What they don’t tell you

I’m going to tell you what they don’t tell you about growing up (don’t mind the emo photos — but it felt as though it fit).

What they don’t tell you about growing up. 

We follow the steps, we check the boxes, we follow our dreams.

We approach the end of the structured life of “now four more years here, and then four more years there.” We are told that the world is at our feet, that we can do anything. We dream big and then we dream some more.

And then that part of our life is through. Then we are put into the world of possibility. The world where we can do anything. The world that we must navigate ourselves.

And it’s great, don’t get me wrong.

But here’s what they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you that following your dreams takes time.

They don’t tell you that you are now in charge of tough decisions—decisions that could change the course of your whole life.

They don’t tell you that you will see people posting about their adventures around the world or in a new city, while you sit feeling sorry for yourself in your hometown.

They don’t tell you that you are now in charge, that it is harder than it sounds.

They don’t tell you that people will try to pull you in different directions, and that at the end of the day, you have to figure out what’s right for you.

They don’t tell you.

So, you figure this out on your own.

And if you’re lucky enough, you realize these truths sooner than later—so that you can enjoy the struggle, so that you can embrace the journey.

Because life is messy.

Life, in all honesty, is one big mess—a mess that you yourself and others make. A mess that is so beautifully chaotic, it’s actually pretty simple.

Life is pretty simple.

 

I dream big often, constantly want “different,” and strive for a passionate life.

And I (am learning to) love this about myself.

But if I had not learned these lessons, I would have gone crazy. For awhile, I did.

Dreams take time.

Every decision you make is the right one, for you, so embrace it with all your heart.

Every one takes different paths on their way to their hopes and dreams, and not one is better than the next.

You are in charge of your own life, but don’t forget your loved ones who support you.

You must always do what is right for you.

Wherever you are in your life, it’s exactly where you need to be. Embrace it, make choices, and then embrace those.

So you see, when you realize these things, life is actually pretty simple.

A trusted mentor recently said to me, “What’s the worst thing you could do? Fail? If you choose this and you do fail, the worst thing that happens is you learn a lot.”

You learn a lot.

What don’t they tell you about growing up? 

You will probably fail sometimes. But you see, you will learn a lot.

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Emo thoughts.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to have when you grow up?

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Is it a title? A number in the bank? A certain type of car?

Maybe.

And if it is, that’s okay…we all have our own dreams, and that’s a good thing.

I like fancy things. I like city apartments and new clothes and beautiful interiors. I like ocean properties and sweeping balconies and nice wine.

And if you don’t, well, I’m not sure I believe you.

But you see, that is not what I want to be when I grow up, at least not anymore.

It’s not about the title, the salary, the time off. It’s not about the brownstone in Boston or the lake house in Montana.

It’s about the people, it’s about the work.

It’s about living my purpose and touching those around me.

It’s about inspiring others to be their best selves. Whether that’s through a cliche blog post or too many tequila shots on a Friday night — I hope to inspire those around me to be their happiest selves.

It’s about enjoying time with my family and friends, it’s about building a family of my own.

It’s about having enough to allow opportunity, and not losing sight of the mission at hand.

To live my purpose.

When I grow up I don’t want to be a “writer, marketing director, or CEO.”

I want to be inspiring, I want to leave my loved ones a little better than they were before, I want to live in the moment with people, both new and old.

So for me, it’s not about checking off boxes. It’s not about following my path to success (at least not anymore).

It’s about doing my best to live my purpose each day. To ask myself, “why?” and then attempt to live it.

It’s about setting goals, yes, but it’s about being flexible more.

And so, if this means sitting, Coors Light in hand in my tent overlooking a creek and reading my journal, rather than fancy wine in my penthouse reading my published book — then that’s what this means.

And as long as I am happy, than that, well, that is more than enough.

Bulls***

Everyone’s tired of the bulls***.

I’m tired of the bulls***.

Everyone’s tired of the bulls*** that says we have to act a certain way, think a certain way, write a certain way, be a certain way.

And I don’t blame everyone.

I don’t blame myself.

Throughout my education and professional career, I have been taught and vivaciously worked on branding myself as who I want to be.

A writer, a marketing strategist, a thought leader. And I am, or hope to be, all of those things at some point in my life… because that is what I love to do. Because that is what allows me to live my purpose.

Yet what often gets lost in the constant need, the constant search for a certain identity, is authenticity.

We leave out the spilled coffee, the stress over bills, the self-conscious thoughts – we are left with a buttoned up version of ourselves (fake it ‘til you make it is a strong key to success after all).

This buttoned up version is generally what we present. And while there is a time and place for different things, we often get caught up in striving to be a certain version of ourselves.

The perfect version.

The version we think the world needs to see.

I have often thought about undertaking this blog as my business. Because, how great would it be if I could write my thoughts and help others all day every day, right?

But I don’t know that I want to. Or at least, I don’t know that I want to take the steps necessary to get there.

BRANDING myself into a thought leader on a specific subject, writing on certain trends, timing my posts…is that really what I want this to be?

I write as though I am speaking. I (attempt to) write poetically and from an artistic perspective. I write when I’m inspired or feel the need to say something. Add in the marketing and strategy that I happen to do for a living, and I don’t know that it’s what I want it to be anymore.

I don’t know that it’s me anymore.

But, as per usual, I was overthinking it.

I realized that that is exactly what marketing is, or that is what marketing should be.

Being authentic.

Being real.

Not being someone or something that you are not.

That is what makes you successful. That is what will make you, your business, or whatever the hell else you want to do successful.

Being authentic.

When people tell me that they look up to me for my professionalism or (perceived) success at a decently young age, I generally say thank you….but then I laugh.

Why?

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m getting what I need to be done, done each day. I’m dreaming big (and changing those dreams at least weekly). I’m striving to live my purpose, and I’m failing often.

So, I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know it all, or pretend that I am an expert in anything. Because the fact is, I’m not.

I have so many lessons to continuously learn. I have so many lessons that I need to remind myself of that I forget each and every day.

Branding, marketing, buttoning up – it’s all important in success. It’s all important in allowing people to be successful in what they do, which is, in fact, why I chose this profession in the first place.

So, by all means, brand the shit out of yourself.

Just don’t let it suppress your authenticity.

Don’t let it suppress you.

Together, let’s be real. Be real in our stories, real in our visions, real in our hopes and real in our dreams.

Because if we aren’t, then I have no idea what we’re doing (not that I do anyway).

P.S. Please remember the time and place comment. I am by no means telling you to chug a mimosa at 8am at the office or share every bit of your thoughts and life with everyone around you. You’re smart, though, I’m sure you’ve figured that much out.

The problem with

I noticed myself saying a certain phrase, and pretty often.

Always when talking about different goals I had for myself.

“Because no one wants to do that.”

For example, talking about the gym — “I’m not waking up at 5a to go, because I mean no one wants to do that.” Talking about reading, “I just throw on Netflix, because no one wants to get home and continue working their brain after work.”

“Because no one wants to do that.”

Without me knowing it, that had become my reasoning for not pushing myself just a little harder. For not taking small, potentially inconvenient steps to reach my ultimate goals.

But here’s the thing, “if you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.”

And, if you want to be great, if you want to stand out, you’re going to have to do something that no one else does. Something that no one else wants to do.

So really, using “because no one wants to do that” as a reason to not work a little harder and follow your dreams is one of the most irrelevant things you could do.

Duh, no one wants to do it. Everyone wants to look like a VS model, not a lot of people want to follow the eating regimen. Everyone wants to be a millionaire, not a lot of people want work to consume them.

You must force yourself to do the things that you don’t want to do in order to attain what you want for yourself in the long run.

Don’t let the convenience of right now stop you from your dreams of tomorrow.

 

PR Professional: A blessing and a curse

One of my professors told me once, “if PR pros are one thing — it’s self-aware.”

At the time, I was basically like, “yeah yeah yeah… now how are you grading us in this class?” (because seriously where were all the graded papers — J school peeps you know my pain).

Over time, as I have really dove into the industry, I have realized that that statement couldn’t have been more true.

To us, everything is a brand. Everything we say, everything we eat, everything we wear, everything we post.

We are a brand.

And we’re usually pretty good at managing it.

There are pros and cons with this. We are excellent at finding jobs. We are awesome at being “cool.” We pretty much know how to map out our goals and create steps to attain them which is a skill needed in order to be successful (literally guys once I mapped out my goals and dreams in the form of an IMC plan with goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, and messages — I stopped once my mom looked over my shoulder and pretty much told me I’m a psychopath).

The bad part about this, is that we are so aware of ourselves. We do treat ourselves as a brand. And sometimes, it’s easy to get wrapped up. We look for ways to improve, ways to change, we look for different paths to get us to where we want to go. We think about what we’re saying, how we’re acting, what we’re posting on social media. These can all be good things, but only in moderation.

Only in moderation will all the benefits of being a PR professional pay off on a personal level — when applied to ourself rather than a company or product.

It’s a blessing and a curse. We’re good at getting ahead, we’re often bad at letting ourselves just be ourselves.

So, as you progress through your PR/Ad career, I encourage you to balance it out. Be aware of your skills and apply them to yourself, but also be aware that it’s okay to have more than one interest, more than one favorite color.

It’s okay to drink too much wine and do stupid things sometimes.

That’s what the crisis communications department of your brain is for.

Be a human, make mistakes, handle it, and move on.

My Two Greatest Fears

I was asked over wine with a good friend, what my greatest fear is.

Of course, we were three or so glasses in, you know, when it starts becoming more and more acceptable/fun to talk about the big questions in life (although I’m down anytime, life talks are bae).

My answer to this question tends to shift and change with where I am in my life.

A year ago, my greatest fear was not doing what I was put here to do. Not a coincidence that I was in my last year of college — still didn’t really know what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to something (and something big).

It took awhile, but I finally realized that by simply practicing kindness and sharing your passions with the world, you are doing what you were put here to do.

So, good. One fear gone (although this one creeps up on me when I’m not at my best — because we should all be at our best to do great and awesome things for the world, duh).

As I have attempted to navigate the real-world, and believe me, it hasn’t been pretty at times (shoutout to mom for being on the other end of the line for freak out sessions about liTERally nothing), I have started to think a lot about time, and different ways in which it applies to me.

Now introducing my current life fears. And guess what? They contradict each other. So yes, my thoughts get confusing — and I get confused. But I think we’re all a little confused sometimes, so whatever.

Right now, I play it pretty safe. I have a good job, I support myself, I am surrounded by loved ones, in a familiar city that I love (honestly, Reno is cool I don’t even know how/when that happened but it did and I’m not complaining).

I am a big dreamer, but I am also a very strategic thinker. I am a worry-wart, so planning is a must, and I like things in order. However, I want to do crazy things. I want to live a full life with experiences and adventure. It is often difficult for me to work with these two desires — the desire for order and the desire for, well, chaos.

That is where fear number one comes in. I guess, I fear looking back and wondering “what if.” I fear looking back and wishing I had gone and done things. Wishing I hadn’t thought so much. Wishing I had listened to every single adult in my life that told me to “do it while I’m young.”

I don’t want to be the grandma, sitting in my rocking chair, telling my grandkids to go travel the world and follow their dreams — wishing I had done the same.

But again, I’m strategic. I like my work. I like to have a plan. And so, this fear is there, and this fear isn’t going away just yet.

My second fear, is almost a fear of my first fear (#wut).

I fear that I will look back, and realize that I always thought the grass was greener. I don’t want to wake up one day realizing that I dreamed my life away. I want to live my life away.

So I’m currently trying to balance my desire for great things and adventure, with my desire to appreciate where I am — to be happy and content every step of the way.

I don’t want to wake up one day realizing my happiness was right in front of me the whole time, but I also don’t want to wake up one day realizing that I played it safe just so that I could cross off the to do’s in my planner.

I don’t really have a conclusion on this one yet. Maybe after this year I’ll have the answer.

But, for now, I’ll practice gratitude in each step toward my adventures and be happy with what I have — be happy that I have the privilege to have big dreams and goals.

Because not everyone can say that.

And I guess, these fears don’t hold me back. If anything, they push me forward. They balance each other out — they remind me to be gracious in my daily life. They allow me to follow my plan — but only to an extent. To be able to put together my goals and dreams and make them actually attainable.

Maybe, my greatest fears are also my greatest allies — my greatest motivators.

Maybe, I don’t need to be scared anymore.

Whoa, I just figured it out — I guess that’s why I write, eh?

 

*Congrats, you got to know my two biggest fears without buying me a bottle of wine.

 

 

I guess I’m not sorry anymore?

I like to write. I like to take photos. I like to share.

I like big cities, I like the mountains. I like clothes, fashion, and interior design — and I like simplicity and the essentials.

I like thinking deeply about things, and I like brushing things off.

I like a lot of things.

It’s no secret that I enjoy blogging and the digital world — for any of you that read regularly, or even just smirk at my daily Instagram post, you know this well enough.

Writing, blogging, and styling my brand is probably one of my favorite things to do — it is what I went to school for, it is what I do when I’m not thinking about the clock, and it is what I would like to pursue.

And again, I like a lot of things, so it’s hard to brand myself one certain way — in fact, I don’t want to.

I spent a lot of time agonizing over what I wanted my brand to be. Urban outfitters chic? Outdoorsy? Gal Meets Glam couture?

Then I realized… that’s not what mattered — authenticity is what mattered. And authenticity is what I try to portray, with all sides of who I am.

Embracing every part of me, and realizing that’s okay.

As I have worked on this in the public eye — because social media, it has taken a toll on me emotionally, from a connection stand point.

Blogging and photography — one of my ultimate passions.

It is interesting, that although it is one of my passions, it is also the thing that I am the most self-conscious about. It’s the thing that keeps me up at night when someone makes a comment. It’s the thing that I make fun of myself for before anyone has a chance to beat me to it.

It’s the thing that often times frustrates me beyond belief, when I see someone I haven’t seen in a while and they say, “you are so professional and doing so well — I see all your posts.” End conversation.

Yes, you see them. But like, can we talk still? Can you still ask me how my day was? Can you assume that everything that happens in my life isn’t on the ‘Gram?

Because, duh, it’s not.

And this issue, this issue of people assuming they know me, I do it to myself. And to be honest, it tells me that I am good at what I do. However, I wish that people could also realize that I do it for my job, for my career goals — to hopefully inspire someone with one of my cheesy posts to get up and go.

I do it to myself, I just wish people would sometimes choose to go a little deeper. To not trust just the blog and the pictures, but have a conversation about what I eat for breakfast and what we think about different scientific theories.

And it’s not everyone that does this — it’s not.

And the ones that do, it’s not even their fault. Because it’s easy to assume you know someone based on their tweet.

And really, I write this to encourage you to not assume you know anyone solely from their Facebook status or LinkedIn update. Because you don’t. And you deserve to meet different people in your life, really meet them, not just say hello and move on.

Although this has been a weird adjustment, although I have gotten annoyed with people assuming they know me to the core — it has also been a lesson for me, to not “know” someone based on the photo of them jumping of a cliff in Tahoe.

 

Lesson learned.

As people made more and more comments about how often I post, or how well I’m doing — it started to get to me. And actually, it put off my goal of starting a lifestyle blog nearly six months.

Why?

Because I was worried that people would think of me as materialistic, obsessed with my number of likes, no one to go on a camping trip in Yosemite with.

And finally, I have realized that I don’t care.

I don’t care if you don’t understand why I post so often. I don’t care if you think blogging is dumb. I don’t care if you’re tired of seeing my posts about coffee.

I don’t care.

Because, I like a lot of things. I like designing things. I like sharing those things with like-minded people.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

My “why” in life is to help others to find and follow theirs. I want to help people realize their passions and pursue them. I want to enable people to reach their goals. I want to show people their potential.

I want to inspire people.

And I happen to be decent at writing a cliche blog and branding myself on social media. So, that happens to be a good way for me to do that.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Because it’s worth it for the Facebook message I get from an acquaintance from my past telling me that what I wrote was exactly what they needed to hear. The texts that no one ever sees telling me to keep up my writing.

That’s what makes it worth it, and that’s why I’m going to do it.

I’m tired of preaching to everyone to live their dreams while going home and caring what others think about mine. Because at the end of the day, the ones that matter — they’ll be there.

That is just my anecdote. If you have a passion, a goal, a dream — anything that you enjoy doing, anything that you love, please do it. Don’t worry if people think you’re weird. Please follow it, own it, and don’t apologize for it.

That is what I want for you, and finally, that is what I want for me.

Why deleting my electronic planner was the best thing I ever did (and some bigger lessons)

We use technology nearly as much as we use air. We’re on it at work, we’re on it at home, we’re on it for entertainment, we’re on it to post blogs such as these.

We use technology constantly.

A couple of years ago, I decided to change my life.

I began to take myself seriously. I attained internship after internship, job after job, volunteer work after volunteer work. All to build that resume, all to be the professional I knew I could be – I knew I had to be.

This was a good thing – a great thing.

However, one summer I took it too far. I worked 17 hour days, every day. And after that summer, I worked 50-55 hour work weeks while a full-time student. Yep, too far.

During this time, I had to come up with a way to stay sane. Being someone with anxiety, I had to build a system that would ensure I never forgot an appointment, that I was always prepared for my obligations.

It was then that I created my own planner/scheduler/calendar. I used a Microsoft Word document to track my day-to-day – I booked myself out months (years) in advance. Each day with a to-do list, each day with a step-by-step guide of how to live.

And guess what?

It worked.

For the time being.

I was never late. I was always prepared. I built my resume. I changed my image. I became employed. I improved my GPA.

I did it, and I have my obsessive planning (oh and motivation/discipline) to thank for that.

The thing is, is that once I realized that I didn’t need to kill myself in overwork anymore, I still maintained that level of planning.

I had grown so accustomed to writing every. single. thing. down, that I didn’t know any different.

My need for perfection wouldn’t go away.

As I entered the “real” world, I switched over to my Google calendar for ultimate efficiency. Each day marked in different color-coded events to perfectly suit my goals. Months of goals and benchmarks noted, years in advance.

By now you have either stopped reading, think I’m completely psychotic and are no longer my friend, or have faith that I have overcome this obsession.

Hopefully you chose the last option.

About a month ago I realized how unhappy I was. My need for perfectionism was ultimately taking over my life. Every day was structured perfectly, every day was perfectly planned. These obsessive time regulations I put on myself caused me to often not follow them at all, to ignore some of my goals and to ultimately push back my progress further – just the opposite of what I had intended for it to do. I was efficient, but I wasn’t productive.

Why?

Extremity – lack of balance.

I finally realized that putting extreme goals and perfectly planned out steps to reach them was too much. We’re all human – we all need to live.

We all need balance.

So, I deleted all of the contents of my Google calendar. I deleted all of my insane goals. I deleted all of my objectives, plans, and yearnings for self-improvement.

Yes, it was painful.

But I did it.

What I did instead, was only write the essential things into my physical planner (duh, I still have one – who do you think I am?).

I have a daily routine including gratitude, reading, news, working out, and more – but I knew that it was already ingrained – so why did I still need it staring back at me, looking like a burden?

I didn’t.

I changed my goals to more broad ways of living – to more flexible time frames.

Things like “workout every day” and save “x” dollars a month. Rather than, “follow perfect workout plan at 5am” and “no more going out spending money with your friends.”

I took out the in between deadlines.

I allowed myself to live.

And so far, it has been everything.

So far, I spend much less time planning my life, and much more time living it.

I spend much more time seeing my progress and improvement, and much less time seeing my failures and lack of commitment. I spend much more time writing, and much less time staring at my computer screen.

I took out extremity, and I introduced balance.

And all it took for me was taking out the extreme planning.

Of course I still have many goals. Of course I still have many dreams. Of course I’m still working on self-improvement every day.

That’s who I am.

But I’m also the girl that likes to drink too much wine with her friends. I’m also the girl that likes to shop (too much) occasionally. I’m also the girl that likes to be spontaneous and free and go camping with no reception.

I’m far from the perfect person I strive to be. The perfect person I wished I was.

The perfect person I don’t wish I am anymore.

Balance. That is what life is about, and that is what you have to allow yourself to have.

Realistic goals, setting yourself up for success, and balancing your life between self-improvement and self-contentment – that is what 2016 should be about, that is what your whole life should be about.

We read articles about small progress all the time, about balance – but I think sometimes you need to make the mistakes yourself, come to the conclusion yourself, in order for you to truly learn it.

So, 2015 you were fantastic, but I have learned that you don’t always have to follow your planner, and more importantly, you shouldn’t.

Because, when you allow yourself some leniency, when you allow yourself some balance – you never know what or who might appear in your life, there just needs to be room in your schedule.

Combining Two Lessons

I recently came back to two videos that remind us of important lessons in life. Two videos that are important to watch every few months, because too often, it’s easy to forget the lessons we have already learned. Too often it’s easy to fall back into bad habits, negative thoughts, and day-to-day routines.

The first video, describes the time we have in our life. It shows us the time we spend doing different things, and the time we have leftover. It prompts us to think, what are we going to do with that time? Check Facebook? Read? Practice hobbies? Spend time with friends and family? It asks us how much of that time we have already used up.

Watch here:

The second video, discusses what we would do in the absence of money. What do we like to do? What do we want to do? It encourages us to do that, only that, and not worry about the money. Because why would you spend your life doing something you don’t want to be doing?

See it here:

These videos both make good points, and it is the combination of the two ideas that I want to talk about. The first video, showing us how much time we generally have leftover, is rather terrifying. Between work, sleep, commuting, self-hygiene – how much time do we really have left? Apparently not that much. The second video, showing us that we shouldn’t spend the time we do have doing things we dislike, is inspiring, causing many of us to have a desire to drop everything and go road trip to the mountains and not waste one more minute doing anything we remotely don’t want to do.

But the truth is, we do have to spend some time in our lives doing things we don’t LOVE to do. The first video shows us that. We have to spend time sleeping, eating, showering, commuting. We do have to spend time at work in order to have the means to take care of ourselves and live a full life. And we do have some time leftover for other things.

It is also true that we shouldn’t spend our lives doing only things we don’t like (second video). Spending most of our days (work) answering to someone else, doing meaningless work, and watching the clock until 5pm until we can go home and Netflix (and chill).

But, as always, there is an in between. There is a balance we must find. Because, if there is one thing I have learned in my life so far, balance is the key to ultimate success.

My proposition, is this. To find work that means something to you – even if it isn’t your dream job yet. To have faith that more work will come, that by taking steps, you are leading yourself to the day when you will wake up and in fact do exactly what you want to do.

My proposition is to listen to your favorite songs on repeat during your commute. To get ready in the morning whilst repeating everything you are grateful for in your head and looking in the mirror, happy with who you are and where you are going. To enjoy your meals and be grateful for each bite.

My proposition is to make every day count.

No, you can’t go to Thailand right now because “it could be your last.” That’s not how life works. Sometimes, you have to have patience, practice perseverance, and work hard to get there. Sometimes you have obligations and mouths to feed.

You don’t have to make every day count by spending every single one on the ski slopes (although you should spend a lot if that’s your thing). But you can make every day count by enjoying each moment. You make it count with every song you listen to that gives you butterflies. With every smile that comes across your face. With every hello you extend to a stranger. With every text you send to a loved one.

With every connection you make, with every feeling you feel.

Make every day count in a small way. Do things you love, and don’t be discouraged if you aren’t at the top of Mt. Everest yet.

Good things come in time. And time is limited, so use it wisely – make it count.

Plane Ride

2015-12-25 00.55.24.jpgWe talked about the world, life, how she once traveled from Canada to California and throughout the entire U.S.

“We were 70 but we were in love — that’s life. When you’re in love you’re in love… it was lovely, truly lovely.”

She said this about her husband, Paul. They had married at the age of 70. She talked to me the entire plane ride home.

And it taught me a few things.

It taught me to always get to know people you normally wouldn’t. Why do we constantly sit in silence with those we don’t know? We all have a story, we all have connections to be made that we don’t even know about yet. It taught me not to pass those up.

It taught me that it’s never too late to do what you love. It’s never too late to meet someone, follow your dreams, or begin living the life you’ve always wanted.

It taught me that life is meant to be lived. Life is meant to be adventured through — so that one day you can sit on the plane next to a 23 year-old and tell her about your life, the places you went and the things you saw.

It taught me that life is about experiences, and more importantly, it is about the people you share those experiences with.