On Commitment

I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment lately. There are so many things I want to do – sometimes I don’t even know where to begin, or other times I don’t begin at all for fear that I might not finish or, worse, I might not do it perfectly.

I hear it again and again: just start right from where you are. Today I’m remembering to listen to my instincts and intuition which tell me to put some footwork into my dreams. That means I need to study, learn, meditate, reflect, write and practice. I haven’t written in quite some time I think because I’ve had a tough time figuring out where to start. It’s funny how having to think something all the way through before even starting can prevent you from taking action at all. Self-sabotage for me is the fear of not being perfect or not having something I’m super proud to share and broadcast to my network. Not everything has to be perfect. In fact, so many things worthy of sharing and discussing rarely are. It’s the imperfection in things that we relate to that creates community, encourages vulnerability and fosters strong connections. Perfection might be something to strive for, but I have to remember it’s not something I can actually ever attain.

I’m inspired by the recent news bites surrounding Essena O’Neill, the famous insta-model who recently caused a major uproar by posting honest, critical messages across her wildly popular Instagram account exposing the truth behind her modeling career. She, like so many others of late, is sharing honestly about the fallacy of social media and how much tireless work goes into creating a facade of effortlessness in beach-laden imagery and seemingly happy-go-lucky smiling photo spreads. I love everything she’s saying – and just as I was about to suggest you check out her feed, true to her announcement earlier this week, it looks like she’s officially taken it down. Her website, ingeniously titled “Let’s Be Game Changers” ignites a call to action for her fans and onlookers alike to share from the heart, be real, support ethical brands and causes and mostly, connect authentically.

In our hyper connected age of digital everything, it’s too easy to connect with one another at a second’s notice. But are we really connecting? Perhaps the contrary is true. Social media has made it all look like we’re uber-connected but really we’re overwhelmed by options for connecting and in the distraction of choosing the best way to get in touch, we’re excluded from real connection. We’re texting, Face-timing, liking, commenting, scrolling, quoting and tagging but are we really having genuine conversations? Are you asking your friends how they’re really feeling and being open to helping out those in need? Are people sharing on social media what’s really going on or simply putting their best face forward since that’s the image that looks like it will get the most validation? I’m totally a victim of this current paradigm, but I think it’s important to bring to light. After all, it’s what’s kept me from sharing lately even though I’ve felt a definitive pull towards writing and sharing.

Here’s where commitment comes into play. I’m committing to sharing honestly and being vulnerable as a way to inspire others to feel similarly comfortable with being themselves. I’m excited about the current discourse around connection, vulnerability and imperfection, especially the inspiring pieces from Elizabeth Gilbert (amazing podcast inspiration for her book “Big Magic”) and Brene Brown (if you haven’t watched her TED talk on vulnerability, hop to it). I’m thankful for all the people in my life and networks that are doing similar work encouraging people to connect authentically and demonstrating how doing so can be incredibly healing in so many ways. We have so much good work to do!

Commitment to your dreams is an act of Self Love

Commitment to your dreams is an act of Self Love

Back to Basics: Finding My Superpowers

Syd @ Oscars #Selfie

I recently came across an article in Fast Company about how to “Find Your Passion With These 8 Thought-Provoking Questions.” I’ve since thought about all the questions the article raises and want to expand on some of the ones I found most meaningful. My favorites to explore include:

  • What am I doing when I feel most beautiful?
  • What are my super powers?
  • What did you enjoy doing at age 10?
  • What are you willing to try now? 
  • Looking back on your career, 20 or 30 years from now, what do you want to say you’ve accomplished?

The guiding questions help reaffirm my recent decision to pursue something I’ve always felt a calling towards, but didn’t necessarily have the courage to fully pursue. The more freedom I get from the routine I was in for many years, the more I get in touch with how deeply ingrained so many old ideas are in my psyche. For most of my life I had a calling and passion for social justice, helping others and working towards ideals that were deeply important to me. I believed in equality and equal opportunity Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 11.48.46 AMfor all, especially in terms of education and economic sustainability. After graduating college and following my lifelong dream of living in New York City, I quickly found that working in a non-profit like I had always planned wasn’t going to provide enough support needed to sustain a livelihood in NYC. It made me wonder, what about all the other people I grew up with who wanted to help people and work in the social sector? How did other people do it? Did they succeed?

Back to the questions that got me thinking about this in the first place. I feel most beautiful when I am helping others and truly fulfilling what I believe is my real purpose: to listen, facilitate organized communication and help translate ideas into tangible action. These are my superpowers. I can connect with almost anyone and really hear what they have to say. It seems like I have a unique ability to communicate and build bridges with a broad array of people, across different industries and backgrounds. When I was younger I used to nerd out making birthday cards and other art projects for hours on end after school. I loved art so much but not just for the sake of creating art for my own enjoyment–I always wanted to make art for others’ to enjoy. Deep down I always had a powerful drive to create. So now I am willing to revisit this part of me that feels like it was neglected for quite some time. I got caught up Fast Co Quote 2on a path towards stability, adulthood and what I thought was going to lead me to the freedom I thought might come in the form of finances.

You’ll never know until you try. That’s what I keep telling myself and the funny thing is that I really believe it. You might think I’d feel fearful about trying out this new path, but I don’t at all. As soon as I became available to pursue new opportunities as an independent freelancer, new possibilities seemed to magically find me without too much effort from my end. It feels like an uncanny alignment is happening in which the universe wants me to follow this path and is providing in return for my efforts, however small at first. Twenty or thirty years from now, regardless of where I am, I want to look back at say “I tried my best” and I will hopefully feel peace in knowing I gave it my all and didn’t leave an open possibility for what could have been. Regardless of what I will have accomplished by then, I want to know that I accomplished enough in just trying to make something of myself and follow my true calling as opposed to falling into the typical path I can easily go back to marked with security and financial stability–the things I thought might set me free. I can always return to that, but now is my one shot towards following another path where I can honestly admit, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There is something beautiful about not knowing and just simply trusting instead.