I Make Money Moves: How To NOT Freak Out Over Your Bank Account

I Make Money Moves: How To NOT Freak Out Over Your Bank Account

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I will never forget the person who changed my relationship with money.

No, not a parent.

No, not a boss.

It was my first…

…tax guy.

 

My friend Roy referred me to Wardie back when I was twenty-something, broke-ish, and realized that if I ever wanted to truly become a self-sufficient adult, I needed to woman up and stop passing off Tax Duty to the accountants most broke-ish twenty-somethings use: the parentals.

I was a lucky, lucky girl to have parents who would take on this task for me. I recognize and understand my privilege, and how closely I toed the line between Uninformed Young Person and Stereotypical Spoiled Millenial. I think it was when I realized that I had a choice between the two – owning my uninformed-ness and learning, or making someone else do my dirty work and staying in the dark – that I took a deep breath and got myself my very first (non-relative, non-unpaid) accountant.

Wardie had been in the business of money for over fifty years. His office was perched on the third floor of an inconspicuous putty-colored building, sandwiched between a production company and a plumber’s HQ. I vividly remember driving up one Sunday and parking in a spot reserved for the production staff. The irony that I was there to take control of my finances yet practically asking for (yet another) parking ticket was not lost on me. *This* is how I got broke-ish, I thought.

I ended up using Wardie as my accountant for years, up until I moved to Manhattan. Walking into Wardie’s office was a little like walking into a page out of the I Spy series of my childhood: books upon books and knick-knacks randomly scattered around the shelves. A framed set of coins, a USC championship banner from who knows when. Old family photos and Hemmingway anthologies. Notebooks and textbooks and file folders galore. The haphazard space was strangely calming, the lack of outward order making me sigh with relief every year – because once I sat down at his desk, I knew he had my back. His hands shook slightly more and more each year, and he used the same calculator he’d had since 1984.

And when I expressed concern or asked a question, he reminded me to Not Worry; that I had things under control – a reminder I needed, because much like his office, my exterior world could sometimes feel a bit confusing.

~

Money: it’s a topic most of us tap-dance around, even with the people we trust most. There’s a sense of shame associated with not having as much as you feel you should…or not being able to afford what you once could…or not be able to afford what others can…or looking at your paycheck and seeing how much is taken out from taxes…or doing your taxes and realizing you owe more than a few paychecks’ worth and not really understanding why. Mo’ money, mo’ shame. Less money, mo’ shame. Basically, Money and Shame are the toxic dynamic duo who just won’t quit.

And hey, it’s not ENTIRELY our fault we let Money Shame beat us up so bad. Managing personal finances in a balanced way is something most of us never learn how to do until we’re deep in the weeds. Whether that’s because our practical-education system is flawed/nonexistant, or because most of the adults who came before us carry Money Shame and pass it onto us…? I don’t know. It’s probably a little of both.

Money Shame scares us into scarcity mode in more way than one. We latch onto poor financial advice without doing research or getting multiple opinions, because it’s something. We hang onto time-sensitive monetary guidance for longer than it serves us, sticking by principles or processes that might have been appropriate a few years back but are since outdated for the life we lead in the present (and hope to create in the future).

Oh, and don’t forget the other side of scarcity mentality: the idea that a full bank account (or desire to have one) is greedy or narcissistic. Even when we ARE in a comfy spot when it comes to money, we cling to our old, dusty financial fears. Even if we’re blessed with abundance, we adopt a less-than mentality. We’re starved for an open conversation; we’re conditioned to make money our enemy.

You guys.

It does not have to be this way.

I remember my second year working with Wardie. He looked over my numbers and pulled out my prior year’s files from one of his many floor-to-ceiling file cabinets. “Look at that!” he exclaimed. “You made DOUBLE this year what you made last year. You keep this trend up, you’ll be a millionaire in five years and we’ll be having all different kinds of conversations!” Hm. I’d been hustling and stressing so hard all year, I hadn’t even registered that I was literally bringing in more than double what I’d been earning the year before. That one little comment from him, while a liiiittle exaggerated, was the first time I’d heard any sort of positive reinforcement when it came to how much money I made – or was able to make.

It’s very likely that if the thought of checking your bank account balance makes you break out in cold sweats, you’ve got quite a few people around you who are reinforcing this. Family, friends, coworkers, media personalities, Money Shame is everywhere. Just like Casual Negativity, money problems can be a way of bonding with others: commiserating over how expensive something is or how you really can’t afford such-and-such or UGH taxes amiright??

It can be a relief to know that you’re not alone…but it can also be damaging if you’re not devising a game plan to shift into a more positive and proactive reality. Here are some tools to break out of financial fears, shift into a rich mentality, and stay…shall we say…ACCOUNTABLE.

Let’s talk about CENTS, baby. Or for a more current pop culture pun…


FIVE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY MOVES
 

1 – REVISIT YOUR OWN FINANCIAL HISTORY.
Think back to a time you felt as if you had nothing. Then think of a time that felt more abundant. Remind yourself that money ebbs and flows just like the weather and the waves of the ocean. Everyone (even Oprah!) has had these ebbs and flows – we just don’t hear about them. What might feel hopeless now is just a low spot in the cycle of your financial flow. No, you can’t just sit back and wait. But as long as you’re being proactive, not reactive – even, ESPECIALLY, when it’s toughest – more IS on its way.

And ps…I’m not talking Oprah status, speaking of Oprah. A lot of times when we think of abundance, we think of a Scrooge McDuck-type wealth where we’re suddenly diving into a sea of gold coins. Maybe a sea of coins is in the cards, I have no idea…but if you’re so stuck on that one singular image of “wealth,” you’ll miss out on so many literal value adds that happen in your life throughout your life. When I say more, I’m talking MORE. More than what you have when you’re feeling low. More than you have when your finances don’t seem to be flowing. More than now. More than then. Just…more. No one season defines you, and no one season is forever.

No one season defines you, and no one season is forever. Click To Tweet

2 – FIERCELY EDUCATE YOURSELF.
Abundant mindset is awesome, but nothing beats good ol’ brainwork. Schoolhouse Rock was right: Knowledge truly is power – and wealth. Get some. Even if everything you read sounds like a foreign language at first (and it probably will. the acronyms definitely will.), just read. Or listen to a podcast. Or watch a lecture or a TED Talk. We’ve got so much information at our fingertips, and most costs virtually nothing to access. My favorite resources are personal finance guru Suze Orman, who is a favorite of the Big O herself, and money maven Kate Northrup Watts, who gives brilliant, grounded financial advice that’s both relatable and attainable. And never be afraid to ask around, whether it be from a professional financial advisor or just someone you view as having it “together” who you can confide in without fear of judgement. It can be scary to seek awareness, but that feeling too shall pass. The more you know. Literally.

3 – PARTNER UP.
If you’re one half of a dynamic duo, it’s ESSENTIAL you and your partner create a safe space to discuss money. Not only is this healthy for your mind and bank account – it’s healthy for your relationship! Sit down during a neutral time (not when the actual problems arise or big decisions need to be made) and have a conversation about your current respective attitudes towards money and how they have been formed over the years through upbringing or experience.

Most financial fears stem from a place that goes waaaaay beyond dollars and cents. Aim to understand each other’s views and emotions surrounding money, then discuss how you can help each other shift into a positive space together. There are few things worse than feeling as if you cannot share deep-set worries or fears with the person you love most. Make sure each other knows you have a safe, respectful place to turn and strategize when you’re anxiety-ridden.

4 – GIVE MORE TO GET MORE.
This might sound counterintuitive, but when you feel financial fear making its way into your mind, spend a little on someone. It can be anything from donating to a friend’s marathon efforts to buying a coworker her morning coffee to donating to a cause you believe in or a random GoFundMe campaign that hits all your heart’s soft spots. To combat feelings of having nothing, we must actively create a sense of positivity and worth.

It doesn’t have to be much – you don’t even need to spend more than a couple dollars for this to work. The amount is NOT the point. It’s about cultivating worth and value. That means showing someone else they’re valued. The fact that you are able to give enough to make someone else smile can set off a chain reaction in your brain and heart that makes you feel truly rich.

5 – PRACTICE THE ART OF BENCHMARK BUYING.
While researching/acting upon return policies is a MUST when necessary, sometimes the act of making a return when the reason for return is finance-related (been there, done that) can reinforce that poor person mentality we’re trying so hard to break. Am I saying keep the thing if you can’t afford it? Hell no! But there’s gotta be something more to halt sub-par spending in the first place.

Spender’s Remorse usually comes from impulse buying, which usually comes from feeling a lack of control in some other part of life OR this idea that someone else’s opinion (salesperson, friend, family, that ad you saw on Facebook) matters more than your own. Enter what I have coined Benchmark Buying. It’s essentially this: if you have a certain amount of money that you CAN spend, how do you choose to spend it? If a new outfit costs as much as a plane ticket to Los Angeles to see my family, it BETTER be a damn good outfit I’ll be wearing for years to come. If I’m taking my husband out on a date, I’d rather pay for a quality intimate experience than a bunch of sub-part cocktails at an ultra-hip new hotspot known for its Instagrammableness. If I’m feeling lazy and want to pick up my lunch twice a week instead of make it, that convenience is probably not worth more to me than the boutique bootcamp class I could take later that costs the same amount. Comparing and contrasting the ways you spend your money not only encourages you to slow down your impulses, it empowers you to feel control over the direction in which your bank account is going.

I realized that financial success was this: not letting it control me. Click To Tweet

Moving from Los Angeles (an expensive city) to NYC (an even more expensive city) made me revisit my financial fears all over again. I knew I could do this…but what was it really going to take? And as someone who was part of a partnership, partners who were equal teammates but had totally different relationships with dolla-dolla-bills…what did financial success mean to me?

I realized that financial success in New York City was this: not letting it control me. It meant being able to fully support myself and understanding what all iterations of that would look like. It meant not letting my experiences with money – lots of it or littles of it – rule my emotions and dictate my quality of life.

Breaking out of financial fears is not about a specific number in your bank account, a figure on your paycheck, or a lucky winning lottery ticket. It’s about being tired of the control the mere THOUGHT of money has over both you and the people you love. Be your own positive example of what a healthy relationship with George, Abe, Alex, and Andy looks like. You might not have any plans to be a CFO or accountant or the next Wardie Jr. – but you CAN work to be a money-spending, money-saving maven and shift from Shame to Worth. No matter what the ebbs and flows of your finances look like, the act of feeling in control is something that only appreciates in value. That’s a richness that cannot be taxed.


WANT Yourself:
Now I wanna know…what are some ways you keep yourself in CHECK when it comes to checks? How do you stay ACCOUNTABLE when it comes to your bank account? What keeps you SANE-ing when you’re SAVING?
(How many more bad money-related jokes can I write? That last one didn’t even make much CENTS…) 

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Balancing Act: A Creative Gal’s Guide To The Daily Grind

Balancing Act: A Creative Gal’s Guide To The Daily Grind

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On one hand… you’ve got creativity running through your bloodstream. You think outside the box and see the world as one big art project waiting to happen. Whether you’re the kind of creative who writes, draws, sings, sews, photographs, or simply has a right-brained mind that just won’t quit, you have a unique way of looking at life that serves you in any situation.

On the other hand… a girl’s gotta eat. Five (or more) days a week, you do the work to pay the bills, and have a job you’re plugging away at – maybe even a full-blown career you’re carving out for yourself. You’re no stranger to the so-called daily grind: the traffic-jammed commute, the stressors of your job, the responsibilities that loom over your head as you hustle at work. Whether you are in love with your job or are just trying to get by, there’s one question most creative types have in common when it comes to the daily grind: do I have to give up my identity as an artist just to fit in?

Just because you’re a working girl doesn’t mean that you have to squash your creative impulses. If you’re not used to singing your own praises, this is a really good time to start: you have a special, visionary way of viewing the world that not only serves you, but serves all those around you.

Whether your daily grind is in an artistic field or not, here are four ways to honor your creative work, your 9-5 work…and still end the day feeling like you can do it all, just as you are:

• FIND THE LESSONS. If you’re the creative type, you probably love the process of learning and exploring new ideas or situations. Think back on when you were in school: each class was about learning something new, applying your knowledge, and then proving you’ve got it on lockdown. You might have had to play by the teacher’s rules in the classroom, but when it came to how you finished your homework or the way you studied for a test, that was all up to you. School, even though it’s usually about textbooks and facts, is actually the place a creative can shine.

Your daily work grind is exactly like going to school every day. Start to view each little project, meeting, task, or segment of your day as a lesson and ask yourself: what can I learn from this? If you’re always looking for the lessons, you’re always taking away something new, building your tool chest of skills and knowledge for whatever life throws at you, in or out of the office.

If you’re always looking for the lessons, you’re always taking away something new. Click To Tweet

• BE ALL THERE. This is one of my biggest tips when people ask me about staying focused while tackling multiple workloads. Oftentimes as creatives we spend time trying to do everything at once – we like to think that our creativity means we can and should be multitasking mavens. But have you ever noticed that when you’re focusing on all the things, you end up getting none of the things to the place you’d like them to be?

You might have a side creative project, another outlet outside of work where your artistry lives, or maybe your 9-5 involves a mix of creativity and strategy. Whatever your situation may be, make the lines between each project or pursuit crystal-clear for yourself. And be all there. Whatever job you are doing or task you are working on, give your 100% focus to that activity and that activity alone. You can’t be in two places at once, literally or figuratively. And by trying, you’re not only producing a fraction of your highest-quality work – you’re constantly reminding yourself that you’re not doing something you “should” be doing. Give that laser-like creative focus you’ve been blessed with to everything you do, one task at a time…even if what you’ve got in front of you seems tedious or out of your happiness-zone. You’ll gain immense satisfaction from knowing you gave it your all – and you’ll have a full tank of creative juices just waiting to be used on your next adventure once the first one’s done.

• REMEBER YOUR THROUGH LINE. Your through line is the common theme in everything you love and the common goal in everything you do. For those of us creatives who have both a “typical” job and a creative endeavour (see cautionary note here about using the terms Day Job and Side Hustle), it can sometimes feel like only the latter is allowed to speak to who we are and why we’re here. Determine your through line here, then ask yourself how you can implement it in whatever work you’re doing. Once you find your through line, it’s easier to see that being a creative isn’t so much about what you do but why and how you do it.

Being a creative isn't so much about what you do but why and how you do it. Click To Tweet

• SEE YOUR VALUE. You, Little Ms. Creative, are an out-of-the-box, solutions-oriented person. But it can be tough to remember that when the daily grind takes over. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, returning phone calls, filling out spreadsheets, or following rules to a T, sometimes it can seem like the working world is not set up to be all that kind to creative types like you.

What you’re forgetting is what an asset you are to your peers and colleagues. While facts and procedures are important, there is nothing more valuable that someone who can look at the big picture and offer up creative, innovative solutions or alternatives that transcend the day-to-day. Make it a goal to look at the day not as an obstacle you need to overcome, but an experience you get to shape simply by being you.



Liked this? Listen to it – along with more personal stories about being a daily grindin’ creative – here.



WANT Yourself:
Do you consider yourself a creative? How do you make your daily grind work for you, no matter what your daily grind looks like? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

WANTcast 030: Down With The Side Hustle, Down With The Day Job

WANTcast 030: Down With The Side Hustle, Down With The Day Job

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I very rarely do I answer “What Do You Do” the way people expect I will: with a passion justified by a more “sensible” job.

I have big problems with the terms “Side Hustle” and “Day Job.” I think they’re stifling, I think they’re suffocating, and I think they’re stupid. And in today’s episode (#30!), I talk about WHY. Plus a little bit about my life outside of WANT, and why I choose to make it all work.

Visual learner? Read all this and more in Down With The Side Hustle, Down With The Day Job.

WANT Yourself:

Listen in iTunes + Subscribe | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

SHOW NOTES:
Down With The Side Hustle, Down With The Day Job

Marie Forleo on “Bridge Jobs”
I Am Still Learning: On Leaving Your Job


Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

 

I Am Still Learning: On Leaving Your Job.

I Am Still Learning: On Leaving Your Job.

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I’ve been writing this post in my head for months.

Envisioning the aftermath. Formulating the response. Figuring out how much I say.

I’ve romanticized it in my head, the words cathartically flowing from my mind and whispered breath out of my fingertips and onto the page.

Turns out, this moment is nothing like that.

Last month, I quit my job.

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I quit for WANT.

When you leave your full-time workload, no one tells you how confusing the dichotomy of opposing emotions is. On one hand, your time is now yours – or at least your time is what you want it to be. Your stress is slashed by some, your commute slashed by most. You’ve got creative freedom for days.

On the other hand – it’s a delicate balance you’re now faced with; being able to be structureless when you’ve lived in extreme structure for so long.

Everyone tells you how scary it is to go off on your own. But nobody tells you what it’s like when you’re actually in the thick of it.

Last month, I quit my job.

And not a job I didn’t like or didn’t have my heart in – my job that had very much to do with what I enjoy and what I stood for.

(Also, my job that was paying the majority of the bills.)

Okay, so I didn’t quit, I simply transitioned into my own unique next-step. My job in editorial was almost four years of my life, a job I practically created for myself. A job I knew just enough about to have the confidence to move into, but not enough to realize how much I’d be challenged and learn along the way. I am so blessed to have been trusted with such a job, and have worked with such visionaries who just *got* the fact that I’m the kind of person who is always striving for something more.

One aspect of my job that I loved was how much I was learning every single minute. I love to learn. I get high off of acquiring knowledge.

When I’d have a hard day or a stressful week, as we all do at times, the question I’d ask myself over and over is “Is there more? Am I done learning?” And over and over, the answer was a resounding NO – I’m not.

I was still learning.

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The internet is a wild-wild-west type of place. None of us went to school for any of this, because “this” never existed when we were in school! With a business – and, therefore, job – that’s mostly based on the web, virtually everything is trial-and-error. It’s hard to take one person’s advice as the definite truth, because ask someone else and they’ll give you a completely contradictory answer. SEO keywords? Utmost importance. SEO keywords in your title but not your copy? Maybe you’ll get seen. Wait, no, it’s not about the SEO keyword in the title, but it needs to be in the copy all over the place. Hold on, the title should be simple and straightforward. Scratch that, the title needs to have the crap editorialized out of it or good luck getting anyone to click over from the Googlesphere.

And that’s just SEO… (what is SEO, you ask? here.)

At my job, I was part of a very lean, very collaborative team – which meant that we needed to figure out how to do the things we didn’t know how to do or else they wouldn’t happen.

I thrive in that sort of environment; that “find-a-way” attitude. 

Sometimes, things would get stressful. And sometimes, I’d long for less desk time. More movement. I know, so millennial of me. But this is coming from someone who got rejected from an elementary school at 4 years old because she “could not sit in a chair.” I’d squirm, fidget, contort myself into all different kinds of positions, anything but the normal right angles of desk-meets-chair. (my mother, rebuffing with the argument “she is a PRESCHOOLER,” was fortunately unfazed by my very first rejection in life.) Even as I type this, I’m sitting with one leg propped up under my chin and fairly certain I’ll need to get up and do something else within the hour. I am like a golden retriever – I need to get up, interact, and MOVE. Change work locales often. Take long work blocks and long work breaks.

Things would get stressful, and then they would not. Things would get status-quo, and then they would firework up. I became a pro at not just handling the inevitable ups and downs of the world, but handling them with grace and enthusiasm and finding a way.

I was still learning.

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It’s been an interesting month for me. I was a major hustler before this job, hopping from one thing to the next and making things work on my own terms. I remember when I found out we’d be moving from working remotely into an office space – I had an actual breakdown, panic attacks that I was losing a part of who I was simply by sitting in one place all day. I am an artist, I cried to my family. This is not what’s supposed to be for me.

Three years of successes, missteps, structure, and yes, sitting, later – and I now found myself scared to do the opposite. Scared I wouldn’t remember how to hustle. I’d been in a structured environment for the entire latter half of my twenties; would I still be able to create structureless structure of my own?

Turns out, no one tells you what actually happens in that transition from full-time to your-time. The stories go something like this: “I hated my job, I left my job, I had no money, I started something new, and now here I am happy and thriving.” (or some variation on that).

My story is a little bit lotta bit different. I did not in ANY way h-word my job, nor did I leave because of anything directly job-related. I knew what I wanted to do. And now, here I am, somewhere in a melting pot of feelings and questions and convictions.

I made a promise to myself, no matter what, that if ever I’d leave my job it would not be to run away from something, but towards something else. I owe such a gargantuan amount of what I know and what I can give to my job, and I’m forever grateful for above all the trust they put in me. To watch something you care about grow and flourish, and help it grow and flourish, is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

Once I started WANT, things started to change. I finally felt completely aligned with my through line and purpose, and the feeling sent electricity through every capillary in my body. The fire to create kept growing stronger, and even more importantly, the calling (via emails, traffic, crazy random connections and events that kept happening) to create was growing louder. I heeded it.

When I launched WANT in January, I knew that if it took off (subjective to my views of “taking off”), I would need to make a hard decision. What I didn’t know is how fast that would happen, and what the hardest part of that decision would be.

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As WANT grew – the site, the podcast, offline events – I started to realize how much time it would take for it to be able to live as anything more than an afterthought. I was working nights and weekends, fitting it in before and after work and many times, it would steal away from my time with Jeremy – who was working long hours at his own job – and my time with myself.

I started to realize that in my life, there were certain non-negotiables. Exercise. Sleep. Healthy food. My relationships. I was increasingly depressed, stressed, and feeling anything but blessed. Why should you feel this way, one part of my inner voice rhetorically asked me. You’ve got a job in a new and exciting field where you get to be creative. You live with the most perfect-for-you man in the world who uplifts you and challenges you in all the right ways. You’ve got your health. And you’ve got a family who not only loves you, but lives somewhat nearby.

But everything in my life was getting the short end of the stick – especially the non-negotiables. Exercise became something I rushed to fit in between my commute and work. I’d be diligent about getting 7-9 hours of sleep but go to sleep stressed about deadlines or the piles of emails I still needed to respond to from multiple email accounts. Because of this, the calls and texts and emails from the people that matter most were getting pushed to the side. Eating healthy wasn’t ever hard, but actually eating with anything other than a metaphorical big long exhale was non existent. And because all of this was happening, the quality time and good, non-exhausted energy I was able to spend with Jeremy – where I could actually have the energy and focus to be present with him – was waning. On top of it all, I was sitting in my car for an hour (which I’d use as my “quiet time”), at an office for eight hours (where I would never allow myself to focus on anything but work as to avoid overwhelm), and then gearing myself up for the 1.5 hour drive home in the afternoon (the reason I started listening to podcasts – to give myself something to look forward to). The combo of it all wasn’t overwhelming per se – but it was wearing on my spark in a huge way.

I was losing my enthusiasm. 

I wasn’t losing my enthusiasm, a CORE part of who I am, because of what was actually happening with my job or anything else. It was because of the stifling of my through line. It was because I had something huge I felt compelled to fight for – and I was all but charging into battle.

Because of this, everything suffered, the most of which being my personal sense of well-being. I don’t like giving half of myself to anything I care about, and I found myself giving half of myself to everything I cared about.

And then I asked myself if I was still learning. If I had enough knowledge in my bank to move forward.

And for the first time, I realized that the next phase of learning I had to do…was on my own.

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Going “off on your own” is billed as way more scary than it actually is, or rather a different kind of scary than it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts that are still expected-level scary. Mainly, how much money is coming in, and where that money is coming from (I teach indoor cycling classes, which provides me with not only tons of open time but also a loose structure and predictable income – not nearly as much as I was making with the addition of the full-time job, but enough to not overdraft should all I’ve saved go down the drain). I can’t tell you how many times the first question out of people’s mouths, when I tell them I’ve left to pursue WANT full-time, is “So how are you monetizing it?”  Not a bad question, and a post for a different day, as the world of making money online (especially when you’re not a one-on-one coach or in the business of selling a product line) is viewed as such a secret. But the money part is rarely what hits me when I’m in my more fragile moments.

It’s the fear of displaced energy. It’s the fear of regret. It’s the fear that you left too soon, or started too late, or that what you’re doing will simply lead you in circles.

It’s the fear of the expectation; the fear that since you’ve left you won’t live up to the “overnight success” everyone imagines happens within weeks of going solo. It’s the fear that when you don’t, you’ll be seen as a failure, a flash in the pan, and something that once was. It’s the fear or undue resentment, because you’re doing something that others are not.

I am still learning. Click To Tweet

Since it’s been exactly five weeks – here are the top five lessons I’ve learned in this eye-opening experience:

It’s not what you think it will be. What I’ve learned is that going solo is neither exclusively scary or exciting, and that I don’t even know if those are the correct words to use in this case. I feel grounded and I feel determined, and when you feel those in tandem there’s very little room to pause and dwell in fear. I’ve learned that my biggest fears have to do with dropping the ball and not being able to handle whatever I work towards, which stems from a fear that maybe my ideas aren’t really worth all the hype.

And when I remind myself of that fear, I instantly remember that it’s in my nature to Make It Work. Maybe it’s the theatre kid in me or the almost-decade of teaching classes where you never know what could go wrong, but I know how to move forward and make shit happen, and I have a whole almost-third-of-a-lifetime behind me as evidence. If one initiative doesn’t take off, I’ll change courses. If something isn’t happening that I know needs to happen, I’ll find a way. Heck, if my bank account is running on empty, you can bet your buns I’ll be finding a part-time gig that works for the moment.

I’m rarely exclusively scared or exclusively excited in my day to day. Every single moment brings a new adventure, and all that matters is that I’m down for the ride. If I’m feeling super afraid, I give myself permission to think about how afraid I was…later. If I’m super excited, I give myself permission to fangirl out about it…later. This season in my life is teaching me to live in the moment while keeping my gaze forward, and what I’ve learned is that there is no clear way of predicting what that will feel like in any given hour.

Every single moment brings a new adventure, and all that matters is that I’m down for the ride. Click To Tweet

You shouldn’t run away. What I’ve learned is that leaving your job shouldn’t be about leaving your job. It should be about something MORE. Sure, if you’re in an abusive situation or a soul-crushing existence, you need to protect yourself and get the hell out of there. But unless you have something else to run towards – whether that’s a purpose project, side passion, or simply a life you’re passionate about making live – you don’t want to be running away. To me, at least, running away is one of the least empowering feelings. Just like playing not-to-lose instead of playing to win, it nurtures a scarcity mindset and a feeling that you’re out of control. You’re not. Every job has its frustrations, and I’m not saying mine was all butterflies and roses. But even in those moments I was questioning my artistry and my impact, I stood firm in my resolve to not run away just because of a rough patch. And I am so glad I did. Regret, to me, is the most useless emotion – and running towards something instead of away from something solidifies the no-regrets feeling of being on the right track.

You’ll be met with all kinds of reactions. What I’ve learned is that when you go solo, everyone will project their feelings about how they’d handle it onto you. There will be cynics, but they’ll be cynical because they could never see themselves doing the same thing. There will be advice mongers, but they’ll be giving the advice they would be using in the same scenario (or, another instance, they might want to live vicariously through you since they wouldn’t make the move in their own life). There will be people who project how “great it must be” or how “much you love working by yourself” because that’s what they think it must be like. There will be people who question every move you make because they think you’re a fool to give up something that’s there for something that’s mostly an idea.

And then there will be the people who will meet you where you’re at and ask you how you’re feeling instead of assuming how you’re feeling. There will be the people who will bring you back to the exciting cool stuff without discounting how you’re maybe feeling frightened or frustrated or lost in the Now. There will be people who only give advice when you ask, and there will be people who anticipate you’ll need a helping hand before you even realize it. Those people will teach you how to respond to the others, and how to steer the people who have the best of intentions (but miss the mark and end up making you feel worse) in the right direction so they can enjoy the ride right alongside you.

You will never be fully ready. What I’ve learned is that you will never, ever be fully ready for a shift. There will never be a “perfect time.” But there’s pretty damn close to perfect, and to me, that includes respect. I have the utmost respect for my former coworkers and bosses and will support every move they make as their biggest cheerleader (captain of the cheer squad, in fact), just as I always have. And they’ve shown that kind of above-and-beyond support of me and my ideas that I will never forget or take for granted for my entire life.

But I knew something would have to give, despite how much I wanted to be able to do it all. I did not want to get to a place where I was wearing myself down so much that that feeling at work of – well, family – would turn sour and I’d start to resent the situation (the situation *I* would be creating for myself, btw). I wanted to leave when I not only had to confidence to go off on my own, but when it felt like a gradual next-step in the evolution of Katie.

I also knew the direction my job could go in, and I knew that I could potentially work on more cool projects, meet more cool people, make more cool money, etc etc etc if I stuck around a bit longer. But that’s exactly it – I did not want to be making the compromise of “Just stick around a bit longer.” Because without concrete details, that “a bit longer” could very easily turn into “a lot longer,” and then suddenly it’s years later and you forget what you’re waiting for. And moreover, functioning in that “sticking around and waiting” mindset is disrespectful to both your bosses, your coworkers, and yourself. Life spent “sticking around and waiting” is not a life I want to lead.

Life spent sticking around and waiting is not a life I want to lead. Click To Tweet

Enthusiasm and drive will carry you in your dark moments. What I’ve learned is that when you feel like no one really understands you, or everyone else is doing something like you, or how could you ever offer up something special to the world, your tenacity and your thirst for What Could Be will swoop in and rescue you.

I had a feeling in my gut late this past summer – a gnawing at my heart that this transition needed to happen soon, “or else.” But I was so nervous. Nervous how my manager would respond, nervous that it would be misconstrued as leaving on a sour note. Most of all, nervous that once I said it out loud, there would be zero turning back. I was enthusiastic and driven to the max, but in that moment of choice, I was paralyzed.

That day, I ran into one of my favorite yoga teachers – a super savvy woman who left the glitzy corporate fashion world years ago to pursue yoga full time. We sat on the roof of the studio she was teaching at, looking out over the vast cityscape in the distance. It seemed to go on forever.

I told her about WANT, and about the gnawing in my heart, and about how I didn’t know how it would be received. And she said something that has resonated with me ever since:

“You know – there’s something in the air right now, at this very second in time. And it’s the time to act. If you don’t take advantage of this window right now, if you wait any longer – it’ll just sink into mediocreville.”

I told my manager the very next day.

She, being a woman who champions other women, celebrated with me.

As did the entire team.

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I think my favorite part of WANT’s journey so far is the community that’s formed. The most popular pieces on the site and engaged topics during events aren’t the short bits or fluff – it’s the deep stuff. You’re willing to go there, and it makes me tear up (with joy! and I’m not even a happy crier!) when I think about what anomalies you are. The world needs more people like you, who dive in and dig deep in hopes of being your very fullest self – therefore inspiring others to do the same.

To me, this means being completely transparent. And so it felt almost like keeping a secret not to fill you in on this huge shift. Like holding something back that needed to be shared. Hopefully it can provide someone strength as someone else is navigating their own unique experience. Because I know how lonely it can feel in this boat, and also how fulfilling, and how confusing those two can be all mushed together.

If you have a purpose project brewing, or a passion you’ve been itching to explore, or just a gut feeling, please know that those instincts are not just for kicks and giggles. Maybe it’s not time to go solo now, or yet, or ever, but you need to trust that you are onto something, however big or small. That trust will carry you through whatever life has in store. And if that means leaving a secure or stable or familiar situation for a whole bunch of stuff that hasn’t manifested yet – give it a second. Ask yourself if you’re running away something or running towards something. Ask if you are still gathering knowledge, or if the only way you’ll do so is to find your own way.

Ask yourself if you’re running away from something - or running towards something. Click To Tweet

This is a completely new experience for me, but in ways it feels like I’ve been preparing for it my entire life. I laugh to myself as I type that, because I don’t even know what that means yet! All I know is that the last nine months of WANT have been some of the most eye-opening and enriching of my life, and the last month of going solo has already shown me glimpses of what is yet to come.

I now have enough technical and professional knowledge to buoy me, enough confidence to see it through, and enough trust to let it morph into what it needs to be. It’s exactly why I always refer to WANT not as my passion project, but my purpose project. It’s almost like I don’t have a say. Like it’s meant to happen, however it’s meant to happen. All the nuances of the personal and professional journey included. Even though I don’t know exactly what will happen.

But I do know I am ready. I do know I’ve got that enthusiastic spark.

I do know I am still learning.

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WANT YOURSELF:
Have you ever left something stable, secure, and familiar for a passion project, purpose project, or just the semi-unknown? What’s the biggest lesson you learned from the experience?

Tell us in the comments below – your story could help someone who needs to hear your words.

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The WANT Women: Tricia Huffman on Honesty, Hardcore Zen, And Effing The “Shoulds”

The WANT Women: Tricia Huffman on Honesty, Hardcore Zen, And Effing The “Shoulds”

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Positivity is seeing things for what they are but choosing to find the good in all of it. -@beingtricia Click To Tweet
I’m always inspired by women who’ve done their own thing and forged their own path. Especially when they’re functioning on pure passion. And especially when they’ve left something familiar and safe to do so.

Tricia Huffman‘s been there…twice. First, leaving her secure office job to follow her passion of working in live music production – and second, leaving her successful music production job to follow her passion of living your best life. Neither of which, by the way, were kick-started by anything but pure heart and an unwavering belief in herself that she could.

Tricia wasn’t just a leader in her industry, she was one of the only women in her industry. By asking lots of questions, following her heart, and having a hunger to learn, Tricia went from selling shirts at the House Of Blues to literally running the show on tour for pretty much every big-name artist you’ve heard of…you name it, she’s worked it. As a woman working in a male-dominated field, Tricia always made sure to stay down-to-earth, empathetic, and thirsty for knowledge. Six years and countless worldwide tours later, Tricia was successful, well-loved, and had created both career and community. On the outside, she was living the dream. And on the inside, she was loving it.

And then, something happened that changed her perspective: her father passed away suddenly.

After taking time off from the road to sit and reevaluate life, pursuing what made her healthy and happy, she realized that she had an intense pull to help others do the same. She wanted to do something more with her life: to help everyone live passionately and purposefully. When she went back on tour with that intention in her mind – to help musicians (who are often worn down by rigorous touring schedules, performances, and don’t always have self-care at the forefront of their minds) stay healthy, happy, and yes, joyous while on the road. It was Jason Mraz (at the time, she was his sound engineer and tour manager) who ended up feeling so good as a result of her coaching that he told his team, “I don’t know what Trish is doing…but I want her doing this for us all the time!”

I’m not risk averse in the least, but change is usually something I approach with caution. I ease into transitions, aware that I’m sensitive to shifts and can get overwhelmed by the delicate balance of mourning the loss of what once was + celebrating the newness of what will be. And sometimes, when I’m not in my most self-aware and self-loving state, this caution can slow me down almost to a halt.

People like Tricia inspire me because they are actual living proof that following your passion and sense of purpose always works the way it needs to – even if the vision morphs along the way. Now coaching others both one-on-one and in groups, she’s got a whole line of products to go with her biz, including her Own Your Awesome affirmation deck and a little poster I love about Doing The Wants:

joyologist

Tricia’s career trajectory and life is a master class in this.

Meet your Joyologist.

WANT TRICIA.
joyologist


Name: Tricia Huffman


How you’d know me: Your Joyologist


What I love about myself (and why): My honesty. I have always been honest and with that have always been my true self. Honest to others and myself. Why? Because that is a real challenge in today’s society. We are so overcome with fear of what people will think, we are afraid to be honest. -@beingtricia Click To Tweet


What is your definition of “positivity?” Seeing things for what they are but choosing to find the good in all of it.


When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” When I was 15. I had lots of undiagnosed pain and other medical problems and was a freshman in high school and dealing with all of that pettiness and my parents weren’t happy. I felt very alone and unloved and contemplated ending it all. I decided if I was going to end it, I may as well give myself one more chance and live my life, my way, not caring so much about everyone else and choosing to love myself. That it didn’t matter what everyone else was doing I could love myself.


How/where negative talk shows up in my life: I have a pretty good handle on seeing it come up in my mind… I teach people how to tune into it themselves so they can transform it.

But, it still comes up. Right now it comes up most with my new endavour of an inspring merchandise line. I am so eager to get it into stores worldwide and get a ton of exposure, so I have to keep acknowledging myself for all of the progress I am making instead of wanting the big end goal right now.

via @beingtricia, Instagram
via @beingtricia, Instagram

When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… Very quickly thrown out and converted into affirmations, and ackowledgment.


When others talk negatively about themselves… I call them out on it and lift them up.


It baffles me that women still… Talk so badly about their physical appearances.


I wish that more women… Would love and appreciate how amazing they are, right now, as they are.


The coolest thing about women is… Our ability to be so many things at once. We don’t have to fit into a box. We can be amazing mothers, teachers, leaders, and express ourselves outwardly by what we say, do and even wear.


My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Remembering that I have the power to choose how I see it all and what I choose to do with it.


My top female role models: Amanda de Cadenet, Lena Dunham, Amy Poehlor


Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… calling them out on them (with love) And not just saying “Oh no honey you aren’t ____,” but saying, I don’t want to hear you talk that way about yourself.

joyologist


Favorite negativity-busting activity: getting out into the world. Even running an errand. Gets me out of my head and reminds me that we all are going through things. It makes me more compassionate.


Fave self-love ritual: walking and really just vegging out and watching good tv and not feeling an ounce of guilt for it!


Favorite feel-good food(s): This vegan gluten free mac and cheese recipe I love to make…But really love a good kale salad and roasted kabocha squash


Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: Romantic comedies


Favorite empowering book(s): Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

after-the-ecstasy-the-laundry


My feel-good playlist: I don’t have one! Lately I am into dancey pop driven songs..I think spin class got me hooked on that.


Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self: Never stop seeing the world in wonder.
…14 year-old self: You are perfect as you are.
…24 year old self: Keep following your heart.


5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list:
1) To be a mother – currently happening.
2) To get my affirmation deck into Urban Outfitters.
3) To be able to run my inspiring merchandise line and be a present mother.
4) To be able to retire (I don’t have an active retirement fund).
5) To show my children some of my favorite places that I was lucky enough to visit around the world. Definitely Italy.


My best tip on self love: Do affirmations in the mirror. It is uncomfortable because it works.


When I truly love all of myself… Everything falls into place


Right now, I am most excited about… The baby I am expecting!


My body is: Strong


Three words to describe me: Real, alive, present


Current mantra: I am a badass!

joyologist


WANT YOURSELF:
Tricia inspires me to follow my heart and take risks, and now I want to hear from you. What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? What did you learn?

7 Podcasts That Make My Crazy-Long Commute Legitimately Enjoyable.

7 Podcasts That Make My Crazy-Long Commute Legitimately Enjoyable.

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Fun fact: every single day, I drive from the Eastern corners of DTLA basically all the way to the ocean. I know what you’re thinking – fun, right?! Because all the LA traffic rumors you’ve heard are true…and even truer than what you’ve head. But actually, yes. It’s fun.

Okay, scratch that – some days, like when I’ve been up since 5:30am or had a frustrating day at work, braving the freeways, side streets, and back alleys of LA for anywhere from 20 measly minutes to an hour-fifteen-plus gets irksome. I’m not saying I’ve never had a traffic meltdown. But most days, I don’t find it all that bad. Mostly because a) I LOVE where I live and the commute is worth it to come home to my home every day, and b) podcasts.

When people say their commute sucks, or they don’t have time to acquire new information, or are sick of alternating between the radio and Spotify, I always refer them to podcasts. I love to learn, love to get inspired and motivated, and love to FEEL. That’s why on my way to and from work, it’s pretty likely I’ll tune into a pod and actually become a little sad if I don’t finish my episode de jour by the time I put my car in PARK mode. Jeremy will ask if it really took so long to get home. Sometimes yes. Sometimes I was just sitting in my car tied to the closing statements.

The thing with me and podcasts is that I like them to go deep. I was never, ever a podcast person because I thought they were simply downloadable radio stations. Superficial conversation doesn’t cut it for me – I could listen to the local stations for that (NPR/KCRW excluded from that list; I am a huge fangirl) – I want a glimpse into how we tick and a big chunk of time devoted to all the nuances of someone’s life, journey, and best lessons they can offer to their listeners. I like seeing parallels in my life and gaining new insight professionally and personally.

Right now, I’m in the middle of recording and editing the very first round of WANT pods (it takes a long time…but I’m aiming for a late summer/early fall launch. Get them earbuds ready!), so getting familiar with the podcasting world is something I’m considering, um, research (yeah, that’s it). I’ve had the honor of being a guest on a few of these pods, which was a true honor – it’s like getting to go on the set of your must-see-TV show lineup.

This is definitely not an all-inclusive list of pods I think are rad – these are just the ones that I not only subscribe to, but turn to most often during those long stretches in the car when I’m craving insight, inspiration, and progress that exceeds the .25 miles I’ve crawled in 25 minutes. I’m including their iTunes/website description, why I love it, and what these pods are the love-children of (because somehow, that always helps to get a better picture). Whether you’re chugging along in traffic or twiddling your thumbs on the subway, here are some of the ladies (and gentleman!) you should turn to to keep you company:


One Part Podcast

onepartpodcast
What It Is: “Jessica Murnane talks to some of the most interesting and inspiring minds in wellness, music, food, fashion, business, and design. Revealing stories of successes & setbacks. Sweet motivational secrets. And a whole lot of actionable advice.”
Why I Dig It: Jessica has a true gift of drawing out the authentic, raw, sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwrenching stories of others in a way that seems oh-so-natural. An episode of One Part Podcast is notsomuch an interview but a discussion; like listening to two friends who haven’t seen each other in decades catch up on all of life’s deepest moments. Her guests run the gamut, from health and wellness superstars to Grammy-nominated musicians to a creative director who owns an Insta-famous pigeon. I love that her guests are from all industries and don’t need to fit that oh-so-common “Huge Following” requirement: she chooses guests based on the quality of their story, not the quantity of their followers. Jessica’s relaxed, inquisitive, just-plain-rad demeanor makes you feel at ease as a listener – and she knows how to ask all the right questions at just the right time.
Sound familiar? She’s also a previous WANT Woman – you can read more about her here and “listen” to me gush on and on about her. She is The. Shit.

Love-Child Of: Oprah, Cheryl Strayed, + that song “Forever.”


Being Boss

BeingBossPodcast
What It Is: “A podcast for creative entrepreneurs from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Get your business together. Get yourself into what you do, and see it through. Being boss is hard. Blending work and life is messy. Making a dream job of your own isn’t easy. But getting paid for it, becoming known for it, and finding purpose in it, is so doable – if you do the work.”
Why I Dig It: I love how candid Kathleen and Emily are with their advice. I love that they don’t hold back their goods to “save it” for their clients (I believe they discuss this very thing in an episode, actually). I love that they stick to branding and creativity and get so incredibly specific with their topics of choice – which means that as listeners, we’re getting actual, actionable advice, not just vague ideas and concepts that may or may not apply to us.
Love-Child Of: Malcolm Gladwell, Sheryl Sandberg, + your favorite teacher in high school/college who just “got it.”

 

Invisibilia
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What It Is: “Invisibilia (Latin for all the invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.”
Why I Dig It: From the man who is plagued by violent thoughts to the person literally trapped inside his own body, to woman who is physically incapable of feeling fear, Invisibilia gives fresh insight on how we’re wired and how we process thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s riveting and eye-opening, but without the pretenses of a super-scientific, academic pod. Listening to Alix and Lulu is like listening to two friends go on an adventure together and have incredibly real, raw conversations – yet it manages to teach you something truly fascinating with each story line. Was hooked after their first episode, “The Secret History Of Thoughts.” Makes sense.
Love-Child Of: This American Life, Nancy Drew, Psychology Today, + Inside Out.

 

Good Life Project
goodlifeproject
What It Is: “Inspirational, unfiltered conversations and stories about finding meaning, happiness, purpose, inspiration, motivation, spirituality, love, confidence and success in life. From iconic world-shakers to everyday people, every story matters.”
Why I Dig It: You know Six-Degrees-Of-Separation? It should be called Six Degrees Of Jonathan Fields. Jonathan seems to know every single person in the self-improvement, wellness, and entrepreneurial world. Not only know them, but have their friendship and trust. This makes for down-to-earth, intricate conversations that get his guests in that corageously-vulnerable space of opening up and showing their full selves. He asks unexpected questions and gets deep with some of the greatest visionaries around – think Danielle LaPorte, Marie Forleo, Seth Godin, Brene Brown, even the founder of Pixar (there are a lot more big guns, but I’ll let you binge listen to discover yourself).
Love-Child Of: Inside The Actor’s Studio + Super Soul Sunday

 

Creative Start
creativestart
What It Is: “Weekly interviews with your favorite creative entrepreneurs about their journey to success. New episodes every Tuesday morning. Having authentic & raw conversations about successes, failures and strategies helps to create a world where all creative beings feel inspired and empowered to define success on their own terms. And we want to help you use that personal definition to drive forward towards your goals & dreams.”
Why I Dig It: When you’re just getting started in your creative career – whether you’re at the point of knowing exactly what you want to do or feel pulled in twelve million different directions – it seems like everyone is way more polished, professional, and twelve steps ahead of you. Creative Start focuses solely on the journey of each creative featured. The whole journey; from when they were a kid up until this moment. It’s a brilliant reminder that everyone starts somewhere and that no one path is the same as another, nor is it ever linear from the outside. 
Love-Child Of: Drama/Art/Photography/insert-creative-field-here Club + E! True Hollywood Story

 

Call Your Girlfriend
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What It Is: “Call Your Girlfriend is a podcast for all the long-distance besties out there, brought to you by Gina Delvac, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. Every other week, tune in as we discuss Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the beauty of caftans, menstruation news, Kimye, Pitbull, Hillary Rodham Clinton, casual racism, emoji, straight people, California, rom-coms, Lorde lipstick, and so much more.” 
Why I Dig It: I mean. You don’t really have to go further than that description to get on board with CYG. But just in case you needed more convincing – these ladies GET IT. They jam on feminism, pop-culture, recent news, and every single other thing you’d talk about in a really good catch up sesh with your best friend. I love that these ladies don’t hold back on opinions and don’t “official up” their voices for the pod (a pet peeve of mine…just do you, podcast peeps!). It’s two best friends, talking about what matters most to (or mystifies, or confuses, or frustrates, or amuses) them in the moment – and we get to be in on the conversation. Plus, they’re actual-LOL hilarious. Shine Theory 4eva.
Love-Child Of: Sex & The City, The Daily Show, and that one dinner party you went to that you never, ever, ever wanted to leave because everyone was so damn interesting/smart/hilarious.

*Newcomer award* WELL/AWARE Show
well-aware
What It Is: “WELL / AWARE was founded on the belief that a world in which we slow down and take better care of ourselves, others and the environment would be a better one. This wellness podcast explains how the energy we create within — our WELLNESS — and the energy with which we approach the world — our AWARENESS — are intricately connected and deeply affect each other.”
Why I Dig It: WELL / AWARE is a “minimalist wellness podcast” – a concept I love. It’s about living as minimally as possible, in both mind and spirit. Clearing out the literal and metaphorical closets, drawers, garages, and attics to make room for only what really serves us. Lindsay Mueller’s voice is soothing and sophisticated, and she’s really onto something big. I gave this pod the “Newcomer Award” because it’s only 4 episodes old – and it’s definitely worth following from the very start.
Love-Child Of: Audrey Hepburn, Green Juice, + Toms


WANT Yourself:
What pods do you love? Why do you love them?
And – the kicker – who do YOU want to hear on the WANTcast? (<-working title.)