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.

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Communicate How You Would Like To Be Communicated To

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Let’s say you interviewed for a job or you are collaborating with someone on a project. You meet, you hit it off, and you end the meeting with the other person saying they will get back to you by a certain period time. You say “Ok sounds great,” and you part.

Now you are waiting, and you hate waiting, but you understand that the other person is busy, so you continue to wait. After all the designated time in which they said they would communicate by hasn’t arrived yet. Matter of fact it’s only been one day. You know you need to chill out but you can’t help it because you are so flippin’ excited for the possibility of what could come.

Then it happens. The designated time passes and you hear nothing. Not a single word. But you don’t sweat it because, again, you know they are busy and things happen so you just keep waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting, until you’ve gone from excited, to worried, to annoyed, to pissed off, and finally you begin to wonder if maybe it was all in your head and the meeting wasn’t as great as you thought it was.

So you decided to shoot them an email or give them a call to “see how things are going”. But they either don’t respond or they respond with a vague reply that does nothing to alleviate your pain and you are so close to losing it that you express to everyone (even that poor barista) just how frustrated you are with the whole stupid situation. 
But then you calm yourself down and decide to give it a few days before contacting the person again in hopes of getting a more concrete answer. You ask yourself just how many times you can call/email a person before they really hate you? 
Finally, after who knows how many times, you get an answer that says “Oh yeah we filled that position some time ago” or “Yeah I got really busy so…” or “I found something better so I decided not to do it” (yes that is a legit response I was sent). You then proceed to smash whatever digital device you have in your hand into tiny microbial bits so that Sherlock could not even decipher what it used to be.
Here’s the thing: we’ve all been on both sides of this in which we’ve wished someone had communicated more or in which we probably could have done more communicating. Sometimes when we are on the side of the communicator we forget what it is like to be the person waiting to hear back.
Nobody can see what the other side is doing and even if we become busy and are just swamped, it doesn’t mean that the other person knows that. And even if they do know that, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop for a moment to acknowledge that they are waiting.
So if you say you we’re going to do something by a certain time and it’s not done, communicate that. If something is taking longer than you expect, communicate that. If the person reaches out to you and you realize that you have not been communicating: respond promptly, apologize, don’t make excuses, and assure them that you are working on it.
Even if things don’t work out in the end, you will have left a better taste in their mouth, knowing that you were open and honest in your communication with them.

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.

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.

Choosing the Right People

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So you have this dream. This great dream to do something great. But you know you cant do this dream alone, it is going to take a lot of work and you will need to bring on a team of people to get it done. So you look high and low for people you can pull into this dream, some of them you’ve known for a while and some you just met.

You’re cautious though, you don’t want your dream to be sabotaged so you bring them in slowly and trust begins to build and things start to happen and you get really excited. Then boom. One of your people betrays your trust and lets you down and now you are trying to pick up the pieces and save face. You’re so angry and hurt that you could throw something.

What do you do?

I’ve had more people walk out on me in projects than I can remember. I’ve had people let into my dream that said one thing to my face and another behind my back. I’ve seen friends who had opportunities stolen and dreams messed up due a team members lack of integrity. I’ve even worked on projects where I helped push someone’s dream only for them to suddenly leave and the dream with them.

So how do we choose then? How do we weed out the good from the bad?

Honestly, we don’t. Sure you have the initial screening process you always do and sure there will be some people who show immediate red flags, but that is as far as it goes. Sure you could read books about the subject and have rigorous screenings and constantly check up on them, but ultimately you don’t know what truly lies in the heart of a person.

So what do you do?

And no, saying that you will just do it all on your own is not an option, trust me I tried it, worked for about two seconds. And no, being depressed about it doesn’t help either. Neither does giving up your dream.

What I’ve done and what I’ve always done is chosen people to the best of my abilities and when then have let me down I get angry, deal with it, and move on. Yep that is it. You’re welcome.

Seriously though people will let you down. It is a sad fact of life but not one that you have to let it get in your way. Don’t let it get in your way. Eventually you will find the right people again and again and as long as you keep moving things will keep falling into place.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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

11. You daydream all the time.

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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.

Good Intentions

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Ever go to bed the night before thinking of all the things you’re going to get done tomorrow and how productive you will be and then when tomorrow gets here you suddenly don’t have the stamina you though you would and your productivity is left wanting? This is like my everyday off. All I want to do is sleep, read, watch tv, or bike. None of which includes writing, selling my scripts, or building my website.

See that comic up top? That is like my everyday when it comes to writing. Sometimes I think that maybe if I were to change my surrounding environment that would help but I’ve worked from home, the library, coffee shops, restaurants, and the like. I think maybe I should cut myself off from social media and the internet completely but distractions come in other forms like cleaning my bathroom, or suddenly needing to clear that pile of papers on my desk, or discovering I am out of milk and therefore having to go to the store.

Good intentions are great but they are just that, intentions. Unless there is a purpose or actions behind them they are meaningless. I need to get back on track so that my intentions become actions and that I don’t just wish I will be productive tomorrow but know that I had been productive today.

Progress

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Ever have that moment where you’ve been working so hard at something time after time when suddenly it becomes easy? It’s like you just flipped a switch and was like there was nothing in between.That’s progress.

For the past few months I have been working out 3-4 times a week. Usually I go biking when I can. There are two different paths I alternate between one the has more resistance and the other more distance. Today I decided to do the resistance one but as soon as I got on my bike I noticed something different.

Suddenly the path I had been taking seemed easy almost too easy. I’m not sure if the weather or getting the tube in the back tire replaced had a lot to do with it or not. I just know that at the end of that path I finished ten minutes earlier than usual and still wasn’t ready to go back. So I decided to do the other path as well and even went further than usual.

What would normally be a 3-7 miles ride I did 13.5m instead. 

Okay so it being much later in the evening now, I’m starting to realize, and really feel, that maybe I was a little over zealous. Stairs are hard. However that feeling of knowing that I am actually making progress hasn’t left and I can only look forward to what this continued work will bring.

Seize the Opportunity and Forget the Worry

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The first time I worked on an actual movie set almost didn’t happen. At the time I had been working full-time as a hostess at a restaurant while getting my degree in Entertainment Business from an online program. To say that I was busy was an understatement. Then came along this film production.

In Minnesota we have indie films being made all the time but this was different. This had some decent A-list stars and for the first time I had an opportunity to apply to work on set. It was a really big opportunity in what had become a rather stagnant and slightly depressing time in my life.

Still I hesitated. 

Why? I was struggling financially. I was working 40 hours a week and barely making it. Even though I was living at home I still couldn’t seem to get ahead. I had no time, no money, and a very intense course load.

Even when I had applied I still had hesitation. Getting time off work was nearly impossible. They weren’t very lenient when it came to family emergencies how much more so when I wanted to go work for somebody else?

Even after I had interviewed and got the job as an Intern to the AD department (assistant director), I still was wrought with worry as to how I was to make this work. How would I get days off? How would I pay my bills? When would I get my homework done?

Then in a moment of clarity, I let it all go and stopped caring.

What is the difference between having no money then and no money now? Nothing. Even if is was super hard to get the days off that I needed, was it impossible? Nope. Couldn’t I switch my schedule up a bit and still get my homework done? Yep. It just took a lot of determination and a LOT of work.

It was totally worth it.

Working on that production turned out to be one of the best choices I made. I had a great time, meet great people in my industry, and for the first time I earned a credit of IMDB. And guess what? Everything worked out just fine with my bills, job, and school work.

Worrying is a part of our human nature but it is a fruitless emotion. It doesn’t help us move forward, it is a hinderance. If I had let myself to continue to worry until the point where I gave in to it I would have never had that experience I did.

You may be like me and be stuck in a dead-end/horrible job, trying hard to pay your bills, and wanting more out of life; but don’t let those things stop you from doing what you want and don’t let them worry you out of a great opportunity just because there are risks.

There will always be risks. There will always be worry. Forget the worry, take the risks, and seize the opportunity.

Picture is from the set of Thin Ice, the production I worked on.

Four Great Sites for Entrepreneurs

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There are quite a few entrepreneur sites out there with tons of helpful information about building your business or client list. Here are a few of them that I frequent:

1.Tuts +

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Tuts+ is a website catered to entrepreneurs and freelancers with chock full of information like tutorials, videos, articles, jobs, and courses. The site is broken down into different sections like business, crafts, music, and game development.

I get weekly email blasts from the business side of Tuts+ and they are always full of information. And weirdly enough the timing of the article is always right. For instance I could be thinking about staying more productive then bam! Here’s and article called How to Start Every Day with a Productive Mindset.

Tuts+ is part of the Envato websites and was previously known as Freelancer Switch. They only recently revamped their site so take a look and check back for continued updates.

2. Springwise

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Springwise is amazing not just because of its helpful articles but because its continued promotion of cool start-ups and inventions. On there you’ll find a jewelry maker who hires blind people, a cloud service that allows graphic designers to rent fonts, and a pen that vibrates when you make a mistake. So many cool things they have on there from all over the world. This is another that I get weekly in my email and I love to see what’s being invented next.

This is also a great platform for would be investors. Looking for a cool startup to invest in and make a difference in the world? Check out this site. You can also submit your own company to be featured on their site.

3. Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur is mostly known for the magazine it puts out but it also has a lot of great articles and resources within its site. Also if you don’t want to spring for the magazine you can read some of their articles on the site and even sign up for their newsletter. One of the main things that I like about them is their app E Startups. It is specifically targeted to starting a business.

4. Microlancer

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This is another blog that came out of the revamping of Freelance Switch. This is Mircrolancer which is geared towards designers and developers. It features new talent all the time and gives you ideas for projects and client needs. Their main site also offers services so that you can find a reliable person to get the graphic side of your business done.

Know of any other amazing sites that are great for entrepreneurs, let me know!

Image courtesy of kibsri, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net