'Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom,' by Queen Latifah

One Door Opens . . .

But that doesn't mean it's over. Remember: You are stronger than you think. You have to go past what you think you can do, and then you have to go in and dig up some things inside you. Shake some stuff around. Take a personality quiz online. Tap into who you are as a person and then look around you. Go outside your comfort zone to figure out what you want to try, and when you hit on something that you like, you'll know it. When you're not watching the clock and you're completely absorbed in it, you'll know that's something you can dedicate yourself to 100 percent. That's the difference between a job and a career.

We all have talents and passions that can lead us into a vocation of some kind. A good friend of mine once told me that she didn't have any talent. I said, "Girl, what are you talking about? Everyone has a talent of some kind. Talent isn't just being an artist. It can be anything. You're just not seeing it yet."

As a matter of fact, I saw what her talent was before she did. When she finished college she got a job managing a Foot Locker store, and she was considered to be one of the best managers in the chain. I knew she was organized and reliable. She had a talent for follow-through. It was the perfect solution. I couldn't bring my business partner, Shakim Compere, on tour because our business was growing and he needed to stay behind at the office and run all our projects, so I asked her to come on the road with me as my business manager. It took a little convincing. It takes courage to leave behind a steady paycheck and benefits to try out something new. But this girl took that leap, and she proved to be a huge asset. She got the job done, and in this crazy business that's a talent to be highly prized.

Mad Skills

When I was starting in the business, most people in our crew could rap or do something musical. But not Shakim. He can't sing a note, and if he tried, you would hear dogs howl. But for two years I watched him. He was the guy who'd leave a party early if he had to go to work the next day. Everyone else would phone in sick or come in late. But he always showed up at wherever he was supposed to be, on time. So when I started per- forming around the clubs, he was the guy I wanted to handle my business. It's not sexy to pick up your own money when you've finished performing at a club. I'd ask various people to do it for me. Even Professor Griff of Public Enemy collected for me one time. But Sha was the most consistent and dogged about getting me my envelope of cash, counting it to make sure it was all there, and delivering. He has the strength of char- acter to step away from the partying crowd, say no and stick to it, and tell people "Screw you" when nec- essary. Because of that, he has everyone's respect. No one messes with him.

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