Making Personal Growth

I was speaking with my cousin today – a totally awesome dreamer and creative who is my same age and yet has accomplished so much more than I probably ever will – and we were discussing the pros and cons of work that is creatively satisfying (if not quite what you want to be doing) vs. work that is mundane yet stable. The conversation brought up a lot of insight as to what is most important: your immediate happiness, or your ability to satisfy your personal creative and financial needs while working towards eventually meeting your career goals.

The answer: It’s a toss-up, really. Both hold merits, and it likely just comes down to individual needs and specific job opportunities. But what the conversation really reinforced for me was the idea of personal growth.

No matter what you’re doing, make sure you’re doing it for you.

The obvious consensus here is that you should always be taking into account what you want to be doing with your life. Meaning, not just creative and career goals, but things you want to achieve for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Hence, your personal growth. Any job you have or decide to take should lend itself in someway to helping you reach these goals, whether that’s through immediate exposure (i.e. being an assistant to someone who is doing what you want to do and who will mentor you), or through stable flexibility (i.e. a job that isn’t really what you want to do, but that allows you the flexibility to work on what you want to do in your downtime OR gives you enough of your week that you can focus on your passion as a sort-of side job).

And herein lies the dilemma and heartache, because which do you choose? There are risks to both; the first, which might be more creatively satisfying in the moment, may have you spending much of your creative energies focusing on that which does not directly help your own goals. The second will allow you to spend your creative energies how you wish, but without the guarantee that you will find a direct way toward meeting your career goals. Both provide risks and benefits. Perhaps the decision will not be up to you; perhaps you will only come across the opportunity for one or the other.

You will have the opportunity to choose one thing: to pursue your own work, always. Meaning that while there are plenty of stable jobs out there that you could pursue, you have the ability to choose one that lends you the flexibility or opportunities you need to create the career you want. This might not be easy to find, but it’s worth the work and search.

Just some thoughts. Good luck on whatever your career endeavor may be.

-tlc

Musing Mondays: Why Now Is As Good A Time As Any

Start doing the things you dream about today. Yes, Googling “How to do [insert whatever it is you want to do]” counts as working towards your dream. Reward yourself.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my future lately, and what I want to do in that future. And though thinking about all of this has left me more questions than answers, I have figured out a couple of things: 1) The office 9-5pm (or for entertainment 9-6/7pm) is just not my scene, and 2) I want to travel and experience the world.

Okay, so I didn’t really really just realize I hate working in an office and my desire to travel, but thinking about my future made me realize that these are things I should be pursuing now.

Why? Because why not? Why is now not as good a time as any other? As I get older, (hopefully) establish a stable career, (hopefully) start a family, I’ll only have more and more commitments. Down the road, when I get sick of renting (HA, already happened) and want to look into buying a home, I won’t have the freedom to spend (what little money I have) on travel that I do now. So why not? Sure, it means untangling a lot of logistical knots, sure it means trying to figure out an end plan for what to do/where to go when I get back stateside, but isn’t that worth it?

And I came to nearly the same conclusion about quitting the office lifestyle and going remote/freelance: Isn’t it worth buckling down now, building up work as a freelancer now, so that I can have the flexibility I need to focus on writing? Because the end goal is getting paid to write and stay home anyways, right? So why occupy all of my time at an office doing a job that won’t set me on the trajectory I’m looking for, when I can find work from home, and devote more time to writing. Sure, it means giving up a steady, stable, moderately cushy (for the likes of me) paycheck, but it also means the possibility of a more rewarding, bigger payout much sooner than possible when devoting my week days to an office.

This isn’t my big, public “I’m quitting my job” announcement post; I have starting formulating a short-term trajectory and plan to fulfill my travel dreams, and eventually transition to a remote work lifestyle. For now, I’m continuing to work and save up as much as I can. But I tell you all of this to say one thing:

Stop telling yourself no.

There will always be bumps, always be commitments that seem too important to set aside. As someone who grew up in the Midwest, raised under the mentality that a stable job and income was more important that pursuing a passion, I understand that it’s downright terrifying to give up the comfort of home, the safety of a close-knit family, and the familiarity of friends and a certain lifestyle to accomplish the things you’ve dreamt about doing. But you should do it anyways. Not because putting in the effort necessarily means you’ll be successful or accomplish what you set out to do, but because trying and failing is still more of a success than never trying at all. Don’t live your life in regret and full of wondering what might have been. Go out and do. You’ll be surprised where life will take you, and what you wind up doing might turn out to be something you had never even thought of, but that you love even more than your original dream.

Don’t put up walls–I don’t want to hear any excuses about why you can’t do something you want to do! Figure out how to make it possible! I’d love to know what you want to do, share it in the comments, and if I know of any resources that might be helpful, I’ll share them with you!

-tlc

How I’m Making Better Changes in 2016 (And You Should, Too)

I don’t know about you, but 2016 has been off to an interesting start. Not to go into too much detail, but 2015 ended with a not-so-great bang, and though I’ve enjoyed my 2016 so far (I got to explore Seattle and part of Portland with my adorable nephews!) I haven’t been too enthusiastic about it. BUT, I am determined! The past couple of years have been a bit of a wander for me; I’ve jumped head-first into a new city and industry that I knew nothing about ahead of time, and I’ve learned to make things work. But I’ve spent enough time simply letting things happen and “going with the flow” (Not that either of those things are bad; the first rule to being happy in life is learning that nothing is truly in your control). This year is about taking initiative and taking steps towards finding what goals matter most to me, and then reaching those goals. And maybe I can help you reach your goals, too.

How? Well, for starters, after reading my last post my good friend Joel sent me a great article about making goals and resolutions vs. making rules, and the success rate of each. Check out the article here, it makes some great points!

So I am making some rules for myself. I sat down this afternoon and wrote up a quick list of rules I want to implement into my daily routine over the course of the next couple of months, and then a wrote up a list of general goals for the year so that when I’m ready to create and implement new rules, I can go back to my list and stay focused on the things I most want to accomplish this year. I’m keeping all of this on my phone, as I’ve realized that as much as I love pen and paper, I feel very disorganized having random sheets and lists lying around my room, and eventually I lose them, anyways. I also didn’t want to type it up on my computer, as it would likely get lost in my documents folder and I would never look at it again. This way, with both my rule list and my goal list on my phone, I have them with me whenever I want to look at them, and they don’t take up space or make me feel cluttered or overwhelmed.

I also started off small, making a list of maybe 5-6 rules total for me to implement gradually over the course of the next month so as not to overwhelm myself. That’s also why I created a goal list; 5-6 simple rules will not get all of my goals completed, but as I successfully implement my rules, I can create more that will eventually help me reach my end goal.

I’m also changing my outlook this year. So often, I find that I fail at reaching the goals I create for myself because I expect to find success or completion before I’ve even begun. I don’t like the way I look in a sports bra and yoga pants while I’m working out, so I stop. I don’t have the knowledge or creativity to generate viral quality content, so I stop producing. I stop publishing. The first three pages of my current writing project suck, so I quit working on it. Etc. Etc.

This year, I’m looking at it as a work in progress. If this blog and its readership has taught me anything, it’s that working through the tough, embarrassing, often public mishaps that come with being new to something and learning as you go is the only way to find success at something. Rome wasn’t built in a day, Harry Potter was not the first story that J.K. Rowling wrote, and every successful business person has failed first. So you get the privilege of seeing this blog change before your eyes, and maybe seeing me change, too!

I want to hear about your goals for this year, and if you need help making rules of your own, give me a shout out. You know where to find me.

-tlc

2016

I don’t like New Years Resolutions. They always lead to disappointment.

But every year I make them anyways.

This year, though, I want to call them goals. Because they aren’t things that I want to jump into head-on and overwhelm myself, they are things I want to carry out steadily until they become second nature; part of my routine; a lifestyle.

But I don’t want to tell you about my personal “goals” for the year. I want to tell you about what I want to do with this blog!

Last year, I made a commitment to post every week, and I stuck to it (for the most part), missing only seven posts over the course of the year. To me, that’s HUGE! If you’re interested, check out the exact statistics and how much posting on a weekly schedule really boost my readership here.

So, here are some goals that you, as a reader, can look forward to on this blog in the upcoming year:

A solid theme. When I really started focusing on this blog, it started out as a sudo-advice column for college students transitioning from school into the real world. Since then, it’s slowly turned into simply a personal blog with almost a diary-type feel to it. This is going to change. In the upcoming weeks I will be looking towards focusing more on things I love to do, i.e. writing and crafting! Expect more how-to’s and useful lists.

A new website! This one might take a while. Running a blog, even one as simple as this, takes a LOT of work. I’ve put hours upon hours into this thing, and I don’t get paid to do it. Not even Google pays me. That’s how much of a passion project this thing is. I’ve been looking for a way to transition towards a multi-page site that allows me to have more than one fluid posting page. Currently, I can have multiple pages, however every page except this one is stagnant, meaning I cannot publish individual posts to individual pages. If I want to edit something on another page, I have to go in and reformat that page manually. It also means that on other pages, you can’t call up certain posts according to tags or publish dates. This makes for a serious lack of organization and optimization that I hate.

Posting changes. Fridays are great, but I’m currently debating between a Saturday or Monday morning post time. This will give me more time to get posts perfected and to you without missing my deadline.

That’s all. I’m keeping it realistic, and trying not to overwhelm myself with too many to-dos. After all, like I said, I don’t get paid for this. And I’ve already got my work cut out for me.

I would love to hear your opinions on these goals as well. If you have a suggestion or something you enjoy reading on my blog, let me know in the comments. Your input is much appreciated!

-tlc

Taking A Moment

So last Thursday was my last day (for now!) as a PA at Instant Mom. In the midst of coming to terms with that and looking ahead at an open schedule, I totally forgot to post a blog. It was the first Friday that I didn’t publish a post all year. Oops. There goes my perfect record. I imagine this is how kids who have perfect attendance feel when they come down with the flu.

Okay, on to actually making a point.

I use this blog a lot to talk about change and dealing with that, especially at a volatile stage in life, like post-graduation. The funny thing is, every time I think I’ve come to terms with change, I am actually faced with that change and learn something new about the difficulties in letting go, and the dangers of nostalgia. Yes, I said dangers of nostalgia, and if you don’t believe me that nostalgia can be dangerous, just look at the slate of blockbuster films lined up for the next five years. Nostalgia, folks: killing creativity one multi-million dollar franchise at a time. (Mr. Columbus, if you’re reading this, I would happily renounce everything I’ve ever said to be a part of the Goonies sequel.)

Overall, I think it’s good to be happy, even when you know change is coming, and coming shortly–I mean, that’s the point, right? Why even bother if you’re not happy with the way things are (change them!). But my newest worry is that such a nomadic lifestyle career will make longer term commitments more difficult. I don’t know why, I just find things to worry about. It’s who I am. But it’s a valid point, if you’re used to constant change, how do you learn to trust something more stagnant or stationary? How do you continue to find excitement, year after year? Will this affect my relationships and friendships?

It’s a weird idea to cross my mind, because my career trajectory at this point (even if I never work another PA gig) is not going to find me in the bowels of an office building, typing away at a computer screen all day (the hope is to do that from home, eventually!). But it’s a valid question I have to ask myself, because how do I go from here, in LA, to something smaller, quieter, and more quaint, should the need ever arise?

Well, the truth is, I don’t know. But honestly? I know I’ll be fine because this past year has taught me to have confidence in my ability to find happiness. And I know that whatever comes next, no matter how far from what I’ve imagined, I’ll make the most of it, and it will be great, because this last year has taken me far, far out of the realm of who I thought I was, and really made me exam my fears, my goals, and what I really want out of life. Do I have answers for any of those things? Good lord, no. Do I have a sense of who I am in relation to those things? I’d like to think so. I guess we’ll both just have to wait and see.

Until next week (I won’t forget again I promise).

-tlc