A Career Change From the Heart

A Career Change From the Heart

For the first time in my career, I made a decision with my heart instead of my head. I took a chance. My intention for this year was to have more courage, and this definitely took a hell of a lot of courage. It’s not easy to make a big change, and I’m so proud of myself! I feel as if a weight has lifted off my shoulders, and I want to shout from the rooftops, “I DID IT!”

A little background

I have always been an over-thinker, preoccupied with wondering if I’m doing the “right” thing. I like to feel like I have everything figured out when in reality I rarely do (nobody does). When I was in college I spent every summer interning at a different company because I thought that was what a good college kid did. All of my internships ended up focusing on social media marketing, so I decided that was what I would do when I graduated.

I still remember my last semester of college as if it were yesterday, frantically applying and interviewing for jobs I felt completely qualified for, only to be rejected or “ghosted” by all of them. In hindsight I wonder if that was the universe trying to send me a signal. “Do you really want to go down this career path or do you just think it’s your only choice?” 

I finally got a job about five months after graduating, worked there for a little over a year, decided I hated it, moved on to another job a few months later, decided I hated it and got fired…I see now it was a vicious cycle I needed to break, but it just took me a while to come to terms with that fact. I think deep down I’ve known for years that social media and marketing wasn’t fulfilling me. I didn’t feel challenged or satisfied, and I felt a sense of dread every Sunday when I thought about going back to work the next day.

A discovery period

I knew I was ready for a change and was optimistic that there was a better career fit out there for me, so when I was fired a few months ago, I took the time to do some soul searching. I applied and interviewed for a lot of different types of jobs, from event planning to recruiting. I was waiting for an epiphany to happen, where I would suddenly realize what I was wanted to do. It felt as if it would never come, but then, when I was least expecting it…

BOOM! Suddenly it all became clear. I want to work with kids! Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved children. Starting around age 10 I worked as a “Mother’s Helper”, then a Babysitter, then a camp counselor. I’m the type of person who will stop and stare at a cute baby on the street before I notice the cute puppy. Being around children brings me a certain joy, similar to how I feel when I’m outside on a beautiful sunny day. When I thought about working with young children, I felt happy. It felt right.

But I was still scared. Am I crazy? Should I really make this big of a change in my career? CAN I really make this big of a change? Will anyone hire me? What if I don’t like it after all? All of these questions ran through my head over and over again, but I knew I had to give it a try.

And boy did giving it a try pay off! I applied and landed an interview, and then a position as a sub, at a preschool here in Austin. They let me try out subbing for a couple weeks to get a feel for the school and see how I liked it, and to see if they thought I’d be a good fit.

The preschool is unique because it was created with a yoga-type philosophy, focusing on social & emotional development, play, and mindfulness. I really resonated with the mission of the school, having gone to the Austin Waldorf School when I was young, which has very similar values.

A new chapter

As of last week, I am officially an Assistant Teacher at the preschool, working with the youngest group, ages 18 months to 2 years! I’ll be completing trainings over the next few months, and will get the opportunity to do yoga teacher training this summer. I love everyone I work with (kids and other adults) and I’m so glad I took this leap!

I feel happy at work. HAPPY. This weekend I actually felt excited to go back to work on Monday. EXCITED. No more of that familiar Sunday Dread. I feel challenged every day, and no day has been the same. I’m constantly learning and growing and observing. I can already tell the kids are going to teach me just as much as I teach them. I’m just feeling genuinely content with where I am, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds!

If you’re feeling unhappy at your job, maybe it’s time for a change. Don’t feel stuck just because you have a certain college degree, or you’ve been doing one kind of job for years. It’s never too late to change course. What do you love to do? What skills do you have? When you close your eyes, what job can you imagine yourself truly enjoying? I promise you have more possibilities than you might think. You just have to be brave!

What Does Self-Care Really Mean?

What Does Self-Care Really Mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of self-care recently. It has become quite a popular concept, one that I see mentioned on social media all the time. But what does it really mean? And how do I know if what I am doing is “self-care” or if it is actually having the opposite effect?

I recently had a lightbulb moment where I realized self-care is really very simple. It is anything that makes me feel better, lifts me up, puts me in a better mood. It is anything that helps me recharge, as opposed to something that drains my metaphorical battery. So I started paying attention to what lifts me up throughout my week, and what brings me down.

Things that lift me up

  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Exercising
  • Getting outside on a nice day
  • Crossing things off my to-do list

Things that bring me down

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Spending time with negative/toxic people
  • Overeating or eating when I’m not really hungry
  • Binging Netflix to avoid responsibilities

I had this moment of clarity last week when I realized, if I just do more of the first list and less of the second list, I should feel better on a daily basis! It seems really obvious, but I think a lot of us, myself included, tend to give in to what we want right now instead of stopping to think about what will actually make us feel better.

For me, self-care is all about treating myself with the same kindness and respect as I would treat others, and keeping in mind my Future Self and how she will feel about the choices I’m making right now. I may be tempted to eat a bunch of junk food when I’m feeling sad, or spend my entire day watching TV, but I know that’s not going to actually make me feel happy. Instead, I could choose to go on a walk or text a friend and ask if they want to do something fun.

My new goal is to take care of myself every day by doing more of what I love, and less of what I know isn’t good for me.

What lifts you up and what brings you down? Leave a comment and let me know!

Job Satisfaction and Fear of Failure

Job Satisfaction and Fear of Failure

For a little over a year, I had a great job. Or rather, the kind of job that looks great on a resume. When I got the job offer in September of 2017, I thought “I would be stupid not to take this offer!” I was making more money than I ever had before. The job came with more vacation days than I could use in a year, and extra perks like free lunches twice a week. It was the kind of job my friends were jealous of. The catch? I wasn’t happy.

“Nobody likes their job!” That was the most common response people gave me over the past few months when I expressed I had grown unhappy at work. I knew in my gut I wanted to leave, but that response made me feel like I should just suck it up. Like maybe I was overreacting and needed to just grow a thicker skin, because everyone else was in the same boat.

“If everyone is right and nobody likes their job, then I guess it’s just something I need to get used to and stop complaining about. Maybe seeking happiness at work is unrealistic. Will I be any happier at a new job? Maybe I’m the problem, and I’m just not fit to be in a 9 to 5 job! Maybe things will get better if I just try harder and stick it out…”

My inner thoughts over the past few months

I let other people’s opinions and comments about how “nobody likes their job” get to me. I decided that if I worked harder, and tried on a “fake it till you make it” attitude, maybe things would magically get better at work. The problem was, I didn’t feel passionate or satisfied with anything I was doing. I was burning myself out on a job I didn’t love. Before too long this started to reflect in my work. I wasn’t performing as well as I could have. Which only made my satisfaction at work plummet even more.

I’ve always been a perfectionist. I seek approval from others, as well as from myself. I so badly wanted to make this job work, to prove I was competent and capable and good enough. I was terrified of failure, of being judged, of what people would think of me if I didn’t succeed. It took me back to the feeling of being a teenager, scared of making anything less than an A in school. Or a 20-something avoiding sharing the news that my relationship had failed.

This blog provides an outlet for me to be vulnerable and talk about things that are difficult to admit. It forces me to share the less-than-perfect parts of my life. Little by little, I’m ridding myself of the notion that I need to appear perfect to everyone in my life. It’s so freeing to let go of that and just be open and honest. So here goes: I lost my job. I tried to make it work, and I failed.

It was a surreal experience because, like I said above, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t actually want to be there. But my fear of failure and of other people’s judgements was stronger than my desire to leave. The silver lining is that I’ve learned a lot from this experience, and changed my perspective on job satisfaction. My opinion is, if you truly are unhappy in your job, don’t ignore that! It’s okay to walk away. Don’t let fear of failure overpower your own happiness. Trying to force yourself to be happy never works. Ignoring those feelings will only backfire, and it will all catch up to you eventually. 

So where am I now? I’m what I like to call “happily unemployed.” I’m taking some time to really think about what I want and need out of my next job. Do I want to continue working in the social media field, or do I want to make a career change? This is the main question I’m asking myself as I assess my options and look for a new job. The main thing I’m feeling right now is excitement for the future. I don’t know where I’ll be a month from now, but I’m ready for a new beginning!

Have you ever felt stuck in a job you didn’t love? Do you agree with the idea that “nobody likes their job”? Let me know in the comments!

2017 Reflection: A Year Of Change

2017 Reflection: A Year Of Change

2017 tested my resilience. It was a year full of life changes which made me question what I thought I already knew about love, family, happiness, and life in general. It was tough, but I was tougher. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone more times than I can remember, and it all paid off in the long run.

In 2017 I accomplished a lot with my blog. I started an interview series, and got to talk with so many inspiring women, including one of my favorite Bachelorettes, Kaitlyn Bristowe. This past year also gave me the opportunity to organize my own Blogging Meetup Group, which lead to me meeting a lot of other bloggers in the Austin area. Perhaps the biggest step outside of my comfort zone, and a personal victory for me, came when I started my own YouTube channel. Though I haven’t posted a new video in a while, it’s something I’m looking forward to continuing this year.

citystrongblogheader
Me with Shawn Boothe, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Erin Oprea. Trying not to fan girl too hard! 

2017 also brought a lot more travel than 2016, with trips to Las Vegas and Crested Butte, two places I’d never been before, along with smaller adventures to Fort Worth and Fredericksberg. In 2018 I hope to travel to at least three new places. I don’t have anything planned yet, but judging from everything I accomplished in 2017, I’m sure I can make it a reality.

IMG_6969
After climbing to the top of Mount Crested Butte. Look at that view! 

As I mentioned above, 2017 really tested my resilience. A lot happened over the course of  about four months, including quitting my job before I had a new one lined up, letting someone back into my heart only to say goodbye for a second time, and adjusting to a new family structure I didn’t choose or want. I had to come to terms with the fact that change is inevitable, and the only way to survive in life is to move forward and stay grateful for what you still have.

Here I am at the start of 2018, and I couldn’t be happier with my new job; I’ve truly let go of my past relationship; and I’ve come to feel at peace with the new family dynamic. I’m really proud of myself for staying strong and remaining (relatively) optimistic throughout all of the hardships I faced this year. I’m so happy to be entering a new year with amazing friends and family by my side, and a renewed determination to make this the best year yet.

26166306_10214830478453953_4325871600329112815_n

 

What was your biggest accomplishment in 2017? What about your biggest hardship? I’d love to hear about your year in the comments below!

 

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last blog post! I’ve been wanting to write again for a while now, but I wasn’t sure what to write about and I’ve also been very busy so it’s been easy to make excuses as to why I can’t blog. But here I am, and that’s all that matters!

I think this post will be a bit of a stream of consciousness. I like the idea of just sitting down and writing instead of overthinking what I should write about. So apologies if this is all over the place.

The short answer to where I have been these past two months is: working. I started a brand new job the first week in October after taking some time off from work for about three months. It’s crazy that a month and a half has already gone by at my new job! I’ve been loving it so far, from the work I’m doing to the people I’m surrounded by, to the overall culture of the company. I’m still doing social media marketing, so the work feels familiar, but I’m learning a lot of new things and I’m excited for the opportunities to learn even more and grow in this new position. Overall I’m feeling very hopeful for the future of my career, which is something I couldn’t have said a couple months ago.

The more abstract answer to “where have I been” is: working on myself. As I mentioned in my Life Changes post, I have been through a lot of changes in the past few years. What I didn’t mention is that I have also been through a lot of change in the past few months. Starting around May, things started to shift in my life, and at times I felt really out of control. I felt like everything was happening to me, and I will admit I probably played the victim a bit. I kept wondering why. Why was I forced to leave my job? Why did my relationship have to end? So many things happened over the summer and into early fall, and I won’t lie, it was really difficult for me.

I felt like I had two choices: I could either use this time as a growing experience, and try to learn more about myself and figure out how to be happy, or I could wallow in my misfortunes and give up. As you might be able to guess, I chose to be happy. I found my new job, which I feel so lucky to have been offered. I started spending more time with friends and family. And I started working harder by myself and in therapy to become a better version of me.

I wish I could say I had some kind of huge epiphany, or that I have some sage wisdom to share with you about what has changed in these past couple months to make me a happier person, but I don’t. All I know is that I am feeling really confident in who I am right now, and I’m feeling really happy with where my life is. Of course I still get sad and angry and scared like everyone else, but overall I feel that right now I am in a better place than I have been this entire year.

So with that said, I am making a commitment to improve myself even more, by doing things that make me happy. I’ve been working and spending a lot of time with friends, but as a result I have let some of my hobbies and passions fall to the side. I haven’t been blogging, and I haven’t been exercising as much as I’d like to. So I guess I’m using this blog post as a way to promise myself I will try harder to do those things more often. This blog post is a good start, and I am heading over to do some yoga with my mom after this!

Like I said at the beginning, this post was more of a stream of consciousness than anything, so bravo if you’re still with me. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d love if you would leave me a comment and let me know where you’ve been lately, however you’d like to interpret that question.

How To Navigate Life Changes

How To Navigate Life Changes

Fear of change is pretty much universal. Nobody likes the unknown, and everyone gets comfortable with what they are used to. But inevitably, our life will change whether we like it or not. Some changes are expected, and others are a total shock to us.

I don’t have any data to back this up, but I think our 20’s might be the time with the most change. As a 24-year-old, I feel the last four years have brought the most changes of my life so far. I studied abroad for a semester, graduated from college, got my first full-time job, moved into my own apartment, lost a relationship, left my job, had family structures shift, and lost my relationship again.

Through all of these changes, some good and some bad, I managed to keep my head up and stay relatively positive, using some of the tips I mention in my How To Stay Positive post.  Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways I have been able to navigate change, and I wanted to share some of my tips with you all.

Live In The Moment

As I mentioned above, everyone is afraid of the unknown. It’s easy to worry about the future, especially during times of change when our future seems so unknown to us. It’s also easy to dwell on the past, and wish that we could go back to what we had before. However, neither of these patterns serve to make us any happier. Change happens, and we can’t go back to what our life was like before. We also can’t predict what is around the corner. All we can do is make this day, this moment, the best it can be. Focus on living in the now, and let life take you where it takes you.

Embrace The Change

There is always a silver lining to whatever change you are experiencing. Change can be stressful, but it is also an exciting opportunity to have a fresh start. You are starting a new chapter in your life, and you can take whatever course you want! I was terrified when I left my job, but I also felt a sense of freedom because now I can choose what I want my next step in my career to be. Do I want to continue working in social media? Do I want to give real estate a try? Or do I want to do something completely different? I’m embracing this life change and looking forward to what is to come.

Create Routines

Part of why change is so frightening is that we feel like we can’t control it. Feeling out of control is never fun, so I try to find small things in my life to take charge of, to set up a sense of routine. For example, my mom and I have been taking walks every morning during the week. Starting my day with a walk (and girl talk with my mom) not only helps me feel happier throughout the day, but it also helps me feel like I am in control of at least one portion of my life. Setting small routines like that is a huge help when everything around you seems a bit chaotic.

 

I hope this helped you all, or will be of help in the future when your next life change occurs. Let me know in the comments how you’ve been able to get through big changes in your life!

Be Proud of Yourself: Part 2

Be Proud of Yourself: Part 2

I was looking back on some of my old blog posts to get inspiration for what I should write about next, and I came across my Be Proud of Yourself post, which is one of my favorites I’ve ever written. It’s short and sweet, but gets the point across. It gave me the idea to write an updated version, with some of my new accomplishments.

I was in such a different place than I am now when I wrote that post almost a year and a half ago, and though reading it makes me a bit sad to think about how I was feeling at that time, I also feel really happy to know I’ve accomplished even more now and I am much happier than I was back then.

I can honestly say I am really proud of where I am in life right now. I have a great group of friends who I have been spending a lot of time with, I’m continuing to spend time with my family, I’ve gotten more responsibility at my job, and I couldn’t be more excited about where my blog is going. And most importantly, I’ve learned how to stay positive, even through difficult times.

It was fun for me to make this list of my current accomplishments, and I would definitely recommend you try it! It’s a good reminder that no matter how you’re feeling, there are always things to be proud of in your life.

My Recent Accomplishments:
  1. I’ve somehow become an interviewer, and I’m loving it! I started a new series on my blog, Table Talk Tuesday, where I interview other bloggers. It’s been so much fun to talk with other like-minded people, and hear their stories. I also recently got the chance to interview Shawn Booth and Kaitlyn Bristowe of The Bachelorette, and celebrity personal trainer Erin Oprea at the CitySTRONG event in Austin.
  2. I am the organizer of a blogger Meetup group, which I wrote about in a recent blog post. We had our second meeting yesterday, and once again I was blown away by everyone’s stories. There are so many awesome bloggers and aspiring bloggers out there! Check out these two who I met today: http://www.delayedsleeper.com and http://www.mycontrolexperiment.com
  3. While I was excited to have 40-something blog followers in my last post, I am now even more excited to say I have 200-something followers! It just goes to show that hard work and perseverance pays off. And I am so flattered and happy so many of you seem to enjoy reading what I write.
  4. Unfortunately after I wrote that last post, I started to work out less and less, and I spent most of 2016 not exercising regularly. However, I am proud to say that the last few months I have been going to a yoga class once a week, walking around my neighborhood with my mom at least three times a week, and hiking in the greenbelt with my friends a couple times a month. Like I said in the last post, I’ve noticed a positive change in my moods since putting fitness as a top priority.

Having two more things to be proud of compared to the last time I wrote this blog post feels pretty great. I’ve decided I am going to keep track of accomplishments like these regularly, because it really does make a difference to actively tell yourself how proud you are, and to take note of the small victories in life.

I hope you enjoyed this update on an old post. Let me know in the comments what your recent accomplishments are!

How To Stay Positive

How To Stay Positive

It’s been a difficult week for a lot of people because of the election, and for me personally, it’s been a rough three weeks (unrelated to the election). Despite this, I think I’ve been able to remain relatively happy, so I thought I’d share some of my tips for staying positive through tough times.

Keep track of the good times

I believe it’s not only possible, but also very important, to find at least one positive moment in each day. The last few weeks have taught me that no matter what is going on in the world or in my personal life, there is always something to smile about, whether it be getting to spend time with old friends, or getting a card and cake from my coworkers for my one year anniversary.

Don’t forget to be grateful

Along with paying attention to the positive moments in life, I have also started to keep track of what I am grateful for. Thanksgiving may be a few weeks away, but I think having gratitude for all of the amazing things in my life should be a year-long goal. I’ve started going over each positive moment and what I am grateful for each night before I fall asleep. It really helps put things in perspective when I realize I have so many things to be thankful for, and so many happy memories each day.

Focus on others

Another important trick for staying positive is to get outside of yourself and focus on someone else for a change. This could be in the form of a small act of kindness, giving someone a compliment, or making an effort to ask a friend how they are doing and listening to them before talking about yourself. I have found I feel much happier when I take the time to pay attention to other people’s needs as well as my own.

Treat yourself

I know I just talked about paying attention to others, but I do want to stress how important it is to take care of yourself as well. I’ve been taking the time to do things for me lately, which includes taking nice hot baths when I need a little relaxation, going to yoga and zumba classes, taking walks and hiking, catching up on one of my favorite TV shows, and spending lots of time with friends and family. Whatever it is that makes you happy, be sure to do more of that, especially when you’re feeling particularly down.

 

I hope you found this helpful in some way! I just thought the world could use more good vibes lately. Let me know if you have any other tricks for staying positive, I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

My Plan for a Happy 2016

My Plan for a Happy 2016

Happy-New-Year-Resolutions-2016-

Hey everyone! I know January is already halfway over, but I figure it’s never too late to share my New Year’s Resolutions with you. My goals for this year all revolve around a specific desire to be happier than I was last year. Now, that’s not to say I wasn’t happy in 2015; last year was actually one of the best years of my life! But I think everyone is always striving to be even happier, so that is what I will attempt to accomplish in 2016.

With this in mind, I came up with a motto of sorts that I hope will define this year:

Take risks, and take care 

To me, this means that I want to focus on leaving fear behind me, and I also want to focus on self care and being more aware of how I am treating my own mind and body. I often feel frustrated or unhappy with my life, which I have talked about in past blogs. I want to take this new year to really take control of my own happiness and make changes in my life that I feel will improve my happiness.

I have separated some specific resolutions into two categories based on my new motto, along with a description for why they are my resolutions and how I hope to achieve them.

do-one-thingRisks:

  • Take an improv class

The idea for improv to be my new hobby came to me rather suddenly, and the more I think about it the more sense it makes. I used to love acting in middle and high school, and I took an improv class one summer and really enjoyed it. I think this will be an awesome way to get outside my comfort zone, meet new people, and pick back up an old passion. I signed up for a 6 week class already, and I’ll start in February!

  • Learn to cook

My inability to cook has actually been an insecurity of mine for a while. My mom and sister love to cook and I have just never followed in their path for whatever reason. I was always either too busy or lacking motivation to learn to cook in college, but now is the perfect time in my life to go for it! I put this in the category of “risks” because for me, it is a bit of a risk. I have always been scared to try new things, and cooking is definitely new territory for me. My plan is to learn to cook one new recipe per week this year. Wish me luck!

ByRePQsCYAAF2Fk

Care:

  • Exercise regularly

I got really good at exercising three to four times a week for a while, but as soon as I started my job in November that all disappeared. While it used to be easy to work out in the middle of the day if I wanted to, I am now constricted to either early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. Unfortunately I let this slight hurdle stop me from even trying. This year, I plan to find a yoga class or another type of class at my gym during weekday nights, and also go to the gym to work out on weekends.

  • Make time for friends

This one is very important to me. Spending time with friends brings me a lot of happiness, and I don’t feel like I make enough time for my social life as of now. It’s just too easy to go home and watch TV every night. I think making an effort to see friends at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just for a quick dinner, will make a huge difference.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my plan to have a happy 2016. I’d love to hear what some of your resolutions or goals or just general thoughts are for this year!

Be Proud of Yourself

For the past few weeks I have been feeling a little down. Some might say I’ve been in a rut. This is due to not being completely happy with certain things in my life, putting a lot of pressure on myself to change them, and also just general feelings of sadness and annoyance that don’t seem to stem from any one thing in particular.

While working out today I had an epiphany of sorts, and I thought I would share it in case any of you are struggling with some of the feelings of doubt and unhappiness that I have been experiencing. My epiphany was that I do not do a good enough job of patting myself on the back for all of the things I am doing right. Instead, I focus on the negatives or what I think I could be doing better. This causes a lot of unnecessary stress and makes me feel upset at myself when I really shouldn’t be feeling that way.

So I came up with an idea which I think is a pretty good one, if I do say so myself. I am going to start acknowledging all of the accomplishments and goals that I have been achieving lately, in an effort to improve my spirits and just have a more positive outlook on life. Positivity is one of my words for having a happier fall, after all! (See ‘Happy Fall!’).

What I’ve Accomplished Lately:

  1. Over the past few months I have gone from not working out at all (besides the occasional short walk) to getting to the gym at least 4 times a week! I’ve always heard that working out can help make you feel happier and more energized, and I am already seeing how true that is. No matter how down I’m feeling, I always feel better after leaving the gym.
  2. I went from not blogging in over a year, to publishing five blog posts in the past few months! It is crazy that as I write this, I have 40-something followers already. I know that might not seem like a lot for some of you big-shot bloggers out there, but the thought that 40 people have read my blog and were influenced by it in some way is really awesome to me!

I know I could think of more to be proud of myself for, but those are the two main things that stand out to me as of right now. I already feel better just having acknowledged that I have succeeded in doing something, in changing something about my life in a positive way. Blogging and working out are both activities that make me feel happier, which is really the most important part of any activity.

What makes you happy? What have you been doing right lately that you haven’t given yourself enough credit for? Let me know in the comments, and write your own version of this blog if you think it will help you feel better! It certainly worked for me.

Positive-Quotes3

~Subscribe and follow me on social media if you liked what you read!~