Acting On Inspiration

red kite

I watched season 2 of The Carrie Diaries yesterday after devouring season 1 a few weeks ago. A coming of age story for a group of high school friends from Castlebury, Connecticut in the mid 80s, it is a prequel to the Sex and the City television series and based on Candace Bushnell’s book of the same name.

What I most enjoyed about watching the show, perhaps even more than catching the warm and fuzzies from the theme of strong friendship or drooling over the GORGEOUS Austin Butler, was observing Carrie’s determinedness to go for her dreams of becoming a writer and to make her way in the city that has always electrified her. Like Carrie, New York City, in all its dizzying chaos and harsh extremes (rich, poor, overcrowded, intimate, uplifting, depressing), has dazzled me from a young age. Seeing her coming into her own, navigating her way from sheltered suburban kid to bold, street-smart young woman who wants what she wants badly enough to risk embarrassment and failure struck a chord with me. Carrie, just 17, was mature for her age, as I have always been. She has always seen herself doing big things in life, just as I have. I grew more and more inspired to work on my goals with each passing episode.

The thing is, it’s easy to say you’re going to commit to making things happen for yourself, changing what you know needs to change, and going for the life you feel you want and deserve while basking in the touching, beautifully blinding light of inspiration. A centering vacation, revelatory spiritual retreat, enlightening personal development book, or powerful sermon, for example, can fill us up with hope and excitement about our futures that often brings us to tears.  These moments remind us of the non-jaded, unafraid little kid inside who had big dreams that not only seemed possible, but certain. We’re rejuvenated and filled with fire…all from the comfort of our couch, a gorgeous beach, or cozy place of worship.

But what happens once we get off the plane, when we finish the book, when the sermon is through, or in my case, when the show is over? Continue reading

Forgiving Myself After Succumbing to My Ego

forgiveness

I came home (to my parents’ house in Jersey) this weekend for a close friend’s wedding, taking Monday and Tuesday off as well to really soak up the quality time at home. I was excited to see close friends, hang out with family, spend a little time in nature, and leisurely write and research my career interests over the four days. I saved today (Tuesday) for the latter part, knowing I’d have some quiet time with both my parents being at work.

I woke up this morning in a sad, grumpy mood. I often used to feel this way on Sundays (the day before work) at home, and sometimes still do at my new apartment. It’s like I’m counting down the hours I have to be completely free and do whatever I want before having to head into the weekly rat race again, and it depresses me. (Sound familiar?) There’s also the pressure of having to be productive and use those precious hours wisely.

Because I’m really trying more than ever to work on curbing my ego to advance myself towards my dreams, I said, “No, Erica. Don’t start this again. Nothing bad has happened. You have no reason to be sad or grumpy. Let’s just go make the best of this beautiful day.” I was happy that I had at least convinced myself into a five minute meditation, but this positive mindset didn’t last for long. I was irritable with my mother and we got into the kind of argument that we haven’t had since I moved out. I didn’t feel like exercising, even though I felt gross from eating lots of junk the night before. I was just feeling annoyed with a tinge of hopelessness.

Long story short, I ended up watching The Wendy Williams Show, Bethenny, and Wendy Williams’ aftershows and hot topics videos ALL. DAY. LONG. in my lavender bathrobe, something I used to do often, just wallowing around in my grumpiness and giving up on my plan to be productive. (Or the idea of running a comb through my hair, evidently, which ends up looking like quite the welcoming nest for a family of sparrows after a long day of lounging around sulking.) Continue reading

Two Hurdles to Expect When Pursuing Your Dreams

hurdles

We all know that pursuing big goals will not always be smooth sailing, and yet we freak out when things aren’t going exactly according to plan. Sometimes we need someone to tell us stuff we may already know (but can’t see through a cloudy mental state) in order to get the ball rolling again. Well, here ya go! (Oh, and would you please be sure to send me this link when I’M in a funk? Thanks—you’re a doll! 😉 )

1. Waning Motivation

Sudden lack of motivation for something you’re normally extremely passionate about is likely just a result of putting in so much time and excited energy into thinking and working on the project, and so you’re a little burnt out. Or you may be analyzing to death what was once just something you loved to do for fun in order to make it work as a business. (Something artistic types sure go through a lot.) Either way, totally normal.

When dealing with a lack of motivation, I find I either need to get closer to my source of inspiration, or even further from it for a little while.

  • You know what gets you inspired regarding your topic of interest and pursuing your goals. Read about it, go to a workshop, chat with someone who happily and successfully does what you’re trying to do, create a vision board—just expose yourself to whatever gives you that pot-about-to-boil-over feeling of joy and excitement every time, without fail. You’ll get back to being pumped up in no time.
  • Give yourself a little break (a few hours, a day, a week) from the project. Get involved with other interests, volunteer, exercise more, get more sleep, or relax with friends. This will likely rejuvenate you, and even provide new perspectives and ideas regarding your goals. Absence often does make the heart grow fonder.

2. Momentary Self-doubt

Even the most confident among us have days when we question whether or not we have what it takes to do xyz, even though yesterday we felt like we were sitting on top of the world. Maybe it stemmed from criticism from a coworker, a family member asking when we were going to get a “real” job, or just our lovely egos being their natural buzz kill selves. The point is, self-doubt happens sometimes, but we can’t let it drag us down.

  • List all the reasons why you would be good at what you’re trying to do. Recount the progress you’ve made thus far, no matter how small, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for that. Tape this to your fridge, bathroom mirror, forehead…wherever you’ll see it often!
  • Try to look at criticism as objectively as possible, and do your best not to take it personal (even if you think it is). Just be real with yourself about your shortcomings, and figure out how you can improve at those.
  • Make a commitment to yourself not to be swayed by certain peoples’ negativity any longer than a moment. Forgive them for judging and making ignorant comments—they’re either doing so because they care and want what’s best for you, know nothing about the field you’re interested in, are not very happy with themselves, and/or simply have no home training! 😉
  • Our egos are really good at sneaking up on us when we’re finally making progress towards our goals. So if you start to hear Debby Downer in the back of your head, just tell her, “Thank you for sharing, but I GOT THIS!” in your BEST George Lopez voice.

Whatever you do, do NOT let these moments make you feel like perhaps you chose the wrong path, because they have happened to everyone who has ever made a living by doing what they love.

So go on and forge ahead! Expecting a few occasional bumps in the road such as waning motivation and self-doubt can actually make them a lot easier to deal with when they inevitably happen.

And they say Pisces aren’t realistic or logical. POW! 😉

Peace, love, and glamour,
Rika