Sharing is Caring

Who do you confide in? No, seriously. Do you share your hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations with just anyone? Or do you keep the deepest, darkest and most personal part to yourself? If you’re the latter, well welcome to the club of pretty much everyone. I find it odd that in such a technologically progressive world, I’ve heard “I feel so alone in a crowd of people” from more people than I care to admit.

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We all seem to think that we’re weird individual creatures from Mars whom others couldn’t dream of comprehending, but honestly that’s just not the case. Sharing is caring. What I mean by that, is the more you share with others, you’ll be surprised and elated to find out that you’re really not that different from those you know. I mean really, it’s a mind blowing process.

Once upon a time, I used to think I was this strange person who had all of these weird ideas and concepts that were just completely against the typical norm. Then I shared parts of myself with others and came to realize I’m not as “weird” or “special” as I thought. Sure, my genotypes are pretty unique, but there are a bunch of 20 Somethings out there running around trying to figure out where and how they fit into this world.

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The more I shared with others, the more connected I began to feel and it’s quite awesome! I will admit though, that once I found out that I was vanilla boring, my ego deflated a bit. Drat, I thought I was unique and special. In all honesty, it is nice to know that I’m not the only one on Mars. Turns out we’re all on it. 😉

So in an effort to share more, I’m going to toss out into the blogosphere my hopes and aspirations that I usually keep close to the vest. I either felt that people would think they were stupid or lofty so I kept them to myself. I like to think of myself as “practical” (scared) and I try to do the conventional thing. But convention is boring and lame; and the wild child in me is dying to come out. Here are a few things that I want to achieve sooner than later. Don’t judge me too hard, haha!

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Things I’d Like to Accomplish

1. Be a features writer for several magazine publications, writing on culture, music, etc. etc. etc. I love people, especially my generation. We’re idealistic, scared, fun, interesting people in which I love to observe. So if I had my way, I’d be doing more of that and less of dreaming about it (Hm, I smell a call to action soon).

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2. Get to Sweden. I’d love to go visit the country. When I was in college, I had studied a lot of their public policies and they have some cool things going on over there (Paternity leave, how cool is that?!).

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3. Get a loft in downtown LA. It’s funny when I was in school in LA, I hated it (Granted it was a difficult time in my life). But now after being away for a few years, I am dying to go back. I’ll make it happen one day!

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In short, let’s keep it real and talk to people. It’s incredibly fun and very eye opening on how we all want the same thing; which is to be happy and enjoy life as it comes our way. What are some things you keep to yourself? I’d love to hear about it!

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So yeah… I kind of write stuff

So I am terrible about bragging about my writing exploits as of late, so I want to share with you guys my latest published work. Way back in June, I discovered this magazine call Millennial Magazine. It’s all about Gen Y and powered by Millennials. They were accepting writers and I knew I’d be a good fit so I quickly wrote the editor and pitched her a few ideas.

The Pitch

For me, pitching an editor is not scary. In fact, it is my favorite part of the process. I introduced myself and spoke on my passion about talking about myself (typical millennial, lol) and sent her some samples and some possible topics. Then I hit “send” and waiting eagerly for the response. Within a few hours, she got back to me and said my ideas were great and to move forward with them.

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The Triumph

For a few days I was on cloud 9 enjoying life and feeling validated. She loved my work and ideas! It felt amazing to receive positive feedback. So needless to say my ego was pretty inflated; at a healthy rate though. 😉

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The Fear

After the acceptance high wore off, a huge sense of insecurity crept over more. “Am I good enough?” “Will the editor like my work?” were the thoughts that plagued my anxiety-riddled brain. I became stuck and fearful that I could not get it done. Instead, I avoided it like the bubonic plague and just let the project fall to the wayside. I was so bummed and disappointed with myself for following through, but my fear and anxiety had gotten the better of me.

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The Comeback

Fast forward 2 months and I still had not written the article. So finally, I took a good look in the mirror, and spoke a few positive affirmations and vowed that I’d get this article written come hell or high-water. So a few hours later and a few revisions (done at a Starbucks, no less), my article was complete!

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The Submission

After I finished my article, I sent it to the editor who had positive things to say about it. I made a few corrections and resubmitted it. I was incredibly proud of myself for finishing the article and that it was going to be published. What I was most proud of was despite my initial hesitation, I managed to follow through, and complete it. Maybe it was because the article is a topic that I relate with, but for me, when I have work that hits close to home, I have a tough time getting through with the project for fear that I am not doing it justice. Then I realized I’m not doing anything if I don’t actually do it, so here it is!

The Published Work

The cool thing about my article was that it was published incredibly quickly and I got a chance to show my friends and family. Normally I write a lot of corporate copy so it’s not exactly interesting or shareable, so it was nice to have done some work that I could share with everyone. So without further ado, here is my article! Just click the link below.

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The Takeaway

All in all, I’ve realized that the writing process does not have to be as scary as I’ve made it. Also that I love what I do. If you guys have any stories about submitting work, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

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4 Freelance Writing Beliefs You Have to Ditch

I love being a freelance writer. From the pitch, to the final edit, to the submission; this is what I live to do. Of course, my writing career has certainly not been without its bumps and bruises. I’ve made some faux pas, questioned my abilities, and have failed on occasion. Yet, here I am, still alive to tell the tale! One of the things I have learned is that there are many emerging writers who have had similar experiences like myself. As I progress in my work, I can’t help but notice a lot of my fellow writers hold on to beliefs that I once held, but discarded as they were toxic to my career. In my perfect utopian world, I want all writers to be able to do well in their respective niches, so I’ve compiled a list of ideas that you need to run from as if they were an unpinned grenade.

 

1. You have to “pay your dues” by taking low wage jobs for an extended period of time

So you’ve just started out and you don’t have any samples. It’s ok, we all have to start somewhere. My best and earnest advice is to do some  pro-bono work for a company in exchange for a byline and recommendation. It is a win-win situation as you get to build your repertoire and reputation, while they get some free work. For some reason freelances think they have to go the “starving artist” route and work for low pay. This is absolutely untrue. When you first start out, yes, you won’t be making six figures, but the whole point is to gain experience and then move up the totem pole. Don’t get stuck slaving over low paying gigs because you feel you have to “earn” the right to write. This brings me to my next belief.

2. Content Mills are a reputable and a great source of income

Every time I hear someone raving on about a mill they write for, my soul cries. Why? Because mill writers are literally paid pennies on the dollar (actually less than that) for their writing. Yes, it’s easy to join them and it takes the fear of marketing yourself out of the picture, but it also takes an astronomical amount out of your earning potential. Most mills pay no more than .03 cents a word, and that’s at the higher end of the spectrum. Most writers can knock out a 500 word article in an hour so, $15 an hour isn’t too bad, right? WRONG! Look at it this way, if you are “lucky” enough to earn .03 cents a word, even if you churn out five 500 word articles a day, that is still only $45 a day. Let’s not forget about the burnout, because, eventually it will happen. Yet some writers will defend mills to the death, saying “they’re really nice and treat me well”. Well, if I was having you do all the work on an article that I charged $100 for and paying you $15, I’d be nice to you too. I get the appeal of mills, it’s “steady work” in an unstable work climate. However, mills will burn you out, teach you terrible writing/research techniques, and will keep you in a rat race to stay above water financially. Not to mention whatever you write for them you either can’t use as a sample due to an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and the fact that the article isn’t worth using anyway. I could go on incessantly about content mills, but trust me, I care about your career and want you to succeed! So stay the hell away from content mills! 

3. You have to be well-versed in a subject 

I freely admit that I had a lot of trouble on this one. Then, one day, I found the power of Google and research! If you’ve attended college, then there is a big chance that you’ve done a research paper. Writing for industries you aren’t all too familiar on just takes a bit of research, and trust me, you can do it! As long as you do your due-diligence, you can write about anything you’d like. So in short, you don’t have to be an expert however, be willing to put the time in to do some solid research.

4. You aren’t good enough

This is another heartbreaker for me. Too many writers are not confident in their abilities so they either turn to mills or don’t get started altogether. Honestly, I suffered (and sometimes still do) from insecurities with my writing. The psychological barriers that we set for ourselves are incredibly detrimental because they hinder our talents. When I get nervous, I look in the mirror and face the reality that: I HAVE to have a Starbucks fund, therefore I need to write. Ok, I’m kidding (not really), but in all seriousness, being nervous is part of the process and it does get easier over time. You are capable of having a successful writing career, you just have to get in there and get after it!

The best way to combat these beliefs is by doing your research and learning from successful writers in the niche you want to write for. I personally enjoy Carol Tice as she has such a wealth of information and knowledge. I stumbled across her site a few months ago and have been passively reading it ever since. It’s helped me tremendously even though I’m not an actual member (this is not an endorsed post, I just admire the lady. 🙂 ). If you’re beginning to write or are not sure where to start, I hope you learn a bit from my mistakes and make a smoother transition into writing. So my fellow writers I wish you much success and happy writing!

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Why Writers are Scared to Share Their Work

Submitting/sharing written work can be an extremely anxiety filled endeavor for a lot of writers. The moment you share your writing with someone, it feels like you’ve exposed a sacred document out into the world where everyone can judge and critique it. That my friends is a very scary mentality to have and truthfully, it was one that I held onto.

The one thing I’ve been finding out is that many writers are so nervous about sharing their work, that a lot of the time they don’t. Or, they decide not to pitch their ideas because of what an editor might say. I will admit that it’s been refreshing to know that I’m not the only who gets anxious.

What bums me out that there is a lot of stuff that is going unpublished due to the fears a writer may have. In an effort to help out my fellow writers, here are some tips/ideas that I try to remember when it comes to pitching ideas/submitting content.

 

1. Realize That Pitching is Nerve-wracking for Everyone

If submitting content was super easy, I guarantee you that a lot more of it would be happening. Sure it’s natural to get nervous about sending your stuff out into the world. Just be sure to not let the fear stop you from submitting it.

2. Editors are People Too

Believe it or not, editors are human beings. They are not waiting anxiously in their inbox to reject the next pitch from a writer. On the contrary, most editors I’ve worked with are extremely awesome and very helpful. Don’t forget they need your stories so they’ll work with you to make that happen.

3. Separate Yourself From Your Work

Being rejected or being asked to make revisions are a reality of being a writer. I’ll admit that it can wound my pride momentarily. Make sure you remember that the editor is not rejecting you, they are rejecting the article. Trust me, there is a difference. So when you get rejected, it does not mean that you are a terrible writer, it just means the article is not what the editor is looking for.

4. Take Rejection with a Grain of Salt

Your writing can feel like a part of you so it’s natural to feel connected to it. Like I said, your rejection is not a reflection of you. It’s normal to feel discouraged when you’ve experienced rejection. That being said, don’t dwell on it too long. Figure out where you can make the proper adjustments and try again.

5. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again

When I first started pitching articles, I was terrible at receiving feedback. It actually made me hesitant to put myself out there again. However, I quickly realized that I can’t work on any projects without first putting myself out there. If you get rejected, keep on pitching. The more you pitch, the easier it becomes and eventually an editor will say yes!

 

So those are my guidelines that help me get over the anxiety hump of pitching articles. What do you do to help yourself spread your work? What was the most challenging pitch you’ve done and how did you overcome it? Or, what is stopping you from getting published? Let me know 🙂

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Why Interpersonal Communication is Dead

Today, I was going to write about my fondness for admiring older men (another story for another time), but I find myself baffled by the complexities of topics such as harassment and the like. I wasn’t going to talk about such subjects because as a woman, it appears that I may have differing opinions on the matter as opposed to the masses. However, after watching some troubling YouTube videos and reading about scary moments when a member of the opposite sex tried to strike up a conversation; I have become to believe one thing. Interpersonal communication is dying among Millennials.

What is Interpersonal Communication?

 Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.

 

Obviously I don’t mean that everyone under that category cannot speak to one another, but as we all become so engrossed with our precious technologies, we seem to have forgotten how to talk to our fellow man. When was the last time you talked to someone you didn’t know who was within 10 feet of you? Furthermore, if someone approached you offering casual conversation, would you accept and engage? I’m not talking about the cat calling weirdness that sometimes happens, but if a person poses a legitimate topic, would you write them off?

I ask this because all too often, I’m seeing/hearing people complain about harassment when the question was harmless. Since we seldom interact with each other in a spontaneous fashion, it seems as though our ability to do so has diminished severely. What I mean by this is that, communication/interaction is like a muscle, if you don’t exercise it from time to time, it will become underdeveloped and essentially useless. I grew up in a small  town in Southern California, where if you were in a long line, it would be completely normal to strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you. Nowadays doing that same action results in the recipient either thinking you’re weird or are trying to hit on them. Even more so, that one encounter becomes the cornerstone argument that harassment is a real and rampant thing that is oppressing the female gender. One Youtuber even went as far as saying that a woman’s #1 fear is rape. Uh, my biggest fear is snakes…so… yeah. I’m not saying harassment does not exist, it does. Has it happened to me? You bet. However, I do not live my life in fear because of a few instances. What’s even more frustrating is that hashtag movements have become a soap box for individuals to talk about the one time they got hit on at the bar by someone who was either incredibly nervous or could have been a jackass.

Let’s be honest, going up to a stranger and starting a conversation is hard, for everyone. It requires one to muster up the courage to speak with you in the first place, which seems like a miracle since we’re so distant from each other anyway. We’re already so closed off from the idea of talking to others without it coming from a cellphone, it’s not even funny. So my next question is, if talking to someone in a line, at a bookstore, or in a bar is so taboo or considered harassment, how are we supposed to connect with one another? Personally, even as an introvert, if anyone offers something interesting to say, I gladly welcome the interaction. Why? Because I appreciate the effort of a person wanting to interact and be human for a minute. What’s not human is being glued to a device as your only means of connecting with the outside world. Also, I find it entertaining as some of the very same people who are for this “movement” are the very same folks who complain about having trouble making friends or meeting potential partners. Well those types of interactions require you to speak to one another. It’s not rocket science.

To be clear, I am not downplaying anyone’s plights or dealings with harassment of any kind. I believe that everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe. My problem is with the growing few who interpret a book recommendation as a scary experience thus deeming someone creepy. Guess what, not everyone is trying to sleep with you. Sometimes it’s nice to speak to someone new using your voice and not your thumbs. Let’s turn off our phones and get to know each other in the old fashioned way. So, with that being said, I’m off to go to a new coffee shop and speak to a stranger. I encourage you to do the same. 🙂

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Stop Thinking, Start Doing

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

That quote is on a magnet that I put on my fridge about a year ago. When I bought it, my thought was I’d see it everyday when I pulled out my creamer for my coffee then magically become motivated to test my limits. The reality is, that most times I don’t even look at that magnet, nor do I venture out into unknown territory often. I ran into my neighbor again this morning as I was finishing my walk with Abbey. Honestly every time I see her I really do believe that sometimes things do happen for a reason. This morning was no different.

Last week, I had been struggling to progress with my freelance writing. I’ve been meaning to update my LinkedIn profile and put of samples of my work. The actual task of updating my profile is quite simple. You just have to update your career and upload some documents and Presto! You’re in business. If it’s so easy to do that, you’re probably wondering why on earth have I not done so? The simple answer is that, I’m scared to put my stuff out there. Once I hit that submit button, my hopes, fears, aspirations, are available to the world to do with whatever they choose. That type of vulnerability is terrifying to me. Granted, I realized that one of my key points in my post 2 weeks ago. I can’t very well encourage you all to be vulnerable if I’m not willing to do so myself, now can I?

Talking it out with my neighbor made me realize how much I hold myself back. My mind was working in “negative thought” overdrive. By holding onto negative thoughts and promoting self-doubt. I’ve talked myself out of doing simple tasks for fear of being judged. When I got home, I took a good look in the mirror and I’m resolving to make a change. I need to tear down the walls that I’ve built up and just get on with it. I am challenging myself to get out of my head and start living presently. And since it’s the beginning of the month, the timing couldn’t be better.

June is the month where I break out and really challenge myself both personally and professionally. I will update my LinkedIn profile and get over the fear of judgement. After all, in order to succeed, you have to start. In order to keep myself accountable, I’ll check in with my progress here and give an honest update with how it’s all going. My hope is that you’ll join me and stretch your minds to conquer whatever holds you back this month. Here’s to a growth-filled June. 🙂

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Put Yourself Out There

Have you ever sat in a crowd of people and felt like you were the only person in the room? If there is one thing that I’ve learned these past 5 months is that no man is an island. You need people in your life, both professionally and personally. I will admit, I tend to try to go the lone wolf route and I can guarantee I’ve fallen flat on my face because of it. Now I’m understanding that I need to connect and also ask for help and that it’s ok to do so. There’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel, especially if there are tons of good ones out there already.If I had to offer any advice to my millennial cohorts it would be this:

1. Be Honest and Ask For Help

If you do not understand something, talk with someone who does. I cannot tell you how many countless endeavors, I‘ve been at the mercy of because I did not want to appear “incompetent”. This has been a tough habit to kick, but the funny thing is, the more I communicate my needs, the more I connect with others. I find that when I’m being emotionally honest and am investing in a conversation, I’m getting more intrinsic value out of it. That only happens when you are honest with what you want and seek out others to make it happen.

2. Be Vulnerable

I used to think that being vulnerable was a sign of weakness, and boy was I totally wrong. Whether you’re summoning up the courage to talk to the dude you creep on at the coffee shop, or asking for more responsibility at work, you have to be transparent. Sure there is a possibility that you may not get the result you were hoping for, but you wouldn’t get it anyway if you did nothing altogether. And who knows, you could have a hot date and a raise, you have to put it out there first.

3. Invest in Others

In the culture of “now now now” I find it commonplace for people to not put much effort into their relationships with others. You would think with all this technology surrounding communication, we’d be pro’s at interpersonal communication, but that is just not so. We’re so plugged in looking for the next best thing we don’t realize that what we’re looking for could be right in front of us. It just takes a little time and elbow grease to get there. Instead of dismissing one another, try and actually get to know people. I’ve been working on getting to know others and not writing people off, and you know what? Some of those people aren’t half bad. Had I just gone with the first impression and kept my elitist attitude, I would not have seen the awesomeness of some people I am proud to call friends. I could spend a lot more time on this and maybe I will in another post, but if you take anything away from this, I hope it’s that we all need someone to lean on at some point. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or significant other, you have to have someone you can confide in. Of course, this can be absolutely terrifying in the beginning. Sharing feelings? Yuck, who does that? But once you start it’s one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. So I challenge everyone to ask for help, or talk to a stranger sometime this coming weekend. Who knows where it could take you? 🙂

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Life is For the Living

I often find myself struggling with the fear of “Am I crazy for leaving my job to go into the unknown land of freelancing” all the time. From a rational standpoint, I have abandoned all the security a 9-5 brings with no immediate backup in sight. On the other hand, the world is my oyster and I’m free to do with it as I please. Getting trapped in a finite way of thinking is something we’re all taught. You go to school, graduate, find a steady job, have a family, grow old and die. We tend to look at life in a “step by step” manner, a blueprint if you will. I threw out my “blueprint” a few months ago and I haven’t been the same ever since.

After going rogue, I’ve failed, faced rejection, and even questioned my path from time to time. Yes, I’ve fallen flat on my face, but as it turns out, I’m still here. I didn’t crumble and die from these experiences. I used to be so afraid to do something wrong or to be shot down that I would not attempt the unthinkable. For some reason, I treated life as a Mario game where you only have 1 life left and if you messed up, game over, you have to start all over again, so you play extra cautiously so that you won’t die. Well, I’m throwing that out the window too.My goal is to turn my dreams into a reality. Pursue the things I want most out of life. I’m just choosing the road less traveled to get there.

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No Time Like the Present

Life does not wait for anyone. Boom! Post done; you’re welcome 😉

All jokes aside, I’m really getting ahold of my avoidance tactics and am facing the world come what may. I was walking my dog this morning and I realized that, scared or not, life is still happening. It was in the moment I understood that I was using fear as a catalyst to hold me back. Life is scary and yes it’s often easiest to run and hide under your covers and watch Duck Dynasty (everyone does this, right?), but by hiding out, there are so many things you are missing out on.

I realized that there will never be “the perfect time” to do anything. A lot of times I say to myself “if the situation were this way” or “if I only had this one thing to make me productive, I could make it work” and my favorite “if the circumstances were different”. Until today, I kept thinking that the “right” moment would arrive where I could finally do everything I’ve set out to accomplish. Well guess what, that utopian world where life is perfect and you have nothing to focus on but yourself is a fantasy.

These are excuses used to rationalize my failings towards my goals. Excuses are like buttholes; everyone has one and they’re full of crap. The only thing that is standing in between me and what I want to accomplish is me. Now armed with this newfound understanding I’m going to hold myself a bit more accountable. I’m not going to have 100% perfect days everyday and I’m going to accept life happens. I cannot be a twig flailing around in the wind whenever life throws something unexpected my way. Instead, I will embrace it, and keep on keeping on. I see life as an impatient train that does not wait if you are the slightest bit late; so you have to be sure and get on it. Sometimes we miss the train initially, but the cool thing is there are many stops on the way. So next stop jump on and hold on for dear life, as it’s the only one we’ve got. Lastly as my grandmother would say, “Piss or get off the pot”, and on that note, I need to find a bathroom… 🙂

Millennials Need More Experience With Rejection

Yesterday I wrote about receiving constructive criticism and how I was going to “learn from the experience” and all the jazz. Well, to be honest, I have not written nor researched the project I’m supposed to turn in. Instead I’ve been licking my wounds, sulking while playing Tetris, and avoiding all responsibility. Why? Honestly, because I’m not use to being told my half-assed work doesn’t cut the mustard. I’m intelligent, no really, I’m pretty damn smart and I’ve been getting away with so much bullshit because of it. With that being said, it’s given me the ability to slack off and still come out the victor for many years thus making me arrogant, a little entitled, and possessing a gross sense of overconfidence in my procrastination abilities. In laymen’s terms, my shit doesn’t stink. However yesterday, I had to wake up and smell the poo.

Being told that my work wasn’t good enough was like a bullet to the heart, granted I really did not put in the effort. To give you a better understanding, I wrote a 1000 word article on a topic I had absolutely no idea about in under an hour. That time includes the research that I did for the article. Of course on the shallow spectrum the article is amazing, it offers some basic insight on the subject. However the client does not want a fluff piece, they want a serious in depth article and are shelling out legit dinero for me to do so. So why I thought a bullshit puff piece was going to work is beyond me.

Currently I’m stuck in the land of anxiety and avoidance. My fear is that I could write this article and do it justice, thus greatly changing up my M.O. and forcing me to “try”. On the other hand, I could put my blood, sweat, and tears into this article and still not be good enough. The more I talk with friends and peers, I realize I’m not alone in the conundrum. My people (millennials) suffer from fear of rejection. It’s true, ever wonder why most 20somethings don’t commit to say, anything? It’s because in order to succeed in relationships, work, life, etc you have to make an effort. Some of these efforts we win, and some we lose. Let’s be honest, losing sucks and we don’t want to do it. So there’s this lackadaisical approach to a lot of endeavors. We mask these fears by offering up explanations like “focusing on my career” or “I like not having to be tied down to stuff”. That’s code word for being scared of commitment because of the possibility of failure. As I said yesterday, I think this stems from not being exposed to enough rejection. I’ve rarely opened myself up to the possibility of rejection. This has left me extremely sensitive to criticism/rejection, so much so that I’m hindering myself.

In order for me to really grow from this experience, I need to take a good look in the mirror and honestly accept my part in my lack of effort. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m going to need to experience some good old fashion rejection to become more accustomed to it. Now, I’m done throwing my pity party and I want to experience the world come what may. I need to do that article, not because of monetary reasons, but to show myself that life requires participation. Failure is part of the equation and I must embrace it. With that being said, off I go, shutting down the anxious thoughts in my brain to conquer this fear! My challenge to my fellow millennials is to do something that you’re afraid of. It’ll make you better in so many ways. 🙂

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