Tweaking Versus Big Change

It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern. In fact, I find that one of the hardest things in life to break is a routine. Think about it. Routine is the order in which you get ready in the morning. The route you take to work. The way you walk through the grocery store.

These are little things that almost never change – and they make up a lifetime.

That’s because, the older we get the harder it becomes to break routine.

Did you know that one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is continuous change?

I find that it is when we get stuck in the day-to-day way of doing things that we start to feel like our lives are mundane or they’re simply passing us by. Be it due to fear or an unwillingness to change, or some other big reason – we become a spectator in our own life.

And yet, we’re still hoping that something extraordinary will happen to us.

Will happen. TO us.

We’re passive. Accommodating. Floating along, and believing that things will play out how they’re supposed to.

We wish it – but what do we do during our life to accommodate that wish?

The answer? Not much. We’re too stuck in our routines. We’re overly distracted by what we need to do to survive. How much we need to work to pay the bills. How many social activities we have this week. How we can’t miss practice.

Before we know it, we’re sixty, watching our kids graduate, wondering where the hell the time has gone.

But being sixty or seventy or eighty doesn’t mean it’s too late to shake up your life.

It’s just a change in routine.

And it’s that change of routine – that big, scary change of which you don’t know the outcome – that feeds us. Sure you can make little tweaks in your existing routine. Cram in a yoga class or a vacation into your life where it fits. But those small tweaks won’t result in big changes. They won’t bring about that big experience or event – at least, not in a timely manner.

What will allow you to make the great strides is big change.

Quit trying to stuff small changes into your current routine.

Shake up your routine. Change it. Try it out. Change it again.

Or be on your deathbed, at any age, and wishing you hadn’t wasted life waiting for permission to live how you want.

It isn’t about luck. It’s about working and changing and growing and connecting.

It’s about trying one thing every day that scares you.

And it feels good.

Leaders are Born…or Made?

The old saying goes that great leaders are born, not made.

What. A. Crock.

Needless to say, I completely disagree.

See, I was not born a leader. There was not, for nearly 29 years, a single bone in my body that ached – even a little – to lead others.

Not that I wanted to follow, per se. Though that’s often what we find to be the easiest path, isn’t it?

You follow. You work for others. You concede to your friends and family. You smile. You hide your quirks.

I was a follower for many years. This included the first two years of running my own business. I allowed my ideas to be stolen and steamrolled, my schedule to be determined by the client, my limitations to be tugged and poked and prodded until I stepped into unfamiliar, unwelcome territories.

That last one was when I finally said “enough is enough.” Not that I’m against learning or change. I’m all for being shoved out of the nest. I’m not a fan of being shoved off the cliff.

Something occurred to me: I work for no one but myself.

Suddenly, it was like all of these doors swung wide open. I don’t rely on my clients, my clients rely on me. Sure the money that they send me is great. It pays my bills. But no invoice amount is worth my sanity. I can find another client. I can find another job. I can do something that makes me happy, not crazy.

So I fired a bunch of people. I’d never fired anyone in my life. I didn’t know how. I poured over books and blogs and how to manuals. Nothing I read made me less uncomfortable about what I had to do.

That’s the thing I’m realizing about being a leader as I find myself warming to the role.

I might be uncomfortable firing people or interviewing potential clients or asking for someone to pay their damn invoice, but at the end of the day, I’m all I’ve got. I am…a leader. And I wasn’t born this way. I made myself.

Perspective

My route was supposed to be PDX>PHX>OMA.

My route became PDX>TUS>DFW>OMA. Also, please add nearly 7 hours to that PDX>TUS flight (stuck on the plane, that is, in turbulent air and then on a tarmac) AND an overnight in TUS. And a rude gate agent last night. Look, guy. I know you’re stuck here longer than your original shift was supposed to be, but sir, I’ve been trapped on a plane for nearly 7 hours and I’m a 22 hour drive from home and I’m stuck in Arizona. AND I’m smiling at you and being much kinder than about 95% of the others in line. So…check the attitude, maybe. I didn’t say it, but I was thinking it – he had to see it in my eyes and hear it in my kind, strained voice. Right?

Frankly, I was pissed. However, I realized a few things at the airport (where everything was shut down, I might add.)
A) I was hungry. When I am hungry, I am totally, completely unreasonable.
B) I was tired. Mentally, not physically, but still.
C) I was stuck.

I woke up this morning wanting to write about perspective or “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.”

Life really is what you make it. Being that C was inevitable, I made the best of the situation. The airline didn’t want to give me vouchers for hotel (despite the fact that I had 13 hours prior to my next flight) nor did they want to give me food vouchers (despite the fact that I’d been on a plane from 11:25 AM to 6:30 PM AND was stuck in an unknown city until 8:45 the next morning). Jerks? Yes. We’ll be chatting after I’ve cooled off a bit more.

BUT

There was a time when I wouldn’t have had the $ to do something about this situation. That I would have been stuck, hungry, and tired – at the mercy of the airline. That’s no longer the case. I was able to pull together enough for a motel and some dinner. Perspective. I was traveling over a weekend and didn’t have to worry about missing work. Perspective. I’m a freelancer and my job is mobile. Perspective. I’m safe, I’m alive, I have a wonderful boyfriend who picked up the dogs from the boarder so I didn’t have to pay an extra day. Perspective.

Here’s what I’ve learned: All that negative crap that comes at you? Let it go. It’s not worth ruining a day, making a bad memory of an otherwise great trip, etc. etc. etc. Being mad? Being rude? Being frustrated? Boring. Expected.

Why not do something unexpected and make the most of an unfortunate circumstance? I found a really good restaurant. They had really good local beer. I got to sleep in a king sized bed. I got a bathtub – that’s a luxury I don’t have in my home and it was thrilling to relax in a big old bubble bath.

Even when it’s difficult, find the good in a situation. Don’t let that anger, that frustration, pull you down.

What will you do to change the world?

It’s easy to shrug something off as impossible. We do it all the time – with jobs, with goals, with dreams. Frankly, it’s a wonder humans get anything accomplished at all what with all the time we spend talking ourselves down from impossibility.

Between you and me, I believe that inside each of us lies the power to change the world.

Bold? Perhaps.

If you’ll stick with me, I’d like to share a story.

It’s not a story of great impact, but it covers a basic struggle: how do I approach my goal as myself?

I have always wanted to be a published author. I had no idea how to write a book, but plenty of other people did. When the idea first hit me, I devoured page upon page of “how to” novels. I’m not joking – hundreds. There are probably thousands left. And with all of that advice, all of that education – I just wasn’t getting it. It was like Algebra all over again.

What I really could have used was a guidebook entitled: Allison Janda’s guide to writing her first novel.

The truth? There are no guidebooks to life. You don’t discover a nice, neat black and white path with your name marked all over it. And while you can prepare yourself with advice from others (I can’t begin to tell you how many Elizabeth Gilbert/Janet Evanovich/John Grisham interviews I read) in the end, it’s just you, my friend. You work an 8 to 5? Wake up at 4:30. You don’t have a strong voice? Take a class. You have too many social engagements? Cancel a few. Excuses are just detours – and you could detour forever. I wrote and published 3 books in 9 months – I ran out of excuses. I created my own guidebook as I went along.

That’s what so many of us miss. We’re constantly hunting for the “right” path or the “easy” way. Others have accomplished the dreams we wish to attain – but how? In the end – they just did it. They slogged through all the work and the time and the pain and the financial struggle and the dip in social life. You can too, you know. You have that power within you.

When we change whether by doing or not doing, we ourselves become different – it’s impossible not to. Those changes affect not only us, but also those around us and so on and so forth. A ripple. And maybe it’s a change that sees history books. But it doesn’t need to, to prove impactful.

What will you do to change the world?

PS: Here’s how Shane started changing the world – and inspired me to write this blog.

Why Indie?

I’m not asked this question a lot, but I am asked often enough that I feel inclined to post about it. While the subject matter is a bit more geared toward this blog, I felt it deserved a more personal space.

The question: Why be an indie author?

Frankly, there are a lot of different reasons I picked this route. Some are well thought out and others not so much. Then again I’m not the most strategically minded decision maker, but I find that shooting from the hip works for me better- maybe that’s why I keep doing it.

The best laid plans, right?

While I could make this blog impossibly long (I have 5 reasons for self-publishing in my head as we speak and more just keep popping in) I’d really like to focus on the main point in my decision making process as I feel it’s the most important to understand.

If you’ve self-published or if you’ve considered self-publishing. If you’re a reader who loves indie authors or if you can’t understand the indie phenomenon – the bottom line is:

I’m good enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I may still be in my 20s (barely) but let me stress that this is NOT a generational/immediate gratification thing. Frankly, I have my opinions on that as well, but that’s another day/another blog.

Here’s the root of it: technology has reached a point where, as a writer, I don’t have to depend upon a higher up for something if I’m willing to work my ass off and do it myself. That’s why I’m an entrepreneur. Being an indie author is simply another way that I can flex those entrepreneurial skills.

By self-publishing, I don’t have to worry that someone is going to tell me my writing isn’t good enough. I don’t have to wait to hear back about the major changes I need to make in order to be put into a consideration pile and hey, maybe I’ll hear back one way or the other after 6 weeks.

Screw. That.

I’m all for learning, improving and taking constructive criticism (or not so constructive as it sometimes may be). I did bring on an editor, after all.

However, I put my hours, my crappy eyesight, my tears, my money and so much more into producing a product that I’m proud of. You hear that? I’m PROUD of what I wrote. Best of all, I’m CAPABLE of sharing it with you myself if I put in the time and effort to learn how (or if I invest in someone else who does). Why let someone tell me that I shouldn’t have wasted my time because it isn’t THEIR idea of worthy work?

As far as I’m concerned, it IS good enough. Good enough to share with the world, in fact. And while I’ve had friends and family compliment my writing, I’ve submitted my books to a variety of book bloggers, too. Book bloggers that read hundreds of books every single year. Guess what? They seem to think it’s pretty good, too.

So that’s the bottom line for me. I can. Granted there are some really crappy self-published books out there. You know what? There are some really crappy traditionally published books, too. I’ve read plenty of them.

It’s Not Always Easy

This morning, I was having a great day. I was loving that I was an entrepreneur. I even took the morning off to go to the zoo (which actually inspired my newfound joy) and see some gorillas. I love gorillas. One day, I will meet one in person. It’s a bucket list item.

Fast forward to 5:38pm when I got a phone call. My biggest client will no longer be in business – and I am out of not only an excellent client, but also a reliable paycheck. Suddenly, being an entrepreneur is terrifying and rather sucky. I’m looking at my bills and thinking- how am I going to make this work? I absolutely can not make this work. I’m going to be broke. I’m going to be poor. After all my hard work, I’m probably going to be evicted and then – *slap.*

Deep breath.

There’s an answer. But the answer is…I have no freaking idea. However, I’m also not one to totally lose it in the face of a crisis. Bring it on world. Also, despite you pooping on me today, I really appreciate that gorgeous sunset you let me admire from the parking lot as I munched chicken fingers and blasted this.

Oh, hey wait…the world pooped on me YESTERDAY. It’s 12:59 AM…what does Thursday have in store? Good surprises I hope.

Reviews Are IN!

WOW! Third review for book 2 – no idea who it is that left this, but they made me cry. Happy tears. See below for the whole enchilada!

I am honored, every single day, that I’m doing this. That I’m writing books. I’m further honored by my readers – thank you, thank you for purchasing, reading, loving/hating, and reviewing!
XOXO

“In this second Marian Moyer mystery, our girl gets a call from her family to come home immediately as her niece has been kidnapped! So Marian, BFF Addison, & Marian’s 2 hunky P.I.s Mika & James take off to her hometown to help. Once there The crew, with the help of Marian’s cop friend Janet, try to find Marian’s niece before the trail goes cold. The plot twists & turns while Marian follows from one clue to another. At one point the tension is palpable!

Great read! Can’t wait for book #3 – Scandal, Temptation, & a Taste of Flan. Definitely recommend you read Book #1 – Sex, Murder, & Killer Cupcakes to see how Marian meets her hunks. Both books worth the time & money, I promise!”

You can purchase all books in the Marian Moyer series through my website – http://www.allisonjanda.com

Happy Reading!