lamiki

on life, ambitions, and dreams

Flower

Posts Tagged ‘growing up’

Happy Third Birthday, lamiki!

Two weeks ago, my blog turned three. And I celebrated the occasion with a tweet and a Facebook post and intentions to publish the post that I’m writing right now. And here we are.

birthday cupcakes by craftapalooza

In the first year, I published 55 blogs. In the second year, 59 blogs. And in the third year. I published 30 blog posts. And yet, the third year was one of the best years in my blog’s history because of two separate, but connected events – speaking at WordCamp Seattle and WordCamp Portland.

I started this blog to find my voice and have a place to write. But it quickly turned into a hub around connecting with people. From random conversations with people I meet on Twitter to coffee shop dates with bloggers I admire, or three-degrees of separation that turn into job offers, most of the people I have met over the past three years have been connected to this blog and the doors that it has opened to me. And for all of the specific and vague connections I have made over the past three years, I am grateful.

My blog’s third year started off with more momentum, posts, and excitement than I could imagine. But after the second speaking event at the end of summer, everything went into a quiet hiatus. I still wrote and published blogs, but things slowed way down over here as I focused my creative energy into a new fulltime job I started in September. But when I look at the past year as a whole and ignore my goal of publishing more posts than I had in the previous year, my blog’s third year was a momentous one.

And to commemorate its birthday, here’s a little roundup of lessons learned, best posts, and the random ways that people find my blog.

The Three Most Important Lessons I’ve learned in Three Years of Blogging

1. You never have enough time to blog as you want to. I laughed when putting together my slides about blogging every day because I knew someone would ask, “How do you find the time to blog?” and the answer I prepared the following answer: you just do.  For whatever reason, this fall I really understood what it meant to not have enough time to do anything other than go to work, eat, and barely get enough sleep to be energized to tackle the next day. I’ve had fulltime jobs before, but the one I started was different and I could not (still cannot) explain why. And while, for the first time in my life, I’m happy going through the motions and just being that person who goes to work and comes home, the writer inside of me is aching to write more. And the only way to satisfy her is to steal that time from somewhere else and, sit down, shut up, and pound the keyboard until words appear.

2. The post you pour your heart and soul into writing will never resonate with readers as much as the one you write and publish in the moment. There is a time and a place for epic blog posts that you spend hours researching, writing, editing, and perfecting. And while it feels good to write those essays, when it comes to blogs and writing content that people (you) care about, are posts that are written in an hour’s notice based on the ideas that you’ve been chewing on over the past few days. Stop thinking. Start writing.

3. Numbers alone don’t measure success. I’ve been struggling to write this recap and feel good about my third year of blogging because I haven’t been blogging lately. I didn’t blog every day in November. And I didn’t post at all in December. But when I think about all the people I have met and the opportunities I have had because of the work I have put into my blog since the beginning, it has been a damn successful year.  (more…)

Sunday Serial: Defending Disney Princesses, Flipping Community & Not Quitting Your Day Job

man reading the paper smacks another man in the face

There are some weeks when you cruise the Internet and find nothing of value. Nothing that tells you to think about something you never thought you’d think about, nothing that tells you how to turn your perspective and gaze into the eyes of the same thought for a new time.

This wasn’t one of those weeks. This past week, three gems floated across my radar that flipped three usual thoughts on their heads: we should never have admired Disney Princesses; the customer is always right; and why you will quit your day job to live your passions.

Plus, two bonus articles that will make you a grammar and email snob. Enjoy!

How to Defend Princesses, Give the Finger to Your Community, and Why You Won’t Quit Your Day Job

Day 125: In defense of Disney – At our house, princesses love yoga and disco. by Harmony Hasbrook on 100 Days or More

Read this because: You loved Disney princesses when you were little and have spent every day of your life since you were eight years old learning how these fairy tales that Walt Disney Studios capitalized on were bad for you. They set you up to believe that you would grow up like a dainty little flower and were nothing until Prince Charming came to rescue you.

They were wrong. To most little girls, we did not see them the way that we’re told to see them as an adult. They represent something more than that; they are something that only the world of child’s imagination can create.

Bonus reading material: I shared a link to Harmony’s post on Facebook this week, here were the responses:

Discussion about Disney Princesses on lamiki FacebookDisney princesses shared on Facebook

Listen to Your Community, But Don’t Let Them Tell You What to Do by Jeff Atwood on Coding Horror

Read this because: As a community manager, one of the most awkward things you can do is ask my community what they think about a product or what features they can see. But what makes it awkward is asking that question if you know that there’s no way in hell that your development team will implement any feature request that comes from that community. So don’t ask the damn question.

This is a great blog post that shows a different side of community management. It’s a great read, for community managers and non-community managers alike.

Why You Won’t Quit Your Job by Daniel Gulati on Harvard Business Review Blog

Read this because: You hate your day job, or perhaps “hate” is too strong of a word. You’re not happy with this life, whatever this life is. And you know exactly what you want to be doing instead. You don’t want to work for them anymore. You want to work for yourself and do what you’ve always dreamed of doing. You want to set your passion free and chase it to wherever it’s going to take you.

Well, I’m sorry to say that if you were going to do that, you would have by now.

In this article, Gulati has revealed why most people described above will not make the leap that they really, really want to do. Since I heard the first person say to me – Quit your day job! Follow your passion! Live the life you want! – I’ve been skeptical as to why the majority of those people who cry and tell others to do it, haven’t even done it for themselves.

How to Become a Grammar and Email Snob

And we’ll cap of this week’s edition of Sunday Serial by linking to two articles with healthy tips on how to be a better you, through writing:

  1. 20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes by Jon Gingerich on LitReactor
  2. Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words by Sarah Kessler on Mashable

What did you read this week?

Photo Credit: Al-khairi

Picturing My True Identity

Laura in Madrid, Spain, Summer 2000

Tonight I had dinner with my friend Harmony who is taking a 100-day break from working and blogging about it. Yesterday she shared an old photo of herself that gave her insight to one of the happiest moments of her life and insight into her true self.

But it’s more than just a photo; it’s about finding who you are based on who you were from your past. As Harmony puts it in her blog post:

Right now I have two books on my nightstand (from the library). Redirect by Timothy D. Wilson and Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis. I am finished with the former and just a chapter into the latter. Tim may not be as good at writing as Jeff is, but he is a pretty damn good scientist. He proposes that so many of our societies ills and traumas could be cured with story editing. He describes a method for re-writing how you see yourself. By changing our own self image, we can be happier, more successful and healthier – and this is all proved with scientifica studies.

If we could merge this “surprising new science of psychological change” with the message in Jeff’s book, “how sharing in the digital age improves the way we work and live,” you would end up with more or less what I am doing here with this blog.

Tonight when I got home, I went through my boxes of photos to find one that represented the image of how I see myself. The one that stuck out the most is the one at the top of this post. This one was taken in Madrid, Spain during the summer of 2000. I was 14 and on a student ambassador trip to Italy, France, and Spain. It was a summer of self-discovery and figuring out who I was, which is something that is bound to happen as a teenager studying abroad or traveling internationally with other teenagers.

This photo was taken before our final dinner of the three-week long trip. And the girl pictured here turned into the one below – a freshman in high school, with confidence of steel, true friends, and blue hair.

When I think of my own self image, this is who I think of.

Laura and Jaclyn, freshman year

When is it okay to quit?

quitter by jen collins (hellojenuine)

Two years ago in June, I walked into a CrossFit gym and started a workout with barely enough strength to lift the bar. This was embarrassing. I was not a newbie at all, but a nine-month veteran just home from three weeks away from the gym due to business travel. I was very familiar with the fact that I would not be as strong as when I left, but I wasn’t lifting any weight at all, I was just trying to lift the goddamn 35-pound bar.

Something was wrong. Something in my life beyond the gym was affecting my workout. And something needed to change.

That time I quit CrossFit

That summer my life was a mess – I was working for a manager who said I needed to do some “soul searching” to see if the job that I was doing was what I wanted to do, my husband and I were buying our first house, and I was discovering what it meant to be an “adult.”

They say that one of the main reasons why people work out is to relieve stress. But CrossFit is different; it requires concentration of your mind, body, and soul to push your body to do things that you never imagined it could. And as a friend put it, at CrossFit, you are very vulnerable. And those three things consumed all of my thoughts to the point that I could not put them aside so I could use my brain to focus on the work out at hand.

It was scary. And if you aren’t on solid ground mentally, emotionally, or physically, it makes it even worse.

And it can turn something you love into something that isn’t worth it anymore.

So I quit. I decided that I needed time away from this thing that I was growing to love. This activity that was the first and only form of working out that I ever “got.” This hobby that showed me I have damn good form and kick ass at lifting. This sport that was causing more stress that it was relieving.

The difference between quitting and failure

It’s okay to say enough is enough and put a stop to what’s not working. For me, quitting CrossFit allowed me to take one responsibility off the table so I could spend my energy on working through some really big milestones in my life. It allowed me to preserve the sanctity of CrossFit so that it would still be fresh when, or if, I decided to return.

The idea of quitting is romantic. It’s an action that many of us would like to do, but rarely act upon. And I’m not talking give-the-man-the-finger type of quitting; I’m talking about the “it’s not good for me anymore” type of quitting. The kind that slips out of your mouth over wine with a friend when you tell her about the job that you’re not into anymore or the man you’re seeing who doesn’t fulfill your life the way he used to; the kind that she’ll encourage you to get over and promise that that feeling will come back and that you’ll come out stronger than when you started.

Or, if she’s a good friend, she will tell you to listen to that feeling and just fucking do it.

I like how John Falchetto says it, quitting is a choice:

I chose to quit when there is no progress. When no matter the effort I am exerting, in whichever direction I am pushing no progress is made whatsoever. Sometimes it is easier to walk around the wall than try to push through it.

Quitting is not the same thing as failure. Failure is the act of something not working in the way that you intended it to work. Failure is an outcome, quitting is a choice. Failure is something that happens to you (or something you direct), quitting is you putting a screeching halt to something. And sometimes to prevent being run over by the train, you have to change the tracks and put up the stop sign.

And it’s okay.

Whether it’s a hobby, how you workout, your job, your lover, and even your best friend – quitting, when you know why you’re doing it, is okay.

Learning from the past

Technically this isn’t a story about quitting; it’s a story about hitting pause. Four months after I quit CrossFit, I found my way back. I resolved two of the three issues that got in my way during the summer and found a new gym. This new gym invited me to join their community and I fell back in love with CrossFit.

It wasn’t the same kind of love. This time, I know that I will have an “off” night and that things will happen at work and at home that will affect how I perform at the gym. There are nights when I will fight back tears because emotionally, I can’t find the strength to start or even finish a work out, but I will find the strength to show up. And that’s okay.

This time, the relationship is different because I am approaching it differently.

What have you quit? What did it teach you?

Photo credit: Jen Collins (hellojenuine)

The Problem with Criticism and Flexibility

sookiepose by 416style

I have been in a funk. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I don’t know if it’s Seattle’s endless winter or the fact that some things in my life have not been rolling on the shiniest side of the coin and I don’t really know what’s going on.

Okay, that’s a lie. I know what’s wrong and what’s not right and I’m nervous to admit it. Mainly I’m upset because I’m guilty of not moving forward. You know that I’m a fan of getting things done, making things happen, and a ton of other clichés. I am not wearing my strong suit right now and I’d rather shy away from the public eye instead of staring what’s wrong in the face, owning it, and changing it.

And then I write.

I received some really honest feedback about a month and a half ago that was so spot-on that it made me nervous. I internalized it and because of that I’ve let that feedback turn from constructive criticism, a chance to inspire and motivate myself, into something that has been halting me.

This has happened before and I know that “feedback” is hanging over my head when it really shouldn’t. It was meant to empower and give myself a gut check, and I totally took it the wrong way.

The problem with criticism (constructive or not)

I’ve been guilty of violating Tara Sophia Mohr’s eighth rule for Brilliant Women as I have been open to the feedback and guidance others are graciously offering to me, but I have not been viewing their feedback through my own eyes and my own perspective about myself. It is good to be open to the advice and feedback of others as it’s a good gut-check to how I’m coming off in public, but never, ever, when it’s at the expense of myself.

For example, I have been struggling with an injury since last summer and in January I started taking control of my own body and going to see specialists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and an acupuncturist to try and diagnose what happened so I can recover. It’s working, slowly. But around the first few weeks of February I came to a stand still when my physical therapist declared that I am a “hyper flexible” person or have “hyperextension” in my joints. It’s not bad, it’s just how I am and probably attributed to the injury. But then my doc gave me a barrage of information about how I should be aware as a “hyper flexible” person when lifting weights that I don’t over extend myself since I have weak joints, etc.

I became the poster child for “hyper flexible” people. I actually met someone at a party and we bonded over our hyper-flexibility. Seriously, if I found a bumper sticker that said, “Hyper Flexible People Unite!” it would have gone on my car.

Flexibility isn’t always a good thing

Everything I did was through the lens of a “hyper flexible” person. I was an advocate with a new identity (and a ridiculous one at that). And then one day at the gym my coach sat me down and read the following quote from Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher, to me:

Disease is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless the will itself chooses. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not the will. And add this reflection on the occasion of everything that happens; for you will find it an impediment to something else, but not to yourself.

Whether it’s a physical ailment or part of what drives you, you can let something define you or it can just be a part of who you are. You can let it rule your life or you can rule it.

The choice is yours.

Has something someone said ever rocked you to the core and changed how you thought about yourself? How did you crawl out of that and find “you” again?

Photo by: 416style