5 Rules for establishing a healthy (and abundant) career path

Have you ever felt yourself stressing out about finances, your current career path or your professional value? Do those things make you instantly feel lost?

Perhaps you’re shifting careers, trying to decide what industry to break into, or simply trying to get your foot in the door ANYWHERE you can.

Regardless of where you are, I’ve developed 5 rules for creating career peace of mind that will pull you out of a career crisis. As a professional who’s worked in corporate, freelance and remote environments, and who’s experienced almost every up and down possible in a short period of time, these 5 rules keep me moving forward, thinking positively and ultimately successful no matter what I do! They introduce the routines necessary to find ease in the trajectory of your career.

 

1. Keep planting seeds

OK – I’m not talking about a real garden here. What I mean is to continually plant seeds in your professional garden. This includes expanding your professional network, following industry trends and job postings, growing your “extra curricular” activities and perfecting your unpaid creative endeavors.

Most opportunities won’t come from blind online applications, they’ll come from the people you’ve met and talked to in person or the passions you’ve perfected. The more you create, the higher chances of success you’ll have. Finally – always imply that you have time for new opportunities when talking to friends and family. Next time someone thinks of a recommendation, they might think of you!

 

2. Develop career grit 

Be ruthless. I’m serious about this one. Whether you’re in a full-time, part-time or freelance position, don’t allow yourself to accept laziness in the workplace. Give your your projects and your team the energy, focus and attention they need. Trade in softness for authority, maintain your personal voice and hold your team accountable. It’s vital to conquer your own limits and extend past what you believe you can accomplish, which sometimes relies upon others.

Either you’ll be someone who complains at work and finds excuses to stay home or you’ll be promoted based on your work ethic, leadership and unyielding enthusiasm. Be better than the complainers, stay committed and be the BEST at what you do. It’s as simple as that.

 

3. Give yourself more time

www.karagordon-beauty.com

Time is something difficult to accept when you’re starting a new position or career. You think to yourself, “I can’t afford to be paid this little. I need to be earning what that guy is earning and NOW.” The truth is, if you’re first starting your career or even beginning a new position, sometimes you’re going to take home less cash than you want to.

To earn more money, you need to prove you have a backbone in business. Honestly acknowledge your work experience and remember that you’ll have to prove to your future employers (and yourself) the value you provide. Give yourself more time. Don’t rush, you’ll end up doing something you hate. If you need money right away, start an investment fund and watch your dollar bills do the work for you.

 

4. Hold on to the triumphs 

Sometimes we have brief moments of spectacular recognition and then before you know it you’re back to the drawing board, looking for your next big gig. What your parents often forget to tell you, is that your career should be a marathon, not a sprint. Small and large victories will be followed by epic failures. This will go on and on until you retire and then it will become personal successes and failures. This is what life is. If you’re expecting to get your dream job and then watch everything fall into place and see money fill your bank account forever, you’ve been fooled.

Jobs end, gig’s end, people forget what you’ve done and your career “fame” can plummet to the ground. Even the most successful people in the world have “made it,” and then they fall flat again…or the market crashes, or your company falls apart. So hold onto the small advances you make in your career, but put them down when it’s time and find your next adventure with humility. Don’t hold onto that one big job you had or that higher salary you acquired for a previous position. You’ll have an epic journey regardless, just keep conquering your own expectations and find optimism for what awaits you!

5. Don’t EVER compare 

Apple and Orange difference

Comparison is the true thief of joy. In our Social Media worlds, we compare now more than ever before and therefore hold ourselves in contempt for not being as epic as someone else. But how will you ever understand your truth and your strengths if they can’t even accurately challenge someone else’s? What you see ISN’T what you get. There will always be someone better than you and there will always be someone worse off than you, no matter what. You’ll never be able to see yourself in the honest glory that you are if you constantly repeat to yourself,

“I don’t have that,” “I don’t look like that,” “I can’t travel like him,” “They got promoted and I didn’t,” “They make way more money than I do,” “How are they getting paid for drinking a smoothie?”

Your path is completely different from everyone else’s. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you expect your track to perfectly align with someone else’s, you’re not setting yourself up to win. Allow yourself a unique, healthy and abundant journey from start to finish. Forego badgering harmful thoughts into your head. Get off Social Media and read an inspirational book. Do more of what makes you truly happy and use it to find a work-life balance. Find gratitude no matter how difficult it may seem and remember that this chapter won’t last forever. You’re always on to bigger and better things.

If you want to read more about what you truly have to offer, read The Originals by Adam Grant.

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This book will prove to you why the most successful people you’ve ever heard of, weren’t born with some magical gene that transcended them into fame and fortune. They were just like you and me.

Comment below with your own story! Have questions? Comment!

T.

 

 

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5 steps to boosting creativity

img_4337Have you ever been caught in a creative lull? Perhaps you’ve been sucked into a negative spiral and can’t seem find your inspiration. Or – maybe you’re usually bustling with creative energy, yet it’s been weeks and you can’t seem to hold onto a good idea? We’ve all been there.

Some days are going to be better than others and we all get that. So how to you jump back on track? Well, it’s certainly different for everyone, but here’s a list to help you find your spark again.

1. Find your spot
I know when I need something to get my mind going, I search tirelessly for the most creative space I can find. Sometimes it’s a park, a library or a wine bar. Most of the time though, it’s a coffee shop with really, really good coffee. Sorry, no Starbucks for me. Getting myself out of my house or office, where I can people watch, daydream, sketch, and simply watch the world from a different perspective, helps fuel my artistic side. It’s the honest truth that I never blog while sitting on my couch; it just doesn’t happen. So find that place in your city or town that exudes good energy, often all you need is just some new vibes.

2. Break the routine

You have a specific routine. Everyone does. So when you desperately need to shift your stale mind, you must think differently and DO something different. What I mean by this is, when you have a go-to for inspiring yourself or a particular thought like,

“Oh, I’ll go read this one book and I know I’ll be inspired.”

Change it up. Rather than doing the expected, go ahead and have a glass of wine and relax. It takes opening our minds to get ideas flowing. You won’t get new ideas by doing the same thing over and over again. So go someplace new, text an old friend and meet up just to talk, or go to an art gallery and observe someone else’s creativity. Trust me, the next time you sit down to start working, you’ll have new images in your mind to work with.

3. Get away from your phone

Our phones are fun and all but our creativity shuts down when we mindlessly flip through other people’s amazing pictures. Not only that, but we tend to feel less confident afterward. You have to get outside and put your phone away to see color again. What I mean by color is the trees, landscape and beauty around you. I know vast landscapes always make me feel unstoppable. That, and a spontaneous road trip.

4. Use your contacts

TALK TO PEOPLE. Don’t be afraid to ask others to bounce ideas around with you. Even if you don’t tell them you’re seeking inspiration, just chat with someone who makes you happy. Matter of fact, find your most hilarious friend. When you laugh, you tend to be the most creative, unless you’re one of those genius melancholy artists who can always bust out something amazing.

5. Music choices

Music is everything for me when I’m working. Whether it be jazz, rap, acoustic, country or something else, each genre creates a different emotion within me, thus inducing completely varying reactions. Sometimes I throw on the Beatles in the car and I’ll have such a strong reaction that I’ll find myself daydreaming about traveling abroad and how I can get there. Then I’ll end up going. When it’s jazz, I feel more mellow and romantic. So think about it next time you throw on some tunes. Be intentional!

I hope this helps you brainstorm a few ways you can bring that fire back into your creative space. If you’re still struggling, this quote always helps me:

“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.” — Albert Camus

T.

 

 

 

Preparation meets opportunity

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity.”

This was what my mom used to tell me growing up. I always believed her, but I couldn’t rely on luck, so I chose to pave my own path anyway. I spent my childhood fighting to be the most well-rounded kid I could be. I was athletic; I was a dedicated theater performer; I was passionate about my education; I nurtured my relationships; I ate healthily; I learned lessons the first time; I tried to always make my family proud. Each day, I set an intention to remain happy, patient and always respect myself. This was how I was going to make my life exactly what I wanted it to be.

Despite my efforts, there were times when I would question my specific decisions, when I thought I needed to have more fun and stop trying so hard. People would often tell me not to take life so seriously. It wasn’t until others commented about it that I thought I was living a heavy, high-pressure lifestyle. It made me worry that I was wasn’t focused on the right elements of life. Watching all those other kids have a blast and not worry about their futures made me nervous that I was watching my life pass by.

But today is different. I spoke to my mom this morning about how each step I’ve taken up until today has led to this minute. I knew I had big dreams, HUGE dreams when I was young, but to think I’d actually accomplish them rarely crossed my mind. My focus
was on the path to getting there and enjoying that first… then maybe if that luck rolled around I’d catch my dream job. Well…sitting here today, thinking back on all of the frustrating piano lessons, dense theater classes, long study nights, impossible exams and tough moments of defeat, I can now say that everything was worth it. I can’t believe I get to say that! I get to say it because a few weeks ago, I landed got my dream job. I get to pack up everything I own, jump on a plane, hurl myself into the unknown with a really great friend of mine and get paid to do it!

My dream job is quite different than what most people picture. I hoped to blend everything I love into one particular position. But I was told that job doesn’t exist, so I was about to settle for second best. What is unexpected, is that this new job was carefully crafted to work out. Everything I did in my life up until today has led to it. The position isn’t even a job, it is an adventure. I couldn’t have created a job more perfectly aligned with who I am. A job that involves health, wellness, travel, cooking, meeting other people and television is all wrapped up into a perfect bow. Luck? Sure. But most importantly: preparation.

All the questions I lived with for so many years, about whether or not I’m doing the right things, have been answered. I am so grateful!

-T.

Yoga Journal Gaia TV

Stop, and turn around

It’s been quite awhile since I last wrote. Maybe because I’ve not felt as inspired or maybe because I’m nervous that what I have to say isn’t interesting enough to share with the world.

But today, I feel like sharing.

I’ve noticed a lot of my friends merge into careers that they maybe wanted, maybe didn’t want…but nonetheless, they seem to be fine. Generally, we go from college to post-grad thinking that we are going to slowly, consistently move upward. Sure, we might get a job that we are using as a stepping stone, that we don’t enjoy immensely but can tolerate… and then a two years go by. So really… we are just falling into the normal routine that is the American tradition…and why is it that I’m having a really hard time being okay with that?

My career path has been unexpectedly different.  It’s taken a rough push backward, a few confusing circles and some small steps to the left and right. I got my dream job right when I graduated. My favorite media company that made a true difference in the world hired ME. Interestingly enough, my dream job wasn’t what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the position but when I decided it was my dream job to work there, I didn’t know that step one was generic 9 to 5. Probably because I always expect fireworks, bursts of color, magic and inspiration in everything around me. Including my jobs.

I think when we get to a certain age, our “dream job” isn’t actually what we had in mind. This is a cliché however… this is something cynical people have told us over the years, that our dream jobs are going to shift and soon enough we will be driving home at 7pm on a terribly average Thursday to a cold empty house where we’ll have about 3 hours to make dinner alone, (something that tastes mediocre and blends two or three types of ethnic foods from Trader Joe’s) watch two or three episodes of something on Netflix, brush our teeth and go to sleep.

This is what we are supposed to accept? Constantly, people who are secure and in a steady place in life will tell me,

“Well, real life is hard. It’s always going to be hard. You’re going to have to put your time in and do something you don’t enjoy for a couple of years until you have that break into the position you’ve been hoping to get.”

All I hear, is:

“Go give away X amount of years of your life in order for it to be good later.”

Sorry, but I don’t accept that and I don’t have to. That was 1985. 1985 was the 9 to 5 desk jobs concept that our parents created and accepted. Computers brought people into a gigantic space with no color on anything. If I don’t see color I don’t see anything and I just get uncomfortable.

There’s article I stumbled upon a few weeks ago about the most common regret people have on their death beds. It was,

“I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do. I did what I thought I was supposed to do.” 

This was the first time I’d heard the notion, because I was swept up in the current with everyone else and didn’t think I could do what I wanted to do. I’ve mentioned this to my parents, mentors, peers, but for some reason they’re responses are always, “well that’s really hard to do and doesn’t pay the bills.” Instantly I sink into another heap of disappointment.

Now, I’ve tried to see this concept differently. by understanding that there is a way to balance doing what you want to do and putting in the hard work. There will be late nights that you don’t get paid overtime for, or people you meet who try to put out your light. But I honestly believe that living your life takes more courage than they tell us. If you want to work in a flower shop and not climb the corporate ladder, then work in a flower shop and don’t climb the corporate ladder. We don’t have to do the most impressive things. Impressive things are not the same things as those that make us happy. We don’t have to work at a big company, we don’t have to chase money, we don’t have to work in an office, we don’t have to fatten our resume just to impress other people, we don’t have to accept that paying the bills trumps every dream we ever wanted. Thats not naive, that’s just changing the conversation. We can pay the bills doing anything… look at YouTube stars, look at bloggers, look at people inventing apps, look at those kids choosing to not do what they were told is the only thing they can do to succeed. There isn’t an ONLY WAY. You just have to remind yourself, that no matter what job you choose to do, no matter what career path you give up, or what job you turn down in order to do something less impressive, that you are the type of person that succeeds at anything and everything you do. If you believe that, then those risks you took along the way will pay off, regardless.

So, do exactly what you want to do and don’t apologize. No matter how bold it might seem.

T.