The 365 Day Challenge: Featuring “The Flinch”

So this week has been relatively uneventful for me in this 365 day writing journey. So, I’ve decided to feature one of the best books I’ve ever read (and reread x 50) to show you all one of the things I draw inspiration from.

“The Flinch” by Julien Smith is not a very long book, available in PDF and only 38 pages, but in my opinion it is massively impactful. I’ve read self-help and career books in the past and, honestly, most of the lose me halfway through because the advice gets lost in the author pontificating about why they’re so successful. This book, to me, is the perfect length to read and return to whenever I’m in a funk. I won’t try to explain it or analyze it for you, I just think you should read it.

So here’s the link, and I hope you enjoy it! Click Here for Julien Smith’s “The Flinch”

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The 365 Day Challenge: Trying Something New

Growing up I always saw my mom hunched over on her knees with her nose in her flower beds. I’d come and go, not appreciating to the full extent the hours she spent making our house look beautiful inside and outside. I just assumed that the countless flowers, bushes, and herbs surrounding our house magically reappeared every year as lovely as ever without any effort. Well let me tell you that is utterly false.

After years of hopping from one apartment to another, I’ve finally settled into a home that has room for all the beautiful things my mom used to work so hard on – flowers, bushes, and herbs, oh my! But walking in to my first Saturday afternoon spent gardening I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I literally went to the store and picked out the flowers I thought were pretty, not kidding. While I considered the signs shouting “annual”, “perennial”, and “6 hours of sunlight”, it didn’t really matter all that much to me as I snatched up piles of white, purple, and pink flowers. I even picked up a lavender plant with a vision of myself delicately snipping some lavender to add to a bouquet on our dinner table someday. I figured the best way to try something new like this was just to dive right in and give it a shot.

After hours of arranging, measuring, planting, and pruning – not having any idea what I was doing, just hoping it would turn out okay – I proudly showed my display to Jake (my boyfriend) who was slaving away on our backyard deck and patio. He commended me on a job well done and I felt immense satisfaction for trying something new, even if I wasn’t sure I could actually keep the flowers alive.  Later on I told Jake’s mom (an avid, experienced gardener) about my triumph, mentioning my lavender plant, and I quickly found out from her that lavender plants grow WAY bigger than I anticipated. With her experience, she had tons of tips and tricks to give me as I start to explore the world of gardening.

While I can report, after 3 days, my flowers are still alive, I had to uproot my lavender plant and move it to an area where it could spread out. Who knew that lavender (and apparently rosemary) can explode into a large bush if you tend to it correctly? There’s just so much more to learn. After all, it’ll take some time to see if I’ve got the green thumb, so at this point I’m just trying to make sure my flowers survive the week.

So what’s the moral of this story? Trying something new can be fun, so don’t be afraid if you don’t know everything before you jump in. Even if you make mistakes, being humble and asking for advice is okay. You’ll never know everything and sometimes the best way to learn is from those around you. Granted, this meant I didn’t write at all on Saturday, but I believe it’s important to try new things because you might discover a passion you never knew you had – it’s okay to have more than one!

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The 365 Day Challenge: Avoidance is Easy

There will always be things in our lives that we don’t want to do. Whether it’s laundry, cleaning, getting out of bed, or work, it can be like pulling teeth to get motivated to do something you don’t want to do. It would be nice if everything we wanted in life just came to us, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, to wear clothes you have to wash them, to have a fresh space you have to clean it, and to strive for your best self you have to get out of bed and get to work. Maybe it’s not your day-to-day work that irks you, perhaps it’s going the extra mile to get your side hustle up and running. This might be late nights and early mornings, writing uncomfortable emails, meeting a stranger, and putting yourself out there. Avoiding the tough stuff in life can be easy, but without it, can you really get what you want?

In both my “9 to 5” and my side hustle (this blog) I’ve come face to face with avoidance – times when I’ve delayed a tough conversation, expressing my true feelings, or putting in the actual work that needed to be done. But more often than not, when I avoid something, it looms in the background noise of my brain, taking up more and more space until I just go ahead and deal with it. Then there are the times where avoidance leads to acceptance that you’re not going to follow through, which creates missed opportunities and regret.

It took me feeling the regret of missed opportunities over several years for me to realize that avoidance isn’t going to do me any good. For example, it took a few years and job roles for me to realize my professional worth. I missed opportunities to ask for the raise I deserved because it was easier to avoid the hard conversation, but when I finally overcame my avoidance, I was able to have that tough conversation more than once to get what I deserved. What’s great about overcoming avoidance once is it shows you that you can do it again, which makes it easier in the long run.

This is also true when it comes to connecting with the people around you. It can be scary and easy to avoid meeting new people, even if they can help you grow professionally and personally. You have to step outside your box to reach out and hope that they respond the way you hope. Then, you have to actually go and meet them, tell your story, listen, and make the first step towards a new relationship. Say you’re given a contact that could help you grow your side hustle, but you can’t seem to make the time to write an email to say hello. Is it the fear of rejection that’s stopping you? It’s easier to just avoid it altogether even if this person could help you and you could be missing a great opportunity to meet someone new. Guess what, the worst that can happen is they don’t respond at all or they say they’re not interested, but isn’t that better than not trying at all?

Avoidance is easy. It’s easier to Netflix binge instead of cleaning or doing laundry. It’s easier to sleep the day away instead of getting to work. But once you’ve binged and slept to your heart’s content, you end up with a dirty house, no clothes, and missed opportunities. When you overcome your avoidance and take the chance, do the work, you find opportunities that leave you feeling happier and more fulfilled than you were before. So the next time something hard comes along, take a second to realize that avoiding the tough stuff doesn’t get you anywhere but staying exactly where you are. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather keep moving forward!

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