Recently a friend leant me a copy of The FIre Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte (Crown Publishing, 2012), after I vented to her about obstacles I’m encountering on my career path. I finished the book earlier this week, and overall, I enjoyed the book’s message. I’ve listed the major points that I took away from the book to apply to my 9-to-5 job, freelance writing and life in general.
“When we are spirit-fatigued, we tend to make weak decisions. We compromise.” Compromise and meeting in the middle can be a good thing. Compromise is a great sign of diplomacy, especially in the work place. But, if it means putting your desires aside, letting your passion ebb, and not standing up for what you believe in, then you aren’t being true to yourself and aren’t nurturing your big vision.
“If it doesn’t light you up, you’re not the right person for the job.” I love what I do. It makes me feel good inside. I am proud of myself and what I write and am excited to see how my voice will evolve as a writer. I’m 26 and have a lot to learn and want to soak it all up. Knowing that there is more on the horizon is what keeps me going. I sometimes question my path when encountering personality conflicts and emotionally fueled drama, but then I remind myself that what I do gets me excited.
“Be careful what you’re good at — you could end up doing it for years.” Asking a ton of questions, chatting up strangers, needing to know things, being a pest, calling someone one too many times (whoops!), wanting to be a perpetual pupil — this is the innate stuff that has led me to choose journalism. I want to know things. I want to create a dialogue. Writing and words are learned and they’re always going to evolve. I’m learning how to translate my loquaciousness into the written word, and then editing it down.
“Hesitation can be a form of wisdom. Motives become clearer; new information shows up.” I’m not typically one to procrastinate. I plan ahead and like to turn things in as soon as possible. But, when I do procrastinate (unfortunately, this is true) it is a sign. I’m telling myself that I’m not excited about the project I’m working on, that it doesn’t “light me up” and isn’t something I value. Or, it’s a sign that I’m overwhelmed and stressed and need to drop something on my to-do list. Recently I procrastinated on starting a story and it made me realize that I needed to lighten my load for a little while and take some time to myself.
“When you feel good, you act smarter. If you act out in anger, things usually don’t go so well. Negative feelings = dark results. What if you act out in harmony or vitality? Or if you let feeling beautiful or connected get the better of you? Positive feelings = brighter actions = brighter results.” As someone who is sometimes an annoyingly positive thinker, this makes me feel good to read. If I embody positivity and happiness, and love what I do, then it is going to lift me up and the people around me. Be a team player. Love your colleagues. Be excited about your work.
“Wizards aren’t in the business of visualizing ‘what’s possible.’ They’re in the business of visualizing results.” Lately I’ve been doing a lot of visualizing and dreaming about what stories I want to write and what publications I want to write for. Through luck assignments have come my way, and through hard work assignments have come my way. I want to be better at visualizing and then making things happen rather than hoping things will happen.
“Stopping what’s distracting, draining, or aggravating doesn’t require any heavy lifting or extra stamina — just love and self-respect.” I’m not going to waste my time on projects that don’t get me excited. I’ve always told myself to be a “yes” woman. But saying “yes” to everything detracts from my path. I need to stay focused and only say “yes” to the right projects and jobs.
Other points I took away: act consistent and not flippant (or else you look like a bad leader); confront unfounded criticism (especially when it’s emotionally charged), don’t be afraid to self-promote (it’s not cocky, it’s proud).
Quotes cited in the book that I really dig:
“Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Never be a second-rate version of someone else, be a first-rate version of yourself.” ― Judy Garland