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3 Life Lessons Learned from Being My Own Boss

Photo by Tori Barratt Crane
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ~Mahatma Gandhi

A few years ago I was walking to the car, about to jump in the passenger’s side so my husband could drop me off at my job on his way to work. Suddenly my stomach was in knots; my esophagus felt like it was on fire.

This had been happening regularly for a few months, but we’d just gotten back from two weeks of blissful vacation, road tripping up the Pacific Northwest coastline. I had sort of forgotten this misery … until I returned to my job.

The cause and effect were so clear to me at that moment. How could I continue working somewhere that caused me physical pain?

5 Tips to Communicate Better

Photo by AP Photographie
When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed. ~Chuang Tzu

After muscling through a variety of work-related changes, I began to grow frustrated with the upheaval and lack of respect that I perceived I was getting from my coworkers.

I felt as if I possessed the skills required to do the job I was hired to do, but my ideas weren’t receiving the attention they deserved and often times, my presence went completely unnoticed.

The experience pushed me to grow a thick skin, a kind of “I don’t care what you think” attitude. And I was ready to battle anyone that attempted to question my competence or step on my toes.

So when a new team member asked to meet with me after a few incidences where we passive aggressively tried to redo each other’s work, I spent the night going over my responses to the attacks I was sure he was about to wage.

I was confident that I knew what was coming. And I was ready to fight.

5 Lessons I Learned from Going Broke

Photo by Tristan Duplichain Photography
There are people who are so poor, the only thing they have is money. ~Unknown

Three years ago I quit my job as a brand manager to become a freelance writer. I spent half of the first year travelling.

For the next two years I survived on the small income I made from my fledging freelance writing business, supplemented by savings. It’s been a struggle and things did not take off the way I would have hoped. This year money finally ran out.

It’s been a strange experience – having no money (except the little I make with writing and doing house-sitting on the side). Oddly enough, I’m not as freaked out as I thought I would be.

How to Overcome Social Anxiety

Photo by Jade
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ~Helen Keller

Imagine standing in a fancy ballroom in a hotel. You’re at a networking event, one of a handful of females in a room with investors and self-confident entrepreneurs.

You don’t know anyone, so you’re looking down at your smartphone pretending you have a message, but you don’t. You look around, hoping for someone to approach you … but no one does.

That was me, five years ago. Unsure of myself, scared to approach people and telling myself that I was a fake or a phony.

I had just launched a business, and we needed to raise capital — fast. The key to raising money is relationships: You need to meet the right people, get the right introductions and sell your idea.

Those were all things I did NOT want to do.

31 Promises to Change Your Life

Photo by Lauren Hammond
It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go. ~Bob Proctor

As a young girl, I learned early that I was different. I heard family members talking; I heard the mean taunts and the comments about my mother. I was constantly compared to a woman I knew nothing about.

Every time I did something wrong or didn’t get something right, I would brace for the barrage of insults and name calling. The most popular one was “You are going to be just like your mother.” No one had to tell me what that meant. I figured that out early when, at four years old, my cousin nicely told me I would never amount to anything.

I promised myself that I would prove everyone wrong. I would become someone. I worked harder in school and most of all, I did all I could to please everyone I came in contact with. I wanted to make everyone like me and not see the side that my family members saw.

7 Ways to Stay Positive Around Negative People

Photo by Daniel Zedda
It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts. ~Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Have you ever felt trapped in a negative, toxic environment? Did you feel overwhelmed by the negativity, and were you unable to shield yourself from it?

If so, you’re not alone.

Some time ago, I was in an environment that was so toxic that I almost quit my job. I was trapped among endless gossip, mean-spiritedness and backstabbing. I worked every day feeling like I was in self-preservation mode.

My character is strong, resilient and caring, but my work environment made me question that. I thought my positivity would spread to others and be enough to at least slightly improve their outlook — right?

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

6 Steps to Accomplish Anything

Photo by TranXuanLoc
Because this business of becoming conscious is ultimately about asking yourself, 'How alive am I willing to be?' ~Anne Lamott

Last year I wrote about a goal-less New Year: Beginning from a place within that allows you to open more in 2013 — to use less fervent goal-seeking willpower and more awareness when placing intentions.

This is a practical piece on how to intentionally move from this place of willingness, once you’re attuned to that inner self.

Eighteen months ago, I couldn’t sit still in meditation for more than a few minutes. I became either anxious and antsy or really sleepy after several minutes of stillness.

Three years ago, I couldn’t imagine life without chicken and fish. My diet was largely comprised of protein, protein, protein — in the form of animals.

Four years ago, I couldn’t run more than 6 miles. Beyond 6 miles felt like the furthest distance.

Five years ago, I was petrified to start my own real estate business. I was comfortable with being an employee, and starting my own business seemed risky.

How I Found the Courage to Quit My Job

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

I took a bold step last year: I quit my dead-end job to follow my dreams. I’m not going to lie to you and say it was easy. It wasn’t. But over time, it became easier than living through the torture my day-to-day life had become.

Many people would happily follow their passion if they only knew what it was. Others recognize their passion and long to follow it, but don’t have the necessary courage to take that path.

That was me.

By the age of 22, I already knew that an independent freelance lifestyle would suit me best, and I envisioned a future working with animals, and writing. But life led me down a very different path – one that was admittedly easier, but left me feeling like a square peg in a round hole. I took the safe, traditional route and spent years in a series of office jobs that made me desperately unhappy.

Finding the Perfect Job

Photo by Alex Stoddard

Today I received an email from a man named Nick (not his real name) who wants help finding a job. He has two different resumes, one for his “business life” and one for his “adventure life”.

As I browsed through his resumes, his many accomplishments stood out. So I began to wonder why Nick needed my help to find a job? He certainly has his pick of fields from which to choose.

Then it dawned on me. If Nick was a carpenter and only a carpenter, he would search for carpenter jobs. Easy. But, since he is an adventurer as well as a business man with many accomplishments in various fields, the issue really was finding the direction, not finding the job.

How to Make Dreams Come True

Photo by JUCO
Editor’s Note

Pssst... 'Discover You Now' is here. Have a peek here. :)

This week, my husband resigned from his job of 12 years at Amazon.

It’s been an exciting and scary few days…okay, a few weeks… filled with various waves of emotion–anxiety, fear, but also wonder, fulfillment and exhilarating joy.

It reminded me of the emotional ride shortly after I left the comforts of my corporate job, 4 years ago. The emotional struggle was mostly in my head and it whispered words of fear to me, and convincing arguments of why I would fail.

This time around is no different. Perhaps, that sense of fear and uncertainty is further heightened by the fact that we have a son, and both of us will be without the comfort and security of a “real” job to catch us if we fail.

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