Several weeks ago a member of Black TV Film Crew said that she was happy with the year 2020 even with the police brutality being exposed as well as COVID-19. I couldn’t wrap my mind around her statement or be happy with the deaths that have come from COVID-19. I responded, “A lot of people would still be here if it weren’t for the pandemic.” Nonetheless, she stood firm in her position and simply replied, “The things that we’re seeing now, they were happening before. We needed to do something about them.” The truth in her words felt like a strong left hook. Could she be right?
Whenever someone’s truth stuns me, I step back, look in the mirror and begin to ask myself some questions. The question here: “What did I need to do about anything?”
I immediately thought about my businesses. I’m a screenwriter and TV producer in the day time. Prior to the pandemic I focused on my TV producer work but didn’t focus as much on my Black TV Film Crew brand. When I thought about my colleague’s statement, I knew I needed to make some changes. I realized that I wasn’t as purposeful with my businesses in 2019 as I have been in 2020. So, here are the 5 ways 2020 has made me a better person and a better entrepreneur.
1. Make Time for My Businesses Every Day
When the pandemic gave me more free time (3 weeks off,) I started to think about my businesses—their impact, profitability and reach. I started to ask myself, “What can I do better?” The answer: Make time for my Black TV Film Crew brand every single day. Don’t make excuses. Even on days when I’m tired, I will contribute to make Black TV Film Crew a brand I’m proud of.
2. Learned Something That Other People Use A Lot
When George Floyd’s death hit national headlines, my crew member’s question slapped me in the face again. This time the question: “With all that I have been blessed with, what can I do to help Black activism?” How can I help the fight against police brutality and move the culture forward in a real activist type of way? That question motivated me but woke me up in the morning like I had caffeine cursing through my veins. 2020 forced me to learn how to do 30 second IG videos to get an activism message across to the masses. I decided I wanted to be part of the solution, so I taught myself.
3. Learned New Ways To Hustle
I’ve been watching so many webinars on a variety of subjects. I’ll type in something on Google then go and watch it. I’ve learned new skills that I know will help further my businesses. If not for COVID-19, if not for George Floyd’s death stirring something deep in my soul, I wouldn’t feel such a sense of urgency to learn more and to be better. Taking new actions made me feel like a better person.
4. Stepped Out of My Comfort Zone
There are so many new things that I’ve learned during 2020 which I am now trying out with my businesses. Whether its posting a social media video or promoting a Black culture activism initiative, these are all very new to me. I’m nervous about them, but I believe my actions are for the greater good and so I’m happy no matter the response. In other words, I don’t need 1,000 likes to feel like I’ve hit a homerun.
5. Accepted myself and my unique skill set
If I were to honestly criticize myself, I would probably say that I don’t spend enough time celebrating my talents while thinking the grass is greener on the other side. But, 2020 has given me the time to utilize my talents in a variety of ways. Using my talents at the highest level has given me both courage and confidence. How many writers can say they’ve written 10+ books, helmed a marketing company, produced an Emmy award winning show, run a Black culture brand with an audience over 250k, and spoke in front of an audience of 5k at the Essence Music Festival. The point is, now, I accept myself. I don’t have to be anyone else in order to be happy. I’m me. And that’s enough. I certainly feel like I’m a better person as a result.
Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She’s a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.