Goodbye Depression, Hello Productivity!

 

The bodyachieves

Goodbye, Depression!

Alas! It appears as though the clouds have parted by way of the damn seller of the house I’m buying finally getting his poop in a group and hiring another structural engineer! We had a closing date set for March 14th, with that looming I hadn’t heard from the seller about any of the repairs that needed to be done to the house and that pushed me into a depression. I can say that was the predominant cause of the depression now because once I was told the NEW closing date (the 28th, less than two weeks from now) and that he hired another engineer but all of the other repairs were good to go, the depression almost instantly left. Apparently buying a house that was built in 1925 is not as straight forward as buying a condo or a newer house – oh well, I will love that damn house for the REST OF MY YEARS!

Buying a house as a single female without a ton of money is incredibly stressful. Thank the sweet baby Moses that Florida still has a bond program that helps with down payments/ closing costs for first time home buyers (and that I’m acting before that ish gets taken away) because I wouldn’t be able to do this without that assistance. I’m tired of paying rent and moving EVERY SINGLE YEAR OF MY LIFE SINCE COLLEGE!!!

Hello, Productivity!

Now, on to fun things – PRODUCTIVITY! I’m still a little flustered so my action steps are only on paper for now and likely will be for a while until things get settled in my new digs but my ideas are flowing from my brain, through my fingertips and onto paper, into my Google Keep phone app, or written out old school pen and paper style in my Passion Planner!

I’m narrowing in on my passion. . . what I want to do with my life. It ain’t sitting in a cubicle, I can tell you that! I’m still not 100% sure what it is just yet but I think I might just want to be a life coach for creative entrepreneurs. I am REALLY good at encouraging other people to do things, especially creative things. I make worksheets, do mind maps, follow up with them, brainstorm, give feedback, and GENUINELY care about others’ goals. I may not have my poop in a group just yet but I am damn good at helping other people with herding their cats! Every ex partner from my adult dating life has had a creative interest – music, videos, writing – and for every single one of them I became this ultimate cheerleader – and not the usual “oh, they’re my partner so I support them” but a real deal “Ok, this is your goal, how can we do this together? How can I help you? How about this? Have you seen/heard/done/tried this? Want me to do/try/help/say/blah/whatever for you?” Creativity is MY JAM and helping others with their goals is also MY JAM and if you haven’t read about my entrepreneurial endeavors yet, do so here and here because then you’ll see that entrepreneurship is also MY JAM.

I am so pumped for the schemes I’ve got a’ cooking. It will take time, LOTS of dedication, persistence, focus, support, and remembering my goal on a daily basis (as in, not get distracted with the other pretty colors and random things I can tend to stray to chase).

 

Is there anything YOU’RE working on that you’re super pumped about? Or are you in the mental health roadblock that I had been facing for the past few weeks?

 

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Ten Quick Things I Learned from Dr. Tererai Trent*

I just got back from the 2016 National Women’s Leadership Conference* and have returned with more laser-point focus than ever this year. I may have finally stepped far enough outside of my comfort zone to really connect with my tribe of awesome business women (and a couple men).

I still owe travel posts on my trip to DC but. . . this is still fresh at my fingertips so you’ll be reading it hot off the presses!

On the very first day of conference, very first thing in the morning, our speaker was “Oprah’s All-Time Favorite Guest”*, a writer, speaker, scholar, humanitarian, and – I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t mind me calling her this, a total bad ass.  I can’t write up enough to do her justice so read more about Dr. Tererai on her site.

I want to share with you the most poignant points that I took from her powerful talk. Of course I’m paraphrasing and she delivered it with a way better aura of owning it, but since you couldn’t be there, I hope you enjoy these snippets!  If you have a women’s / girl’s organization that utilizes speakers – she is sure to win them over and inspire them in an instant – definitely consider booking her.

Lessons from Dr. Tererai Trent*

Go for the great hunger

Dr. Tererai explained the two different hungers; the little hunger which is what you can resolve immediately like eating, and the great hunger which is more of a purpose like becoming educated. Don’t get lost in the little hungers, keep your focus on your bigger purpose!

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Don’t put up with the bullshit

Ok, this woman was a powerful and charismatic presence, with her accent from Zimbabwe, and the last thing I expected her to say was the word “bullshit” BUT, she did! She explained that where she grew up she could see the little boys being raised to be leaders while the little girls were being raised to be domesticated and she called that out for being exactly what it was, bullshit! She eventually grew to question that, and because of that courage she is now a humanitarian leader and scholar. You call out that bullshit and let it know you’re over it!

Sometimes it’s ok to say bullshit at a business women’s conference

I know this point sounds ridiculous and completely out of context for a general blog post but since it’s MY post and I’M writing it – let me explain.  I ran for a position on the national executive board of my organization in 2015 and I was at-odds the entire year with being completely myself vs. my “business lady-ish” self. The thing is, I swear sometimes. I use slang, I make laser sound effects, I dance – all the time, I have a unicorn phone case, I take stupid selfies, my mom says I have no “solemnity”, and again – I swear. When I was campaigning I would be myself around my campaign team – using “eff” and “ish” because Mary Jane (MJ) is over 70 and I just can’t say the real words around her. But to say “bullshit” on stage???  NO WAY! Let me be clear, Dr. Tererai only said the word twice and with complete deliberateness – and everyone laughed. And let me be clear, I’m not thinking I can go around swearing like a sailor – or that I would want to – I’m just saying, hey, she said bullshit and none of the women over 70 caught fire or walked out, huh, neat!

Say “no” to certain batons

Dr. Tererai told the story of how the “baton” of early, arranged, and abusive marriages in which girls were traded for cows had been handed down from her grandmother’s mother to her grandmother, on down to her mother, and then in turn to her.  This was another point where she used the word bullshit (AWESOME!) and told us that, NO, don’t accept that baton! Or if you have to accept it, make it a little different when you do end up having to pass it down. When you hand that baton down to your daughter, redefine it – make that marriage a chosen marriage, add in being able to get an education. Say NO to the arranged marriage baton in your life. Or if you’ve been stuck with a “bullshit baton”, do everything you can to pass on a better baton to your next generation.

Do not be afraid to fail

Dr. Tererai, who has received an actual Doctorate degree, written a book, built 11 schools in Zimbabwe, and has been the keynote speaker at several super important conferences (like mine!), said it took her EIGHT YEARS of failing her GED tests before she finally passed.  EIGHT YEARS.  If she gave up that first year – that third year – and you KNOW you’d be thinking about giving up after 5 years (I would!) – 5,000 kids in Zimbabwe would be without education right now. Because she stuck with it, undeterred from her failures, she made a big dent in her part of the world.

Tinogona

Tinogona, as Dr. Tererai explained it, means “it is achievable”. If it is something you can dream, it is something you can do. She came from a place of poverty, moved to the United States and continued to live in poverty while pursuing her degree, and through her determination she achieved her goal of higher education – and a whole lot more. It took a lot of work and a lot of time, but she made it happen. If you want to make this your mantra, it was pronounced something like teen-oh-gone-ah, at least that’s what I have in my notes. Double check with the internets.

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Leadership is action, not position

AMEN! I wrote this down in all caps and underlined it. I see a lot of people act entitled in certain ways just because they have a title. And I see a lot of people without titles being super bosses without the pay or recognition – and they could care less! Actions speak louder than words and a great leader doesn’t need the placard to inspire others.

Be grateful for what you have

At a point in Dr. Tererai’s higher education she was living in a trailer, working multiple jobs, going to school, and taking care of her kids all at the same time. She told the story of how her kids were getting cavities because the only food she could afford to buy them was processed and not real actual fruits and veggies, which were plentiful back in Rhodesia. One of her professors worked it out with a local grocer that they would leave a box of old fruits and veggies out for her by the door until 5, but at 5 it had to go into the dumpster. She would try to get to the dumpster every day after work by 5 but never made it there in time so she would end up digging out the box. But – she said to herself, “Who am I to complain? I’m getting an education, I have a trailer, these are free fruits and vegetables, I am in America. Who am I to complain?” So. . . think about that next time you’re sad you don’t have beer money until payday.

Do a little ritual with your dreams

If you have a dream, make a big deal out of recognizing it. I do new moon rituals every month. Dr. Tererai buried her dream in a can! She actually wrote a book about it, which my ma bought and Dr. Tererai signed while at the conference. Whatever your dream is, make it even more important with a ritual of some sort – make it your own.

 

and lastly, my favorite. . .

 

Your dreams will have greater meaning when they are tied to the betterment of your community

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

 

*Disclaimer: Absolutely no person, group, or association mentioned above endorses or is likely even aware of my mutterings – do not take this post as an endorsement.

Leap then Look, When not to Consider the Consequences

BEST IDEA EVER!!

I’ve always had a knack for carelessly jumping head-first into whatever grand idea I thought was The Best Idea Ever at any given time.  I would chalk this up to the poor decision making abilities that come with my bipolar, but this goes way back into childhood.  I broke my arm when I was super young, during preschool years, because I absolutely NEEDED to “couch dance.”  This was dancing not just on the couch cushions where one sits, but also the backrest of the couch which is completely ill-advised for a small child.  I was told not to, I didn’t listen, I had an AMAZING time doing it, until – the THUD of my tiny frame came crashing to the ground behind the couch.  The fun was over.  At least until the cast was off.

I’ve never much thought about my ability (or disability, depending on how you view it) to make decisions with my gut and go for them full steam ahead without much consideration until recently.  Being a new member of Toastmasters, I gave my Icebreaker Speech late last year in which I chronicled my “inventive” and “entrepreneurial” spirit throughout my development into adulthood (I went with the fact that I spell my name Jessie with an “ie”).  One of the members commented afterward that she wished she had approached her life like I did when she was growing up.  I didn’t know what she meant because to me, I kind of seem like a hot mess looking back, but she explained that she appreciates my “why not?” attitude about everything.

 

Yeah, WHY NOT?

The woman had an excellent point.  I’ve accomplished a lot of random little victories in my life because I’ve looked at most things with that “why not?” outlook.  Opportunities came up and with little thought I embraced them wholeheartedly and let them play out.  There are times in life when caution is advisable and 100% appropriate, but with a lot of the non-essential stuff, stuff that your heart just whispers to you “Hey, this might be kind of neat to try” why would you stop yourself?  Thanks to my whim-following heart I’ve hosted a radio show in college, been involved in roller derby for 9 years, was the social chair of my sorority, told multiple people I thought they were cute/I liked them (I would say it was a 50/50 ROI on that, I’m way better with rejection than I am with “waiting to see if they make the first move”), moved to Denver, acted in sketch comedy skits, and opened multiple Etsy shops.  These were not things that I thought through.  The idea came to me, or just presented itself all up in my face, and I embraced it.  Some of those ventures failed, some happened and were fun, and some changed the course of my life (I guess all did technically).

 

Leap already!

I’m sure we’ve all seen those articles on our social media feeds that list the “Top 30 Things You Regret not Doing when You’re 70” or whatever, and every single one emphasizes that you wind up regretting the things that you DIDN’T do.  Here is a list of things that I believe you can go ahead and DO, just leap before looking!

Cut your hair, audition for a play, apply for that promotion, SING KARAOKE, ask the cute person across the way to dance, say yes when your friend invites you to try something new, explore that hobby you’ve always been interested in, start saving for that big trip you’ve always wanted to take, just go take that little weekend trip already, try out for the sports team, join an adult recreational sports team, START BLOGGING, raise your hand excitedly the next time you hear “Can I have a volunteer from the audience?”, dance – even if no one else is, go back to school, volunteer your time, write a book, or join a new group a little outside of your comfort zone.

 

 

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Ok, take a peek over the edge real quick, but then leap!

And now, the things that perhaps you should take some time to consider before acting on (because I definitely have one tattoo that I did NOT look into before leaping).

Adopt a fur child, get a tattoo, change careers, move to a new city/state/country, actually go on that big trip you’ve always wanted to take, pop the “big question”, start a business, or go in to the boss person and ask for that raise at work.

 

You do You

Most importantly, you do you.  Speak and act your heart’s truth.  The last thing you want is to go through life regretting chances you didn’t take or the bad choices you did make.  If your gut says “LEAP!  NOW!”, maybe tell your best friend first and see if they offer a parachute or downright refuse to let you get in the airplane – then weigh their input and act accordingly.  Life is way too short to wonder “What if?”

The Tao of Jessie

Hello internets!

I started this blog on one of my war paths toward a forced life goal where I was determined to succeed at something I wasn’t even sure about.  I wanted to become a life coach.  I still kind of maybe do.  But I wrote posts under the guise of educating the masses on business, money, life, and mental health through the stumblings of my life.  I did that, it was cool, I tried to force content out of myself and I didn’t like it, and then I stopped writing – a lot of the time.

I recently read the book The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and although I got lost at times while reading it, the book’s messages struck a chord with me.  My favorite concept was Wu Wei.  According to the first thing that pops up in my Google search, I found this on the term:

 

Wu Wei (Chinese, literally “non-doing”) is an important concept of Taoism and means natural action, or in other words, action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. Wu wei is the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life.

In the book, Benjamin uses water as a metaphor for explaining the concept by saying that water doesn’t try to push over rocks in a stream as it goes about its path, it simply flows around them.

I read that part of the book, while laying on a beach in the early morning, half distracted because I was also trying to figure out 5 different “life things” in my head at the same time, and I just had that moment of “Well, shit.  That’s a new concept I could probably use in my life.”  It’s completely obvious in hindsight, but having grown up stubborn, strong-willed, and often analytical to the point of either destruction or inaction, this was news to me.

This was about 3 weeks ago.  I’ve applied the shit out of it since then (after a minor ((read: major)) hiccup that I had to analyze into destruction) and it’s been really quite nice.  I have tried to shove nearly everything in my life into nice, neat boxes.  I have tried to put aspects of my life on planned-out trajectories that are often completely arbitrary but “I MUST know where I’m going!  How will I ever get to XYZ if I don’t know where/what/who that is??”  None of this has worked for me.

This Wu Wei concept in life is fantastic.  I now am keeping an open mind about EVERYTHING.  I actually had a titanic self-discovery yesterday that I’ll be writing about next (read: I use “titanic” because it’s actually not fun or good and involves a lot of bad acting on my part).

I’m writing now because I want to announce that as of today, the direction of this blog is in fact, directionless!  From here on out, I’m going to treat it like it’s just my medium to tell anyone on the internets that life is weird and this is how it plays out on MY adventure.  There might be business-y things, or mental health discussions, or postings of my own personal failures – who knows??  I don’t, yet!  I realized that there already are TONS of blogs on how to do business-y life things successfully.  Or stuff about this or that.  You know what’s NOT already on the internets???  MY take on life as I stumble through it, one adventure at a time.

There you have it, Jessie Does Life through Tao.  I hope you stick around!

Podcasts for Your Brain

Ever since a fellow former-roller derby entrepreneur friend introduced me to the world of podcasts as a form of not only entertainment but a potential way to share an idea I’ve been kicking around, I have been an avid listener of them on any commute.  Now, I know I’m way late to this podcast party, so I’ve been catching up on podcasts that are YEARS old but that doesn’t make the information in them any less useful.  Below I share with you some of my favorite

Fun learnings: Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff You Should Know, Serial

Business learnings: Introvert Entrepreneur, Design Matters, The Accidental Creative

Money learnings: So Money  (I’ve tried a few other podcasts for finance but they’ve bored me to tears, so if you have a good one you like, comment below!)

A neat tip I learned on some podcast or business blog I can’t remember, by increasing the playback speed of the podcast, your brain actually does good things (yeah, there were more scientific things said to back this up but I don’t recall what they were).  They suggested listening to them at 2x speed – I’ve gotten up to 1.5x speed because it’s still enjoyable at that increase – I found 2.0 too much for my liking.

So definitely check those out, and comment below if you’ve got favorites of your own!

Finances are FUN 01 – Mint.com – DO IT!

Hey everyone, I’m here today to talk about a very sensitive subject. Some might say it’s the last of the taboo topics since so many people avoid it – when’s the last time you asked your BFF about their finances? But I bet you can remember when you last asked how their love life is doing!

This year I’m focusing on money management because I have the goal of getting out of debt in mind as well as working on my credit score. Today’s post is an introduction to a website (I get zero kickback from this, they are not a sponsor, I just really dig how helpful their site is) called Mint.com.

I’m gonna give you a super personal glimpse into my financial jazz because I’ll be an open book as I go on my journey to debt-free living to hopefully show others that this is something anyone can do – and there are tools out there that make it a lot easier on you. So without further ado, I present to you the very basics of Mint.com and what it can do for you!

  • Account Overview – this is where Mint tells you your overall cash value. I’ve linked my bank account, the only credit card I have, my student and car loans, my 401K, and then they have this neat thing where it estimates the worth of your car if you’re paying to own it. Note: Anything in pink is something I entered over sensitive information, Mint shows the bank name, etc.

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So you can see here that my net worth is a positive!  WOOHOO!  That is probably not a big deal to many people out there but for me, after being in credit card debt for a long time, as well as student loans then a car loan, this is a BIG DEAL.  This information on Mint is updated every time you log in, so if you put more on your credit card, your net worth goes down, but if you make payments on your debts, you get to see that number go UP!  It’s such a great feeling!

 

  • Account Transactions – This function is super helpful in that it forces you to LOOK at what you’re spending on.  Now, judge not lest ye be judged, dear friends!  Clearly I spent a lot on fast food during this time but by point this out, Mint is giving me the cold hard facts in a way that I can’t just avoid.  This also ties into an awesome budgeting feature where I tell Mint how much I’m allowing myself to spend that month on a certain category then it calls me out if I go over budget.

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  • Budgeting – This is the function that I mentioned just above. I set up this budget based on what I believed I would be spending every month in the categories below. Mint will send me a friendly email notice if I’m nearing the budget for the month, just to let me know “Hey, you’re getting awfully close to your budgeted allowance for fast food, perhaps you shouldn’t buy that cheesy bean and rice burrito on the way home!”  You can look at this information historically over several months to see if maybe you need to adjust your monthly budget on a certain category as well, for instance if you keep going over budget on groceries maybe you just set up the
    budget without actually knowing your true monthly expenses.

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  • Spending / Graphs – As a very visual person this function helps me to see where my money is going in comparison to all other categories. There are a ton of other functions that I won’t go into here but they’re really fun (no, seriously!) so take some time to try them all out.

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  • Email Updates – Every week you’ll get an email from Mint letting you know where all your money went (if you opt to). I like it because it reminds me to go back and categorize my expenses (something you’ll have to do every once in a while to increase the accuracy of the budgeting feature). And again, it’s a nice colorful graph that makes me despise the fact that it’s numbers a little less.

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So there you have it, a very rudimentary introduction to Mint.com and how it can help you stay on track of your spending/saving/debt destruction! I really hope that if you haven’t started using this (or another similar site) you sit down and consider it. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me get my poop in a group (my dear friend’s way of saying “get your sh*t straight” around her kiddos) with something that has seemed so overwhelming for such a long time. Even if you just take 10 minutes a day logging into Mint and looking around to get used to it for the first week, every single baby step is a giant leap toward your financial success. I know so many people like me who have just been floating along down the river of “Meh, it’ll sort itself out” for finances and really, darlings, there is a much better way.

So do it!!!!  Sign up on Mint.com!!!!  Go and get your financial poop in a group!!!!

 

 

It’s 2016, b*tches!

Hello, all! Sorry about the strong language there, but I am REALLY excited about this new year. Really SUPER excited!

I didn’t make any resolutions this year but I did make a short list of “Things I’d Really Like to Accomplish” in the next 365 days – covering all aspects of my life. I have been paralyzed these first couple of weeks with the list of avenues of accomplishment that I want to pursue this year to the point that sitting here writing is like letting off the release valve on something that’s super not-released (yeah, I know nothing about how to make that analogy work). What I’m trying to say is that I have a lot to accomplish and it’s all over the place so I’ve got to sort out my priorities like whoa if I want to get anywhere this year.

Without further ado, I present my list of “Things I’d Really Like to Accomplish in 2016”!

Jessie’s List of Thing’s She’d Really Like to Accomplish in 2016

Financial. . . Get out of debt – pay off my student and car loan

Personal. . . 1. Go to the gym regularly  2. Change spending habits

Save the Empire (aka quit the corporate world). . .  1. Re-open my Etsy shop, AEROLOGIE  2. Create a webinar to help others open their own Etsy shops  3. Help the boo with the business aspect of his comic book goals  4.  Hone my public speaking skills through Toast Masters

Sometime in 2014 or early 2015 I found something called The Passion Planner on Kickstarter and I instantly fell in love. I wasn’t entirely sold on believing that I had goals worth organizing in a planner of that magnitude at the time so I admired from afar. Well, my friends, I got a brand new shiny planner for 2016 and I am IN LOVE with this thing. I haven’t quite mastered it yet, there are so many ways it can be used to increase efficiency but with so many directions I’m pushing myself it’s been hard to narrow my focus.

Anyway, lest I not ramble, I wanted to get my goals out in public to hold myself accountable to the internets at-large, because maybe that will help me keep focus!

What is your planning for 2016 looking like?