Dream and Hustle have performed unparalleled coverage for sistas during the month of March for the past several years. Our coverage and interactions with sistas over time given us the ability to have better insight to help develop an overall strategy for sistas to pursue. In this article, we want to summarize the major points covered over the past years on this blog for the sistas. Dream and Hustle been around since 2005 and overall, we witness a dramatic positive transition regarding the sistas. Before we witness how black women were treated unequal and less than, treated like a tool and dumping ground by the black church, black radio, black music videos, black-owned businesses and these negative factors played a greater role in how sistas carried herself negatively and not realizing it. Today we are happy to see sistas risen up above the negative and now establishing her own voice, direction and recently start shaping her story and I believe we are in great era or the beginning of a turning point in history for sistas to make those major moves. Let’s remember that we had black female aviators, black female entrepreneurs and Harriett Tubman freeing slaves. The sistas were always putting in work throughout history but wasn’t properly recognized but today, we are seeing the tide turning back to making sure our people story and our history is inclusive of our sistas, her identity and her accomplishments. For you sistas out there who are looking for direction to do for self and make a difference in this world, let’s summarize what Dream and Hustle covered over the years to help provide you with a path that hopefully direct you to self-empowerment and self-fulfillment. Here are the main points we covered over the years. Remove Yourself from Negativity Almost all sistas will find negative elements creeping into her life at every corner and turn. She may have negative friends that talk down other guys to her and shoot down her ambitions through non-support. She may have negative family members trying to control who she see and date and what she want to do with her life. Sistas have to hear unsolicited advice from so-called relationship experts like Michael Baisden and Steve Harvey or some other jive ass character talk about how to have a relationship with a black woman and baby momma drama and ratchet behavior. In addition, we have the feminists who want to tell a sista to hate men and make her agree with hating someone else in this world when God is Love. Then she has to see these PUA black males and these hyper-macho black men sneer behind her back talking about her body and who can give her the best “mack lessons” and also all on her social media page posting up “damn you fine!” Kevin Hart memes. And mainstream media want to portray her as a toy for curious white guys and always second fiddle to the white woman on the pedestal and sistas only got movie roles where she is not a heroine but some neck rolling chick in a low-budget black relationship drama movie. Sistas need to be extremely vigilant and passionate about identifying and removing negative elements in her life – this is the first thing she had to do to move forward. One of the challenges many sistas face is wanting to keep around negative people and elements because she is afraid of being alone. If you sistas are afraid of being alone then be afraid but do it anyway. Because right now, sistas have to realize she deserve better than being around negativity. Reject negativity, rebuke it and have no tolerance for anybody including friends, families, overprotective macho cousins and uncles, fake girlfriends and everybody else who want to control and manipulate a sista. Once a sista remove all the negativity from around her, she can start from a fresh base to build herself up the way she want to. Research and Embrace Global Patterns and Practices In order deliver true measurable success, look for existing success patterns and practices and customize them to your own goal instead of reinventing the wheel. Notice we did not say “know your history” because you don’t need to know the past to move forward – that is not how the world or the universe works as we are in a state of continuous forward motion. Learn to look global for good case studies and patterns and practices that are aligned with your goals and take notes of these patterns and practices. For example, right now on Netflix is probably one of the best Netflix Original shows I seen period that the sistas may want to checkout called Atelier. This show is about a young woman who just started out in the underwear fabric industry and she started her first gig with a woman-owned lingerie firm. The show is very passionate about running a business and delivering the best product but most important, this show struck a chord with me. Because in my prior life I worked for a firm that created the fabric for New York Fashion Row major labels and I knew the women fabric buyers and cutters and they had the same passion for their job and craft you will see in this Netflix series. The reason why I brought this show up is this is the kind of black woman media that is missing from our culture and need to be portrayed here in America and this is a good success pattern. I dare and challenge any of you sistas to watch the first episode of this show and see for yourself what I’m talking about. Sistas should look worldwide and look at how other groups and cultures are solving problems and challenges and adopt them and realize that America does not have all the answers and if we did have the answer, what usually happen especially with African-Americans is we try to just cope and mitigate the problem instead of implement the solution. Learn to look at Harajuku where they have a powerful sista-to-sista economy and branding engine. Look at Milan for fashion patterns and practices as well as look at South Africa where they have strong sistas leading major initiatives. We have a lot of sistas also here in America working at different levels. For example, on the West Side of Chicago which is a poor community when I was growing up, there was a sista who was creating window blinds and selling it from a factory in the middle of the hood that nobody really knew about. No one is going to tell you sistas how to really go about it – they just going to try to share an inspirational meme or some basic stuff. You sistas have to look and do research on the Internet for solutions and see what worked and what didn’t work and adopt what works and apply it to your endeavor. You are going to progress through trial and error to get better so the best way to do the trial and error is to swaggerjack someone else trial and error and adopt their success pattern so you can quickly move forward knowing what you apply as your strategy has already been proven elsewhere in this world. Establish Your Strategy and Execute Using the Agile Process Embracing Agile is the most significant strategic shift in the overall process of African-Americans to get better and be better. Instead of focusing on whether you are going to succeed or fail, what you focus on is just defining the story and fulfilling the story. It can be a good story, a bad story or an ugly story but at the end of the day, it is a story that you contributed and it is a part of who you are. Elements of Agile make sense such as defining what stakeholders’ value and their immediate priority – which in most cases you are the stakeholder and you need to define what brings you value and what is the immediate priority. You add everything to a list called the backlog and you prioritize and execute in small iterations completing tasks to fulfill a story. Let’s quickly cover what tools to use to develop and execute a strategy. The first step is to get sticky notes that can be bought at the dollar store and write down one idea per sticky and post on a wall and keep posting until you run out of ideas in your head. Then arrange those ideals in a mind map and use Freemind mind mapping tool which is free. From there, get a free online account to use the Visual Studio Team Services Agile tool which is a powerful tool to manage your agile strategy. Lay Down the Foundation and Frameworks One of the missing components to help sistas overall progress and succeed is frameworks and foundations. Yes, there are organizations filled with women who are profiled in magazines and yes there are web sites that talk about sistas and stuff like that but there is no platform that contains the framework and foundation for sistas today and tomorrow to build upon. What sistas today have to do is create these frameworks and foundations and do the heavy lifting not only for the sistas in the future but for sistas worldwide in Africa, Europe, Caribbean and Latin America – okay, the Canadian sistas also, we cannot forget them. Here are a few frameworks and foundations sistas should consider establishing and Atlanta is a good place to get the work in. Commerce and Trade. This involves how to do group buying and trade for example with Alibaba merchants on items like hair extensions and branded products that can be shipped wholesale. A council can be setup and work with the US Department of Trade to help assistance sistas on things like trade insurance and resolving disputes. Media Distribution. Sistas should know now to create and distribute media and the channels just like Harajuku. This means creating standardization on magazine formats so they all can be sold in the same marketplace, standardizations on IPTV programming to create a sista-orientated IPTV channel on Smart TVs and so on and the goal is to make sure all of the sistas who want to promote their own media can agree on a common format that allow sistas to easily create an ecosystem that any sista can contribute to a diversity of content. There are more foundations such as running a trade show, fashion show, soiree and sistas should step up and setup these frameworks and foundations. Most likely, the Global Urban Collective may be the ones that create the guidelines for open review but this is an important step to help guide all sistas to create solutions in a way that can be collectively powerful and diverse. Create Your Brand Around Your Identity and Purpose A sista has to think beyond a career goal and focus on creating her own brand that is based on her vision and persona. We propose that a sista create two organizations, a non-profit that focus on call-to-action and services to promote goodwill and positivity and a for-profit designed to increase revenue stream and brand awareness from products and services offered. A non-profit should engaged in raising revenue to raise awareness and this include activities such as running a resale shop boutique or a QR code scavenger hunt to promote sista-owned businesses. Trade shows and conferences are also a way to raise funds for the non-profit. The goal of the non-profit is to promote the sista as engaging in goodwill and purpose. The for-profit operation should focus on selling branded products and services. Branded products should be based on lifestyles and views such as a sista who want to encourage corporate sistas to walking can sell her own brand of walking socks and at the same time, sell office cube decorations and office supply that promotes a professional and active lifestyle. Branded products can be sold online or table vending or a pop-up shop or fashion truck. Branded services can include modeling for products, or appearance fees at events. In some cases, skills such as DJing an event or being the emcee can be a branded service. A for-profit and non-profit should complement each other where the non-profit promotes the brand in a positive light while the for-profit drives revenue. Enjoy Your Life by Writing Your Story The best thing a sista can do is start doing whatever she wants to and feel. If she wants to go to a EDM camping festival, then she should get her tickets and tent and go enjoy. If she wants to travel the world and skydive, go for it. No one is going to tell our sistas who she should be and what she should do anymore. For too long the sistas have been looked down at for wanting to do things like enjoy snowboarding and tried to discourage her to be nothing more than a pretty woman among African-American culture. Like her only role is to sit in a pew of a church and listen to a pastor and tithe the church. Sistas start going out and trying new things and find your passion and don’t let anybody discourage you from pursuing things you like and enjoy. In fact, we cannot write anything more because what you sistas choose to do is up to you and the thing is, we are just going to support you for pursuing your identity and your passion and your story. We hope these summarized points help sistas in her direction. One of the things we want to stress before ending this article is an observation we at the 3rd Strategic Institute have seen worldwide that we saw missing in African-American culture. If you look at African-American culture, you see people talking about how they love their momma and dear momma, celebrating our mothers. You also see black culture and black music celebrating marriage and wife and lady of their life and you see Valentine’s Day and all that stuff about getting with a woman. And we can go further and see celebration of strippers and butt models and their butt selfies and so on, especially stuff like dj vlad on YouTube and stuff like that. But one thing we saw in other cultures around the world, in Japan, in Singapore, in China, in Thailand, in India and South Africa, Nigeria and more places that we do not see in African-American culture is the celebration of the sistas. African-Americans are celebrating roles like mother, wives and strippers but we do not celebrate a sista for just being a sista. The sista who is not married, not a mother, not a stripper is literally invisible in any acknowledgement or recognition in our African-American culture and that is going to change. As a black culture, we are going to start celebrating and acknowledging our sistas for no other reason that she is our sista in African-American culture. She doesn’t have to be our mother, our wife, our side chick or our daughter to be celebrated, all she has to be is our sista and that is who she is and we love her for her identity, not what role she serves to us. So like we said, things are changing around us and it is exciting times for sistas and we hope the sistas go out on her journey and find her purpose and fulfillment and develop her story and live it.