On Decision Making

Let’s talk about good versus great.

What differentiates the good from the great? How do you get from one to the other?

Decisions. Your decisions reflect who you are and who you aim to become. Your decisions pave the path to your future successes.

I don’t want good. I don’t want acceptable. I don’t want mediocre. I don’t want satisfactory. I don’t want mundane. And I certainly don’t want whatever society is telling me I should at this point in my life, just because it is what is expected.

I want the power of choice over settling. I want gloriously fulfilled over simply maintaining. I want completely overflowing rather than filled to the top. I want novel and thrilling and keeps-you-guessing. I want exceptional. I want life-altering. I want bursting. I want overjoyed. I want triumphant. I want something incredibly special. I want shooting for the stars.

I want great.

And what keeps me going is the daily reminder that I didn’t come this far to only come this far.

The decisions you have to make in order to achieve greatness are not easy. They aren’t obvious. You will not know for sure if they are the right ones until you see how they play out. Good decisions take practice. They take self-awareness. They take effort. They take commitment. They take inner strength. You have to be ready to take risks. You must be willing to jump without being able to see if you’ll make to the other side. You need to be prepared to go down in a blaze of glory.

I can tell you one thing- the quality of your decisions can be easily determined by your intent.

Think about it. When you are making a decision, what part of yourself are you nourishing? Encouraging? Growing?

If you are feeding your ego, then you are surely making the wrong decision. The same goes for greed, envy, insecurity and fear.

Let your actions reflect your decision to have a great relationship with yourself first and foremost. Forget good for now or good enough or maybe this will work in every single area of your life. Love, friendships, career, hobbies, side hustles; throw it all out if it’s not making you gloriously fulfilled and practice patience until great comes along.

Except the career- make sure you can pay your bills while you work on securing your dream job.

It won’t always go well. I promise. You will fail. And then you will fail again. The failures will hurt. Your heart will cry out in protest. This is too hard, it will say. We have come far enough, it will urge. Why can’t we just be happy with good, it will question. I’m just not ready, it will whisper.

You will have to remind your heart that you want great. That you will never know what you could have achieved if you stop now. That you must keep going, no matter what. You will never feel ready. You will never become immune to pain. You’ll just become more skilled at dealing with it all, and that is a sign of greatness.

The failures only mean you are getting closer to what it is you are striving for. Failure is the surest indication that you are taking an active role in chasing your dreams. Failure isn’t final and only you have a say in what stops you.

Don’t expect to ever stop failing but you can expect that your failures will, one day, reflect a refining process rather than a complete demo of your life.

I want to, every single day, strive for great rather than good. I want to be a great friend, daughter, mentor, employee, and partner. I want to be great at adapting right alongside of change, at accepting the difficulties I must overcome, at thriving when my heart tells me it would be fine for me to quit and fall apart.

I want to, every single day, become better than I once was. I want to choose authenticity over being perceived as perfect, honesty over saved face, and owning my truth over hiding behind the fear of vulnerability destroying me.

We must decide to choose challenge over comfort and patience over instant gratification.

We must make the decision to make the choices that aren’t easy.

And that’s how you will get from good to great.

What decisions are you making today?

xoxo

Sarah

 

Authenticity and Just a Little Bit of Grace

Christmas in my household is small and quiet. This year, it was even smaller and quieter than usual, consisting of me, my mom, my step-dad and step-sister. My two step-brothers, who are mostly always around for this holiday, couldn’t make it down this year.

I sat in our family living room, staring at the beautifully decorated tree, with downtown San Diego visible in the background. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and this was the first year in a long while that I didn’t have to work on Christmas Eve. I hadn’t gotten around to putting up a tree in my apartment this year, so our family tree felt even more special and important. Mom was cooking Christmas Eve dinner in the kitchen and my step-sister was in the next room, sleeping off the last of a twenty-four hour bug that unceremoniously struck right before the holiday. I considered life; my family, everything that is going on right now, and my little world as I know it.

It isn’t perfect. Nowhere near perfect. I sometimes squirm with the imperfection of it all. But just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that it isn’t wonderful.

I have twelve months of experience and perspective to thank for being able to understand that, while imperfect, it is still special. This year is better than last year, and that is in large part because I am better than I was last year. I am more aware of who I am, more capable of true honesty, more accepting, and perhaps most importantly- more grateful. For everything.

Gratitude, acceptance, and authenticity. These things are game changers.

People enjoy and appreciate authenticity. When you meet someone who is truly authentic, you just know. They are completely present for conversations, quietly and soothingly confident, and you feel like you might be just a little bit more authentic for having met them. There is just something so refreshing about a person being completely and unapologetically themselves

Unless the person is unapologetically an asshole. No-one appreciates assholes.

This world could use more authenticity. It can be difficult, and scary, to reveal our true selves to the world. We work hard at making sure that the skeletons are safely secured behind locked doors, and that people only see what we want them to. We filter ourselves. We make sure that people don’t find out the secrets that we deem necessary to hide away- the ones that we don’t think we will be forgiven for, were the world to find out.

What are the things that you love most about yourself? What sets you apart from the person standing next to you? What positive attributes do you fall back on during moments of insecurity? What are the positive affirmations that you use to restore your faith in yourself?

Think about these things, these things about yourself that you actually love, and notice how you feel. You feel good, right? Calm and at peace perhaps? This is self-appreciation. This is healthy. This is you authentically giving yourself credit, where it is deserved.

You know what else the world needs more of? Kindness. Patience. Forgiveness. Understanding.

I’m going to ask you to think again. How often do you look at the things you lack, rather than the things you are blessed to have? How many more times do you notice shortcomings in your life, rather than the things given to you in abundance?

Joy is literally sucked out of our lives when we get stuck on the disappointments, the failures, and the comparison game. We think everyone else has it better than us, and it makes us completely ignore all that we have achieved and accomplished in our lives.

Authenticity tells us that WE CAN DO THIS, even if we are terrified. It is believing in ourselves, and knowing that we are capable, without ever having done it. It means being confident, yet humble. Authenticity is not driven by ego, it is driven by understanding. I find that I connect more deeply, forge longer lasting bonds, and feel more understood when I am being authentic. It cuts out the bullshit and brings opportunity to the table.

We can work to offer understanding, kindness, and forgiveness even where it is not deserved. Especially where it is not deserved. It is being these things despite all the justifications you have to not be these things. It is having your feelings stomped on or completely disregarded- and being kind anyways. It is being better than your surroundings simply because you are capable and willing.

Authenticity is kindness. It is patience. It is forgiveness. It is understanding.

It is grace.

In 2015 I want to have more grace. I want to keep working on become more true- more authentically and unapologetically me. I want to be a better daughter, a better friend, a better employee. I want to be kinder, more patient, more forgiving, more understanding. I want to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made, the parts of my past that I am working to let go of, and for all the mistakes yet to come.

I want authenticity for you, too. I want you to want to be less afraid of announcing yourself to the world, in all of your perceived flaws or imperfections. I want you to be kinder, to yourself and to others. I want you to forgive, first yourself and then the world around you.

I want all of us to be more authentic, even when it is hard and even when it hurts.

What do you want out of 2015?

xoxo

Sarah

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry pancakes make me happy. Blueberry pancakes from Denny’s at midnight make me even happier. There is something magical about them. Creamy butter and sticky, sweet, syrup perfectly complementing the easy conversation being traded lightly across the table. Conversation is always easy over blueberry pancakes. You find yourself divulging some of your innermost fears over those simple disks made of flour, sugar, and fruit; the words slipping off your tongue as easily as the description of your favorite color.

Blueberry pancakes remind you of the happy times. They are an enjoyable kind of easy, like waking up early on a hot summertime morning. They are not pretentious like crepes, or heavy like French toast. They are perfect for good moods, or the perfect remedy for sad ones.

As time goes on, the responsibilities multiply and life inevitably becomes more complicated because you have more to care about. More to lose. It is important to have things like blueberry pancakes, simple pleasures that bring you happiness just in being themselves and nothing more. The small things that allow you to be present and fully appreciate the exact moment you are experiencing, drinking it in like a deep breath of cool ocean air. That moment, in its entirety, is enough. When time disappears and nothing matters except for the person sitting across from you and the perfectly made breakfast in front of you, where bedtimes are a thing to be brushed off like an annoying Nat buzzing in your ear.

Nothing invites trepidation into my soul like the fear of mediocrity. This is a dangerous fear to have, because then it becomes possible to become addicted to chaos. Appreciating the small pleasures, like breakfast at midnight, makes the commonplace seem desirable and startlingly fleeting. You have to hold on to those moments while simultaneously trying not to grasp at them too desperately, for it is that desperation which will make them disappear all the more quickly.

A point of growth comes when in realizing that these small moments of simple yet complete joy are not mediocre ones. Your existence is not merely a serious of unremarkable moments strung together, sprinkled with bright snapshots of happiness or tragedy. Life has a purpose. The small moments can turn out to be everything; they build strength, appreciation, and depth of character. These moments, the blueberry pancake moments, are when you realize that this right here is why life is worth sticking around for.

A handful of months and a few thousand dreams ago, I didn’t even know I loved blueberry pancakes. I had never sought them out, nor had I given them a second thought when browsing the breakfast menu selections. Then, one day, this ordinary breakfast item had transformed. It was now unique and special and just a little bit mine. That is how all miracles in life happen. Suddenly. Magically. Without warning. Then, your life is irreversibly altered. The trick is being patient enough to hang on, to wait for the miracles to happen.