Lining Up Stars

Do you ever feel like the universe is just lining up your stars?

I’ve always thought that there is something bigger at work. I’ve never believed that Earth is the only life-sustaining planet. I’ve always believed in coincidences. There just seem to be too many of them in my life.

A few months ago, I decided to begin journaling again. Frankly, it goes better some weeks than others. I write so often in other ways that sometimes, when sitting in front of a journal, my mind is blank. I try to accept this as part of my offering to the world – that there are days I have nothing to offer my journal thought-wise. If I’m at a total loss, I do always try to write down what I’m grateful for. I often forget to write things down because I’m grateful for so many of them.

I think that when you’re grateful for things, more things that you can be grateful for start to come along. Here’s the thing: I try to always be grateful, even for the bad stuff. I get into a fender-bender: I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. I get stopped at every single red light: I’m grateful for more time listening to my favorite band. I injure myself when running, I’m grateful that I have the ability to run again after I’ve healed.

When I was younger, it was harder. There were days I didn’t have enough money to buy more for groceries than three packs of Ramen for a dollar which had to last me a week. I was grateful that I at least had enough to cover rent and gas to my low wage job.

When I do this, I feel as though the universe is more inclined to line up better opportunities for me. Crazy?

What do you believe?

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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.

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.

Whew!

I haven’t posted in a long time and for that, I apologize. I did have a long ramble about the Boston Marathon. That hit home for me considering I’m working to qualify for it within the next two years. I rewrote it about a week ago and still decided not to post it. Today I decided to forget the whole thing and just write a brand new blog that has nothing to do with it. I WILL say that my heart is in Boston, still. Everyone who ran, spectated, or simply lives there…you have my happy thoughts.

Now then…
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I Can

There are days when the world makes absolutely no sense. Where you have tried and failed so many times at your dream that you are at serious risk of giving up. I don’t know how you all react to such depression and pressures. My old reaction was to curl up and cry for a few days- “no, world! I can’t handle you anymore, just leave me alone. Go bother someone whose dreams you haven’t stepped on!” Once all the tears were out, I’d usually mill around like a zombie for a few days, deep in a fog of mixed emotion- angry, sad, depressed, exhausted, alone, the only person to ever have issues…that kind of thing. What do I do these days when defeat keeps kicking me down? I sign up for another marathon.
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Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a choice. That is the basis for this entire blog. No magic formulas. There’s probably not a lot of new information. But if you’re looking for that sweet slap in the face otherwise known as a reality check, you’ve come to the right blog. Read. Process. Do.

Or you may close this window if you would like.

Waiting.

Continuing.
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Believe

I’m a bit of a worry wart. And by a bit, I mean quite a bit. On the same token, I have lived a number of years simply going through the motions of the day-to-day. I rarely expect things to happen (and don’t even get me started on my outlook on GOOD things happening) and when they do, I am always slightly taken off guard. This is not to say that I am pessimistic- surprisingly. I am actually quite the optimistic individual- though usually for anyone but myself.
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