All posts tagged “2011 Syllabus

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2011 Syllabus : April

Inspired by Whitney Arlene, in January I created a syllabus for myself to give some direction and focus to the quarter-life crisis/navel-gazing/figuring out I’ve been doing. I gave myself readings, writing assignments, projects, and several classes/courses and activities. Each month I write an update on my progress. Click here to view the syllabus.

 

P1000815I’m behind on this one, but at least I’m doing it before May is over.

 

Instead of getting all philosophical on this check-in, I’m going to deal with just the facts.

 

I’m behind.

 

I think the lesson learned there is that a syllabus is a great tool, but when making one I need to be way more specific and measurable.

 

What Worked:

 

1. Parts that were either

a) very clearly broken down and scheduled or,

b) required me to be accountable to outside parties.

 

I’ve been [mostly] successful regarding my acting class, working on HDRx, and participating in Mondo Beyondo and Earn 1k.

 

What Didn’t Work:

 

1. Picking 6 books without deciding when and in what order to read them did not get me very far. In fact, I am impressed that I even read one book.

 

2. Saying vague things like “explore,” “weekly,” and “topics” and not further scheduling or specifying.

 

3. Things mentioned in my objectives that were not then broken down into an actual assignment.

 

For my last ditch effort to make a success of this, I plan to:

 

For May:

1. Read The Art of Non Conformity.

 

2. Create an editorial calendar for this blog.

 

3. Finish up Earn 1k : lessons & extras.  Create a sales funnel to generate new HDRx projects.

 

4. Email one potential career mentor.

 

—–

 

Last week I evaluated 2010 and recreated my yearly goals. This was a practice I tried out last year from a Marcus Buckingham worksheet that I really liked. Several things I placed in my goals overlapped with unfulfilled parts of this syllabus, and I think I’m going to let them go for now, and add them into any plans I make for the summer, whether or not that includes a “summer semester.” (Massive nerd alert.) Once again, I found the Buckingham sheet really interesting to look back on, and redo. Should probably have look at it throughout the year though, as it would have reminded me of my desire for things like “partying more" while I was busy working myself to death.

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Money, Beauty, and Self-worth

A lot of what I’ve been reading lately has made me come back around to this post which I wrote in December but was previously too chicken-shit to post, because ya know, there’s just oodles of people out there reading. 🙂

 

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my most favoritest picture, taken by sej

 

When I picked up Smart Couples Finish Rich I was NOT expecting to have a major life revelation. But for a number of reasons, some big issues that had been in the back of my brain were dragged front and center, culminating in an SCFR-induced meltdown.

 

It began with a post of Meg’s that talked about fashion and created a great analogy about taking risks, and owning your choices. I was really loving on it until I read a downer comment that got into how not cool the commenter thought bringing fashion into things was.

 

See, I have this thing where I am super empathetic. I have been told it is admirable, and many people like this about me, but man, it can get in the way sometimes. I read comments like this, and think, oh wow, this girl kind of has a point. She’s clearly very hurt, and while obviously it wasn’t directed at her personally, I see what she’s saying about the exclusivity and elitism of fashion.

 

But then I let the dust in my head settle for a while, and thought about it again. And this time my reaction went more like: "Uhh, noooo. Stop taking it personally! Look at the bigger picture! Fashion isn’t your thing, but that doesn’t mean you should demean it being anyone else’s!”

 

Because the thing was, I was sitting there feeling GUILTY about wanting to put more fashion on my blog, all because *this* girl didn’t like fashion?!

 

What had seemed particularly unfair was that the blogger Meg referenced in her uncommon references to fashion was someone who seemed very committed to making it accessible not elitist! And this is something I believe in strongly. I looove clothes, and shoes, and generally wearing them, and my friends tell me I’m pretty f*cking good at it, so why wouldn’t I post things about how I shop and how I pick and choose things, on my average Target-scaled budget, so that people who are looking for inspiration or advice, etc. might enjoy it?

 

It is crazy how intrinsically we women can let ourselves be intimidated by other women. If someone is better or has more experience at something that you are interested in than you are, then aren’t they someone to learn from, not hate on?

 

Lesson learned: Be proud of what you love and some people will respect you for it. Others won’t. You can’t be all things for all people. This I have difficulty remembering.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

It’s this mindset of scarcity that brings me to the next thing I learned. Meg said it best: yesterday:

I’ve been thinking about how, as women, we often undervalue ourselves, our life stories, and what we’re capable of, and that leads to lost potential. We think, "I can’t do that, I can’t dream that big, I’m being selfish to even think about this, I don’t deserve to earn (or have my company earn) that much money, I shouldn’t have delusions of grandeur." And when this happens, we all lose. Think of all those projects that could have been created, those businesses that could have thrived, that money that could be flowing back into our communities. When we cut ourselves off at the knees we lose all that, our communities lose all that, we all lose.

[Read more: http://apracticalwedding.com/2011/04/reclaiming-wife-women-money-and-self-worth-part-ii/#ixzz1IuH3j7A7]

 

So at the beginning of Smart Couples Finish Rich, they ask you to define your values. (I will save the discussion of how Scott and my values did and did not align and that portion of the subsequent meltdown for another day.)

 

It was the first time I thought openly about why I wanted to earn money, umm, ever. Usually I just chalk it up to my upbringing, and my single mother scarring me into feeling I needed a stable job that paid the bills. (The concept of depending on anyone else for any kind of financial support was totally out of the question.) But I’ve recently realized that some of my “wants” are scary ingrained. Like, why did 5-yr old me get hooked on Travel + Leisure and Architectural.Digest  before I could even read? So I think what my mom was really saying was that I needed to get a job to pay the bills so that I could afford what I already wanted deep inside.

 

Beauty.

 

It’s not easy to admit it, because I think culturally beauty gets tied up with vanity, and materialism, and greed, but it’s the driving force behind my life.

 

In the heat of the moment, here is what I wrote about my values:

 

I want abundance.

As in, I want A LOT of money.

There I said it, it’s out there now, and there’s no turning back.

See, I was once a little girl with big ideas.

And then somewhere along the line I was made to feel that those big wants and big dreams were silly and unrealizable.

And that little girl almost faded away, and I’ve been fighting to bring her back ever since I noticed she was gone.

But years of ingrained expectations and norms are stubborn.

Nice girls don’t need a lot of money. Much less A LOT of money.

That would be greedy.

Well, then I need to learn to own my greediness.

Why do I want all this money?

Because I love beautiful things.

Dear god, I just flat out said it, and there’s no stopping me now.

Beauty feeds my soul.

It sustains my very existence.

I want to be surrounded by it at all times, and you know what, that’s A-FUCKING-OK.

And I want to take my big ideas and DO THEM.

And take the people I love for the ride, and make a difference in the lives of others.

I want to save beautiful things and places from the brink of destruction.

And I want to be fulfilled by it, by knowing I made a mark somewhere.

And by the security of my success, of knowing that I can help anyone I love who needs me. Because so many people have helped me already.

 

And then I let Scott read it and he just looked at me and shrugged, in that boy simplicity. The “This is all the crying is about? Yea, ok cool.” And I kind of wanted to stab him, because, this IS fucking scary, this admitting for real what I want, what I need, out of my time on the planet. Even in the most general of terms.

 

Lesson learned: Admitting your deepest needs gives you everything and nothing. Because, now that I know, what next?

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2011 Syllabus: Midterm

 

Inspired by Whitney Arlene, in January I created a syllabus for myself to give some direction and focus to the quarter-life crisis/navel-gazing/figuring out I’ve been doing. I gave myself readings, writing assignments, projects, and several classes/courses and activities. Each month I write an update on my progress. Click here to view the syllabus.

 

2011-03-11 16.41.19 my computer 3/11/11

 

I’ve been procrastinating this “midterm.”

 

See, I even put it in quotes to devalue it.

 

It’s funny how I made keen observations last month about things like letting the “me” stuff slide before everyone else’s, and then managed to not do anything about it.

 

Not that that’s unusual really. Not doing things is the human default. But why do I not do things, from blogging, to exercising, to getting up in the morning? Because I am an approval-seeking, deadline-oriented, guilt-motivated pussy.

 

I’m a fucking powerhouse if someone is counting on me to be somewhere or get something done. I will literally move mountains to make things happen. But if it’s just for me—note the “just”—meh, I’d rather nap. And then feel guilty about it.

 

When I was a kid, before I had to work to support myself, I really used to like being sick.

 

This morning as I was walking to the train to work—miserably sick for the fifth day in a row (I’ve spent my whole working life at jobs without paid sick or vacation days)—I think I realized why. It’s the only time I would ever give myself to slow down. Quite literally. To walk slower, think slower… feel slower. Slower can be good.

 

But it’s fucking terrifying.

 

It means being aware. It means stopping to feel. Which is why it’s so easy to not even give myself sick days anymore.

 

The explanation of this fear of slowing down coupled with my zero integrity and paralysis around doing things for me came to me while reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Numbing.

 

I was resisting the hell out of the chapter as I was reading it, and I knew in my gut, even as I was resisting (numbing?!), that it was because the words were leaping off the page, pointing at me and screaming, “This is you!!!!!”

 

Brené’s work needs to be reread, and is a post all its own, but for the purpose of this essay, let me just begin with saying that I resist the hell out of the things that bring me joy.

 

Sure, there are the safe sources of joy—but there’s a higher flying capacity for loving things (and sure, people), that I don’t know how to bear. Writing and blogging, and all the pretty inspiration and thought-provoking musings of the world fall into that category.

 

The things that make my heart hurt, and my eyes well up. There are so many of them.

 

[I could make a great parallel to orgasms right now—and as an Erica Jong devotee, I feel I should. But maybe orgasms should be saved for published works and not given away for free. 😉 ]

 

So I’ve been working every other Friday this year, and my one boss, being out of town, had asked me to work tomorrow even though it’s my off Friday. Well in being sicker than sick, and soo behind in ALL my shit (even the basic things, like mountains of laundry strewn around the house), I KNOW I should be taking the day off so that next week doesn’t start off the same way. But you may as well have asked me to murder a baby, I feel so guilty about it.

 

Knowing, and doing, are so two very different things.

 

This no longer has much to do with my syllabus, does it?

 

🙂

 

Syllabus is good. I’m learning.

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2011 Syllabus : February

 

P1000359

 

I can’t believe it’s been a month already. It feels like both 6 months and 6 days. Looking back, January was a very introspective and productive time. February has been stolen from me by outside demands, hahaha.

 

It’s interesting to observe how that happens – as the schedule builds up (mostly in an effort to build reserves to pay for shit later on down the road this year : wedding, honeymoon, kitchen), the first things I fall off on are my blog, and the more introspective, care-taking parts of this syllabus.

 

I’ve been really motivated to keep up with Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to be Rich material (it’s been so helpful I’m crazily even considering his Earn 1k course), primarily because it’s financially motivated – and so am I right now. That’s awesome, and was definitely a focal point of the syllabus, but I guess what concerns me is that this month’s preoccupation with do, do, do! is cutting into the thinking, feeling, discovering aspects.

 

For the last week or so, I’ve felt almost uncomfortable sitting down with Mondo Beyondo material, even though I know dreaming is an important foil to doing–something I felt powerfully during slower, calmer January. Mondo’s almost over and if I take Earn 1k, I’m going to have to be mindful in cultivating the other side of this syllabus.

 

(I also should probably get on top of all that reading I gave myself. Hah. Lesson learned there – just shell out the cash and buy the books ahead of time. Seriously, why is placing an Amazon order something I agonize over?)

Not unlike a Mondo Beyondo list, I actually didn’t look at my syllabus for weeks – not until I was deciding what to do about Earn 1k. But looking back over it to see how E1k fits in, I was surprised by how directly related it is. I can’t help but think this may well be one of the universe nudges in the right direction. But of course, all the old fears of being "scammed" or spending a lot of money on something educational that doesn’t get me anywhere (*coughcollegecough*) rise up anyway…

Last summer I made a choice not to fork over a ton of cash to do a literary retreat with my favorite author of all time. For a week or so I really stressed over the decision and although I had the money something just didn’t feel right. I don’t know if I wasn’t ready to confront my hero or my own fear of being a writer, but I wasn’t ready to go.

And then I had a filling fall out, and suddenly it seemed like I made the perfect choice and I could happily put the same cash towards fixing my long-suffering teeth. And I did. And it feels amazing to have ticked one of the last things I’ve been struggling with for 6+ years off the list. (Not that remembering to appreciate my new functional teeth properly lasted for more than a week.)

 

But now I feel like it might be time to invest in me again. Because to be honest, along with the debt, and the car, and the teeth, and the house, the other thing that’s been nagging me for most of college and beyond is this so-called-career of mine…

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2011 Syllabus : February

Inspired by Whitney Arlene, in January I created a syllabus for myself to give some direction and focus to the quarter-life crisis/navel-gazing/figuring out I’ve been doing. I gave myself readings, writing assignments, projects, and several classes/courses and activities. Each month I write an update on my progress. Click here to view the syllabus.

 

P1000359

 

I can’t believe it’s been a month already. It feels like both 6 months and 6 days. Looking back, January was a very introspective and productive time. February has been stolen from me by outside demands, hahaha.

 

It’s interesting to observe how that happens – as the schedule builds up (mostly in an effort to build reserves to pay for shit later on down the road this year : wedding, honeymoon, kitchen), the first things I fall off on are my blog, and the more introspective, care-taking parts of this syllabus.

 

I’ve been really motivated to keep up with Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to be Rich material (it’s been so helpful I’m crazily even considering his Earn 1k course), primarily because it’s financially motivated – and so am I right now. That’s awesome, and was definitely a focal point of the syllabus, but I guess what concerns me is that this month’s preoccupation with do, do, do! is cutting into the thinking, feeling, discovering aspects.

 

For the last week or so, I’ve felt almost uncomfortable sitting down with Mondo Beyondo material, even though I know dreaming is an important foil to doing–something I felt powerfully during slower, calmer January. Mondo’s almost over and if I take Earn 1k, I’m going to have to be mindful in cultivating the other side of this syllabus.

 

(I also should probably get on top of all that reading I gave myself. Hah. Lesson learned there – just shell out the cash and buy the books ahead of time. Seriously, why is placing an Amazon order something I agonize over?)

Not unlike a Mondo Beyondo list, I actually didn’t look at my syllabus for weeks – not until I was deciding what to do about Earn 1k. But looking back over it to see how E1k fits in, I was surprised by how directly related it is. I can’t help but think this may well be one of the universe nudges in the right direction. But of course, all the old fears of being "scammed" or spending a lot of money on something educational that doesn’t get me anywhere (*coughcollegecough*) rise up anyway…

Last summer I made a choice not to fork over a ton of cash to do a literary retreat with my favorite author of all time. For a week or so I really stressed over the decision and although I had the money something just didn’t feel right. I don’t know if I wasn’t ready to confront my hero or my own fear of being a writer, but I wasn’t ready to go.

And then I had a filling fall out, and suddenly it seemed like I made the perfect choice and I could happily put the same cash towards fixing my long-suffering teeth. And I did. And it feels amazing to have ticked one of the last things I’ve been struggling with for 6+ years off the list. (Not that remembering to appreciate my new functional teeth properly lasted for more than a week.)

 

But now I feel like it might be time to invest in me again. Because to be honest, along with the debt, and the car, and the teeth, and the house, the other thing that’s been nagging me for most of college and beyond is this so-called-career of mine…

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Everyone’s talking, so who’s listening?

[Let me preface this by saying I am no expert on current events. In fact, I consciously avoid the news, unless something is totally saturating the airwaves and I can’t escape it—a practice of Tim Ferriss’s that I taught myself when I was 10 years old and made totally depressed and anxious by my news-addicted household.]

When I was a child, I was obsessed with Anne Frank. I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, but it had to do with the power of language and writing in preserving history, and telling a story that will live on long past the owner. It was also about living in a time and a place, however brutal and horrifying, where history was being made.

 

600full-anne-frank 

I thought about this a lot when I was watching the Gulf War on TV (like I said above, news-addicted household), and later during Somalia, and during Bosnia. A book called Zlata’s Diary came out of the Bosnian War and we were made to read it for school and of course it is much like the Diary of Anne Frank, and of course, I was a little—jealous?—of this girl’s opportunity to be the voice of a war.

During this time I dreamed of filling volumes (because I was really hoping to, uhh, not die) of hand-written journals that wouldn’t be found until after my death, when of course they would be published and I would posthumously become the voice of a generation. I still don’t know if that is the most or least narcissistic thing ever.

 

Well fast forward almost twenty years to the current happenings in Egypt, which I’ve been following, and what I’m finding most fascinating about this particular history-in-the-making is the namelessness and the facelessness of the uprising. Perhaps time will rewrite that, but the media does seem to be going on and on about the role of Facebook and Twitter in anonymizing and assembling a revolution.

 

And all this seems to tie back into a theme that just. keeps. popping up (synchronicity, I’ve recently learned, is the word); a question that has constantly plagued me and torn me from blogging, even though I’ve found myself returning to it time and time again. (My first website—Geocities what!—was in 1997, then came LiveJournal from 2001 to 2006 before I fell in love and forgot about the internet.) :

 

If everyone’s talking [via blogs, Facebook, Twitter], is there anyone actually listening?

 

While I don’t think I would, could, or should be the voice of a generation, if there is no hope of becoming that voice, or of even being heard above the cacophony, why put pen to paper? (Or fingers to keyboard, or whatever.)

 

Oh right. Because writing clocks in between breathing and eating for some of us. Fuck.

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2011 Syllabus : Acceptance, Action, and the Art of the Hussle

 

Finally, finished my syllabus this week for my "semester" of getting my shit together.

 DSC_0688

LIF 2011 : Acceptance, Action, and the Art of the Hussle
COURSE DATES: January 10 – May 13, 2011

 

EXPLORATION ~ TENACITY ~ ABUNDANCE

 

OBJECTIVES
At the end of this course, I hope to have a better understanding of the following:
1. The possibilities present for future work and dreams: including but not limited to design/travel writing, travel planning, fiction writing, acting, photography, etc. To reach this objective I will write my Mondo Beyondo list, and take small steps to try out these things that I am interested in: reaching out towards successful people in these fields, submitting writing to be published, taking an acting class.
2. The future of HomeDesignRx and FashionDesign Rx. I am going to work hard for the next several months to "relaunch" this venture and put effort into marketing and expanding it. Near the end of this time I will evaluate whether this venture  seems to be taking off, and if so, is it something that will make me happy to continue with, even if that happiness is limited to income potential and a flexible schedule. If HDRx isn’t working out as a side venture, what are other possible revenue streams I could pursue?
3. My plans for my blog. What kinds of posts do I enjoy most and would I like to focus on? Am I enjoying writing it? Is it something I want to continue to do or is it a burden?
4. Find a workable balance between work and play, including making sure I scheduled time to do nothing and enjoy it.

 

READINGS
1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
2. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
3. The Art of Non Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
4. Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Estes
5. The Anti 9-to-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman
6. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

 

WORKSHOPS
1. Mondo Beyondo
2. I Will Teach You to Be Rich – The Art of the Hussle
3. Acting class
4. Rebecca Minkoff seminar

 

PROJECTS
1. Create Mondo Beyondo list
2. Relaunch HDRx
3. Launch Fashion Design Rx
4. Create and implement editorial calendar for blog

 

ASSIGNMENTS
1. Daily assignments for Mondo Beyondo and I Will Teach You to be Rich.
2. Weekly blog entry about pre-determined topics including: "Style, Beauty & Self-worth," "When Unconventional Becomes Mandatory," Style vs. Fashion," Ambition vs. Gratitide," "Claiming the life you want" and whatever else comes up for me!
3. Explore career options and reach out to potential contacts and mentors.
5. Check-ins
    a.    Write an update for the blog on the 15th of every month, February – May.
    b.    Midterm. Write minimum of 750 words on the successes and failures of the course thus far. Address the following questions: Do you need to make adjustments to the course syllabus, and if so, why? What has been the most rewarding aspect? What areas do you need/want to focus on for the rest of the semester? Due March 21, 2011.
    c.    Final review. Write a minimum of 750 words on the course as a whole: what worked? What did I learn? How am I different? What work do I still need to do?

 

Much credit for inspiration and formatting to Whitney!