Yep, another month down.
October is my favorite month in the city, so I'm sad to see it go. Nevertheless, it's been a very formative few weeks across all facets of my life. I feel like I've said that a lot lately, but I'm just going to embrace it: change, learnings, opportunities. We all can use them.
Practicing often and with others
My high school trig teacher used to say "practice, then practice some more." While she wanted this to apply to math, I find myself coming back to her charge in many other areas. (And admittedly, I don't remember much trig nowadays!)
Mostly, I've felt this around my communication tendencies, specifically when engaging peers and acting on their feedback. I internalize everything and am my own worst critic, so "why bother asking others?" is my first thought. For this reason, I usually shy away from talking about my work in person or in groups. This month, though, I've felt much more myself (more to come on why) and have a better understanding of what I'm doing (and why I want to keep doing it.)
Specifically, this better understanding of myself has helped me in presuming positive intent. It's something we talk about in the office, and it's something that really does need to be practiced—like I'd practice taking photos or running for a race. More often than not, people are willing to talk about their own expertise and provide feedback on yours when areas of interest (and benefit) overlap. A personal brand is personal, but I'm learning that it's still important to have outside input to help separate me from well me.
Bottom line: Practice your trade, practice telling others about your work (and asking for help), and practice presuming positive intent when receiving others' feedback.
Reaching for a disciplined, healthy life
I've mentioned before about my summer-long issues with sleep by outlining a few preliminary ways to get things back on track. As an update, I'm pleased to say that these efforts are paying off after the first two months.
Now, there have been so many things happening in the past four-six weeks, but the important thing is that I'm sleeping—and I have a much better mood throughout the day. Additionally, I'm not ashamed anymore to admit that my body requires more sleep than most (well, maybe just more scheduled, disciplined sleep; I don't have data points to prove this).
Now that I've gotten sleep down, I've started to add physical fitness back into the routine. It's hard for me to believe because physical activity didn't use to be a chore, but that was back when I was running with a team that had a regular training schedule and competition. I'm slowly starting to get into the groove and feel like I'm already seeing results (maybe that's wishful thinking). Ultimately, my dad would be saying "told you so" because it's all things he wanted to me do years ago, like daily pushups, etc.
Bottom line: Don't be afraid to sleep (even if that means leaving social things early), and stay active.
Dreaming big but be flexible
Things won't always go perfectly the first time (if ever at all), so it's important to allow yourself the nimbleness to correct as you go. Break down the big dreams into realistic "little wins" in order to prepare for the big ones. For me, this blog has been a large part of my New York story. And yet, I don't have a huge following. While that's not my main driver, I must confess that it comes to mind more often than I'd like.
In my church small group, we've recently talked a lot about faithfulness and being consistent no matter the circumstance. We make big dreams for ourselves, but it's important as a Christian to surrender those plans to the Lord's will. These things might still happen, but it won't be on our own accord—it's our allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us and trusting that we're using our God-given gifts for His glory.
For now, I'm not sure what this blog will become. Yes, I've tried a bunch of things and taken a lot of photos (travel, fashion, people). Sure, my initial dream was to get paid to travel and write about what I see while wearing awesome clothes. Yes, there are real people that do this, and they do it well. I'm not saying I still wouldn't like that, but I no longer see that as a realistic crossroads of my interests/gifts and the world's needs/opportunities. Regardless, I'm resting in the present times and enjoying this blogger world, and I fully believe that this practice is going to help me engage more openly and boldly with the word (even if the free stuff never comes).