Excerpts And Doubts

Writer

I haven’t forgotten about the excerpts I said I would share or the changes I mentioned I’d make to the blog. It’s just that, lately, I’ve been going through an odd transition. There are a few things I’m uncertain about, and before I start making changes, I want to be sure which direction I’m headed in – which is not to say that I expect to have it all figured out any time soon (or ever, for that matter).

Thing is, I wrote a book, one I’m proud of having written, but one I’m not 100% sure about. I know doubt is normal, but I don’t like the way it feels, so before I start sharing any of the material, there are some changes I must make – either that, or I’ll opt instead to share something new. I’ll be sharing excerpts starting January. The only thing is I’m not sure whether it’ll be excerpts from the first novel I wrote (and now feel extremely unsure about) or the one I’ve been working on as of late. Life has a funny way of working itself out. Wouldn’t it be something if the second novel I write becomes my first published novel?

I read something lately I loved: “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.”

It’s easy to worry around this time of year. Something about the end of one year and the beginning of another has a way of highlighting what I’ve yet to accomplish, but I know better – especially after recent experiences – than to focus on what has yet to occur. The present, this present, is so beautiful, so much more beautiful than anything I could’ve imagined happening in just a month, that I refuse to miss out. I trust that with time my path will become clear, and I’ll be brave enough to share what I’ve written.

In the meantime, I’d like to know, what challenging projects have you been working on?

Image Credit

While I Was Making Plans

California

I’ve had this strange relationship with California since landing there in 2010. I stayed with family for a couple of weeks and ever since, whenever my life is in disarray, California comes to mind. When others ask, I sometimes say it has to do with my career (I thought I wanted to pursue broadcast journalism), but deep down, I know all I really want to do is write, and it doesn’t really matter where I am. There’s just something about California…

So in 2012, after graduating with a Bachelor’s in Communications, I made plans to finally move – plans that fell through as life happened. I landed a job at an advertising agency and my perspective changed…for a while.

Since quitting the agency, I’ve been trying to figure out my path, basing my journey on what I love most. I took some time off the corporate world to write my first novel, and in the process of exploring my interests, I uncovered that my dream job is to work for a women’s magazine. Everything I write is tailored to this specific demographic as I believe it is my purpose to help and empower women of all ages.

Well aware that my dream job may be here, in New York CityI had a conversation with the universe, noting that California formed a part of my vision board (though not precisely as a destination to relocate to). I left the possibilities open, but embraced the happenstance of things seemingly falling into place. When I told a friend about my conversation with the universe, she offered me a place to stay, suggesting we become roommates. We went on to speak about expenses and the fact that I needed a steady income in order to be able to move in October when her previous roommate was set to return to London.

I knew I needed something steady, but I also knew it couldn’t be a job in my field. It had to be a job I could quit with little-to-no repercussions, so I texted everyone I could think of. If I could land something by the beginning of September, I knew I had a shot at saving enough (notwithstanding my debt). Otherwise, moving to California in October just wasn’t feasible.

In just three days, on the last week of August, I landed my in-betweener: waitressing (and surprisingly enough, bartending) at a catering hall. Weeks later, my friend expressed that she’d changed her mind about rooming.

“Don’t let a hole in your plans change your plans,” another friend advised.

Though I couldn’t evade the concerns that flooded my mind – Would I be able to save a decent amount in just a few months with my debt? What if I didn’t get a call back from the places I’d been applying to? I’ve started to build something in NY. Would moving be a big mistake?  – I was elated to be in a setting full of characters. From the security guards to my coworkers to the guests in attendance, I started to see the ways in which life imitates art. Had I taken on a similar job years ago, I would’ve quit almost instantly, but this time, despite a few rough patches, and with the advice of some of my coworkers, I hung on. Waitressing wasn’t and isn’t the final goal – it’s a bridge to my ultimate destination, a bridge I have learned to embrace despite its flaws, a bridge that allows me the freedom to pursue what I love…

My waitressing schedule, while somewhat consuming at first, began to lighten up after some time. I was able to attend Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life where I networked with the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas, and I was also able to attend New York Women In Communications’ Student Conference where I had the pleasure of interviewing (and sending my résumé to) Anne Fulenwider, the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire

While I was making plans, amazing things were happening  – some of which I’m not yet ready to divulge. I didn’t think twice (despite my plans) to snatch any opportunities that came up.

“If Cosmopolitan hires me, I’ll happily stay,” I revealed to my mother, only to add days later that the same holds true if Marie Claire were to hire me. My mother, though supportive of my decision to move, was elated to hear me say those words.

“How are your California plans coming along?” a coworker recently asked.

I nonchalantly replied that I wasn’t paying much mind to my plans, and I realized, through my unfazed response, the change in my tone, the lack of stress, that I’d let go, and in doing so, I realized, in that moment, that for whatever reason, something within me had changed.

I have the sensation that this decision isn’t solely up to me. I’m not so sure I want to leave. I’m not so sure I need to…at least not yet. At least not now. But I am certain that whatever I am meant to do will become clear in the weeks to follow.

I’ve learned and admitted to myself that part of the reason I am drawn to California is because I work better under pressure and aside from pressure, California entails newness. I’d have no choice but to leave the nest, fly and grow wings on the way down, but I now know and understand that the same applies if I stay in the East Coast, because I’m determined to leave the Bronx next year, and regardless of where I end up, I know, I am certain, I will be fleeting my comfort zone altogether.

Can you think of a time when you made plans, only to have life surprise you in the most unexpected ways? Share below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice

I remember launching this blog with a specific vision. I wanted this space to be a detailed map of my journey as an up and coming professional. For me, that meant some posts would be short and fun, while others would be a bit more extensive. The idea was to give readers an informative yet casual page to turn to should they consider a career in public relations. Of course, with time that changed. Though I’m open to PR, it’s not what I’m striving for.

As you can probably tell by my brand name, my heart is anchored on the thing that makes it soar, and that is writing. Still, when it comes to blogging, I find myself stumbling at times, debating about how much to share and how to share it. Do I go with somewhat technical, short posts or do I elaborately express what’s on my mind? What about timing? Is there a right time to share what I’m going through? Should I share it as it happens or wait a bit and see if my perception changes?

It is this very question that brought me to revisit one of my favorite blogs, Everywhereist.com. Ironically enough, the author’s name is Geraldine, and she just so happens to be one of my favorite writers. In one of her latest posts, she shares that it took her time to find her voice. Reading her take on the matter filled me with a sense of relief. I believe for most bloggers – if not all – it takes over a year.

Though my blog may come off as scattered thoughts, I’m trusting that with time, as I hone in on what I love to write about and the tone with which I wish to convey my messages, the direction of this blog will become more clear. I hope it feels like a conversation, like sitting down to catch up with a friend, because that will surely make sharing excerpts from my first novel much more bearable. (I can think of nothing more nerve-wracking for an artist than sharing his/her work!)

Are you a blogger, too? Have you struggled to find your voice? I want to know what the process has been like for you. Share your thoughts in the comments section below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

Image Credit

Monday Muse: 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 the first interviewee of my Monday Muse series is a woman I greatly admire for more reasons than one.

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.)

My Second Literary Rejection And Other Things

Writer

The day I received my first literary rejection, I thought, This is good. Agents are reading. Two days ago, when I received my second rejection – a polite one at that – I couldn’t help but think the same thing: Agents are reading. While a couple of weeks ago, I was doubting I’d ever try writing another book, as time passes, I’m more certain that I will. Thing is, there’s still so much I haven’t explored. Furthermore, there’s so much I’ve experienced since writing my first book! I can only imagine how my experiences will influence my art.

This week, after hanging out with a few people in the music industry, I even pondered the idea of writing music. I’ve experienced sparks of lyrics and melodies, but I’ve never actually translated them onto paper. For a while, there was a particular kind of writing I was drawn to. Now, I’m excited – especially after speaking with artists like my friend, poet Kayla Hollatz – about exploring other art forms.

Music reaches so many people! It boggles my mind that there’s a song for every sentiment. If you’re going through it, chances are, someone has written about it.

I guess what I’m getting to is that I got rejected again, and I don’t feel bad about it. I’ll probably get rejected a few more times. This book may not be thee book. Perhaps my second book will be the one, or maybe music is where it’s at. I don’t know. I’m just here for the ride!

In the meantime, I’ll continue waiting on tables, bartending, meeting characters, networking, and doing the thing I’m crazy passionate about: writing.

Have you ever explored any art form outside of “your realm”? Has doing so led to unexpected discoveries about yourself? I want to know! Share below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

Oscar de la Renta, the Star I’ll Never Interview

Oscar de la Renta

When I created the list of “Stars I’d Love To Interview,” I didn’t contemplate how I’d mark the passing of one. So, now, as I mourn the loss of the incredible Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta, I have decided that italicizing is the best option. After all, Italics are used to emphasize a point and while he’s no longer with us, there were quite a few things the great Oscar de la Renta helped us understand through continual emphasis, like the idea that his job as a designer was to make women feel their best.

When I envision the interview with Oscar de la Renta that never happened, I picture us sitting side by side, like friends. This man had an aura that from afar could communicate how humble and grateful he was to be where he was. He not only made women feel beautiful, but he reminded us day after day that no dream is too grand, regardless of where you come from.

Mr. Oscar de la Renta, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for inspiring me to dream big.

“The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.” – Oscar de la Renta

Image Credit

My First Literary Rejection And Other Things

Carrie Bradshaw

I don’t like the places my mind has been going to lately.

There are days when I am completely sure of who I am, and I love this woman. Then, there are days when I say things like, What the heck am I doing? I don’t just ponder this question in regards to my career, but also in regards to my personal life. I wonder if I’ll ever meet a man who wants the things I want. I wonder if I’m being foolish for believing some of the things I believe now. Then, I tell myself not to worry. Things will fall into place all on their own. I’m just here for the ride, so to speak.

When I speak to my friends, it’s clear that I’m not alone. Others have doubts, too. Doubts are normal. Doubts are a sign that we have feelings, that we care about our dreams and others. Doubts are a sign that we are alive. Maybe doubts exist to keep us humble. Still, I’m not a big fan of doubts. I’m not sure anyone is.

Just the other day, I found myself wondering if anyone was even looking at the novel pitches I’d been sending. I kept reciting the same prayer, God, please let someone see in my work what I see in it. 

But there are days when doubt my work. I doubt my voice, the story, the characters, everything. A few days ago, I mentioned joining NaNoWriMo and on Sunday, after receiving my first rejection letter, I thought to myself, Maybe I should stop writing novels, period. Maybe I should focus on other kinds of writing, more along the lines of freelancing. Then, as quickly as those thoughts rushed in, a response followed, My dream is to be an author, and I am not giving up on that dream despite how hard it gets. It will all be worth it.

I’ve noted that my first rejection isn’t a bad thing. That rejection means someone read my pitch and part of my story. Sure, she didn’t think she’d be the right agent for it, but someone read it, and if she did, so will others. Now, I just have to be patient. While that’s easier said than done, I know that keeping busy helps. So, in the meantime, I’m working on other goals. I’ve started pitching magazines again, but this time, with the article pasted on the email. (Go hard or go home!)

I’m no stranger to rejection. I’ve experienced it various times in the workplace, but this is different. This is leading to something greater. This is my greatest dream.

My first literary rejection took me back to J.K. Rowling and the likes. She didn’t give up even after multiple rejections, and look where she is now! I can’t see this novel not getting picked up, but if it doesn’t, I will do what many authors before me have done when they don’t get published right away – I’ll keep writing. And I’ll also recite my favorite J.K. Rowling quote, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.”

How do you work your way out of a funk when you’re in one?

Image Credit