I am a girlboss who’s still figuring out what that’s supposed to look like. Many times when browsing through social media, I am blatantly reminded of my weak portrayal of this self-designated title. I don’t have 100K followers nor am I partnering with reputable brands for giveaways once per week. My business is funded by my longtime provider—my mother—as my relatively abstract message strives to gain traction within the marketplace; that message being, “our stories are our identities.” My business, The Plot Tribe, is a multimedia movement promoting the idea that our identities are based upon the experiences who have made us into who we are today rather than external labels, such as race, gender, economic status, etc. My background is in entertainment; so, in order to bring this idea to life, I have started a documentary web series that chronicles a road trip through California (with my mother/benefactor) as I interview complete strangers, whom I found on the Internet, about their personal journeys. My goal in doing this is to show the universality of the human experience and how all of us are always going through something. Therefore, the idea is that with access to an outlet where we can openly share those experiences, not only do we feel less isolated in our own feelings, but we are also given the opportunity to learn something by listening to someone else’s perspective as they reflect upon their own life experiences.

I told you it was abstract.

Currently, I’ve been running in place at a steady 340 followers. I keep ignoring the inner panging, along with suggestions from friends and family, to take more deliberate steps toward expanding my marketing campaign. Until now. The new episode that will be released this week is a taping of my healing haircut experience with a chanting, yogic healer from Brooklyn: Adriana Rizzolo. I found Adriana in the most synchronistic of ways. Alongside girlbossing, I am currently looking for representation for my unpublished book. I research any and every flavor-of-the-year author with their fresh and relevant wit to find out who represents them and how my content is both similar/different to their successful prose. One day while researching Kelly Oxford, I came across a NY Times article about her meditation practice at The Den Meditation in Los Angeles (another interview I gained from this research attempt). At the top of The NY Times web page, they suggest other articles you might like based upon your current read, when I scanned across the title, “This ‘Witch’ Cast Spells With Scissors and Sage.” Living in this not so new-age era—when although spirituality is less confined to solely the hippy communes of Northern California, conservatives still regard it with skepticism—I was intrigued by the author’s strategic employment of ‘witch’ in the title.

The author linearly summarized her experience with Adriana, the most intriguing part of which I found to be that Adriana lives and works full-time in L.A. At the time, not only was I doing research for my book, but I still needed material for my web series; filming was a month away. I instantly contacted her to be a part of my expedition, confident that she would reply for two reasons. First, I already knew she was open to being profiled since The NYT did an article about her. And, second, I wanted to bring this new-age practice to the forefront of the mainstream by recording what really happens on video rather than diluting my subjective experience from behind the safety of skeptical typeface. The goal of my content is for people to draw conclusions for themselves by using video as a form of objectivity.

If you’ve ever had any sort of healing before, you learn–after your first time–that you cannot go into this highly-anticipated meeting with the unknown and expect to be altogether healed. A healing session is a catalyst that removes the blinders from your heart, exposing your conscious mind to the pieces of yourself that currently need attention. The healer does not sage the wounds and crystallize them upon your behalf; rather, the healer acts a supportive guide for you at this moment in your journey. No one can heal your wounds unless you are willing to be present, go through the painful and confusing process of those feelings, and honestly tend to them yourself.

So, with a handful of shamanic/crystal healings beneath my previously owned Angeleno belt, I arrived at Adriana’s humble work and live space in Echo Park, present and eager to see what would arise this time. After some bonding banter, we seamlessly dropped into the work. “So, just take this time to talk about anything you are looking to let go of,” she suggested. Earlier, while I had been setting up the video equipment, Adriana offered me a mug of lavender tea by announcing the quote from my designated Yogi tea bag into the ambiguously charged ether: “Never try to impress others. Rather, try to impress yourself and find happiness within.”

Remember, how I opened this article?

My obsession with being successful is always operating in the background, whether I’m consciously thinking about it or not.

So, when probed to let go of something, my subconscious spoke upon my behalf: “I am really hard on myself and I am really sensitive…” I began to unravel where all these feelings stem from along with the guilt I feel for my voyeuristic cravings of outward notoriety and success.

“So, you’re craving outer success?” she clarified.

“Unfortunately, yes…”

“No. No. I wanna get rid of that; it’s not unfortunate. You should want to be validated…”

We dove into how people who are helping other people are the ones who should be monetarily rewarded. It’s not something to be ashamed of; rather, creating and helping others is deserving of that inner stability that all humans require to feel secure.

Although this healing haircut happened almost two months ago, and normally it only takes me a few days to edit an episode, I have spent two weeks editing Adriana’s footage. Because, since then, my mentality toward success still hasn’t fully shifted because success still hasn’t physically manifested in the conventional way I’ve wanted it to. By watching our interview over and over again, I’ve realized that Adriana’s reaction to my deep desire for success was just the first step in the process of me changing the way that I expect success to happen. What I have been missing behind each of these enviable pictures of bright smiles, flawless skin, and the founder-specific talisman of popular girlboss brands is the journey that led to this captured standstill of their success. I am witnessing a “finished product;” no one is showing me that process of blood, sweat, and tears; the doubt; the fear; or the riding upon the backs of others until you can monetarily support yourself.

So, I am beginning to take my journey to girlbossdom as an opportunity to show that process of behind-the-scenes. Adriana’s video is more relevant to me now than when I originally experienced it because through constant reflection and repeated exposure to this notion of success that I couldn’t shake, her guidance catalyzed my attitude: to empower myself to take the next step. It is not enough to just create content; rather, if I want it to be seen, I must shamelessly be putting my diligently procured content into the hands of others. Success does not happen to you nor is it a static reward. It requires taking each step, one stride at a time, all the while being honest with yourself when it’s time to push ahead. Success requires fearlessness to break through self-imposed glass ceilings. Success is a process, the uncut video montage, a life’s work that cannot be summarized in one picture without the greater story.