The best stories happen between caution and courage. Be open. Say YES.

The world has a funny way of telling us what we need to hear. It speaks to us through our gut feelings, dreams, and serendipity. However, are you open enough to hear the whispers?

Similar to many others, I was raised to be fearful of strangers. I held this fear until my last year of college, knowing from my own experiences that not all strangers are dangerous. To overcome this pervasive trepidation, I embarked on a solo trip to the quaint town of Ojai. There, I encountered several strangers, however there were three particular ones that resonated with me: Nancy the AirBnb host, Brett from the local bookstore, and Rich Tell from the city bench. I had the chance to engage in long conversations with the Ojaians, ranging from 20 minutes to almost 3 hours. After the trip, I was much less afraid to strike conversations with every day people.

I used this newfound courage to strike conversations in every setting I could: coffeeshops, the park, Ubers… (Amongst my friends, I was notorious for digging deep into the Uber driver’s life, asking question after question. This was amplified when I was intoxicated.) This helped me connect with people from all walks of life in my trips to San Francisco, which led me to opportunities and invaluable, wild adventures down the line. My friends know best about the countless shenanigans I’ve gotten into since I’ve moved to the Bay.

I’ll name the most recent one. Yesterday, I went to the Bay Street shopping plaza for the first time to read at Barnes and Nobles. Before B&N, I explored a Canadian furniture store called EQ3. Think quality mid-century modern at an affordable price. I spoke to a female employee, telling her it was my first time in the story and that I had just moved to Oakland, so she proceeded to give me a grand tour, starting with a grand view of the city. The designer in me was freaking out. Iconic Eames chairs. Collaborations with Marrimekko. Beautiful variety of wood. I had connected with the woman on a deeper level. A 26-year old Bay Area native who just moved to Oakland and had a marketing background (Sound familiar?). She had to carry on with work, so I wandered the store. Before leaving, I said goodbye, telling her that I felt like we could be great friends. Immediately she asked if I was free at 7 PM, 30 minutes from then, to go grab drinks in Walnut Creek. I obliged and had an unbelievable experience.

Turns out, this woman runs a LLC, very knowledgable about people, and is a bona fide “boss ass bitch”. I was in need of more strong women in my life. The universe answered, presented the opportunity, and I said yes.

How do I regularly have these spontaneous experiences?

By being open. (Often times vulnerable.) By placing my trust in the universe. By both cautious and courageous. The best stories unfold when you dance between the two.

Keep the most important thing, the most important thing. | Note To Self

It’s easy to forget our goals.

In the age of social media, we often gravitate towards tasks that will give us the most attention. Why? Immediate gratification. It fuels us with external validation. Dopamine hits are addicting, but does building a fancy website or posting on Instagram every day further our goal of becoming a better _____?

I often have to remind myself of this:

Stay focused and put in your reps. 

Want to be a better writer? Write every day.
A better speaker? Practice speaking every day.
A better photographer? Take photos every single day.

Whatever your craft is, improve it every single day. Consistency is key to exponential growth.

Though marketing is crucial to building any business, the quality of your craft is what will keep your audience engaged long-term. How beneficial is it to build an audience when you have only completed pieces of the prototype? When it’s time to market, you’ll market.

Fixating on publicity will not enhance the quality of your work.

Keep the most important thing, the most important thing.

Related reads:
Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It
The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards

Goal: vlog for a month / Me: *vlogs for 6 months*

I have a list of 100 things I want to accomplish in my lifetime, and “vlog for a month” was one of those things. This was a goal for a few reasons: 1) I wanted to try making a video to my favorite songs, and 2) It would solve my constant balance of being present and documenting life’s precious moments.

In need of a creative challenge (and a way to clear my phone’s memory), I started putting monthly vlogs in July 2018. I was surprised to learn how much I loved the process of crafting a video to a song. The first time I made one, I worked for at least three hours trying to pick the perfect song, trim clips, and sync them to the beats – only to realize I was experiencing flow. Another benefit, watching the videos allowed me to reminisce and relive my favorite memories. It became my therapy and a monthly reminder to remain grateful despite my turmoil.

For those who have supported this series, thank you for joining me on my journey.

Vlogs: July | August | September | October | November | December

Also, designing thumbnails was process in itself. I began by using Adobe Photoshop, but midway, I lost access to the program. The thumbnails from October to December were made on Figma. I might have purposely made it atrocious. At least I used complementary colors.