When You Dance to Your Own Rhythm, Life Taps Its Toes to Your Beat


Have you ever felt like you're behind in achieving your goals, but everyone else around thinks you're doing absolutely great? Then you start to disregard all your little victories and before you know it, you're scrolling through your Instagram and Twitter feeds, comparing yourself and your accomplishments to everyone else; thinking "damn, I need to level up".

Sound accurate? I've been there too. 

 I will admit, I have felt like what I was doing wasn't enough, or not up to par I should say. I've felt this way on numerous occasions. This mindset is an easy mood killer and will have you questioning how you even went from happy to buzz kill in five seconds. Once your mood is pretty much tarnished, your motivation gradually starts to go with it. You start picking at little things and overthinking way too much. 

Well, I have a little secret for you...

The best way to flourish and bloom is sticking to your roots and doing you, for you

Nobody else, just you. Don't try to do everything you can just to look like you're killing it. Be lit, authentically and enjoy your life while doing it. When you focus on yourself, you feel better about what you're doing and where you're going. When you focus on yourself, everything starts meshing. 

I believe that everyone has their own unique blessing(s). Thus, that blessing comes to you when your mind, body, and soul are aligned. Focusing on everyone else's blessing(s) only makes yours stall. Envy will make you wait. So focus on yourself. One thing that has helped me is staying positive with one biblical verse and one quote of affirmation that best resonates with me. My two favorite come from the book of Hebrews and poet Adrian Michael Green. 

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) 

It's all about having faith in action and trusting everything will fall in place. 

"Each day she begins again.  Creating her newest most beautiful version."
Adrian Michael

Each morning God blesses you to awake is a new opportunity. It doesn't matter if the day before was one of the worst days yet, you have a fresh start to begin again. To manifest all that you are striving for step by step. Becoming your most beautiful and precise evolution. That alone should be enough to keep you moving forward. 

If you want to go to the next level you have to act like it. So this means getting rid of all your bottled up negativity, comparison, and unwanted doubt. The first step is genuinely believing. The second step is choosing and being you. Once you start off small and enjoy your progress, all the rest will follow through. 

Because after all, when you dance to your own rhythm, life is sure to tap its toes to your unique song. 

Be bold, be brave, be you. When you're brave, you empower others around you to be brave too. 

How USC's Rose Bowl Win Defied the Odds Against Them


From the very start to USC’s season, doubt counted them out. After their fall to Alabama, negativity ran its course. They were deemed talented, but slightly incapable of keeping up to such caliber. Once the losses kept coming, they turned elsewhere and made remarks on the coaching. All of these factors can take a toll on a team. Knowing your capability and continuously being shot down with negativity can be frustrating. Knowing the history of your program and trying to bring it back from its unfortunate wounds along the way; can be challenging. Being thrown several different coaches year after year holds up your momentum. However, the beauty in all of those roadblocks, is ultimately what led the Trojans here. 
Each year, each team and each player played a role. They set up modifications from trial and error. Each year, they worked out the kinks. Each year they got better. If something great is going to manifest, it has to manifest accordingly. Adversity, and all the blood, sweat and tears are what holds together a family. Something about seeing the Trojans this year around was satisfying and quite special. No matter what the media or anyone believed— they stay trued to their mission. They stuck behind Clay Helton, they trusted in his lead and they regained USC’s football credibility. 
This time around, it was less about showboating and more about showing up. 
From kickoff, the Trojans set the tone and gradually fell off for a bit. However, after losing badly in the third quarter, they came back focused and ready to take over the game in the fourth quarter. Even in moments when things started to look good in favor of Penn State, they didn’t fold. USC had a chip on their shoulder and a story to be told. This was the most exciting, nerve-racking and an adrenaline filled game we’ve seen from USC yet. In many ways, it seems like the team and the program needed all of these tests. They needed to be faced with a few disappointments to rebirth into the powerhouse we’ve all grown to know. Most importantly, they needed to know what it truly meant to fight on, again.
This wasn’t just the game of the year. History lies here. It’s been a long time coming and the old chains hindering change have been broken. Sam Darnold was the key to putting USC back into the national spotlight, but the whole team took control of their circumstances. The other night, we saw togetherness as one. There wasn't one player who outshined the next, and there wasn’t one player who played harder than the next guy. Every second of this game contained grit, passion, and heart. 
An impact of a team begins with the quality of a coach and Clay Helton is the mirror of his production. Helton embodies class, persistence and all things positive for USC. The team that you saw play Monday night was a reflection of that. As it turns out, bringing Clay Helton on board was a wise choice. This season was the perfect example of that. Many thought he should be fired or that USC needed a “real” head coach. All awhile, the process was only building the characteristics of the team. Just like any coach he was learning and he worked out those kinks and were capable of getting into their groove— and the rest was history, literally. However, each of us can take something from the Trojans story. You simply can’t rush the results. So many were worried about how USC looked on the outside and immediately wanted gratifying results, while Clay was focused on what lied within, which ultimately made the most noise in the end. 

Needless to say, USC had a great game to end the season and Penn State was a great opponent that had no problem challenging the Trojans. This will be remembered as one of the Rose Bowl’s greatest games played. With millions watching, it is safe to say that both teams deserved to be in a real college playoff. Hopefully, the result from Monday night's game will pave the way in considering an expansion of the playoffs past four teams. However, with this win, hope among the cardinal and gold was restored. Excitement for next season is anticipated and a rough start turned into sweet victory. As for Sam Darnold, he’ll only get better with time. Stay tuned for the next three years, if he stays that long. The dynasty has been reborn. 

Here's To One Year | Happy 1st Blog Birthday!


Happy New Year! and Happy Birthday to Ashley Avenu. It's been an entire year since this big idea began. A year ago today, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create Ashley Avenu. I was so fed up of relying on others to see what I could offer. So, on January 1st, 2016 I created my own opportunity. An outlet for my own writing, my voice, on my own platform my way. I took the risk of possibly getting no one to read my work. I took a chance on failure. One year later, Ashley Avenu exceeded my own expectations in reaching over 14k views, but that's not it. I have a big reveal!

Linqup 2.0

Some months back, I wrote an article that touched on a new app that was emerging called Linqup. In case you missed it, I expressed how I believed Linqup would be the next big app for millennials (which can be found here). With any great idea comes many audits, tweaks, and a refreshed view. For founder and CEO, Xavier Boyd, it was about pressing the envelope to have his startup become what it should be and have it done his way. 

Over the course of planning, Xavier has added and subtracted many for the project. In order for his vision to come to life, it was important that he sharpen with like minded individuals. Although the first version did not go as planned due to novice behavior and a scattered crowd, Xavier was able to use that as motivation as he began to rebuild, connect, and parallel a team to relaunch his vision. Back in October, Xavier Boyd attended the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit which had the biggest influence on his road to relaunch. "There were so many like-minded individuals and a lot of positive feedback and information man, it was crazy; in a good way," he explains. "Serendipity and making people believe in your product were the two biggest standouts. I never thought an idea from my brain would have had me in those moments that I shared in Boston."  Xavier shared. 

If you have some unfamiliarity with Forbes 30 under 30, it's a set of lists annually issued by Forbes magazine where they recognize young entrepreneurs, creatives, game changers, movers, and makers all under thirty. There are about twenty different fields, accumulating a good six hundred nominees. The list is never repeated and categories range from finance, art, sports, consumer tech, science and much more. 

The summit gave Xavier, as well as friend Justin, a chance to see successful people who were once in their position speaking, which ultimately was all of the extra motivation Xavier needed. Justin is a close friend that now works very closely with Xavier in Houston, Steve with HBCU Confessions, and the Populace Partners in Atlanta who play a huge role in developing the project. Xavier doesn't like too much spotlight on himself, he would rather give credit to the team. He also explains that everything that he is doing is bigger than him, and likes to reassure that it's not just about Xavier. "Without those guys, Linqup would not be here. I just appreciate their loyalty, honesty, and believing." he genuinely expressed. With his humble and hardworking characteristics, Boyd is on the verge of releasing the next level of event hosting that can pave the way for a new age of marketing. 

For those who need a slight recap of what Linqup has to offer, let's dig in. Linqup allows you to have instant access to all of your social needs in accommodation to your personal preferences. You can find the latest events in your area from a variety of categories no matter where you are. Linqup caters to whatever you may need. 

The new and improved Linqup app is anticipated to be relaunched and available in the App Store by early February. If there are any general questions or inquiries you may have on behalf of the app, Xavier Boyd can be contacted via Twitter. His handle is @_xbtaughtyou.

Linqup is the app to download in early February.

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