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.

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You Have Not Because You Ask Not

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This is a phrase that I’ve heard frequently in my life. Sometimes posed as that, other times as ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find. Either way, they both carry the same meaning. You have to go after it or you won’t get it.

This seems like such a simple phrase but, it wasn’t until recently that I finally got it, that it finally clicked.

No, this doesn’t mean that you will always get what you ask for or that you will have something simply because you asked for it. It just means that you don’t really know what the answer is going to be until you ask.

Take this for example.

I am currently producing a webseries but I ran into some issues when I realized that the premise of one of the episodes would probably be a copyright issue that could blow up in my face later. Now I could have just said, forget it, and thrown out the episode, but instead, I decided to ask.

I contacted the company and asked them for permission to use their product in my webseries. And they said yes! Not only that but they wanted to hear more about the webseries and how they could help.

Now that answer could have gone the other way, I could have heard no, and had to toss out the episode. BUT it was better for them to tell me no, than for me to tell myself no, not really knowing the answer.

That’s the thing about “You have not because you ask not”, you may not have it simply because you haven’t asked. Sure you might have been dropping hints, or hoping for a certain outcome, or thought that whatever it is you wanted was just not a possibility.

Did you ask though? If you didn’t ask then how do you know? The worst you can hear is no, but hearing no is better telling yourself no or just not knowing.

Is there something out there you’ve wanted and haven’t asked for? Then ask, and see what happens.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Trust the Process

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Ever have a moment in your life when you feel like you are being stretched thin? Where it seems like you have so much to do that you can barely take a moment to breathe? These past two weeks have been like that for me.

My hours at work have been all over the place, I’m producing a webseries that, honestly, is going really well except for one slightly big problem that seems to keep throwing things in my face, and I think there may be something wrong with my car.

I feel like if I’m not working on one thing then I am working on the other and I am just stressing myself out  with worry and thinking I’m not doing enough.

So I stopped.

For the past two days I’ve cleared my mind and stopped thinking about those problems and focused on other things I needed to do like cut the grass and go grocery shopping. I even watched a movie on Netflix while eating my dinner.

Of course I continue to hear that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I am wasting time and need to do more, but sometimes you just need to do what you can and trust the process. No, things won’t always come easily, but know when you’ve done all you can and when you need to take a break.

Today is a much needed break and tomorrow I hit the grind.

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.

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.

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.

Are you Journaling? 5 Reasons why you should

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One of my bigger accomplishments of 2014 is that I kept a journal in which I wrote every night before bed. Each day I would do bullet points of happenings that day and at the bottom I would write tasks for tomorrow. No entry would be longer than a notebook page (in this case mine was 8×6) and each one was concise and summarized the day.

This year I will be doing the same again. If you are not journaling I urge you to on a routine business and if you are not sure why here are a few reasons:

1. It is a good way to evaluate in a timely fashion

Writing in it every night forced me to look back on my day and see just where I could have changed things or how I could have been more productive. It also helped me to reflect on things that happened relational, emotional, and spiritually. Why did I argue with that person? Hmmm I probably could have spent less time on social media. Wow, when I sum it up, I really didn’t do much of anything today. These are some thoughts I have at the end of the day when journaling and assessing how I acted during the day helps me make better decisions for tomorrow.

2. Keeps you on task

Part of my daily journaling is putting down the things that I had accomplished that day and things that I will need to do the next day. For instance when it comes to my writing, I would put what my progress was for the day and what I was expected to accomplish tomorrow. Also have you ever just gotten into bed and realized ALL the things you forgot to do that day? Yeah… now you have a place where you can write all those things down so you can remember to do them tomorrow.

3. Baggage lifter

Ever have something happen to you and you just need to get it off your chest. This is a good way to do that. “Never let the sun go down on your anger”. You don’t have to go into super details when writing about it, you can simply just write down that you are angry and frustrated. Just doing that can sometimes make you feel better.

4. Looking back

Going back now and rereading my journal entries allows me to see myself almost from the outside. I read entries of things I have gone through that seemed so consuming at the time but now I am over. There are events in it that I have forgotten have happened. And mostly there is a running theme of thoughts and actions that I didn’t notice before. It is like I am giving insight to myself. It is kind of like one of those look back videos they have on Facebook only this is far more detailed and personal.

5. It can be fun!

I use multicolored gel pens and alternate between them so at the end of the year it is like a rainbow of colors. Sometimes I will even paste something in it or doodle. At the front of the book I usually start it with a meaningful quote, then accomplishments for the past year, disappointments, and then what I am looking forward to this year. You can do whatever you like, get creative, it is your outlet.

So give it a try and start journaling, it is definitely worthwhile.

Also here are some tips for journaling:

  • Find the right kind of notebook whether it is spiral, leather-bound, or digital. Make it a format that will be readily accessible and comfortable to use. For instance I prefer a spiral or soft-bound notebook usually by the company miquelrius.
  • Make sure the notebook is thick enough. If you want to write everyday then you need a notebook that has about 400 pages/200 sheets.
  • If you are keeping a digital journal I suggest using a word processor (word or pages) and saving the entries to a special folder if you are doing separate documents. A great app to use for this would be Evernote or Day One . Check out this article for good iPhone apps and this one for android apps.
  • Put the date at the top of the page. I usually put the time, the day of the week, and the date.
  • Leave space at the bottom to put tasks for the next day. I will help you look forward to tomorrow and when you look back you can see how often those tasks were completed.
  • Do it everyday or just once a week but make sure you are consistent.
  • Be open. This is about you and you shouldn’t be closed off to yourself.

Happy journaling!

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!

Oh Those Little (Big) Setbacks

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You know that moment where things aren’t exactly as you want them yet you’ve seem to have hit this stride and things are starting to fall into place. It’s that moment where life finally seems to be picking up the pace and you are starting to move forward. Then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, you are hit with something that practically throws you back to the start like nothing happened. You know a setback.

So I recently had and am currently dealing with my own slightly major setback. Things were picking up at work, I was making more money and therefore able to pay some things off, I even had extra to cover those Christmas gifts I would need to buy. But now I’m not sure where I stand. I kind of in limbo waiting for the dust to settle so I can know what my next step is. Sure I can plan for every scenario but at this point anything is fair game.

At first I was super upset about this and wondering how I was going to move forward, but now, looking from the outside, I can see it for what it is: a chance of other possibilities. Who knows where this setback can take me (I’m hoping somewhere interesting) but either way I’m going to take it in stride, just as it comes, and know that a setback is merely just a fork in the road.

14 Signs That You Need to Get Moving

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Sometimes we are so good at doing nothing, that we don’t even know when we are doing it. It’s not until the day ends, or sometimes even later, that we realize we basically didn’t get anything  accomplish. Oh sure we were super busy doing stuff, but then why does it feel like time some how got wasted?

This is part of the reason I keep a Me Year journal. Every night before I go to bed a reflect on all the things I did that day and only then do I truly assess just how much or little I’ve actually done. So based off of my own faults and things culled from others, here are some ways to know that you probably need a kick in the rear to get back on track.

1. You spend too much time on social media

click bait

Oh social media with your endless scrolling pages of topics and click bate headlines. Why must you be so enticing that we become mindless drones and sucked into a Rip Van Winkle esque blackhole. Who knew there were so many videos of puppy laughter? If a click away will I miss something? How does one hack at life?

Run it’s a trap! How much time are you spending on social media? How much time really? And in that same instance how often do you check your email? You might be spending more time than you realize.

2. You stare off into space

into space

This is exactly what this sounds like. You basically stare off into nothing while life continues on until something captures your attention back. It’s a real good time waister.

3. That project you started was about as complete as it was two years ago

Unfinished projects

Go ahead, make a list of all the things you’ve started and never bothered to finish or things you keep saying you are going to get to. Are there a lot?

4. You’ve been at that “temporary” job for four years now.

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So I’m not going to lie and say that I am not guilty of this because I totally am. In my defense (which by the way is not a valid defense at all) I have skipped around jobs and been promoted at my current one. But the point of something being temporary is that it will eventually change otherwise it is as good as permanent until you change it.

5. When people ask you questions about your life you make up answers to make you sound better.

very important

I just…hahaha. If you have ever caught yourself playing off a really old accomplishment as something recent or making excuses for your current life then this is you.

6. Life has become a series of habits.

habit

You get up, you go to work, you go home, you go to bed. Then you do it all over again, and again, and again. You’re life has become a stalemate and so predictable that family and friends some how always know what you are doing and when. Yikes.

7. You have the same resolutions on your list EVERY year.

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Oh looks like I didn’t complete all these things on my list yet again, I guess I’ll just cross out the top and put the new year on it… done.

8. You’ve become overly content

field of poppies

You used to want to do and be all these things and go to all these places but somehow you don’t feel that way anymore. You’ve laid down in a field of poppies and forgotten you were even there.

9. Someone says to you “You haven’t changed a bit”.

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And the moment that someone says that and you realize, it’s true.

10. You have no idea where the time has gone yet you’ve completed nothing.

time

What do you mean it’s 10pm. It was only 6pm like two minutes ago!

11. You daydream all the time.

mitty

In the car, in front of the tv, in the shower, there is no limit. Here’s the question what you are you daydreaming about? And do those dreams mean something?

12. You’d rather sleep

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Oh man I really should finish ____ but I think I’m going to sleep instead.

13. Too busy doing the little things.

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Sometimes we become really busy with the little things in life. Sometimes the big things are just so overwhelming that we use the little things as an excuse to not do the big things. “Look how busy I am I can’t possibly get that big thing done.” What we fail to realize is that big things are actually many little things just wrapped up in a ball. If we break them down then the big thing won’t seem so big anymore. 

14. You’ve become a big green jealousy monster.

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This one is a huge indicator. There as has been studies done about Facebook and other social media outlets and how they affect people’s moods. They found that more and more people are jealous at what they see other people doing. They see other people having a good time and they wonder why their life isn’t like that, not knowing that what they see is only half of the story.

If you find yourself being constantly jealous at what others have and are doing then you need to reassess your life and figure out what it is about your life that is so unsatisfactory and change it.

So hopefully these tips will help you realise if and when you need to kick into gear but know that even with these tips you will never change what you tolerate. You have to want to change and to want to get better. You don’t have to start big. Start with something small and continue to add on and before you know it things will have changed.