Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A few reads to inspire your February

Images via: The Everygirl // Tennis identity // Camile Styles // A beautiful mess

Tell me guys, how often do you experience those blah days, when you feel like your mojo is nowhere to be found, when you feel overwhelmed with all you have on your plate, and when you have no idea how to move forward? I'm going to come clean, and admit, that this occurs to me more often than I would like to. And if you don't experience days when you feel like the inspiration is gone for good, when all you want to do is curl up on the couch and watch Food Network, or read distopian YA novels (enter whatever seemingly unproductive activity strikes your fancy here) all day long, then you're a superhuman, and I tip my hat off to you and go pour myself another glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Seriously, I think we all have our moments of weakness and doubt, and when they occur to me, I often turn to a secret Pinterest board, where I stash all the inspiring, uplifting and motivating reads I come across. And I'm sharing a few of the best ones with you today, hoping that they can do the same for you: inspire, motivate and give you a little kick in the pants whenever you need it.

Embracing rest in the culture of busy. This one really struck home with me. "Busy" and "hustle" are the master words of our times, and since we all "have as many hours in a day as BeyoncĂ©" (I really, really don't like this quote, as evidenced here), we should be productive 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right? Wrong. Life and work are always ebbing and flowing, and I think we all could benefit from learning to use the down periods to refocus, recenter and take care of ourselves. To make our well being a priority instead of trying to uncover the "next best idea" in an instant.

"I'm not a robot." On Saturday morning, I was watching Serena Williams lose the Australian Open final to Angelique Kerber, and I was like "whoa! what's going on here?" I've been a long time Serena's fan, admiring her strength, her tenacity, and her ability to always work harder, push herself more, do better. And then I watched the post-match press conference, and she said something that really struck me: "I mean, every time I walk in this room, everyone expects me to win every single match, every single day of my life. As much as I would like to be a robot, I'm not. And I try to. I do the best that I can." It was so wonderfully honest and vulnerable, and I love her even more for it. Because we all have those days, when no matter how hard we try, it's not enough. We fail, we lose, we screw things up. And you know what? That's okay. Because it means that we still have things to learn. And when we learn, we move forward. And I want to remember Serena's words forever, because they're a powerful lesson in giving ourselves grace.

How to create an authentic personal brand. I know this term gets thrown around rather liberally these days, but defining, building and cultivating a personal brand is something that we all should consider, whether we are looking for a new job, building an online business or striving for a promotion. It is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, especially since went through a recent rebranding of my blog. Building an authentic brand can seem daunting, especially since we spend so much time comparing our lives to the perfect Instagram representations of other people's lives. I love that Camille breaks the process into 8 easy-to-follow steps and at the same time urges us to remember that all we have to do is take one step at a time. Because  "The hard work and good decision-making that we make day in day out is what lays the foundation for how others ultimately see us." - Camille Styles

Secrets to success. This, to me, is a real classic. I must have read it more than a dozen times already, I have printed it out and taped into my career journal, and I find myself going back to it each time I need a little friendly nudge in the right direction. Emma is so honest and inspiring here, sharing her failed dream of acting, and what she accomplished instead - which, by the way, is nothing short of amazing. I love that she stresses the importance of finding your own definition of success, and not subscribing blindly to any other person's definition. The words I love the most, though? "If you don't have a goal in your life right now that absolutely terrifies you, like you don't even want to tell anyone about it because it's so crazy, get one in your life. Now." - Emma Chapman

I would like to know: where do you turn for inspiration when you find yourself stuck in a rut, or when you feel like you've lost your mojo?

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