Browsing

MENTORSHIP

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.

BLOGGING MENTORSHIP

The Right Way to Pick Someone’s Brain

There are so many people I look up to. Incredible, amazing people who create and write and speak in ways that I admire immensely.

I used to ask people I admired for advice out of the blue. I used to expect a response. Here is exactly what was wrong with that.

THIS:

“Hey! I would love to pick your brain sometime about that thing you’re really good at that I have no idea about, but would like to be good at as well.”

SOUNDS A LOT LIKE THIS:

“Hey! I would like some of your time and information for free, even if it took you years and a ton of energy to learn that information.”

Time and energy are the most valuable currencies we have. Requesting that someone sit down with you and give you their time and knowledge is a big ask. They might even charge money normally for that type of thing.

If you are looking for guidance from someone you look up to, here’s how to ask.

EXPLAIN WHY YOU ARE WRITING THEM

How do you know about this person and their work? If you read their blog, tell them. If you’ve heard them speak, tell them. Tell them what you like so much about whatever it is they do– why does it speak to you? Why are you compelled to write them?

CHECK EXISTING RESOURCES

Someone’s experience and knowledge is precious, and there is a good chance this person has shared at least some of it somewhere– whether that’s online, in a book, video or some other medium. Do your research so that you’re not asking something they have already covered.

MAKE YOUR ASKS SPECIFIC

Concise, pointed questions are way easier to answer than open-ended ones. “How did you book your first paid collaboration?” is easier to answer than, “How did you become a blogger?”; “What was your biggest challenge with starting your business?” is much easier to approach than, “How did you start your business?”

RESPECT THEIR TIME AND ENERGY

Most people want to help each other out, and hopefully the person you reach out to will graciously answer your questions. But thank them. Be polite. Understand that they are taking the time to help you. And if you have anything to offer them (buying their book, sharing their articles with your friends, writing about them for your school newspaper), be generous with that too.

 


For the record, I absolutely love getting emails and messages, and I love answering your questions. If I can help give someone information they need in order to pursue their dreams, I do. But if you’re looking for the right way to reach out, this should help.

In pursuing anything, understand you will use resources where you have them and ask questions where people generously give you their time. But no one person will give you all the answers you need– only you can learn that yourself over a long period time, collecting experience that is full of trial and error.

There is immense power in mentorship and helping each other. So when you do start figuring it out– when people start asking to pick your brain– pay it forward in the way that someone else once helped you, and believe that there is always more to learn.

 


 

Feature photo by Ali. V. Follow her on Instagram at @alisonvagnini.