Tag Archives: quarter lifer

7 Steps To Turning Your Passion Into A Fulfilling Career

11 Feb

“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” — E. M. Forster

You may have already read my Super Quick Guide to Finding Your Passion. (If not, go read it, I’ll wait.) And you may have already come up with a list of possibilities as to what your true passion is. But you might be stuck as to how to transform these passions into a viable career. Check out the simple process below to start living your dream.

  1. Submerge yourself – Choose 3-5 options on your list that excite you most. Now go and learn everything you possibly can about each subject one at a time. Read books on it, talk to people who are experts in that field, read relevant blogs. Do everything you can to learn about the subject at hand. Start taking notes on what skills you’d need to master and what else you’d need to learn to become an expert in this field. Live, eat and breathe your topic but be careful of analysis paralysis. Don’t spend too much time in this phase of the process.
  2. Narrow things down – Take a look at your shortened list and be honest about which items you’d like to keep on there. You may have already eliminated options after you started researching them. Be careful not to nix subjects because you don’t feel they are realistic. Only get rid of the options that you don’t feel as passionate about or wouldn’t fit in with what you want from your life.
  3. Test it out – Here’s the most important step. Now you may be left with 1 – 3 options. Prioritize which possibility you’d like to experiment with first and start doing it. Do you want to become an author? Start writing. A speaker? Start speaking. You can start small but try to make it public as soon as you can. By going public you’ll be motivated to improve, you’ll get feedback from others and you’ll begin building your reputation. Going public doesn’t have to be something grandiose. It can be as simple as letting your friends and family know that you’re dabbling in image consulting or as easy as starting a blog on photography. Focus on the feeling you get when you’re doing your thing. Does it get you excited? Do you look forward to doing it?
  4. Evaluate – After you’ve tested out each of your remaining possibilities. Evaluate how each of them made you feel. Which gets you the most excited? Which of these can produce something that people will pay for or get excited about? Which can you see yourself doing for years? Don’t worry about whether or not it’s a traditional career path. Pick one – or two at the most – and focus on that.
  5. Confront your fears & limiting beliefs – Facing your fears can be challenging. After all, our fears often act as a defense mechanism to ensure we don’t get hurt or disappointed. The first step is acknowledging what you’re afraid of. Then think about why it is there. Is your fear trying to protect you in some way? Next dispute your fear – think of examples that challenge your fear. For example, if you believe that you could never make money doing what you love think of examples of others who are doing precisely that. Ask yourself. “what’s the worst that can happen?” Most of the time, it’s nothing you can’t handle. Lastly, plan and prepare for taking your next steps. If you have a solid plan, there is less to fear. Take small steps and focus on the present. Make sure to congratulate yourself on your small victories as you move forward.
  6. Decide what you can sacrifice – Now it’s time to find the time to pursue your passion. If this is something that is truly important to you then you’ll be able to find time to squeeze it in. Prioritize your life so that you have the time to put in the work you need. Maybe this means you have to wake up earlier or stay up later. Or maybe you have to work through lunch or on your weekends. Figure out what it takes and get it done.
  7. How to make a living doing it –  Ah, this is the biggie. This won’t happen overnight. You’ll have to discover your passion and become great at it. It might take time – months or years – but if this is truly what you’re passionate about then you’ll enjoy the ride. There are a lot of ways to make a living through your passion. You may have to change jobs or go back to school. Perhaps you just need a certification or an apprenticeship. Or you can work for yourself. You can look into consulting or freelance work. You can develop a product – either an information product like an e-book or a physical product like dresses. You can even make a living through writing a blog. The world is your oyster. Be creative and seize the day.

None of this will be easy. It takes a lot of soul-searching, experimentation and courage. Most of all it takes a lot of commitment. But it’s definitely worth it so that you can look forward to Mondays instead of dreading them.

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Need more help discovering your passion? Or have you figured it out but have no idea how to incorporate it into your daily life? Contact me [nblades@gmail.com] about my coaching packages designed to help you live the life you deserve!

Friday Wrap-up – 1st Week of Feb Edition

5 Feb

Good Morning!

It’s a dreary Friday morning here in Los Angeles, the perfect weather to snuggle up on the couch (or in front of your computer monitor at work!) and read some interesting blog posts or sites I stumbled upon this last week.

Go Red & Give Campaign – Join the American Heart Association in their fight against heart disease. Wear red today to support the cause and be sure to look into donating your time or money if you can. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in America so it’s definitely a worthy cause

Thankful For – thankfulfor.com is a personal gratitude journal. Just sign up and type in what you’re grateful for today. You can keep it private or share it via Twitter or Facebook.

Vegan Wonton Recipe – I love wontons but had never found a good recipe for them until now. Here it is!

19 Tips to Cheering Yourself Up – Gretchen Rubin shares a list of Happiness tips from 200 years ago! If you haven’t check out The Happiness Project yet, go. Now!

6 Steps to Better Pay – A lot of women are still having a difficult time asking for what they are worth. Whether you are self-employed or work for the man, these are great tips for making sure you’re compensated properly.

Top 10 Tax Time Tips – Tax time is here again – ugh. Outright offers some tips getting the most out of your filing, particularly if you sell anything online.

Have a great Superbowl weekend! Go Saints!!

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Just Say No!

4 Feb

“Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” -Richard Bach

As kids of the 80’s we’re all familiar with the anti-drug campaign “Just Say No!” And it’s so simple right – if it’s something you don’t want or better yet is harmful for you, you should simply say No. But in reality how many of us end up doing things that we’d rather not be doing because we just have a hard time saying no. I cannot tell you the countless committees I’ve signed up for, lunches I’ve attended and money I’ve spent because I agreed to something against my better judgment. Why do we do this to ourselves? We are just piling on extra work  or spending extra money which in the end just brings extra stress. And when we are driven to do something simply because we believe that we should, it often breeds resentment. Think about it: Are you more likely to accomplish a goal when you truly want to or when you are doing it for someone else? It’s much easier to feel content and productive when you have internal inspiration driving you. No one likes doing something just because they think they should. The next time you are faced with accepting or declining an offer, think through these 3 questions:

  1. Is this something I want to do – This is pretty simple. If you ask yourself if you truly want to do something and all you hear back is a resounding ‘NO!’ then you have your answer
  2. Is this something I have the ability to do – Sometimes we may want to do something but financial or time constraints may be holding us back.  If doing something for someone else will break the bank or add unwanted stress to your life, don’t do it.
  3. What is the outcome if I perform the request –  Will you feel annoyed with yourself for allowing yourself to be talked into something once again? Then you may have to politely decline.

Take “I should” or “I have to” out of your vocabulary and replace it with “I want to.” Don’t feel guilty for being selfish with your time and energy. You need to spend your time and energy doing the things that you want. You are fully within your right to just say No.

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Banish Self Doubt and Unleash Your Awesomeness

1 Feb
I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time. -Anna Freud

One of the most interesting things I noticed about the Cindy Gallop article I posted last Friday was  the first question the interviewer posed:

Do you recall the first time, probably in retrospect, that you became aware of how unique and boldly creative you are as a person – were you a kid, a teen or an adult?

And Cindy’s response:
Well, that’s an extremely flattering question! To be honest, it’s really only been in the last 10 years or so that I’ve become aware that that is how other people perceive me. Like many other women, for many years my own estimation of and confidence in myself lagged far behind the way that other people saw me.
What struck me about this answer was that someone as creative and interesting and unique as Cindy Gallop could ever feel anything less than that. But we’ve all been there – we’ve all doubted our capabilities and our strengths. Self-doubt is human nature. But I’ve noticed that self-doubt is much more prevalent in my 20-something clients. Why is it that we beat ourselves up so much? Other people think we’re amazing, why shouldn’t we?
Here are my 5 tips for recognizing your awesomeness for what it is:
  1. Create An Affirmation – I’m a big believer in affirmations. We’ve all experienced negative self-talk and how quickly it can bore itself into our psyche. The same is true for positive affirmations or mantras. If you repeat something enough, you’ll soon believe it.
  2. Cut Yourself Some Slack – If you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll often find you’re being entirely too hard on yourself. We often hold ourselves up to impossible standards which is just stressful. Give yourself a break.
  3. Congratulate Yourself – The same way that we hold ourselves to impossible standards, we often don’t give ourselves credit when we accomplish something great. We just keep moving along to the next goal. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back – it’ll help instill a sense of appreciation for who you are and what you’ve accomplished.
  4. Focus on the Positive – It’s so easy to focus on the negative in life. Instead of thinking about why you suck, think about why you’re absolutely phenomenal.
  5. Stay in the Present- We usually beat ourselves up about what we’re lacking in life. It’s much easier to complain about what you haven’t achieved than to concentrate on what you already have. Remember to stay in the present and enjoy where you are at right now.
We all have our own incredible essence to share with the world but we’re stifling it by doubting our abilities. Don’t sell yourself short. Be confident in who you are right now and share your bold uniqueness with the world.
Nailah
Looking to banish your case of the Mondays? Email me [nblades@gmail.com] to receive a weekly dose of Polka Dot Coaching in your inbox every Monday morning. Mondays don’t have to suck anymore.

Is Your Competitive Nature Leading to Discontent?

24 Jan

Wherever you are right now is exactly where you should be.

My yoga instructor is a little kooky. Once he literally mistook his reflection in the mirror for a new student in the back of the class. Nevertheless, every so often he’ll say something so simple that it’s actually quite profound. His latest gem came a couple of weeks ago as we all struggled with a new yoga pose – one of those real bendy, twisty balancing poses that we all know and love. As we grunted and contorted our faces with discomfort he said “Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you should be.” I was blown away.

I’ve always been a competitive person and practicing yoga has helped me to bring this quality to light so that I can address it. After my first yoga class, I went home bragging to my fiance that I was among the most flexible people in the class. I had held the poses the longest and I could touch the floor when everyone else struggled to touch their shins. Comparing myself to everyone else in the class did nothing to bring me closer to quieting my mind or becoming one with my breath, it just ensured that I was slightly better than the person next to me.

I was being a competitive jerk.

I had somehow turned yoga into some crazy competition which is so not the point of yoga. It’s not the point of life either. As 20-somethings, we’re taught to be uber competitive with ourselves and each other. We push ourselves to stack up to our peers in terms of jobs, cars, homes, clothes and wedding rings. This fierce competitiveness often breeds discontent and self doubt, particularly when we do not believe we are measuring up to the others in our peer group. It’s one of the biggest factors of the quarter life crisis. We set out to keep up with the Joneses and set expectations that are not in line with where we are and where we are going.We’re only hurting ourselves by constantly comparing ourselves to the person next to us. Our feelings of self worth cannot be aligned with someone else’s expectations. We focus so much of our energy externally. Instead we should recognize that where we are at right now is precisely where we should be.

How about you? Have you found yourself competing with others? How has this affected your life?

Nailah

Oh, and I am happy to say that I have been able to focus on myself during yoga rather than others in the class and I have never felt more at peace. 🙂

Escape The Happiness Treadmill

21 Jan

We are always getting ready to live but never living. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How many times have you thought “Once I a get a new job, I’ll be happy” or “When I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happy” or “As soon as I land this big promotion, I will finally be happy” I do it all the time. Heck, I caught myself thinking this way today.  The problem with these “if-then” statements is that it takes us away from the present and makes us focus on this mystical future where we will be overflowing with happiness.

Tal Ben-Shahar calls this the “arrival fallacy,” which is the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you will finally be happy. This is an especially dangerous thought process as it is not usually the arrival at these goals that makes us happier. Actually, oftentimes by the time we arrive at the place where we thought we would be happy, we are faced with new challenges or new responsibilities. Once you land the promotion, you must begin working harder to prove yourself or once you lose those extra 10 pounds you must work hard to maintain your new weight or perhaps  you’ll decide you need to lose 5 more pounds. You hop right back on that happiness treadmill.

In my experience it hasn’t been the arrival at a goal that has made me happy but the actual process of working towards something bigger than myself. What’s more is because we are so consumed with the arriving we lose focus on the now. The present. The journey. We find ourselves constantly racing towards something bigger and better instead of appreciating where we are at that very moment. Yes, it’s absolutely important to set goals but it is just as important to stay present in the now. The easiest way to remain present is to simply slow down. Just as you savor your food more when you eat slowly, you can do the same with life. Slow down and savor each and every moment. Become more aware of your thinking. Are you constantly worrying about the future? Are you thinking of an “if-then” statement as you read this? Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment.

Nailah

The Super Quick Guide to Finding Your Passion

17 Jan

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

One of the biggest challenges I see 20-somethings face is figuring out what they want to “be when they grow up.” A lot of us  enter the workforce expecting high-paying, glamorous jobs that will bring us lots of success and oodles of satisfaction only to be severely disappointed when reality strikes and we’re stuck in boring, unfulfilling jobs. And let’s face it, our careers consume such a large part of our lives so it is really discouraging when you’re unhappy with yours. I’m a big advocate for living your passion. I believe that everyone should feel utterly happy and passionate with their lives. Why? Because when we’re genuinely happy we possess the confidence and power to create our best lives. And this is precisely what the world needs. The world needs us to be operating at full throttle. The world needs us to be head over heels, over the moon happy. The greatest change happens because of people who are deeply passionate and satiated with their lives.

So I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Nai” – and yes, you can call me Nai – “It’s easy for you to say to live your passion because you’ve found yours. How do I find my passion?” Well don’t you worry, below are my 9 steps to finding your passion:

  1. What come naturally to you? Some people are always hosting fabulous dinner parties. Some people are always organizing or fixing things. We often take for granted the things that just flow naturally for us. We all have unique gifts and talents that come naturally. Think about your specific skills – are you analytical? A creative mind? A problem solver?
  2. Which of your skills do you wish to use? It’s not enough that we’re good at something, we have to actually enjoy using that skill. For example, I’m actually pretty analytical, so for years I worked in jobs that required analytical thinking. I finally came to the realization that while analytical thinking may be a particular skill set of mine, it was in no way something I was passionate about.
  3. What is your Essence? Our essence is our natural qualities. Think about which qualities ooze from your pores? Are you a naturally caring & compassionate person? Are you serious or funny? Be careful to think of what your true essence actually is and not what you’d like it to be. It’s important that you’re honest.
  4. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Assume that money, time and energy aren’t an obstacle – you would absolutely succeed in what you set out to do. What would it be? Also think about what you would do even if it paid very little. If you would work at something for free, you’re very likely passionate about it.
  5. Who are the people you admire and why? Think about what types of people you admire? What makes them admirable? Chances are you would not be able to see or appreciate the admirable qualities in them if they were not already within you. You will probably begin to see trends in what types of people you admire.
  6. What are your unresolved dreams and desires? We all have a seemingly “ridiculous” dream job that we’ve always wanted to do but our fears or self-doubt have held us back. Make sure to add all of your dream jobs to your list no matter how unrealistic they may seem. You also want to think about what you wanted to do when you were younger. When we were young, we were allowed to dream without someone telling us to grow up or be realistic.
  7. What parts of past jobs or projects have you enjoyed? Was there a particular project that you thoroughly enjoyed? Or maybe you always enjoy the problem solving aspect of your jobs. Think hard about what aspects of your past jobs you have truly enjoyed. What made you excited?
  8. What do you read about? Think about what books and magazines you enjoy reading. Which sections in the bookstore you are consistenly drawn towards? When I look through my Google Reader it’s full of blogs about Beauty or Personal Growth. It’s no coincidence that the two businesses I’ve started are centered around those two topics.
  9. What do you spend your free time doing? Make a list of what you do in your spare time. Can any of these things be turned into your dream career?

Really think hard about all of these questions and make a list of what comes out of it. You now have a list of possibilities of what truly drives you. You’ve probably noticed some reoccurring themes or ideas on your list. Take the time to narrow your list down and start thinking about how you can turn your passions into a dream career. For example, maybe you identified you have a passion for hosting & entertaining friends. Can you turn this passion into a career in event planning?

This process won’t be easy but it will set you on your path to discovering your passion and living it. Wouldn’t it be awesome to jump out of bed on Monday mornings instead of frantically pushing the snooze button? Good luck & have fun!

Nailah

Need more help discovering your passion? Or have you figured it out but have no idea how to incorporate it into your daily life? Contact me [nblades@gmail.com] about my coaching packages designed to help you live the life you deserve!