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INSPIRATION

INSPIRATION

How to Get Lucky

People used to call me lucky all the time. Not as much anymore, probably because I am transparent with which parts of my life are actually luck, and which parts of my life are just hard work.

I believe that luck has been a factor in any success I’ve experienced, no matter the venue. But I have noticed something important.

Luck that really matters only happens when you’re moving.

Luck often looks random from the outside. By definition, sure.

But I’m talking about the times when you couldn’t believe you got this lucky. The big things. The big luck.

Big luck is a helicopter looking for a place to land. You have to clear the space so it can find you. You have to open your hands, and keep them open, in order to receive it.

And indeed this isn’t really luck at all– it’s just the result of work you did. It’s something you invited into your life by investing in it and building a foundation for it, even if you couldn’t have even named it yet.

But let’s just call it luck for now.

Notice the times when you have seen big luck in your own life. I guarantee that it found you at a much higher rate during periods where you were actively doing or seeking something. Luck that matters rarely finds us when we are sitting at home watching reruns of Maury eating whole bags of kettle corn. Chase your dreams, actively, passionately, boldly– and you’ll see this contrast.

It doesn’t come without fear. When we invite really big luck into our lives, we also invite the possibility of failure, of hard decisions, of challenge that could be avoided if we took the easy way out. Only you will know what this means for you. When we pick a more complicated route, there are more variables and more things that could go wrong. It is less comfortable. Decide for yourself where the value falls.

As you work, you will unlock new levels of luck that will find you seemingly effortlessly. When you do more to begin with, you are also creating opportunities for things to just work out. I feel lucky every day because of the life I have created for myself, and indeed, I have noticed that as I work harder, luck flows easily into my life.

If you want to get lucky, you have to get moving. When you do, you’ll see that it was never luck at all. It was just you, getting the opportunities you worked for.

 


 

Feature photo by Ali V. Check out her work here and on Instagram at @alisonvagnini.

BLOGGING INSPIRATION SOCIAL MEDIA

You Will Have Haters

And they’ll be loud sometimes. For real. They’ll get inside your head and make you think you should just be quiet.

I write personal development for adventurous people. I also write about things I believe in, including social & racial justice. This grinds a lot of gears for some folks. It’s political. Well, whoop dee doo– I’m over posting neutral content. I’m over seeing it. I’m over the idea that we should try to appeal to a wide audience. Over. It.

Having an opinion based on your values is way more important than trying to get people to like you.

There was a time when I took everything personally. I can’t anymore.

When you exist on the internet, the one negative comment you get (out of however many) will be the one that sticks, I promise. It’ll be the one you zero in on– the one you let define you. But you can’t let it stick. It’s not personal.

Haters come with the territory when you say anything at all that takes a side. Giving enough of a fuck to take a stand is worth it. It’s not really about you, it’s about a bigger picture, so release yourself from having to take everything as a personal attack. Choosing to stand up for anything says far more about the strength of your character than a few (or even a few hundred) negative comments.

I wear my values boldly because I believe that’s how you get shit done. Anyone can tell me that my values or beliefs are wrong, but that doesn’t mean they are right in their accusations.

You do not exist to make other people feel comfortable. Your actions speak to your priorities. What do you care about, and are you speaking up about it? Standing up? Showing up? When you decide to do so, I’m on your team.

I have been called many names on the internet– some that I am not even comfortable repeating. But it’s the internet. Is anyone surprised?

Getting hated on means I had something provocative to say in the first place. Many agree, some will not. It is hard to have a peaceful conversation with someone who is determined to bring you down. So if that isn’t going to happen, let it go.

When you live in your truth, people will disagree with you loudly and rudely, online and in person. You cannot let this dampen your spirit or dim your light. More people need your ideas, your vision, and your love more than you will ever know.

We have to give a fuck about things that matter, and we’re always going to get hate for it from someone, somewhere.

And I guarantee that amidst any negativity, there will be a day when you will get an email or comment that simply says, “Thank you for speaking up.”

It will be the only reminder you need that now is not the time to be silent.

 


 

Photo snapped by Adaeze Azubuike.

INSPIRATION

Are You Paying Attention?

I can think of a handful of people I have met in my life who I just knew were important. I met them and I felt something– like static shock from the carpet, like a pink sky in the early morning– an unmistakeable pang of feeling. Of something out of the ordinary. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was a kind of knowing at first sight.

It isn’t just people, but places, stretches of time.

I can think of moments that struck me down to my knees. That shook me to my core. The first time I felt small– standing under a full moon in snowy mountains, just me and my long shadow. The first time I knew, without a doubt, what my next move was. The moments I simply trusted, and surrendered to a feeling of guidance.

And maybe this is science or God, or both, or that they are the same thing in the first place, but it’d be hard to believe that our brains are wired this way without reason.

I am sure you have experienced this– knowing that these places and people in time were important; knowing that they were a part of your path for a reason. That your meeting was not a coincidence or a mistake, or something to brush off or call accidental.

You won’t always be right. We are really good at misplacing reason, or giving fate a name it didn’t ask for. Sometimes we just need to learn a lesson, and that’s it. It is always just fine to be wrong, especially in the name of vulnerability and risk.

The main point is this. When you feel a spark of importance– the curious pull of significance and meaning as it relates to relationships or milestones– listen hard. Follow it. There is never any promise that you’ll be right when you assume anything, and indeed logic might get a say, but magic does not happen on accident.

This is about guidance. It’s about putting your ear to the ground and paying attention. It’s about trust in your path.

It’s in the excitement you feel when someone you admire says hello. It’s the tornado of glitter that starts up in your soul when you hear of a new job opportunity. It’s trying to justify an idea when all you really want to say is, it just feels right. Simple things, maybe, but these are signs even a cynic can admit to seeing.

We have to train our ears to hear the right music. We have to get on a level of humility where we can pay the most attention to what is working, and what is not. There isn’t a guide built by logic or reason, it’s just about working off of a hunch– off something we can’t see– and trusting that it’s there.

Ultimately, it is on us to listen. Are you paying attention?

INSPIRATION JOURNAL

Love is Like That

I know so many people who are heartbroken right now. What’s the deal?! It’s my friends texting me about the ache. It’s the emails from readers I’ve never met. It’s the echo from a post I wrote about love on Instagram.

We are all hungry for feeling. For meaning.

Love is so damn complicated. Trust that I’m screaming this from my soul to my fingertips.

It’s messy. It’s clear and muddy at the same time. It’s the biggest paradox we’ll ever know. And it’s almost a guarantee that at some point in our lives, we’ll have a crazy run-in with love. A head-on collision. We’ll feel like we’ve had 4 strong margaritas and ran around in circles for an hour blindfolded.

Love is like that.

I am addicted to love, and to loving the moments that didn’t even feel good– because we don’t get to choose the ones that stick. I first realized this in a scene I’ve mentioned before– I was 21 and had moved to Porto, Portugal without knowing anyone. I would lay lonely on the roof of my apartment and stare at the sky, knowing that I would eventually miss that moment.

That feeling comes and goes in waves that take me over.

It was the feeling I had dancing to bad pop music with a tall freckled Australian guy in Budapest. It was a comical scene, but I knew I’d miss it as soon as it was over. Because you can love a moment, even a moment like that one. Especially a moment like that one. And maybe it doesn’t entirely make sense which ones our hearts choose, but those are the moments we remember.

It feels like we don’t choose the people we love either. But magic doesn’t happen on accident.

It’s loud, right? So loud sometimes it’s all we can hear. It brings us to our highest highs and our lowest lows, and it doesn’t really care what it does to us. It’ll teach us about the depths of our hearts if we allow it to. If instead of turning up the volume even more, we just got quiet, and listened.

You will read this and connect it to whatever your experience is with love, and whatever it means right now. It can be the way we love wild places, the way we love the way our coffee smells, the wonder of this whole life in general. It can be absolute heartbreak, heartache. It can just be heart, and that’s enough. It shifts and changes and it always will.

We know this: when it shows up, it refuses to be ignored. Love is like that.

INSPIRATION JOURNAL TRAVEL

The Places You Meet Yourself

As a result of seeking an adventurous life through travel, I have met many people.

Amazing people. People who have changed me and the maze of my life forever.

But the really interesting thing– perhaps a simple idea– is that I also met myself.

Being alone in the unknown is never comfortable, and discomfort does things to us that ease and routine cannot. It pushes our buttons, forces us to confront ugly things we’d rather ignore, and teaches us about beauty and truth.

When I replay the montage of all the random and hard and gorgeous fleeting moments of my life, I see all the ways in which I got to know myself. All the scenes where I looked into my heart, and proclaimed that I’d see it for what it was.

I see the loneliness standing on the roof of my apartment in Portugal, my anxiety loud as sirens. And I remember doubting very much, at 21, that I had any idea of who I was.

I see meeting one of the loves of my life at a campsite in Belgium, and knowing he was important. And I see us two years later in Christchurch, crying in our hotel room, not knowing if we would ever hold each other that way again.

I see myself in the eyes of every ex-lover, the ones I knew for a night in cities I did not know well. The ones I never even touched physically, but who shared a conversation through broken English or Spanish, and in doing that, shared a part of themselves.

I see myself under a beat up old red barn, covered in hay, shoveling bags of sheep shit.

I see myself walking through caves of glow worms and thinking they looked like the whole universe.

I see dusty motorcycle rides and boats that made me seasick. I see the faces of all the people who were and are all on their own grand adventure, and it’s beautiful to me to know that I shared a brief moment in time with them. Just knowing that is so powerful. And it’s naïve. But it’s enough.

I have never been able to afford nice hotels or nice restaurants, and sometimes I think it might be nice to travel that way, but for me it’s never been about the comfort, and it might never be.

It’s about the deep brown in the eyes of the woman you met on the streets of Budapest; the way her hair smelled like jasmine and dust.

It’s about the whiskey you did not need to drink, the moon bright on the jagged peaks and pine trees, the wobble in your steps on the walk back to your cabin on icy roads.

It’s about the loneliness, the beauty, the glow worms– all the places you meet yourself over and over again, deeply, profoundly.

The depth and variety within the flip book of your life is easy to forget about. We get sucked in to our daily mundane. We forget about all of these moments we have lived.

When you remember all the places you met yourself– the places you can put on a map and the places you could never even name– you remember that it is all so, so worth watching. And worth experiencing in the first place.

INSPIRATION

You Are Not for Everyone

You are great.

I mean it. I don’t care what your thing is, I believe that you are great at something. And you can be great at a lot of different things.

But no matter how great you are at however many amazing, impressive or important things, no amount of expertise, experience, or passion will mean that everyone will like you.

Let yourself off the hook. Great news: you don’t have to be for everyone, because no matter how hard you could possibly try, you never will be.

It’s easy to feel like the ultimate goal is to be well-liked.

I remember in middle school wanting desperately to be one of the popular kids– to wear certain clothes and act a certain way. But I could never contort myself enough to fit into that mold.

In a way, we never actually graduated from middle school. Society and culture teach us how we should be or what we should do in order to please people, and never ourselves. The mold still exists, the shape changes, and still, we try to stretch into things that we just weren’t made for.

To start writing on the internet, I had to embrace my own shape and get over being well-liked. I am not a passive person. I don’t really “do” subtle, and I’ve never tried to be objective here. But disagreement still hurts. I had to get over the friction that comes with it, and I had to take things much less personally.

What was the other option? Staying quiet? Nah. I’ll pass.

The real goal is not, and was never, to be well liked. The real goal is to live so deeply in our truths that we simply know that the people around us love us for who we are, and never for what we do. What you do becomes simplistic when you compare it to the much bigger picture of who you are.

Doing anything at all that you believe in– doing anything with conviction– means that someone will disagree. Your work and your words won’t resonate with everyone.

But it’s not our job or our responsibility to be for everyone. It’s not possible to be for everyone. When everyone agrees with us, we may be neutral. We may be lukewarm. Neutral for the sake of an unrealistic mold is just not a place to live.

When we dilute ourselves in the name of being well-liked, it may satiate our ego temporarily, but it does so at the expense of the impact that could have been made if we had lived in the strongest sense of ourselves.

So rest easy. You don’t have to be for everyone. When you find the people who really get you, they will be in it for the right reasons. They will be in it for you– who you really are, unfiltered.


 

Feature photo by BC Serna.

BLOGGING INSPIRATION MENTORSHIP

There Is Room For You

room-blog

One day a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to share my experiences in photos and writing.

I had recently bought my first (cheap smartphone. I downloaded social media platforms I didn’t know how to use. I picked a name. I bought this website. I didn’t know what it was going to become. I didn’t even do anything with it for six months.

In December 2014, I posted my first article here.

What was I thinking when I started this blog?

I was 24. I was dealing with a recent breakup, questioning my career path and working with a lot of the things I felt I “should” have been doing. Grad school. Finding a “real” job. Figuring out the next step.

The blog was just an experiment. A hobby. I spent a lot of time looking at travel, adventure and lifestyle bloggers. I took note of the big influencers within each space and I tried to learn from what they were doing. I paid attention to the parts of their work that really spoke to me. I was interested in how people shared their passions and what went into a story worth telling.

But I firmly believed that there was no room for another adventure blogger– and even if there was, I never thought I’d get to the level of “success” that I saw in those folks I used to stalk the s$!t out of. I thought the market was already saturated. I thought someone out there was saying what I wanted to say, but better. And I didn’t think anyone would read my blog– how were they even going to find out about it in the first place?

Reality, two years later:

  • I wasn’t trying to make this my job, but now it is.
  • I never thought I would call myself a blogger, but that is now how I describe my profession.
  • I didn’t think it was possible to reach people from all over the world with my work, but I now do (where are you reading this from?)
  • I never thought that the very people who inspired me online would be my real life friends, but they now are.

And it wasn’t like I didn’t want that stuff to happen, I just didn’t believe that it could.

Two years later, this means something much more than I ever expected. What this journey has showed me is that there was always room for new ideas, new people, new relationships, and new experiences. It was on me that I didn’t believe in that.

There is room for you in whatever you decide to pursue, because nobody can do it exactly like you will. Nobody can tell your story like you can, because they haven’t lived it. Nobody can share your heart because they don’t know the whole of it.

There is always room for your vision because it’s yours, and if you follow the trail of your own passion, you will make room for yourself in whatever area you are seeking.

In no way does this happen overnight. But when you do something you are passionate about consistently and for a long time, room is not only made for you, but the path often feels as if it’s laid out in front of your feet.

For there to be room for you, you first have to believe that there is. Then you work to make that room. And when you get there, it won’t be a coincidence.

 

Feature photo by BC Serna.