The most important day of your life is not the day you you were born. I don’t remember being born. Do you?
It’s not the day you die, either. That would be a real bummer if the most important day of your life was your last one.
In fact, graduating college, getting married, or even having a child don’t count either. Those are definitely important days. But what I’m here to talk about is the absolute most meaningful day in your entire life. Are you ready for it?
The most important day of your life is not the day you were born. It is the day you find out why.
This might sound familiar. A similar quote that’s been incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, Anita Canfield and even Helen Burns has made it’s way around the Internet: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
When I first came across this quote, I liked it. Those words could not have chosen a better time to find me. Shortly after I started my digital marketing business, I had the opportunity to launch another (similar but not quite the same) business with a colleague and successful entrepreneur whom I looked up to. The opportunity seemed fantastic; I could launch this other company with someone who had experience and learn a ton about running my own business; I would receive a steady income from my business partner for working on this new venture three days a week; I could meet people, grow my network and make a name for myself. How could anyone pass up that opportunity?
I certainly wasn’t going to. As my therapist likes to say, however, “In life, there are problems.” A couple of months in and things weren’t going quite as well as I had imagined. I didn’t love the work I was doing for this joint venture as much as I loved the type of work I did for my own business. I struggled to build the brands of two different companies at one time. I realized that my business partner had different values than I when it came to the way we ran businesses. I barely even had time to work on growing my own business, and I was starting to burn out.
But ― I would tell myself any time I felt overwhelmed holding back tears and staring intently at my dark ceiling at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday ― building businesses is hard! I knew this would be hard. I’m not afraid of short-term pain for the long-term gain!
And all of those things were true. Building businesses is (really f*cking) hard. I know that now and I knew it then, but I’m doing it because I love working hard and serving customers.
What was also true, however, was that my shiploads of stress came from tiny voice in the back of my mind that knew the side venture wasn’t right for me. I hear feel it whispering to me when all else was silent. But I wasn’t ready to quit.
Not until I saw that quote, at least; I don’t remember where. I know my Freshbooks accounting software pulls out some pretty inspirational stuff on a regular basis, but I feel it was more likely I saw it erroneously attributed to Mark Twain on social media. The most important day of your life is the day you find out why you’re here. I was electrified. I remember that day! It was somewhere between the worst heartbreak of my life and getting Neil Gaiman’s famous advice to graduating art students tattooed on my forearm (“Make good art”).
I’ve always been a writer. I took my first journalism class at 14 and successfully pursued the field through college and internships and entry-level jobs until I took a writing job with a tech startup a decade later. Technically, it was marketing. But all that comes down to is exceptional communication. Marketing is, after all, simply about getting someone else excited about something you’re excited about. It was a good fit for me, except that I had lost my love for the art of words.
For the love of art
In between college and pursuing a sustainable career and binge drinking with friends and abusive relationships and hating myself and all the distractions that keep us from actually doing something, I forgot about how important writing was to me. It didn’t seem to matter too much that writing helped me make sense of the world; that I had won awards for my writing; that people connected with me through my words. I got lost. In life, there are problems.
Fortunately for me, the universe had a plan. I also had a plan ... to quit my writing job and attend a coding bootcamp to become a software developer. (For the record, that’s actually a really good plan for a lot of people. I was doing it for the wrong reasons.) But my marketing job involved working under a phenomenal manager and brilliant writer, who made sure I constantly improved my craft. So when my best friend and partner in the healthiest romantic relationship of my life broke up with me to figure some stuff out on his own, my soul was ready. I started writing for myself again. I felt reborn.
From that moment on, I’ve known that my raison d'etre consists of two things: Writing and helping people. I spent a couple more years at that job to learn, grow and master the art of marketing (business is art, too, you know) before I made the move to start my own company. I’d received a lot of incoming requests to help various businesses grow based on my work at the last company and my network, so I was very fortunate to be able to start Brave Ink on a relatively secure foundation.
I was excited about the work I was doing and the ways I was helping my clients. In my gut, I knew it was right. I was living my purpose and staying aligned with my values. But seeing that quote made me realize I didn’t feel that way working on this other venture with my business partner. I knew why I was born, and that wasn’t it.
My version of this advice puts less emphasis on the importance of the day you are born. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really good day. The chances of you existing are 1 in 10^2,685,000 (that's 10 with two million zeros behind it ― basically, you’re a miracle). But the day you discover your purpose determines how you will exist for the rest of your life. It isn’t enough to discover your purpose; you must make a conscious decision to act on it every day.
Here are a few other things you need to know about the most important day of your life.
1. The most important day of your life cannot be planned. Sorry, but it’s true. You can’t force your purpose in life to show up when it’s convenient for you. It only comes exactly at the moment it’s meant to. (Or, as the first Harold and Kumar movie prefers to put it, “The universe tends to unfold as it should.”) But here are a few questions that might help you get going in the right direction: What makes you feel most alive and makes you feel excited to get out of bed in the morning? What did you love to do most as a child, before the world told you what kind of career path you should take? When you dream of doing something meaningful with your life, what does that look like?
2. The most important day of your life is followed by the most important decision of your life. What will you do next? Now that you know why you’re here, how can you make the most of it? What will your legacy be on this world? How will you choose to spend the rest of our short time on this rock hurtling through space at 67,000 miles per hour? That could mean you make locally roasted coffee and employee people in an underserved community or third world country. Perhaps you want to build electric cars and plan humanity’s colonization of Mars. Or maybe you’re here to use your unique gifts to help the lives and businesses of people around you.
3. Only you can identify the most important day in your life. For some people, the most important day of their lives is when they become a parent, and that their purpose in life is to raise these little human beings they’ve brought into the world. That’s awesome. Your most important day could be the day you taught your neighbor’s kid to skateboard, and now you want to build a community skateboarding program for other children. That’s awesome, too! It doesn’t matter what other people think, or whether they say it’s too big or too small. As long as you’re living your life to the fullest, sharing your unique gifts and inspiring passion in others, you are definitely living out the reason you were brought to this earth.
We don't get to choose to be born, but we do get to choose who to be.
Our world needs more people who are excited about what they came here to do. You’re never as stuck in one career path, relationship, mindset or geographic region as you think you are. There’s always room to reinvent yourself or your mission, and who knows? Maybe you’ll experience the most important day in your life more than once. Now THAT would be something.
By: Brianna Valleskey
[TRANSCRIPT] It's Monday, which means I'm not wearing any makeup, no contact lenses, and I'm already pretty sufficiently stressed for the week. I start to stress about Mondays around 3 or 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, which is not healthy. So, I've been trying to learn more about stress and stress management.
I grabbed this book off of Amazon, "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers." It's by Robert Sapolsky. He's a great researcher, great science writer, and he makes it really easy to understand the research in laymen's terms. Here's what I've learned so far.
1. When we experience stress, it triggers all these stress responders in our body, and that's why you feel an increased heart rate, an increase in adrenaline, inhibited digestion. Those responses are actually really nifty tools if you're a zebra, for instance, being chased by a lion across the Sahara. If you're a starving lion, and you better be able to sprint across the savannah and eat that zebra so you don't die, those stress responders are also really helpful.
2. But most of the things we stress about nowadays (traffic jams, money, work, relationships), while they're very real to us, they aren't "real" in the sense that a zebra or lion would understand. They're psychological stressors, but they still create those same physical responses that are meant to get us out of short-term crises.
3. Prolonged stress can make you sick. If you repeatedly turn on the stress-response, or if you cannot turn it off after stressful it events, it becomes very damaging to your health.
So how do we deal with it? Both in this moment and the rest of our lives ... or at least to get through the rest of this week.
Step One: Control what you can. Not past events or future events or other people, but yourself and your response to them. Even if that means stopping in the middle of a stressful situation and taking ten deep breaths and ten big gulps of water (because we could all use more water in our lives), just take a moment to regain control and don't let that stress overtake your entire day.
Step Two: Create some form of predictability in your life, whether that's in your routine or how you consume information. Stress is often triggered by unexpected and unpredictable events. Obviously, we can't predict everything, but try to create some familiarity in your lifestyle.
Step Three: Have a hobby or an outlet to release your frustrations. I exercise as many days a week as I can. And if I can't exercise, I always make sure to walk my 10,000 steps. I write on my blog; I write in a journal; I even make videos from time to time as an outlet. So find something that works for you and keep doing it.
Step Four: Find sources for social affiliation and support. We're tribal by nature. Human beings need each other. We need each other. It's not enough to just socialize. You need actual meaningful relationships with people so you can rely on them to hear you when you're stressed and provide comfort.
Those are my quick tips for dealing with stress, thanks in large part to Sapolsky and his research. Feel free to comment or respond with any other ideas you have for stress management. I'm open to all of them. Other than that, have a great day and a great week!
By: Brianna Valleskey
Marketing is much older than we think.
Some experts maintain that the discipline of marketing emerged after the standardization of quality products halfway through the 20th century forced companies to find other ways to distinguish themselves from competitors (see: brand management). Others note that market research was first identified as a business activity in the early 1900s. Some even assert that marketing has been around since Gutenberg’s moveable type enabled the earliest print advertisements.
These claims, however, depend highly on one’s definition of marketing. The American Marketing Association describes it as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Quite a mouthful. Investopedia provides a more clean-cut explanation, where marketing is “everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain a relationship with them.” But my favorite comes from researchers and textbook authors Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong: “Marketing is the social process by which individuals and organizations obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging value with others.
In this sense, marketing began millions of years ago. Hundreds of millions. With plants.
The Ancient Origins of Marketing
As Hope Jahren explains in her book “Lab Girl,” the primary purpose of sex on planet earth exists is to mix the genes of two separate beings and produce a new individual with a gene code identical to neither parent.
“Within this new mix of genes are unprecedented possibilities, old weaknesses eliminated, and new weaknesses that might even turn out to be strengths. This is the mechanism by which the wheels of evolution turn,” Jahren writes (poetically, I might add, which is a difficult feat in the realm of science writing).
She goes on to describe that sex requires touch, where the living tissues of two separate individuals must come into contact and then attach. This is a problem for plants.
Since they cannot move, many plants can (and still do) scatter their pollen on the wind in hopes that any amount will land on a female flower -- an incredibly inefficient process. So nature came up with a solution about 135 million years ago, biologist Dave Goulson describes in his book, “A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees.”
“Pollen is very nutritious. Some winged insects now began to feed upon it and before long some became specialists in eating pollen. Flying from plant to plant in search of their food, these insects accidentally carried pollen grains upon their bodies, trapped amongst hairs or in the joints between their segments. When the occasional pollen grain fell off the insect on to the female parts of a flower, that flower was pollinated, and so insects became the first pollinators, sex facilitators, for plants,” Goulson writes. “A mutualistic relationship had begun which was to change the appearance of the earth. Although much of the pollen was consumed by the insects, this was still a vast improvement for the plants compared to scattering their pollen to the wind.”
A mutualistic relationship? That sounds like individuals and organizations obtaining what they need and want through creating and exchanging value with others.
Evolution & Adaptation
Goulson offers even more: “Insects had to seek out the unimpressive brown or green flowers amongst the surrounding foliage. It was now to the advantage of plants to advertise the location of their flowers, so that they could be more quickly found and to attract insects away from their competitors. So began the longest marketing campaign in history, with the early water lilies and magnolias the first plants to evolve petals, conspicuously white against the forests of green.”
Plants began marketing themselves millions of years before our first ancestors walked the planet. Our verdant, immobile fellow beings were the earth’s first marketers! It’s no wonder that studies show interacting with nature can increase creativity. And I’m sure there’s much more we could learn from nature.
So the next time you need a little creative inspiration, talk a walk through a nearby park or conservatory. The fresh air, quick exercise and presence of the world’s most experienced marketers will surely spark something inside your mind. I also highly recommend you check out this excerpt of Goulson’s book that was published in Scientific American. Save the bees.
Here are links to some of my favorite books on science and nature:
By: Brianna Valleskey
I am, admittedly, biased when it comes to this topic. Journalism was (and always will be) my first love. And it was my education and years as a journalist that shaped my idiosyncratic approach to marketing. As a journalist, my goals were to create, educate and serve. As a marketer, my goals are to create, educate and serve.
I was recently featured in an article by Andrew Friedenthal, marketing campaign research analyst for the online reviews firm Software Advice: How to Succeed at Marketing in the Age of Adblock. Friedenthal proposes that the future of marketing lies within a concept that seems counter-intuitive to traditional go-to-market practices: transparency.
“Ad-blocking has become ubiquitous amongst most seasoned internet users today, making it harder than ever for marketers to reach out to potential customers online,” Friedenthal told me in an email after the article went live. “I wanted to write an article about ways that marketers could get around ad-blockers, and from my research it seemed that the most effective method is to adopt a form of more personalized, transparent marketing that those customers will welcome, instead of blocking it.”
Transparency is the very foundation of journalism. Without it, media are quickly identified as inaccurate, biased or sensationalized. A reporter’s only constituents are her readers. Their writing moves people, because they know how to tell a story that reaches into the depths of our hearts. Some of the greatest authors were also journalists: Charles Dickens; Ernest Hemingway; Mark Twain; Geraldine Brooks; Neil Gaiman. Journalists have mastered the art of clear communication and definitive messaging.
A quick note: Marketing is a very different craft than journalism. I’m not saying that marketers should try to be journalists (or pose as them), nor am I saying that “marketing” is a part of the fourth estate. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the profession of journalism and its practitioners, which is why I want to credit them for the strategies below that I use for modern marketing.
Here’s what I learned from being a journalist about writing well, educating your readers and serving a greater cause - all of which comprise this unprecedented idea of transparent marketing.
Journalists develop trust with their audience.
Journalists don’t ask for trust; they earn it. Credible news media do this by being transparent about who they are, what they’re reporting, how they’re reporting and why they’re reporting. They serve their readership by bringing forth important, relevant and interesting information. In return, the readers give them loyalty and credibility. The consumers have control. When Friedenthal was drafting his piece on using transparency marketing, he sought out experts on the subject. That’s how we started talking.
“As you explained to me, in order to provide that control to your consumers, you need to be crystal clear in your communications with them so that they know what your business does, build up a sense of trust with it and see you as a resource, rather than an imposition,” he told me.
Between the Internet, social media and traditional media, people are constantly being marketed to. It gets old. Andrew said the plethora of information now available on the Internet gives people more answers than they know what to do with. As marketers, we must be a trusted source that stands out from the crowd.
“By building up your brand with consumers, you can become that trusted source whose content they will actively seek out, and who they will then trust when it comes to making buying decisions,“ Andrew said and I completely agree.
Marketers can build trust by being upfront about who they are and what they’re trying to do. Publish and editorial mission statement on your website or blog. Clearly communicate what your company does and how it helps the lives or businesses of your customers. Maintain a consistent narrative throughout your branding and messaging - if something has to change, be honest about it with your audience. Trust is the foundation of relationships, and transparency builds trust.
Journalists answer important questions.
A primary role of journalism is to act as a watchdog of government, and one way the media does this is by asking and answering tough questions. How high up in government did the Watergate scandal go? (Bob Woodward and Richard Bernstein). When will the U.S. ban segregation in interstate travel? ( Ethel Payne). What are the working conditions like for immigrants in the meatpacking industry? (Upton Sinclair). Marketers must do the same for the industries they serve.
Friedenthal’s thoughts on how marketing can adapt this method echoed my own: “Marketers need to be active in this Internet-wide conversation, providing direct, useful, transparent answers to the questions related to their business. If you are a resource, and not just a product, you draw customers to you, rather than having to go to them (and potentially getting rebuffed by their ad-blocking software).”
The easiest way to understand what questions you can answer for your audience is to ask them. Interview your audience and buyer personas. Find out what their key challenges and pain points are. Understand what questions they want answered (instead of what questions you think you should answer for them). You can even go so far as to search websites like Quora or conduct SEO research to uncover the most common queries from your industry. Do your readers need an updated guide on the most popular industry data and trends? That’s a blog post. Are they interested in learning about unique tactics from thought leaders? Blog post. A prospect wants to know what ROI they’ll see from your solution? Start writing.
Journalists facilitate productive conversations.
The news media serve their readers by introducing new ideas and bringing issues to light. As communications researcher Stanley J. Baran explains, “Media may not tell us what to think, but that media tell us what to think about.” Marketers have the same duty - to bring to light important topics within their industry. This demonstrates to your audience that your mission is more than just creating a profit; it’s furthering that field or vertical as a whole.
“As you pointed out, one of your key goals should be to ‘build your credibility in your field and demonstrate to consumers that your goal is to help them,’” Friedenthal commented. “Creating useful and helpful content as part of a marketing campaign may not immediately make as many sales as an advertisement on Facebook or Google, but in the long run it prepares you to take on a more transparent style of marketing in the coming years.”
In the future of marketing, transparency will be key. We’re surrounded by millions of advertisements, brand messages and marketing attempts that the only thing setting organizations apart is actual authenticity. Journalists do it. Marketers can, too.
By the way, here are some of my favorite books about journalism and writing well:
By: Brianna Valleskey
I'm the type of person who keeps a whiteboard in my bedroom. So is my parter. Our whiteboards are often filled with goals, to-do lists, inspiring quotes or mantras we want to focus on. I recently noticed, however, that his whiteboard said "30 years of bullshit." Okay. I asked him what it meant.
He explained that his roommate, a very talented engineer for a Fortune 500 company, was venting about his frustrations with the corporate environment. You know - the type of complaints you're used to hearing from smart people who are chained to the same desk at the same office on the same schedule for eight hours a day, every day (excessive bureaucracy, office politics, micromanagement, ignorant superiors, tedious requests ... you get the picture). He joked that during his retirement speech, he'd say something to the effect of, "Thanks for the paycheck. This was thirty years of bullshit."
Thirty years of bullshit. Damn, that's a rough way to sum up a career. But it stuck with me. Have you ever heard something that rang so true you could physically feel it deep within your chest? That's how this statement struck me. Even though I'd held jobs since the age of 16, something inside of me always knew that I was not meant for a career of simply clocking in and out every day. I craved purpose.
Best-selling author and CEO of Owner Media Group Chris Brogan is a champion of owners, entrepreneurs, outsiders, free-thinkers, and freaks. In his book, "The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth," he writes that not only is the corporate ladder dying out, but that it may have never existed in the first place:
"When the dot-com boom was under way, I was working at my old wireless telecom business. A bunch of our talent left to join startups. They came back about a year later and were all made directors and vice presidents, jumping over everyone who stayed in place. That was my first realization that the ladder was silly ... Somewhere along the line, a lot of people were trained to believe that there was this neat corporate ladder or simple progressions. But that's not how it works. I'm not sure if that's how it ever worked."
Instead, he proposes that the path to a successful and fulfilling career is solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles. I couldn't agree more. By the way, Brogan's definition of a freak is someone who (1) doesn't fit in without some serious effort, (2) is not a big fan of settling or compromising, or (3) is looking for ways to allow their weirdness to be an asset, and not the deficit that people have tried to convince them it is. They're the "artisan pickle makers in Brooklyn, the punk rock dog groomers in Memphis, and the zombie apocalypse race organizers in Boston."
I am a freak. You know who else is a freak? Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal founder and author of "#GIRLBOSS." I'm okay with saying that because she's got a whole section in her book titled, "On Being a Freak." Amoruso also understands that the corporate ladder no longer creates exciting, valuable or sustainable careers for many people. She grew a fashion company from $0 to $28 billion in less than a decade without ever borrowing a dime. She, too, did not like the idea of thirty years of bullshit, as she writes in her best-seller:
"When I was twenty-two, the thought of rising up within an organization was completely incomprehensible. To me, office jobs were like school, where the best way to get along was to show up on time, not ask questions, follow all the rules, and not make a fuss. Again, not my jam. However, that accepted paradigm is changing, and faster than ever. As Seth Godin points out in his book Linchpin, our society's existing ideas of education and employment are held over from a time when most jobs were in factories. People were trained to do exactly what they were told, and only what they were told, in order to keep things running smoothly. Following the rules without question was precisely what got someone promoted. Thankfully, though, this is changing, and in Linchpin, Godin elaborates that 'it's becoming clear that people who reject the worst of the current system are actually more likely to succeed.' If you need proof of that, well, hi. Here I am."
Here I am, too. The accidental business owner. Like many entrepreneurs, my business started as a side hustle. I had no financial backing, but had made a name for myself in my last B2B marketing job after the sales technology blog I ran was named one of the best sales blogs of the year. Entrepreneurs and small business owners started asking me to help jumpstart their content marketing strategies, and I was excited to help their businesses grow. But more importantly, I saw a market need among B2B and software companies for someone with my level of writing experience (coming from a career in journalism) to craft creative, informative and effective content on their websites. I was solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles.
Let me be clear: There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending the majority of your career at one organization. If you're happy in your job, then please don't take this as a sign that you shouldn't be. What constitutes happiness and success is different for each individual, so find what makes sense to you and stick with it. (Or don't! There's nothing wrong with trying something, finding it doesn't work and then moving on to something else.)
But thirty years of bullshit is definitely not the only option. It's not even one of two options. There are limitless ways you can build a career and spend your life. And you are most valuable to the world as your truest, happiest, most fulfilled self. So find what does that for you, and don't let anything get in your way; don't ever stop. It's only life, after all, and there's absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Ever.
P.S. You can check out the books I mentioned (and a few others) here...
By: Brianna Valleskey
The human brain loves stories. They help us connect with others and make sense of the world. They shape our opinions and move us to action. The best stories bond us with strangers and fictional characters across space and time, allowing us to sympathize - or even empathize - with people we've only met through the magic that is storytelling. And there's science behind why.
Earlier this century, neuroeconomist Dr. Paul J. Zak and his lab studied why stories affect people so deeply. The key? How a story is told. To create a connect between the characters and audience, a story must both grab and retain their attention. This bond causes the audience to share the emotions of characters, and even mimic those feelings after the story is over. Even after it's over! That's how powerful stories are.
What caught my attention was how Zak described the significance of these findings in a Harvard Business Review article:
"These findings on the neurobiology of storytelling are relevant to business settings. For example, my experiments show that character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a speaker wishes to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later. In terms of making impact, this blows the standard PowerPoint presentation to bits. I advise business people to begin every presentation with a compelling, human-scale story. Why should customers or a person on the street care about the project you are proposing? How does it change the world or improve lives? How will people feel when it is complete? These are the components that make information persuasive and memorable."
Every marketer, advertiser, public relations manager and communications manager should take this to heart: There is power in a story, as well as the art of communicating one well. This is something we've anecdotally known for ages. Recent data from Spiceworks shows that the most valuable skills for B2B tech marketers (a particularly competitive field) are soft skills, writing skills and content marketing skills.
Across generations, marketers agree that the basic elements of storytelling and communication are imperative to their job. Stories engage our mind and spirit, as well as act as an effective means of transmitting information. That's why they are passed down through generations and centuries, and perhaps also explains why many journalists become effective public relations professionals - they are technically trained in the storytelling arts.
For anyone in the fields of marketing, PR and communication, remember that stories are your most powerful weapon. Go save the world.
“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” - Ben Okri
By: Brianna Valleskey
We all have one. A little voice inside our head that loves to tell us how we're not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, on and on until we essentially feel worthless. It totally sucks. But Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine has so aptly named this voice the "Little Hater." Here's how he describes the Little Hater in popular Youtube video:
"When I'm in the groove of getting work done, and I feel like I'm making a connection with you guys out there and my ideas are resonating with you, it feels natural to keep showing up and maintaining that connection. But if I go too long without putting work in and it feels like that connection is broken, there's a little voice inside my head that starts playing tricks on me and trying to convince me that the connection was never really there. And I think this is true for all creative people: We each have a little hater that lives inside our heads and tries to set up traps for us. And the first trap he sets up for me is always perfectionism.
"Whenever I go a few days without making a video, I starting thinking to myself that I need to do something extra special to justify that time away. And then the little hater starts telling me that none of my ideas are good enough to meet that standard. Then I don't want to work, and I fall into the second trap, which is procrastination. Procrastination is what they call it when you confuse being busy with being productive. And that's a trap that's really hard to avoid when when the work that you're doing involves the Internet.
"Somehow, that little hater always manages to convince me that those 25 browser windows I have open are making me productive, and I don't catch on to the trick until about 48 hours have gone by and then I realize I haven't done a video in five days ... Do you see how this works? It's a conspiracy, all those little haters."
Needless to say, Jay knows what he's talking about here. My Little Hater chimes in a lot, and I used to listen to him. Here are some of the things he says to me ...
My Little Hater is so ruthless that he loves to hate on me about personal stuff, too, with shit like ...
With a lot of practice (and a lot of therapy), I've come up with a strategy to beat the Little Hater that's been pretty successful for me. I can't guarantee it will work for anyone else, but maybe it can at least be a start.
3 Ways to Defeat the Little Hater
1. Call the Little Hater out
The first step in defeating the Little Hater is to recognize him (or her). To quote Sun Tzu, "Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories." The Little Hater is your enemy, because he will make up lies and conspiracy theories to keep you away from being your greatest, truest self. And you will fight thousands of battles with him. But every victory makes you stronger and more adept at defeating this deadly foe.
You are awesome. Authentically. Innately. There's no question about it. And crushing the little hater starts with loving yourself (which is the most important thing you will do in your life). Recognize those thoughts that come from the Little Hater. Flag them immediately. He digs deep, and thrives on insecurity, deception and fear. But he loses power the moment you call him out on his bullshit. And you can back up your claims when you ...
2. Sort fact from fiction
The Little Hater draws on your innermost fears, so the shit he says can feel really true at times. But it's not. Here's a quick way to check yourself when he starts going off in your head: What evidence do I have for this?
Don't case build. What physical proof is there to back up the Little Hater's claims? (There's probably little to none). Here's how I would check the statements I mentioned above.
3. Divide and conquer your fear
For every fear that the Little Hater brings forth, counter it with a confident truth. Sometimes, that means stating the exact opposite of what the Little Hater said. Others, it's about finding what's true for you and saying it your way.
Here's how I do that with some of the statements that I have above:
The world is full of haters, and the last thing we need is to hate on ourselves. Easier said then done - I know. But start small.
Get really good at recognizing the Little Hater, then slowly start to call out his lies. Once you feel confident doing those two things, try replacing each Little Hater statement with your own: a statement that is powerful, authentic and uplifting.
You got it? Good. Now go out there and conquer the world.
By: Brianna Valleskey
When it comes to walking, I'm a madwoman. Ask anybody I know. I've been a FitBit user (FitBiter? FitBitee?) for about a year now, and I'm pretty obsessive about getting my daily 10,000 steps. Yes, it seems like a lot, but there are two main reasons I religiously go for walks:
But Jabr truly drives home his point in the moving conclusion of his piece:
"Perhaps the most profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing reveals itself at the end of a stroll, back at the desk. There, it becomes apparent that writing and walking are extremely similar feats, equal parts physical and mental. When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world, settle on a way forward, and translate that plan into a series of footsteps. Likewise, writing forces the brain to review its own landscape, plot a course through that mental terrain, and transcribe the resulting trail of thoughts by guiding the hands. Walking organizes the world around us; writing organizes our thoughts."
Beautiful, right? I thought so. And it adds yet another reason for me to go on walks. I can already tell you that it works, because I wrote this blog post in my head during my most recent stroll. There's something to be said for the powerful connection between mind, body and soul.