Posts Tagged Cool Things

The top three things that went incredibly RIGHT and incredibly WRONG in 2010: A personal review

My new years resolution in January of 2009 was to: “Read more, fear less, and make moves to create my life.” Some things haven’t changed. These are still my goals. As we head into the new year, I am asking myself, “What can I do to make it happen?”

I’m sure I’m not alone in this quest. But before I can decide on the areas I want to hone in on in 2011, first I need to recap 2010. Enter the annual personal review exercise. Over the past week I’ve been pondering what my life has been like this year. I’ve come to many conclusions, but the thing I want to share with you is I my list of the top three things that went incredibly, undeniably RIGHT this year; and the things that went really effin’ WRONG.

*drum roll please*

3 things that went incredibly right in 2010

#3. Launching this blog, The Fab Life Project
Creating this blog felt oh-so-right for many reasons. If you’ve been reading from the beginning, then you know that I had been wanting to start a blog for quite some time before I actually got around to it. I let a lot of things hold me back from getting my dream out of my head, and onto the net.

In July, I said, “f-it” and I went for it. Since then I’ve gained subscribers (if you aren’t subscribing, do it!) and have been told by a lot of people that they are feeling what I’m doing here. Knowing that I am motivating other people to get out there and create their fab life, makes me beyond happy. I’m joyful, folks! Joyful!  In 2011, I want to continue on my mission for creating a community for Gen Y’ers and making this THE resource for Gen Y’ers who want to build their world from scratch.

#2. Leaving the U.S.A. for the first time.
July was a busy month for me this year.  Right after I launched the blog, I launched myself to Lima, Peru for nine days. It. was. awesome! If you have never left your home country, please find a way to do it! Traveling allows you to find out so much about yourself. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I can’t wait to travel again, and I can’t wait to make an announcement about exactly how it will happen!

And the number one thing that went right this year was….
Making it back to Tennessee in time to see the birth of my god-daughter. (BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.)
When my best friend told me she was pregnant with her third child, I promised I would make it home to see her have the baby. Because she is such a good friend, she never doubted that I would be there. And because I can be a pretty rational person, I spent nine months wondering how the hell I would pull it off. After all, I had a lot of factors in my way: I live in New York. I work a full-time job. And it’s impossible to predict the exact moment a baby will be born.

I scheduled two weeks off from work, but when D called me a week before my scheduled departure time to tell me that she was in labor, I panicked. And I gave up hope for a few hours. But that Friday morning I woke up with a new sense of determination. I knew I had to figure out a way to be there. One call to the airline later, and it was settled, I would be on my way to Tennessee the next day. There was still some panic about whether I would still miss the birth (I was scheduled to leave that Tuesday), but I did it! My god-daughter, Madyson, was born at 2:44 that Sunday. Watching a new life emerge into the world, put my life into perspective. It was an amazing day, and my number one moment of 2010.

I’m so tempted to end this post here, on a high note, but it would be a disservice not to give you my list of things that went astray in 2010.  No drum roll needed; just that breath you take right before you get into pondering something deep.

So, what went WRONG in 2010?

#3. Telling myself, “I can’t” a lot more than saying that “I can.”
I’ve caught myself saying this way too many times this year. Sometimes it was out loud, other times, in my head, but it happened too much for me to ignore that this was a huge failing point in my 2010. I’ve written about feeling stuck, and frustrated, and  I know these feelings have shaped my thoughts about what I can, and cannot do. But not anymore. No more ruling myself out. No more focusing on my perceived notions. I CAN DO whatever I put my mind too. Maybe I will strike out, but I would rather fail than never try.

#2. Allowing my 9-to-5 to take over my life.
There are many books written about work/life balance. There are the people who write extensively about achieving it, and there are the people who believe the idea of balance is total bullshit. I believe that when you looooove your job, you find balance because your job and your life are one. You’ve found the place where passion and purpose intersect.

I am not there yet. I am working on getting there.  But in the meantime, I have got leave my job stress at my desk. My new motto is, “If I can’t do something about it right now, then why waste time thinking about it?”  Also, I will stop internalizing work-deadline pressure. I will say openly that “I am only one person.” This isn’t self-defeating, it’s the truth. In a time where many people are doing the jobs of two, you need to remind yourself that you are only ONE person. Then step away from the cube. Hell, run away from the cube.

And the number one thing that went completely WRONG in 2010 was:
Not allowing other people to help me

It is very hard for me to ask for help. And now that I live in New York (where hospitality is hard to come by) asking for help has become even harder. I hate the idea of putting myself into a position where people can reject me, but sometimes you have to do so to move forward. Part of my pledge to “fear less” in 2011, is allowing myself to ask for help when I need it. And to not take it personally if things don’t go my way. Helping myself means trying. I. have. to. try.

I would love to know what went RIGHT for you in 2010, and what went WRONG. It’s a good place to start when you are making plans for the new year!

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Your 2010: A Personal Review

There are 10 days left in 2010.  This excites me. Why? Because I’m ready to commit to making some of my dreams come true in 2011.  But before I get into my dream chasing, I want to share an idea with you:  A Personal Year End Annual Review.

I first read about the idea of conducting a personal annual review on the Art of Nonconformity blog. Each year the author, Chris Guillebeau, literally goes into the woods for a week to evaluate his year. From personal matters to business strategies, Chris thinks about it all and asks himself what went well and what did not go well.

Now, I’m not suggesting you trek into the woods, but the idea of conducting an annual review is a good one.  As the year draws to a close, most people only think about the things they did not achieve.  We start flashing back to all of those resolutions we wrote down on January 1. Maybe you didn’t get a chance to get around to some of them, but I am sure you achieved plenty this year that you aren’t really giving yourself credit for.

Of course it is important to examine the things that did not go well this year, but the thing I like most about this exercise is that you are allowing yourself to find a balance between what you did well, and what you didn’t do well.

I’m going to conduct my assessment over the next few days and give you the break down on Thursday.  You should try it!

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How to Trust Your Vision, Even When Others Don’t

When I made the decision to blog about living life against the status quo, I knew I would receive some feedback that would be less than positive. In fact, I had my fair share of warnings.  Every blogger that writes about lifestyle design has said that when you try to encourage people to think outside the box, some people will freak out. Then they will speak out. And sometimes what they have to say will be pretty nasty.

Well, this weekend I received some criticism about this blog that wasn’t nasty, but it still took me by surprise. One of my friends (who is a great, delightful person) said she thought the pace of my writing is slow, and that the blog reads more like a letter than a blog.  I’m always open to feedback, so I took her comments in stride. In fact, I’m glad she said what she did.

Because now I get to write this post about the three things I think you should remember when people start questioning your vision.  *Drum roll, please*

1. When you keep a laser-like focus on your vision everything else will fall away.

So many people spend every day worrying about what others think of them.  They fear speaking their mind, or making any moves because they are terrified about what the masses will say.  But you know what?  Life is short, so why waste your time trying to mold yourself to be someone you are not?

Remembering who you are trying to reach will always keep you focused and centered. You can’t be everything to everybody. And that is the way that it should be. The Fab Life Project isn’t for everyone. It’s really not for practical people. Or even people who totally risk averse.  It’s really not for people who believe that they CAN’T. It’s for the people who question if they CAN. Big difference.

2. When people try to box you in (and they will) RUN!

Doing something unconventional is scary. Whether that be quitting your job because you never did like it anyway, or starting a new business venture, branching out into the unknown is a little terrifying. And the funny thing about this is, not only are YOU scared, your notions of being big and bold  start scaring other people!

Folks freak out when they see others wanting to try something new. I believe this is because we have been so programmed to believe something is wrong with us if we don’t want to fit into the traditional, limited definition of success.  And most of the time their reaction will be to try to find someway to put you back in the box, cage, or cube.

The comments my friend made, while well intended, were stifling.  But I received her comments with glee. Why? Because anytime someone tells you that your project doesn’t look like the typical something you expect to see, you are doing something right. Rock on!

3. Finally, and most important, remember YOU define your own rules.

The number one reason I created this blog is because I want to encourage people who don’t believe in living a mediocre existence to break through convention to get to their true self.

I reminded myself of this after I spoke to my friend because I decided to veto her opinion. Why?
Well, I think the  beauty of a blog is that it can be anything you want it to be. Blogs take on so many shapes and forms (kind of like people) that it is hard to define exactly what a blog should sound like. This applies to pretty much any project with the exception of filling out your tax forms.

Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking there are “set rules” you should follow. Just because something has always been done in a traditional way, does not make it automatically right.  The fabulous thing about your project might be the way you do everything WRONG, according to the powers that like to spit modern “wisdom”.

Next time you start a new project, or are redefining your vision, remember this: There are the kind of rules that keep us safe (look both ways before you cross the street), and then there are the rules that are just limitations set up by others. Learn to distinguish between the two. Then follow the path less taken, not the path of least resistance.

Tell me, have you ever had someone question your vision? How did you deal?

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