Embrace the Unknown and Enjoy It

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I’ve found that regardless of age, many people are worried or stressed out about their future. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a 20-something young professional or if you’re a 45 year old mother of 3 because life is stressful. You may worry about whether you’re on the right track professionally, whether you’re making smart financial decisions, or if you’re living up to your full potential.

But you know what? It’s okay not to know what lies ahead of you because of these reasons:

1.) Nobody else knows: Simple yet true. Nobody knows what their future holds so take solace in knowing that you’re definitely not alone. We’re all in this together – Muddling through the confusion and waiting to get to the point in our lives where we find that we’re okay with the unknown.

Secret: The sooner you discover that you can’t control or plan your future, the sooner you’ll be able to embrace what’s to come with open arms…

2.) Life would be boring if we knew: Sometimes the greatest moments in life are those
moments that are completely and totally unexpected. If you knew EXACTLY what your future held, would you still wake up every day with enthusiasm and excitement? I mean, really… You’d know when you’re going to meet important people, when you were going to find a soulmate, when you were going to get a job promotions, etc.

You wouldn’t be excited for the day at all… In fact, you’d probably wake up and think “Alright, today I’m going to meet someone who is going to become my best friend. Better put on some perfume even though it doesn’t matter… We’re destined to be friends regardless of how I smell.” Boooooooringggggggg.

3.) You wouldn’t learn: If you always knew the outcome of situations, you’d probably avoid those that would cause you pain. Now, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing right away but think about it for a second. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned have come from jobs I shouldn’t have taken, boys I shouldn’t have dated, and friends I shouldn’t have hung out with. If I knew that all of those situations wouldn’t have worked out in the long run, I probably would’ve avoided them.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Take a deep breath and smile because you’re doing alright kiddo. Enjoy each day to the fullest rather than riddling it with worry and stress over things you simply can’t control. All you need to do is do your best, follow your heart, and try to make smart decisions (Note: I didn’t say RIGHT decisions because even the wrong ones are okay).

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Don’t Quiet That Little Voice

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Sooo… Remember about 6 months ago when I published my most popular post, “What Do You Do When Your Dream Job Doesn’t Turn Out to Be Your Dream?

You know the one – My entire life, I dreamed about being an Advertising Rockstar but once it happened, I realized it wasn’t for me. I felt lost, confused, stressed, and as if I was someone I didn’t like anymore. It was dumb. Okay, it was more than dumb. It was horrible.

Approximately 3 days after I published that post, I accepted a job at another advertising agency.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Once I left my old job, I took about a week off to decompress and then I began doing the unemployment dance. 7 applications to the left, shuffle, ball change, and 3 grad school applications to the right.

One, just one, of these applications was for an ad agency (my current place of employment) while all of the other applications were in different fields. I’m not sure why I applied but perhaps it was because advertising is what I know, it’s what i’m good at, and it’s how I’ve spent most of my adulthood. Regardless, I interviewed and ultimately, I accepted it.

To be totally honest with you, I was unsure of whether or not I should take it, considering I just made a big show of getting out of the industry. I thought about what others would think about my choices and my credibility.

I went back and forth with my decision until I decided to go for it. I can’t explain why other than the fact that it felt like something I wanted to explore further. This position was different than my previous one in the industry, it gave me more creative freedom, and it was intriguing. Plus, I knew that no decision is ever final.

Despite everything I felt merely days earlier, I followed this deep little feeling inside that said, “Try it” so you know what? I did.

And this decision turned out to be a powerful one.

It has been 6 months in this position now and I haven’t looked back.

That little voice inside of me, the very same one that many of us hush up, lead me to accept a job that has taught me so much. Because of that voice, I’ve met coworkers who have become wonderful friends and I’ve stretched my mind and my boundaries far beyond places they’ve been before.

I get such a thrill helping clients utilize “unimportant” social platforms in a way that shows them how these same platforms assist them in reaching their business objectives. I get to show them how to bring a social personality to their messages. How to find their strengths and showcase them in a way that their target audience understands. And that’s just the beginning.
(Don’t worry, I’m going to save you from more digital marketing jargon)

I followed a feeling that I had, despite all of the logic that I had grounded myself in, and I showed myself that the past doesn’t have to repeat itself. 

What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t shut up that little voice and it has made all the difference.

Through this experience, I’ve learned that sometimes, denying yourself opportunities based off of assumptions isn’t what’s best for you. Sometimes you need to go all in, just once more, to see what happens.

To my surprise, my happiness wasn’t found on a completely different path, like I thought it would’ve been. I followed my heart and I found that I just had to veer a bit from the path I was on.

Life isn’t always easy and sometimes things don’t go the way you expect but you have to rely on your instincts. If there’s one little piece of you that’s telling you to try, then you owe it to yourself to try. It doesn’t matter what others think, what you think could happen, etc.

If you want to try, then try. 

Fortune favors the brave so stop playing it safe, stop denying yourself opportunities because of what could happen, stop hushing that voice inside of your head that’s telling you to try once more.

What Do You Do When Your Dream Job Doesn’t Turn Out To Be Your Dream?

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Back in Elementary school when I thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t think about becoming a veterinarian or an astronaut like most of my friends.

No, my dreams weren’t very… hmmm… normal for a 10 year-old child.

So, what did I dream of? Well, I dreamed of being in advertising.

At my young age, I wasn’t sure exactly what that business entailed but I knew enough. I knew that I wanted to sell Barbie Dolls on billboards and when television commercials aired, I’d think of different ways to sell the products that were being marketed towards my family and I.

I distinctly remember the scene I’d loop on repeat in my head — I pictured myself in a burgundy pantsuit strolling down the streets of New York City, swinging a briefcase, and heading up to my cubicle in a sky rise office building.

As I grew up, the goal of becoming an Advertising Rockstar never changed.

I declared my major as soon as I entered college and I silently pitied those who were “undecided.”

There was never any doubt in my mind during those four years as an Undergraduate that I wasn’t on the right path.

I didn’t immediately find a job in the field post-graduation but rather, it was about a year after that I started meddling in social media professionally. I was working for a small clothing boutique in Nashville and the owner had asked if I could help them out with their social channels.

That experience was the first time that I was truly able to put my education to use in the “Real World” and needless to say, this experience hooked me. I loved being able to take what was going on at the stores and effectively communicate it out to the community using social platforms in a creative yet business savvy way.

I took the excitement I felt and I ran with it far beyond my time in Nashville.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself at one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in the world. It was everything that 10 year-old me dreamed of.

I worked long days that began with copious amounts of black coffee and ended late at night, on my couch with my work laptop. I dreamed about hashtags more times than I’d care to admit and during the morning commute, I’d wrack my brain trying to concoct the best way to achieve my client’s goals despite the Facebook algorithm.

I worked with some amazing clients, I went to some great agency shindigs, and my coworkers truly felt like family. Now, this may have been because we saw each other more than we saw our own family and friends but in that moment, I didn’t care. These people understood me and the challenges I faced day in and day out.

It was about one year into being in the fast paced, high-stress agency life that I began to fall apart.

I began having nightmares about missing important calls from my boss and I had permanent bags under my eyes. I would lose patience and snap at my friends and family over nothing. I didn’t care about the things that once made me happy, such as writing, but rather I found myself watching mindless tv during the free moments I had.

All of this was tolerable until a few weeks ago when I awoke at 3am from a vivid nightmare about a project I was working on. It was so intense and it shook me up so badly that I had sweat through my clothing.

I couldn’t get that night out of my mind and I began realizing that the prestige, the salary, and the experience wasn’t worth it to me anymore.

This left me feeling guilty and confused.

This career was everything I wanted and dreamed about my entire life. Most people in the business would do terrible things to have the opportunity to work where I did and on the accounts that I managed.

I spent days trying to discover why I was so miserable — The agency, the account, the brands, the coworkers, etc.

I looked for any and all reasons as to why I was unhappy because the realreason for how I felt seemed unfathomable: I just didn’t like advertising anymore.

I realized that I didn’t like what I was doing every day and I didn’t like what my boss was doing every day. For me, the endgame wasn’t something I felt passionate about and it’s hard to give a career your everything when you lack a yearning to move up in the business.

While this career choice seemed like a “dream” to me for over half of my life, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something better for me out there.

The problem is that, I didn’t know what that “something” was.
This is all I’ve ever wanted and there was never a Plan B, C, or D in my mind.

So, what do you do when your dream job doesn’t turn out to be your dream?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did and for a few very obvious reasons, this plan isn’t for everyone — I quit and I quit without another job lined up.

I knew that my happiness and my mental health were worth more than the paycheck I was receiving.

I knew I needed to get back to living a life I enjoyed, not one consumed with newsfeeds and hashtags.

Once I understood that leaving my “dream” would allow me to find my real dream, I took the giant, scary step towards living a life I could love, not one that was tolerable.

I don’t have all of the answers yet and to be honest with you, I’m terrifiedmore often than not when I think about the fact that I’m unemployed and mostly direction-less at 28 years old.

But at the end of the day, I truly believe that having the courage to say, “This isn’t the life I want to live” is more important than settling for an impressive job title and a big paycheck.

It’s up to us to fill our days with joy, happiness, and satisfaction. Sure, every day won’t be easy nor will it be enjoyable but it’s up to us to ensure we’re tipping the scale in favor of getting us to a life we love.

Walking down this foggy path towards happiness won’t be easy but I have to believe it’s worth it.

Read the follow up blog post

Resume.

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So, I truly believe this post should probably be titled, “Things I’m Afraid to Tell you Pt. 3” but I’m afraid that 3 parts of one type of post is a little excessive 😉

With that being said, there’s no good way to jump into this post so I’m just going to commit and do it…

A little while ago, I was rejected by someone I was starting to have feelings for. We had gone out a few times, exchanged an obscene amount of texts messages, etc.

Things were great until they weren’t anymore.

It happened in a text message that was little more than the sentence, “You didn’t do anything wrong, I guess I just don’t feel it like I was there for a little while.”

Talk about a kick in the face.

I wanted to scream, yell, and swear that he didn’t know me enough to decide that he was done with this situation; however, I didn’t. My pride was well enough in tact not to do that. I said, “While I’m bummed out, I appreciate your honesty. Best of luck”

Approximately .5 seconds after I sent him the message, I sent my best girlfriends a text that said something along the lines of, “Guys are the worst. I hate everything.” 😉

A dear friend of mine immediately invited me out to the local watering hole and wouldn’t take, “Nah, I’m fine. Really.” for an answer. I suppose that’s why she’s a dear friend, eh?

After a bit of complaining/whining, she finally butted into my mutterings and made things painfully clear for me.

She reminded me that while my “life resume” was wonderful, it meant nothing if I didn’t begin to take stock in the things that truly matter.

Now, I know. That sounds silly but hear me out…

I’ll admit that I’ve accomplished more before 30 than I thought I could’ve in the entirety of my life; however when I think of what I’ve done, I tick off a list of things that would “look good” when talking to a potential employer.

Accomplishments and goals are extremely important but they’re not the only thing that matters in life. What matters is your self-worth.

To me, realizing this self-worth means that when things fall apart, you’re able to say it wasn’t you. It wasn’t because you weren’t smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, ________ enough.

Your self-worth is TRULY self-worth when you can say, “Yes, _____ happened and it wasn’t mean to work but it wasn’t because I was any less of a person.”

It’s when everything is stripped away and/or you’ve been rejected by someone that you wonder, “Was it me? Was I not _____ or ____ or _____?”

It doesn’t matter what’s on that life resume of yours. What matters is what you think of yourself when the times get tough. It’s knowing that while you accomplished a lot it’s even more important that you realize you are a lot.

This shift in mentality makes all the difference. Truly believe that you’re great in this moment, despite what you’ve accomplished in the past. 

Really remind yourself of who you are when your “life resume” is stripped away. Don’t define yourself by your grades, your career, or the person you love.

Define yourself by who you are when nobody else is around. Define yourself by the things you’ve done when a friend is in need. Define yourself by the actions you take when you see someone do something that’s not appropriate.

When you’re hurt or upset, remind yourself of your self worth. Don’t let them knock you down or make you feel anything less than wonderful.

You’re wonderful, beautiful, and perfect.

Break Your Own Limits and Surprise Yourself

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Fact #1: In my life, I’ve been a victim of settling.
Possible Fact #2: You’ve also probably settled before in some aspect of your life.

It’s not hard to do and dare I say that more often than not, this settling is due to limitations you’ve accidentally set for yourself. 

For example: I know that I’ve limited myself when it comes to my professional life. In the past, I’ve settled into jobs that felt comfortable and didn’t challenge me because I wasn’t sure I would be as successful anywhere else. I knew how to do my job and I knew I did that job well, so I thought that was good enough.

I felt “good enough” for a few weeks until I realized that I was unhappy with this mentality of being mediocre. Seriously, why was I okay with being JUST good enough?

This mentality scared me and that’s precisely when I decided to make a change – I decided to see how far I could go.

So what did I do? Well, I applied for a bunch of jobs – I applied to positions within my dream companies, I applied for jobs that I wasn’t even qualified for (sorry to all the HR people reading this), and I applied for jobs that I would give my left leg for if it meant that I could even get an interview. Basically, if the job or the company excited me, I applied.

Part of me thought that I wouldn’t get any interviews but there was a little part of me that thought, but what if I did?

Like I said, I was employed and I liked my job so really, what did I have to lose? If I didn’t get a job or an interview, that was okay. I could still pay my rent. 

However, I did get interviews. Even more, not only did I get interviews but I was able to talk to some incredible companies, some wonderful employers, and some groundbreaking industry leaders. I was given opportunities I never even thought possible. I was offered amazing freelance work and even flown out of state for an interview… Doors opened for me that I never even realized existed.

Even more exciting, as a result of reaching out for the sake of seeing how far I could go, I was offered my dream job.

This idea of pushing myself and breaking the limits I had previously set upon myself had opened my eyes.

It reminds me of the quote, “You accept the love you think you deserve” which can be applied in many aspects of your life… “You accept the friendship you think you deserve” or “You accept the job you think you deserve” and so on.

Because of my experience, I want to challenge you to do this: I want you to do something that scares you. Something that you don’t think is “possible” for you to do. Something that is seems far fetched. I want you to go above and beyond the limits you have set for yourself. As Jason Mraz says in one of his songs, “Leap and the net will appear.”

If there’s one thing I can leave you with after you close out this browser tab, it’s this: You only get one go at this thing called life… Why settle for mediocre? You deserve more than that. Go out and get the life you’ve only dreamed of darling. 

Live Inspired Hiatus

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It has been months (seriously… MONTHS) since I’ve updated the Live Inspired blog. For a while, I wasn’t sure what to say but more recently, it has been more of… how do I say this? How do I explain that my absence online isn’t because I don’t care about this site/my fans but rather, I have to step back, take a deep breath, and focus on other things?

Well… Here we go: There has been SO much going on in my life and as much as I hated to admit it, Live Inspired was put on the back burner.

In a nutshell:
– I made the decision that it was time to quit my job
– I was interviewing for other positions across the state
– I went to North Carolina for a long weekend to consult a band about social media
– I snagged my dream job in Detroit (about 2 1/2 hours from where I was living)
– I packed up and moved away from friends, my boyfriend, and comfort in Grand Rapids
– My grandfather passed away which was hard on all of us
– annnd I just completed my first week at a big ad agency
(complete with a 6am wake up call and an hour+ commute each way)

Whew!

Now that things have kind of calmed down with my move across state and starting my new position, I’ve been able to breathe a little easier. I’m hoping to not only find my groove in this new chapter of life but also to find my groove when it comes to updating/writing/posting on this blog and the Live Inspired Facebook page.

Because I’m not working from home anymore, unfortunately I’m not going to be able to update it as much as I was; however, I hope to at least post 1 or 2 things a day during the week day. In addition, I hope to update this blog during the weekends.

Even though things might be a little quieter for a minute here, I hope that you continue to make a difference and lead a positive life.

Okay, what am I saying? Of course you will... You don’t need me to remind you of how wonderful life is 😉

With this being said, I love you all and my absence was not because I was losing sight of Live Inspired. I just needed a few weeks to organize my life and get back to a less stressful place 😉

Darling, slow it down.

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Stop rushing around – You’re hurting yourself.

We’re all rushing – Whether that’s to get to work, to get to class, to fall in love, to get married, to own a house, to have children,whatever… We’re all rushing to get to the pre-decided, next step in our lives.

Many of us (myself included sometimes) can’t help but to fall victim to this “next step” game we play.

We’re constantly figuring out where we need to go, from where we are, to get to where we want to be.

Aren’t you exhausted? Aren’t you burnt outHell, I am.
We’re all rushing around and you know what?
It’s tiring and it’s hurting you.

Like I mentioned before in a Medium.com post, it’s useless to worry about the future because it’s unknown.

We can’t begin to plan out a future that we can’t plan on happening.

So, stop trying to make plans for three weeks, three months, or three years from now – Take a deep breath and stop rushing around.

You don’t know what your future will hold and in rushing through the process of living, you’re denying yourself a lot of happiness and wonder. You’ll begin just going through the motions of the day – Wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch Netflix, go to bed, repeat.

What kind of a life is that?

When you stop pushing towards the “next step” with blinders on, you’ll begin to enjoy things a bit more. You’ll notice the pretty tree blooming in your front yard, you’ll call your parents more, you’ll just feel more than you have been feeling.

I truly believe that your days will feel more worthwhile.

Slowing down doesn’t mean stopping.
Slowing down doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams.
Slowing down just means slowing down.

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MEDIUM.COM: Darling, Slow it down.