Where lines between self-worth and entitlement have blurred.

It’s a no-brainer that we all want to be paid what we’re worth.

After all, we’ve worked so hard to build platforms, grow our voices, garner expertise, and position ourselves as leaders in our respective fields.

But at what point do we cross over from that valid space of self-worth into murky waters of entitlement?

Where we feel entitled to someone else’s resources just because we exist?

Trust me, this same question spans centuries of pillaging, looting, and colonialism but I’ll keep it to present-day issues.

Furthermore, how do we treat rejection by others whose resources we feel we deserve? And which cards do we choose to play to soothe our wounds of rejection?

2018 seems to have started off with social media influencers being metaphorically thrown under the bus professionally. This is yet another set of growing pains the travel industry must go through. Like the beleaguered “journalist versus blogger” discussions of a decade ago.

I’ve been following threads of conversations all over the travel space – from immature influencers not doing proper homework, unprofessional property owners and brands, mommy bloggers creating unreal expectations, and very thin skin all around.

Brands themselves aren’t exempt as they actively buy followers, are easily swayed by quantity over quality, and are the original instigators of this phenomenon in the first place. This is something we actively try to educate both brands and influencers about through various professional collectives.

In this new era where self-worth is tied to perceived influence, which in turn breeds unnecessary entitlement, what we’re creating is sinking sand of mediocrity which is pulling down integrity, hard work and professionalism along with it. Dragging with it people who are working hard to create standards and raise the bar around this new form of media.

I am fabulous just because I exist” isn’t a business model. I wish more people realize this and quickly too.

Yes, we are all beautiful and unique and utterly fabulous in every single way because we exist. That is the base self-confidence we need to actively push towards our dreams with a resilience no one can shake.

But if we build empires around fluff, we aren’t leaving legacies behind. We’re leaving dust in our wake. Like powdered sugar remnants of a donut around our lips. Instant gratification that would leave us hungry again within the hour.

And yes, we can still build solid work and legacies with the right partnerships and branded collaborations. Both aren’t mutually exclusive.

So, I will be following these conversations very closely. Its ebbs and its flows, like I did the journalist-vs-blogger discussions a decade ago. Not just following its waves but surfing them as well. Adjusting, evolving, and growing as the industry matures. Thinking things through over knee-jerk reactions. Actively calling out injustices when I clearly see them and holding those who exclude accountable for their actions.

Helping the industry through its growing pains by working hard, setting standards, and being the example I personally want to see when it comes to quality of work. Because at the end of the day, I can only be responsible for what I put out into the world.

So in this era of entitlement, let’s remember the wise words of Barbara Hillary, the first African-American woman to have reached both the North and South Poles while in her 70s – “The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing.”