Doing Less and Living More: Unlearning Hustle Culture with Keiona Eady and Dr. Khalia Braswell
Meet our guest Khalia Braswell, an inspiring leader who has dedicated her career to empowering young girls and advocating for the importance of mental health in our lives. This Carolina girl turned Philly resident is not only a savvy entrepreneur, but also a master at balancing her passions and nurturing her well-being. As the Founder of a successful non-profit organization, Khalia knows firsthand the challenges that come with wearing multiple hats and the crucial need for self-care. In today's discussion, we'll be learning from her personal journey and how to prioritize our mental health as busy professionals and non-profit leaders. Stay tuned for a conversation that promises to enlighten, inspire, and equip us all with the tools to better navigate the dynamic landscape of our careers and our personal well-being.
Go HERE for the Show Notes.
Here’s the Transcript:
So welcome to BOSS™ Talk. The young lady also known as Wilbur, KB Carolina girl turned Philly Jawn, my Soror, Miss Doing Less, Living More. Khalia Braswell. Hi, Khalia.
Hey, girl. Hey. How's your day going so far? It's going great. I have not done much today.
It's been awesome. I love that for you. I figured that would fit into this conversation, right? Absolutely. That is the perfect way to have started your day, because I remember once upon a time, especially when IG first really popped off, it was like.
Get up early, 06:00 a.m. Like sleep when you die. I still think that's why I just saw somebody post on Twitter a thread. I think the lady is a millionaire.
And she's like, here's how I became millionaire. And it's like basic stuff, but one of them was like, I get up early. Girl, bye. If I want to get up early, I'll get up early. And if I don't, I won't get up early.
It's okay. I can still make millions. And still make millions. Absolutely. It is incredible how culture has shaped a lot of this hustle mentality, but you have absolutely catapulted into your end of an era of busyness.
And so that's what we're going to talk about today. And so every guest who is on this show obviously is a boss in their own right. But now it's your turn to answer the infamous question, Khalia, how do you personally define being a boss?
How do I personally define being a boss? I wish I could have prepared for this question, but it's probably better that I didn't, right? Absolutely.
I have a lot of different thoughts, and the reason why I'm even having to hesitate is because I've kind of shifted my mind from not being a boss no more like I don't want to be a boss. Being a boss is about discipline, and being a boss is about doing the dirty work. That the non glamorous stuff, and I feel like that's not highlighted or talked about enough.
And I believe that there's a way to be a boss without burnout, but so much of it is doing the hustle and filling in those gaps. Right? Like, you have to step up. And so I don't have a glamorous definition of being a boss, unfortunately. But you do have to step up and lead.
You have to be self aware as a boss and know when to accept your flaws and when to be humble in the fact that this goes back to self awareness and knowing what you're good at and what you're not and finding those who are good at something and knowing, like, hey, for instance, I'm not good. I'm better now. But for a while, I wasn't great at operation. Like, my brain just was not wired for that. I had to because I had to be a boss.
And I remember you mentioned how I used to run summer camps, so I was teaching a camp for the first time in a long time, and a lot of the operation stuff I was trying to handle, and I forgot to bring those babies some snacks. And it was about 07:00, and I'm teaching, and they looking at me, and I was like, what's up? And they were like, we hungry. We should probably just go ahead and break for lunch. Let's just go to lunch.
Right? But, like, as a boss, I had to admit the fact that I messed up and okay, cool, and learn from that. And the next camp, I was not running it. That part. But to answer, like being a boss is just first and foremost, you need to be self aware. That is so key and pivotal. Everybody sees what everybody else is doing.
They don't know what sort of things have been handed off so that people can operate 100% or not even 100%, maybe at maximum capacity within their gifting. Because boss probably was once perceived as somebody who can do it all. But baby, once you get into this ring and you try to do it all, you're going to get beat down absolutely. Every single time. Absolutely.
Khalia, you and I, we met during some very critical years. The year was about 2014, like I mentioned, and I was living in Boston. My first job post graduating from college in a new city. You were there visiting for NSBE and we're Sorors. So we were connected through my line sister.
2014, like I said, like, pivotal, instagram, heavy for me. I remember looking around and being so much in all, living like in New England, a place that just is full of entrepreneurship and being like, oh, I'm not doing enough. I got a career, but I need to be doing more. If you could think back to 2014, what were some of the things that were kind of going through young KB's mind around that time? Yeah, I talk about 2014 a lot because it was also pivotal for me.
I had just wrapped up my first year of grad school at UNC Charlotte, and that was also the year that INTech started. So when INTech started, first of all, I never intended to create my own nonprofit. That was never my goal, never my dream, especially. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but that wasn't the first business I ever thought I would run. Right.
And so I got a grant for it. We hosted the event, one day camp for middle school girls in Charlotte. It was great. The feedback I got from the students, their parents, the volunteers, everybody, it was some energy there that told me, like, this has to continue. But that summer, I was interning at Bank of America and went to this conference and fast forward.
August 2014, I'm flying out to Cupertino to work at Apple for a year as a researcher and designer. And I'm like, Wait, what? Because that also was never my dream. People always be like, oh, Apple dream job. And I'm like, I mean, not for me.
That was never my dream. And 2014 was real crazy. So I took a year off from my Grad program, which no one does that in a two year Masters. But I did it because I'm like, they're paying my rent, they're paying me, I'm going to learn, and I'll be in Cali. Yeah, sign me up.
And so I spent that year out there. And so, again, INTech wasn't even supposed to be a business at that point, but that's what it kind of turned into. And so that's why 2014 was very pivotal, and the rest really is history. Absolutely. Listen, and I want to kind of give reference to people, because people kind of put nonprofit and business in separate buckets.
They're not a nonprofit is 1000% a whole operating business, and they have maybe more restrictions than a for profit business. Yes. And I would argue that it's harder because of those restrictions, because you have to have a Board of Directors. And not only that, a nonprofit is owned by the public. At any point, anybody could have said, hey, Khalia, could you send me the bylaws from your May 23?
We didn't become an official 501c3 until 2015 or 2016, but either way, someone could have easily just been like, hey, can you send me the meeting minutes from your board meeting? Or at any minute, depending on how bylaws were set up, anybody could have voted me out. And so it's just like a crazy and then me as a leader, I'm very diplomatic, even though I was running the business, and it took me a while to kind of realize, like, hey, Khalia, it's your business and this is your Board. They're going to support you. But I really wanted everybody to be on the same page all the time.
We're making really big decisions, and I honestly think that held me back in some ways. And so I was kind of envious of my for profit business owner friends, because I'm like, Dang, I know so many people who have switched their business model up like this on a whim just because they wanted to. I couldn't do that. I could not do that. It had to go through a board vote, and it had to be a majority vote.
You know what I'm saying? And so it's hard. You all and people come to me now, and I've helped people get their 501c3 designation, but when people come to me and they're like, I want to start a nonprofit, I'll be like, Why another nonprofit doing it? Can you just join them? Do you have to do this?
That part? Yeah. We are definitely in an era where there's a lot of repeat work. I think people have the joy of wanting to start something, and it being their own, which is great, but really? I always say that starting a business is really solving a problem, and so somebody out there probably is already solving it, and you can attach to that mission and all of that research and development that went into it and help it expand versus trying to start from ground zero, because ground zero is not a joke.
So I have another business in me, and folks know about it, but I got to the point where I'm like, nah, I don't want that struggle right now. I'm trying to flourish. I think the business will be successful, but I don't want stress. So I'm chilling. Absolutely.
And you have all the experience gained through your experience as the founder of a nonprofit to carry with you. So that's not ground zero anymore, right? That's definitely starting a step ahead. So you get us to 2014, and that's a lot of stuff that happened all at once as little black girls, especially, who grew up in the south. And nothing about you.
When I look at you, Khalia, I can see your strength. Right? Nothing about you screams like, backseater. So tell me what you think. Even the ambition for you to change your career, start a nonprofit, go to grad school, be Miss All Things.
Where does that even come from? I know where mine comes from. I come from a bloodline of it. Where does yours come from? I do not come from a bloodline of it.
I am the most different person in my family. And honestly, it's crazy you asked me that, because I was just thinking about this two days ago. I'm still unpacking this with my therapist. But one thing that I can say.
Not too long ago, I read Elaine Welteroth’s book More Than Enough. And it was funny because I read the book. I follow her or whatever, didn't know a whole lot about her journey before reading the book, and she's not that much older than us. And so I was like, dang, because people tell me all the time I should write a book, like a memoir type thing. And I'm like, I can see I'm only 31, so, like, what am I putting in this book?
But I do think I would have something to offer. Anyway, reading her book kind of inspired me and shifted that perspective because it was like, okay, well, I could totally write a book. Anyway, in her book, she mentions how her dad struggled with alcoholism and how she began to achieve because that was something that she could control. She could control her achievement with school, leadership, things of that. She felt like her home life was out of control.
But school and all of that success and achievement was something that she could control. And a light bulb went off, and so I took that to my therapist. And I didn't live with my dad growing up. My parents divorced when I was three. He's in my life, but he has struggled with alcoholism.
I won't tell his whole story because that's his story to tell. But even outside of the alcoholism part, the fact that I come from a divorced home right. And then not only that, I was born in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. All of my family is still there to this day. But in second grade, my mother moved me to Charlotte, North Carolina.
So you ripped me away from my community. And so I literally only had school even before I moved to Charlotte. I'm on newspapers for accelerated readers, which is no surprise, right? Yeah. Reading all these books as a kindergartner or whatever, I don't even remember. Being good in school was just something that was like it came natural somehow.
But all of the achievement and the leadership, no one even cared if I made good grades. Really? Honestly. Of course they care that I'm doing it, but I didn't come from a household where it's like, well, you better get A's or B's or else you know what I'm saying? Yeah.
And I was just doing it. And so they went along with it like, well, good job. Like A/B honor roll, congrats talent development, all this stuff. And so I think some of it comes from that, and I think I used to normalize it because I remember seeing how hard my Grandfathers worked. Both of them work really hard.
So I used to think that my work ethic came from that. But as I'm unpacking it, I'm like, no, I think it really is a control thing. And being a high achiever, you get a dopamine boost from it. It's like, oh, I'm the president of X, you know. You kind of wear it as a badge of honor.
Oh, absolutely. But now I'm like, no, I don't want to do any of these things. And I mean, it's probably because I've done it. All right, so now I'm cool on all of that. You all got it?
Absolutely, girl. This is all working like a working answer for me, because I'm still figuring it out. But reading her book set that light bulb off for me, and it was just kind of one of those pivots AHA moments where I'm like, oh, I had no control over my home life, child. So maybe that is why…what catapulted me to be an overhigh achiever elsewhere. Absolutely.
See, I know it was going to go Oprah deep, but, I mean, here we are. And so I can sort of concur. And I'm looking at you, sister, as a mirror, the same thing. And I think I'm trying to realize now, because one of my biggest mirrors are the women that are around me that I say, I feel like I got this from. And I go, oh, I got to make a little bit of changes so that it doesn't end up maturing into these kinds of qualities.
Not that they're bad, but things that I just kind of want to nip in the butt, because, again, I'm not going to work myself to death. I'm not going to sacrifice myself before other people. I'm going to work hard for the things that I want to achieve. But are they achievements that I actually want to put in my list of things I want to achieve? Interestingly enough, was talking to a guy last night, and he was making a reference about who he'll be someday, and I was like, that kind of person was never on my list, and I'm finding a lot of power in owning what I want, so I guess that kind of goes into where I want to head next.
There had to be a moment, a shake up before this book. For me, the pandemic tore my whole life up like a piece of paper and was like, you need to reevaluate, rearrange and rethink about how you're living. Really? I've never talked about this story out loud. There was a guy, he was the Bruhs, 39 years old.
His wife was expecting a child. He was about to get married to this woman that was carrying his child. His oldest son was like, a senior high school basketball star, dies. That story was hit. Yeah.
I'm like what? So that just made me look at things from a totally different angle, like, what am I living for and how am I doing it, and am I being intentional about what I'm doing in this life? So for you, I got to know, what was the moment that made Khalia say, you know what? This is it.
I got to go back. For me, it's always a book. And it's so funny because every time I have an AHA moment in a book and I take it to therapy, I'd be like, I know she's probably tired of me. And it's funny because I don't even really read a whole lot of quote unquote self help books. A lot of what I read is like, novels, but I'll pick up a few.
And so the pandemic definitely was a catalyst. It slowed me all the way down. And please understand, people see me on the go all the time doing this, doing that. I love my alone time because I have siblings, but again, I didn't grow up with them. I was used to being by myself.
So when the pandemic hit and we're all sheltering in place, I was thriving. You know what I'm saying? Before I started my PhD program, my homegirl, who's also a soror, Quinn, she came up, she designed my apartment. That was in 2019, so it was a precursor to the pandemic. So I loved my space.
I had beautiful, natural light. It was a vibe, right? And so that was cool. But I read Sisters of the Yam by bell hooks, and that book changed my entire life. I meant to grab my drum so I could reference some of my notes.
In Sisters of the Yam, first of all, that book was written specifically for Black women. Other people can read it and take from it, but it literally wasn't a community that bell hooks had for some undergrads at a university she was teaching at, because she saw how much this young lady was struggling and realized there were other young ladies struggling. And part of bell hook's philosophy is that when we open up to each other, we're allowing each other to be free. Because it's like, oh, it's just new learnings. And it's like, oh, you're struggling with that too.
It's like making that relation. But there was some more stuff in that book that she was talking about. I hate that I don't have my notes in front of me, but it just kind of freed me from this survival mode mentality, which the point about the generations before us, a lot of them were operating in survival mode. It's like, Well, I don't have to do that. I don't have to operate in survival mode.
And I think about my time at Apple when I was working full time. I was making six figures now out west, that's relatives, because everything is sky high, but I remember being in survival mode financially because, one, I know that nobody in my family can afford my California rent, and two, it's like I grew up watching cars being repoed. I grew up watching folks getting pre approved for a home, but then something fell through and like, credit just holding things up and all this stuff. So I've carried that with me for so long. And it's like, from a financial perspective, I've been in survival mode for years just because tech is a lucrative space.
But for me, I'm like, Nah, let me make sure I got six months savings. I had a broke mentality even though I wasn't, and so now I'm free of that too. I did not get that from bell hooks, but it kind of connected dots for me. And it just made me realize that, hey, I don't have to be superwoman, period. I do not have to be superwoman.
I don't have to do these things. Because to your question earlier, what's driving it anyway? What is driving? Where is it coming from? I don't have to be great no more.
I literally live five lives in my 31 years on this Earth. It's cool. I can coast now. And it just set me free in so many ways. And she talked about how rest is a form of resistance and how a lot of black women don't rest, because this generation, I mean, it goes back to slavery, to be honest.
But a lot of women don't rest. And then we kill ourselves trying to be there and do things for other people, and we're not taking care of ourselves. And when you're pouring from an empty cup, I don't like that version of myself. I do not like that version of myself. I love it when I can hang out with folks and I'm fully present and I like to give them that Khalia.
Not this burned out. Physically, I'm here with you, but mentally, I'm somewhere else. I do not like that version of me. It ebbs and flows, right? It's never going to be perfect.
I feel like I'm in that season right now, coming out of this job search and transitioning into work. But, yeah, I saw a light go off, and I'm like, yeah, and then too. I don't know about you, but my energy post. We're not even post pandemic. We're still here post shelter in place.
Post those months of where we weren't really traveling and doing things. Like, I don't have the energy for it no more. My stamina for doing the most is not where it used to be. So I don't know if it's 30 or what the pandemic, but I got, like, a little bit in my tank, and then something go wrong. I'm like, I got to go home because I need to lay it down.
Like, I can't do this. Girl. I can't wear nobody heels no more. It's a whole lot of stuff that I just so many things. Like, why are we doing it, man?
Just to give people perspective, too. We kind of talking about the big picture of it all, but give us the details of what that busy life was really looking like. As the founder, worker, school student, what were some of the things that you were short fusing on? What was that day to day like. Okay, so if we go back.
I interned at Apple in 2014 to 2015. I went back, finished my Masters, went back to Apple full time. My last day at Apple was January 4, 2018. And that's when I came back to North Carolina to say, hey, I'm going to run INTech Camp for Girls full time. I'm going to figure out what this looks like.
So from 2018 until March 2022, I was running INTech Camp for Girls full time. So what that meant was, I'm trying to write grants. I'm trying to sometimes go into marketing for social media. I'm hiring people, sometimes firing people. I'm planning a camp.
I'm trying to get sponsorships from corporate sponsors, trying to make connections within the Carolinas because we did our camps in North Carolina, in Raleigh, and in Charlotte. So, like, showing up to do community partnerships. Not only that, I was not getting paid in 2018 from INTech Camp for Girls. So what that meant was I was using my own personal savings that I had from my time at Apple to support my life and doing other gigs to get money. So within 2018, luckily, it was all related.
So I taught some. My friend Sherelle, she had ran this program called Tech Charlotte, and I was the instructor for it. So she wrote me a check for that. So I ran that for, like, three weeks. And then later on in that summer, I taught the Google Computer science summer institute program at Johnson C. Smith.
Now, that gig actually set me free a little bit because they paid me handsomely for three weeks of teaching. And so that gig actually kind of coasted me through the rest of the year, but it's still Khalia the brand too, right? So I'm being pulled in for interviews because Sherelle, the friend that I mentioned, Sherelle Dorsey, she runs The Plug. She graduated from Columbia School of Journalism and while she was there, wrote this piece about me that she then published in the Charlotte Observer. And I had never even read the thing.
I'm in the hometown paper. That's crazy. But then it really was like a pivot after that. Like, all these news outlets. Like, I'm on The Root 100.
NBC flew to Charlotte to shoot me and the camp and the girls. I'm in a book now about women working or whatever. So I was getting all this press, like PBS came into Charlotte, all this stuff was happening. I'm doing speaking engagements, so that means I'm on flights all the time. 2018 was an insane year, especially towards the end of it.
I'm on flights all the time. I remember flying in New York for The Root 100 gala, taking the train in Philly for this business essentials program for leaders at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania.
I remember being burned out from a lot of the stuff, too, because I think when I got back from Wharton, I went to another award thing that was happening in Charlotte. Like y’all, I stayed on planes all the time. I was always somewhere. And it wasn't leisure travel. It was literally like going to this award ceremony, going to this conference, or going to go speak here and do this.
And that was my life through 2020.
My little brother, when he first went to college, I missed his move in. That wasn't all my fault because they gave me those details real late. But I remember literally being so exhausted that I could not make it. Another Soror who's like a big sister to me, she got married, and it was just up the street, but I had just got from this hot back to back to back travel. I missed it, so I didn't make it.
It wasn't like a big, big wedding. It was like a justice of the peace, but still, right. She's been there for me since high school, and I didn't make it. And so literally, just on the go all the time. And then grad school.
I'm no longer in computer science, so I've slowed this down, too. But in computer science and computer science education, we primarily publish at conferences. You go to the conference to attend, but also if you publish a paper there and it gets accepted or you're on a panel or whatever, you're going to present. And so I was like, back to back, going to stuff in addition to school, in addition to INTech that was my life. And what I've been telling people now is that from high school, literally, probably from, like, 11th grade until now, I've always been doing at least two to three things, if not more, as of late.
Over the last five years, I had to scale it back because I'm like, I can't do anything but run this business. Then I decided to go get a PhD. So then I'm, like, running a business and getting a PhD, and I can't do anything outside of this. Then there were moments where I'm like, Damn, what if I was only in school? Like, I'd be a rock star student?
Or what if I was just running this business? I'd be a rock star CEO. So then I finally was able to let go of the nonprofit and transition out of leadership and get a new leader. And I exhaled so deeply. Like, this is the first time I'm just a student, probably since, like, middle school.
Even in high school, I was playing sports. You know what I'm saying? I can never think of a time where I was a student and only a student since middle school. That's insane. That is insane.
But I can't talk to us, because that's supposed to be a tragic moment. You gave up your baby. Who does that? Right? That's supposed to be a tragedy.
Something had to happen really bad. But for you. What? Listen, let me tell you something. I'll never forget another Soror who's like a big sister to me.
You can never leave. INTech looked at her like girl bye. So I actually was thinking about this yesterday, too. There's this organization that hosts these trips. They're called REALITYIsrael, where they send leaders to Israel for about a week.
And I went to their tech trek of this trip. And while we're bouncing around Israel, there's a lot of deep work happening on that trip, which is really crazy how quick, because I didn't know any of these people going into this trip, and it was some real deep conversations happening. So on the last last day, our last little leadership building moment, they had us answer three questions. I don't remember the question right now, but it was around, like, what are you still wrestling with or struggling with and thinking about going back to the States in your business? And I was like this was July 2019.
And I remember saying, I feel stuck. I feel extremely stuck in this business. I'm not excited about it anymore because, again, going back to being a boss, before, I was just excited about teaching these girls about computer science because I'm a nerd and have been since fourth grade. Or before that right. I was on a newspaper for books.
I'm excited by that. Right. But now, as a boss, I have to run the business. I got to do payroll. I have to make sure that these parents' emails are getting answered.
Like, all this stuff. I do not enjoy this no more, and I feel stuck. And this one guy was like, Why don't you just quit? He just said it so matter of fact. And I'm looking at him like,
What you mean, it ain't that easy? Not now, not when I'm in the newspapers, in Essence magazine and all this crap for running this stuff. You know what I'm saying? I'm like, Bruh, it's not that easy. And so I took that back with me.
I journaled about it. I have about a month between that trip and me going to school. And again, we mentioned that Board of Directors. So I can't just sunset the organization. I can't just quit because there's a whole Board of Directors, right?
And so I do remember going to school and kind of letting that be my reprieve. And then in 2020, the pandemic hit. All of our camps are in person, so I'm honestly thinking, yes, this is great. You know what I'm saying? I'm sad that the girls are going to miss the enrichment, but thank God, because the girl is free.
I need a break. Why did Florida directors come back and say, oh, why don't we try to do a virtual camp? I wanted to toss my whole laptop. That was my reaction. I was like, I know you lying to me.
So I was actually resistant to doing that. But it actually ended up being one of the best years ever for us financially. And we were able to reach way more students because we were on Zoom. So at first, we targeted North Carolina girls, like we always do, but enrollment was low, and it was like, well, why don't we just open it up? Like any girl who can hop on Zoom can join the camp.
So we were able to reach students in Canada, California, and it was beautiful, and it literally did, for a second, light a spark for me, but there was just a second where I was like, oh, this is great. We literally got so much funding that year. But what that did was set me up to be able to offer a full time salary for an executive director coming into 2021. I said, hey, guys, I have to step away. I feel like I was self sabotaging, right?
There were sponsorship calls. I went to all the meetings, but sometimes I would just kind of taper off on email threads, and I was just kind of like I was just burned out. Like, I didn't want to do the work anymore. And I'm like, we're going to just crash and burn if we don't replace me. That's where I'm at with it.
And so in 2021, I came in with that, and I'm like, by the end of this year, we have to figure this out. I remember having a conversation with one of my other homegirls, Raven Solomon, who also is a Boss.
Raven, I was talking. I was like, look, my options are INTech. Get acquired by a tech company, and we're just in their philanthropy arm or something like that. We fold it to another nonprofit. I sell it or not sell it, but we shut it down, and I take whatever is in our bank account and divide it up to other nonprofits doing similar work.
But something has to go. The first option was we found a new leader, but I felt like we didn't have enough to offer them. So I was telling her about our financials, and this is because I'm from Tech, right? I'm thinking, everybody start off six figures. She was like, Girl, look up the average salary for an executive director in North Carolina and go off that.
And I was like she was like, if you got 70, 80K that you can offer to somebody, that's more than enough for an executive director in this state. And I was like, oh, well, we got that. And I went back to my board. We hired a firm that we had worked with to do strategic planning. And they don't really help you find EDs, but I know the owner, so he helped us with that process.
So I was hands off, because in coming in 2021, I had conversations with other founders who had stepped away from their nonprofit. One of them was in a better financial place than we were, but he gave me some game. He was like, don't be part of the process. Let your board do it. So I stepped away.
I let them handle it. And now we have a new executive director. I'm not even on the board. I'm just out here just liking the post.
That's cute. Oh, man. Well, I think for you, this is the relative part of it for me, I also felt very stuck about my podcast, like my podcast was doing. I think it had a great run.
I want to know as a root, but I was somebody who kind of got started before a lot of people. So there was like, this pioneering thing that I was holding on to matched with people see me in the street, they're like, when the next podcast? With my hat? It felt like a duty and responsibility to keep going just because of those things. Knowing it well.
Like, I really want to focus on this other thing. So hearing you, I think it was maybe just a simple Twitter post that you made a tweet kind of be like, I'm no longer the director, and I feel great. I was like, she just set me free. Yes.
That's why I said in the beginning, I have to give you the flowers for that, because I had never seen that done where the conversation of pop culture is all the hypercriticism around maybe like the Shea Moistures of the world, the people who sell. And people are like, first of all, you all, don't be with these people shooting in the gym, you do not know what it's taking. They could be in debt, they could be bankrupt, they could be upside down. They could be missing every meal at night. Like, we don't know.
We can't be attached to really just expectations of other people. Let me tell you. First of all, thank you for sharing that, because I, on a nonprofit level, had never seen anybody do it. Well, I had saw some people. I hadn't seen anybody who like me do it.
I'll say it like. That part.
And that's why I was so like, that's why I was struggling a little bit at first. But then I started thinking, I was like, nah, there are some people who have done this. I have to figure this out and talk to them. But also, I wasn't public about it until it was set in motion because I'm like, I know people are going to project their stuff on me, right? I never ran a business in the debt, ever.
But they're going to ask me all these questions and stuff, and I'm like, I can't take it. It wasn't a secret. Like, I was having the conversations with folks that knew me, but it wasn't a public thing that I was ready to talk about yet. But the way that I think about this whole thing and I have a blog post I haven't published yet, 2023 has been about giving up the good for the great. And that is just how I've had to frame this whole thing, because that's all this is.
It like, you don't know what's on the other side until you let something go. And I literally felt free. I moved out of the apartment I was in, in Philly, at that time, which I did a lot of healing in. Like the one that I talked about that got all of it, even that people are like, you gonna leave your apartment? I'm like yes, I am.
Because guess what? I can decorate the next apartment. It's going to be okay, guys. People like to hold on to stuff. Yeah.
2022 literally has been giving up the good for the great down to my storage unit. And I know that's really random. The storage unit I had in Philly for INTech was, it was sketchy, to say the least, and it didn't feel like that when I first got it. Obviously, I wouldn't have left our stuff in there, but when I started to get stuff out and ship it to the new ED, blah blah blah, shifty stuff was happening. So I got a new storage on the other side of town, and the building, the facility is new also.
And so one of my homegirls, it got to the point that that last one was so sketchy, I had to have a battle buddy with me. Like, I refused to go alone. That's another story for another day. And so my homegirl, the Soror that I hung out with in Philly. She came to me to that storage, but she also had came with me to my newer one.
She was like, Dang, even your storage is better. Like the little cart, the roll your stuff on, it's not creaking, it's brightly lit in here. I was like, Dang, you right. So literally everything got better, even though it wasn't anything wrong with what was happening in my life. But so many things got greater.
We were recording this episode just before fall hit in the fall. You know, thank God for Facebook memories. Now, they remind you of the crazy things that you said when you were 17 years old, but they also remind you of the profound things that you were experiencing when you were 23 and 25. And what I know about August, September is like, there's this shift of things that just have to go away. Like the trees shed their leaves so that new things can be born.
That's how I look at life now. Less is more, like your bio says, doing less, living more. It's a concept that when you don't have a lot and you trying to hold on to what you have because absolutely it will hold you back from the greater. Oh, my God. Khalia.
It's a word. You know what? I might drop that whenever this podcast drops. I mean, it's a lot of what I said today, but yeah, giving up the good for the great, man. And it's funny that you mentioned that too, because I do start my next full time job, August 29th.
Congratulations, girl. Congratulations. Thank you. I'm excited about it, but it's just like, Dang, I got to go to work. Like, what?
And it's happening at the end of August going into the fall. So new beginnings. New beginnings. Delta means change. I mean.
The story of our lives is all of… they don't tell you this. I think that's the thing for me, adulting has been a whole lot of golly, nobody told me this. Nobody was going to tell me this was going to happen. And the biggest thing is change is inevitable. Don't run from it.
Embrace it. Because you're going to go and be able to experience more, do more and be like Khalia. Because, listen, you are a guiding example of what it looks like even just to kind of wrap things up here beyond that busy era that you kind of mixed. What does life look like for you now? I'll also say this.
We're in the season or the end of the season of PValley. And what Uncle Clifford said…
I'm so obsessed. What he said to Mercedes is like, sometimes you gotta dream new dreams. And so what are some of the new dreams of the future, Doctor Khalia Braswell? And how are you guiding yourself? Like, what are the self care things you're doing to guide you to that?
Before we get to that and before we end this conversation. I do want to say that I used to eat hustle culture up. I was the sleep when you’re dead, hustle, hustle, hustle, specifically coming out of high school and going into college, right? I want to make sure folks understand that I was queen of hustle culture to the point where one of my neos actually pointed it out to me, because I think I had burned out a little bit in undergrad. Well, I'm sure I burned out a lot in undergrad, but I hit my point.
And so maybe some of this started then, but that's really where I stopped indulging in the hustle culture back then. But I remember her struggling with all this stuff on her plate as an engineering major, and I remember her telling me, like, well, I remember seeing something you tweeted about sleeping when you're dead. And that just sobered me so much because I'm like, oh, man, I really have to watch the messages that I put out. And so now that people are noticing this shift in me and what I'm talking about, it warms my heart, because it's like, I want us all to get free from that BS. And I do believe there's a level of hustle, but I feel like that we can live without hustle.
You know what I'm saying? What is it like to live without hustle? And that's where I'm at now. And so I always tell folks, because I think self care is also being overused. But it started out real simple for me.
Like, when I lived on the West Coast, I turned my ringer off, and now I've been doing that for years, and my mother hates it because when she calls me, my phone don't ring, and I got to call her back. It's like, I know your phone is off. Well, it's not off if I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner. I need to focus on that. If somebody calls me, I don't need to be like, oh, my phone ringing.
You know what I'm saying? Like that reaction, I don't need it. I did that for years. I turned off my notifications on my phone. Even went through a phase where I didn't have email on my phone, even running the business.
I took it all off. It was just giving me too much anxiety. And so the only thing that I get notifications for is, like, text messages, group me. I'm about to turn LinkedIn off, but, like, messaging apps. But if somebody tweets me or whatever, nothing from Twitter, nothing from Instagram, I have to physically go into the app.
Nothing from an email. I have to go into the app. For years, I've not waking up with an alarm unless I have an early flight or I need to get somewhere early. Like, I absolutely need to wake up. I've been trusting my body.
If I go to bed on time, I literally will wake up at the same time every day. Now, if I get out of whack, it gets a little inconsistent, but I realize I don't have nowhere to be. Where am I going on my laptop? Why?
Am I waking up from an alarm? Like, no. I love candles.
I have a whole skin routine from head to toe. My face care routine is like, seven steps, and then when I get out of the shower, I use, like, body butter and oil. And then if I'm going out for the day, I'll put on a little perfume. It's a whole thing that, to me, is self care. I want to smell good.
These are, like, little things because I'm so into my body, because I do a lot of yoga. And, like, Mindfulness, that was another thing that shifted me from in this pandemic other leader that I'll mention, Aisha Bowe, she has two companies, but one of them is called STEM Lingo. And so I drove to DC. To pick them up because they're like engineering kits for kids, and we sent them all to our INTech students. We're just talking.
She's like, yeah, I've gotten into meditation. I don't do it consistently, but I was for a little bit, and so I'm way more in tune with my body now, and I know when I'm anxious and stressed and when I realize that, I'm like, I have to pivot. So I can't have things ringing or I can't have people trying to get my time a lot. And I think those are simple things, right? I didn't say, oh, I'm going to the spa.
I mean, I do, like, massages, but not a self care thing for me. Well, it is, but it's not like a core thing. I do, like, doing yoga and working out. I have to move my body for my mind, for health, too. But, yeah, I'm in therapy.
Shout out to Victoria, my therapist, someone mentioned that reading is self care. And I'm like, I mean, I guess this is something that I like to do, but I try to read 20 books a year. I know. I'm an accelerated reader. Yes, you are.
Little treats. Well, at least I used to. After every five books, I don't get a personal pizza from Pizza Hut no more, but I'll get some ice cream or something. Read all about it got you trained.
Oh, my God. But I don't want folks to think that I arrived here and this is where I've been, because it's not. It took some time, and I'm still unlearning, like, monitoring a whole lot, but, like, I used to be into that hustle culture. Boy, I had quotes all around my dorm room. It was bad.
It was bad, y'all. Oh, man. To no fault of your own. You're here to tell us the story of how to get over to the other side. We had to go through some things to get there.
So you know what, Khalia? It's been a pleasure. We could talk all day, but for those who want to follow along, this journey. Of all the great things that you will continue to do and all the rest that you will continue to get, how can they connect with you? Absolutely.
I am Khalia Braswell on all platforms that may or may not change. It may or may not be closed at some point. I don't know. But khaliabraswell.com, Khalia Braswell on Twitter. That's my favorite platform.
And then Khalia Braswell on instagram. If you all want to follow the journey, awesome. And if there was one thing that you wanted to close with, I think you had a fantastic closer. And, like, let me tell you something. If there was just one thing that you wanted to, I mean, because for me, I'm always searching.
I need it. I need it bad. What is a closing remark or thought that you have for those who are listening, and they might be at the end of their busy era? I will say what a wise woman once told me is to be gentle with yourself. Period.
Period. Take it as you will, ladies and gentlemen. This stuff is hard. Oh, dang. Okay.
I just had an epiphany, but it's okay. Be gentle with yourself. Okay, no problem. I'll get the goods. You all share it later.
But thank you again, Khalia. For those of you who are listening, there are going to be some show notes firstname.lastname@example.org, so make sure that you check that out. And until next time, be sure to subscribe to this show. Continue to battle overwhelm with your systems and self care and walk out your BOSS™ Talk. Thank you.