Make Deep Connections (with Myleik Teele)

Episode 29

About the Episode

How many times in our lives have we said NO to YES things because we’ve convinced ourselves that we are not the best or not good enough? How many times have we wondered if we are charging what we are worth for the work that we’re doing? And how many times do we wish for a squad that will have our back through thick and thin? This conversation with CURLBOX Founder and Chief Experience Officer Myleik Teele is one for the books!

 

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In this conversation from my Professional Troublemaker book tour, I’m talking with Myleik about coming back from my traumatic experience of negatively trending on Twitter to becoming a New York Times bestselling author for the second time, and how my squad reaffirmed my greatness and inspired me to remember who I was. And Myleik gives me flowers for being an awesome friend and inspiring that same greatness in those I’m connected to. This episode is everything and was truly a salve for the soul, sprinkled with noir pixie dust and you need it in your life.

Things that are for me, remain for me until I’m ready for them.

Nothing has passed me by.

—Myleik Teele

About the Guest

Myleik Teele

Myleik Teele

Myleik Teele is a multi-hyphenate career woman with many passions and interests. Currently, she serves as the Chief Experience Officer of CURLBOX, the first monthly subscription service for naturally curly hair. Her superpower lies in her ability to identify trends and market them with flawless execution. Brands such as L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Ulta, Target, and Walmart, have sought her talents in that arena as a consultant and collaborator.

Myleik is the host of the MyTaughtYou podcast, a luxury retreat, and is the founder of a newly formed investment club. The most significant intention behind her work is to be of service to Black women who aren’t afraid to do the internal work external success hinges on.

Based in Atlanta, GA, Myleik Teele is a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. She regularly gives inspiring talks around the country centered around business, personal branding, and women’s empowerment. When she’s not working on building her empire, you can find her exploring the world through travel, hidden behind the pages of a good book, or chasing her two kids around.

Wisdom from the show

Transcript

Creating a life that is authentic, bold and purposeful takes audacity. It takes disruption. That is what it means to be a Professional Troublemaker. Professional Troublemaker is a book, a podcast and a life habit.

I’m your host, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, bestseller of books, aficionado of authenticity, and sorceress of side-eyes here to bring you conversations with world movers and change agents who have gotten where they are through their tenacity, truth-telling, and commitment to making good trouble. From time to time, I will even do deep dives on topics that are on my spirit.
My hope is that this show compels you to do BIG THINGS in a world where we have so much to fear. Let us loan you courage. Listen in!

Before we jump into today’s episode, know that this podcast is named after my second book and 2nd New York Times bestseller Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Which btw, is now out in paperback! Not only does the paperback version have a sleek new cover and travels well, it has an exclusive BONUS CHAPTER called “The Guide to Truth-Telling”. This chapter takes you step-by-step through the most common fears of speaking your truth AND how to overcome it with boldness. How do you speak up in the meeting when the tough idea comes up? How do you confront a loved one who hurt you? What are the things to consider when silence is the easiest, not the best answer? I talk about ALL of that in the Truth-telling guide.

How would our lives would be different if we were given permission to be disruptors for the greater good? How high can we soar if we knew FEAR is natural and we’re actually supposed to do the things that scare us? How audacious would we be if impostor syndrome wasn’t holding on to our ankles? I wrote this book to loan people courage. In PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER, I talk about how my life has transformed because I’ve ran towards what felt bigger than me, doing the things that feel scary as shit.
Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual is game-changing, and I know it. So, if you value this show, if you value the guests and their stories, the lessons and the wisdom.If you’ve ever listened to something I said and wrote it down, YOU WILL LOVE Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Courage is a habit. You can choose courage each and every day, and this book is the verbal hype team to let you know YOU GOT THIS.

So, get a copy of Professional Troublemaker wherever books are sold, or go to ProfessionalTroublemakerBook.com. You can get the hardcover, paperback with the new exclusive chapter or audiobook (which I narrated, AND has the new chapter included). That’s PROFESSIONALTROUBLEMAKERBOOK.com. I’m so excited for you to read it.

Today’s episode is a conversation with someone I deeply admire and consider a part of my village. She is a true troublemaker because she constantly insists on disrupting herself.

Myleik Teele is a brilliant woman, mother and businesswoman who unapologetically pursues excellence in all she does. She’s the founder and Chief Experience Officer of CURLBOX, the first monthly subscription service for naturally curly hair. She is a woman who lives fully, whole-heartedly, and openly. She was also the 2nd guest I ever had on this podcast. ANDDD I was the first guest she ever had on hers.

When I was writing Professional Troublemaker, I gave Myleik sneak peeks into some of the chapters and I remember the first time she read part of it, she video called me and was like “LUVVIE. THIS IS THE BOOK. This is one of those nightstand staples! Wow! This is so good!” Coming from her, that means the world because one thing Myleik Teele is not gon do: bullshit you. When it was time for me to choose conversation partners for the tour, I knew I wanted her to be one of them, because how she thinks, how she processes and how she is such a beacon of healing, let me know we would have a deeply impactful conversation.

And mannn listen. It was everything. We had 1400 people show up live for this conversation during the Professional Troublemaker book tour. So I wanted to run it back here.

In this conversation, Myleik and I get into the ever-shifting nature of imposter syndrome and how we need to give ourselves grace through it all. We go deep on talking about how important it is for women to talk openly about making money and unapologetically building wealth. She and I ALWAYS talk about money freely and it is such a gift. And we talk about how critical our friendships are and how her and I deeply connected years ago and built this friendship that I consider sacred ground.

Not only is Myleik a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it, she shows up for me without question whenever I ask and I do the same for her.

Let’s get into it.

******

Myleik:

Okay. The day is here. I feel like this book, we have been waiting for this moment. And so, I have so many questions that I want to ask you. But before I begin, I really want to congratulate you, Luvvie. I have not been able to stop calling you, texting you, just calling you and just dropping my jaw, just like FaceTime like.

Myleik:                         What I want people to know about you before we get into this book is that I know how, I don’t want to say difficult, but challenging it was to get to a place to write this book. I know how vulnerable you were in this book because when you send it to me over the summer, and you were like, “Okay, I need you to read these chapters.” I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to read chapters,” like, “I need you to read the chapters.”

Myleik:                         I’m like, “Can I do it tomorrow?” You are like, “I need you to do it today.” And so, I went upstairs. I sat big and pregnant and I read these few chapters. And I had to FaceTime you and I was like, “This is the book.”

Luvvie:                          You did. You did.

Myleik:                         Yes. I said, “Oh honey.”

Luvvie:                          You call me. You call me and I’m also like.

Myleik:                         I don’t think you know what you did. And I think, I have a few chapters that I think knowing that I have some people that follow me, stuff that I think that we want to know. But I just want to congratulate you on walking down this goal and people do not become two-time bestselling authors, New York Times bestselling authors. You set a goal and then you walked that bitch down.

Myleik:                         I watch you walking you walk it down, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. I’m telling you guys, that you couldn’t call her and she was not working on this. I mean, it was championship. This is championship material, okay? This is not [crosstalk].

Luvvie:                          Knock it out on the field.

Myleik:                         This is like, I just don’t know anybody who works as hard as you do and any and everything you get is earned and deserved. And so, I’m here to celebrate you tonight as your friend. I’m here to talk about this book. I’m here to kiki a little bit.

Luvvie:                          Let’s do it. All of it.

Myleik:                         So, I am going to ask you, why was it, so you have the first book, you hit the New York Times bestsellers list, and then it seems that you just kind of went quiet? Your blog wasn’t getting updated, you kind of were like tiptoeing on Twitter. It almost [inaudible] how did you get here? How did you get here because it seemed like this wasn’t going to happen? You would continuously call me about writing a book. I’m like, “Sis, you are the one that writes books. Where is your book?”

Luvvie:                          Man, yo, how did I get here?

Myleik:                         How did you gain your voice? And I don’t know if people know, if you want to tell them a little bit about kind of what happened? Because what I want people to know about the fear-fighter manual, because I’m going to ask you how did you come up with a title? But I think people don’t know that this is for you.

Luvvie:                          Yes.

Myleik:                         This is for everyone else, this book is for you.

Luvvie:                          Yes. No. That’s a great way to start. Chapter Seven of this book is called Fail Loudly. And it is one of the chapters that I sent Myleik to read in the summertime because it was the hardest chapter for me to write and it was a chapter that made me most nervous.

Luvvie:                          And that’s because that chapter chronicles my biggest public fail. And it was important to me to put it in the book because in being a professional troublemaker, I’m not telling people that everything goes well all the time. I mean, rah, rah and everybody will love you. No, there will be arrows that are shot at you.

Luvvie:                          And in that process, yeah, like I lost my voice a bit because trending on Twitter traumatized me. Trending on Twitter, say my name on the top 10 trending topics on Twitter, had me in therapy and my therapist, my late therapist was like, “You’re exhibiting symptoms of PTSD.”

Myleik:                         You lost weight. You’re only like a pound.

Luvvie:                          I had no weight to lose, okay? And I lost three pounds. And I think for me, yeah, it’s kind of like took my voice for a year. And my agent, my book agent was like, “So, what’s your next book about?” And I was like, “I don’t know. Should I write a next book? I don’t know if the world can deal. I don’t know if I can deal. I don’t know if I even know my voice right now. I didn’t.”

Luvvie:                          And I kind of like sat in my own bubble where I basically had to rebuild my own confidence right back. But I think, what happened in that year of me kind of moving lightly and tap dancing a little bit around my own voice in my own platform and my purpose is that that year gave me the ability to step back, be my feelings for a bit, revel in my feelings.

Luvvie:                          And then when I came back, I had words built up. It was like a year of not writing led to me being like, “Let me write 5000 words in 20 minutes,” because I had stacked up all this stuff. It was coming out of me and it reinforced my purpose, which is I’m supposed to be using my words to touch people, to make them think critically, to make them feel joy, to compel them to take action that will lead this world better than they found it.

Luvvie:                          And this book is what end up being the new manifesto for me in terms of lessons I’ve learned along the way. Things that I know to be true, things that I have to keep telling myself. Because if another trending topic moment happens, I can’t fall off my square for a year. Right?

Myleik:                         Yeah, for a year.

Luvvie:                          I can be not off a year.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          I can’t. So, I’m like, I have to really kind of double down on myself. And the lesson that I learned that year was ultimately like, “You didn’t necessarily change. What you said wasn’t terrible. What changed was also how people react to you because now, you’re no longer David, you’re Goliath. You’re now the person who is not the underdog, which means you have to move different, a little bit different.”

Luvvie:                          But I think this book was such a gift in that when I got clarity about it, it was probably three months after Toni Morrison’s death. Toni Morrison’s death is what really convicted me because I was like, “Yo, the writer is no longer here.” And one of her words is like, “In times of crisis, artists go to work.” Artists do their best work. So, you don’t hide in crisis, you actually now pour that into something great and I was like, “Duly noted. I hear you.” I affirmed that and I went to work.

Myleik:                         You hit it. I love that chapter, for those of you who haven’t read the book. Because I didn’t get it in order, I haven’t read the book in order and so there were some things … Then I get greedy because then I was like, she didn’t realize she sent me, I think, the table of contents and I was like, “So, can I get a couple more chapters?”

Myleik:                         This one is hitting. So, one of the chapters that I really want to talk to you about is chapter five: trust who you are, where you just do a really beautiful job of highlighting and discussing impostor syndrome. And so many people that are in my community, really, they write me about it, and so you say, “Impostor syndrome is the cousin of fear, both are boundless bastards.”

Myleik:                         So, 78, you guys is where I am is that, she says, “We let the voices in our heads spin tales of inadequacy and we believe them.” And then I’m going to jump down and she says, “Impostor syndrome tells us that we need to be perfect, otherwise, we are failing. We need to realize that perfection is the enemy of progress and it does not exist. If you’re constantly striving for perfection, you’ll be so afraid of failing that you won’t create that thing because you’ll think it’s not good enough, so then you don’t let it into the world. Then nobody gets the value of your work because we never see it, because you’re too busy constantly trying to perfect it.”

Myleik:                         And then, I jump over a page and it says, “Impostor syndrome tells us that everyone is better than us because they seem to be further ahead or have their shit together more than we do.” And I was like, I mean even the little hairs on my head stand up as I read that because I think that you really just put it together.

Myleik:                         And I think so many people, I think about this book not ever making it out into the world. I think about so many people who are not going after their thing because impostor syndrome is like, “She’s better than you.” And here’s the thing, she’s not. She just believes she is or thinks she is or does or she did it. And so, can we spend some time in this [crosstalk].

Luvvie:                          Yes.

Myleik:                         … because I feel like we talked about this a little bit with the first book, but I feel like this book you were like, “Oh, I got some shit to say.”

Luvvie:                          I got some shit to say in truth to that point. To the point like, “Yes, that book is absolutely reading me because I am somebody who is a type A perfectionist, who is constantly holding herself to standards that nobody can lead to, right?

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          I give myself so little grace compared to everybody else. And that chapter was really for us to understand that, especially women, especially black women, as we live in this world, there’s a lot of impostor syndrome. And you might see somebody who looks like they have their shit together, right, and automatically compare yourself in it. The piece of comparison is also like thief of joy because impostor syndrome is a thing and it looks different.

Luvvie:                          I think people tend to start assuming that depending on where your career is, you no longer will have it. I disagree. I think impostor syndrome, it stays. It just shifts, it shape shifts.

Myleik:                         Oh, it’s going to follow you everywhere.

Luvvie:                          It’s going to follow you but it’ll start looking different. So first you’re like, “I don’t know if I belong in the room.” Then you go, “I know I belong in the room, but I’m going to make sure I overwork to earn my way while I’m already there,” right?

Myleik:                         Yeah. Yeah. You got to prove yourself.

Luvvie:                          Then it becomes, “I got to make sure. I got to over prove.” That is a piece of impostor syndrome because you already made it in the room. You can rest, take a deep breath.

Myleik:                         No. No.

Luvvie:                          And it’s a reminder to me because I don’t take a deep breath. I don’t. I’ll be like.

Myleik:                         When I get invited to a panel that I really feel like I don’t belong, I would be like, “Oh, I got to shine. I got to stunt. I got to say the most. I got to drop the most important jewel to prove that I belong to be here.”

Luvvie:                          Right. And that’s a form, that’s something that we do and then the perfectionism of it all, all of us do this where there’s something you want to create. There’s something, whether it’s a person, whether it’s a business, whether it is a title, and you will sit on it and say, “No, no, it’s not right yet. It’s not ready yet. It’s not ready yet.”

Luvvie:                          The impostor syndrome, for me, how impostor syndrome shows up now is not that I don’t think I belong in the room. I’ll think, “I’m not ready for that thing. That opportunity, I’m not ready for it.” Right? And I’ll be like, “You know what? I just need more practice or I need more credentials or I need more time, then I’ll be ready.”

Luvvie:                          But what happens in those moments is, you will never consider yourself ready for that thing because it was already too big. In two years, you’ll find something else that is now like, “I’m not ready for it.” So, I’m not ready. And there are times when you might not be ready. Sure. Like, if you are really like, you know what? I’m supposed to run a marathon. I have not run a 5K. Sure.

Myleik:                         Or we are all humans. Take your time.

Luvvie:                          Right. Take your time. Sure. You’re not ready for that.

Myleik:                         Right.

Luvvie:                          I know somebody who was given a promotion, and a week later went back and declined it. Went back and declined it because she did not think she was ready. But think about it, that’s the straw moment. How many times in our lives have we said no you because the impostor syndrome had us thinking we were not ready, we’re not good enough, we’re not prepared, we don’t have the shit together like everybody else. Everybody who has their shit together, don’t have their shit together, they just …

Myleik:                         At all. At all. I like when you said on here, page 80. It’s like you remind yourself, I am not the best. And I think that’s the thing that people have to remember is that you don’t have to be the best.

Myleik:                         Like me and my friend have a joke about like in business. There are these rankings. There are these business rankings that come out in retail. And guess what? Number 65 is still a million-dollar business. You don’t have to be the best. You can be 65th and still hit a mil, 65th and do whatever. You don’t have to be the top top. You don’t have to be the best.

Luvvie:                          Let me tell you all some right now. So, I hit the New York Times bestselling list at number three last week. I didn’t even make the list this week. Do you know why?

Myleik:                         Why?

Luvvie:                          Do you know why? So, besides the fact that my category is a cluster, okay?

Myleik:                         Right.

Luvvie:                          We have cookbooks in there, kids’ books in there, advice books in there. Any book that does not fit into what they think the other categories are is falling under there and they have the fewest number of books possible. So, every other category has 15, this number has 10.

Myleik:                         Oh, so you can’t even come in at like 13 or 12?

Luvvie:                          You can’t. So, my goal was hit the time list launch week, because it’s going to be a cluster after that. There are so many books coming out. I hit number three and let me tell you, that is just as much of a win as if it was number one for me, because I did not have to be the best. Because the fact that I got on that list is a victory. It’s a major victory.

Luvvie:                          So, it doesn’t take away. So, my agent called me today and was like, “The list just came out. You know, the book was not on it.” I was like, “Understood. We did what we had to do, though. We are on the list now.” We only have to hit it one week to be New York Times bestseller. So, I’m not going to sit up here and beat myself up that the book is not on it on week two. Because the person who is number four probably sold 40,000 copies last week.

Myleik:                         Wow. That’s crazy. That’s a lot.

Luvvie:                          That’s a lot. So, we also have to make sure that as we’re running around, and even competing, even when we get to whatever it looks like a top thing, you still have to give yourself grace and realize that you don’t have to be the best because the competition is arbitrary.

Myleik:                         Yeah. Yes.

Luvvie:                          Completely arbitrary.

Myleik:                         Got it. Because I know you and I can do this all day and all night. I am heading over to chapter eight. Like I said, I’m going through this book for my crew and this chapter eight is ask for more.

Myleik:                         And I was reading this and I feel like one of the gifts that you’ve given me and my friendship, and I was on my IG Live telling people a little bit about our friendship. Our friendship is what I have referred to as a crockpot friendship.

Myleik:                         I met you, I think, over 10 years ago here at Atlanta. You were here with Patrice, it was a hair vlogger thing. And I remember being like, “So what are you, where do you fit in?” And you’re like, “Yeah,” telling me about how you’re blogging. It was all about beauty at that time.

Luvvie:                          And I wasn’t doing beauty.

Myleik:                         No, you weren’t. And I was really concerned. I was like, “She’s very confident. But I don’t know where she’s going to make it.” And over time, we kept in touch. I even was looking through some old messages. I was trying to find like, “When did we really, when did our friendship really pick up?” And I saw, I think it was like 2014, you then Facebooked me. But something that I have really learned from you is asking for more and I didn’t really think that I struggled in that area. It’s like, I’m doing a pretty good job for myself. But I remember just being around you. And in the book, you talk about not asking for that help, but you are not afraid to ask for that coin, like you are not.

Myleik:                         And I remember being with you, running into you, you pulled up, you were telling me something, you were like, “Yeah, and I told them that my fee was this.” And I remember being like, “God damn, she’s asking for a salary?” And I was just blown away, because I was like, “Oh, my god, I would never have the guts to do that.”

Myleik:                         And so, maybe before, I think I need to … Because of this, I need to go to get your money first. So, I’m going to skip. We’re going to put a pennies holder on eight and we go …

Luvvie:                          Okay.

Myleik:                         … because I really want to talk about, get your money. And so, that’s the next chapter is like, we, so many people, are afraid to ask for more. And I remember, ever since I talked to you that day, and I don’t even think you knew what all I was talking …

Luvvie:                          I don’t remember. No.

Myleik:                         You don’t remember. I started processing so much stuff on the inside that the next time somebody called and asked me to do something, I just thought about what you said. And I was like, my fee is $35,000 for that.

Luvvie:                          And what they say? Yup?

Myleik:                         Then, this was like, to give you guys this thing is like, me and Luvvie have this thing where we do feel like as black women, we have to talk about money, we have to talk about what we’re making, because if we don’t talk about it, you don’t know what you could possibly be making. And that was the thing for me when I talk to Luvvie of like nobody is turning any of this down.

Myleik:                         And so, it was just a regular sort of Instagram thing. We need you to post this. And there’s like a couple of Zoom. It was like a couple of Zoom calls back in the day and show up here. And I was like, “It’s going to be $35,000 for me to do that.” And I remember just laughing in my mind thinking like, “That’s insane.” Like, no one should pay me that just for this.

Myleik:                         And they came back and they were like, “Okay, we’ll send the contract over this, that in the third.” And I’m like, “Oh, snap, like, I can pay a whole tuition just by having the guts to ask.” And so, in the book, you say, “Always negotiate because people are expecting you to.” And we get so afraid not to do that. And even just like, no, let’s just … They offer me this. Just take it. So, let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about getting your coins up.

Luvvie:                          So, for anybody who’s having trouble hearing, just refresh or seeing, just refresh your screen. So, it is important, and I had to get to practice.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          So, nobody ever told me coming up and growing up. Being in college, being a black woman who was working at a nonprofit. Nobody ever told me, I was supposed to negotiate. I didn’t know that was even a thing.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Somewhere along the way, I picked it up.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          Somewhere along the way, somebody must have told me, “You’re supposed to negotiate.” So, that $35,000 that you just mentioned, that was my first, that was the salary that I made at my last full time job that I was fired from 11 years ago. So, 11 years ago, my salary was $35,000 …

Myleik:                         Wow.

Luvvie:                          … to be a marketing coordinator at a nonprofit. That was what they offered me. I found the offer letter two weeks ago.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          I said, “Yes,” instantly.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          $35,000. You just got that for Instagram campaign. Like …

Myleik:                         Yeah, yeah.

Luvvie:                          So, first of all, I want people to stop acting like, money can only be talked about by men. I want women to be allowed to talk openly about making money, wanting to build wealth …

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          … wanting to make. I want you to add extra zeros to the check.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And I don’t know when it happened. But I stopped giving a damn about what people’s shock will be about my sticker price, right?

Myleik:                         Boom.

Luvvie:                          I stopped caring somewhere. So, that day when you and I must have had that conversation, because I got to the point where I realized that blogosphere, for example, is a cluster, because all these bloggers doing the exact same thing with similar traffic and similar content. Somebody is getting paid $500 for one campaign, somebody else is getting paid $15,000 for the same thing.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And what happens is, it’s because we’re all quiet about how much we’re making, so we can’t even compare numbers. So, you know what happens, the system wins, when none of us know what the benchmark is.

Myleik:                         That’s it.

Luvvie:                          So, I started being like, here’s the thing, I’m going to get my money whether or not you know how much money I’m getting.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          It’s not going to hit my pocket to tell me how much I make, if my friends know exactly how much I made for that campaign because now, we can actually share notes. I can be like, “Nah, they paid me double on that. Go ask for more because they got it. I know they got it.” And you come back and say, “Yes. They actually said yes.”

Luvvie:                          So, that silence, I want us to normalize talking numbers with each other to …

Myleik:                         We got to do it. We have to do it.

Luvvie:                          We got to do it because when we don’t, we get cheated, then you end up finding out, “Wow, somebody else got paid $10,000 for that and I only got a $1,000.”

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          You had no way of knowing. And I’m like, I’ll call up anybody in the crew and be like, “Yo, they want me to do this thing. This is how much budget they got?” The person would be like, “Yeah, it makes sense. That’s how much I got around the same time, okay.” Or they’ll say, “Nah, fam, ask for this particular budget. I know they got it.”

Luvvie:                          And every time somebody gives me that insider information, I get more money, which means they get more money next time. Here’s what I want people to get. There’s a selfish reason that I have …

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          … for people asking for more money. I need you to start asking for more money, a lot more money. So, when they see me show up and I ask for a shit ton of money, they’re not so shocked. I need us to normalize being expensive.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          I need black women to normalize being luxurious. I’m not going to be the person who is cheapest as a keynote. You’re going to have to come out with a lot of money for me to keynote your conference. So, I will never put the value of my work on how cheap I am, because that’s not it. I will not be the cheapest person. In fact, I’m probably going to be more expensive. And I think I realized I was a major speaker when I was at a conference, where I was the only black woman. And I think I was the keynote, and I got paid the most.

Myleik:                         As you should.

Luvvie:                          Like, here is this conference where these white dudes and I gave … And I, of course, was the person who walked away most memorable. But it’s not just that I’m expensive. It’s that when I walk in the room, I will give you the value, so that you almost feel like I gave you a deal.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          That check you wrote me, you’re going to be like, “Damn, she’s worth even more than that.”

Myleik:                         And that’s what I want people to know about this, because there is the other side of being expensive, but then not giving that value. And so, we always want to make sure that …

Luvvie:                          Let’s talk about that part. No, no, let’s talk about that part, Myleik.

Myleik:                         Yeah, yeah.

Luvvie:                          Let’s talk about that part.

Myleik:                         So, for that campaign, the crazy thing was, so, I’ll just be transparent with you guys. They came in and they asked me if I would do it for $20,000, which sounds like a lot of money. No one has ever offered me $20,000 to do anything so simple in my life. But my thing is that, I thought about it, well, let me say, nobody’s ever hitting you with their best offer. They’re not.

Myleik:                         And something that my realtor said to me because I got an offer of my house, and I was like, “I’ll take it.” And he was like, “They’re expecting you to push back.” And I’m like, shaking in my boots. But I think I knew that if I ask for more, I am going to bring my A game and I brought it.

Myleik:                         I show up on time to everything I say I’m going to do. I do more than is asked of me and I did want them to feel like I did all the press and media and everything is that, you have to bring your game. And so, talk to me because you and I are constantly talking about … And I turned my text off, I don’t know why the heck it’s still going.

Myleik:                         We’ve experienced this. We have hired all kinds of people to do all kinds of things. And I think a lot of us in our group just call each other and be like.

Luvvie:                          Girl. We do.

Myleik:                         The resume said, they did this, this, this, this and this, but they don’t really do that, so.

Luvvie:                          So, yes. In this conversation, let us add nuance in it.

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          If you are going to say, “I am a premium service provider, I am expensive, I am luxury, I need you to show up with luxury product, service, and value.” Do not be out here in the streets and say, “Luvvie told me to charge more.”

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          If you are being raggedy in the streets, you cannot show up after asking somebody to write you all these zeros and then be janky. But a lot of people are doing it because right now, all they’re hearing is charge more. They’re not hearing, “Be worth what you just said you are charging.”

Myleik:                         Yes, yes.

Luvvie:                          Let me tell you, is the biggest pet peeve that I have. When people say, “I’m going to cost this much,” and I say, “No problem. Here, I will pay you what you’re worth black woman,” and then you show up and give me trash. And I’m just like, “What did I pay you for?” I have no problem paying.

Luvvie:                          A lot of times, especially for us and we’ve talked about this, Myleik, where we’re like, people don’t tend to take us as seriously as CEOs and as bosses, and people who own our own businesses. So, we’ve also seen this a lot where people will be like, “I am this person, I can do this. And I’m charging.” And here’s what I don’t do. I do not ever negotiate people down.

Myleik:                         No.

Luvvie:                          If you come to me and you’re like, “This is my service,” and you tell me, “This is my fee,” I will say, “Okay, either okay, here’s a check, here’s a deposit,” or “I respect it, it’s not in my budget currently, but thank you for letting me know.” I will never say, “Come on, man, give it to me for cheaper,” because I’m not going to make you self-sacrifice and feel like you’re giving me a discount. So, now, you got to give me shoddy products.

Luvvie:                          No, no. I will pay you what you ask for, but when I pay you what you ask for, and when somebody pays you what you ask for, show up and over deliver. Let it be where they know that money went somewhere and they would do it again.

Luvvie:                          There are people who I would pay premium to and I’m like, “I will hire you,” over and over again. And there are some people who I’m just like, “Never in the history of life.” So, if there’s one thing you take away from this, if you’re going to be expensive, I need you to give expensive value and product and service, okay? Because come on.

Myleik:                         And if you don’t know how to do that, I need you to find out. I need you to find out because I think that we have far too many conversations. When I do the retreat and somebody stood up and they were like, “You know, Myleik, you do so much for everyone, what can we do for you? What can we do for you?” I said, “You know what you can do for me? When you sign up to serve a black woman, be it she’s your boss or she’s your client, bring your A game.”

Myleik:                         “Do not come bringing your baggage, your bullshit. Don’t get too comfortable. It’s like bring that level of service all the time, and that’s what you can always do. Because you’re not doing it for me, do it for yourself.” And so, that’s like you said, the nuance, because I remember years ago, you were on Instagram or Twitter or something saying, “You taking a nap, I got to get my rest.” And everybody was like, “Yes, Luvvie getting her rest.” I’m like, “You all don’t know what she does in the hours that she’s up.”

Myleik:                         So, she takes a nap, but when she’s up, the girl is gone. So, there’s a lot of napping, but there’s five times as much working, so.

Luvvie:                          That’s what I’m saying. That’s what I’m saying. So, we’re going to get our money and we’re going to be good for it.

Myleik:                         We are going to be good for it. And so, she says, “So, ask for more, get your money, and do it without guilt. And then when you get money and you have abundance, pass some of that on to someone else, and we can have a circle of giving. But we cannot be of service to others if we cannot be of service to ourselves first.” And that’s the real reel is that, we got to get our coins to even be able to do that. And so, you have to ask.

Luvvie:                          And I think women having more money is a form of economic justice.

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          It is a form of economic justice because I need us to stop being so broke all the time, because we feel like we’re supposed to serve everybody and sacrifice ourselves in the process. I was not brought here in this world and born to breathe this air for constant self-sacrifice, so somebody else can feel better while I’m over here struggling. That’s not it.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And when we find ourselves in those moments, it’s time to recalibrate. And we’ve all found ourselves in those moments, but like, the money part of it all is really important and it’s something that we are so shy about.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          We are so shy about it. And I want to drill it in that you got to have people who you’re comfortable talking money with.

Myleik:                         You have to.

Luvvie:                          You have to. I’ll ask her, “How is it like, Myleik? How much they pay you for that?” And she’ll tell me.

Myleik:                         Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think of all the people in my friend group, it’s so funny because it’s like everybody … My wealth manager, Jesse, who you’ve done some. He’s like, “Everyone calls me and says, whenever you start making $1, call Myleik and she’s going to connect you to the money team.” And I’m never shy or afraid to share this information because what I have learned through learning about money and not being afraid to talk about it is that, if you start talking about it, people can start to help you multiply that without you having to work.

Myleik:                         People can help you put your money to work, or tell you what the real rate is, or how you can really save on that. And so, women, especially in our community, in our families, we have to have some … You can’t talk about it with everybody because we know the other side of this, right?

Luvvie:                          Right.

Myleik:                         Where I was like, so how much was that, and how much is that? It’s like, I don’t know. I don’t know how much it was.

Luvvie:                          That’s the discernment piece, right? That’s like having the right community that you can actually drop this stuff at. I’m not saying going around and telling everybody what your pricing is, how much you made and everything. And there’s a big trend right now.

Myleik:                         That is what you got Instagram right now too that, I’m going to…

Luvvie:                          That’s huge. It’s a big trend.

Myleik:                         Everybody’s like, “Oh, let me.” Just so you know, you can go on Google and find any of those like Shopify, like I made this in a day. And that is a part of the hustle is that, everybody that’s the thing that I was like, “Everybody’s a millionaire now, everybody’s a millionaire.” And I need people to know that you have to have a million dollars like of assets that are sitting in the bank that’s yours. It’s not like, I made a million dollars over six years. That does not make you a millionaire. But …

Luvvie:                          Yeah, everybody is a millionaire. All the clubhouse gurus are currently millionaires. And I said, “If everybody is such a millionaire, how you’re also talking about the stimulus check so often?” Like, make it makes sense how you’re talking … But here’s the thing, though. This is not to shame people who are not millionaires. We all have to build from somewhere.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          On the way to building, the lives are not productive.

Myleik:                         They’re not.

Luvvie:                          The silence is not productive.

Myleik:                         It’s not.

Luvvie:                          And yes, you need to be able to know the real people to go to, to ask for this. Yes, the money team, my financial advisor, I was like, “Myleik. I need somebody.” And Myleik who’s like, “Say less.”

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Jesse is now my, and has been for the last three years.

Myleik:                         He doesn’t mess around.

Luvvie:                          He don’t mess around, like, I put my money in his trust. And he’d be like, “All right.” I call him every six months. But I think it’s just really important for us to like remove some of the stigma and trauma that’s attached to money.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          It is so deep. It’s so deep. We just don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about healthy ways to deal with it.

Myleik:                         No.

Luvvie:                          And then, we all want to like boss up and be like … Let me tell you some right now, when you think somebody has money, they don’t necessarily have all this money just sitting in their bank account, because the more money you make, the more money you spent.

Myleik:                         Yeah, that’s the thing.

Luvvie:                          Because now you need structure around it.

Myleik:                         Yeah. You do. It’s a part of it. It’s like, the more you have, the more you buy, the more it cost to live.

Luvvie:                          Yes.

 

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Myleik:                         So, I’m skipping around because this brought me to build a squad. And I don’t think I know anybody like you are the squad builder. I got to tell you all this. I got to tell you all about this girl. She calls me one day because that’s how she is.

Myleik:                         She calls me and she’s like, “Hey, I need you to do something. I’m going to need you to do something for me. It’s going to be like in a week or two. Okay, I’m going to just let you know.” And me, I know you well enough to know that whatever it is that you asked me to do, you’ve not asked me to do anything crazy yet, so I don’t even ask a question. I just say, “Yeah, girl, whatever you need me to do, I got it.”

Myleik:                         I get this link. I get this email. And it’s like, I don’t read it because I’m just like, “I’m just going to show up. I’m showing up because I’m going to show up for her.” I get to work, and I’m like, “Let me click on this link Luvvie sent me. I’m going to click on this link.” She’s doing something. People at the office, “What’s she’s doing? She’s doing something. I’m pregnant, I don’t know.”

Myleik:                         I get on the Zoom. And it’s like, I was like, “Is that Katie Couric?” I was like, I think I saw Khloé Kardashian. I think I saw who was the honest girl. I was like …

Luvvie:                          You saw Diane Von Furstenberg.

Myleik:                         VF, you all know how I stand for Cheryl Strayed. I was like, “Luvvie Ajayi Jones, you cannot do this to me.” She had every famous woman. It was like, “How many people were on that call?”

Luvvie:                          That call was 75 people at 8:00 AM on a Friday. And yeah …

Myleik:                         And I had the Zoom on speaker in my office. And people were like, it was like, “Hey, it’s Katie Couric.” And my friend was like, look around my computer like, “What are you doing?” And so, you, the way you work a room, the way you connect with people is unfadable. Like, it’s magical to watch. I don’t know if you guys know this, but I’m really shy. I know people don’t believe this. But I get really shy in spaces where … And I’m being full transparent. It’s like, if I’m not the boss, like, if I’m not the person that’s like running it. I kind of just like, I get shy. And Luvvie grabs me by my shirt. And she’s like, this is so and so, this is so and so.

Myleik:                         So, we need your squad building. We need the master class of squad building because you’ve helped me. You’re my Nigerian friend. (39:40)

Luvvie:                          I am, I am.

Myleik:                         You have helped me. I said this on my live, and then I’ll let you go. I’m going to let you tell us. But I was like, “You helped me to be a better friend because you introduced me to intimacy and friendships.” And when I think about fear, I think that I have always been afraid to be close to people or to express my love and care for someone outside of a romantic way. And it’s like, you just don’t care, you are just going to be there, going to show up, going to be that person.

Myleik:                         I was telling them, I was like, you and Yvonne FaceTime me in the hospital like less than 24 hours after I had Olivia, and I would be too afraid to do that because I would be like, I don’t want to bother them. And it’s like, you just have this way of showing up. And so, we need our master class in building the squad. Like, guess what? And she has on the book, you guys, it is … She has a builder one chapter. But, and I mean, what is the other thing? I have done countless calls with Glennon Doyle.

Myleik:                         So, after that, we did a couple more calls with Glennon. And I don’t even know who Glennon Doyle is at this point, you all. I’m just like, “Oh, wow, this lady. She’s very energized. She’s very on point. She’s always here. She’s running quarterback.” And then I read her book and I had to text Luvvie like, “So, you’re just not going to tell me that means connecting with all these people that, I mean.”

Luvvie:                          Yo. So, here’s the thing about the squad building. And honestly, share the mic now for me. Affirm to me how good of a connector I am, I didn’t know. I didn’t realize it, ultimately. When you hit me up after the freaking Zoom, it was like, that was everything. After that Zoom, after that first Zoom, the Share the Mic Now Zoom. Me, Glennon, and Bose literally caught each other like, holy shit.

Myleik:                         Oh, my god.

Luvvie:                          Because it even shocked us, because here’s the thing about Share the Mic Now that people don’t realize. It was truly a campaign based in trust. And I didn’t realize how much my name carries for people until that campaign, really, true. Because, like you said, I called you. I was like, “So, we’re doing this random campaign, you’re going to take over somebody to count, you down.” And you was like, “Yes.” And then you was like, “All right, let me know what I need to know.” And you hang up.

Luvvie:                          Everybody who was a part of that campaign did the same thing. They have no questions. They even don’t really know what it was about. They were just like, just show up here. That Zoom link, I don’t even know if you remember. We sent it out 12 hours before the Zoom. We sent it at 7:00 PM. We said, “You all should get on Zoom at 7:00 AM.”

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          I’m thinking, I was thinking, assistants was going to jump on.

Myleik:                         No, you have scraggly hair …

Luvvie:                          Let me tell you, nobody’s assistants showed up.

Myleik:                         No.

Luvvie:                          It was everybody. It was Ashley Judd from Europe. She’s like, “I’m just in Europe, you all.” Debra Messing showing up.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          So, Rona was up there and Yaba. And I was like, “Yo, you all just came because we said come.” And you all just trusted me because you were like, if Luvvie is in this, it’s not going to be raggedy. So, I’m going to come up and find out something. I honestly think the way that I’ve been able to build multiple networks over the years and deep connections with some, some are of course deeper than others, is because I myself. Like when I’m approaching people, I don’t approach them with … When I walk into a room, so I stopped carrying business cards seven years ago.

Myleik:                         Right.

Luvvie:                          I have not had a business card in at least seven years because I’m like, “I hate networking. I don’t like walking in a room and being like, “Hey, I’m Luvvie. Here’s what I do.” I have built no real relationships by telling somebody, “I’m Luvvie and here’s why I’m awesome.” I walk in the room real chill. I don’t …

Myleik:                         No you don’t. You’d be like, “Okay, shoes, shoes. I see.”

Luvvie:                          I do, I do. You’re right. You’re right.

Myleik:                         I’m like, no, you don’t.

Luvvie:                          Wait, no, no, it depends. It depends. Most rooms, if I don’t know anybody in the room, I’ll walk in real chill.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          You don’t even know I’m there.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          But if it was like the homies or like a black girl gang room.

Myleik:                         Oh, yeah.

Luvvie:                          Oh, listen, we show it now. Because come on, sis, you, come on, outfit, do better. And that’s me, because I genuinely I’m like, you better be fine. Yes, I met so many people by complimenting their whole life, because I will gas you up. And here’s the thing, I believe in what I’m saying. So, I’m not gassing you up for the sake of just because I feel like it. I’ll be like, “Oh bitch the shoe size?” I am not shy about letting you know you walked in here and snatched by way with your outfit, your red lips, the hair.

Myleik:                         I know, yes. I thought when you walked out …

Luvvie:                          And it makes people feel [crosstalk]

Myleik:                         And you were just like, so, we just … This is what we’re doing.

Luvvie:                          This is what we’re doing. Everyone, this is what we’re doing. Let me say how I met Kimberly Blackwell, how she fell in love with me.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          We were at Leading Women Defined. And you all, let me talk about Leading Women Defined, it’s actually happening right now. Leading Women Defined is the illuminati of black women who are dope.

Myleik:                         The Illuminati.

Luvvie:                          It’s like, Deborah. It’s the Illuminati. It’s Deborah Lee’s invite only conference every year. She only invites 150 women. And when I tell you, you think you are boss until you walk in Leading Women Defined. And you go, “Oh, bitch, I was no boss at all. I was not prepared.”

Myleik:                         No. I was up in there feeling like a Girl Scout. Like, I was …

Luvvie:                          Same. I was like, “Is this conference sponsored by Chanel? What is that?”

Myleik:                         How are we just going to have [inaudible]? How was everything just …

Luvvie:                          No. Literally, I walked in and I said, “I did not have a Chanel bag. I have been slipping it. This conference must be sponsored by Gucci and Chanel.” Every woman there’s, the luxury is just sickening. And so, I saw Kimberly Blackwell. We’re sitting and it happens at the St. Regis Bal Harbour. So, this is this boss ass place.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Just boss ass, sick ass place.

Myleik:                         Every room has a view at the St. Regis Bal Harbour. There is no bathroom.

Luvvie:                          I mean, the first time I went, I was like, “Did they know they invited me on purpose? Was this on purpose? Because I don’t think I … Do they know?” So, we’re sitting by the, because they do some of the course of the classes by the beach.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Kimberly Blackwell came in with these 40-inch blonde braids.

Myleik:                         Of course.

Luvvie:                          In these knee boots that were like diamond encrusted. I didn’t know who she was.

Myleik:                         Givenchy, I think.

Luvvie:                          Yes. I don’t know who she was. I had never seen her before in my life. I said, “Ma’am, how you’re just going to show up and oppress us like this? This is not cool.” Literally, that’s the first thing I ever said to Kimberly.

Myleik:                         Yeah, yeah.

Luvvie:                          Which she still talks about today. I was like, “How you’re just going to show up here and just oppress us like this? The rest of us was not ready. We were not prepared. Can you please prepare us next time?” And that’s how we started our friendship.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          We started our friendship.

Myleik:                         So, that’s how you hit it. You hit it with everybody. You just have a way of disarming because, like she said, “This conference is the illuminati.” Everybody who’s there is someone, you know what I mean? And you know it. It’s like, I don’t know who she is or what she does, but I know it’s something.

Myleik:                         I remember, I was sitting next to somebody. I like asked this lady. She was sitting on the floor, she was kind of my way, and I was kind of like, “Man, excuse me.” And then it was like, they were like, “You know, that’s the VP?” I think she’s the current like CEO, Connie Orlando. Like, I was like.

Luvvie:                          Yeah, Connie.

Myleik:                         And she was trying about and I was like, “Oops.”

Luvvie:                          But that’s what I’m saying is, ell, no matter what room I’m in, whether it’s Leading Women Defined, or just on the street, I will let a black woman know in a hot second, she fly. Ma’am, come through, okay, on the streets of Chicago. I see you, I will see you. But I think it’s really important to also kind of just, yeah, like, no matter what the room is, don’t be so be like, “Oh, man, everybody here is so important. I’m not.”

Luvvie:                          I’m literally like, “Look, I don’t show up to Leading Women Defined dressed as anybody, but me.” Like, everybody else might be Chanel down to the socks …

Myleik:                         But if that’s not who you are …

Luvvie:                          That’s not who I am, and I show up fine and nobody cares. Also, we need to not project what we think are our inadequacies on to the rooms that we’re in. So, we started thinking, they probably looking at me funny. Not one person at Leading Women Defined has ever looked at me funny because I was not dripped head to toe, right?

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          My drip be looking different. So…

Myleik:                         My drip is different, right?

Luvvie:                          My drip is different. Mine is a little bit more quiet drip, okay, like, I’m like, people who pay attention will be like, “Ah, okay. I see you.”

Myleik:                         I see the jewels.

Luvvie:                          I see the jewels, but it’s a quiet drip. But I think in friendship, I think people need to understand that friendship does not ask of you to feel inadequate.

Myleik:                         No.

Luvvie:                          It doesn’t ask for you to feel less than. And whether or not we can buy each other expensive gifts or not, because most of the time, I’m not buying people expensive gifts. Most of my friendships, I’ve never bought people expensive gifts, sometimes, but I actually know, Myleik, I’ll tell you when you really actually did shift my life a little bit.

Myleik:                         Okay. Is it?

Luvvie:                          So, yeah.

Myleik:                         It was in the book. You’re going to talk about the thing that’s in the book, or there was something else?

Luvvie:                          I don’t know if it’s in the book. I know I definitely wrote an essay about it in a different book, though.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          I wrote an essay about it in a different book, an anthology that was just in. But when we talk about friendship and connection and really like these vulnerable relationships that we are able to form, it’s the fact that in those rooms, we also don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Myleik:                         Right.

Luvvie:                          We do not take ourselves too seriously, and then we will remove ourselves from the room to just go be with each other.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          So, even at Leading Women Defined, we’re often missing for four hours at a time because we’re in somebody’s room being like hold up in room, being like, girl, so, and then what happened? And we were talking about real things. So, we’re not blown away by the shiny, but people got to see the shiny version of what my friendships look like because of my bachelorette party.

Myleik:                         Oh, yeah. This is in the book?

Luvvie:                          Yo, Myleik, people still talk about my bachelorette party. I’ll be having random meetings with people and they’ll be like, “Your bachelorette party was nuts.”

Myleik:                         This bachelorette party …

Luvvie:                          Talk about that from your angle.

Myleik:                         Your friends love you. And so, there is a chapter of like your Nigerian friend, your friends love you and they spare no expense, no nothing. And so, it was like, “Okay, we’re going to come together. This is what we need, and this is how it’s all going to play out.” And so, you’re a third part of the surprise.

Myleik:                         And I think the other part of it is like, it was just like, “Oh, my god, this is going to be so exciting, and so much fun, and I’m so glad that we’re going to be able to do this for her.” But I’m looking forward to who are Luvvie’s other close friends? And I sat next to Jesse on the plane. And I was like, “You might be the smartest, most brilliant human being that I have ever met in my life, like, and to be able to sit on a plane.” But the crazy thing was, I don’t think you can write about this.

Myleik:                         We basically took over the whole first class.

Luvvie:                          We did?

Myleik:                         Like three or four seats. And why did they complain, you all? Why did they ask us to just to stop? Stop, stop ourselves. But tell me how that made you feel? Because I remember, like at the table, it was a lot for you. And that’s what …

Luvvie:                          I cried.

Myleik:                         … in chapter eight about asking for more of like, you’re always just this army of one. I can do everything. I put the squad on my back. And I think this was an opportunity for you to see, you don’t have to do that.

Luvvie:                          It was a lesson that was reaffirmed to me, that I didn’t even know I needed.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          Because wedding planning was wild, okay. Like, I lost a 17-year-old friend who emailed me and said because she wasn’t in my actual B squad. Clearly, she have a good life. I had a longtime friend who I had put on, who told me good luck, okay. I hope you find somebody. He said, “I hope you find somebody to shoot your wedding because it ain’t going to be me.”

Myleik:                         Oh.

Luvvie:                          Oh, oh, bitch. You forgot who I was? Did you forget who I was? And then my photographer has now the photographer who actually end up shooting my wedding has now done five different shoots for me, including two magazine covers.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And you wanted to flex on me. So, my feelings was so hard around that time around like …

Myleik:                         Yeah, because I think this is something about you that I will say is like, you say this in the book that like you are one of those … I’m not like this. She is one of those, I’m going to give everybody a chance until they absolutely prove themselves, otherwise. And I’m like, “You look kind of shady. You may not be, but that’s all you like.”

Luvvie:                          That’s on you.

Myleik:                         I just came run it. I came run it. And so, that is not who I am, but you will. That’s you.

Luvvie:                          I try to give people grace. So, all my feelings was hurt by all these people acting and showing their asses. So, I was like, deep in my feelings, not even knowing how deep I was in my feelings. So, when you all like souped up and surprised me with this multipronged trip to Anguilla, at Four Seasons villa for freaking six days. And these are not unbusy people.

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          None of you all were unbusy. And I was just like, the whole trip shifted my spirit in such a way that I don’t think you all understood. Because one, the way that I was feeling was that I was disposable from those friends who was like, basically, kind of throw me aside.

Luvvie:                          So, I was feeling disposable, and I was feeling like, what happens when you don’t get the energy you put out? It’s like the universe told you all I was feeling like this and was like, I know exactly what’s going to fix it. And I told you, it wasn’t even about the fact that it wasn’t Anguilla. It could have been in Cleveland, Ohio.

Myleik:                         Right.

Luvvie:                          It was the fact that you all took this time to be like, we’re going to do things just for her for six freaking days.

Myleik:                         Yeah, yeah.

Luvvie:                          And we’re going to pour into her. It was such an affirmation. And the other thing that it taught me was that, when I ask for more, I don’t have to repay it.

Myleik:                         No.

Luvvie:                          Because I’m sitting at the final dinner because you guys had this freaking custom. They had like a chef come and cook a freaking dinner on the last night.

Myleik:                         I did that.

Luvvie:                          And I remember sitting there. You did? Come on. It was so nice. And I remember sitting there being like, even if I want to repay this, there’s no way for me to repay this, because there’s no amount that can really be attached to it, right?

Myleik:                         Right.

Luvvie:                          And it taught me that, when we are moving through the world and yes, we got to always be service minded but in the process, know that you’re not always supposed to attempt to try to do an eye for an eye, for gifts, or favors, or time, or energy. Some things are pure gifts for you to receive, not for you to give some of it back.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And I’m telling you, that was such a restorative trip for more than one reason. It was such an affirmation of the love that I have, the team that I’m circled with, like the community, like legit community is a verb. And that whole trip that, you all have freaking bathing suits. We have photo shoots, broke the internet for a bit. It was a whole thing.

Myleik:                         I had such a good time. I mean, you have just such a great community of people around you. And so, I’m glad that you felt that. And I always was like, Luvvie, you all stay surprising each other. Because Luvvie kind of brought me into the brand as an honorary and I’m like, “They going to surprise each other.” Somebody got to do.

Myleik:                         So, I’m like, the way you guys show up for each other. So, I was so glad to be able to do that. And I had a good time, I had a blast. It was like …

Luvvie:                          We had a good time. And the weather was perfect. We were in pool.

Myleik:                         Weather was perfect. Everything. The service was incredible, private pool. I shared a room with Felicia Leatherwood. And I did not have been able to catch up with her for a long time. So, that was great.

Luvvie:                          Yeah, yeah.

Myleik:                         I know we have to answer questions. We haven’t answered any questions.

Luvvie:                          No, I mean, people loving it. Look.

Myleik:                         Okay. We should answer some questions.

Luvvie:                          Okay.

Myleik:                         Because I’m looking at …

Luvvie:                          Okay, there’s one question that’s related to what we just answered.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          So, Janice is asking, “I really admire your relationship and how you both support each other. Luvvie mentioned the importance of community in the book. And I wonder what advice you have for building a like minded tribe in your 40s?” 40s, 50s, 20s don’t even matter. I think, find the people who speak to your spirit. You don’t have to think about it too hard, who are the people who you actually want to hear from?

Myleik:                         Yeah. And if I can add, and don’t be afraid to share that you like them, or you find them interesting, or you value their opinion. Don’t be afraid to call them. Don’t get all weird, if they don’t pick your call, because you really like them, and I think that if you kind of approach your friendships of just with grace, like, give people …

Luvvie:                          With grace.

Myleik:                         Time to get back to you, don’t bring your baggage, work on that, so that you can have really good friendships. But, I like that, finding people that speak to you. And then, my addition is like, don’t be afraid to have that intimate friendship, if that’s what you’re looking for. Send them flowers, if you want to. Send them a gift …

Luvvie:                          Why not. You know what, you got to also do that. You know what, here’s… Let me give you some tactics. It’s not even about birthdays, as I have ways, I forget birthdays most of the time. I’d be like, oh damn, my bad. Like, you can send somebody a token just for the sake of it. Just …

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Just for the sake of it. Just because you’re like, “Oh, I know. They’d like this thing.” Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Everything is not a trip to Anguilla, right?

Myleik:                         Yeah. I’ll show you, I got this in the mail from Luvvie this week. And these are just like some little note cards. And it’s just something as simple as like a thank you. And I was like, “Oh, my god, this is so cute. These little custom bad bitch cards.”

Luvvie:                          Bad bitch card.

Myleik:                         I’m like, whoever she is, she kind of looks me, but she’s better. She’s bad.

Luvvie:                          That’s you at the retreat. That’s you at the retreat. Bad bitch cards. Send your friends a bad bitch card.

Myleik:                         Yeah. And sometimes …

Luvvie:                          Okay.

Myleik:                         I use a service. One of my friends who was experiencing a lot of grief. She lost her husband and she … I was listening to a podcast that she did, and she was like, “I have this friend, Myleik,” and I was like, and she was like, “I use this thing called Postable.” And…

Luvvie:                          Oh, yeah.

Myleik:                         Postable, you just let people put their information in. I get a reminder when it’s someone’s birthday, and I type out a card. And every Blue Moon, I go through that through my address book, and I just send people like, “Hey, I’m thinking of you,” or like, “I miss you. I want to see your face. I can’t wait to hug you. I can’t wait to see you again.” They cost three or four bucks. You know what I mean? Everything doesn’t have to be a trip to Anguilla, or a $500 bouquet of roses. You don’t have to do that.

Luvvie:                          One of my friends Maddie who’s on here…

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          Maddie sends me voice notes that I don’t always have a chance to get back to her about. She just sent me one two days ago.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          Maddie’s voice knows affirm my whole heart. Like, my, God, you want to talk about it? If I’m having a shitty day, if I hear a Maddie voice note, I’m like, “Play, please.” Like, she is such a…

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And words of affirmation is my main love language.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Maddie, when I hit the New York Times bestselling list, Maddie sent me this voice note that I listened to 10 times last week. She was like we have to redo your old Reiki. And then she prayed for me. And I was just like, friend, that was the first time I cried.

Luvvie:                          I was like, “Damn it, Maddie, you made me cry with amazing words.”

Myleik:                         You hang on. You hang on for the whole day. You were trying.

Luvvie:                          I was like, “I’m not going to do it.” But like, even that is such a major gift that I so appreciate. I listen to that thing four times. I was like, “You better gas me up friend.” Like you can do these things for your friend no matter if you have no money, or whether you have a lot of money. It’s not always about the big gestures. Do the small one. Do the small times. I love you, Maddie. I see her in chat. Hey, boo.

Myleik:                         Hey, Maddie.

Luvvie:                          That’s my boo.

Myleik:                         Yes, Maddie is … I love Maddie period.

Luvvie:                          Maddie is everything. Everybody’s friend. Just basically be the friend that you would want to have.

Myleik:                         That’s it.

Luvvie:                          That’s what it comes down to.

Myleik:                         Yeah, being a friend that …

Luvvie:                          Be a friend.

Myleik:                         Yeah. It’s like, it’s so hard to be a friend when you have kids. I think especially the little ones. It’s like, oh, my god, I need to get back out into the world so that I can be … I want some friends. I missed that. We all …

Luvvie:                          We were just talking today. Like, where’s our next vacation?

Myleik:                         Where’s our next?

Luvvie:                          Where we’re going?

Myleik:                         Yes. Is there another question in there?

Luvvie:                          Yup, yup. There’s more for you Myleik. Myleik, what is holding you back from the book that we are all waiting for you to write?

Myleik:                         Oh, I love it. It’s a setup. Luvvie setups everybody up to do this.

Myleik:                         I would say probably there are a couple of things of why I haven’t written a book. Number one is that, I don’t know if you guys know that I have another business that requires damn near every inch of my existence, even if I don’t.

Luvvie:                          curlBOX.

Myleik:                         Even if it looks like it’s easy. It’s not. And so, it’s like, I know that if I signed up … So, this is the thing that people don’t really know about writing a book. And maybe you can share this Luvvie is that when you write a book if you get paid to do it, there is an expectation when you get that check and checks, is that you will promote it for a year. It’s not like just write a book. We’re going to pay you to write a book. You have to then work.

Myleik:                         And I’m just like, I can’t right now. I can’t right now because I got other things that require my attention. And that’s the thing that I think people have to keep in mind too is that just because it looks like everybody is popping, writing books and my peers are doing things. Everything may not be for you at the time. It may not be your time. So, what I know about life and what I know about things that are for me, they remain for me until I’m ready for them. Don’t let them pass me by. Nothing has passed me by.

Myleik:                         So, when the time is right, I will do it. When time is right I will do it.

Luvvie:                          And I tell Myleik and I told her last week. I said, “Think about a book that’s actually different from everything else. It’s not necessarily the imposter syndrome that’s happening with her right now. It’s the fact that she has not gotten the clarity on exactly what this book will be about,” because she could go eight different ways.

Myleik:                         Correct.

Luvvie:                          I told her, she will know when she knows what this book will be about. Because books, if you’re not that clear, it’s a hellhole to write, right. But if you’re clear, you feel obligated to get to work. So until you feel that clarity, you will feel the obligation to go to work and when you do, we will then be blessed with a book.

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          It’s going to be one day when you’re not thinking about the book at all, you’ll be like, that’s my book focus. When you get there, then you’ll create this book that we will all love and support and buy. But until then, I can see why you’re taking your time because the other problem is when people write books and they’re not ready you can tell.

Myleik:                         Yes, you can.

Luvvie:                          You can tell.

Myleik:                         That’s the thing, we are in culture it’s like what is it? It’s like we are in this achievement culture where everybody has to hop on Instagram and tell you what the next thing they just did. It’s like, oh my god, I just bought a new house. There’s this like I think it’s like Taylor or something on Instagram. And she just like makes fun of like people like that’s how she said.

Myleik:                         But it’s like, there’s this culture of like, I have to continuously one-up the next person up. Like, I bought this person a car. I did this. I got a Chanel bag. I wrote a book. I came out with a movie. That’s just not where I’m at in my life. I’m just not there.

Luvvie:                          That’s why it took me four and a half years between book one and book two. I wasn’t going to put out book two just because of the fact that I just put out a random book. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Myleik:                         No.

Luvvie:                          Had I actually done what people wanted me to do, I probably would have come up with the book two years ago but it wouldn’t be good because I want to be clear on what I want to say. So, this actually goes across the board. Be okay in the grinding moment and also in the quiet moments because be clear quiet moment is coming for me very shortly. Okay, I’m an introvert.

Myleik:                         And I’m quiet but it’s like the thing about me is I always got something going on. You know what I mean? I got some stuff. I got some pots on the stove right now that you all ain’t ready for. You know I’m saying? I got …

Luvvie:                          When it boils. That’s quiet work. That’s quiet work.

Myleik:                         I’m doing my work and when it’s my time trust me that I will if and when the time is right.

Luvvie:                          She will. It’s just going to be a matter of when. Oh, this is good.

Myleik:                         Okay.

Luvvie:                          As a parent how do we refrain from passing down generational fear to our children in these crazy times?

Myleik:                         You know, being a parent is the biggest mind fuck of life for me because I think having spent nearly a decade in therapy you realize that you became the way you were because of how you learn from your parents. And so, this job of parenting is like the biggest like the greatest grandest thing that I can do for my kids is send them out into the world sort of like unafraid. And for me, it’s just taking all the tools and skills that I have learned about being fearless and just letting my kids be who they are.

Myleik:                         And so it’s like with Noah, we have this thing I remember our first sort of like parenting spat was that Noah is obsessed with car crashes for some strange reason like it’s over mature. You know what he said the other day, he got in the car and said, somebody at school was running their mouth. And so, I mentioned it to his teacher and she was like, “Yeah, he does talk a lot.” So, he’s ultra mature. And so, we’re …

Luvvie:                          Running their mouth.

Myleik:                         Running their mouth. He said this out of his that somebody was running their mouth, two. Going to be three on Friday. Somebody is running their mouth. And so, just this thing of like because we don’t understand this we cannot limit who he is and so that’s the big conversation with dad in the house is like I know you’re on the Disney thing, I know you think he’s going to be like this but how many of us we’re trying to tell our parents something when we were kids and got dismissed because they didn’t understand.

Myleik:                         And so, I say anytime, in the conversation that I had with him, any time he does something that triggers you, you need to get curious. Why? Why? And that’s really kind of how I am. Black mothers all over America, the generation of my mom’s they would be very embarrassed of the way that I parent because my kids are wild they are [inaudible].

Luvvie:                          Not babies.

Myleik:                         They’re free. I let them but I put some bumpers on them but I let them do their thing. And so somebody said he learned that from somewhere, mama. Guess what, it was not for me. He got that from school.

Luvvie:                          From school, but I think that’s important though because you’re trying to raise these free kids and a lot of us all we know are the cages we’ve been put in sometimes by our parents, right?

Myleik:                         And it makes other people uncomfortable. And I have to tell my friends that have kids who are considered bad by other people. I’m like this, “Your kid’s crying don’t bother me. The cutting up, the screaming, it doesn’t bother me because they’re children. Most kids that are ultra well behaved like they’re not free.” So …

Luvvie:                          And then, you grow up and realize you haven’t been free ever. And one of the things that I know, like I was told because therapy, amen. Marriage, they said marriage and parenthood trigger your deepest wounds. Triggers your deepest wounds. So to your point, being curious about the moments when you feel triggered is important. Figuring out what part of it is actually what’s happening, what part of it is huge projecting your traumas?

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          And then figuring out okay if I recognize my traumas or my triggers how do I make sure that in those moments that they show up, I don’t lose my shape?

Myleik:                         Yeah.

Luvvie:                          Right. So relatively in that way like our fears are really based … They’ll show up in how we parent and how we show up as partners or in friendships.

Myleik:                         Yeah. I want to say something because somebody in the comments was like those whiny kids become entitled adults and that’s bullshit. That is not the case. And on top of that we have to stop doing that because they are children. They are not little adults. Everything is new to them. They don’t have the capacity. They don’t have the words. They don’t have the language. I hate when people say use your words, they don’t have words. They don’t have words. You know what I mean?

Myleik:                         And it’s just like, if you don’t give these kids the room and the space to do this, what they become are people who I see every single day on Instagram talking about, I just don’t know who I am. I can’t find my voice. I’m not comfortable. I’m afraid to start a blog. It’s like sis, start the blog. You know why? Because [crosstalk] squashed you. They filed you down to the roundest fucking littlest thing in the world. And now, you’re afraid to show up in the world because nobody will let you whine.

Myleik:                         My son …

Luvvie:                          Nobody will let you whine.

Myleik:                         When he whines, I go. Can I try?

Luvvie:                          I want to go.

Myleik:                         I want to whine, because some days, you just feel like that. How many of us have just felt like whining, crying? Do it, you know. So I really…

Luvvie:                          That’s valid.

Myleik:                         It’s really important to me. And it’s like, I know it because I see this, you guys. It’s like you see when everybody’s like, you know, I turned out fine. And it’s like most of us …

Luvvie:                          You didn’t.

Myleik:                         You didn’t.

Luvvie:                          You didn’t. Actually you did not. I think I told you the other day and I was like, yo, a lot of us who think we turned out fine we did not. Because we are who we are in spite of it because of our traumas and those moments in our childhoods when somebody told us to shut up, you talk too much. Shut up, this thing is not okay. And why a lot of people end up being like them looking for who I am. I’m like, I’ve never had to look for who I am because I never let her go. Like I never let the world tell me to be somebody different from who I was. What usually happens is I really think the truest version of who we are is us at 7, 8, 9, 2. Okay.

Luvvie:                          And it’s before the world had punched us. It’s before all the arrows the world sent our way pierced our spirit. So, we were able to walk around, less doubtful about who we are using our voice. So when people say like, how did you hone your voice and find your voice and find your purpose? I didn’t find it. I just let it happen in front of me. I didn’t doubt what was in front of me.

Luvvie:                          So what would happen if we spent less time trying to police our children? And just affirm the fact that they already came out being who they’re supposed to be? You’re supposed to guide them. We were supposed to be guided, not molded. Nobody was supposed to be like here’s what you’re supposed to be, so then we end up waking up at 35 and being like, shit, I don’t even know who I am, because everybody was doing this to you. That’s one of the gifts that my mom gave me.

Luvvie:                          And then my family gave me is that like, I was never told to not be this girl. Like, I’ve been this chick since I was five, where I would get in trouble for my mouth because I’ll say something to somebody who says something to me, and I ain’t like it. And then I take the punishment and then I’d be like, I feel like that was unfair. Somebody owes me an apology. I literally will be like, I was cheated. I didn’t like what just happened. They came at me first. But I would ask my mom for an apology for when she punished me.

Luvvie:                          Now, other moms would probably punish you for asking for an apology. I think she just laughed me off and was just like, girl get out my face.

Myleik:                         But you are serious.

Luvvie:                          But I was serious. She was never like, don’t be this girl. Like, stop being this person. So I was like, well, shit, let me keep on being that. So, I think, we can gift our kids and our friends and the people around us just gift of just letting them be.

Myleik:                         Let them be who they are. He likes to dance. He wants to always dance and not just because it’s like he’s a boy that dances it’s like, okay, cool. You want to dance, let’s dance. It’s like just everything that you are just inviting more of that instead of just because it’s not something that I would do or that maybe my comfort level. And I think that that’s really where it starts. And so that’s what you all asked me and that’s how I feel.

Luvvie:                          That’s a great one.

Myleik:                         And it follows me so I’ve talked about it.

Luvvie:                          So the question, I love the chapter fail loudly. What is the one thing you want to thank the old you for allowing you to grow? So I’ll answer first and Myleik, you can answer after that.

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          I thank the old me for her full brashness. I thank the old me for giving me permission to be this bold person when she didn’t know what it was going to come with it, right. And I think old me let’s new me because I’m the refined version of her. So, I thank her for letting me be myself.

Myleik:                         Okay. Old me. Wow, fail loudly. I think I spent a lot of time honestly, failing loudly, publicly, we always talk about this, like when you put yourself out there. I could never be as confident. Like, as crisp as I am, had I not just been wrong as hell. It’s like, that is sometimes where you need. We are most wrong and we get our biggest lesson I think is when we … It’s like that invitation to being just a better person. It’s exploring things that we may not love.

Myleik:                         Because sometimes that slap in the face is like, oh, snap. I don’t really love that. I think you said something like, I’m going to mess up again. I’m not going to be this perfect person. But I hope that I have done enough work, personally and publicly, that when I misstep again intentions? You know what I mean? And that is that thing is that you have to. And so many people are so afraid to say the wrong thing, to do the wrong thing that they ended doing and being nothing.

Luvvie:                          Nothing. And I don’t think that’s life. That’s worth anything. So, yeah. No, I think well, with that we will answer one more question. And then Myleik and I are going to do an after-party on IG Live?

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          You all can catch on IG Live and we’ll continue the conversation.

Luvvie:                          Let’s see. Let’s see. Let’s see. Okay. Myleik, how do you overcome your shyness, so people get the gift of your genius in the room? That’s a good one.

Myleik:                         Yeah, I know. That is a good one. Because I don’t think people don’t believe that. And so when I was a little girl, I was so shy that I would squint my eyes because I would think that if I couldn’t see people, they couldn’t see me.

Myleik:                         And I used to be afraid to do public speaking. And I think anything that makes you that afraid you need to go after. And that really is what it was, is that it’s like, I am going to show up on live as myself. I’m going to continuously put myself out there until I get comfortable. And you realize like I used to not like the sound of my voice. I used to not like to see playbacks of myself. And the only way to break that is to do it. And you can say this. Like the way that I started, I would be like, I’m really shy. I can’t even believe I’m doing this right now.

Myleik:                         That’s how to start things is like, I’m shaking in my boots right now. You should hear my heart. It’s beating. And people will connect with you, because half the audience, if not, the whole audience knows exactly how you feel. And I remember in your book, you were talking about how you did the Ted Talk, your mic dropped, and all this. And it’s just like, the whole room just everybody knows it’s hard. And nobody’s expecting you to get up there and be perfect all the time.

Luvvie:                          If you all watch my Ted Talk, my mic is like this the whole time. You just can’t notice and I don’t move my head much, because the whole time it was still on the verge of falling.

Myleik:                         Oh dear.

Luvvie:                          Yes. So the whole 10 minutes of me doing that Ted Talk is also with my mic literally hanging off my ear. Just so you all know, the next time you watch or just if you go watch a freeze-frame, you’ll notice it. You’ll be like, this bitch. But you got to fake it till you make it, right. You got to fake it where like I think that vulnerability is really important.

Luvvie:                          For Sophia Bush’s take over the Share The Mic Now, I started off with … All right. So for some reason, I’m actually really nervous. I didn’t read any of her DMs because that was like an implicit place not to touch. The day after she comes back and she says, “You got so many responses to that frame.” She said even her mom was like, “Oh my god, Luvvie, you’re doing amazing.” I think bring your shyness and admit it. Use that as a superpower and say, I’m really shy. I’m really shy. I’m not comfortable. But I’m here anyway.”

Luvvie:                          And I think parents audience love the vulnerability that comes with you being authentic. So your shyness, wear it as a badge and say, “This is weird for me. I’m walking up to somebody new that I don’t know and it makes me nervous, but hi, my name is.” And you will be so endearing to that person. The person’s going to be like, “Oh my god, it’s so good to meet you. I was also nervous.”

Myleik:                         Yes, yes. Yes. So, I still get shy in some places. I’m not as shy at all as I used to be. I’ll jump up and do anything, but I still have my moments. So, yes. This was so good. I have such a good time.

Luvvie:                          Myleik, these questions are bomb. I was reading the comments everybody was getting their life. And yeah, we can continue this at the after-party. E.R., come on and let people know. This tour has been amazing.

Luvvie:                          Myleik, you said yes. Instantly

Myleik:                         Yes.

Luvvie:                          I always deeply appreciate you for showing up. And this is everything that I thought it would be and more. So yeah, I’m excited for this after-party so we can dig into some extra stuff.

Myleik:                         Yes. Yes. We’ll do something. Thank you, guys. Thank you for hosting me and thank you for having me. Always.

*****

SO GOOD. And like with my conversation we shared with KevOnStage a couple of weeks ago, Myleik and I took the party over to IG Live for another 40 minutes after we finished up. That link is in the show notes, so you can watch that too.

If you loved Myleik’s energy, her perspective and her wit, make sure you follow her on Instagram at @MYLEIK. Also, check out her podcast, which is simply her name: Myleik Teele. The gems she drops around career, leadership and humaning are priceless. And for my kinky, coily, curly hair sisthrens, getchu some Curlbox in your life! Curlbox is a monthly subscription that delivers hand-curated products for your hair to your doorstep. And they’re full-sized for literally half the price.  So visit CURLBOX.com. Support Myleik’s work.

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Professional Troublemaker podcast. If you loved what you heard, make sure you:

  • Subscribe to Professional Troublemaker in your fave podcast platform (Apple Podcasts and Spotify).
  • Leave a rating with a five-star review. Your insights and comments help us gather more Professional Troublemakers into our community.
  • Go to TEXTLUVVIE.com on your phone, and text “PODCAST”! Join our Text Squad, and talk directly to me. Let me know who you’d like me to be in conversation with. Or what topics you want me to do a deep dive on, in a solo episode.

Until next time, make some good trouble.

 

 

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