy.  I guess we could say it’s like the “nectar” in the flower of your life…? (I’ll even admit, that was super cheesy).  But, I think this is such a cool idea, and a great little pick me up to remind yourself that you are unique, accomplished, and that you ARE making moves.

As I made my list, I was hung up after number two.  I had two major accomplishments that came to mind, and then I really had to think about anything else.  Why is this?  Because I let little accomplishments fall to the side.  I didn’t think they mattered enough.  I think we are all guilty of this.

So, my message to all of you is to recognize all your accomplishments.  Any action you take to improve yourself, your life, or someone else’s life; despite how little it may seem, is actually a big deal.  I challenge all of you to make your own nectar list.

I’ll let you see just a snippet of my own…

1.  I’ve overcome being bullied and cyberbullied.

2.  I’ve stayed true to myself and my morals even though people tried to change me or squash my values.

3.  I graduated from High School and am in my final year of college.

4.  I have dance battled a stranger… and won.

5.  I have surprised the general public with something that I’ve said (just ask my parents, this happens often).

6.  I have made people laugh until they cried.

7.  I have mastered countless raps breaking any “white girl” stereotype (not to brag but some include Eminem’s “Rap God” and Busta Rhymes verse in “Look At Me Now”).

8.  I have been able to laugh at myself.

9.  I have moved people to tears with certain pieces that I’ve written.

10.  I’ve empowered someone.

So you see, any accomplishment, is still an accomplishment.  Note your successes.  Make that nectar list.  Applaud yourself.

RE2PECT

1600x700q80It has taken me this long to finally post about Derek Jeter, because I still cannot fathom that I will not see this man playing shortstop anymore…

Baseball has always been bigger than a game to me, and this man has always bee who I watched throughout the years.  Whether it be his positive attitude, his amazing skill, his strong work ethic, or his true respect for the game; the man has heart, and he’s definitely touched my heart.  So blessed to be able to say I went to countless games he’s played in, celebrated my sweet 16 in the legend seats behind the Yankee dugout just feet away from him, and was able to sit in on his final Q&A with Steiner Sports the same week as his last game.  But most of all, I’m blessed to have simply been alive to watch this man exemplify excellence; as an athlete and a person.

Thank you Captain, for always giving me something bigger to believe in.  Thank you Captain, for everything.

Like A Girl

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The other day a good friend of mine sent me a text message.  It was a picture of a post on Instagram.  It was a female, holding a sign that said “You can have ambition, but not too much.”  Followed by a caption claiming that women should feel lucky that we can even go to school, and even get paid for working, because it’s more than we should expect anyway.  She finished the caption stating, “Warning: women can have ambition, but not too much.”

…I’m sorry, what?

Needless to say I was absolutely outraged by this.  How is it that a young female in 2014 can still feel like she isn’t up to par with a male?  What type of environment has she been seeing to think that women still aren’t equal?

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I was saddened by the fact that this female probably didn’t grow up the way that I did.  Growing up, the most important men in my life; my Dad and Grandpas set such a great model for me.  They showed me through example of how they treat my Mom and Grandmothers, how I should expect to be treated from men throughout life – with respect, and as an equal.  There was never any talk about me not being able to do something because of my gender.  They always encouraged that with hard work nothing was beyond my grasp.  For that, I am forever grateful.  And for having such strong women in my life, my Mom especially, who have shown me that women can do everything a man can, and then some. It takes things like that Instagram post for me to remember how insanely blessed I am to have my Dad in my life; and to have had my Grandpas in my life, though one has only been through memories and stories; as well as such influential women like my Mom. Because of how I grew up, the idea of a woman having too much ambition and settling for less than exceptional, is just absolutely ludicrous to me.

But regardless of how a person has grown up, it is 2014, the idea that all people are equal should be well etched in our minds by now.  And as a woman, it is a responsibility to make sure that every human adheres to that.  So this female’s Instagram post… so not okay.  And as a woman, I feel it’s my job to make sure other people see the problem.  She is sending out a signal that it is okay for people to categorize her as just a girl.  And when you allow people to categorize you, you limit yourself, your opportunities, and devalue your self worth.

If every female walked around with the mindset of, “Well we can go to school, right?  We can get paid for a job, right?” before you know it the mindset could become, “Well it was just a hit… He just pushed me once… He didn’t listen when I said no… It’s okay, right? Because I’m just a girl, right?”

Am I being dramatic here?  Some readers may think I am, however I do not think so.  Every thought any person has creates a domino effect.  If enough people are having the same thought, that thought becomes fact.

Recently, the Always brand created a commercial, “Like A Girl.”  It is one of the most powerful commercials/campaigns I’ve seen.  It’s a casting call and the director asks each person to do what comes to mind when they hear certain tasks.  The tasks include, running like a girl, fighting like a girl, throwing like a girl, etc., the responses are mind-blowing.  The older girls and boys will run with flapping arms, fight by slapping the air, and put no effort into a throw.  The younger girls, will run like they’re running for a cause, fight like their life depended on it, and throw like they’re in the World Series.  What does this prove?  That the older a child gets, and the more situations they encounter, the less power they feel a woman has, or has the right to show.  Instead of witnessing a power struggle, we should be witnessing an empowerment movement.  To achieve such a movement, every voice, every thought, every person counts.  So what seemed like a meaningless little post on Instagram, actually becomes a reason for a step backward in a movement.

There is no such thing as too much ambition, and no woman should ever allow her sparkle to dull because of a man, or a male dominant environment.  Ladies, take control, take command, and live your life in a way that makes the phrase, “like a girl,” mean something truly powerful.

Please check out the video, “Always #LikeAGirl” below:

For more ways to create a balance and empower women of the world check out Take The Lead Women, on Facebook, twitter, and their website: http://www.taketheleadwomen.com

Toxic

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Products have labels on them.  They have warning labels. They have the word TOXIC written on them.  Without hesitation, we’re automatically careful around such products.  We are well aware of the consequences that come about if we constantly surround ourselves with a toxic element.  Generally speaking, we tend to stray away and stay away from anything that is noted toxic because we know it’s bad for our health.

But what happens if there is no label?  Does that mean it isn’t toxic and it isn’t going to have an influence on us?  No, that’s not what it means at all.  Certain people are like unlabeled toxic products and elements.  And just like any toxic substance, the toxic person has an effect on your life; and is dangerous to your health.

Obviously we don’t get a list of qualities in a person we befriend.  We don’t get an update every so often as to how their attitude is going to be.  So we can’t always stay away from them completely.  However, once we are aware of toxic energy it is detrimental we leave.

I’m not saying that when a friend is going through a rough time you leave them hanging.  I’m not saying that at all, so don’t misunderstand me.  However, there’s a difference between being in a negative state of mind because of a negative situation; and just being a negative person with negative energy.

Ever since my senior year of high school, I’ve been very aware of positive thinking and the need to always be optimistic.  Like everyone else I have had my fair share of obstacles in the past.  There was a time I was a very negative person.  I gave off negative energy, and so that’s what I attracted in my life – more negative energy.  There comes a point when you have to stop playing the victim and truly learn from a difficult situation.  Once I did that, life got brighter.  Once I did that I also became very aware of other people’s energy, and just how toxic they can be to my own.

I feel like I’m going through a transition in my life right now.  I’m learning to let go of old baggage and extra weight.  Through this process, the realization that I simply have no time for negative nonsense has amplified.  Toxic people are no longer welcome in my life.

Some of my friends have toxic people in their life.  They haven’t let them go yet because they fear the repercussions.  Yes, sometimes giving people the boot is tough; but it is so important to remember to surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you up, even through criticism.

When you hear something repeatedly you begin to believe it.  So if someone you’re surrounded by is speaking nothing but negative statements toward every aspect of life, subconsciously you’re going to take on the same negative beliefs.  Negative beliefs are negative energy, and negative energy attracts negative results.  It’s a toxic trap that is hard to get out of.  Don’t voluntarily put yourself in the trap.

Stay healthy, stay positive, stay away from nonsense and rid yourself of toxic elements, whether it comes in the form of a product, or a person.

Happy Birthday, Derek Jeter!

 

 

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Happy Birthday to the very gorgeous, always wonderful, true Yankee great, the captain; Derek Jeter. I have been in love with you since forever, and I can promise I’ll be in love with you until forever.

And of course I’m wearing my DJ3K shirt today.