how confessing to weird habits can make you remember what you love
“All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA” – Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn
Did you know I love books? (And no, that’s not a confession.) When I decided to get serious about “being” a business and figuring out what I can be so incredibly passionate about that I will no longer have to feel like I’m actually working, I started picking up business profiles and books about, well… work. I’ve grown an affinity for biographies, case studies, business profiles and even philosophy. The love came from this newfound understanding that there is no such thing as right and wrong – there are only different perspectives. And it’s become incredibly intriguing and exciting for me to attempt to try on every perspective. (That’s me- I like to try everything.)
I’ve been particularly inspired lately by two books, “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins and “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso – and that’s because the “macro lesson” (I’ve got plenty of “micro” lessons too) of both kind of feels like a big ‘ole obvious slap in the face. Work isn’t work if it’s what you love to do. I’ve been doing what I thought I was SUPPOSE to do or asked to do for so long that I think I’ve forgotten what I actually love to do.
What I love about most of the case studies in both books is that no one successful businessman (or woman) was embarrassed about their past, their weird hobbies or the awkward things they went through. Quite the opposite, it was easy to see how all those little potentially awkward and embarrassing life phases held patterns that all lead to uncovering passion and success. Finishing up “#GIRLBOSS” is exciting me – I feel for the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to really acknowledge the things I love, despite whether at one time I felt embarrassed by them. And with the hope that I inspire at least one other person to remember what they love as well, I decided to full on take completely ownership of what has always made me, me.
I love to write. Shocker, right? Sometimes my brain feels like a cluttered mess but writing is what helps me sort through it. Don’t get me wrong, I can wing speeches like a champ, but I’m SO much more articulate if I can write! Speaking gets me side-tracked. Especially conversational speaking! I get too lost in listening that I can’t hold a conversation; when the other person is actually done speaking, I haven’t formulated a response yet. But I’ll formulate a response 10 minutes later when I’ve had time to really think about what you said. I’ve had a journal (online and offline) since I could write. In fact, I’m pretty sure my dad has kept every journal I owned and refuses to toss them even though I’ve tried to throw out several where I would rather not re-read the content. I’ve written letters to people – some of them I’ve even mailed. I DID once have a pen pal before I realized that I could have 500 over the Internet. I should have also taken the hint from my SAT scores – I was too busy being mad that I didn’t score as well as I wanted to in math, that I ignored the fact that my writing score was perfect. After all, writing didn’t count when I was applying to colleges, so who cares that I could write? Obviously, I should have cared.
I’ve been talking to strangers that I met on the Internet since I was 14 – I was into social media since before social media was “social media”. Not in a creepy Cat-fishy, AOL chat room kind of way. I like to think I was a bit smarter than that. When I was 14 my “closest friend” was a girl who lived in Bakersfield, California that had the BEST taste in music and fashion (she introduced me to West Coast Rap and Surf Rock, and I still credit her for impacting my style today). We spent our summers and weekends chatting over AIM, where at least half of my “friends” list was also strangers I met online. She was the first person to tell me she loved my writing, and offered me what she called a “subdomain” on her website where I could post my daily writing and web designs. I bootlegged copies of Paint Shop Pro, then eventually Photoshop. I taught myself cropping, cutting, transparency, typography, graphic design and HTML then coded my own websites and blogs. Thinking back this was probably my first experience with creating and portraying a brand in the digital world – my first brand was myself.
I’m still talking to strangers regularly, only now it’s more tolerated and common to do so – and now I rock it. So if you are reading this because you’re a stranger I met on the Internet, recently or years ago “heyyyyyyyyyy!”
I’m obsessed with Instagram. It’s kind of like scrapbooking (which I also loved) but without rubber cementing your fingers together (I was clumsy). I love the opportunity to write. I love capturing moments and sharing them. I love photography. I love looking back at the memories, even the struggles. And, I could get lost in the Explore page. I love capturing and sharing my own life, but I may actually like seeing pieces of others’ lives more. The creativity, the aesthetics, the uniqueness and the art is all completely breathtaking to me. I’ve never been so inspired to get out and DO things, try things, see the world, and discover life beyond the state of New Jersey than I do when I live in Instagram world. Quite literally – “She’s got the whole world in her hands”.
I once quit my decently paying job to spend a summer creating art whilst listening to some really “emo” music – but art is art. I’ve even included the photos. This actually humors me to think about. My love of creation, art, writing and being online is culminating quite well into being a social media marketer, isn’t it? I experimented with mixed-media, collages, photography, painting (pictured above). Music always made its way into my paintings. The photo-letter project was probably my favorite. Despite completing it over 8 years ago, it still accurately depicts what I love today: music, football, pink and palm trees.
I have a hunger to think. The puzzle that is “me” wouldn’t be complete without this piece. Because while I could sit and create content, art, and “brand all day”, a critical piece would be missing if I wasn’t able to exercise my love of creative problem solving, critical thinking, ideation, analysis and strategy. I’ll jump you four times in Checkers because while you were focusing on your one move, I was planning the bigger picture. It’s why I was always great at math and don’t believe in left-brain, right-brain philosophy. There is such a thing as a creative problem solver. If my mind isn’t occupied in some way, I’m bored. It craves to grow, to learn, to be “exercised” almost as much as my physical body. This has usually manifested itself in my life in the wrong ways. Over analyzing your life isn’t always a great thing, but if you can channel it to tackle more positive worldly problems, to sculpt a positive mindset, it can actually become a pretty legit strength and make you basically KILL at what you do.
Patterns can be used to redirect you, but sometimes they can also remind you that you are exactly where you belong. For me, it was a mix of needing to own what I loved to do to make sure then when I build out my business, I’m focusing on a good mix of things I “have to do” and things I “love” to do to keep me motivated, ambitious and on my way to creating something where I will truly thrive.
How do your weird habits help you excel?