What's your story?
No, I don't mean, what do you do for a living?
I mean, how are you living your life?
If someone asked you that question, think about how you might respond. Think about who you are and what themes run through your life.
I think about how my story centers around living simply and being positive. It's about how I work to continuously grow and improve each day as a person who is contributing to the world. I think about what my life is saying to the world through how I live it.
I'm a pretty simple person really. I love being with my family. I enjoy interacting and connecting with people in different ways. I can be social but I'm just as content sitting on our deck reading a book. I'm a sports junkie -- yesterday was a great case in point...The Masters, watching the Astros beat the Mariners, and then capping the day off with the St. Louis Blues losing to the Winnipeg Jets (bummer). In between all the sports, I read and wrote down my half-marathon plan. I ate pizza with my hubby and enjoyed every delicious bite. I'm into fitness but not over the top. No I don't prep my meals for the week but I pretty much know what I'm going to have each day because I'm a creature of habit.
And, writing is my passion. I can't imagine a day going by without doing some type of writing. It could be a blog post, editing my book, journaling, or doing my 750 word brain dump. It doesn't matter what I'm writing, I just love to write.
Writing is where I feel like I have the most potential to positively impact others.
When people ask what kind of writing I do, I tell them self-help. If they cringe because they have a negative connotation of what self-help means, it's awesome since it then gives me the opportunity to set the record straight. It's all about self-awareness, personal growth and development, and living your life by your definition.
It's living your life story.
So, what's your story? I've given you glimpse into mine. I would love to hear about yours.
I received the second proof copy of my book, Slices of Life from the Little Blue Desk on Wednesday.
I'm now going through it again, this time reading it out loud to see what I notice along the way in terms of how it sounds. I'm not finding very many grammatical errors or typing errors this time around thankfully, but I'm making changes to word choice. I'm figuring out wording and phrasing that sounds better. I'm asking myself, "If I read this out loud in the form of a podcast, how would it sound to a listener?".
It is making a big difference, but you know what I'm truly freaking out about?
The countdown on the home page!!!!!
Seriously, each day I look at it with a mix of anxiety and excitement. Anxiety as I wonder if I'm really going to have this book ready to go, but excitement in that I'm actually going to do this. I'm going to put a book out into the world.
I will be an independently published writer!
And while I love the sound of it, I want to throw up just a little bit. Once I'm done with the writing part, then I head into the marketing part which is foreign to me. Yet, I'm strangely enthusiastic about a new challenge. Plus, I have a son who is a marketing director. So, basically I have an expert to rely on throughout the process.
The other part that is making me freak out a little is that when it's all said and done, what am I going to work on next? There's always that valley after the peak, and to lessen the potential of that happening I want to make sure I get started on my next writing project as soon as possible.
But for now, I'm going to get back to editing and revising. I will let the complete freak out happen later!
“Age is no longer the primary factor that determines where you are on the map. Life is now less about how old you are and more about when you decide to live.” --Jon Acuff, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters
It’s never too late to start but start sooner.
Instead of waiting until you are established before you do something you are passionate about, do it now. Stop waiting for permission. No one is going to give it to you. Give yourself the permission to do a cannonball into the deep end.
What’s the worst that could happen?
You could quite possibly have an epic fail and belly flop. But sometimes failing is half the fun. You get to try something a variety of ways before you fine tune it to the way you want it to be.
Last year I went to an acoustic concert at a coffee shop. It was Josh Radnor and Ben Lee. They slipped up a few times to which Radnor commented, “Hey, we’re human and we make mistakes.”
They didn’t even skip a beat when a string broke on Ben’s guitar in the middle of a song. He just took Josh’s guitar and they continued on with the rest of the set.
I loved every second of this concert because they weren’t afraid to make mistakes. They knew it would happen, because well, you know, we’re human.
And we make mistakes. And it’s part of the learning process but it’s what sometimes keeps us from turning thought into action.
We’re afraid of what others might think. We’re afraid of letting others down. We’re afraid of letting ourselves down.
We have so much fear that we paralyze ourselves and so those passions lie dormant. We step back from the edge of the pool and move into the routine of what we’re “supposed to be doing” with our responsible, respectful lives.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with following a conventional path, make sure you are the one who put you there rather than being on a path that someone else has placed you on.
“If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” --Tony Gaskins
I love this quote, because it’s a reminder to stop putting our dreams on hold for the sake of working on someone else’s. They don’t have your best interest in mind. They have theirs in mind.
But what if you don’t know what your dream is?
Start by making a list of what you enjoy doing. If you could design your ideal day, what would that day look like? What is one action step you could do today to start making that happen.
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” --Neil Gaiman
Now go out and do it!
There is so much going on right now that I don't even know where to start, so I'm just going to jump right in!
*Slices of Life from the Little Blue Desk will be launching on May 1! I started a countdown on the home page so now it's real. So excited to finally put this sweet book out into the world.
*In the book I share that 10% of the overall profits will go to charity:water. While this is completely true, for the first three months the 10% will go to The United Way of the Midlands to support our neighbors in Nebraska and Iowa who continue to rebuild and heal from the flooding. More on that as we get closer to the launch!
*Even though I have been lame about posting pieces on the website, I've been submitting more to Medium.com and today it paid off. For the first time, the curators selected my latest piece to be featured on the Productivity topic page. Find it here: https://medium.com/topic/productivity.
*My newsletter, GTI Wednesday, just celebrated its 2nd Year Anniversary! It's crazy to think I've put out 104 newsletters so far. I do it because I love it, and I'm so grateful to subscribers near and far. If you think someone would love to get a 5-minute positivity boost, direct them to the home page for Everyday Life Uncluttered here and get signed up! I would love to hit the 200 subscriber mark by the end of April.
*And, I'm on the job hunt! I've been unemployed since March 28, and I've been making the most of this time until I find the right fit for me. I'm hoping to post an update on this topic soon.
That's it for now! Thanks for letting me get caught up with you!
"The best place to finding a helping hand is at the end of your own arm." --Swedish Proverb
The last eight months have been quite the career whirlwind.
I took a high school counseling position in August. I was ready for a switch after seven years as an elementary school counselor. I was ready to get back to working with high school students.
After only two months, I figured out it wasn't the right fit. I finished the semester and was granted an early release from my contract.
In January, I jumped into the retail world. I'd had two previous experiences in retail and enjoyed both even though they were part-time. But this was full-time, this was working every other weekend, this was a heavier emphasis on sales...and this wasn't me. At the end of March, I will be unemployed again.
Eight months and two jobs. This isn't like me. Previously, I had three jobs in education over a span of 25 years.
So, yeah, the last eight months have been pretty eye-opening. You would think I would be anxious about my situation and there is a little bit of me that is. I'm 51 and looking to start over new...again. However, it's also an exciting time too.
"Opportunities don't happen, you create them." --Chris Grosser
That's right. You create opportunities by taking control over what you want out of your career and there are constructive ways to do this.
5 Steps to Finding the Right Career for You by Ashley Stahl in Forbes (9/27/18) outlines how one can systematically go about finding the right career, whether you're looking for your first opportunity or are seasoned and searching for some clarity. The five steps include taking career assessments, listing your options, looking for overlap, networking, and asking a mentor.
When it comes to career assessments, there are a lot of free ones out there that take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to complete. While you may have a good idea as to how the assessment will come out, take a couple of them anyway. Your ideas will either be reinforced or you might find a surprise or two.
While listing your options is necessary, so is making a list of your pros and cons. I didn't do that when I applied for my retail job. If I had done so, I probably wouldn't have completed my application. While I liked the idea of being with a company where I could work with people, I quickly discovered that commissions, evening hours, and working weekends made it heavy on the cons list. Now I know.
Looking for overlap made the shift from education to retail a potential fit. I still got to work with people, educating them about products, and was in a social environment. Sometimes we need to view overlaps with a problem-solving lens. What's a problem you see in a company that you have the ability to solve?
I've always had a narrow minded view when it comes to networking and asking a mentor. I felt like they had to be face-to-face situations. While those are an options, there are others. One can be in Facebook groups for networking and learn via professional development books, videos, and podcasts for mentoring. A virtual mentor is anyone from whom you can learn. Check out some of the books I've read recently and a snippet of what I've learned from these mentors here.
The big takeaway here is to look outside the box when it comes to your job search. Gone are the traditional days of finding a job. Think creatively and go after what you want boldly!
I know I am!
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.