Have any of you watched The OA yet on Netflix? I don’t watch a ton of TV, but a few weeks ago I had a night to myself and started it on a whim. I got hooked. And when I like something, I can’t just like it. I have to obsessively Google the back story and learn about the people behind the projects, and I go down an internet rabbit hole of short lived obsession. Totally normal, right?
Before watching this show, I had never heard of Brit Marling. What interested me was that she not only stars in the series, but was one of the creators of the show. So here’s a woman who had a story to tell, and made it happen in a very big way. I love that! What’s more – I came across this video interview with her, where she discusses leaving her cushy corporate gig at Goldman Sachs to pursue her passion.
Sounded quite a bit like my own story (litigation paralegal turned interior designer). When I get into a comparison hole and wonder why I’m not further ahead on my current path, I need to just remind myself that I did it backwards. And dreams take a long time to pin down into specifics, so it’s not such a bad deal that I’m still working it all out. The fact that I am is what matters.
Do any of you have a back up plan? Or a dream you are saving for later on down the road? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Back in early March, I was sitting on my sister’s couch, crying my eyes out in the middle of the night. Things were horribly, yet inexplicably wrong at my job (my dream job!) and the anxiety of returning to a toxic workplace had ruined the end of my week long vacation in Phoenix. The feeling crept up on me, until it had totally overwhelmed me and stopped my ability to enjoy a single moment of the day. Imagine Sunday Anxiety x 1000.
Earlier that day as we wandered through the aisles of a Native American Market, I felt lost and hopeless, touching every stone and asking what they meant. Where was the thing that would purify my soul? Where was the thing that could protect me? I allowed my mom and sister to dawdle at the booths and rushed ahead of them so they would not see that I was crying. Something in me had cracked and broken, but I did not know what it was.
During these last few months I have really been thinking hard about what I want, and what I need to do to get it. I waver back and forth between finding a mentor to guide me for a few years and taking a leap of faith to go out on my own. Currently, I’m straddling that line with freelance work. I’ve taken the steps to register my own business (no easy task with the way Illinois government offices are designed to provide confusing information), but fallen short on actually starting. In a way, I see this blog as a step towards my goal of total creative independence, but I have days where I’m unmotivated, or question what my purpose is. And then I remember – I specifically set out to have no purpose so that this project could evolve along with me.
Part of my problem is that I’m always looking to others to determine what I want, and using their accomplishments as a scale to measure my own success. Of course I’m never going to feel good about how I’m doing if I only look to others how they are now, and ignore their process along the way. I am trying to remind myself in moments of frustration that everyone at the top had to start from somewhere, and the most important thing was that they started. Easy, right?
The below quote has lately been popping up all over the internet in various forms, and I think it’s applicable in so many ways.
I am majorly guilty of spending way too much time on Pinterest and Instagram. What starts out as something that is fun and inspiring, usually leads to me sinking into a black pit of despair. My life and accomplishments are not picture perfect, and therefore unworthy. It doesn’t even matter if what I see online isn’t what I wanted for myself. Someone else has it, and now I can see that I don’t. Sigh…
My career path has taken many twists and turns over the last few years. Some of it has to do with the fact that if something is not in line with my end goal, I find it hard to continue on that path. Some of it has to do with the fact that I made incorrect assumptions about how I would feel and what I would learn while pursuing certain opportunities. I was lead starry-eyed into a hot young design firm, and killed myself trying to fit into their mold. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t right. Generally, my fight or flight response defaults towards flight, and I flew.
So here I am, attempting to stick with something I decided to do, even if I don’t exactly know what that fully entails. Below are some key points I’m trying to remind myself of daily.
Small triumphs still count. Why do I have to wait until I’m world-famous to feel like I’ve had a successful career? Can I stop for a moment and feel good about how I handled that client meeting last week? Can I be proud of the hard work I do on a daily basis? Pretty sure the answer is yes.
The end goal is never the end. Thinking only about the end goal is often enough to stop me in my tracks. I imagine this state of perfect satisfaction once I achieve X in my career. But that imagined state is just a snapshot, and not the full picture. What happens when I get what I wanted? Experience tells me I’m going to want something else, and the cycle will continue. I have to be ok with how things are in the present, and if I’m not, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate my priorities.
I can appreciate what others do without being convinced that I should do the same thing. This is a huge one or me. Earlier this week, I listed to the FOMO episode of Andy Miller’s Creative Peptalk podcast. It was perfect timing for me, as I do tend to see other successful creatives, and feel pressure to do as they do. What’s great for someone else is not necessarily great for me, and vice versa.
I’d love to hear from others – what are some key things that helped you through a turning point in your career or personal life?