Beautiful write up by a dear friend of mine, the talented, magical Brittaney. Time to get inspired and remember the sunny days, weathering the storm, and how much we have to celebrate.
Side note: Does this remind you of Missy or what?
Set your alarm for 5:30am, or 5am if you’re super committed and mean serious business. Then lay out your most colorful, preferably glitter-clad, fit that you’ll feel comfortable in while busting out your fly-est possible moves. Encourage friends to join in the cause and readily accept moral support along the way, since getting up at the crack of dawn to rave is no easy feat. Group texts are helpful for discouraging your crew from abandoning the early wake-up call ship; be sure to lure friends with outfit pics begging feedback. You’ll be too excited to sleep (ever again).
Ring goes your alarm but chances are you’ve already just woke up, ready to greet the day head on. Today is a big day, after all. Get ready to hop the bus, train, bike, run over (again, only if you mean serious business), or hire a chauffer (oh, you fancy huh). Like they say, it doesn’t matter how you get there, what matters is that you show up. Upon first arriving to your Bushwick destination, you might likely think: “Wow, this is real seedy,” or, “I am definitely lost.” But fear not, follow the looming sounds of the vibrating house beats and you too will soon be disco dancing with the best.
At a cool 6:45am-ish I wasn’t totally sure if I was still dreaming or if I had stumbled into a Burning Man pre-compression party still in full force from the night before. But my intuition knew better. I had arrived and there was no turning back. The UK’s Morning Gloryville hosted its 4th NYC event this morning from 6:30am-10:30am at the most epic acrobatic (also art gallery / music video set / massage parlor / coffee shop / smoothie bar / rooftop yoga studio / magical wonderland) center Brooklyn has ever seen. According to personal preference, each guest is greeted with a high-five or hug before getting shown the inside-scoop on the morning’s various attractions, sights, and sounds.
Don’t worry, if you get tired of dancing to ultimate house music with live drum circle
accompaniment, you can always check out the rope swing with the option-to-land-in-a-trampoline-over-a-ball-pit or climb onto a platform to switch up the scenery and dance with the mile-high club perched up above. Raves these days come with all sorts of negative connotations, which is why Morning Gloryville stands out with its substance-free fun policy completely fueled by coffee (Brooklyn Roasting Company represent), delicious smoothies and unlimited positive vibes. If you find that living the absolute embodiment of #yolo appealing, then this might be the place for you. Spice up your morning gym routine, kick your life up a notch. What are you waiting for?
Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you’ve always dreamed you’d be, as if your life was already as you’ve always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday’s illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.
—TUT, a note from the Universe
I don’t know what Id do without my daily notes from the Universe, sent by email of course. I need reminders constantly that there’s a great big world around me that continues to spin with or without any effort from me to push it along. Sometimes I can feel like I’m on my own planet and it’s up to me to make all the moves, everything’s livelihood and future is wholly dependent on my decisions and actions.
What a weight to carry, isn’t it? If someone else told me that I’d immediately want to instruct them to take a long break, a nap even. Get some rest and stop carrying that weight. You don’t have to keep trying to do this all alone. Not every single thing, every other persons destiny, every outcome, hangs in the balance like you might imagine.
Call it a consequence of growing up in the digital age, the millenial era, or the culture of instant gratification. I want what I want now and to be really real I wanted it yesterday. Time is a ticking and everyone is succeeding faster than my LinkedIn homepage can track. I’m running out of social platforms on which to measure myself against my competitors. I want to know I’m on the right path but most of all I want to know everyone else thinks I am.
Maybe if I knew everyone else thinks I’m on track, I could finally feel like I too can believe it. What I’m learning is, contrary to my deeply engrained belief, no one else knows where I’m going or where I’m meant to go. They can’t tell me what I really want to hear. To this day my attempts at activating my supposed psychic mind reading powers remain futile.
And so I start with my morning notes from the Universe, sometimes peppered amid my Libra daily horoscope for kicks. I try to embrace this new perspective in which I’m not at the center of the world I created in which everything rests on my shoulders. I don’t have to carry the weight, and neither do you. None of us do.
Let’s face it: you know within five minutes of talking to someone if you’re on the same page and if you ever want to see the person again. I think that’s the truth of it. I’ve had so many interviews and conversations the past few months I swear I’d make a stellar career search consultant (seriously could be an epic side hustle). Dating analogies aside, which totally work for job searching by the way, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned has to do with finding your tribe or the people you choose to join forces with.
People often write to-do lists to get organized, but have you ever crafted a to-be list? Use this tool to define what ideals and traits you seek to embody. Use it as a guide in determining relationship standards in your personal and professional livelihoods. I have and the benefits are immense. Approach your vocation and professional cohorts like you would your dearest friends. You’ll be spending a lot of time together after all.
It all comes down to the people. You can work for the coolest, trendiest company and have a stellar, super prestigious title but if you can’t connect with the people you work with on a genuine level you won’t come close to feeling happy or fulfilled. When you connect with people you sense you have a lot to learn from, who you admire and respect, whose feedback you will take seriously, who you’re not afraid to approach with challenging questions—look no further, you’ve found your in.
As far as my ideals go, I stay on the prowl for people who embody the traits that I too strive to emanate:
Simple enough, right? Ideals aren’t supposed to be perfect rules. They are simple guidelines for growth. The kind of change I seek for my engrained tendencies and attitudes can sometimes feel slow but as long as I keep striving for growth, I’m on the right path.
My Friday the 13th started out in Williamsburg’s McCarren Park where Northside Fest set up its home base for a week-long South By Southwest-style conference on innovation, film and music. Complete with after parties and concerts galore over the entire week, the festival is in its fourth year running much to the delight of musicians, innovators, digital media nerds, start up gurus, marketers and entrepreneurs alike.
This year it literally felt like the East Coast hipster cousin of Austin’s SXSW had officially landed in Williamsburg. My friends over at Small Girls PR hooked me up with a badge to attend the Innovation portion of the program, where I hung out all day Friday. The panels were creatively situated nearby one another with main attractions at the Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn Brewery, Kinfolk Studios and the trade show at McCarren Park. Lucky for all attendees Mable’s Smokehouse served up a delicious complimentary BBQ lunch midday Friday. The BBQ never tasted so good but in hindsight might have been a precarious choice for conference-goers expected to pay attention and not immediately need a power nap.
The panel “Preparing to Pivot” showcased inspiring entrepreneurs talking about their experiences with changing directions and sometimes starting over along their start-up quests. Many spoke to the fact that failure and making mistakes are just part of the start up game. If you really believe in something and are willing to put the effort into it, you don’t ever give up. On the flip side, they also spoke to the importance of knowing when its time to give up on a particular direction and change your strategy to stay afloat. Did you know AirBnB used Craigslist at one point as an early customer acquisition strategy?
Zappos’ presentation on “Throwing Out the Organizational Chart” provided an overview of holocracy. To better foster innovation, Zappos suggests that corporations will do well to model the information-sharing and communication styles offered by cities’ infrastructure. I almost understood the idea, but must admit I might never truly get it until I experience holacracy first-hand. Talk about new age-y organizational style. We’ll see what Zappos rolls out with results-wise this year following a more full implementation of holacracy. Perhaps their case study will prove fruitful for pushing other companies to adopt new communication mechanisms and management (or lack there of) structures. What about hashtags in employee titles (i.e. #title) to symbolize the fluid-nature of each position’s description? Sign me up.
My favorite panel of the day was a fireside chat (without a fire) with TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha and GE’s Executive Director of Global Brand Marketing, Linda Boff–“GE’s Secrets Revealed: Their Top 5 Marketing Innovations.” Did you know GE was the first brand on Vine? I appreciated Linda’s candid honesty about how she likes to be promiscuous with advertising and marketing agencies in search of the best storytellers. She made a nod to agencies focused on doing what they do really well, and not getting lost in the crowd of big agencies trying to do many things just-okay.
GE’s secrets turned out to not be so secret after all, but they did provoke some great insights. Be first, be human as a brand, tell a GREAT story, be helpful, and measure success by engagement. All good tips, especially the encouragement throughout to be uniquely useful and stay true to the brand’s integrity. I’m already excited for next year–expect the tech, entrepreneurship and innovation elements to be bigger than ever and attract tech stars from all over the map!
A friend recently recalled a day when a life/career coach facilitated a workshop on finding your passion. The coach asked a group of women to go around in a circle and each announce what they’re most passionate about. Many responses indicated apprehension at having to share such personal information albeit with a group of people that might judge. Most women explained their passion prefaced with “Oh I don’t really know but..” or “I’m not really sure I have any idea.”
The second part of the exercise challenged the women to take the same question and instead reflect on their answers by writing silently for a minute. The second round of shares indicated a startling clear truth: each person intuitively knows their passion. Sometimes it’s just scary to say what your dreams are out loud, especially if they seem incredibly daunting.
Think about what you would do in a heartbeat if you had a day to spend doing anything your heart desires–without money, responsibilities, peer pressure or validation in the mix. What makes you happy and fills you up with purpose and joy? What are you doing when you feel like you’re in the right place and in tune with the world around you? When you’re in that place look no further because it’s likely you’re doing what you’re meant to do. You have arrived.
Now the question remains of just doing it. Maybe you know that working with others in a volunteer or non-profit capacity is what fills you up but you’re afraid that starting at an entry level non-profit position won’t provide enough for you to survive (trust me, I’ve been there). Sure, that’s a possibility for the short term but be hopeful. If I’ve learned anything it’s that doing what you’re meant to do can make difficult work look and feel easy while others might look at you wondering how you do it.
If you’re in the groove and dedicating yourself fully to your passionate ambition, trust that you will be provided for immensely, I promise. Trusting your instinct is so hard, but once we practice doing it, it becomes easier. You might eventually start to remember that most times you have all the answers you’re looking for. You’ve known them all along.
Ever heard of a to-be list? Consider it an exercise in changing your mindset. I don’t know about you but tasking myself with limitless to-dos is so deeply engrained I rarely notice I do it all the time–even subconsciously.
Change the way you view yourself and what you’re truly capable of. Put your dreams down on paper, then visualize them coming true. Dreams are terrifying, especially when you have really big ones.
I instinctively first wrote many of the above as to-dos, no matter how hard I tried to explain in “be” or “become” terms. Try it, you might surprise yourself!
My life changed forever the first time I ventured out on a one-week solo expedition to Costa Rica. I bought the plane ticket pretty impulsively after noticing a sweet deal on one of the many travel deal sites I stalk. I knew I always wanted to travel somewhere alone but at first I thought I might convince a good girlfriend or maybe a group to come with me on this one. Deep down I knew I would go this alone and see if I had what it takes to survive an absolutely out of this world solo adventure.
I didn’t prepare as much as some people might have suggested. I perused tourism sites and trusted the country was more developed than where I lived in Brazil in 2009. I figured I’d know more once I got on the ground. At least it would be nice and warm so I could pack light: bathing suits and shorts every day! One of the first places I looked up was Monteverde, a huge area of forest and mountains settled in the mid section of the country. I know I was researching locales in June because it was then that I set my Facebook cover photo to a picture of Monteverde’s famed hanging rainforest bridges (this post’s headline picture). I knew I had to make it to that exact spot even if I didn’t make a plan for how I’d arrive–there was something waiting for me there.
I could barely sleep the night before I was set to leave. I was far too excited. I packed everything I had into a backpack and woke up when it was still dark out, wide awake with anticipation. All I had planned was my bus trip from the Liberia airport to the Pura Vida Hostel in Tamarindo, where I’d spend my first night. When I arrived at the hostel it finally started to really sink in: I was alone in a foreign country and I could do whatever I wanted with a week to spare. I went to enjoy some lunch at the restaurant next door, amazed at how comfortable I felt as soon as I sat down. My waiter started speaking English and even accepted my US dollars all while an American news broadcast was playing in the background.
Eventually I met a couple character mainstays at my hostel, Eddy and James. Eddy was from Chicago taking a prolonged break from his start-up whereas James was a surfer from New Jersey who was chasing the waves for as long as he could steer clear of returning stateside. After a few adventures with Eddy as well as some other travelers that would join our escapades here and there, he offered to drive me to Monteverde. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse, especially since I didn’t have any other plans and purposefully left my schedule open so I could see what might come up. I didn’t know it then but this was the trip I had been waiting for.
After a bumpy ride through the country side, we made it to Santa Elena where we found an amazing bed and breakfast to call home–Camino Verde. The day we arrived we went zip-lining through the trees and even ventured to try bungee jump ing while we were at it. Eddy would only stay one day, enough to get a feel for the mountains and Santa Elena’s quiet change of pace. My first day waking up alone there I struck up a conversation with the inn keeper and asked if there was one thing I absolutely had to do while in Monteverde–what was it? He said it was my lucky day and if I was game I could hop in a van coming by in 10 minutes to take me on my next adventure.
Trusting my guide’s recommendation, I hopped into the van filled with Spanish tourists eager to explore. We stopped after a 30 minute drive up a big hill into what seemed like an epic expanse of rain forest. It was really a nature preserve filled with canopies, gardens, natural sights, wildlife and trails throughout perfect for self-guided walking tours. I started out on my own while purposefully trying to walk slowly to make sure I would remember every moment. I suddenly felt grateful to be alone to savor this experience.
After walking a bit, snapping pictures of beautiful plants and butterflies along the way, I arrived to a critical stopping point where something suddenly clicked and I was overcome with emotion. There in front of me was the exact same hanging bridge I had come across when first researching Monteverde many months before. Without a concrete plan to reach this place, the symbol of my solo Costa Rican adventure, I made it there–perhaps the universe was guiding me. Before my eyes, my dream became a reality and I continued my tour with a renewed sense of purpose, abundance, and gratitude that I was delivered to the place my imagination had conjured up all this time. Sometimes I get what I want and sometimes I don’t, but no matter what happens, I am always taken care of. Perhaps the same is true for us all. The rest is pura vida.