All Guts, Some Glory

If someone were to ask me what the theme of 2014 was, I’d tell them without flinching, “Trust your instinct”.  This is an aspect of my life that has been weakened because I’d always look to others that I felt were smarter/wiser/sharper than me to tell me how to maneuver through this life.   Over the last few years, I’ve been on this hard but amazing journey of finding out who I am and what I want and what my purpose is in this lifetime…and on this journey, I’ve learned that the internal voice or nudge is the best guide I have; if it was stronger.  But it’s coming along nicely.  I’ll tell you two major times this year where my instincts kicked into super high gear.  One was a success.  The other was a failure.  Let’s just get the failure out the way.

The Little Intern That Couldn’t (the failure)

Because I dedicated a whole post (go on, read it) about it, I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about it.  That missed opportunity really gets to me from time to time.  I look back sometimes and wish I had more confidence in myself and in my abilities.  I couldn’t go past the “what if…” about all of it: quitting my job to move to New York, starting at the basic level, being critiqued by not only mentors but other interns, the next step afterwards.  I just couldn’t see past my own insecurities and that became louder than my instinct to just go for it.  Maybe I would’ve gone further in the internship.  Maybe I would’ve been stopped at the interview.  Maybe I would’ve seen the opportunity for me to be bold in other areas.  I’ll never know the outcome, so I let it go.  Just know that I absolutely learned the lesson

Run The World, Girl (the success)

Source: www.iamnotthebabysitter.com
Source: http://www.iamnotthebabysitter.com

Christmas Day was like any other Thursday for me; it just didn’t feel like a holiday.  Still, I was able this year to give my family gifts (pretty awesome ones, too!) so I was more excited to see them open their gifts than me receiving one.  So while I was in the midst of waiting for everyone to open their presents, I decided to go onto Twitter and my timeline just seemed to be all a buzz about going to Abu Dhabi for under $200.  Curious, I went to see my favorite travel account, Travel Noire, talk about an airline having amazing fares to different places internationally.  So I went in with the intention of going to Abu Dhabi, but something else caught my attention.

Johannesburg.

Immediately, my instincts started kicking in and this time, I wasn’t going to ignore it.  I played with the departure and arrival time.  I took their advice on which dates to book (Monday-Thursday have the best deals) and I fell on the perfect date: May 18, which is exactly 2 days before my birthday.  Then I saw the price: $355.  My instincts went into high gear, but I was paralyzed with fear.

OMG…are you really about to do this?  It’s South Africa!  You’d be going to South Africa for your birthday!  But you’d be alone.  And you know nothing about where you’re going.  But this is could open your traveling door.  Am I really about to do this? 

I saw this as an opportunity that I would not pass up.  I could afford the ticket, the departure date gave me plenty of time to plan and prep however I felt it to be necessary, and how dope would it be to go to SOUTH AFRICA!!!  I pressed through….and bought the plane ticket.  Then I looked at my itinerary: a day in Paris, then Johannesburg, then another day in Abu Dhabi on the way home (see!  I still get to go to Abu Dhabi!).  My instincts got me a trip to South Africa for my birthday.

Fear is natural.  It’s also normal.  I’ll probably never rid my life of fear…but I’ve learned that my instincts, that “gut feeling”, will always guide me in the right direction.  Here’s to letting it be my compass in 2015.

Saturday Sitdown Vol. 7

It’s the last Saturday of the year and I have to say, this has been a real eye-opening year full of incredible highs and some heart breaking lows. So as we go into 2015 together, my message is to enjoy the sweet spots.

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What is a sweet spot? Well, it’s whatever makes you feel good in the moment. So often we’re rushing through life; bouncing from one task to another. We feel overwhelmed with e-mails or the morning news. We get to work and get piled with deadline after deadline…all while being everything to everybody else. So a sweet spot could be lunch at your favorite restaurant, a song on the radio, a conversation with a good friend. Whatever moment that allows you to really slow down and feel fully present are the sweet spots in life. This year, I’ve been paying attention to mines. It’s the few extra minutes in bed when the alarm goes off. The morning cup of green tea. Yoga. Moments of silence in my office. They all keep me enjoying daily life just a little more.

Think about how you can luxuriate in the sweet spot more. If you don’t have one, then what a beautiful place to be! Think of what one thing you can do daily to bring sweetness into it. Is it a trip to a coffee shop? Meditation? A scented soap to use in the shower? The choice is yours! I challenge you to really get still, get centered, and enjoy the sweet spots today and the days after that.

That’s FOMO!

Over the weekend, I had a taste of what it was really like to disconnect.  I talked about how I would be more present in my life and I even started implementing a few ways to just connect back to myself:

  • I stopped using my cell phone as an alarm clock.
  • Actually, I stopped bringing my cell phone into the bedroom, period!
  • No social media app will be opened until 8:00 a.m.
  • No reading or responding e-mails until 9:00 a.m. (my inbox overwhelms me on a daily)
  • No text messages, unless it’s an absolute emergency, until 8:00 a.m.

I did all of this in an effort to put myself first in the morning and it worked.  That is, until I woke up Friday morning just not caring.  I didn’t care what the trending topic was.  I didn’t care to know whose aunt was coming in for the weekend or what holiday party someone couldn’t stand to be at.  I just felt out of alignment in a sense.  So I went throughout my day, at work (which is where I’m always on social media) not on any site.  I wasn’t connected….and didn’t miss it at all.

Source: www.prx.org
Source: http://www.prx.org

Saturday was a sweet repeat of Friday: I spent time with friends off the phone (they, on the other hand…..) celebrating a birthday and having a good time.  Sunday was spent in bed with Netflix, the perfect combination. I felt clear minded and refreshed  Then Monday came, and I broke my digital fast.  I saw tweet after tweet and felt completely out the loop on whatever topic was up for discussion for the day.  I’ll admit that I did miss some of my more mystic tweeters (because they’ve been so inspirational this month), but I didn’t get a big case of the FOMO.  What’s FOMO?

Fear. Of. Missing. Out. 

The biggest hurdle in most people putting their phones down is that we feel we may miss out on something.  What that thing is?  I don’t know.   Technology has made is so convenient to stay informed 24/7 about any and everything that we become overwhelmed.  Seriously, have you ever been in the middle of a meeting and have a notification go off on your phone?  Why do I need to know that there’s a 30% off sale on flights at 3:45 in the morning?!  But I’ve been a victim of FOMO before; I’ve scrolled down a page to see what was talked about while I was away.  I’ve clicked on a hashtag to find out why it was started or what people were saying.  I’ve glared at my phone in the middle of the night and refreshed a page more times than I can count.   Last weekend taught me that I can survive without checking my app.  Next year, I’ll probably go longer without being connected.   Maybe a week.  Maybe longer.  I’m sure I won’t miss anything.