No More Grand Gestures

So I’ve decided…(man, if I had a quarter for every time I’ve said that phrase!)…

So I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to make big sweeping grand gestures or decisions.

Yes, I see the irony. It’s staring me in the face like a big, ironic elephant.

The reason for this? It’s because I tend to see and experience the world in black and white. Yes or no, hot or cold, pink or no pink*. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the world doesn’t really work like that. You know, beauty is in the greys, and all that shit.

I got this idea from my riding partner. He reminded me that I didn’t get into mountain biking all at once. I didn’t make a firm, ’til death do we part commitment to mountain biking. I started off riding my rigid frame bike for a month or so. Then I was gifted a hard tail bike, which I rode the rest of the season and into the next. After that I bought myself a full suspension bike. A few months after that I tried downhilling for the first time. A year and several lessons later, I bought myself a downhill bike.

What I’m trying to say is that starting small, dipping your toe in, or whatever baby step metaphor you chose, is okay.

You don’t have to know the outcome of a project or where something is going when you start. You can try something just to see if you like it. You don’t have to jump head first into a box or job title or personal label.

For example: I have a small idea for a personal finance budgeting technique that I think might appeal to a certain type of person. Prior to today, I would have (and have!) grinded myself with the questions, “Stephanie, do you want to be a money coach?”, “Should I start a personal finance blog?”. But now, with my new found epiphany, I’m not going there.

I’m going to dip my toe into my project and see what happens.

I’m not going to brainstorm a business name, thinking about revenue streams, or get overwhelmed because what if I hate 1:1 coaching and oh holy shit this is a big huge idea and I had better go take a nap.

Nope, instead I’m merely committing to spending 13 minutes this week coming up with the roughest of rough outlines for my budgeting guide.

And that’s it.

I have no idea where it will go after that, or even if it will go anywhere at all.

And that’s okay.

Because toe dipping is highly permissible and grand gestures are scary and unnecessary.

Until next time.

*Correct answer: pink. Always pink. Whether it’s regarding the color of your hamburger after it’s cooked or anything else.

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 givesContinue Reading