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Compromise

Whether we realize it or not, compromise is part of everyday life.

From navigating workplace politics to finding common ground in a relationship, playing well with others is key when it comes to future success. 

Just because this is true doesn't make it any easier.

I have to admit, as someone who can be very stubborn, I sometimes have a hard time with compromise. I'd like to think that when it comes to major decisions, I can go 50/50 on almost anything.

However, my stubbornness tends to come out with smaller, more frequent choices.

You know, the "Where do you want to eat?" kind or the "What do you want to watch?" variety.

Regardless of the kind of compromise you're making, I think the most important part is paying attention to long-term trends.

Are you unwilling to compromise nines times out of ten? Do you always have your way when it comes to one specific type of decision?

If you ask me, these trends say a lot more than a one-off decision.


Decisions

I'll be the first to admit - I'm not the most decisive person.

Like plenty of others, I have defaulted far too many times to the nefarious decision by indecision.

Decisions like choosing a movie on Netflix or finding a place to eat don't really require that much effort. After all, we're not talking about life and death here.

However, when an important decision comes along, we can't help but fall back on our habits.

Do you have a new job opportunity? Are you deciding where to travel for vacation? As you can tell, these decisions impact our lives way more than other, more trivial things.

We've all heard practice makes perfect, right? Why not apply this mantra to the way in which we make decisions. Use the smaller choices to practice being decisive and, when the larger ones pop up, they won't be as paralyzing.


I'm tired

I'm tired.

I'm tired of being complacent.

I'm tired of not being challenged.

I'm tired of working in isolation most days.

I'm tired of simply surviving instead of thriving.

I'm tired of being the most ambitious person in the room.

I'm tired of not being able to invest in myself and others I care about.

I'm tired of not being in love with my life and not doing anything to fix it.


Friction can be good

I would describe myself as nonconfrontational.

Growing up, I was a huge people-pleaser who always tried to talk my way out of uncomfortable disagreements.

At this point in my life, I've realized how important friction actually is when it comes to tackling important problems.

When you put a bunch of ambitious, passionate people in the same room and task them with solving a problem, friction is inevitable. In fact, in this sort of environment, friction is healthy.

It shows that intelligent people are working together in order to find the best solution.

Notice how I didn't say easiest or quickest solution - I said best.

Ask any high-achieving, innovative team how they work, and I guarantee friction will be part of their process, whether it's accounted for or not.

Sure, I still might be nonconfrontational, but when I need to, I can accept and embrace productive friction.

Can you?


What do I believe?

• I believe in growing a community using honesty, transparency, and a little humor.
• I believe in setting unreasonably high expectations for myself.
• I believe that shared ideas are the best way to form deeper connections with others.
• I believe in doing my best work possible and sharing it with others.
• I believe in taking my work seriously and not myself.
• I believe that people are more important than profits.
• I believe in asking harder questions and listening to those answers.
• I believe that time is the most valuable thing any of us have.
• I believe in focusing on quality over quantity.
• I believe it's never too early to share your story and help others.
• I believe that labels don't matter - results do.
• I believe that every one of us has the ability to create our own path.
• I believe it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
• I believe in taking everything with a grain (or two) of salt.
• I believe ideas are worthless until you share them with others.


Uninspired

I woke up this morning feeling rather uninspired.

No matter how fulfilled I might be, these feelings always seem inevitable.

Instead of beating my head against the wall, my first instinct is to find out why.

Why do I feel uninspired? Which piece of the puzzle is missing?

More often than not, I find myself losing inspiration when I go on autopilot. I've learned there is a very fine line between creating a productive routine and getting stuck in a rut.

If you ask me, there is one major difference between the two:

A routine has a purpose or goal and a rut doesn't.

With a routine comes forward motion, small steps that add up to big progress. On the other hand, a rut is simply a routine without a point.

It seems as if I need to refocus my goals and remind myself why I am doing what I'm doing.

I don't need to solve everything right away.

I'm just trying to find a little of the inspiration I lost along the way.


All-or-nothing

I'm an extreme person.

For the most part, I'm either happy or sad, talkative or quiet, productive or lazy.

As you can tell, there isn't a whole lot of gray area.

My ambition constantly gets the best of me, which means adopting an "all-or-nothing" mindset can be even more dangerous.

For example, if I wake up feeling less-than-stellar, there's a good chance my morning routine will completely crumble. It's hard for me to simply check off a few tasks and call it a day.

As I get older, I'm learning not to be so hard on myself - things happen and no one is perfect.

This doesn't mean we can't hold ourselves to a higher expectation. Instead, we must do one of two things:

1. Manage our own expectations
2. Change our actions so they rise to meet those expectations

For me, this means embracing the messy middle. It means being OK with getting something accomplished even if I have to push a few things off until tomorrow.

Life doesn't have to be all-or-nothing - it can be filled with an imperfect something.

After all, something is better than nothing.


Peace of mind

All I want is a little more peace of mind.

What exactly is keeping me from this?

Obscure health issues, professional uncertainty, the list goes on and on.

At the moment, my answer is to create a more stable income for myself.

When we hear, "Money can't buy you happiness," we forget that it can buy you something else:

Time.

During this time, we can explore, create, learn, live with intention, and ultimately find peace of mind.

I'll be the first to admit: I can usually handle individual problems fairly well, but the real issue is when these stressors overlap and eventually come to a head.

This is when I lose my peace of mind. Instead of strategically picking apart each problem, I become overwhelmed and switch into survival mode. This is the last place you want to be because, instead of thinking long-term, you are simply finding quick fixes that don't add up.

We all deal with issues in our own ways. If we pause to find out why we don't have peace of mind, we can use this as a starting point for living a more intentional life. 


Love it or fix it

I was recently asked an unusual question during an interview:

"How will you fail here?"

Before opening my mouth, I paused for a few seconds.

Plenty of companies claim they support "failing fast" and learning from failure, but how many actually provide ways in which people can productively fumble?

I answered by admitting that, at times, I may be a little too eager to execute on ideas and my impatience could end up getting the best of me.

Seemingly satisfied with my answer, he went on to talk about how he uses one simple phrase:

Love it or fix it.

I can't tell you how close I was to jumping out of my chair and giving this man a hug.

As someone who is still developing a bias towards action, I can confidently say most people complain about problems without offering up solutions.

I get it. After all, it's much easier to focus on problems instead of creating thoughtful solutions - it's the path of least resistance.

Since hearing these simple words, I have already taken steps towards identifying the parts of my life I don't love and doing something about them.

What about your life don't you love? What will you do to fix it?


Seeking opportunity

Opportunity is a funny thing.

When you can't find it, there really doesn't seem to be any around for miles.

On the flip side, whenever you find a little, there is always more on the way.

Whether you're looking for a new job or simply searching for a new project, opportunity tends to follow preparation or, at the very least, some amount of effort.

That's why whenever I am looking for new opportunity, I never stop once I've found one option - I always aim to give myself more eggs in more baskets.

In other words, I try to diversify as much as possible.

You will never regret giving yourself too many choices in life, especially when it comes to finding or creating your own path.

Remember, in this case, more is more.


Now and then

I tend to think about the future a lot.

I can't help but imagine a life in which I, and those I care about, are able to thrive.

I also focus on the short-term - actionable steps I can take today in order to make tangible progress tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I don't usually think about much else.

In other words, I have a plan for tomorrow and goals for the distant future, but that's about it.

This can be pretty frustrating for my fiancé as she constantly reminds me that life happens between now and then.

I can't simply put life on hold until I reach my goals - I have to account for the fact that life isn't linear. It's messy, complicated, and distracting.

Thanks to her, I have taken off my blinders and I am now looking a little further ahead.

Whether it's three months or three years from now, I have started to fill in the gaps for the life I want to create.


Sick and tired

When I woke up this morning, I knew it was going to be one of those days.

You know, the kind of day when you have zero energy and the only thing you can focus on is how much your head and throat hurt.

Thanks to what I can only imagine is a killer sinus headache, I spent most of the morning in bed, only getting up to eventually switch to the couch.

I dozed in and out of consciousness, barely paying attention to what was on TV.

After some much-needed rest and tea, I finally felt well enough to sit down and write.

As you may have noticed, it's almost 5 PM.

Today, my routine isn't my morning routine - it's more of a late afternoon routine.

And you know what? That's OK.

Life happens and we can only do our best to roll with the punches.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for more tea...


Move forward

After a long weekend of celebrating, all I want is my journal and a cup of coffee.

It was so much fun spending time with friends, both old and new, but I'm finally ready to settle back in and move forward.

Move forward with my work by getting started on a new client project while also updating my portfolio of case studies.

Move forward with my writing by finishing and launch my guide to getting started on Medium while also wrapping up the first draft of my book.

Move forward with my health by creating a realistic workout schedule while also changing my diet.

Move forward with my relationships by setting up more one-on-one time with friends over coffee.

The only way to move forward is to make conscious decisions.

Otherwise, you're probably moving backward.


Don't be a loner

As a freelancer, things can get really lonely.

Back when I was working from home, there would be times where I wouldn't leave my apartment for a few days, closed off from the rest of society.

When your commute consists of a flight of stairs and you can hop on a conference call without pants, lines can start to blur.

That's why reaching out to others is so important.

Just because you're a one-man/woman army doesn't mean you need to be alone.

Whether you want to collaborate with other freelancers or just grab a drink with new friends, don't forget to take some time to meet others.

Believe me, you'll thank yourself later.

 


It's OK to ask for help

Asking for help can be hard.

It takes vulnerability to admit that you don't know something.

Even after a decade of freelancing, I still have trouble asking for help, even from close friends.

As a freelancer, we're expected to be a one-man/woman army who supposedly knows everything. This is ridiculous. We're human, just like everyone else, and we sometimes need help, even if we just need someone else to talk to.

When you do find the courage to ask someone for help, do yourself a favor and figure out exactly what you need. It will make things much easier for you and the person you're going to for help.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

June 26, 2018

I'll be completely honest - I still don't have a concrete answer to this question.

I have plenty of friends who always knew they were going to be teachers when they were older. It was just in their blood.

I was never one of these kids.

I fumbled from one activity to the next, never entirely sure where my time and talents would be best spent. Nothing ever felt "quite right."

At this point in my life, I call myself a designer, writer, and founder because that is what I currently do. However, like everyone, there is so much more to me than meets the eye.

I want to write books, build companies, and most importantly, help others.

After fumbling through a freelance career over the past decade, I've learned a valuable lesson:

It's never too late to change what you want to be when you grow up. You just need to have patience while you keep searching.


Slow down

I'm guilty of moving too fast.

As a former perfectionist, I used to be crippled by paralysis-by-analysis, always feeling as if nothing I did was ever good enough.

At this point in my life, I have course-corrected a little too far. 

I tend to take action without creating a plan first, which leads me to make silly mistakes.

For everyone else out there who is obsessed with making progress, don't forget to slow down and remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing in the first place.

Take a little time to clear your mind and you'll be able to live and work with a little more intention.


One small step

When it comes to working for yourself, you see a lot of advice online about work-life balance.

Most of it says you should be working every day to get what you want.

In theory, this would be great, but in reality, it's not always possible.

As humans, we're imperfect with flaws, bad habits, and weaknesses that get in the way.

That's why instead of putting an insane amount of pressure on myself to "crush it" every day, I simply try and make one small step towards each of my goals.

This helps me manage my own expectations, especially on the weekends when I'm a little more distracted.

We tend to forget that over time, a lot of small steps add up to big progress, no matter what we're working towards.