Finding the Right Path and Knowing What you Want

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These past couple of months have been extremely busy and hectic. Several things took place at once; I produced/directed a web series, had a change in leadership in both church ministry and work, and went on a road trip to Winnipeg, Canada, on top of working on a big industry feature film. All while still working my regular job.

Even now I still have a lot more work to do on the web series with still taking on even more hours at work due to “Organizational Changes” *sigh*. And the next months is going to be even busier (film fests, show premieres, another vaca, and retail holiday season).

Through all these shifts moving around me, I feel a shift of my own coming. To what, I’m not sure. It’s funny, whenever you feel that something big is coming all the things around you start to move and shift and suddenly there are all these opportunities that present themselves to you. But if you aren’t careful, you won’t know if they are actual opportunities or just traps.

I read this article today and there was a part in there that perfectly summed up what I was thinking:

More than 60 percent of millennials say they’d rather earn $40,000 per year at a job they love than $100,000 at one they hate. And what they crave most is the flexibility to work when, where and how they want in order to balance work-life demands. Many are even willing to take a pay cut or skip a promotion to get it. Parade

Of course this can pertain to others outside of Millennials but this gets my next point.

There is this position that opened up at my job. One that is in an area that I know, with people who I like, more hours, and potential higher pay. Sounds good right? Except that I don’t want it. Would I like a better paycheck? Sure. The problem? I don’t really like that job, in fact that is why I changed positions in the first place.

That only thing that job opening is doing and serving as a distraction from what I really want to do. It is the easy logical route but it’s not one that I’m feelin’ right now. I’ve taken the easy route too many times now and it’s made me nothing but more aggravated in the end.

If you feel a shift coming for something bigger and better, don’t get distracted by the readily available safe options that will suddenly present themselves. They may look good but taking it may mean you miss out on the truly great one. Be honest and know what you really want, and be willing to wait for it or push for it if need be. You will find the right path and it will be worth it in the end.

Well Meaning

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Along your path to your dreams you will meet (or be related to) some well-meaning people who just don’t understand what you are trying to achieve. People who will only see your struggles and not your dreams. And you will try to explain to them what you are trying to do and they just won’t get it.

They will keep throwing at you what the “world” says to do, you know the normal things. They try to tell you that what you are doing isn’t how it works. They say that you are supposed to get a good paying job, where you work a set hours per week, with a set paycheck amount, then you work there for years, steadily putting money away, until you retire and collect your pension/social security.

That way of thinking is fine, but you don’t want fine, you want extraordinary. You want the life that they just can’t seem to grasp. Every setback is another opportunity to say that you are doing it wrong. Every struggle causes them to look at you with pity.

Until… you succeed.

Then suddenly their tune changes. Then they sing your praises or they criticize you, wondering what you did to get what you got. But don’t try to explain it to them, if they didn’t get it when you were trying to do it then they won’t get it when you’ve done it.

Yes, these people in your life mean well but sometimes you’ve got tune them out and continue to move to that beat in your head.

Living in the Now

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It’s not about what you did in the past it’s about what you are going to do now. 

Can you think of something you regret? Something so big that you think that if that incident turned out differently than your life would have been better off? Did something immediately come to mind?

Ever talk to someone and all they can talk about is the past? You try to have a conversation with them about what is going on now but they only ever want to talk about what happened last month or year ago, always reminiscing. Or the person who always brings up that one bad moment in their life and they have recited it so much that you can repeat it along with them.

Are you that person?

I love talking to people who are forward thinkers. Sure they can tell you about their past and what they did yesterday but they always seem to link it with what they are going to do tomorrow or in the future. They are constantly full hope and possibility and just talking to them gets you looking at your own life and possibilities.

So if forward thinkers get you thinking of the future, then backward thinkers will have you thinking about the past, and yet only one of those you can do something about? So which one is more productive and which one should you actually do?

It is okay to acknowledge the past but make sure it doesn’t hinder you from look to the future.

 

The Cost of Getting Comfortable 

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Janice had this dream to become a great architect someday. She went to a top school and had top marks, and even a really great internship. She graduated, applied for jobs, and then… nothing. She had some great interviews even made it to second and third round of hiring fairs, yet she still couldn’t land a job.

Her six months were coming up and soon she would have to start paying back her student loans, so she started getting desperate. She went to a job fair and just applied to any place that seemed somewhat interesting. She ended up landing a lower end job in a mediocre company but was grateful to be somewhere so she could pay her bills.

Fast forward to six years later.

Janice has moved up several places in the company, she’s getting a really great salary, and she even has money to go on vacations and buy things. At work, her position keeps her busy. She is in charge of a few employees and there is always something to do. Each night she goes home exhausted with little energy to do much else.

Now and again she will stand in front of a construction site and just watch as a new building is being put up. She could stand there for hours just watching but usually she has to rush back from lunch before she is late for work. She doesn’t hate her job, there are actually a lot of moments in which she enjoys it. Yet in those moments in which she becomes really frustrated with her job she wonders why she is even still there. She wonders just what happened to her dream.

What did happen to her dream? Janice became too comfortable.

When things don’t always work as we would hope we come up with a Plan B. In this case Janice got a job so she could pay her bills. That job became her security blanket. She was able to pay her bills, save money, and go on vacations; all basic things we would all like to do. Of course she would take a nice promotion. Of course she would work overtime to get a little more christmas money in her pocket and that nice bonus. Why wouldn’t she? It was the easier thing to do.

But the thing is, the more she stayed in that job, the harder it would be to switch to her dream.  That job had created a nice groove in her life and climbing out would be hard, it would be terrifying. It would take away the sureness of her next paycheck. It could cost her everything.

Why is it that we only welcome change or push for it when we are in discomfort?

Following the normal grind is easier, it’s comfortable because it is what we know. Following your dream is hard, painful, and sometimes feels like you are being torn apart from the inside out. There are moments in which I am building my dream in which I just want to put everything on pause and internet binge for the next five hours. I’ll even suddenly create a busy lifestyle of going out just to avoid doing what i know I should be doing. That is until my introvert spirit begs for rest.

I’m uncomfortable all the time but that is a good thing because the moment I become comfortable is the moment I stop growing, the moment I stop pursuing. Let’s go back to Janice.

Janice has decided to stop being comfortable. Although she is exhausted after work she pushes herself to stay upright and apply for jobs. While she waits to hear back she continues to work on sketches and 3D renderings of buildings. She stops at that construction site again but this time she makes friends with the contractors and GM.

And at work she says no to those overtime shifts and a promotion that will require her to take on more hours. It’s hard because she knows that it is good money she turned down but she knows that her dream will require sacrifice and if she is really going to make this work than she can’t be putting her time into other things. She knows these next few months are going to be hard but in the end it will be worth it.

Timing is Key

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In the fall of my senior year of college I had taken a course in entrepreneurial business. I was at this point in my life in which I decided I wanted to be a producer instead of a director and therefore needed to learn the business side of things.

From the description of the class we were going to learn how to start an online business and make money from it. I thought it would be cool so I signed up. What it turned out to be was a class on blogging.

You see at the time of the class the only sort of “blogging” I knew about was xanga, livejournal, and myspace. All sites where people just journaled their thoughts and feelings to the world. So right away I was worried about this assignment that would be the whole of my grade.

We were supposed, pick a niche, use blogger and create a website in which we continuously add content, and use google adwords to get money. Seems like a pretty neat class right? Well… at the time not so much. I couldn’t think of a single “niche” to create a website about. Matter of fact I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to put out for the world to see. AND on top of that we had to compete for the best site based on adword clicks and site visits?

So yeah I dropped the class in a hurry.

Fast forward to now where I’ve done a movie blog, a student debt one, and now this. Would that class be a great thing to have now? Yes!

The thing is, timing is key. Sometimes the things that annoy us in the past are the very same things that we embrace later. I mean how many of us hated vegetables as a kid but enjoy eating them now? How many of us hated when our parents would make us stay home or when there was nothing to do on a friday night but now we relish it? Or how about when you know someone (a friend of a friend) but it’s not till years later where suddenly you and that person really click and you wonder why you never clicked before? Timing.

Not everything falls in just like we think or hope it should because sometimes the timing just isn’t right yet.

The Easy Way Out

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I once had entered this submission contest where you had to submit a short video and the top five videos would be picked and you would receive a prize, which was to go on a really cool trip. Now when I first saw this contest I wasn’t so sure about. I had heard about it kind of late in the game, three days before it was due, and wasn’t sure if I would get it done in time. So I mulled it over and over and finally decided to submit a video.

Now I have to say the video I did put together was actually pretty awesome and definitely reflected my style and personality. As I submitted I thought “this is it” I thought that I was going to win and that this would start to turn things around for me. However I didn’t win, but what I did do was realize something about myself.

If you notice in the last paragraph I had written that I thought “that this would start to turn things around for me,”. That’s the part I learned about myself, that was revealed to me by my mentor, and that I really need to change.

You see my life up to this point hasn’t been what I wanted it to be. I seem to keep moving but I get nowhere fast. With this contest I was throwing my hopes and dreams at it and thinking that if only I were to win this than things would be better, my life would be better. Would it? Or would I just end up back where I was? And what if I didn’t win? Then what?

You see this is called taking the easy way out. It is throwing your hopes and dreams at one thing and expecting that one thing to turn your life around. But it is also coping out because if that one thing fails you can just say “well I guess it wasn’t meant to be” or put the fault onto the failure of that thing.

Examples of this could be: trying to find a publisher for your novel and not getting a hit, or pitching an idea to your boss or investors and it not taking, or going for a promotion or raise and not getting it, or saying you need a friend to do something with you (like going to the gym) and when you can’t find one you just don’t go. You get the idea, but these are taking the easy way out.
It’s saying “Oh well the door closed on that so there must not be another door,”. When it reality you could publish the book yourself, pitch the idea to someone else or fund it yourself, go for another promotion, and just go to the gym anyways.
We can’t just throw our dreams at a situation and call it quits when it doesn’t work out. When one avenue isn’t the right one, find a different avenue, even if that means creating your own. So then the questions become how much is your dream worth, what will it take, and are you willing to do it?
Like I said, this is something I need to do myself but the first step is just knowing the problem is there.

Eating Better

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One of my resolutions this year is to eat better. I want to cut down all the unhealthy food that I take in (especially after the holidays) and find substitutes that fill me up and satisfy my cravings. The big part of this is cutting gluten down (I eat a LOT of bread, more than I realized) and do very little or no dairy (I’m lactose intolerant so it doesn’t really agree with me). I also want to pack more vegetables into my meals and of course save money!

The big thing to help change my eating habits was to plan out my meals for the week. When I don’t plan my meals, and not just dinner, I would eat whatever was available. Sometimes I would cook, go out to eat, or just eat a bunch of random junk. But I also like to snack and had to find healthy things I can just grab and snack on without feeling guilty about it, usually while I’m eating it.

Now of course there are a lot of “diets” out there that you can try and for every fad there is an article that tells you why it doesn’t work. But ultimately it is up to you and your body needs. So for my “diet fad” I decided to go with Paleo. Mostly because it already offers the big things I’m looking for which is gluten and dairy free.

So far I have found some really awesome places to find recipes (my pinterest if filling up) and discovered new vegetables and ways to eat them. Here are some things I cooked so far, along with my lovely instagram pictures.

Lettuce Wraps

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These are quick and easy. Lettuce is an awesome substitute for bread. Basically anything you can put on a cracker or on bread you can put in a lettuce wrap. Okay well… maybe not peanut butter and jelly, but you get the gist. For this a made fresh mango salsa, pan seared salmon, and turkey bacon. Here is a recipe for the mango salad and the wraps.

Stuffed Peppers

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Delicious and super healthy and colorful. These were stuffed with Italian sausage, cauliflower rice, basil, red onions, tomato paste, and garlic. I had a bit more fixings than peppers but that was okay because it tasted great. Also the recipe I used calls for a crock pot but I ended up starting late so I just baked it in the oven at 400 degrees for 1:15 minutes. Here is the recipe for this. Note: This would have been a lot easier if I had a food processor to chop up the cauliflower. I really need to get one of those.

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Prior to this I had never heard of spaghetti squash before but I found out it is a great substitute for pasta, which is great because I love pasta. This was baked with spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and goat cheese (yes I know, it is dairy but it is more mild and my stomach likes it better). Here is the recipe for this. My only disclaimer was it turned out a little dry for me so I had to add a little oil and vinegar dressing to it.

I already got next week planned out and I am super excited eat it!

 

What are you listening to?

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There is a constant feed surrounding us. Sometimes is music, a conversation, the radio, or the TV. In all of these things are words. Words are a powerful thing. They can lift you up or tear you apart. A single word from someone can cause your whole day to be ruined or give you that breakthrough you’ve been looking for. The question is: What are you listening to?

You see we hear a lot of things throughout the day: gossip at work, an argument on the street, lyrics of a song, things people say to us, and things that people say about us. All of these things have words and words can bring life or death.

You see a lot of people say oh I don’t care if they talk to me like that I know they don’t mean it, or it’s just a song, or it’s just a show so it doesn’t matter, or their words can’t hurt me. But the thing is words have a way of burying deep inside of you, compounding and hiding in plain sight, until something happens and those words that have gotten inside of you suddenly come to life. And you’re left wondering how you got this way, where did things go wrong? Words.

The funny thing is, I can always trace a good outcome to the one moment something good was said to me but when it is a bad outcome isn’t usually one moment of bad words but several. I think that one good word out weighs several bad so for something to be so wrought inside of us it has to have been said not just once but several times. How many more times than will it take then for the good to come back and negate the bad?

So again, what are you listening to?

Are you listening to the person who tells you that you’re dumb and tear you down, are you listening to that song makes light of cheating and objectify the opposite sex, are you watching that TV show that promotes unhealthy relationships and stirs lust, “beauty” campaigns that tell you you have to look a certain way in order to be acceptable, and that random stranger or customer who treats you with serious lack of respect?

Or are you listening to people who lift you up, music that rises you up to the challenges of the day, show that make you laugh and hope, and brushing off those that get no say over you and your life? Words are a powerful thing but YOU can choose to listen to them, to let them get inside of you, to take you where you need to go. If nobody is saying the words you need to hear, than say them yourself, find music that says it too you, find a book that will encourage you, and find those people who do cherish your worth and in that same instance use your words to lift others up. Just as others have the power to tear someone down with their words YOU have the power to lift them up. So the question is:

What are you listening to?

Hello to a New Year of Possibilities!

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! I got to ring in the new year with an awesome church service and then spent the next day hanging out with friends. I hope you also had nice time ringing it in, even if it was just a relaxing evening at home.

There is something about a new year that brings with it the feeling that anything is possible. That your old slate of disappointments, hurts, and setbacks are behind you and before you is an open window of possibilities. That this year is going to be great. That this year is going to be better than the last. It is as if all of time is stretched before and your reach is infinite.

And yes 2015 can be this and so much more but don’t get ahead of yourself too quickly.

Take a moment to pause and reflect on last year and the things that have happened. Reflect on how you were in those moments of triumph and despair and think of what you have learned from them and how you have grown. And then think of how you can apply those lessons to this year.

Sure this year itself is a blank slate but we are a series of marked slates that have been stacked upon each other and even though we now have a new one, there are still the old ones underneath. These slates make you who are, and you may not always like what is written on them but congrats because you just got a new one. This new slate is blank and waiting for the possibility of what you will put on it.

What will you write on your slate this year? What are the possibilities you will reach for? And if you don’t think you have any, think again. Just by you being here today means that your possibilities are endless even if you can’t see them, even if you have no idea how to reach them. So pick up that blank slate and start writing.

Goodbye 2014

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HELLOOOOOOO! I hope you all had a great holiday season. I, for one, was glad to have the day off. I spent Christmas in my pajamas and curled up with my Tardis cup and blanket to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Yes, that’s right, I’m a Whovian.

So now it is officially three days before the new year! How are those resolutions coming? What do you have planned for 2015? So this year, for me, hasn’t been what I wanted it to be and you know what, that’s on me. BUT that also means next year is on me too so there is always a possibility of change but only if I go for it.

Sometimes you need the perspective of someone else to look at your life to see you, to tell you things that you don’t really want to admit to yourself, but you need to hear. I hope you have someone like that and if not, find someone, it’s a huge help.

Have you been keeping track? Every night I write in a journal just what took place that day. Currently I am rereading it and discovering/remembering things about myself. There is a running theme, not a good one, that I don’t want to carry over into the new year. If you haven’t kept a journal or a record of each day I challenge you to do so for next year. It doesn’t have to be long. I usually keep it to a page with bullet point notes and then at the bottom I write my tasks for the next day.

Well I hope you have a great New Year and that next year will even be better than this last!