Under Construction

Dear Readers,

I took a break to try and figure out how to make myself feel as excited as I’d felt when I first launched this blog. I tried multiple tactics, like changing the content, playing around with the frequency of posts, and eventually messing around with the visuals. I even considered quitting, only to realize that I couldn’t let go; I didn’t want to let go. But, still, something was off.

To add insult to injury, I’d been working on two opposing goals, not realizing that though seemingly related, one of those goals went against who I am and what I ultimately wish to accomplish.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I thought it’d be my hobby, the thing on the side, since it couldn’t possibly result in a decent income. Over the years, I’ve learned that passion is an essential component of success. Time and time again, I’ve given up on the things that didn’t make me happy because I know that I can only give my heart fully to that which I feel passionate about.

Even when I was a little girl, just starting school, I knew I wanted to captivate others with words. But what I didn’t see, until now, is that for some time I’d been fighting parts of my personality to get things to align my way, not taking into consideration the possibility that life could be leading me in a slightly different direction.

Though I dream of becoming an author, I’ve come to realize that I’m not meant to write fiction. I cannot pretend to be an introvert, devoting hours on end to a world outside of this one, when I’d much rather submerge myself in my surroundings, having the conversations that enlighten, inspire, and help, not just me, but those involved.

And so, in a sense, it took getting lost for me to realize what has been staring me in the face for quite a while.

I am an artist, but I am also a businesswoman. It’s engrained in my personality. It’s the reason I’ve made some of the tough, but necessary choices I’ve made. It’s the reason I can’t hear of a start-up business without divulging an array of marketing ideas within the span of mere minutes. It’s the reason I skim through the glossies to find career-related articles that will reveal something I’ve yet to learn. It’s the reason I’m fascinated by women who transform their passions into successful businesses. It’s the reason I’ve dreamed of working for a women’s magazine for years and the latest rejection finally set off what has been brewing within me for years.

My vision for The Write Woman is so big, that I cannot bring it into existence on my own. I see The Write Woman becoming an online magazine addressing the issues women endure and overcome. I see it becoming a companion of sorts, a safe haven, a source of light and inspiration for many. For this reason, I’m currently assembling a team, accepting pitches and contributions, and working on making a few changes to the site.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I am in for some real challenges, but there’s also no doubt in my mind that I can build and accomplish anything I set out to.

I invite you to embark on this journey with me. This blog will remain live for the next couple of weeks, but keep coming back and you’ll soon notice changes. I will also be providing updates via Twitter: @TheWriteWoman, @Gee_Estevez.

Thank you for reading!

How To Explain Self-Publishing To Family, Friends, And Random Strangers

Self-Publishing

“You do know that’s a long process, don’t you?” they say when you mention traditional publishing.

“Why are you choosing the easy route?” they retort if you’ve chosen self-publishing instead.

But, let’s face it, there’s nothing easy about self-publishing. Sure, you skip having to wait to hear back from a literary agent and then a publisher, but that doesn’t mean it’s all said and done in a matter of weeks. You’ve got to write a book, hire a team to help you edit, design, and take care of minor details, or end up doing most of it yourself. Point is, your book’s success is hanging solely on your shoulders, and there’s nothing easy about that. Hence, explaining the process to family, friends, and yes, those random strangers you sometimes bump into in the elevator, shouldn’t be another step.

If I had to simplify my step-by-step explanation of the self-publishing process, like I did with traditional publishing, this is what I’d say:

Self-Publishing

What aspect of self-publishing drew you most to that option? Did I miss anything in my quick summary? Share below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

How To Explain Traditional Publishing To Family, Friends, And Random Strangers

Traditional Publishing

I love my family despite the combination of loudness, bad tempers, and limited attention. I remember quitting my agency job and explaining that I’d done so, in part, because I wanted to devote more time to writing.

“Can’t you write and work?” my mother had asked.

Then, when the time came to explain that I’d finalized a novel and was preparing to pitch, no one seemed to understand my nerves, my concerns, the overall process.

No one in my family is a writer (no one except for my teenage cousin who is only now beginning to explore that talent and hasn’t contemplated writing a book, much less the process of getting one published).

But as clueless as I feel my family is when it comes to my career choices, strangers aren’t much different. One neighbor suggested self-publishing via Amazon as though she’d discovered America, as though I have no clue as to what my options are. Of course, my immediate perception of her suggestion simmered down when I realized she didn’t understand the traditional publishing route, and why would she? She’s not an aspiring author; I am.

I’m familiar with the steps of traditional publishing because I’ve done a lot of research, but when it comes to explaining them, let’s just say less is more, so instead of delving into the details, I’ve simplified my explanation.

When I put it this way, family members, friends, and random strangers seem to understand…at least for a little while, at least for the few seconds they render their undivided attention to me:

Traditional PublishingHave you tried explaining traditional publishing to those around you? What was that like? Share your funny anecdotes below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

Have Your Writing Appear Almost Everywhere

Have Your Writing Appear Almost Everywhere

You’re guilty of it, I’m sure. You jot down ideas, even full articles, with the hopes that they’ll one day appear in various publications, including your favorite magazines. There are times when you go as far as envisioning said articles translated into different languages, reaching readers in all corners of the world.

As writers, we aim to reach, help, and inspire as many readers as possible, so the possibility of our work going viral holds a great deal of weight.

No matter how much you want it and prepare for it, that moment when something you’ve written goes viral, you’ll be tempted to take notes on your own piece and process, trying desperately to grasp whatever it was that you did right this time around.

I know that feeling all too well, because it’s exactly how I felt when my first cross-post for The Huffington Post, “I Don’t Want Children” went viral with over 38,000 Facebook likes and more than 200 comments. To my surprise, most of the feedback was positive.

I wrote “I Don’t Want Children” to give a voice to those who felt voiceless. Plenty of my readers understood this without my having to explain. Some already had children, but were tired of the pressure, being asked about having a second or third too often. Some were facing the monumental decision within their marriage.

Still, I think back to the success of “I Don’t Want Children,” and I believe that down to its core, its success boils down to a few factors:

Emotion leads to better writing, so I selected a topic I’m passionate about.

Quote Virginia Woolf

I knew everyone wouldn’t agree with me, but I understood that disagreements could pave the way for important discussions.

Since childbearing is a decision we all face at some point or another, it made for a good, relatable read. I was striving for a topic that resonated, and the one I wrote sure did.

In short, having your writing appear almost everywhere is all about throwing darts on the board and seeing what sticks. Draft as many ideas as possible, write those articles, and pitch to multiple publications. While I honed in on a few ingredients, truth is, an article’s popularity is often unpredictable.

Which publications have you recently pitched? Share below or tweet me @TheWriteWoman.

Rerouting: Building Your Brand While Remaining Honest With Yourself And Consumers

Rerouting: Building Your Brand While Remaining Honest With Yourself And Consumers

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling discouraged. My career had come to a halt with a lack of events to attend and there were no potential positions in sight. And this blog wasn’t helping.

I’d started The Write Woman, originally The PR Woman, with the intension of sharing useful and engaging information with my readers. For a while, my sense of direction was clear, but as I began to evolve, I realized, so did my brand. I had tons of ideas, but, my, where they scattered!

As is often the case, quitting (which I’ve only recently admitted I’ve done way too much of) became an option, one I’d never before envisioned for this blog. It wasn’t an option right away, but it was – I’m embarrassed to confess – the easiest solution. I would quit this blog, hone in on my novel, complete it, get published, and become known as an author – and not “just another blogger.” My original plan to build this blog and let it propel me forward as a blogger, writer, and author flew out of the window, and my mind traveled, instead, to an exchange that took place last year.

I’d been offered a gig writing for a women’s website. The brand’s purpose aligned with my overall intent, so I said yes, quickly moving on to negotiate payments. Granted, I made a mistake in setting my pricing. My fees were unrealistically high, and I wasn’t very fond of the response I received in turn. The website’s founder said I’d asked for way too much – especially since I’m not a celebrity blogger.

I was infuriated. How dare she compare me, a writerto a celebrity blogger?

We live in a world of superficiality, a world where anyone who has decent fashion sense, a camera, and a computer can become a renown fashion blogger.  My audience was relatively small, sure, but my writing surpassed much of what I’d read online. After all, anyone can blog, but not anyone can write.

For some time after that discussion, I felt some type of way about blogging. So much so, that it was part of the equation in my deciding to resign. I assumed I had outgrown blogging. I was ready to be more than “just another blogger,” I had my eyes set on a grander goal, on my dream of becoming an author. In essence, I’d let my ego get the best of me.

I wouldn’t come to realize how skewed my perception of blogging had become, until another artist, a fellow business-head, provided a much needed dose of reality. When I complained (Can you believe I actually complained?) about managing a blog and writing a book being professionally difficult, he pointed out all of the things he does. (And let me tell you, if there’s ever been someone who does it allthis man is it: singer, songwriter, photographer, manager, producer, and. So. Much. More. He wears so many hats, in fact, I’m not yet acquainted with each and everyone of them.)

“Don’t you think it’s professionally hard for me too?” he blurted over Facetime. He then went on to emphasize all the ways in which blogging can help me build an audience as an author. As he spoke, I recalled my original plan, one involving a lot of hard work, patience, and determination, one I’d too easily let go of. And so my ego began to deteriorate, and reality set in…

I wasn’t done blogging. I felt it in the pit of my stomach as I announced I was done blogging, and I felt it again when I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince others of my decision. Had I been certain, I wouldn’t have felt the need to explain my choices to anyone. I wouldn’t have walked around wondering if I’d given up to soon, imagining what this blog could have been. 

Which brings me to the following point: With the creation of a brand comes a level of responsibility. You owe it, not just to yourself, but to your consumers to create material you are thrilled and confident about. Sometimes, creating this kind of content means taking a step back (even if you don’t want to), reevaluating, and returning with a fresh, more humble approach. More importantly, you it to yourself and to your consumers to give the brand a fair chance to grow.

The beauty of building a brand is that it allows you the privilege of gaging your own evolution, and with growth comes change. Oftentimes the change required isn’t quitting altogether, but simply readjusting your perception and, ultimately, rerouting.

With that said, welcome back to The Write Woman. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect moving forward:

TWP

And here’s a small inspirational treat you can post on your social media accounts:

FSF

What changes have you recently made to your brand? Share below or tweet me @TheWriteWoman.

Interview: Anne Fulenwider, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire

Nearly a week after attending Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life, I was invited to attend New York Women in Communications‘ 2014 Student Communications Career Conference, featuring Anne Fulenwider, the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire. On stage, Anne spoke about the importance of remaining perseverant despite all obstacles and more importantly, of listening to yourself. I noticed a few correlations between the way she measures success and the way Gabrielle Bernstein suggested we measure success. Therefore, it is no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to interview her.

Anne Fulenwider at the 2014 Student Communications Career Conference (Photo Credit: Mary Anne Russel)

Anne Fulenwider at the 2014 Student Communications Career Conference (Photo Credit: Mary Anne Russel)

GE: I know that Marie Claire is big on covering career topics. It’s one of the reasons I love the magazine. What advice would you give to a person, like myself, whose dream job is to work for a women’s magazine?

AF: I think there’s so many opportunities right now. The fact that you’re blogging is such an advantage, because all those bylines and that voice was really much harder to come by when I was starting out. So, you already have your stack of bylines, is what they used to be called. You have a proven starting point, and you can bring these in and show them to whoever you’re interviewing with.

We have internships, and we also have assistant jobs. In many ways, women’s magazines are old fashion in that these things are like apprenticeships. But I would say, apply for one, jump in and once you get there, it’s sort of getting your foot into an organization that you believe is a good fit and something that you like. And really from there, you can make your own career. I mean, you really can. It’s about showing up and what you do with that opportunity.

GE: Is there any other way to go about it besides applying? I know some people who have landed jobs through social media.

AF:  That’s a whole new way that I don’t even think about, but it’s true.

Doing what you’re doing – going to conferences, meeting people, asking the right questions, kind of getting out there. It takes a little while. It doesn’t always work immediately, but it’s really the only way ’cause applying with no face attached to the name where no one knows you is much, much harder.

GE: I recently attended the Cosmo Fun Fearless Life conference, and Gabrielle Bernstein said she measures success based on how much fun she’s having, and I heard that in your speech. Was there a time in your career when you were confused about what path to take? And if so – you mentioned intuition as well, and I’m big on intuition – did your intuition guide you in making a decision you were unsure about?

AF: A combination of intuition, ambition and impatience, probably. [Giggles]

It’s hard to break up from an assistant level to the next level. There are certainly opportunities, but you have to really be creative and scrappy. Twice in my career, I have left one job knowing that that’s where I wanted to be but thinking there was no path for me there, so I’m gonna go do this somewhere else. It just so happens that there’s a parallel in my life where I did that at Vanity Fair and at Marie Claire.

But I think sometimes you do have to make a lateral move or not be afraid to take something that isn’t your ideal glamorous job for a little while and also constantly be looking for opportunities. I mean, even if you’re at, let’s say, your ideal magazine, if you don’t feel like you can grow any more there, you have to look around for the other opportunities and say, “Look, I’m going to learn this skill at this job and maybe I’ll be back.” You sort of have to not get sucked into thinking that you cannot do anything but live for this one organization.

GE: We rush into things. We set up our own pressure, so to speak. What advice would you give to the women who think, I want to be successful or I have to be successful by the age of 25 or 26. They set these crazy - ’cause we know that’s not how life works, or at least that’s what I’m learning through my experiences.

AF: I think your 20s are really all about that impatience, and it sort of defines and drives you. As long as you’re doing something that you somewhat enjoy, find challenging and find on the right path, I think one of the things about your 20s is you have to realize that you’re just a very small fish in a very large pond. And you may do great things, but you know, give yourself a little break. Be a little patient. Know that you could actually get your dream job at 32, and that’s still a giant accomplishment. So I think that while I don’t want anyone to just rest in their laurels and sit back and think, it’s gonna happen, no worries – you have to be constantly doing things that set yourself up for the opportunities when they come – but, you know, give yourself a break.

Amidst our conversation, Anne invited me to send over my résumé, and that’s exactly what I did. Now, as I scan the room for opportunities, I am taking an even more proactive approach towards reaching my goals by preparing as much as I can for them. How are you preparing for your dream job? What did you think of my interview with Anne Fulenwider? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MondayMuse.

Gabrielle Bernstein’s Fun Fearless Life Speech

Gabrielle Bernstein

Over a week ago, I had the privilege of attending Cosmopolitan‘s Fun Fearless Life. Though I was thrilled about the entire weekend, I was most excited to listen to Gabrielle BernsteinSo, as she spoke during Cosmo’s amazing Fun Fearless Life conference, I made sure to record so I could share with you what I can only assume will be an inspiring speech:

One of the questions that was asked just about 10 to 15 minutes ago was: What advice would you have given yourself in your early 20s? And I had a really deep moment. I heard my inner voice say, Woah! And I responded, Wow! I would’ve given myself a lot of advice in my early 20s.

And I think back to a time specifically in October of 2005, and this is nine years ago. And I’m thinking back to this time, and I’m looking at my life. I’m seeing all these seemingly successful experiences happening in my life. I’m looking at my life and I’m seeing I’ve got this awesome career. I’m the president of my company, I’m running a PR business here in New York City, representing nightclubs. I can walk into any nightclub and the velvet ropes will open. I have all these different dates lined up. I have fabulous shoes. I live in the West Village. I think I am fierce. I think I am fierce, but why am I once again on the floor, in some random person’s apartment, coming down from God-knows-what-drugs I’ve taken, watching the sunrise out the window with no idea how I’m gonna get home.

Why am I once again on the floor, picking myself back up, pulling myself together, walking onto the streets of New York City, seeing people walking to work with their coffee in their hand, and I’m going nowhere. I don’t know how to get home. Somehow I stumble, I find my way, I get a taxi, I find my way back into my apartment. I hear the clinking of the garbage cans outside my window. I hear the garbage trucks rolling in, and I see people out the window walking to work, and I’m going nowhere. Because even though on the outside I had created this seemingly successful world, this world of being the president of this business, this world of having access to all these nightclubs, of having this false pretense of what it looked like to be successful, I was somehow some way completely emotionally and spiritually bankrupted.

I’d chosen a path of choosing to perceive the outside world as my source of safety, the outside world as my source of security, the outside world as my source of success, and being in that conversation I was led to all these dark places, and I was led to a very deep, dark addiction. Not only addiction to drugs and alcohol, but addiction to my career, addiction to my credentials, addiction to my shoes, addiction to my own pretense of fabulousness.

And if any of you know, when we look outside of ourselves for a sense of safety, or security, or happiness, or peace, we will always fall short.

So here I am, it’s October 2nd, 2005, and I’m sitting on the floor in my room, and I open up my journal. And I’m looking at my life and I’m saying: This has got to be better. There has to be a better way. And I write in my journal: I need a miracle.

And I go to sleep for a few hours, and I wake up with this strong intuition. This intuitive voice wakes me up, and I hear this calling. I sit up by the bed, and I hear this voice within me that says: Get clean. Get sober. And you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams. And for whatever reason that day, that morning, I was ready and willing and able to hear that inner guidance system. For whatever reason I made that commitment that day, and I picked myself up off the floor, and I found my way to recovery, and I made a commitment to get clean.

October 2nd of 2014, a few weeks, I celebrated nine years of sober recovery.

And being in that reflection of what that commitment was. Getting sober was really the first step. Getting clean was the first step. It was the first commitment. It was being the witness of what was going on in my life, seeing this is not working and making that magical statement: There has to be a better way. I need a miracle. And little did I know just writing those magical words down in my journal would open an invisible door that would change my life forever. 

When we say those magic words – I need change, I choose to see this differently, there has to be a better way – however that expression comes through us naturally, we open an invisible door. We say, I choose again, and I am ready for something new. And when that invisible door swings open, all that we need is given to us, all that we need, all the resources, all the books, all the teachers, all the Yellow-Book classes, all the therapists, all the friends, all the gentle reminders, all the events like this come into our psyche and we are ready, willing and able to say yes.

And so I spent the past nine years on a journey of saying yes. I’ve been on a journey of saying yes. I’ve been on a journey of unlearning and remembering. Unlearning all of the fear-based stories that I had chosen to believe in, the stories of success means struggle, the stories of I build up this world around me and I will feel good enough, the stories that outside circumstances and people could fill me up.

And I started to unlearn these fear-based stories and started to remember the truth of why I’m here, the truth of what is real, the truth of what we come here to learn, and I started to really begin this journey of reorganizing my belief systems. And so I started to, you know, I remember seeing myself rollerblading. I would rollerblade from yoga class to meditation studio to juice – actually there was no juice bars in 2005 – so I was rollerblading through coffee shops, and I was meeting people, and I was soaking up these principles. I had stacks of self-help books next to my bed, and I became so receptive to receive whatever it was that I needed to reorganize my believes and change my perceptions so that I could recognize that success was an inside job

And I remember the joy I felt on this journey. There’s so much joy when we make the commitment to tune inward and start to seek our source of happiness and self-worth inside of ourselves. A little light turns on, and there’s this really beautiful experience of just walking through life with a new lens, walking through life with a new perception.

On my journey, I really started to pick up my spiritual roots. I was brought up visiting ashrams. I was taught to meditate as a child, and I turned my back on that. So now in my new path to recovery, I started to pick up my spiritual roots, and I started to really deepen my meditation practice. I became a student of metaphysics, and I became a spirit junkie.

I opened my heart, and I opened my mind to learn what it meant to live fearless and free and fun with a new sense of freedom from my perceptions. And there was one great teacher I had early in my path, a guy by the name of Gary Bernard, and he had this really cool metaphor where he talked about where you know when you’re watching a movie and you see all the crazy crap going on in the movie screen and you’re just like throwing popcorn at the movie, you’re like, “Noooo! Don’t turn that corner! No, no, no, please, don’t turn that corner” because you know what happens when they turn the corner.

And if you ever feel like sometimes you’re witnessing your own life and you’re like, “No! Don’t call that guy again!” And you know these stories, and you know when you’re looking at that movie screen and you’re throwing that popcorn and you’re screaming “Please, please, please don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that,” but the simplicity is that all we have to do is walk behind that projector room and switch the reel. We just have to switch the reel. The projection that we place forth is the perception of the reality we live in. Projection is perception, and so we are on every given moment of our life choosing the projector that we want to see. And so for the past nine years I’ve been on this journey of changing the projector screen, choosing again, shifting my thinking, reorganizing my beliefs, opening up to receptivity of recovery, recovering from the food addictions, recovering from the drug addictions, recovering from the love addictions and today celebrating a fun fearless life.

[Applause]

And why did you come here today? I wanted to close this magnificent event with my specific tools for how we can live that fun fearless life and how we can live with freedom, how we can live with ease and how we can open up our subconscious and conscious being to what it means to be radically successful because we’ve made our focus our inside job. Do you want that?

[Yes!]

[Applause]

Yes! I like it. Good!

We all want that. Honestly, all we want is that authentic life! All we want is that happiness and that peace, so when I was asked  what would you have told yourself when you were 25 years old, I said, I would have told myself to be real, that all the world wants for you is your authentic truth. All the world wants from you is your authentic truth. There is nothing sexier than your truth. There is nothing sexier than your truth. And I really had to look closely at what it meant for me to get to the place where I could be authentic again, where I could remember what it mean to really be me, where I could remember to step into the truth of who I am.

And the first step was really that moment on October 2nd, 2005, being on that floor and being the nonjudgmental witness of my fear, being able to look at my life and say, This isn’t working. There has to be a better way. I forgive myself for what I’ve been doing. I am not gonna to judge myself for where I’ve been, because had I been in judgement that day, I wouldn’t be standing on this stage right now. Had I been in judgment that day, I would have chosen to beat myself up more, probably pick myself up and picked up a drink a few hours later, but because I was in the experience of being in the non-judgement of of my fears and being able to truthfully and authentically and honestly look at the fears right in front of me, witness it, see it, say, Girl, this ain’t working! It’s time to change, I was able to open that invisible door.

So being the nonjudgmental witness of your fear, being honest with yourselves: What is it within you right now that is holding you back from stepping into your highest truth? What is that’s within you might be holding you back from stepping into that authentic power, into that sexy authenticity? What is it that’s blocking you?

Write this down write now. You all have your phones. Take a little note: I’m struggling because I believe that without the love of a romantic partner I’m not good enough. Or I’m struggling right now and I’m blocked because I believe that I will never be able to make that money I think I want to make. Or I’m struggling right now because all weekend as inspired as I’ve been, I’ve been comparing myself to all those speakers, wishing I had something that they have. Or I’m struggling right now because I just can’t get out of the story that I’m not good enough.

What is the story that you are creating? What is the projector that you are placing onto the perceptions of your life? What is it? And without judgment, in this moment, just take a moment, just take a moment to get brutally honest with yourselves. You know what it is. You all know. Does everyone know what it is that’s holding you back? Do you have an idea or understanding of the belief systems that might be repurposing and replaying over and over and over again like a broken record? Anyone? Is there any real honesty in this room? Come forward. Tell me. Yes? Yes! Because that honesty is so required in being that nonjudgmental witness of your fear.

The next step here is to really recognize that the presence of fear is a sure sign that we are relying on our own strength. Take that in: The presence of fear is a sure sign that we are relying on our own strength.

Now when I started off on my spiritual journey nine years ago, it wasn’t like this hip thing to like be drinking green juice and like be in a yoga studio…That wasn’t hip then, so I was creating my own world of building this new experience, and my predecessors had done this beautiful job of creating these teachings, but I felt this call that it was my responsibility to demystify these spiritual principles and expand the spiritual lexicon for this new generation that was gonna come too and realize, I have fear that I need to clean up. And so being in my spiritual journey is what allowed me to recognize and witness that the presence of fear is a sure sign that I was relying on my own strength, relying on my own stories of if I push hard enough, I will succeed. That’s relying on your own strength. If I make something happen or manipulate or control the outcome of this situation, that’s relying on your own strength. And what does it mean to rely on strength further than you?

When we tune in – whether it be through prayer, through meditation, through yoga, even when we come to an event like this and we have this experience of this collective community of people coming together with a shared intension – something radical happens. Do you guys feel sort of an energy in the room? Do you feel a vibration in the room? Anybody with me on that?

[Yes!]

Yeah, I felt it driving up here. Do you feel like the past 48 hours have shifted you in a way?

[Yes!]

Do you feel as though there’s a sense of intuition coming up a bit, like you’re getting ideas, you’re inspired to go create more? Anything like that happening for you guys?

[Yes!]

Awesome. So that’s a sure sign that this weekend you have stopped relying on your own strength and you made a commitment to tune into your inner guidance system. You made the commitment to tune into a voice of inspiration and a voice of intuition. And the sure sign of true power and fearlessness and fun comes from living from that voice, living from the connection of that inner guidance system and releasing our attachment to that fear voice, releasing our attachment to the fear of being the driver.

And how do we start to cultivate that presence of inspiration in our lives? Well, number one you did this weekend. I want to just give you a round of applause: You showed up.

[Applause]

You showed up! Being in the presence of this. Having your spiritual running buddies, having your sisters around you, holding you and opening up with you and creating a shift with you, changing your conversation. When you’re in conversation with your girlfriends and in your in the story of all the negative stuff and you’re in the story of how things are not going well, choose any given moment to pivot. In any given moment, you can choose again. So if you’re focusing on that negative story, say, You know what! I witness that story without judgment, and I’m gonna choose to see it differently. And that happiness that we’re longing for, that happiness is a choice we make, so at every given moment, we can detour from the fear, back into that intuitive voice.

Another really impactful way to build that voice of intuition is through some kind of daily intention practice and a practice stillness. I have meditated every single day for the last nine years, and I owe all of my successes, every book, every New York Times best-seller, sitting next to Oprah Winfrey, every success in my life, my marriage that I just celebrated a year, every success I have experienced on the outside is the direct reflection of my internal condition, and that internal condition has been cultivated on a beautiful meditation pillow. One day at a time. Committing to that stillness. One day at a time committed to choosing my thoughts through prayer, through intension setting, through affirmations, affirming the life that I want to live and sitting in stillness and listening to the voice of intuition that comes forward and says, Go girl! Yes you can! That has been my practice of reorganizing my faith and fear and surrendering to my faith in love and surrendering to my faith in truth.

The next step in my practice of really cultivating that presence is, this third step here, is measuring your success based on how much fun you’re having. Doesn’t that sound nice? How many of you right now are measuring your success based on how much fun you’re having? Yeah, that’s like fucking 10 people in a room of 2,000 people.

First of all, thank you for your brutal, brutal honesty, people. Thank you. I appreciate it.

But we really don’t. That’s not the energy we’ve been in. That’s not the story we’ve been telling. That’s not what we’ve been brought up to believe. We haven’t been given the tools to say, “You know what? Fun would really equal success.” That’s not what we’re taught when we’re in high school. That’s not what we’re taught when we’re in college. What we’re taught – particularly in this culture – I just got back from Germany and England – and being in the U.S., I really can be back in that conversation of witnessing how outside success and pushing and controlling has been sort of our driving force. And we’ve been thinking that the harder I push – Does anybody have the belief that success is gonna come from struggle? Anybody in any way feel that? Yes?

[Applause]

Yeah. You’re with me. You get that – that we think we have to struggle to achieve successes, and I’m here to completely bust that myth for you today. I want to bust that myth for you, and I want to remind you that measuring your success based on how much fun you’re having.

My dear friend Robert Holding says that when we focus on joy, we increase our chances for success.

Think about it. You’re walking through your life and you’re showing up and you’re in this energy of negativity and you’re in this energy of black and you’re in this energy of separation and you’re in this energy of judgment and telling all these stories and you’re talking a lot of shit….And somebody, you know, comes into your world and you’re on a date and you’re in that vibration – does that date call you back? No. Does that person wanna hire you when you show up with that vibration, when you show up with that energy? Is that attractive in any way? No.

Now imagine you show up to life when you’re number one priority is to be joyful. I want to bring forth my happiness. I want to bring forth fun into all those situations – particularly the situations in my life that are most difficult for me. I want to bring forth joy. Can you contemplate how sexy you would be if you showed up every day with the intension for joy? Can you just imagine where you would be in that way? Can you imagine all of the people that would say, “I don’t know why – her credentials seems so off – but I just wanna hire her because she makes me feel good?”

[Giggles]

You know, it’s not what we say or what we wear, it’s how we be. It’s how we be. It’s the energy we bring forth. And this is the next step – which is that our presence is our power. We think, you know, if I show up and I say all the right things and I wear the right outfit, I have the most fabulous bold shoes, it’s all gonna work. That’s what we think. Truthfully, if we don’t show up with our presence, then we might as well not show up at all. Our presence is our greatest source of power.

What did you think of Gabrielle’s speech? Do you agree with her? What are your thoughts on spirituality?

Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life: Day 2

As content as I felt on Day 1 of Fun Fearless Life, the second day was even more of a treat.

Geraldine Estevez

I’d been so tired the first day, that I hadn’t networked as much as I should’ve, so I was determined to make the second day count. More importantly, I was determined to let Cosmopolitan‘s Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles and Cosmo For Latinas‘ EIC Michelle Herrera Mulligan know how much I believe in the brand and how badly I want to work for Cosmopolitan. I knew that if I got the chance to speak to them, I’d have a limited amount of time, so I began to mentally prepare my “elevator” pitch on my way to an even more amazing day than the preceding one.

Sunday, November 9th began with a yoga session hosted by Tara Stiles and a short workout with Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body: Eat Clean. Train Dirty. Live Hard.

To transform goals into reality, Adam suggested:

1) Decide what you want. Come up with a goal. Get crystal clear on it.

2) Write small actionable tasks you can do leading up to that goal. When you do this, you get over the mental-fuck of such a big goal. Then, check them off. This ignites a spark of motivation.

Example

Major goal: Write a book

Small actionable tasks: Write a one-page synopsis of the book

“Before you know it, you’re standing there having accomplished your goal,” he said. But besides simply pursuing your goal, Adam added, “You have to tie emotion to that goal.”

After Adam’s energetic speech and workout, Joanna Coles introduced Kelly Osbourne and then Jillian Michaels. Kelly shared her struggles growing up and learning to accept herself. When a friend forced her to spend some time in front of a mirror, she gathered a clearer sense of why her life had to change. Drugs weren’t going to solve a thing. Kelly and Joanna pointed out that oftentimes we are told to love and accept ourselves as though it is that simple, but it isn’t.

Moments later, Jillian Michaels chimed in, saying, “We’re living the life we are expected to live instead of the one we want.” Her words resonated with the crowd as she said, “You have to look at your life and see how you’re compromising and settling. Look at what you’re passionate about.”

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, board-certified ob-gyn and the author of a monthly feature column, “Ask Dr. Ashton” in Cosmopolitan magazine, joined the conversation shortly after, stating that it’s important women limit alcohol consumption to three glasses of wine/liquor per week to avoid detrimental side-effects. On a lighter note, she shared: “The more sex, the better – even if it’s with yourself.” At which point, Kelly joked, “Anyone who says they don’t have sex with themselves is bloody lying!”

Jason Silva – the host of Brain Games (National Geographic Channel), TV personality, media artist, filmmaker and techno-philosopher – joined the array of inspirational speakers. While many argue that constantly turning to Instagram to document experiences is not living in the moment, Jason said, “Everyone is an artist aiming to document the transient present.”

(To view the insightful videos Jason showcased throughout his speech, visit YouTube.com/ShotsOfAwe.)

Alexa Von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest.com, spoke after Jason, sharing financial tips we can all apply:

  • Money matters and if you tackle it in your 20s, you can have the life you want in your 30s, 40s, 50s
  • 50% of your income should go to essentials,  30% to your lifestyle and 20% to future savings
  • If your rent is 60% of what you make, you’ll be in trouble in the upcoming years because it’ll be harder to save
  • Live beneath your means as much as you can in your 20s – that’s when you want to make the really smart decisions
  • Find a roommate because you won’t live significantly better on your own in your 20s
  • A bonus of any kind should go 90% to your future and 10% to anything you want
  • You need three months of essentials saved, so if anything happens you’re not worried about money
  • Rip the financial band-aid and remind yourself that mistakes are okay
  • Increase your retirement account (out of sight, out of mind)

Similarly to day one, there was a lunch break in between presentations. It was during said lunch break that I had the opportunity to meet some great women (including Cosmo For Latinas’ beauty editor Milly Almodovar Thompson). I also had a chance to speak with Joanna Coles and pitch myself in a matter of seconds. I said something like: I love everything Cosmopolitan is doing. As you mentioned in your recent interview, the magazine is addressing the topics that matter to women. I especially loved the article in the November issue on asking for a raise. I want to work for Cosmo. I leaned in and said, I’m even willing to volunteer one or two days a week. May I hand you a business card? Joanna said yes and thanked me for all that I’d said.

Joanna Coles

After the break, Joanna was interviewed and revealed that she grew up with a fear of routine. If her job consisted of doing the same exact thing every day, she wouldn’t be able to do it.

Following Joanna’s interview, Michelle Herrera Mulligan, EIC of Cosmo For Latinas and an array of women spoke about dressing for the workplace and why fashion matters.

When asked about role models, Michelle said, “I see women struggling every day. I see women that have been on the brink of homelessness. I know women who’ve slept in their cars and then gone to work. My own family, I came from a family of maids and janitors, so to me, they were my role models, because my mom had to come out there every day…Sometimes even in your own family just that confidence of saying I’m going to freaking get this done and I’m going to be happy all the time – even if I don’t feel that way, that’s my role model.”

Moments later, Gabrielle Union spoke about the celebrity nude photos scandal, calling it an invasion of privacy and a crime. Shay Mitchell joined the panel and spoke about following her dreams despite not being the typical blonde-haired-blue-eyed girl next door: “From vision boards to saying it out loud to believing it, it will happen, because if I did it, you can, too.”

Shay Mitchell

The second day of Fun Fearless Life came to a close with one of the speakers I was most excited to listen to: former public relations professional Gabrielle Bernstein.

Gabrielle Bernstein

I was first introduced to Gabrielle while working at an advertising agency. When I told a coworker that I’d quit that job to pursue my passions and eventually become a motivational speaker, she said I should look into Gabrielle Bernstein’s journey. Flash-forward almost a year later, and I was listening to her amazing speech and feeling even more confident about having quit the job that didn’t make me happy. Because Gabrielle is such an inspiration to me, I’ve decided to write a separate post on her speech. For now, I’ll leave you with a captivating phrase she said: “If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you. If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you.”

While Gabrielle did an excellent job at formally closing Fun Fearless Life, for me, the weekend wasn’t truly over until I spoke with Michelle. After I told Michelle just how much I love Cosmopolitan and want to work for the brand, she encouraged me to pitch some ideas. I’d pitched Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas months prior, but never an Editor-in-Chief directly, so instead of explaining this, I thanked her for her guidance and said she’d have an email from me by Monday morning.

Michelle Herrera Mulligan

I’ve yet to uncover where this opportunity will lead, but one thing’s for sure, @FunFearlessLife has left its mark.

Special thanks to Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas for the press pass. And a very big thank you to every person who helped make this magical weekend a reality!

Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life: Day 1

Cosmopolitan has always been my favorite magazine. As a teenager, I’d look forward to time under the hair dryer, because it gave me an opportunity to catch up on my favorite [naughty] articles. With time, I gravitated towards writing with more substance, only to return to Cosmopolitan as its content began to evolve.

Sure, there are fun articles on love and sex, but there are also insightful ones on landing thee dream job (which, for me, is Cosmo, by the way). The November issue of Cosmopolitan, for example, is highly informative, including guidance from Facebook’s COO and author of Lean In, Sheryl Sanberg. (Isn’t it brilliant that Cosmo teamed up with Sheryl Sandberg?!)

And just when I thought Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles and the rest of the Cosmo team had done it all, they came up with the fantastic idea of hosting a conference in New York City filled with powerful speakers and career-driven women (and men!). I knew as soon as I saw the ads for Fun Fearless Life that I had to attend. Unable to afford tickets, I put my thinking cap on and did what any other determined, ambitious and passionate journalist would have done, I requested a media pass.

The response was prompt, so I assumed it was automated. Another response followed days later, but it seemed too technical to be real. (Plus, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I’d just gone through career heartache and wasn’t prepared to go through it again.) Much to my surprise, I received a third response, and that’s when it finally hit me: I’m in! 

Press Pass

I’m not sure how I didn’t explode due to excitement then, or this past Saturday, November 8th, when, despite the chilly weather and only three hours of sleep (long night at work), I walked into the David H. Koch Theater and up to registration, where I was asked to give the name of the publication I’d be representing. For the first time ever, I’d acquired access into an event (related to my dream job) through this blog, the brand I’ve built. My, is that an indescribable feeling!

I knew the minute I walked in and felt the energy around me that this wasn’t just any event. I’m pretty sure I knew that all along – especially since Cosmopolitan is on my vision board. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to start my day not just with some coffee, but as every fabulous woman should, posing in front of Cosmo‘s step and repeat!

Geraldine Estevez

Thank you, I whispered, as Joanna Coles, a woman I profoundly admire, made her way to the stage just after an array of celebrities (via TV screen) and male models welcomed us. From the intro, to the decor, to the branding, my heart skipped a beat, and I knew I’d fallen even harder for Cosmopolitan.

Fun Fearless Life

The remainder of the day looked something like this:

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, shared her story on creating a brand that revolutionized the industry. Before her success, she was a telemarketer for a couple of years. She had doors slammed in her face a couple of times, until finally deciding that the path she was on wasn’t the right path for her.

She then grabbed a pen and paper and began to jot down her skills and weaknesses. One day, as she went to put on a pair of white jeans, it dawned on her that she didn’t know what to wear underneath. Sara’s idea for Spanx stemmed from her own insecurities. After a lot of hard work, determination and plenty of rejection, Sara finally got Spanx off the ground.

When it comes to success, she said that two things matter most: your attitude and your drive. “What levels the playing field for everyone is attitude and drive,” she shared. During times of trials, she always asks herself, “Where is the hidden gift in this?”

After Sara’s speech, we had an hour-and-a-half long lunch break followed by a panel on finding one’s power, in which women highlighted the importance of focusing not on the fact that a field may be male-dominated, but in becoming the best version of yourself despite that.

Amy Cuddy then spoke about body language, but not in the way we’re accustomed. She revealed that we tend to make ourselves smaller when we feel helpless, but when we feel mighty, we expand. Hence, Superman and Wonder Woman’s signature poses. It’s the reason we famously raise our hands in the air when we win. Needless to say, the entire audience ended up power posing and Cosmopolitan’s amazing social media editor, Elisa Benson, captured that and more!

Fun Fearless Life Crowd Power Posing (Image via Twitter.com/JoannaColes)

Fun Fearless Life Crowd Power Posing (Image via Twitter.com/JoannaColes)

Cosmopolitan.com‘s editor, Amy O’Dell, went on to introduce Wall Street Journal‘s Elizabeth Holmes and Nasty Gal CEO and author of GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso. “It’s the things I didn’t know that helped me become really successful,” Sophia said. “Being naive can be a tool; it’s up to you to do the research.”

A short break ensued. Throughout the day, Maybelline reels played featuring inspiring women, and Express gave out $100 gift cards. Whenever we’d go on break, we were welcomed with goodies, such as Express handbags containing a portable charger, free matte Maybelline lipsticks, Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas magazines and more.

At one point, Joanna Coles welcomed troops on stage, informing us that Maybelline was donating $1 per kissed postcard.

Maybelline Kisses For The Troops

Then, we picked up with a panel introduced by DKNY PR Girl, Aliza Licht.

Aliza Licht

The panel featured Pretty Little Liars‘ Shay Mitchell, who said, “From vision boards to saying it out loud to believing it, it will happen, because if I did it, you can, too.” Shay shared her journey as an actress, stating that at first she wasn’t getting roles because she wasn’t the typical blue-eyed-blonde-haired girl next door, but she didn’t let that stop her, nor did she refrain from trying out for the role of Emily on Pretty Little Liars though producers originally had a very different woman in mind.

Shay Mitchell

Mathropology, a male panel hosted by model Chrissy Teigen, was next. Matthew Hussey, author of Get The Guy revealed that the reason many women keep stumbling into the wrong men is because we’re not making the first move often enough. Making the first move, he described, doesn’t necessarily mean being obvious. Something as subtle as asking the guy you like to help you out can spark something between you two. It allows him to feel useful. Furthermore, Matthew suggested that instead of nagging when your partner isn’t doing what you hope he’d do, compliment him when he does things correctly. This will entice him to continue doing things correctly.

Tara Mohr, an expert on women’s leadership and well-being, closed the day with an outstanding visualization. She had us close our eyes and imagine a light, we then followed that light until it led us to a woman we’d come to know in twenty years. She said to imagine that woman opening the door to her house and letting us inside. I knew, as I stared at the woman before me and got goosebumps, that I was looking at an older version of myself. Tara said to pay attention to the woman, to her home, to the advice she gave me (whether orally or visually) when I asked her what she would tell me now.

I saw an older, elegant woman with long black hair. She lived in a luxurious modern home in California near the beach. She greeted me with a smile. She was calm and confident, and told me to stop worrying. She told me everything will work out as it should.

Tara then asked us to walk through the light and back to the present. She explained that the woman we saw is our inner mentor. She said that we can access that mentor whenever we need to. She also said that what we visualize isn’t a concise interpretation of what will be, but it does reveal whether we’re content with what we’re doing now. If you don’t like who you see in the future, something has to change.

Shortly after (time flew!) Tara captivated the audience, Joanna Coles walked back in. She said that as inspired as she hoped we were, she was even more inspired by us. She thanked us for attending and warned us that Day 2 of Fun Fearless Life would be even more amazing. And she wasn’t kidding! There is, after all, a reason I’m saving Day 2 as a separate post I hope you’ll come back to read.

(Note: Though I attended Fun Fearless Life as media, I was asked not to take any camera besides my mobile one due to strict onsite video and photo policies.)

‘The Book of Life’ Press Conference Featuring Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, then you know I met Channing Tatum on Saturday.

I was invited through LatinTRENDS to attend a press conference for the animated film The Book of Life, starring Channing Tatum. Needless to say, I am grateful to the LatinTRENDS family (everyone from CEO Juan Guillen to Web Editor Shelley Mendoza to Editor Maria Luna and everyone else in between) for the doors they’ve helped me open.

In The Book of Life, Joaquin, the boisterous character Channing Tatum plays, is forced to recognize that to be a hero one must truly be selfless. To this point, I asked Channing if there has ever been a point in his career when he has been selfish. “Selfless or selfish?” he asked.

“Selfish…and perhaps learned to be selfless afterwards?” I added.

“Actually, when I was going to do Jump Street, I had just worked with Chris Pratt, and I looked at him when I was about to go do Jump Street. I looked at Chris Pratt and I go, Man, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m about to go do a movie I think you’d be way better for,” Channing chuckled. “I guess that was my selfish, because I went and did the movie.”

When it comes to being selfless, it has taken Channing around three to four years to learn that as an actor, “You are not the story. The story is the story. The movie is the story.” While a lot of young actors tend to worry only about themselves, Channing suggests looking at the storyline as a whole and thinking of yourself (the actor) as just a part of it. This, in turn, will result in your best work.

Furthermore, he revealed that he loves to be an actor because he loves stories – something most, if not all, artists can relate to.

Channing Tatum

Minutes into the press conference, one journalist asked Channing how he felt about the part of the storyline where Manolo’s father tries to sway him in one direction.  When it comes to parenthood, he confessed he doesn’t have it all figured out and is certain he’ll learn with time.

When asked if he’d purposely do more animated films for his daughter to watch, he quipped that her greatest punishment will be Step Up. He doesn’t feel pressured to stick to one type of film. So long as the film ties into his vision, he’s up for it. When asked if his wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, ever disagrees with the roles he plays, he says he and his wife have been together for 10 years and while at first it was hard, they’ve gotten used to each other’s work. He revealed that she’s pretty cool while he does things on film most wives wouldn’t want their husbands to do in real life. Likewise, though he still feels odd while watching her kiss another man, he would never limit the work she does. Perhaps their mutual respect, understanding, support and love is the equation that has led to such a long-lasting relationship.

The Book of Life is a 20th Century Fox film and premieres this Friday, October 17th.