From creator of Millennial on a Mission to being on The Root's 30 under 30 viral voices,
Chasity S. Cooper has worked tirelessly as a communications professional and digital
swaggerist. Her mission? To empower and educate our generation of thinkers, doers and game-changers through effective storytelling. I got the chance to chat with Chasity about her triumphs and failures, and how they catapulted her career.
Natasha J. Benjamin: You've coined the phrase 'millennial on a mission'. What does that mean to you and how it encapsulates your work, both success and failure?
Chasity Cooper: At the core, millennial on a mission means being consistent and working on your dreams, even when they may seem deferred— to fully and unapologetically
embrace success and failure. I came up with the concept over 3 years ago, sitting in my first apartment in D.C. At the time, I was consuming all these stories about millennials— how we're narcissistic, lazy and entitled. I wanted to change the narrative. I wanted to capture my friends and colleagues who were changing the game in their respective industries, in spite of the odds against them.
At the core, millennial on a mission means being consistent and working on your dreams, even when they may seem deferred– to fully and unapologetically embrace success and failure.
NJB: We often focus on the accolades of a journey, but neglect to share the failures that got us here today. What specific life event changed your mindset?
CC: Since I graduated five years ago, I've been fired from two jobs. The first time it happened, it never really hit me. But the second time, it sunk a little deeper. It was June 30, 2015 and I got pulled into HR's office to find that I was getting laid off again. I could have deemed it to be the end, but I used that defeat as fuel. I continued to hustle and push forward.
During the four months I was unemployed, I went into full survival mode. I assessed my skill set— I just left a job where I was doing social media, I'm a PR geek, I understand analytics and love writing. So I started pitching clients where I handled social media for a local charter school in DC and working with smaller nonprofits along the east coast. Also, by the end of July I started freelance writing with Slant News. Along with my savings and these new
opportunities, my four months of unemployment allowed me to move freely without feeling like I was missing a beat. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about June 30, 2015. It's a reminder that I have to work twice as hard. If it weren't for my failures, I wouldn't be able to fully appreciate my successes.
If it weren't for my failures, I wouldn't be able to fully appreciate my successes.
NJB: What are 3-4 actionable steps you would provide to help someone fail forward?
Assess your goals. What can you bring to the table that makes you standout from the rest? What [transferrable] skills do you have that you'll be able to provide value to a company or organization?
Assess your network. My mentors, the Levo League and Her Agenda networks, Washington Women in PR, and additional DC groups allow me to continuously tap into a multitude of resources.
Continue to live life normally. When it comes to failing forward, we may want to retreat and hold back. But, it's important to follow your regular schedule and live life normally.
- Remain optimistic. It's easier to have fallen, stay there and not want to try again. Give yourself the opportunity to have your moment, but then get right back up. When you think above, you're going to be above. You'll be able to put that positive energy into the universe and great things will come your way.
Failing is never the end, but the start of something new. In the midst of your constant pursuit of success, take care of yourself and keep a positive mindset. To keep up with Chasity, you can follow her on the 'gram or on Twitter.
How are you going to take your failures and mistakes, and turn them into triumphs? Share with us in the comments below!
This interview is a part of our #FailForward series where we highlight media and communication professionals that use their setbacks, for their greatest comebacks. Failure is inevitable, but it is through failure where our stories are built.