What is Success, Anyway?

Since the overwhelmingly successful online launch of my career consultancy, Consult Crystal, I’ve had to change my social media presence.

This is just business. If I’m going to gain more followers on Instagram, then I have to, well, be on Instagram a lot. I have to constantly curate content for my stories, add tips to my feed, and display the before and after results of my clients. In order to create a Facebook presence and expose its two billion users to my brand, I had to make a long, introductory post highlighting my credibility so that people would know the expertise they’re paying for.

I made myself my brand. You’re paying for a Google intern who turned down PepsiCo and Deloitte. You’re paying for the expertise of a woman who was a National Achievement Scholar finalist, a woman who gained admission into Duke University, a woman who was raised by an HR professional and a grammar snob, a woman who has been gainfully employed since she was 15, and most importantly, a woman who knows what the fuck she’s doing.

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And I do. I know exactly what recruiters look for in resumes because I’ve watched my mother ruthlessly throw away 2-page resumes in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, the counterpart of this brand that I’ve spent years building is an image that I can’t stand. I have to consistently explain how and why I know what I’m talking about, and it inevitably will sometimes sound like I’m flat-out saying “I’m better than you.”

I can’t post about the fact that my grandmother had a stroke a month ago and I still fight back tears during every therapy session I visit while trying to watch the woman who fueled my love for learning struggle to say a complete sentence. I conveniently kept quiet about the C+ I received in Business Finance last semester, because who would want the guidance of a student who gets Cs?  Of course, I’d never ever elaborate on the month I spent in intensive mental healthcare at the end of 2016 because I had a manic break. What type of person would want to receive advice from a woman with bipolar disorder?


As I’m sure you’ve heard before, social media is a highlight reel. People don’t post their failures unless they’re used as the bit of adversity they faced in their success story. It’s human nature to want to showcase your best moments and disappear in your worst. I’m not saying that social media is one of those “this generation” problems and it needs to go away in entirety. Social media is a great thing when used properly.

I just really want people to know that everyone is going through some shit. Especially in your early twenties. No one really knows what they’re doing with their life, but we’re all trying. That’s the message I want to highlight as we start off this spring semester. Success, to me, is tireless trial. It’s putting your absolute best effort into whatever you are trying to tackle. It’s taking your first programming class and getting a C+ in C++ (see what I did there?). It’s having the courage to try out for a sports team. It’s getting nowhere near the GMAT or LSAT or MCAT or whatever score you’d hoped for, but using that insight to either come to the conclusion that grad school isn’t for you or to find out your problem areas and work 10x harder on them.

Success is calling your grandparents. It’s asking for the raise you rightfully deserve. It’s spending quality time with your friends. It’s taking a day off when you know you need one.

I still struggle with the level of vulnerability I want to display on my social platforms. Due to the nature of my work, it may not exactly be the best idea to go all life-story-twitter-thread on you. All I can say is that I will continue to be as authentic as possible. It’s all about the right balance.

I’ll sign off with this imitation professional photo that was actually taken by my little brother in our living room. I decided to leave it unedited so you can see the box in the background. 🙂


Here’s to a successful Spring semester.


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