Do the work regardless if anyone is checking for you right now

Do the work.

Last weekend, I was getting ready to host a panel discussion at a marketing conference. I took to Instagram to share the final touches I was putting on my slide deck (I use my Instastories to post tips and findings about marketing and business).

I also shared my excitement as I invited Nashville residents out to the conference. This panel was going to be dope, at least so I thought!

Two marketing queen friends of mine agreed to participate and I already created questions. However, as with most of my presentations, I planned to guide the conversation in real time based upon who was in the audience, their needs, and their questions. I knew the crowd would be diverse – filled with entrepreneurs, marketing managers, owners of personal brands – that sort of thing. Honestly, those are my kind of people!

I had an innate feeling that my unorthodox flow of questioning would work in this setting and with my panelists – it did in a phenomenal way.

This tweet was everything:


Trust your experience – not just your gut

I believed the panel would work and it did! Not just because I felt comfortable creating it, but because public speaking in creative settings is my jam. I love doing it and the energy in the room is electrifying.

However, it wasn’t always like this. I used to be really terrible at facilitating crowds…like really.

I remember being President of my Sorority in college and my painful meetings would last 2+ hours due to lack of organization. But then, I decided to practice and got better at synchronizing my thoughts and delivering them.

I used to stumble over my words because I naturally talk extremely fast, but then I watched YouTube videos of dynamic speakers and gleaned from their skills. And now, I set up an “I talk fast” disclaimer in all my presentations which helps to break the ice!

I remember not knowing anything about digital marketing, but then I got certifications and trainings and now have a whole online agency helping others with social media strategy.

So even when my gut says, “You can just wing it,” my experience says, “Run through it one more time.”


Watch the work

Don’t judge someone else’s story by the chapter you walked in on – Instagram Proverb

I saw this quote as a caption on Instagram and immediately took a screenshot.

Here’s the truth: There’s no such thing as “he/she came out of nowhere.” I guarantee you that if you trace their story, it’s laced with late nights, early mornings, dead ideas, and failed projects. If you’re not careful, you’ll benchmark your months of exposed work against someone else’s years of hidden work and subsequent success.

Stay low and build. When the seeds of your work start to sprout, you can then tell others how you broke ground.

[Tweet “Do the work regardless if anyone is checking for you – @vannesiadarby”]

A Year From Now

The saying is true, “A year from now, your life could look completely different.”

However, there’s a couple underlying premises to that statement that people tend to over look:

  1. You must actually do the work necessary to make your life look different: This isn’t researching, this isn’t asking others how they did it. This is actually doing what you said you were going to do. Write the business plan, call the videographer, create the song, do the workout. You know what you told yourself you would do.

  2. You must be consistent: Whatever you do – stick with it for a certain time. Incorporate dedication and discipline for 30 days in one area of your life and track your progress.

Learn lessons while you work

Could I have completely been paranoid about that panel discussion and all the things that could have gone wrong? Yes! But wisdom told me, I didn’t have to because I’ve done the work.

I know how many bad meetings I’ve had, how many conference calls I’ve stuttered on, and how many times I’ve been called to the carpet. I can recount the number of times I’ve practiced my speeches in the mirror, worked really hard at making eye contact, and when I would mass-text people words of encouragement before I ever knew what blogging was. I can remember working 60+ hours a week as a marketing assistant and 20+ hours on the weekend at Toys R Us on the side before I ever started an agency.

Here’s another truth: The work never decreases, you just learn to manage it better.

Learn to handle what you have now.

Continue to work as if no one is watching.

Refine your process so that you can progress.

In the end, it doesn’t matter who sees you. Your only competition is your future self that is cheering you on in the decisions you make today at this very moment. Make yourself proud.

I’ll leave you with this clip of Pastor Michael Todd which pretty much puts a nail in this #work coffin.

Let it snatch your edges:


Always speak life,


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