Preparing for a Purposeful Career

There’s three and a half months between now and when Your Career Homecoming starts. That’s along time to fret and think and think about what career/job/business I might want to pursue next. It’s also quite clear that thinking, journaling, and fretting have gotten me precisely nowhere in my two year search for a a purposeful career. So I’m going to detox between now and YCH. So my brain is fresh and nimble and not bogged down by two years of stale ideas and preconceived notions.

My detox will include:

1. A vast reduction in my stalking of YFE and personal development websites. There’s a whole wide career world out there beyond business and life coaching, and the branding/copywriting/systems business that serve the YFE sector.

2. A vast increase in the amount of quality fiction that I read. Good stories make the world go ’round. If I’m stuck for something to read, I’ll refer to Amazon’s Best Books of the Year So Far 2015: Literature and Fiction and Best Books of the Year 2014: Literature and Fiction lists.

3. As little time spent fretting and churning about what my next career move should be as possible. This may necessitate vase amounts of booze.

And because when I emailed Laura asking for suggestions on how to fruitfully spend my time before her class while still honoring my detox she Some sort of “official” creative project(s). Photography challenges. Official reading lists. And blogging of course, as I intend to live blog my way through this entire process.

Laura suggested some books for me, and also warned against “all input and no output”. That’s where the creative projects come in. They will be my attempt to balance input and output. Or, as I have thought about it in the past, consumption vs contribution. She mentioned  creating a summer bucket list. I wonder what I could put on that list…


p.s. I’m frustrated with how this post is coming out. My writing is so rusty. I can’t seem to get my thoughts together in a cohesive manner, to write anything that, as a reader, I would actually enjoy reading. Push through, though, Stephanie, push through. You can always come back and edit.

I’m Not Writing Snappy Copy Anymore


I’ve recently been questioning what my writing style is, and I realized something yesterday. I like writing in that snappy, cocky, somewhat brash tone of voice. It’s fun and makes me feel, well, somewhat brash and cocky, two things which I am decidedly not. But I wonder if it’s sustainable – would I get tired of it after a while, and just want to be my normal, more steady state kind of person? But anyway, that’s not what my big realization was.

I realized that one reason I like writing in that voice is that it’s safe. When you’re being big and brash, there’s no room for intimacy, vulnerability, and nuance. Those come, at least for me, when I’m writing in a softer, more one-on-one kind of voice. Which makes the softer tone of voice much more difficult. Because snappy and cocky means I can safely stay away from touchy-feely subjects, stuff that is more personal. And personal is hard! It’s, well, personal! Risky. You’re laying it out there for people to read and that can be fucking scary.

So here’s my challenge to myself: stop using flip copywriting as a crutch. Because that’s what it is – an escape hatch from having to write something of consequence.

Giving up the crutch is two kinds of hard. In terms of pure craft, soft, understated, intimate writing is more difficult than big, flashy gloss. There aren’t as many tricks. You have to be a straight up good writer to pull it off, and I’m not a straight up good writer. Yet.

In addition to the added technical skill required, writing in an intimate, vulnerable, and nuanced tone requires you to embrace those same emotions. And while I’m an expert at feeling those things, I’m quite the newbie at embracing and expressing them.

So there you go. This post isn’t even really saying exactly what I want it to say, but hey, it’s a start. Let’s vow to limit the cheat style copy and focus on the quality, deeper stuff. But sigh, the bold and the brash is pretty damn fun at times, isn’t it?

You know what? I kind of want to run two websites. One where I get to pretend that I’m an extrovert, big and sassy with outsized vocabulary. I’d fake a style, flair, and panache that I don’t really feel, but man, it would be fun to pretend for a while. The other site is where I’d be smaller, quieter, more subtle. Think, Ash Ambirge on the one hand, Sarah Selecky on the other. Yes, I think that would be the perfect solution. If, you know, I had the content and stamina to run two websites!

Running – Base Miles Week 2 of 10

Goal: 13 miles
Actual: 13 miles – Yay!

Monday: 5 miles

Hard, hard, and more hard. This was a lot harder than I was expecting it to be. I just felt drained, both during and after the run. The weather was definitely NOT ideal – in the 60’s but super humid. Like, sweat beading on your skin after 1 mile kind of humid. Le sigh. I got it done, although not as quickly as I would have hoped. My goad was to do 9:30 miles after the first warm up mile. You can see that didn’t happen.

Mile 1: 10:16
Mile 2: 9:32
Mile 3: 9:30
Mile 4: 11:02 (included 2ish minute walk)
Mile 5: 10:58 (included 2ish minute walk)

Wednesday: 4 miles

Another sweaty betty run, humid and a half. I was able to do the whole thing without walking though, so that was an improvement over Monday. My initial goal was again to run at 9:30 after the first warm up mile, but that quickly got adjusted to 9:45, which I was able to handle with some effort.

Mile 1: 10:09
Mile 2: 9:42
Mile 3: 9:41
Mile 4: 9:46

Friday – 4 miles

Holy mother of all turn-arounds! I knew today’s run would be a lot better than earlier in the week – the weather was PERFECT! Mid 50’s, cool, and crisp with not a whiff of humidity. It was even cool enough to actually wear a t-shirt, as opposed to the shorts and sports bra I’ve been wearing for a few weeks now. Holy hell I was so happy with this run! My hip held up pretty well, and the first couple miles were easy peasy. My legs got heavier by the end of mile 3 and then for 4, but by no means was I dying. SO happy! Just goes to show – bad runs don’t necessarily have anything to do with you and your training or effort. Sometimes it just comes down to weather.

Mile 1: 9:26
Mile 2: 9:05
Mile 3: 8:58
Mile 4: 9:02

Oh, and I got a new post-rehab PR for a 5k with this run: 28:02. Go me!

On the plate for next week: 5/5/4 for mileage. Slow and steady, baby!

Running – Base Miles Week 1 of 10

Goal: 13 miles
Actual: 13 miles – Yay!

Monday: 5 miles

Woot! My first time running 5 miles in, like, forever! Well, okay, since at least sometime in 2014. First two miles were a bit rough, due to tired legs from a Phase 2 hill climb the day before. But everything loosened up eventually. Took a 1 minute walk break after mile 2, just to rest my hip. The last three miles were nice and smooth. Yay!

Mile 1: 10:01
Mile 2: 9:33
Mile 3: 10:17 (included 1 minute walk)
Mile 4: 9:27
Mile 5: 9:30

Wednesday: 4 miles

Period cramps and backache. Ugh. Does anyone else’s period cramps sometimes feel like imminent diarrhea cramps? Because mine do! I tell myself that no, Stephanie, it’s just your uterus being pissy because it’s not pregnant, you’re not going to poop yourself. But man, sometimes it’s really hard to convince myself of that, from a purely physical feeling level! But, as usual, after I ran through them and my nether regions loosened up a bit, everything was at least decently okay.

Mile 1: 9:50
Mile 2: 9:14
Mile 3: 10:42 (included 1 minute walk, maybe a bit more)
Mile 4: 10:07

Friday – 4 miles

Period cramps were under control today, so yay for that! My goal for today’s workout was, after my warmup mile, to run consistently at a  9:30 pace. You know, in order to get ready for FIRST training come September. They are sticklers for consistency! I did pretty well for myself, as you can see:

Mile 1: 10:11
Mile 2: 9:30
Mile 3: 9:34
Mile 4: 9:30

Go me! I hit my weekly target of 13 miles. Next week is the same goal. After that, I’ll bump it up to 14. And of course keep up with my exercises and stretching.

It’s Okay To Have “Meaning Neutral” Activities In Your Day

We all want to feel like we’re contributing to the world. Striving to meet our goals. Doing our part for humanity, however we define that. And that’s a good thing. It’s an easy trap to fall into, however, feeling like you ALWAYS have to be working toward something. Pushing. Giving. The only thing that that gives you after a while is a feeling of anchorlessness and ^&*(^(&^().

This is where “meaning neutral” time comes into play. It’s time that you specifically set aside to allow yourself to step away from your goals and contributions. It’s for reading a novel. Watching television. Sitting in the sun on a Sunday afternoon and not letting anything, not even the stray mosquito annoy you. Working on a side project or hobby purely for fun and enjoyment. This is the time to allow yourself to simply be a person. Not a strong, capable, go-getter who loves taking on big exciting goals. Not that you aren’t all those things. It’s just that you’re setting aside those titles just for a little while and enjoying some time without the pressures they inherently bring.

I even try, although I of course don’t always succeed, to take a moment first thing in the morning to mentally go over my day and identify some meaning neutral time windows. They usually end up being in the evenings. Once all my stuff is done for the day, I consciously tell myself that it’s okay to just sit. Read a book. Color with my markers. Whatever floats my boat. It’s not time that’s going to change the world or get me closer to qualifying to Boston, but that’s okay. We all need down time.