Real Talk | Get Real and Persevere
I have hours of writing ahead of me and work to get done, but I wanted to write this post because I feel like it's something important to share on a personal level as we start this New Year.
My friend Lucrecer starts her year with a word. She wrote a great post about it yesterday you should definitely check out, and as the clock struck midnight and I said goodbye to 2016, I decided that my word would be Authenticity, but then I saw Katy Perry tweet that and I immediately hated it for myself, but it was a theme I knew I had to carry into the New Year.
We all know I had yet another life change this last Fall. A tough one that needed to happen because that authenticity piece of the puzzle had totally left the building. I go into further detail about this in the newest In This Life that comes out Monday, but for all of the professional coaching that I do in the Digital Media space that harps on authenticity versus curating a magazine worthy life...as the friend who chewed me out on Christmas Eve put it...
"Your entire life started imploding on New Year's Eve last year, and if we judged your life based on your Instagram feed, you had a pretty gorgeous life of candles, notebooks, and beverages in 2016. You're full of shit, Jenn. Full. Of. Shit."
So now what?
You heard me. Fucking PANIC.
No, I don't mean freak out and become even more self-destructive. I mean, freak out, have a brutally honest conversation with yourself, and make a plan. Figure it out. I mean REALLY figure it out. I couldn't even have this conversation with myself in the stark, ugly way it needed to happen until after Christmas.
It was in that panic I made a move and took a risk. Something I would have never done had the rug not been yanked out from under me, forcing me to think outside the box.
I have dreams for this little boutique media firm of mine, and I know it's going to get there. However, in the meantime, there are bills to pay. I know I am are good, damn good, but not "quit my dayjob" good. Partly because I'm a terrible salesperson. I do not have the chops to go out and cold call potential clients. I am a creative. No shame in that game at all, but my dream isn't going to be a reality until I can pay someone to sell.
I reached out to a mentor of mine with a huge Digital Media company. They had a job available in a city a couple of hours from me that was a bit out of my league. Ok, majorly out of my league, but since I had nothing to lose, I went ahead and sent my resume. I then fangirled this guy so hard on Snapchat, you would hide your eyes in shame.
During this whole mess, I decided I did want to make a mark in digital media as a creative. I want my personal brand to be a leader in a few years. I finally know what direction I want to go in with this site. Part of that is going to be playing the game and doing all of those things I always considered myself way too cool to do.
Playing the game means sending your resume to your dream company for a job you're not all that qualified to do, and fangirling the CEO hard on Snapchat. I cringed typing that. But look where being the 'cool' kid has gotten me. Eff it. The thirst is real, so why even hide it anymore.
So today is the first day 'back to work' for everyone and I started the day psyched about all of the major changes I had put into place in my life a couple of weeks ago and ready for some momentum to happen. At this point, if something didn't happen, I would be slinging beers at the local pub on the weekend, selling cars during the week, and doing this nights and weekends. I was really at peace with it. So what if people had a good chuckle that I had to be a bar wench at 37 to pay the bills? Those same people cheat the system, lay in bed all day, and basically live off someone who goes to work for them. I am willing to do what I need to do to follow my purpose and remain independent.
But this morning turned to afternoon with my email empty and my phone not ringing.
I started to panic and doubt crept in. Fear, really. What if I am making the totally wrong move again? Maybe I need to go back to Chicago... just a whirlwind of doubt and fear came over me and "What in the HOLY HELL AM I GOING TO DO?" rose to the surface.
I literally stopped myself in my office and said, "No! Stop it. You are going to make it. You are not going to go back to Chicago and someone who calls you a whore because it's easier. No. Not ever. Never. Get to work."
I sat down, opened my laptop, and wrote the CEO of that company I applied to an email and copied every single other person in that company I could think of, I even cc'ed my brother thinking he would recognize the name and reply. Just a generic follow-up email to make sure they got my resume, blah, blah, blah.
Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even a generic auto response.
Two hours went by.
Then my phone rang. It had a weird name attached to the number like I had saved it in my phone, from a weird area code. I literally stared at it for a minute while it rang going, "Huh?" Then my brain kicked in and was all, "Answer it, stupid!"
So I answered. On the other end was the CEO of this company. Talking to me like I was a friend he had been meaning to call all morning, but got too busy. I stood in my kitchen frozen for the first three minutes of the conversation not quite knowing what was happening. Why in the hell would this guy be calling some triple Z-list wannabe in Atlanta, GA? It simply did not compute. Guys like him have assistants with assistants to do this stuff.
Turns out he didn't think I was right for the job 2 hours away. It wasn't 'the best use of your talent,' as he said. But! Don't despair sad wannabe in Atlanta! He looked through my work, thought I was wildly talented, and made a call to a firm here in the city, pulled some strings, and "I need you to go meet the team at 11am tomorrow. Oh and call this guy, he's probably your new boss. I think you'll be a great team."
After I finished dying and texting everyone I knew.."HOLY MOTHER EFFING EFF! GUESS WHAT JUST HAPPENED OMG!" I called who could potentially be my new boss and we spent 45 minutes nerding out hard over the science of Digital Media. He happens to need a creative just like me with the exact skills I possess. I will see them at 11am tomorrow.
I took a break to type all of this out because I want to let you know that if you're in a rebuild right now or any kind of crossroads, it happened to you because it needed to happen. It sucks, you hate it, but the door won't open because it's not your door. Had I not completely panicked this morning, I would have never sent that email. You have to sit down and figure shit out. Ask yourself the scary questions and give yourself the scary answers in return. My friend I was talking about earlier told me over Christmas that I keep making the same mistakes because I didn't have a clear vision for the future. It was true. So I made a vision for my future. Unfortunately when you want something, it's usually uncomfortable getting there.
Authenticity will be a major theme of 2017, because it's important to share our experiences. It keeps the denial away. I have no doubt that had I shared what I was going through last year instead of curating a narrative, it probably wouldn't have manifested itself like it did by virtue of just saying it out loud. Can't deny something you acknowledge, right?
While that will be the theme, I think the word for this year will be perseverance. You keep pushing toward that vision of the future. You feel the fear, panic, do things you wouldn't normally do, all to keep that momentum moving in the right direction. Sometimes it isn't about things getting better or worse, but getting out of your own way.