Blog

The Importance of Having a Clear Vision

Note: This post was written over a span of several weeks, not because I was perfecting it, but because I either didn’t feel like writing or I got interrupted/distracted or sleepy. Hope it still makes sense! 🙂

Not gonna lie, life is pretty rough sometimes. Sometimes we might find ourselves in an extended slump during which we have no motivation or drive to “push through.” Maybe that’s how you feel right now regarding some long-term endeavor. Maybe you feel like all you want to do is give up, but you’re also torn knowing that if you quit, you’ll probably feel like a failure and consequently, that would be quite depressing.

Maybe that’s how I’m feeling right now. Actually, that’s exactly the case. Inwardly I’m a blob of discouragement and unmotivatedness, and quite frankly I feel depressed, as if there’s a deep hole in my heart. But this “hole” has visited me enough times in my life that I’ve somewhat learned how to handle myself in such times.

How did I end up showing up to my laptop to write this post when my whole inward being doesn’t want to do anything except feel sad?

Two things.

#1: PRACTICE – Or more like, it’s happened so many times in my life already that after experiencing it over and over again, I’ve found that some ways of coping/dealing with depressive episodes are far more effective than other ways. I’ve learned that no matter how terrible I feel, the feelings will not stay permanently. I’ve been practicing, based on my therapist’s suggestion, to “notice” or “acknowledge” those feelings, to recognize that, “oh look, there’s sadness paying me a visit, so I’ll say hello to it and then let it go,” similar to letting go of a balloon. In a sense it’s like you’re objectifying the feeling, though I still allow myself to feel the feelings rather than pretending they’re not there. It’s like, hey, I have this feeling and it’s there, and I won’t deny it because that’s the fact, but the feeling is just a feeling so I acknowledge that it’s hanging out here with me for now, but in the meantime I’ll keep doing whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing. The more I do this, the more easy and automatic this “method” becomes.

#2: VISION – If you have a clear vision of something you’re working towards, and you can really SEE it to the point where it’s REAL to you, and you want it SO badly.. then that vision will be able to override your lack of motivation (the majority of the time), and it’s COMPLETELY OKAY to have occasional “off” days. The vision is THAT good, that even when you’re like, “I can’t get up from this comfy couch and I don’t feel like doing anything,” you’ll somehow still (perhaps slowly) get up from that couch and do something to get closer to your dream goal.

For some reason I somehow find myself writing more about depression on this blog than planned, so apologies for that. If you can relate at all, then great, and I hope my sharing can be of help to you. But if you can’t really relate much to depression and mental health struggles, that’s okay too. Regardless of our natural disposition, we all still need to find ways to get things done in life, especially us millennials.


Some days later…

I didn’t get to finish writing some days ago, so here I am again. Showing up to my laptop. Except this time I’m not feeling depressed at all and am finishing up this post at the end of a great day. (Didn’t actually finish the post that day..)

I also learned an effective secret yesterday, which I guess is now my not-so-secret secret. 🙂 This secret has gotten me way out of the realm of depression, sadness, anxiety, and restlessness. This “secret” – actually, I don’t know why I’m calling it a secret because it’s not something that needs to be kept from others to know about.

So this “tool” that I discovered over the past week is something that has revolutionized the past few days for me, and I believe the lessons learned here will also revolutionize the rest of my life.

It’s actually quite simple. I began to shift my attention away from myself, my problems, my worries, my discomfort, my unfulfilled desires, MY MY MY everything… and began to pay attention to the problems of those around me, but not in a critical sense at all.

What I mean is, I’ve been finding that what saves me from depression the most (besides meds and therapy) is helping and caring for others, thus redirecting my focus to something outside of me and my situation. I believe that human beings have this innate characteristic of finding fulfillment in making a difference in others’ lives. Just think about it.

That being said, I was told by my therapist that I shouldn’t always be “distracted” from the difficult things I’m going through, because in order to properly pass through the healing process, it is still necessary for me to take time to process everything, while not allowing myself to fall into the depression vortex.

So for the most part, focusing on other people or things is a healthy way to be distracted to the point where I can still experience the inevitable emotions for healing, without being overtaken by the stronghold of depression.

On another note, I’m also at a time of the month when PMS is no longer an issue. Pardon me for being TMI. Just telling it as it is, because I don’t want to sugarcoat anything I write here. So granted, my stabilized hormones has probably also contributed to my improved well-being.


Even more days later…

I just went back and added some more writing above to fill in some gaps.. now my brain is tired after trying to put into words some of the complicated ideas in my brain.

 

 

Advertisements

Taking Action Isn’t Hard

I literally just copied and pasted my most recent newsletter email below, and switched a few words…

The Un-Challenging Thing About Challenges:

Apologies for the lack of emails and blog posts for the past few weeks, but I am still here and have had you guys on my mind. Taking action to produce content was the challenge though, but once action is taken, that is, once you START doing something, the challenge doesn’t end up feeling as challenging as imagined.

A lot of times we don’t take action on important things because whether we realize it or not, we’re fearful of the challenge. But how would we actually know it’s going to be challenging when we haven’t even tried doing it yet?

My take on this is that challenges are very much related to our mindset, which is based on our belief system.

Imagine what life would be like if we believed nothing was impossible. What would our lives look like then? Maybe this kind of belief would motivate us to have no problems with taking the first step toward that possible destination. I read somewhere yesterday that success is a matter of taking one little step at a time. That’s how we reach our goals. That’s what successful people do.

If you put it that way, that all it takes is one little step at a time, then maybe the challenging things in the world that we live in are actually not challenging at all, because doing just ONE tiny step of something is SO doable. All you need to do is add up all these tiny steps until one day, voila! Goal accomplished.

What’s one “challenge” that has made you feel overwhelmed to the point where you haven’t even taken the first step? How about taking action by means of a baby step #1 today, even if it’s the teeniest tiniest baby step? Because even that is far better than being paralyzed by the fear and overwhelm of having to complete one HUGE project.

So what baby step will you take today to overcome that daunting challenge? Let me know in the comments below!


For more content like this, subscribe to my email newsletter, i.e. submit your email address next to “Join me in my personal growth journey!” at the top of the page. Now let’s do this!! 🙂

Losing My Job: A Blessing in Disguise

I just got off the phone with my job recruiter letting me know that I won’t be returning to work on Monday. Surprise!

Granted, I was still a “temp,” so there wasn’t any firm commitment on either side yet. But regardless, I did not expect that to happen at all.. I also left my super cute mug that said “I just want to drink coffee and pet my dog” at my desk which I will miss. But I know there are more of those mugs at Ralph’s so I might just have to make another trip back there. 🙂

Why did I lose my job? I guess another way to put it is, they fired me. Ouch. But it caught me by surprise, because I thought I was doing just fine. Wherever I worked in the past, I was always praised by upper management, so to get this unexpected phone call was quite humbling to say the least.

I just wanted to share a few things I learned from this experience. First of all, I realized that you can’t always take things at face value at the office – which sounds kind of cynical. Outwardly it seemed like my supervisor was nice, the office vibe was chill, and I was told that I could go into work at any time as long as I work for 8 hours that day.

So that’s what I did. I went to work each day not at any exact set time, and worked for 8 hours. Because that was what I was told I could do. However, when I received this phone call today, the recruiter told me that the company said I was often “late” to work. Very confusing, since there is no specific time that is defined as “late.”

What I realized after thinking back is that when it comes to work, I shouldn’t make myself too comfortable so quickly. And if I’m told that I’m allowed to do something, I actually shouldn’t fully do that thing. Does that make sense?

I also thought that I was doing well in terms of my work, because my supervisor didn’t say much about it. So I assumed everything was fine. I guess it wasn’t fine though. My only real self vindicating argument would be that my supervisor did not communicate to me exactly what her expectations were.

On my end, I guess my mistake was that I didn’t take much initiative to ask her what those exact expectations were. So it’s almost as if we both expected that the other person would already be aware of the unspoken expectations.

So while I thought things were fine, they really weren’t. Now I know that in the future it would be best for me to set more rigid goals and have more of a predictable schedule or plan for myself, even if my boss or supervisor makes everything seem very chill.

Another problem was that although I was very happy with this job in the beginning, as time went on I found myself once again in a situation where I felt that I was not being challenged or stimulated enough. Once I got to that point, my motivation faded away. That’s when I lost the drive to do my very best at work. And I guess that somehow showed in my work, based on the feedback my recruiter got from my supervisor.

This led me to a realization, which I then told my recruiter. I told her that I no longer have the interest to continue down the accounting/finance route, and wanted to venture into more creative jobs or industries. My recruiter was glad I told her that, and since she still thinks I’m a great job candidate she said she’ll let me know of potential jobs that are more “creative” (whatever that means haha) and that pay significantly better than the job I just lost.

Her words to me over the phone was that this looks like it may very well be a “blessing in disguise.” I couldn’t agree more.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, even when things are difficult to experience and understand. However I’ve never gone through insanely traumatic life events (e.g. loved ones getting victimized, parents losing their children.. ) so I don’t want to venture into those types of circumstances. Because if you ask me why someone died in a car accident, I would not be able to answer you. I for sure would not be able to tell you that everything happens for a reason, because I personally think that would be messed up of me to objectify something so deeply personal to someone else.

Anyway…. that being said, in my own life I can say definitely that every trying time turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The devastating breakup with my ex-fiance about 5 months ago is one of the best things that happened to me, because that was the best way for me to press the Restart button and get back on track with my life goals.

That’s how I got my blog rolling, and I love it so much. And that’s how I ended up moving all the way back across the country to sunny Los Angeles and got connected to so many new and old friends who make me so happy. It’s so nice to live for myself again, as an independent person. It’s nice to finally discover what I’m actually passionate about when all other influential factors (e.g. fiance) are removed. It’s like I’m getting to know myself all over again.

Truth be told, my day job was my biggest frustration to getting my blog business rolling, so when the “bad” news came I felt more relieved that anything. And then I started to get really excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead!

A couple weeks ago a blogger friend of mine told me about how she works remotely for a marketing team and that her income has been able to fund her travels all over the world with her professional hockey player boyfriend. I had started looking into that as a way to earn a little extra cash, but found myself once again frustrated by my day job. I was frustrated because the marketing job seemed way more interesting and right up my alley for me.

Sorry, quick side note: I’m not trying to tell you my life story but I find that the best way to make my point more clear and applicable for any of my posts is to draw from my personal experience, even if that means exposing my weaknesses and failures and making myself vulnerable. If what I share can help you, then exposing all my shortcomings is totally worth it.

I had my first marketing team meeting via video conference and it felt so nice to be in that meeting without feeling overwhelmed by everything else I have to do.

I’m super pumped and excited for yet again another new beginning, which I think is actually bringing me closer to my dream goal of working remotely anywhere I want in the world and getting to choose my own hours and be my own boss. The more time I spend on my blog and on my new online marketing job, the more progress I will make.

I also found out during the video conference call that one of my teammates literally lives like five minutes away from me. Of all the places in the country, one of my three teammates for this random online company lives in the same area as I do. Crazy. I think it’s a sign. I’ll have to grab coffee with her soon. 🙂

My plan of attack right now is to open up my Google calendar to get an overview of the whole week, and set my own work schedule by designating specific blocks of time to work on specific tasks at specific locations (probably cafes). I will also be sure to schedule in gym time and “goof off time” to give myself permission to “waste” my time and not have to worry about anything.

I can also finally be fully present and available to communicate and work with my virtual assistant instead of secretly messaging her on my phone at the office when my supervisor was around. Clearly, my heart was not there at the accounting office. I can finally do what I love.

Oh, did I mention I hired a virtual assistant to help with my blog business? Great investment, I recommend it. I’m also lucky enough to not have to worry about rent at the moment while I’m living with family. Life is good. 🙂

I’ve also considered just for kicks to possibly be an Uber driver in Beverly Hills to increase my chances of meeting celebrities. I’m super jealous of my Uber drivers who have picked up Kim Khardashian, Ellen Degeneres, Queen Latifah, and the guy with the curly hair from Boy Meets World. And I didn’t just make that up. Celebrities can take Uber too.

But that is more for fun than for the extra money, and I don’t know if my time will really allow for that with my blog and my part time marketing job.

Life is so interesting and full of surprises. And it’s always possible to have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th new beginning! This is my 2nd new beginning at the age of 27. Can’t complain.

Perhaps the moral of the story is that it’s easiest to succeed at something when your heart is in it and you love what you do. Or you find that it’s still so worth it to do what you do when times are hard. Because you’re working towards the things you really want in life.

That’s why I honestly can’t see myself with a career in finance anymore, no matter how practical it may be, and no matter how much money I’d make as a financial analyst down the road. If I don’t love what I do, or if my job bores me, or if it’s just so I can pay for my bills, I think I’ll pass and do something that I’m truly passionate about. If I realize I’m not meant to work in a cubicle all day, then I probably should be out doing something else with more human interaction.

I hope my “unfortunate” job loss story gave you some inspiration and perspective about where you currently are right now.

Again, if you need anything (within reason) I am always an email away. I may not respond that quickly but I do for a fact respond to all emails. It’s been hard to keep up with even my personal emails with work taking up my time and energy. So I only expect that my response time will be quicker with my new schedule.

amy@justamyllennial.com

<3

How to Feel Motivated When You’re Feeling Down and Low Energy [PART 3 of 3]

If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 yet, reading those first may help give some more context before reading  Part 3. Or you can read this first, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can always refer back to the first two parts of this mini “motivation series.”

Part 1 stressed that motivation is not necessarily a feeling. To accomplish something, you can’t solely rely on how motivated you feel. Otherwise, chances are, your “momentum” will not last forever and you’ll easily want to quit.

Part 2 stressed that on the other hand, sometimes it’s necessary to be a little more forgiving when someone doesn’t feel motivated to do anything, because the lack of motivation might be due to poor mental health, which can often be easily treated or helped with medication and/or professional therapy.

Both of these views are rather “extreme” and “absolute,” and suggest more of an underlying “all-or-nothing” mindset. But in most cases, the average person usually experiences a combination of both self discipline and a motivating feeling. So Part 3 will be called “normal.”

Normal: Somewhere in Between

We’ve all experienced some kind of “I have no choice but to do this anyway” approach (e.g. writing papers in college, picking up your dog’s poop, showering, dragging yourself out of your cloud-like bed to go to work), as well as the “I’m feeling so pumped right now LET’S DO THIS” approach (e.g. signing up for a half marathon without thinking, starting a business after getting majorly inspired, happily doing your first homework assignment after the first day of school, getting up at 5AM to hit the gym on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd).

I do not believe that you or I have experienced ONLY doing things by means of self discipline, or ONLY doing things based on how pumped we feel. There’s a time and place for black and white situations, but this is not what we’re talking about here.

I myself have fallen prey to such black and whiteness, to all or nothingness. Actually, the situations themselves may not have been so black and white, but rather my way of thinking just did not have much of a middle ground. I believe that this all-or-nothing way of thinking and approach to life is why my life at times have felt so difficult or un-enjoyable.

I am also, right at this very second as I am typing this sentence, experiencing major writer’s block and cannot figure out what it was that I was supposed to talk about at this point of this blog post. My brain feels fried and empty, but I am still typing this.

I cannot say that right now at this moment I am practicing outstanding self discipline, because if I was, I would probably just willfully and unforgivingly tell myself, “Amy, snap out of it right now and use your brain to its full capacity for goodness sake. Just force yourself NOW to give it your absolute all and nothing less, or else you are a failure and your life is meaningless and you will never succeed in life because successful people don’t give in to their lazy feelings so easily so what in the world is wrong with you.”

But a part of me also thinks that this military-like mentality would likely result in unnecessary over-exhaustion by the end of the day. So, on the one hand I somehow am still typing away at this post, yet not beating myself up over not writing the most intellectually stimulating content, and also not fully succumbing to my blank-mindedness or blah-ness.

I guess maybe my current state of being and how I am responding to this circumstance is illustrative of this “happy medium” or “normality” that I am trying to explain here. I’m basically experiencing and practicing an approach that is somewhere in between the two “extremes.”

I would also say that what I am talking about is very much related to the matter of perfectionism, which is one of the top characteristics of people who waver between one extreme to the other, between black and white, between all or nothing.

Perfectionism “brings home” the discipline aspect and the emotional aspect, but not in a positive sense. If I were to let my perfectionism get to me right now, I would probably just keep thinking about how my head is starting to hurt and I have no idea what I’m writing or if my train of thought even makes sense at all, so I give up on writing this post because I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore, and why would anyone want to read this, etc. etc. and then as a result of this approach/way of thinking, aka this deadly perfectionism, I probably wouldn’t get anything done today. I’d rather complete a task imperfectly than not complete a task perfectly.

Meanwhile my eager best friend keeps texting me almost every day asking for a new blog post.. so giving in to my “I don’t know how good my writing is” thought would result in disappointing at least one of my perpetually excited readers. And I hope she feels special that I’m giving her yet another shoutout on this blog. You’re welcome. 😛

img_1872
Proof of best friend’s enthusiasm. Screenshot taken by Amy Lo.

 

So how do you feel motivated when you’re feeling down or low energy? Do you just suck it up and forget how you feel altogether? Do you throw a pity party and say that your life sucks, and let your emotions give in to every negative thought in your mind? I don’t have the answers. But both Part 1 and Part 2 have their place and their validity.

I do, however, have a few “tricks” that seem to almost always work for me in terms of motivation, though sometimes it takes longer for the motivation to kick in.

Sometimes, when all the energy is gone and motivation is but a distant memory and all I can do is sprawl on my bed which, by the way, is the most comfortable bed ever, I have found that the hidden inner motivated Amy within knows that anything is still possible with her iPhone 8.

Literally though, I can’t even count the number of times my phone inspired me to get out of bed and get things done. What does this look like? A few different possibilites..

Possibility #1: Text one of my bffs, usually the one in my timezone, and say that I need motivation and can’t get out of bed. But for some reason I can still text in bed.. Then she’ll send me all the cheerleader-like texts and emojis and even record herself saying “You can do it” in a weird voice, or come up with a great convincing reason for me to get up. I’m fortunate to have this kind of best friend, but maybe not everyone’s friends are as weird and quirky as us..

Possibility #2: Open YouTube app, and watch or listen to a personal development video (also while in bed). Sam Brown’s videos will usually do the trick. I don’t know why, but I would say in less than 15 minutes I’m usually “pumped” again because something in those videos always sparks renewed inspiration in me.

Possibility #3: Similarly, sometimes I’ll open either my Podcasts app or Libby app to play life-changing podcasts and audiobooks. I am currently listening to The Magic of Thinking Big. If you listen to or read a portion of that book and you don’t feel at all motivated and/or inspired afterwards… maybe you’re not a real human.

There is an overarching principle in all the above iPhone techniques. If you have an Android that’s fine too. The principle is that when there’s no motivation in me, I draw from others’ energy and motivation to get energized myself.

This “hack” somehow works well for me. It even worked, or at least helped to some extent, when I was miserably going through a rough breakup, in which case the bff technique usually worked best.

All that being said, I will add that if you’re feeling down and low energy, you might just need to take a nap or get to bed earlier. Or maybe you just need to eat a healthy meal, drink some water, or go for a run.

Our bodies and souls are so intricate and complex, for which reason practicing self care is (in my opinion) mandatory and foundational for our well-being. Any little issue with our body, soul, or spirit, can affect a person’s level of motivation.

My purpose in writing these three posts is not to address every possible scenario or solve everyone’s problem. I am just a fellow millennial figuring all this out myself alongside you, and sharing my own insights that could potentially be helpful or thought-provoking for my fellow Gen Y-ers.

How to Feel Motivated When You’re Feeling Down and Low Energy [PART 2 of 3]

In Part 1 I talked about the first “extreme” way of looking at the issue of lack of motivation. Extreme #1 is all the way on one side of the spectrum, basically saying that if you’re not motivated, suck it up and forget about your feelings. It’s not about the feeling of motivation. It’s about straight up self discipline. Just do it.

So what does Part 2 look like? Now let’s go to the complete opposite side of the spectrum and discuss a much more “forgiving” way of looking at it.

Extreme #2: Mental Health

On the one hand, sure, self discipline is absolutely necessary to accomplish pretty much anything in life. But at a certain point there is the need to look at what it is that is causing the lack of motivation. Sometimes, it may very well be related to one’s mental health, or lack thereof.

Despite all the stigma of mental health problems, this is actually something that is probably more common than we realize. I was personally never too aware of some of these issues until I became victim to a stigmatized illness myself, for lack of better way to say it. I never thought I could experience a “mental illness,” but to my surprise, life happened and depression decided to pay me a nice long visit.

This post is not about me and my experience of depression, but rather to emphasize this often neglected point, that sometimes, the “lazy” person who won’t get his/her act together may very well have the best of intentions in terms of work ethic, but can only fight against the weight of internal imbalances so much before it takes over him/her.

I never understood why it was so difficult for me to get through college, or any other longer term endeavor, when I KNEW 100% that I was NOT a lazy person and had no intention to be lazy. In fact, I am probably one of the most ambitious people I know, to put it plainly. However, I couldn’t understand why my inner ambition and desire to overachieve didn’t manifest itself in my actions. I would try, and try, and try, only to succumb to that invisible weight that always seemed to win in the end.

You don’t have to feel sorry for me at all. I just don’t know how else to make my point more clear. But I would say that if you’ve been having some serious motivational problems over a longer period of time, and you know that you’ve tried your best (or close to your best), you might want to consider paying a visit to your primary care physician to discuss this struggle of yours. What can you lose just by inquiring?

I don’t know too much beyond depression and anxiety (which I’ve also experienced to some extent, but not as much as depression), but the realm of mental health is a vast territory of mysterious things that I don’t even know about or understand. We human beings are rather complex creatures, to say the least.

I do know however, that for someone with depression, having low energy is not uncommon. I’m not a doctor but I know it has something to do with our physical body and the chemical/hormonal stuff going on inside. And a lot of this “stuff” can be treated with just a little pill, or even just a little bit of therapy. Actually, I really believe that everyone in the world can benefit from therapy, because we ALL have deep issues and wounds that we probably aren’t even aware of. Tis true.

So, this second “extreme” approach or view of dealing with motivational lack is a rather forgiving one, and really gives a person the benefit of the doubt. But I am also hesitant about being too forgiving lest people who actually don’t have clinical mental health issues think they can get away with certain kinds of behavior. But, how do we really know what’s going on in a person’s complex soul? Meh. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I just have my experiences.

So Part 1 stresses exercising self discipline, and Part 2 stresses taking care of mental health, both of which I feel are important. But both are also on opposite sides of the same spectrum. Hence, we need to find a way to bring these two points home, perhaps finding a happy medium. Which I guess will bring us to…

Part 3 – “Normal” – whatever normal means..

How to Feel Motivated When You’re Feeling Down and Low Energy [PART 1 of 3]

A couple nights ago one of my best friends sent me a text suggesting/asking that I write something about how to feel motivated when you’re down and low energy – the title of this post. “My current life problem,” she added.

My response to her: “I’m definitely not an expert at that one.”

Yup, not an expert at all, so I can’t solve your problems. However, I do have some perspective and can share what I’ve learned through my own experience and what I’ve observed of others.

There are three parts to what I’ll be sharing, which are three different ways to look at this issue of motivation – two “extremes” and one “normal.” The three different ways of looking at it depend on the person and the situation.

Extreme #1 – Self Discipline

This may be self explanatory because we’ve been taught either in school or by our parents that we need to have self discipline in order to succeed in anything. Self discipline means you have self control. You’re strict with yourself.

This does not have anything to do with the feeling of motivation at all. Self discipline means you do whatever you need to do regardless of how you feel. I consider this an “extreme” approach/view of what to do when motivation is lacking.

You can easily say, “Well duh, just work hard and you’ll succeed.” Not feeling motivated? Well, then get your act together and work on your character and work habits. Stop being so lazy!

Blah blah blah. Yes, you can say all this to someone or someone can say the same to you, but my guess is that more likely than not, hearing this kind of talk will not solve anyone’s problem. It’d probably just make you feel condemned and angry. Then you may very well just give up on life all together.

Okay I’m being extreme here, but then again, I did label this section with the word “Extreme.”

HOWEVER, there is truth to the positive benefits of self discipline. If we lived by our feelings all the time, and only operated when we felt like it, I’m not sure if we would have been able to graduate from any kind of school. I mean, WHO wants to do homework and take standardized tests that measure the kind of intelligence that is favored by the long established academic system?

I also have never heard of a CEO or any other ridiculously successful person who only worked when the feeling of motivation was strong and present. The reality is, no one on earth was born with the gift of 24/7 motivation. That just doesn’t exist. And none of us would have gotten to where we are today without some self discipline.

In brief…

Self discipline means being able to do things even when you don’t feel like doing them.

This has been one of the hardest but most helpful lessons I’ve learned in life thus far, being someone who was born with an emotional personality. It’s a lesson we ALL have to learn. Don’t feel like going to work today? Well then, be prepared to be fired if this behavior continues.

It’s harsh but it’s true. So yes, this is one extreme of the spectrum of how to view motivation, or lack thereof.

Stay tuned for the other two parts to this blog post, Extreme #2 and Normal

How to Save Both Time + Money by Investing in Yourself Now

Today I want to address something that I feel a lot of people, especially young people, do not see or realize. I really hope that reading this blog post will change or shift how you view time and money, and that this will save you from so much wasted time in the long run.

It makes me so sad when I hear of people who, at the end of their lives, have all these regrets of not doing things that could have brought them closer to their dreams. Instead they can recall plenty of “safe” experiences. Experiences within their own comfort zone.

Okay, please don’t get me wrong – I am all about living in and treasuring the present moment, which is so good for your mental health and saves you from so many nonexistent life stressors. There’s always two sides to everything.

On the “other side” of focusing and enjoying the present is the matter of doing things with a long-term view. The reason why this is crucial is because this can make all of our future present moments so much more happy, stress-free, and enjoyable. Interesting huh?

What do I mean by “investing”?
To most people, investing usually has something to do with personal finance. That is true, but the investing I’m referring to now is specifically focused on yourself. That is, investing in yourself.

What does investing in yourself mean?
Investing in yourself means you spend extra time and money on something now with the full expectation that your present actions will save you an even greater amount of time and money in the long run. You put in the work and money now for a shorter period of time, and therefore speed up the process of getting to the results and success you want.

How do you invest in yourself?
There are two main factors: TIME and MONEY. Maybe you’re thinking the money part is unnecessary because you can still find ways to be successful by figuring things out for yourself or by taking advantage of free resources. You may be right in a certain sense, but I would also beg to differ.

Sometimes just by spending that little extra money, we shave off bits of time here and there, and really though, when it comes down to it, time is money. You can have all the money in the world but if you die tomorrow, the money is useless. Not trying to be morbid but just pointing out the facts.

Since time is money, and we care more about time than money, BUT we can also spend money in a way that can help us save a lot of time,so that during our lifetime we can have more time do the things we love and enjoy, it’s so important to invest in things that can speed up the process for us in whatever it is we want to achieve.

But how do we know what to invest in?

Decide what is most important to you in life.
It all comes down to this one question: Is it really worth it to spend extra time on something in order to save extra money? In other words, in any given situation, which limited resource would you rather spend – your time or your money? I would argue that time is much more valuable than money, though of course one can always think of extreme scenarios which I will not get into.

Example: Wait in super long line at a gas station with lower gas prices, or save 30 minutes of your life by spending a little more money at another gas station? Add up all those extra 30 minutes in your lifetime and you’ll probably get back a ton of time to do more productive things.

Oh, and by the way, I recently learned from an online course (can’t remember which one cause I’ve purchased many.. also check out this site if you’re into personal development and would consider investing in a course) that if you spend 15 minutes learning the same thing/topic every single day for a year, after just one year you will be an expert on that topic. I don’t know about you, but I was pretty mind blown by this statement.

My point in mentioning this 15 minute thing is to show how just a little bit of time here and there on minor things can actually add up to a lot of time wasted, even if it did save you some money.

Of course there are always ways to still make the most out of those “wait times.” If you have no choice but to spend extra time on something due to your financial situation, you could use that extra idle time to listen to podcasts, read books, practice a language, make important phone calls to eliminate tasks on your to do list, or anything else – you can get creative here.

Another (random) example: Buy a better, more expensive knife, and spend less time cooking. In this case, you’d have to decide if you believe that investing in the expensive knife is worth it, or if you’re happy with spending more time on cooking because perhaps cooking is your way of unwinding and you find it very therapeutic.

There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s really about what will make your life better. YOU know yourself best so I trust you can make those little daily choices in a good way. 🙂

There’s also this thing called outsourcing.
I recently learned about a strategy that many entrepreneurs use called outsourcing. One great example of someone who outsources is Tim Ferriss.

Outsourcing essentially means that you pay other people to do certain tasks for you so that you have the time to focus on your most important tasks. For bloggers, one of these most important tasks would be content creation, rather than something like pinning new pins on their Pinterest account. This explains why virtual assistants have become more popular, to handle the smaller and probably more tedious tasks of the one paying them.

Okay, that’s cool Amy, but how does this apply to my own life?
Great question. Well, this outsourcing thing can be for things like house cleaning, laundry (yes, there are people who always have their clothes washed, pressed, and folded by someone else), gardening (don’t tell me your family never had a gardener before), grocery shopping (apparently Amazon bought Wholefoods so you can literally have quality groceries delivered to you), taxes..

Speaking of taxes, two of my friends just got their taxes done by pros at H&R Block and it literally took about an hour or so to get it all completed. If they had done their taxes completely by themselves, they wouldn’t have as much time now to work on things they really need to work on. For one of them, it’s applying to prestigious writing/journalist jobs to advance in her career. If anyone is looking for an amazing writer to work with, hit me up and I can get you guys connected!

Two days ago I decided to try out this outsourcing phenomenon thing, so I paid 10 bucks (plus one dollar service fee) to have someone research 40 strategic niche hashtags, write 5 Instagram posts, and create 2 branded graphics, because I found myself having a difficult time keeping up with my Instagram account. We’ll see how this goes.. This is just a fun experiment but money doesn’t fall from trees for me (yet.. ha) so I’ll probably still post on my social media myself for some time… maybe.

I used Fiverr for this gig, and have also looked into Upwork. There are freelancers who do pretty much anything you can think of. It’s pretty cool.

It’s also quite affordable to hire people from Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, and other countries, which at first I thought was equivalent to taking advantage of them for cheap labor. But then this guy Jimmy Naraine pointed out in his productivity course, which by the way is currently on major sale, that actually, $1 in these countries is worth way more than $1 in the U.S. And say, if you go to New York, 20 bucks is pretty much worth nothing.

What about saving money for the future?
I personally really like this part of investing in yourself. For me, investing in myself has looked like purchasing online courses that have helped me tremendously in blogging and even productivity in general.

I paid the extra money after much deliberation, and as I went through the courses I was like, WHEW I’m SO glad I bought this course, because who knows how long it would have taken me to figure out things that others have already spent months and even years laboring on to find the best techniques and strategies.

So you’re basically paying for all that time that others have spent racking their brains in their quest to success.

The reason why I invested in a few courses, some more costly than others, is because I had the view that these courses would educate me in a way that would speed up my progress working on things that would, ultimately, help me earn far more than the original costs.

You probably have already invested in yourself in ways you’re not aware of. Maybe you went to college to get your Bachelor’s degree and took out loans while you were at it. Maybe you or your best friend are in med school and racking up a ton of debt. How is such insane debt justifiable? Well, I believe all those who graduate from medical school would expect to have a six figure starting salary which would inevitably compensate for the large investment cost (tuition).

So, take some time to think about it – investing in yourself. Sam Brown does a great job explaining why she makes investing in herself “one of [her] biggest priorities.”

I have also been listening to a bunch of podcasts every day at work (yes, at work, with my headphones, and yes I do get all my work done very well), and one that I highly recommend is The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo. After listening to many of her podcast episodes and hearing all the ridiculously unbelievable success stories of her students, I am now dying to invest in her expensive ($297 per month) but apparently life-changing course, Self Coaching Scholars. Definitely on my wish list.

UGH. MONEY. It’s not that I love money, but it’s just that I feel like a dry sponge waiting to absorb (maybe inhale is a better word) as much valuable information as possible so that I can apply new awesome things to my real daily life. And I use that analogy because just this past week my mom commented on my recent podcast/books/onlinecourses obsession with, “You’re like a sponge.”

Which reminds me, one of my nicknames used to be “Patrick” as in Patrick the pink starfish from Spongebob Square Pants, because of my ignorance of many commonly known things. I guess that makes me like Patrick since he likes to hide under a rock.. Yup.

You Are What You Believe You Are

The above picture was taken by me during my walk home after work today.

Ever since starting a new job last Tuesday, my schedule has gotten so much busier to the point where I now have a hard time keeping my inbox and notifications at my favorite number zero. And I’m starting to get used to it and even feeling a little bit okay seeing the red numbered circles popping out of a third of my apps.

Guess I’m not unemployed anymore. And there goes all my blogging time..

Or so I thought. The past week I could hardly find time to run errands, and I literally had to schedule in phone calls with friends to talk during my driving times.

In my last job I had a ton of free time that I used to work on blogging or doing personal reading and learning. Now I actually have to do work for all 8 hours at my new job.

So my dream of really working on and growing my blog business kind of came to a halt. Needless to say I was quite frustrated.

But like I mentioned in my last post about taking advantage of whatever your circumstances are, my new schedule got me thinking about how I can still do the things I want and need to do (e.g. showering, calling my health insurance about issues, doing my taxes.. ugh).

Today I’d like to say that you are what you believe you are. Which can also be translated, you can do whatever you believe you can do. And this has been my little epiphany of the week.

I don’t have the time now because I need to run out the door to buy cucumbers to make an avocado cucumber salad for my church small group dinner, which starts in 65 minutes ahh!

Basically my point is that you can literally accomplish anything if you believe you can. It may seem egotistical but I actually really believe that I can accomplish crazy things as long as I put in the work for it.

I believe I can grow this blog into a successful business.

I believe that I could go to Harvard medical school if I really wanted to.

I believe that I can be a morning person and have an awesome daily morning routine.

I believe I can learn any sport and be good at it too. Or become fluent in any language.

I don’t know where this mindset came from and I am surprised by this new unfamiliar confidence.

But do you get the idea?? I hope you do. If you want that dream job, then go do what you need to do to get it and you will get it.

I guess the catch is that you have to actually DO the work to get the results you want. But if you never believe you’re good enough to get your dream job, then you’re never gonna apply for it and therefore you will successfully fulfill your own prophecy.

Recently the New York Times invited college students and recent college grads to submit a writing piece so they can add more future contributors to “The Edit.” So I picked one of their writing prompts, typed up my 500 words, and emailed it to them for review.

Why did I actually go through with that? Well, because there was something in me that believed I had what it takes to be one of their contributors.

I just found out yesterday that they received over 20,000 submissions so they’re increasing the number of new contributors from 5 to some bigger unspecified number.

I still believe there’s a chance I could be chosen. And that sounds pretty insane and cocky. But what I’m trying to do here is to drive this point home for you so you can be inspired and motivated to just go and do whatever it is you’ve been putting off either because of your perfectionism or your self doubt or both.

Now I need to quickly buy and make my salad. Oh and by the way I started writing this post on my phone during my walk home from the train station after work and now I am sitting on my bed.

Don’t worry, I never look at my phone when I’m crossing the street. 🙂