Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Archive for the ‘failure’ Category

Expected and Unexpected Changes

A Lesson A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

There are two things I’ve learned while occupying this meat suit. 1. Life is about change. If you’re not changing, you’re neither living nor progressing. 2. Large changes occur as a result of a lot of smaller changes which act as the building blocks for the larger ones.

So for the past few months I’ve been retraining my brain to recognize the small changes and more, the opportunities to make those small changes as I move from one day to the next. All too often, I’ll start doing something, only to realize that my actions are the result of a bunch of those small changes.

Take for instance, the slow but recognizable progress I’m making to release a large quantity of fat. The first step was to start altering my eating habits and the way I look at food. The second was to get into the habit of moving more than simply my hourly forays to the bathroom. Suddenly, I have more energy, more focus and I’m feeling overall, much better than I have in awhile. I stretch, take deep breaths and allow things to flow instead of creating little road blocks in myself. In the midst of it all, we have to start looking at ourselves differently; not as someone to be ashamed of, but as who we really are inside, beneath the layers, both physical and perceptual,  we’ve built to protect our soft, marshmallow centers.

Celebrating the Effects of an Improved Outlook

I look in the mirror and my skin looks clearer, my face isn’t quite so pudgy and I smile at the woman looking back at me as if sharing a private joke…and maybe we are. Last night while watching a movie on Netflix, I pulled out the nail polish remover to clean up the printer ink which had exploded all over my hand. One thing led to another and I ended up polishing my nails for the first time in months.

It may seem like a small thing, but it’s just another step in self-care. If we’re not happy with ourselves, we’re not going to go the extra mile to make ourselves look good on the outside, right?

Getting It Done, One Goal At A Time

One of my innercises today suggested writing down three goals for the day. Today, I had my 3 goals in my head, but never wrote them down. Tonight, I’ve written the three goals for tomorrow on a sticky note, and am considering doing this every night before I go to bed. I’ll stick it on my monitor so I see it before I check email or any of the other things I do when I first sit down at the computer. I could actually make a sticky note with 3 goals for each of the next 3 or 4 days, but that locks me in and doesn’t allow for changes which might occur between now and then. So, for now, setting my goals the night before will suffice.

In truth, I feel really good about today. Although the only real exercise I got was putting out the trash and fighting with a recalcitrant hose, I did my innercising and finished the article for the chef I interviewed. I’m pretty pleased with the result, and not nearly as nervous about the next two interviews now. I’ve come up with both an interview style and the resulting article style which works for me, and bears little resemblance to what I’ve seen written by others. Now I’m just waiting to see what the publicists and PR people think. If getting other chefs to talk about themselves is as easy as the first one was, there shouldn’t be a re-run of the pre-interview stomach churning, nerve-fest, which is a real relief! As usual, the anticipation didn’t even come close to the reality. The reality was much better!

At the Forefront of My Mind: How Do I Get More Clients?

Although my pitching chops still need exercising, I’m noticing more and more opportunities and passing them on to my photographer friend. But at some point, I’m going to have to pitch someone myself. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes open for opportunities which have more substance than the cold pitching I tried earlier this year and yes, failed miserably. From those failures I learned a few things. The most important was to have a really strong vision of what I want to write about, and be able to communicate it clearly and with a sense of passion which will make the reader want more. Just as a novel needs a hook, so, too does a pitch if it is going to be successful.

Who Knew Becoming a Better Me Could be so Satisfying?

This self-improvement stuff really takes on many forms. As imperfect beings, we have plenty of room for improvement in all aspects of our lives: physical, mental, emotional…the list goes on and on. Can we ever really be too grateful? Or too kind? When it comes to good qualities, there’s always room for more.

I’m finding so much satisfaction in reflecting back on my day and being able to say: “I accomplished so much today. I’m proud of what I did. I’m proud of how well I took care of myself. This has been a very good day.” I look forward to many more very good days, and even, when the changes start to multiply, some absolutely extraordinary ones.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the changes that are occurring in my life.
2. I am grateful for productive days.
3. I am grateful for freedom from pain which leads to improved sleep.
4. I am grateful for the company of my furry supervisors.
5. I am grateful for abundance: change, lessons, opportunities, productivity, love, joy, kindness, compassion, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

July 21, 2015 Fighting Freelance Frustration and Failure

Taking All of the Steps But Coming Up Empty

A couple of months ago, I took Gina Horkey’s Freelance course. Though I thought I put each of the steps into practice, I have gained a friend, but not the livelihood for which I’d studied. To add further insult to injury, I joined her Facebook group where it seems that everyone in there except me has had success pitching jobs. I’m now forced to ask myself, what am I doing wrong?

I do OK when I log onto one of those content mill sites and write something for one of their clients. In fact, I have a 100% success rate. But do I really want to spend my time writing and researching a decent post for 8 bucks a post? I can answer that question without a nanosecond of hesitation. I’d do better to put that time into my fiction and my own blog. I tried cold-pitching, first with someone I already knew, then with several chiropractors. The first gave me a “thanks, but no thanks” response. After several days of silence, and not even a read receipt from the chiropractors, I got emails from several including my own doctor, only to learn that they all just subscribed to a single location which wrote their content. All they had to do was to send the link to their own subscribers. So that was a bust as well.

I’m thinking I need to just research and write a post on the top 10 frustrations facing freelance writers trying to gain a foothold in what we’re told repeatedly is an industry desperate for writers.

Frustration Can Be A Strong Motivator

Since nobody was beating down my door looking for blog posts or web content, I turned my attention to one of the books I’d bought on writing; this time, Ray Bradury’s version. There, I found some encouragement and inspiration, even if it wasn’t directly related to selling my writing. His style and encouragement convinced me to stop beating myself up over how little editing I’d done on Sasha’s Journey, and just start writing for an hour a day (though, for now, it’s every two days, but I have always given myself credit for the baby steps). In the process of following this new path, I’m about 1800 words into a new short story. Though I’m not breaking any records yet, at least I’m now moving in the right direction.

What I’ve discovered is that when I try to actively monetize my writing, something always gets in my way. When I just write for the love of the written word, or about something I feel passionate about, the words flow like water. This is evidenced by the last couple of blog posts I wrote, both over 1000 words.

Overcoming the Physical Obstacles

As I reminisce about the physical challenges brought on in June and July by shoulder and neck issues, it occurs tDerailed Traino me that my train was derailed last year due to sinus and ear infections at just about the same time. Is there something about this time frame? Do I have a regular date with frustration and poor self-esteem in the early months of summer? Do I simply get off track and my body chooses this time to remind me of my real purpose? Is this the Universe’s oh-so-subtle way of saying Girl, if you keep going down this path, you’re just going to wind up being another easily-forgettable train wreck. Now get your little choo-choo back on the tracks and make me proud! Gotta love the perverse sense of humor and twisted sort of pleasure the Universe likes to have at my expense.

Once again, I find myself questioning everything from the yogurt I had for breakfast to the Leap of Faith I took when this whole thing really began and wonder for the kazillionth time if I’ve made a huge, irreversible mistake. I wonder if it’s time to go to Plan Q and go back into the work force until I can get my little enterprise up and running, whether that enterprise be freelancing or fiction writing. OK, so in a lot of ways, they bear a striking resemblance to each other. Either way, I still have to do research and put some believability and even credibility into the words I pen. I still get up nearly every morning and read something or write something, and sometimes I even do both!

So yes I’m frustrated and feeling like I’m wearing my failure face, but thankfully, it just strengthens my resolve. I may not know where I’m really going, much less, how I’ll go about getting there, but when push comes to shove, I still believe in myself.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s challenges.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to question my own decisions.
3. I am grateful for the successes of others who’ve trod my path as it tells me that I, too can succeed, and succeed in a grand way.
4. I am grateful for the physical ailments which have added new movement to my daily routine. The cats may not like the waiting for their breakfast while I stretch my sleep-stiff bones, but they sure don’t complain about my willingness to get up, move around and take care of the rest of their needs as a result.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, motivation, inspiration, shared success stories, words on the page, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

photo credit: Photograph of postcard of wreck of the Delaware and Hudson train via photopin (license)

February 20, 2015 The good, the bad and the ugly

Delayed reaction to my own unkindness

Tonight as I sat here working on the Holly Lisle writing course I began this week I was reading about how feeling can be a hindrance as much as it is a help to a writer, when my mind started to wander. Where it wandered now makes me cringe as in all of my efforts to be kinder, I failed myself last night. I can justify my behavior until the cows come home, but when the dust clears, I still failed myself and treated someone unkindly. My reasons might have seemed justified at the time, but there are many other ways I could have handled the situation rather than rude behavior and trash mouthing the woman. Some of my reasons certainly had to do with the way I’d been treated, but most had to do with the treatment of others.

What I realized as I tried to focus on the words in front of me was that I am not responsible for the feelings of my friends. I can care about them and be there to listen if they need someone to talk to while they work through their pain, but I can’t fix anything for them, and being rude to someone on their behalf, or in my twisted belief that it’s on their behalf is, to put it simply, stupid. It only makes me the small, nasty person.

More and more, my lessons smack me right between the eyes

I am in a bit of a quandary as to how to calmly explain to this person that I am really not interested in friendship, but my reasons would be filled with my own perceptions, which she is certain to attempt to refute. She is also an expert at playing the victim (another part of my reading tonight) and I have a knee-jerk reaction to victims which, again, is anything but kind.

So I’m doing what I often do when faced with a problem I can’t find the solution to: I’m writing about it. Granted, in the past, my mental gymnastics occurred in the privacy of a Word document stored on my personal computer, but I’ve learned that quite often, something which challenges me has challenged others as well, and though they might not have a solution for me, simply sharing my humanness shows others that maybe it is OK to be human and make mistakes and do unkind things now and then. Maybe it’s OK to not be perfect and to fret over things we can’t really change, or that are truly somebody else’s problem instead of ours. And above all, it is OK to care about our friends and take issue when we believe they’ve been treated badly. Even if it turns out that we’re completely wrong in how we see a situation, it’s simply part of being human and learning as we go.

My Lamaze teacher told us “Baby’s don’t come with a manual. You just have to learn as you go.” I think this applies to life in general. Our parents and our teachers try to give us some tools to help us along the way, but in most cases, it is up to us to exercise the trial and error method until we find what not only works, but what feels right to us.

Not everyone will set themselves a goal to be kinder, and it is not necessary for everyone to do so. Someone who is here to experience life as a murderer or a pedophile isn’t likely to count kindness as a necessary attribute.

I know I may lose a few people here so let me just qualify this by saying that everything I write in my blog is from my own belief system. I am not trying to convince anyone that my way is the right way, much less the only way. It is simply the one which works for me.

Our goals and aspirations change throughout our lives (or I hope they do!). I know that I could have cared less about kindness as I was trying to make my way up the corporate ladder, back when I actually believed that it mattered and that it was what I truly wanted. If you are lucky enough to have an epiphany at some point in your life, though, you can expect your goals and aspirations to change, at least somewhat, because that epiphany is going to change how you look at things forever more. Mine in particular made me take a good hard look at my career and ask myself “Why am I really doing this? Is it fulfilling in any real way? Is it feeding my soul?”

When the only answer I could come up with was ‘Well, it pays the bills and allows me to have more stuff’, I knew it was time for a radical change. Admittedly, I was fortunate enough to have some resources to carry me through for awhile, but there’s nothing like a dwindling bank account to make you think and rethink a radical life change.

But I leapt in with both feet and a heart filled with Faith in a positive outcome, and though I’ve had a million second thoughts, I have not yet looked back and asked “What was I thinking? Why did I do something so stupid and reckless?”

What I have said on many occasions is “I’m so glad I had the guts and the resources to make a dramatic change in my life and follow my passion. Life may not be perfect but I am so much happier with myself and everything in my life right now, that if I were to have the chance to go back, I’d make the same choice again.”

Each lifetime is a work in progress

I look at each day as an opportunity to do better, accomplish more, be a little kinder and add another goal to my list. I don’t expect to get it all right the first time, but it’s not really about the destination anyway. It’s about the people we meet and the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn and the adventures we take which really makes it all worthwhile. The fact is, before I dove off the deep end, my life was dull and bland. I took no risks and followed the same old pattern week after week. Now, every day is an adventure, and a clean slate upon which I can write, both literally and figuratively.

Adventures are amazing. I recommend them highly. Don’t wait until you’re too old and tired to test your own limits!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the mistakes I make. Without them, I would never learn anything.
2. I am grateful for adventures with no guarantees. It is me who makes them succeed or fail, and if I do fail, I do so gloriously and dramatically.
3. I am grateful for chocolate. Sometimes, it just makes things all better.
4. I am grateful for my weird schedule. I am not a morning person so I do all of my fiddling and fussing during the day to leave my nights clear to write and study.
5. I am grateful for abundance: mistakes, lessons, differences, successes, failures, adventures, inspiration, crazy dreams, friends, kindness, love, joy, happiness, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: