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.

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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.

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.

Who Am I?

I was once told that we are most like the 5 people we surround ourselves with most. As someone whose main “strength” in life is her empathy, I’m sure you can imagine why this was so interesting to me.

I find that I often feed off of people’s emotions. I’m a fairly happy person 9 out of 10 days. Everyone gets frustrated or sad or lonely or pissed off, so let’s not pretend like that doesn’t happen to me. All in all, though, I’d say I’m a fairly upbeat person with fairly lofty life goals and I really like other happy people because they make me the happiest. I would say I keep a fairly good head under pressure or when friends of mine get upset, but I find that if “upset” is just someone’s general personality, I can’t handle it. I can’t handle daily negativity, daily sadness, daily complaints, or daily anger. I also can’t handle drama which seems to contain all of the above.
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Fear

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”

I pulled this quote from “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss, a book I got as a Christmas gift from one of my Top 5, but that’s an entirely different post.

In a nutshell, the book slowly uncovers the secrets of the “New Rich.” The goal of this book is not to tell you how to become a multi-billionaire like say- the creators of Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram- although if you did, that would be a pretty sweet perk from reading a book that cost me nothing. Instead, the book aims to be a compass for those who are sick and tired of the 40-50 hour work week, day in and day out, minding the daily drudgery that is your cubicle.
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