Starting my “Start Today” Journal

Write down your dreams. Write down your goals. Visualize where you want to be in life. Doesn’t like EVERY SINGLE self help guru say this in one form or another? But do you do it? As a self confused self help lover, my answer was a (sheepish) no.

Write down your dreams. Write down your goals. Visualize where you want to be in life. Doesn’t like EVERY SINGLE self help guru say this in one form or another? But do you do it? As a self confused self help lover, my answer was a (sheepish) no.

Oh, that’s not to say I have never written down my goals. Quite the contrary, I’ve done journal entries visualizing my fabulous soon-to-be life, I have made several vision boards, listened to countless meditations and as aforementioned…read LOTS and LOTS of books. But to no avail a gratitude or goal practice never emerged or stuck.

I recently came to the conclusion that accomplishing “things” was not helping any of my larger goals. Climbing that small hill (i.e. running a race, taking voice lessons, etc) did not create any momentum in my life. I started to ponder this really deeply for a few days. I came to the conclusion that the problem stemmed directly from the way I process the world. My thinking. 

I’m not going to go into that right now, because we want to get to the journal before the spring equinox, but just know there is A LOT to unpack there. (Isn’t it that way for most people?) So I decided for this year, as in the 12 month period after my birthday, not the calendar year, I was going to heavily focus on my thoughts, perceptions and emotions. 

That’s kind of tricky. You can quantify pounds lost or money saved, but how to do quantify your negativity? I guess you just have to go by your baseline happiness and how many crappy days you have vs bad days…I still really don’t know.

I found Rachel Hollis on a COMPLETE Audible whim. I had no clue she had a book on the best sellers list, or this huge following. Audible suggested the book for me, I read the description and though, “Ok, I’ll give this a shot.” What I love about Audible is that if a book sucks you can return it and get your credit back…which I have done for MANY a book. lol

That book is, “Girl wash your face” and it skyrocketed to one of my favorite non-fiction books EVER. Right next to The Alchemist, Big Magic and Eat Pray Love. READ IT if you’re into self help books or just need a good kick in the pants about living your best life. But yeah, I still wasn’t writing down goals or anything after I read it.

So I followed Rachel Hollis on her socials and bought a few more of her non-fiction books on audible. She’s really fun on instagram. Anyway, recently she started selling her “Start Today” journals. She is apparently going to sell them every quarter with limited designs. 

But I, Malinda, am HIGHLY skeptical about buying self help peoples products. They all promise to jump start this or change your life with that, um, I can’t even remember to fill out a simple daily calendar?? I was like $24 bucks for a journal? Nope, nope, nope. 

And I didn’t buy it, the came out, sold out and them came out again and I still didn’t buy it. But then Rachel did something I found to be REALLY cool and different from ALL the other self helpers out there. 

She has a podcast, which is also awesome btw, called The Rise podcast. In one of the episodes recently she read the ENTIRE prompt that is in the journal before you start the daily writings. She gave away the entire thing and said, “You don’t have to buy the journal, just use a blank piece of paper if that’s all you have…” So she basically gave away the content in the journal, free. I don’t know, for me that gave it a little credibility. She was truly championing the action of writing your goals and gratitude everyday and not just her journal.

If that was a marketing ploy, let me tell you it freakin’ WORKED. That gave this ole skeptic a little more faith in it. I was like, “Ok, $24 bucks plus shipping…I can swing that” 

So, everyone, I sat down yesterday and went through the initial writing exercise to find my 10 goals, it took about an hour and then I filled out my first page. You start with 6 things you are grateful for today then you write down your 10 dreams then you narrow it down to 1 goal. YAY FIRST DAY DOWN..now to keep it up.

I had even set my alarm last night 10 min earlier then normal so I could get up and write my stuff in my journal. BUT then, I was rudely awakened at 3am and had a hard time falling asleep, not going into that one. *eye roll* I knew in that moment there was no way I was going to be in the mood to wake up any earlier and do this. I set my alarm back to its regular time and (eventually) fell back to sleep.

But, when I woke up I was like, “I can’t throw in the towel! My goodness this is technically day two and I’m already going to not follow through. (I mean technically it was like day 1 because yesterday was day 0…which is even worse!) So I grabbed the jornal and threw it into my purse before I left.

Then, when I got to work I sat in my car for 8 extra minutes and filled it out. *breaks out into applause for self*

I am proud of that!!

Day 1, er 2, whatever: I am not a morning person. I am actually a terrible morning person, actually I’m pretty bitchy, esp when I don’t get proper freakin’ sleep! Making my mind focus on first gratitude and then goals was a really STRANGE feeling.

It made me realize that I basically NEVER actively think about either. I am just concerned with traffic, lack of sleep or work crap. But pushing my brain to this other realm that I hardly visit (gratitude and goals) was eye opening. I was thinking, “Wow, I really do NEVER think about this stuff” It was like an espresso shot of positivity for my super negative “morning brain”.

I’m determined to stick it out and see if doing this practice yields any fruit. The journals have 90 days worth of pages so my plan is to STICK WITH IT at least for the 90 days. Really commit to it and just see if anything happens, see if there is anything to this practice like all these self helpers say.

I will continue to write updates as the days go on. I will be very candid but even if I think it’s waste of time by day 20 I am STILL going to stick with it the full 90 days, to give it a fair shot. I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the mental wake up call it gave me this morning though, I wasn’t expecting that.

Here are some links if your curious about Rachel Hollis or the journal.

Her Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/msrachelhollis

The journals have their own instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/StartTodayJournal/

Here is the podcast episode where she gives you the journal prompt:
(It’s the episode on 11/26/18)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rise-podcast/id1245763628?mt=2

Here are the journals themselves with a snazzy video from Rachel:
https://www.thehollisco.com/p/shop

(Pic is from the start today journal instagram)

I lack creative follow-through, currently

As a kid up until my early 20’s, I was able to freely be creative. What I mean by that is I wasn’t afraid to try to learn or do new things, creatively.

Examples:
– I crafted a stable for my barbie horses
– I created a map of of the Lion King “world” complete with pride rock and bad lands
– I took up making my own animation cells by painting with acrylic paints on plastic
– Making my parents friends kids do choreography I created
– Painting in general
– Learning how to do basic HTML code (This was the late 90’s people)
– Taking a web design class
– Learning photoshop
– Learning to do myspace layouts, doing them for friends
– Had a steady blog for over 8 years

I never thought twice about doing any of these things. I never worried about, “Not being able to do it” I just did them. But somewhere in my early 20’s this ability started to fade. I think the whole Myspace layout thing was the last thing I remember doing without worrying about how I would be perceived or feeling like I wasn’t doing something, “Good enough”.

Coinciding with my first full-time job, I feel I pretty much lost the ability all together. What came next was lots of half baked ideas that I didn’t fully follow through on. Some I did more then others, but I never pushed anything to the max. I also never shared what I created with a lot of people. Sometimes, but it was rare.

A few examples:
– Bought a guitar but never mastered it, I still want to master it!
– Bought FL Studio but never learned to use it
– Took voice lessons but was too afraid to practice in front of people
– Have tried to restart my blog COUNTLESS times
– Paid for this wordpress and barely use it

My creativity is like a car that is unreliable and starts only occasionally.

I have analyzed this to myself many times. I used to sit there for an hour just trying to pinpoint the moment I lost my ability to just CREATE. I found several, but even discovering those moments has not helped me jumpstart the damn car and keep it running. I’ve even written about it here a few times.

I did something that has been on my to-do list for over a year yesterday. I sat down and actually wrote down my reasons for wanting a blog (and IG). Like I forced myself to sit there and really say, “What do I want to say? What is my message? How can I do this?”

That was SO HARD.

It was also a little scary.

Why? Because it was going past the, “I want to” point. Going past the, “Let me just invest a little money into this and maybe that’ll make me commit” point. Things become a lot more real when you sit down and say, “I want to do this, now how can I make this happen.”

And yeah, this is basic, chapter one self help book stuff. “Write down your goals and plans”. I know that, but doing  and knowing are very different animals. (BTW, I love self help books..so no shade there, just pointing out I don’t act on their advice enough.)

Another thing that has REALLY stifled me, and that I’ve also wrote about several times. Is being authentic online. If I share x do I have to share y? Do I have to be a complete open book? Do I have to post about fun stuff always to not feel like a bummer. But if I post fun stuff am I going to seem frivolous? I try not to worry about how I will be perceived but that’s hard, especially for someone that needs to do some heavy lifting in the confidence area. Writing everything down really gave me clarity and showed me how my IG and blog would work in symbiosis but showcase different facets of who I am.

So I am going to share with you what my plan is. Why? Not because I’m trying to make anyone care about what I’m going to do… but so I can have some accountability. Also, it’s my way of putting it out to the universe that, “Yes, I am ready to commit to my creativity again!”

My blog is going to be my overall sounding board. It will be more about my life with some interests possibly sprinkled in here or there. As I have mentioned here my biggest struggles are loss (losing my sister and mother) and confidence. Also I feel like a blog post is a better place to share a new experience, i.e. trying skincare for the first time. I mean, you can share anything on a blog but this is my plan for my own.  I want to update it at least every Sunday and Wednesday.

My instagram will be more fandom-centric. I collect various things like Funko Pops! and t-shirts also, as you figured by now, I love Disney like crazy. It will be a place to showcase my fun and fandoms. I want it to reflect all the various things I love.

Obviously both of these will cross pollinate. Also with time this plan may totally change, but this is the skeleton I am going to work with right now. This is my plan.

OMG I have a plan! Do you know how exciting even that is?! It’s a loose plan, but a plan nonetheless!

The original title of this blog was, “I lack creative follow-through” but I added the “currently” because I know I have it somewhere in me. From reading my many self help books I know that the language we use about ourselves can really set the course for how we act. Even though I have been trying to restart this car permanently for nearly 10 years…I still have faith I can get her up and running.

The thing they don’t tell you about “Change”

I am a self confessed self help junkie. I live for Super Soul Sunday and Brene Brown and Liz Gilbert, et al. I want to improve, change, be different, grow, etc.

I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE. I fight it, hate it, avoid it. Guess where growth comes from? *eye roll* I know this because everyone knows this. Everyone knows that to be in a different place you have to do different things. “Take the leap of faith…” and the second statement always goes something like this:

“It may take some adjustment…”

“Things may be challenging at first but…”

“You will face difficulties but..”

And eventually your change will lead you to the new life you want. Blah, blah, blah.

THIS IS WHAT THEY NEVER SAY. Even an awesome change can be HARD AND MISERABLE at first. Maybe I am an isolated case of weirdness. Maybe I’m just extra resistant to things changing. The reason why I am even bringing this up is because yesterday was a year since I left my old job and consequently started my current job a few days later.

I wrote about this a bit before, but to tell you the truth I sugarcoated it a bit. I was FUCKING MISERABLE at my old job. It was thankless, you worked your ass off and it was hardly appreciated, we were on production and it was like a factory job in an office setting. Only your mistakes were pointed out to you. They never gave you the vacation you wanted without a fight, them trying to take away my vacation was literally what led me to my current job. (Thanks guys!) HOWEVER, my supervisor and friends there were always a bright side. It was the company culture and management that made it terrible.

The only reason why I mention all that is to emphasize how miserable I was in that job. 

So, I get my new job. The hours are better, days off are better, environment is better, vacation approval is so easy I could cry, I don’t even have to CALL to call in sick, I am treated like an adult and trusted to be there and do my job without every minute of my day being watched and calculated. HEAVEN RIGHT? Nope, not at first.

I had been at my old job for 8 years. And even though I hated it and was absolutely miserable, it was what I was used to. I knew what I had to do, what my drive was like, I knew it. So I threw myself into something I didn’t know and went into an emotional tailspin. Even though it was 1000% better. And this is what the books never tell you. Even if you leave something bad, for something totally better just being IN SOMETHING NEW is enough to make you feel lost and yearning for comfort.

Those first few months, I just wanted the safety of my old terrible job. I was a boss at my old job, now I was a novice. I knew exactly what was expected of me, now I was lost. I went from banking to NPR Radio….I WAS SCARED. Terrified that I had made a horrible mistake and threw my life upside down.

CHANGE IS FUCKING HARD, EVEN AFTER YOU MAKE IT.

Having said that however, you still need to do it, BECAUSE IT IS WORTH IT. Just don’t be fooled into believing that the leap is the only hard part. The leap is just the beginning to your new trials. I wish I had known that, because when things felt SO HARD in the beginning my mind processed that as, “YOU made a terrible mistake!!!!!” Not, “This is hard now but one day it will get better…it may take months but it will get better”

I was so close so many days, in the beginning, to asking for my old job back. I’d cry all the time because it was just so new and scary. But I kept with it and now I realize going back would have been the “terrible mistake”.

It’s funny, because now a year later I am on the cusp of yet another massive change.  One that will undoubtedly throw my life upside down again for awhile. I’m, once again, scared out of my mind. But just like my current job, I know this is something I have to do for the greater good of myself. I know this will push me to grow and hopefully flourish. It’s yet another case of me entering a situation that’s probably better for me, but just brand new. (And no, I’m not changing jobs again…)

When you make a change, give it time to level out in your life. Give it time to really settle and give yourself time to adjust. If things are rough are first DO NOT take that as a sign that you made a mistake. Take that as a sign that you just did something massively different and the universe is realigning to make it fit into your world.

Please reference me to this post when I have terrified in a few months…

How did I get here?

This morning we had a meeting, actually, it wasn’t a meeting, it was a job interview. The head of my department is leaving and they are having potential applicants meet with the ENTIRE department, at once. Think a long conference table full of people…asking them questions. Talk about pressure. And then it hit me again, as it so often does, “How did I get here?!

You see just a year ago my life looked VERY different. I was at a job that made me miserable on every level. It was completely unfulfilling and thankless. I worked M, W-S. Yes, I didn’t even have 2 days off together and I woke up at 4am everyday to go to work. I was on production and all that really mattered was my output, it was slowly crushing my soul.

I am a self help book junkie. This started when I purchased my first true self help book, “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle that and Super Soul Sunday sent me down the self help rabbit hole. So I kept reading over and over in different books, “The energy you put into things is what you get out of it”. So I made a choice, even though I couldn’t stand my job I was going to put nothing but good energy into it. Even though it felt meaningless I was going to create meaning. I worked at a lockbox, basically the meaning I gouged out of it was that I was helping people pay their bills, I was helping them get the medical bills paid so i did the best I could possibly do, for them.

A few months into this thought shift, an opportunity came up for people to travel to another site and do work. I had been there 6 years and this chance had never been available to me. But because my quality of work and knowledge were so high, I got the chance to travel to Boston. Paid by the company. Sure I had to work but in the evening we would go out and explore. I saw where the Boston Tea party happened, I visited Salem, I saw so many sights in Boston. I believe 100% this was due to my effort in shifting the energy I put into my job.

This was actually the same year my Mother and sister died. My mom had passed away before I went to Boston, my sister passed away a month after. Even through this bleak miserable time I still made sure to always bring positive energy to work.

This never altered the fact, however, that everyday I wished I could leave. But honestly, I didn’t see how. I only had a H.S. diploma, I only had experience in customer service and lockbox…the only place I felt I could go and be paid a decent wage was another lockbox, more of the same.  I said I wouldn’t leave for another lockbox, I wouldn’t leave for a similar job.  I’d look whenever they’d upset me, but get over it and stay. Everyone constantly talked about wanting to leave, but no one left because it was safe. We got paid ok, we had health benefits, I had 4 weeks vacation (I couldn’t use…lol, thats another story). It wasn’t bad on that front… just for me personally it gave me little to no fulfillment.

Long story short, they had approved some of my vacation then tried to take it away, the WEEK BEFORE I was set to take it. I was livid, I was angry, their reasons were ridiculous. I fought back, with reason and logic, and they ended up not taking it away but I was still upset. I gave these people everything I had and they couldn’t even give me my week vacay?

So I started googling jobs, as I always had, and somehow I found the listing for my current job. It was divine intervention. I read the job description and thought, “I could do that…” even though it seemed total different from my current job. It had a lot of the same attributes. I sat on it for a week…but it just nagged at me. Something about this job felt different, it felt right.

I didn’t even have an updated resume, let alone a cover letter.  I felt SO inadequate, like there was no way in hell I could actually get this job. But I kept reading the specs, “I could do that, I could do that, I could learn that, I’m detail oriented…” I didn’t believe I’d ever hear from them. I sent in my newly cobbled resume and cover letter anyway.

Two weeks later, I got an email asking me to set up a phone interview.

Took the phone interview thought, “Omg, I blew it…there is no way they are going to call me.”

They called me in for a regular interview.

Going to that interview was one of the most TERRIFYING things I did in my life. I was terrified I would blow it. But from the moment I walked into the building, met my potential new managers, and yes, I got interviewed by my potential new coworkers…I walked out of there wanting that job more then anything else. It wasn’t the money (a substantial raise) but it was the ENERGY of the place. The employees looked happy, said they LOVED working there, they loved the organization and their jobs. Literally I felt like I had glimpsed heaven. If you understood the environment I was in at that time…you’d know why I felt that way. It was night and day.

Obviously, you know how the story ends…I got the job. The first and only job I ever applied for after being at my last workplace 8 years. Everyone around me has a degree, everyone around me has worked in the non-profit world before and then there is me. I got here because experience counts for a lot more in life then we think. I literally made lemonade out of lemons, in my eyes. No job is without its challenges and I still have other goals, but my life literally looks COMPLETELY different then it did a year ago.

My 6mo anniversary just passed. I’m honestly still getting used to the freedom and level of respect I’m given by my colleagues. I work with so many strong, opinionated, intelligent women it makes my heart sing.

I believe 1000% that my choice years ago to shift the energy I put into my work brought me to where I am now. I completely manifested this. It didn’t come from thin air… I worked my ass off at my old job and I work my ass off now. Even though I sorta didn’t believe that there was no way I’d get this job, I tried anyway and put my best foot forward.

I would love to tell you I am always positive, but that’s not the case. In other areas in my life I am VERY MUCH a work in progress. But this is something I am really proud of. And I hope anyone that is in a job that is less then fulfilling can get some hope, things can change if you want them to. Start by changing the energy you put into the work, who knows where it will take you.