Posts Tagged Escaping the Cube

Managing the Move Home

Despite all of the articles that come out calling Gen Y’ers “boomerang kids” and insisting that we flock to our parent’s houses in droves, we know the truth:  we really don’t want to return to the nest.  In fact, we’re usually hell-bent on not doing so…even when heading home might be in our best interest.

If it looks as if you will be homeward bound, relax. Although there will be some bumpy moments, anyone can navigate their time at home if you maintain a clear focus.  In 2008,  I moved back in with my Dad in Tennessee.   At times it was an exercise in patience. But looking back, I think I benefited a lot. It was a difficult time for me professionally (didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do), so it was great to have the support of my family and friends as I searched for purpose in my life.

If it looks like moving back in with your parents might be in your future, fear not.  Keep these three things in mind:

Put an expiration date on it
Before you make the move home, decide exactly how long you will be there, if you can. Do you need a year to work out your finances? Or, perhaps a job opportunity will give you some experience that will help you do what you really want to do, somewhere else. Think about how long it will take you to achieve your goal, then hold yourself to that timeline.

Remember the reasons
There will be days when the “living at home thing” is kinda frustrating. Whether you are moving home to save money to start your own business, or you want to take some time to think about your next career move, always keep your reasons a thought away. Create a vision board which can serve as a physical reminder of the goals you will achieve.

Behave like an adult
Your parents may still you as the little kid they lovingly raised, but you can’t allow yourself to slip back into the role you used to play. Respect your parents rules, but try your best to have open and honest conversations with them during the rough moments. Remember, nothing screams “don’t take me seriously” more than slamming doors, and heavens forbid, pouting. Keep in mind, you are a different person now than you were the last time you lived at home.

Have any ideas to add to the list?

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Ask “WHY” It can help you move forward

Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself  why you do what you do?

This question could apply to any endeavour you are currently working on, but for the sake of this post, let’s think about that one activity that probably keeps you busy most of the day. You know, the one that breaks you off a check every two weeks.

So, now that we have this activity in mind, let me ask you this: why do you do it?
If you answer has anything to do with the money, I want to urge you to dig a little deeper.

Let me backtrack: Last year while I was unemployed, I attended a week’s worth of free workshops under the guise of New York Entrepreneur Week. You know how when you go to a conference or workshop, you learn so much and you get super hype, but then you basically do a brain dump and forget it all?  Well, that happened to me too with the exception of this one workshop.  I left with a souvenir from the speaker. A little coin that looks like this:

My rough sketch, but you get the idea!

The speaker was Simon Sinek. He is the author of a book called “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”. The premise is that in order to be great, and to lead effectively, you need to ask yourself: Why you do what you do?  His book focuses primarily on organizations, but the knowledge can be applied to individuals as well. After all, you are your own personal brand. And you need to know WHY you do what you do.

From the Amazon summary of the book:
” Any organization can explain what it does; some can explain how they do it; but very few can clearly articulate why. WHY is not money or profit– those are always results. WHY does your organization exist? WHY does it do the things it does? WHY do customers really buy from one company or another? WHY are people loyal to some leaders, but not others?

Starting with WHY works in big business and small business, in the nonprofit world and in politics. Those who start with WHY never manipulate, they inspire. And the people who follow them don’t do so because they have to; they follow because they want to.”

My WHY Moment:  So Simon talked to us about this idea of why it is important to ask yourself why you do what you do. He gave us examples (think Mac vs. PC) of how companies that are really in tune with WHY they do WHAT they do, are successful. It’s why once you go Mac, you never go back. Apple knows why it does what they do, therefore, they are able to do it well.

I was so intrigued by this idea, that I had to speak with Simon after the workshop. I approached him with my dilemma: “Simon,” I said. “I’m tired of people putting me in a box because I am a writer. Anytime someone hears that I write, they think that is all I can do.”

He looks at me for a second then said: “So stop telling people you are a writer.”
Hmmm…. “What?”
“Why do you like to write?” he asked me.
I go into a long spiel about how it’s not so much that I like writing, but I like to connect with people. I love to tell stories. I enjoy helping people get their stories out there. Writing, for me, is just the vehicle I am currently using to do what I really love to do which is: tell stories.

“So tell people you are a storyteller, “ Simon said.

Well, dang. It never occurred to me before that moment that this is true, I am, primarily, a storyteller.  That the thing that makes me most happy is telling stories. Snap! What a revelation.

I’ve been carrying around the coin Simon gave me for over a year now. And anytime I feel puzzled about a new project, or confused as to what direction I should move in, I remember the coin. I challenge myself to start with “Why”  I’ve found that when you start with the “why” you can move into the “how” and the “what” with some clarity.  And remember, money is just a result, it’s not a reason (I know, I know, easier said than done. Especially when you are thinking about paying back those college loans!)

Your WHY moment:So, why do you do what you do? And if you aren’t doing what you know you WANT to do, what’s you latest idea? Think about why you are drawn to it. The how and the what will appear in focus.

Amber’s note: If you think this post could help someone you know, please share! And if you need a little Monday morning motivation, please subscribe :)

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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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