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I’m going to spend this year doing a thing. It’s going to be a thing I’ve never done before, a thing I’m scared to do, but a thing I’m committing myself to doing anyway. So far it’s day nine of the thing. And so far, I’m proud and terrified and excited about the thing. I’m going to make my life magnificent.
(Disclaimer that the thing is building a side hustle, and I’m not going to quit my day job, which I love.)
I lost motivation to keep writing for this site last April (which is ironic, I know) and so I just…stopped. I was never proud of it, I hated myself for it, and I knew in the back of my mind that if I just started doing something for it again, I’d feel better.
But I didn’t know what that was.
I didn’t know what my something was until a month ago, on January 17th, 2018. (Side note: holy guacamole, it’s been over a month!) That’s the morning I opened my email and saw a message from Becca Klein about something called the Work At Home Summit, being put on by this woman named Caitlin Pyle. I had no idea what Caitlin did or who she was, had never heard of her before, had (and still have) no desire to leave my job in the power industry, but I’ve always wanted that something more.
And didn’t know how to get there.
She really introduced the idea that it doesn’t matter what our college degrees are, it doesn’t matter what our historical work experience is, and it doesn’t matter if we’ve been fired or out of work for a while or never had a job.
What matters is our skills.
And the only true way to ever be financially stable is to build your skills. Skills are the things we use to do jobs that get us money.
We use skills to get money.
I’m totally paraphrasing all of Caitlin’s deep insightful work, but the gist of is that if you feel like you don’t have ANYTHING to fall back on, you’re wrong.
You can always learn new skills. You can always be bettering yourself because otherwise, you’ll stay stuck.
It’s interesting that I came into Caitlin’s work now because I’m also consuming a lot of Thomas Frank’s videos and he has pretty much the same thing to say about learning: it’s the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset. If you believe you can always learn new things, you’ll never be truly stuck. But, on the other hand, if you believe that you can’t do something because you don’t know how, and then don’t do anything, you’ll literally never move.
Inaction is worse than trying something and failing.
(Say it with me: JUST DO IT! Yeah, Shia LaBeouf is on to something.)
And the coolest part is that you’ll feel better just by doing SOMETHING.
This is my something.
The Work at Home School is a collection of online courses (the number depends on the tier of access; for me, it’s 48) by the people featured in the Summit. They fall into one of three categories: Plan, Build, and Thrive. Each is designed to help you reach your Work at Home goals or just bettering yourself.
I’m going through most of the courses that were included in the Committed (highest) level package of the Work At Home School. I’m going to document my progress in those courses for you, my dear readers, and tell you how doing the thing is helping my brain reset itself and make me feel good by doing something new, exciting, and nourishing for my soul.
I’ve Got to Keep Myself Accountable.
Because I mean really – I literally lost my motivation for blogging after four months and three blog posts last year. Ouch. That’s, like, a new low for me. (Totally not including the eleven-month hiatus I took when writing my fanfiction brainchild. Shameless plug that I write Harry Potter fanfiction.) I’ve always prided myself on finishing what I start, be it a mechanical engineering degree or a freaking blog post. I should remain true to myself and not bullshit anybody.
Especially not you guys.
I don’t think that doing this thing will be perfect. That will be a struggle for me because I know, deep down, after hearing about perfectionism paralysis, that I totally have it. If something isn’t perfect, I won’t put it out. If I don’t proofread something a million times before I publish it, I won’t put it out. I proofread my texts and Facebook posts probably ten times before I hit send! I die a little inside if there’s an error! My inner voice says, “Oh my gosh, Colleen, what are people going to THINK?? They KNOW you’re a grammar nazi, there’s no way that they’ll ever forgive me making a tiny little mistake!”
Yeah, my inner voice is a jerk.
(I’ll bet a lot of your inner voices are jerks, too.)
The first step is to just recognize that your inner voice is a jerk and that a lot of the time your inner voice is wrong. Your inner voice wants you to sit on the couch and binge Netflix instead of going for a walk. You need to change what your inner voice says.Your inner voice wants you to sit on the couch and binge Netflix instead of going for a walk. You need to change what your inner voice says. Click To Tweet
I have a tiny challenge for you.
I want you to think about what you’re doing in your life right now, and think a little further. What are your goals? What can you learn today, tomorrow, this week, that will help you get there?
It can be tiny.
Like, if you’re trying to lose weight and you know that there will be pizza at work, bring your own lunch and then you can say (without lying) that you’ve already eaten. That is…if you actually eat your lunch before the pizza shows up.
The opinions of other people don’t matter.
Should I say that again?
The opinions of other people don’t matter!
(Unless, of course, you’re doing something morally reprehensible or illegal in which case the opinions of other people are going to matter, but in a different way.)
The only person besides God who you should be aiming to please is YOURSELF. What do YOU want to do? If you could wake up tomorrow morning and do whatever you wanted to do without worrying about money or the opinions of other people, what would it be? Would you hop on a plane and go tour Italian wine country? Would you write that book you’ve been storing in your brain for ten years?
What would you do?