Archives for the month of: July, 2014

So far, this has been a busy week for me at work (I know, I know–it’s only Tuesday. Don’t remind me!). It seems like the summer is one of the busiest times in our office, along with my favorite time of year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just when I want to wind down for a few weeks, work revs up. I don’t mind (except on the days when I feel pushed to the limit) because I enjoy leaving work at the end of a busy day where I grabbed maybe 15 minutes to eat lunch and barely made my train because I stayed a few extra minutes to just finish this one thing. I feel accomplished. But there are those days where I feel run down and discouraged because I made a mistake or I have to deal with a difficult author. Everyone has those hard days, I know, and if I’ve learned one thing in my life it’s that it helps to talk about those feelings. I’m serious when I say that: don’t keep things bottled up inside. I think that just helps to breed resentment inside for yourself, your job, co-workers, even people you commute with on the train (or on your drive). Essentially, we’re all in this together. We’re all trying to make a living to support ourselves and/or our families, do the things that make us happy, and enjoy ourselves along the way.

There are countless websites and blogs you can visit on the internet to find motivational quotes and how-to lists to combat that down feeling, but it all starts with you. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t take the necessary steps to pull yourself out of a slump. Personally, I think the best thing you can do to start feeling better quickly is to just do something. Action is almost always better than inaction. Most of your work-related problems can probably be fixed by taking care of whatever it is that’s overwhelming you or stressing you out. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn when I first started working, even in other jobs before I started this one, is that life goes on. Time is not going to stop because you made a mistake or are having a bad day, and I mean that in a good way! You will always be able to fix something or at least try to find a solution to your problem. That’s the beautiful thing about life–it always goes on.

So cheer up–you’re not alone! 🙂

Be like this little guy and smile!

Traveling forces you to do this, but you can just as easily make the choice at home!

Traveling forces you to do this, but you can just as easily make the choice at home.


In a special, abbreviated version of Unveil Your Brilliance blog, I come to you from Amsterdam, Netherlands.  I’m currently in a hostel in a room with twelve other travelers whom I cannot understand.  It’s like the tower of babel in here.

My home has been Cork, Ireland for the past four weeks.  I met new people, studied poetry, worked on a literary magazine, read my work on a stage, and navigated four new cities.

I’ve grown so much in the past couple of weeks.  I did so many things that made me nervous and terrified but I did them anyway.  All they did was propel me forward and make me gain confidence in my abilities.  What I’ve realized from all of this is that you don’t need to buy a ticket overseas to do that.  Traveling forces you outside of your comfort zone, but so does walking to a place near your home that you’ve never been, or starting up a conversation with someone at the grocery store.   I plan to try to take at least one step a day outside of my comfort zone when I’m back home.   Baby steps.  Before long, I might find myself much farther down a path than I would have ever imagined.

I read an article somewhere, on some website, at some point (this is going somewhere, I promise) that said people are more honest in the morning. In this context, honest means motivated. This goes for people who work at an office, or who stay at home to take care of their children, or who travel every day. I thought about it a little more and it makes a lot of sense: we’re more energized in the morning and, as the day wears on, that energy starts to fray around the edges. Ever since I read that article I started listing the small, essential tasks (such as clearing out my email inbox, answering questions, tying up loose ends) first on my daily to-do list because those small things (at least for me) are best accomplished in the morning when I’m awake and have more energy.

I know my energy level has a lot to do with my mood–I have a long commute to and from work, and if I’ve had a particularly hard or exhausting day and I still have errands to run, I’ll spend my commute thinking about how I can put those errands off until tomorrow. I’m a procrastinator by nature, but I want to figure out a way to sustain that energy level, or at least some semblance of that energy level, all day. I want to remain honest and not cut corners because I don’t feel like following up with an author right away, or making notes for my status meeting this week, or working on those article proofs. I want to overcome my own strong will to make excuses.

I’ve done some “research” on this and people have a lot of interesting things to say about honesty at work, energy levels, and motivation. Personally, I find that an afternoon walk, even if it’s around the block, puts my mind back on track. Or just walking across the street to sit down on a park bench for 10 minutes to clear my head does amazing things for my focus. I know now that things are usually not as difficult as they appear to be at first and simply thinking about nothing for a few minutes can do wonders for your mood. I’m not one to meditate (I’ve actually never tried it, so maybe that’s a bucket list item!) but I know that moving my mind and sometimes my physical body away from the task or issue at hand helps me center myself and view the problem in a new light.

How about you? How do you remain motivated and honest throughout your day?


Some advice from others around the web:
1. 7 Simple Steps to Boost Your Energy Levels
2. Honesty at Work–What Can Honesty Do for You?
3. What motivates us at work? 7 fascinating studies that give insights

As Brene Brown says, "Stay in your own lane. comparison kills creativity and joy."

“Stay in your own lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy.” – Brene Brown

“I haven’t accomplished anything,” a friend said to me today.

“What are you talking about?” I asked her.

She proceeded to tell me that she had woken up that morning and looked at a friend’s portfolio of photography.  She said it was stunning and that the person had so many better photos with real models and fancy backgrounds.  Despite being upset about this, I had to remind my friend that she had just won a nation-wide photography contest and has taken numerous, beautiful pictures here in Ireland, most notably including her Polaroid which she is making into a tiny scrapbook.

Comparison is hard to avoid.  Especially in the world of the internet where you can see everyone else’s work.  I fight this every day in my poetry workshop class.  There are graduate-level people and I am only a beginner.

Comparison leads us to self-doubt.  Thoughts of “I’m not good enough”.  I have to remind myself to compare myself only to myself.  Especially in a creative setting.  I remind myself that I am the only person who can create the things I create.  That makes them special and worthy of my time to try to improve them against my own work, like my friend’s travel scrapbook.  It doesn’t matter what other people create and how I think that they are somehow “better” than what I do.  It only matters what I have done and how much I am willing to improve myself and my work for me, not for them.

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