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?




In the Name of Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would end the week by putting together a little list of things I love.

I don’t particularly love this holiday, but I do love little reminders of the things that bring me joy. I am definitely a glass-half-full-the-miracle-is-just-around-the-corner kinda girl, and I try to make gratitude lists regularly to keep my perspective on life where it should be.

After all, we all have something to be grateful for. And it’s Friday!, which is cause to celebrate. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

1. Coffee. cappuccinoA grande non-fat vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso has been my obsession of choice for basically forever. Thank you, Starbucks, for making me a more pleasant individual in the mornings.




1421164706sgnzy2. Getting Inspired. If you know anything about me,Β or have read any of my blog posts, I am sure this comes as no surprise to you. Still, I really really love it.




3. Love. Simply because it can change everything. DSCN4906






969379_10101803697158263_565371659_n4. My Mom. My first best friend & valentine, this woman means the world to me! The older I get, the more I can appreciate just how amazing she is.







file00012075352805. Fresh Flowers. Because what could possibly cheer up a room more?

“The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” – Allan Chalmers

I hope that tomorrow (whether you are celebrating Valentines Day with someone special or Singles Awareness Day with your friends) is full of love and happiness. Happy Friday friends!



A Handbag Love Affair (plus a discount code)

As a writer for Ms. Career Girl, I see many benefits. I get the humbling opportunity to mentor young women as they discover their professional path, to be part of a community of women bloggers that helps to empower and inspire, and there’s the added bonus of getting to have my voice heard on a platform that isn’t my own personal blog.

When I was brought on as a columnist, my editor shared with me that I might have the opportunity to do product reviews (and score some free stuff). My reaction? Sign me up! Anything you need me do to help the website, I’m here for you!Β Also read: will do anything and everything for a chance at free loot.Β 

I know, I am shameless.

Well, it finally happened! I got to do my very first product review! Yippee.

Enter: the perfect career girl handbag- the Robert Matthew Natalie Shoulder Tote. You guys, this thing is gorgeous. It’s the first red handbag I have ever owned, and it’s the perfect statement piece. I’m obsessed. I can’t stop looking at it. I love it. Okay, I think you get the point.

Natalie Shoulder Tote in Vibrant Rose. Courtesy of robertmatthew.com

Natalie Shoulder Tote in Vibrant Rose. Courtesy of robertmatthew.com

You can read my full product review, featured today over at Ms. Career Girl,Β here.

Added bonus- you can use the exclusive discount code MSCAREERGIRL30 at checkout to see some savings of your own!Β 

Β Because every career girl needs the perfect handbag in her professional tool belt.



The Single Girl Rant

Sometimes, being single gets old. When you hit your late twenties, if you’re not in a relationship, people seem to think something is actually wrong with you. Like the fact that you haven’t settled down yet indicates you’re damaged, or completely insane.The picture above is of a card that one of my single girlfriends sent me, and it perfectly sums up our struggle with dating.

I haven’t been in a serious relationship for over two years. In those two years, I have had the pleasure, and horror, of dating all kinds of kinds. There’s been good, and bad. Healing and hurtful. I even got to experience the first breakup after the heartbreak of my ex.

So, here are some highlights from my dating adventures over the last couple of years; may they bring all of the single women out there comfort and entertainment. Β 

Jimmy Neutron: I met him at the Stagecoach festival in 2012. For all of you who don’t know it, that’s the country music version of Coachella. Aka: one of the most awesome experiences of my life. He was tall, super smart (like Jimmy Neutron), handsome, polite, and had his shit together. Before he kissed me for the first time, he asked permission. I hadn’t seen that kind of respect, like, ever. Geographical distance and life circumstances kept us too far apart to ever get serious, but to this day I still think of him whenever Eric Church’s Springsteen comes on the radio.

The Psycho: This guy, unsatisfied with our platonic, years-long friendship, took his obsession with me so far as to attempt to pull off an elaborate catfish scheme. He operated under the ruse that he had a best buddy (who was traveling abroad) that would be my perfect match. The friend that he was “setting me up with” was actually him the whole time, disguised under fake Skype names and email accounts. It was elaborate.The sad part was, it worked. Until I figured it out. He manipulated my trust in the worst kind of way, and my mind is still blown at the lengths this psycho went to. It’s a special kind of insane I hope to never witness again. The silver lining: while traumatic at the time, this experience has made me stronger and a whole lot smarter. Added bonus: I can laugh about it now

Bunny. I met this gem on an Easter and it lasted nearly a year. On the day we met he was dressed in…wait for it…a Giant. Pink. Bunny. Suit. What can I say? It was a challenge and a gimme at the same time. The bigger challenge turned out to be getting this guy to show up, emotionally and physically. It was the most laid-back relationship I have ever been in. Luckily, it catered to my independence at a time in my life where I wasn’t prepared to be dedicated to anyone but myself. When he decided a boys’ trip to Vegas on Valentine’s Day was more important than spending any amount of time together…it was time to say a final buh-bye. Even I wasn’t cool enough to handle that one.

The Lawyer. Perfect on paper, I thought this guy could be “it”. We had a few fabulous first dates. This guy was good at heart, but I felt that he might have me on the fast-track to wife and I wasn’t sure if he liked me or the idea of me.Β 

The Tinder Fail.Β Okay, I admit it, I got desperate and tried Tinder. Well, desperate really isn’t the best word for it. Curious and bored are better adjectives. During one of my “to hell with it” moments, I agreed to a date with someone a few years my junior, who was in the area for some Air Force training. Let’s go ahead and check the yes box on the following red flags: younger than me, military, smooth talking, and selfie-loving. We spent an entire day together- this guy really came with the A-game on the charming front. Well, something just seemed weird to me about how throughout the day he was hot and cold. He would come on strong, then be obsessed with making sure I wasn’t going to get too attached and that I knew he was leaving. So, when I got home, I searched him on Facebook. What did I find? IN A RELATIONSHIP. With a very nice(and competent) looking blonde girlfriend. Asshole. Don’t ask me why I wasn’t smart enough to check him out before the date- suffice to say lesson learned and Tinder account deleted.Β Β 

What have I learned from all of this? Well, firstly, dating apps aren’t for me. Also, I learned how to be comfortable with just dating. Having fun, spending time with a new person, and getting to know them without wondering if they are my knight-in-shining-armor(see photo at top of post). I learned how to ask the right questions in order to avoid catastrophe and heartbreak later on down the road. Also, I now have an arsenal of pick-me-ups for any girlfriend that has a bad dating experience. After all, isn’t that what friends are for?

Do you have any dating tales or woes you would like to share here?




The Point of Growth

The point of learning, of growing, of achieving, of self-improvement, is not to puff ourselves up. The point isn’t to inflate our egos or to spout off about the self-actualization we have attained, or to throw it around disguised as self-importance and arrogance. The point is to give it away.

For it is not by breaking down others that we build ourselves up, and it is not by shouting out to the world our need for attention that we gain recognition. Instead, we work tirelessly. We work tirelessly to be a better friend, a better employee, a better shoulder to lean on, a better partner, a better human. Lead by example it is said. This is difficult, because often on your long spiritual journey up the proverbial mountain it is impossible to see your own progress. With your pack weighing you down, your body sagging from exhaustion, and with sweat dripping off of your forehead blocking your view, you can’t see if you are any nearer to the top. Step by step you struggle forward, pressing on with no idea if and when you will ever reach it. If you will ever get there.Β 

The truth is, there is no THERE. Β  There is no when or someday either, only now. So how can we make now enough? For when you are in the middle of your climb you cannot see the crowd of supporters at the summit, cheering you on. You have no idea how your progress, and struggle, is inspiring those that are watching you. One foot in front of the other. That is how we do it. That is how we make now into enough.

We make now into enough by realizing that we don’t need the perfect anything to be happy, we just need to be growing. We stimulate growth by challenging ourselves; by getting out of our comfort zone and saying yes to every new opportunity. Thus, the importance does not lie in reaching the top of the mountain. It lies in your path to getting there.

The World will never be in short supply of people who will try to tell you, loudly, how to live your life. What you should do, how you should act, and who you should be. It’s crap. All of it. What you should do, how you should act, and who you should be, is entirely up to you. Write your own script. The only person you need to measure yourself up against is the person you were yesterday.

So keep it up. Keep up the journey, keep up the struggle, keep up the discomfort. Enjoy the good moments the best that you can, for small triumphs lead to large successes. One tiny step forward is much further than no steps at all.


The Vulnerabilty Project

β€œWhen we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” -BrenΓ© Brown

I gather inspiration from many sources; most often from the people I meet or books I read. See my post Inspiration is EverywhereΒ hereΒ if you need more proof. Recently one of my dearest friends sent me the book Daring Greatly, which focuses on embracing vulnerability and imperfection in an effort to live wholeheartedly, allowing us to engage fully in our lives. The author, Dr. BrenΓ© Brown, defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She argues that our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection is opening ourselves up to being vulnerable.

Confession: I really suck at being vulnerable.Β 

There are few things I hate more than being vulnerable. It’s a terrible feeling to endure really, similar to what I imagine standing naked onstage in front of a huge audience would be like. Exposed and defenseless. Until recently I didn’t even realize how much effort I expend to shield myself from vulnerability. I’m talking years of work here, people. Thousands of hours spent building walls around myself to act like a coat of armor. And I wasn’t even aware I was doing it!

The vulnerabilities are everywhere. In my blogging I worry that I’m not posting often enough, that I’m too serious, that I over-share, that I’m not funny enough, that I’m too honest. At my job I worry that I’m not learning fast enough, not being assertive enough, being too assertive, not taking on as many tasks as I could, or taking on tasks I have no business handling. When it comes to dating, I am at my most vulnerable. Painfully so. To explain why, I could dedicate an entire blog to dating misadventures. Thus far, I have fought that urge- but no promises for the future.

All of these insecurities have the same fear at their root: that I am simply not enough.Β This identity of not being enough has come to make me always act on the defense, prepare for the worst, and regard feelings as the enemy. For example, when I get really really angry I cannot help but cry. I hate this. I am MAD, not sad. I should be yelling not CRYING! For me, this emotion has always equaled weakness. But you know what I realized? This negative self-talk is not helpful, or even true. Emotion is not weakness, and neither is vulnerability. I am enough, and it’s about time I started believing that.

There is a lot of power in realization. Knowledge is power right? Well that power of knowing means I’m screwed, because now I need to work on it.

Enter: The Vulnerability Project

I have been living my life with the intention of protecting myself. This intention is misguided. My intention of living needs to be to live joyously, to have experiences, to love wholeheartedly, and most of all- to thrive. In order to do this, I need to break up with two of my longtime companions: fear and shame. How am I going to do this exactly? No clue. My first step will be to live with the intention of allowing myself to be vulnerable. I will make a daily effort to break down old ways and establish the new. I will keep telling myself that I can and will dare greatly.