Courtney Sanders

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Remember a while back when I talked about creating a virtual of board directors, i.e. mentors? In-person mentors are wonderful and ideal even, but they aren’t always easily found at every life stage. With social media and the wide availability of books, however, there’s no reason not to collect “mentors in your head”, from whom you can watch from afar and learn.

As a firm believer in this process, I’m excited to report that I’ve just added a new “mentor in my head” to my roster — Myleik Teele! As the founder and CEO of the runaway success known as CurlBox, Myleik is emerging not just as a major influencer of the natural hair and beauty space, but as a serious thought leader on the topics of business, career, money, and personal development.

I actually didn’t know that Myleik regularly offered advice on those topics until I started following her on Instagram. Blown away by the depth and profoundness to so much of what she shares on Instagram alone, I found myself scrolling through her whole timeline like, “Wait…why I am I just now finding out about this woman??? Where has she been all my life! Aaah! (*shakes fist at the sky*)”

As impressed as I was with Myleik’s social media posts, the all out love affair didn’t happen until I started listening to Myleik’s podcasts.






(and yes, I clap when I talk…)

Myleik’s podcasts are legit. As in…I literally listened to all of them in like, 3 days, hahaha! Booooy, I played this girl in the car, on the train, at work, at the gym, everywhere! I just think its SO refreshing to find a young, successful black woman who is really willing to break it down. This woman is ambitious, a bad chick with her money, AND a voracious reader…I felt like I was listening to a wiser, more accomplished, brasher version of myself!

Which is exactly who your mentor should be. Someone who is ahead of you but who you can still see yourself in, at least concerning where you want to be in life. Hence, Myleik is my new mentor. (The “in my head” kind.)

All that said, if you want to make Myleik a mentor in your head too, I’m giving you a head start today. Because I’m a NERD, I actually took notes while listening to some of her podcasts. Here are 53 life gems, spoken from the CurlBox CEO herself (click the titles to check out the original podcasts):

([su_highlight]Highlighted[/su_highlight] = my favs)

On Being Thorough…

  1. [su_highlight]Have a sense of urgency about your work (and life!). Get back to people quickly, do your work quickly, make decisions quickly[/su_highlight], which leads to:
  2. Be decisive and take action. Get in the habit of deciding quickly and moving forward more often. You might make mistakes but you’ll get more things right (and more things done) than if you sat around and pontificated all day.

On Finding a Mentor…

  1. [su_highlight]Your mentor will find you doing great work[/su_highlight].
  2. Be doing something, bring something to the table.
  3. A mentor will choose to mentor you because they see lots of potential in you.
  4. Have mentors for different areas of your life (a bouquet of people who are helping you).
  5. You can have mentors at a distance, they don’t always have to be in your life. (Boom! Even Myleik agrees with the “in my head” mentor system…)

On Getting Ahead by Reading…

  1. Read books, magazines, newspapers, etc with the goal to learn. Read a variety of topics.
  2. [su_highlight]Reading creates confidence. If you suffer from lack of self-confidence, it may because because you don’t have anything of value to say because you don’t read[/su_highlight]. If you just read blogs, scroll through pictures and watch TV all day…you won’t have anything to talk about when in a room with people who aren’t your immediate peers.
  3. Reading can make up for a lack of real-life experiences.
  4. Reading helps you become a global thinker vs a local thinker.
  5. Reading separates the barrier between the rich and the poor. Reading is available to everyone.
  6. Be deliberate about the things you choose to read. Use reading to fill in the gaps in your life.
  7. Myleik taught herself things she didn’t know by reading.
  8. Reading will expand your vocabulary.
  9. [su_highlight]What your hair looks like doesn’t matter when you are good! And you get good by reading books![/su_highlight]
  10. Reading increases your imagination.
  11. Reading helps with concentration — TV is passive and noisy. Reading requires your undivided attention, which teaches you how to focus on your goals and get things done.

On Making Excuses…

  1. Question every excuse you give yourself; try the “Is it true?” challenge. Ask yourself — is this really true? Or did I make this up? If I can’t prove it, then don’t believe it!
  2. If you can’t prove the “anchors” (negative beliefs you have about yourself) that are sinking you, then take them off!

Budgeting Basics…

  1. Don’t max out on housing. Spend way less than what you can afford on housing so you have wiggle room for what you really want out of life.
  2. [su_highlight]Negotiate everything — housing, insurance, etc.[/su_highlight]
  3. Shop around.
  4. Cut cable!

Common Denominator of Successful People

  1. They all get up early, regardless of how late they stay up. Like before 6am early.
  2. Schedule your day to a “t” down to 15 minute blocks of time.
  3. [su_highlight]Be ultra respectful of time — your time and others’ time.[/su_highlight]
  4. They constantly edit their circles — cutting out people who aren’t working out.
  5. They are constantly moving forward.
  6. They make swift decisions — “success is a series of swift decisions.”
  7. Book to read on updating your appearance: “It” by Paula Froelich
  8. They work on their relationships — always be connecting.

On Saving…

  1. Quit buying inexpensive stuff over and over again. It adds up! Don’t buy things you hope you will use.
  2. Quality over quantity — save up and buy the more expensive item if you are going to get more use out of it.
  3. Setup an automatic savings that comes out the day you get paid.
  4. Start with what you know you can save then increase the amount as you get used to it.
  5. Income is irrelevant — its about how much you save. If you make a lot but spend everything you make, then you won’t have any money.
  6. Try going without to see if you really need it.
  7. Instead of trying to cut back on everything, find ways to make extra money on the side.
  8. [su_highlight]Stop borrowing money, if you don’t have it now, you won’t have it later. If you need $100, just ask 4 friends for $25 outright.[/su_highlight]

On Being a Black Woman in Business…

  1. Get really good.
  2. Study non-black, non-female business people and leaders.
  3. Read autobiographies and biographies. Whoever is running the world, find out how they do it.
  4. “[su_highlight]Confidence comes from knowing something very well… If you don’t have any confidence it’s because you are not a master of anything.[/su_highlight] If you want to gain confidence, learn something really well. Become very good at something.”

On Pushing Past Fears, Obstacles and Doubt…

  1. [su_highlight]Stop with the “tips and tricks”!!! Quit searching for ways of how everyone else has done something! You are an individual, do it your way![/su_highlight]
  2. Banish negativity and negative people.
  3. Get in the habit of being excellent.
  4. Do everything you say you are going to do (i.e. keep your word to yourself).
  5. [su_highlight]Get used to doing what needs to be done when you don’t feel like doing it, when your sick, when you feel like crap (that’s how you build the habit!).[/su_highlight]
  6. Keep pumping yourself up and being positive.

So I know you’re thinking, “Wow, those are awesome tips but, um, Courtney, the title says 53 life lessons. You only listed 50, so…”

Yes, yes, of course I can count! Though I only jotted down 50 bullet points when listening to Myleik’s podcast, Myleik was gracious enough to drop three more #truthbombs on me directly when I asked her a question on twitter.



So there you have it! On building a work ethic, Myleik says…

  1. “If you only do what is asked of you and never go the extra mile or anticipate needs, you don’t have a beastly work ethic.”
  2. Be the ADULT that you are and HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS. It’s really that simple. Stop playing & get serious about your life.”
  3. [su_highlight]”Remember that YOU will always be your greatest priority & asset. Slacking off says ‘I don’t care about me.'”[/su_highlight]


P.S. — Many thanks to No Boiz Allowed for originally compiling me and Myleik’s twitter convo into a blog post!


Talk to Me:

What are your favorite tips from Myleik? Do you any have “mentors in your head”?