CNBC make it 2024-02-10 02:51:19

Singer Victoria Monét was told it was ‘too early’ in her career to be ambitious—then she won 3 Grammys

Earlier this week, Victoria Monét lived out the dream of anyone who’s been denied a promotion or otherwise struggled to make a professional breakthrough.

The 34-year-old R&B singer followed up a series of frustrating career setbacks with one of the most successful nights of her life, taking home three Grammy awards on Feb. 4. She won best new artist, best R&B album and best non-classical engineered album for her debut record “Jaguar II.”

Despite the label of “new artist,” Monét had been working behind the scenes for more than a decade, writing hits for other performers while record labels and executives declined to put her in the spotlight, she said in an acceptance speech.

“There was a binder that I made to take this really important meeting at a label, and I thought I was going to be signed. I was an independent artist with no team and I just thought, maybe my music would stand for itself,” she said, tearing up. “But that binder was left collecting dust in an office at that label.”

Even once her music gained a following, she experienced rejection.

In June 2023, her single “On My Mama” became her first No. 1 hit on a Billboard songs chart. The song resonated with listeners, some of whom launched a social media campaign for her to perform it at the then-upcoming MTV Video Music Awards in September.

Instead, Monét was denied a slot on stage by organizers who considered her too unknown for the event’s audience, she posted on social media platform X during the night of the show. “I see your advocation for me to have performed tonight and I’m so grateful to you!! Sincerely!” she wrote, to her fans. “My team was told it is ‘too early in my story’ for that opportunity so we will keep working!”

MTV didn’t immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

The myth of overnight successes

Monét’s career journey echoes a hard truth: Becoming successful takes time, usually far longer than you’d hope or expect.

Most so-called overnight successes take years and years of dedication. You just may not see the work that went into them — especially in today’s digital age, where people tend to post more publicly about their successes than their struggles.

“This award was a 15-year pursuit,” Monét said during her acceptance speech.

Instead of comparing your successes or failures to someone else’s, embrace the highs and lows of solely chasing your own goals, Monét said. You’re never actually running out of time, even if it looks like your peers have made a lot more progress than you, she added.

“To everybody who has a dream, I want you to look at this as an example,” said Monét.

Dealing with a lack of opportunity in the workplace

Monét’s experience wouldn’t be out of place in a more traditional career field: 63% of Black women say that they might not, probably don’t or definitely don’t see a pathway to advance their career within their current organization, according to a 2022 report from diversity, equity and inclusion consulting firm Every Level Leadership.

That’s usually not due to a lack of ability or effort, Every Level Leadership founder and principal consultant Ericka Hines told Make It in 2022. If you reach a point where you’ve exhausted all options with your boss, focus instead on cultivating relationships with colleagues across your workplace, she advised.

When you don’t feel seen or heard at work, they may be able to advocate on your behalf, said Hines. These people are also known as sponsors, and they don’t hesitate to mention your name for new opportunities at work.

“There is a need for colleagues who consider themselves to be allies to be willing to put some of their social capital on the line to advocate on behalf of their Black female peers,” Hines said. “How are they leaning into allying? How are they lifting them up? How are they going into the office with their Black women colleagues and saying this is a problem?”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

I’ve spent 20 years studying how to raise successful kids—the most ‘overlooked’ skill parents should teach

As a psychologist, I’ve spent nearly 20 years studying how to care for and raise good humans. The overlooked skill I always tell new parents to teach is inner efficacy.

Inner efficacy is an individual’s belief in their own capacity to do what it takes to meet their goals. Self-esteem might say, “I’m amazing!” but inner efficacy says, “I have what it takes to figure this out and achieve what I set out to.”

Kids with a strong sense of inner efficacy are more likely to challenge themselves and put in the effort. Rather than blaming external circumstances or some immutable lack of talent for their failures, they’ll focus on factors that are within their control.

Research shows that kids gain inner efficacy from four sources:

1. The experience of getting things right

For this to happen, kids have to be challenged at the right level. Pushing them into educational experiences they’re not ready for can be counterproductive.

Whenever they worry about not being able to do something, you can promote a growth mindset by telling them: “You’re not there, yet.”

2. Watching others get it right

It’s important that kids see others they consider similar to themselves, in at least some specifics (like age, race or ethnicity, gender identity, interests), achieving similar goals.

The peer modeling doesn’t have to come from people exactly like our unique child, but watching a much older child of a different race and gender accomplish something might not have the same effect.

3. Reminders that they have a history of getting things right

The stories we tell ourselves about the past create our sense of competence about the future.

Studies show that people who lean into optimism, have a growth mindset, and believe in themselves often don’t have such different past experiences than their pessimistic peers. They just remember successes more vividly than failures.

4. A sense of calm in their bodies

If children feel stressed, queasy, or anxious when faced with challenges, it can be difficult to perform without taking care of that physiological response first.

Teaching our kids self-soothing practices like mindful breathing will go a long way to help them become competent at whatever they focus on.

How to help kids build inner efficacy

1. Encourage them to try at something they’re not immediately good at.

Instead of saying “Practice makes perfect,” because we know that’s not always true — and we’re not actually looking for perfection — remind your child that “Effort makes evolution.”

2. Clarify to correct.

Don’t just mark mistakes with a red pen and say, “Wrong again, pal.” Instead, try restating, rephrasing, changing the question, clarifying directions, and going over previously learned skills.

Even with young children who point to a red apple and say “blue,” you can say, “Oh, yes, blueberries are blue, and this is a red apple” instead of just correcting them or saying, “That’s not blue, silly.”

3. Praise with specificity when it’s earned.

When we say “Good job!” it’s got be sincere and specific. Tell kids when you recognize their real effort, persistence, creativity, independence, and competence.

You don’t have to completely erase “good job” from your vocabulary. Just add a bit more detail, like, “Good job applying that chess opening you just learned.”

4. Point out strategy.

Help kids draw the line between the action and the achievement. If your child does a good job writing an essay they’ve outlined, for example, you can say, “I noticed you made an outline. I bet that’s one reason you did so well.”

Or, alternatively, you might need to say, “I noticed you didn’t do an outline. It can be really tough to write an essay when you don’t have an outline. Let’s try writing one together.”

When kids understand that their failures aren’t due to permanent limitations, there’s an opening for future achievement.

Dr. Aliza Pressman is a developmental psychologist with nearly two decades of experience working with families. She is an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Behavioral Health Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she is cofounding director of The Mount Sinai Parenting Center. She holds a BA from Dartmouth College and is the author of “The 5 Principles of Parenting: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans.” Follow her on Instagram @raisinggoodhumanspodcast.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

This is an adapted excerpt from ”THE 5 PRINCIPLES OF PARENTING: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans.” Copyright © 2024, Dr. Aliza Pressman. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

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The No. 1 resume mistake, says ex-Amazon recruiter: You see it ‘all the way up to the C-suite’

Lindsay Mustain has looked at a lot of resumes in her more than a decade in talent acquisition.

“Literally a million,” she says. The former Amazon recruiter is now the CEO of career coaching company Talent Paradigm and has seen candidates include some mind-boggling elements to their resumes — like stickers and a picture of themselves holding a shotgun.

But there’s one mistake she sees jobseekers make over and over again, what she calls giving “Miss America answers,” or ones she’d imagine hearing in a pageant. These are simple statements that don’t give much insight into what candidates actually accomplished on the job.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

It’s happening from the junior level “all the way up to the C-suite,” she says, and it’s preventing jobseekers from standing out.

Here’s what Miss America answers are and how to avoid writing them.

Don’t write ‘a glorified job description’

When it comes to your resume, you want to mirror the language of the job description to the extent that it portrays your experience accurately. As you do, however, avoid general statements about the tasks you took on.

“I had stakeholder meetings with people” is an example of a Miss America answer, says Mustain. These kinds of descriptions don’t give a concrete sense of how you were able to move your team forward. They’re “like a glorified job description,” she says, adding that, “you just look like somebody who’s filling a seat.”

Instead of listing the tasks you were given, quantify and list your accomplishments.

“If somebody is fixing tickets on a help desk,” says Mustain, as an example, “I’ve solved 30 customers’ problems a day” is a good metric to start with. You can take it even further, though, and think about what you were able to accomplish in a year. Thirty problems a day, 20 days a month, 12 months per year is 7,200 problems solved altogether.

The “more metrics and analytics you can add to your resume, the more impressive,” she says.

‘Your eyes go straight to the numbers’

Quantifying your accomplishments is not just a matter of looking impressive.

Recruiters only have a few seconds to dedicate to your resume. They’re likely “handling somewhere between 15 to 25” job openings at once, says Mustain. “The average applicants per job is 250, which means they’re dealing with tens of thousands of applicants.”

The benefit of quantifying your accomplishments is that recruiters’ eyes “go straight to the numbers when we’re reviewing,” Mustain says. They’ll know how much value you added to your previous employers immediately.

Bottom line, if you want to move forward in the interview process, your resume has “got to be results-based,” she says.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

I quit my dream job at 32 and spent $34,000 to travel the world—here are my 4 biggest regrets

I was 28 years old when I landed my dream video producer job at CNBC. I would throw off the covers every morning, excited to dive into the work I felt I was born to do. I flew through the days, but often woke up in the dead of the night with a creeping sense of dread. 

I imagined time racing by at warp speed until I suddenly woke up at age 80, regretting that I lived to work, instead of working to live. After all, I’d spent most of my adult life focused on the future. Burned out and chronically anxious, I’d lost my ability to live in the present. 

So I quit my job at 32, bought a one-way ticket to Peru, and spent a year and a half — and $34,000 — exploring 18 countries across South America and Asia. Every day was a “choose your own adventure,” involving choices good and bad. I learned lessons the hard way about balancing preparation, productivity and play. 

Here are the regrets that taught me when to prioritize happiness in the moment, and when to sacrifice it for a better future. 

1. I worried about money so much, I missed out on once-in-a-lifetime experiences 

When I landed in Rio De Janeiro in December 2022, I immediately didn’t want to be there. I wished I were still in Buenos Aires, celebrating Argentina’s World Cup victory in the streets with my friends.

Instead, I sat alone in my Airbnb watching Instagram Stories with a pit in my stomach, because I’d booked my flight from Argentina to Brazil weeks in advance, for fear of prices going up. 

As soon as I arrived in Rio, I booked the cheapest flight to Bogotá, Colombia. That meant I left Brazil on my birthday, three days before Rio’s famous New Year’s festivities, and watched my new friends partying lavishly via Instagram Stories while alone in my hotel.

I was so obsessed with planning ahead to feel in control that I missed out on major life experiences.

From that point on, I kept plans open-ended, allowing new connections and discoveries to determine how long I wanted to stay. Now I start each day with a loose vision for what I’d like to accomplish and flexibility to pivot in response to the unexpected. I learned to live my life guided by joy rather than anxiety.

2. I spent a lot of my life savings, delaying other goals  

The $34,000 I spent on my sabbatical was a significant portion of my life savings. Now, at 34, I have very little saved for retirement, I’m far from a down payment on a house in my hometown of Los Angeles, and I’m not ready to have kids.

While I don’t regret my sabbatical or even how much I spent on it, I do regret that a lack of preparation in my young adulthood landed me in the position of having to choose between personal fulfillment and financial security.

By the time I graduated from UCLA, I could decode Shakespeare but had no idea how to pay my bills. I spent much of my 20s either unemployed or working low-wage internships, and suffered anxiety and burnout trying to catch up.

Had I studied personal finance and started saving, investing and career planning in high school, I believe I could’ve taken my sabbatical without significantly delaying other life goals. 

3. I stopped investing completely  

I began investing in stocks in 2020, exuberant as the market hit one high after another. But after the market declined in 2022 and I lost all my gains, I was scared to lose more. 

I stopped contributing to my Roth IRA and my brokerage account as soon as I quit my job in August 2022, and missed out on an opportunity to build wealth.

I wish I’d continued investing throughout my travels, putting $200 each month into a large-cap index fund. I could have afforded it, since I had enough savings left over after my sabbatical. But to ease my fears of running out of money, I also could have spent less on nice restaurants, clothing, daily lattes and cocktails.

4. I was careless with my belongings

At the lowest moment of my trip, I was crying hysterically on the side of a busy road in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Two minutes earlier, I’d been walking through a touristy area with my phone in my back pocket, lost in the music I was listening to, feeling carefree and on top of the world. 

Suddenly, I felt a hand reach into my pocket and snatch my two-month-old iPhone 13. The culprit fled on a motorbike and chasing it proved futile. I broke down, feeling helpless, alone and scared without my phone in a foreign country. I lost all my photos. The next day, I paid nearly $800 for a new phone.

I lost my belongings on more than one occasion, and it cost me a lot of money, time and energy. While I was meticulous about my to-do lists and flights, I was sometimes careless in other contexts.

The mistakes I made while traveling taught me when to let go, but also when to be more in control.

Helen Zhao is a former video producer and writer at CNBC. Before joining CNBC as a news associate, she covered residential real estate for the LA Business Journal. She’s a California native and a proud USC Trojan and UCLA Bruin. 

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

If you answer yes to these 15 questions, you are happier than most people, says longevity expert

I’ve spent the last 20 years studying the five Blue ZonesOkinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. These areas are home to the world’s longest-living people. 

While researching for my book, “The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People,” I spoke with Dan Witters, who has been the Research Director of the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index since 2008, in an effort to figure out the hallmarks of the most content communities.

Witters told me that authentic happiness emerges from a cluster of interconnected factors that almost always appear in a pack. He identified 15 of what he calls “cowbell” metrics that signal true happiness.

How many of these ring true for you?

If you agree with these statements, you are happier than most people

  1. You manage your finances well and live within your means. You have enough money to do everything you want to do.
  2. You set and reach goals on an ongoing basis.
  3. You always make time for trips or vacations with family and friends.
  4. You use your strengths to do what you do best every day.
  5. You feel safe and secure in your community.
  6. You learn something new or interesting every day.
  7. You have someone in your life who encourages you to be healthy.
  8. You eat healthy every day.
  9. You eat five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days every week.
  10. You get to the dentist at least once per year.
  11. In the last 12 months, you have received recognition for helping to improve the city or area where you live.
  12. You don’t smoke.
  13. You are of a normal, healthy weight. 
  14. You exercise at least 30 minutes at least three days per week.
  15. You are active and productive every day.

How to find your happy place

If you want to maximize your well-being, either where you currently live or in a new place, there are a few more guidelines that you can keep in mind.

Communities that are designed with these metrics often thrive and promote longevity:

  • Trust. There is a cohort of trustworthy politicians, police, and neighbors.
  • Walkability. Sidewalks and safe streets facilitate physical activity and socializing.
  • Access to nature. There is proximity to parks, open spaces, and trees.
  • Civic engagement. People actively contribute to a willing city government on maintaining and approving quality of life.
  • Clean environment. There is clean water, air, and land.
  • Healthy teeth. People have access to affordable and regular dental care.
  • People-friendly streets. Quiet, safe streets that favor humans over cars.
  • Healthy behaviors. There are local restrictions on smoking, less obesity, and less drug abuse. 
  • Healthy food. Farmers’ markets, local restaurants, plant-based food that’s easier to find than fast food from chain restaurants.

The writer E.B. White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” The key is to find that sweet spot between savoring life now and doing things that lead to a richer, more meaningful outcome in the future.

Dan Buettner is an explorer, longevity researcher, National Geographic Fellow, and award-winning journalist and producer. He is also the author of the best-selling books “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” and “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.” Follow Dan on Instagram @danbuettner.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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This is an adapted excerpt from ”The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People″ by Dan Buettner, published by National GeographicCopyright © 2017 by Dan Buettner.