Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the category “Guest Post”

Guest Post: Ashley from Your Super Awesome Life

Taking a brief weekend break from Scintilla to bring you the amazing Ashley! When Ashley put out a call for blogs to host her, I jumped at the opportunity. A fellow Season 5 Stratejoy blogger, she’s one of my favorite people online and it’s been a treasure to watch her develop her own business and move to Canada. 

Why “The Perfect Time” Doesn’t Exist

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of  “the perfect time” to follow our dreams. It’s a thought that comes up a lot when you’ve just quit your job, moved to Canada, and dove head first into running your own business. You worry if you’ve made a mistake. You worry if you should have waited a few more months and saved up a little more money. You worry that this will never work out and you’ll look like a fool for even trying in the first place.

Here’s the truth.

I never felt completely ready. In fact, I felt completely terrified, overwhelmed, and stressed out. I was worried that everything would blow up in my face and I’d be left to pick up the pieces. I had a million excuses lined up to give me a way out.

“I can’t quit my job, I don’t have a big enough nest egg saved.” “I can’t move to Canada right now, there might be a blizzard and we all know I can’t handle the snow.” “I can’t start that new business project, I don’t feel ready yet.” “I can’t make an income by typing away on my laptop, no one will pay me for that!”

But if I kept waiting for the right time, I wouldn’t be here now. I would have spent my entire life waiting because the perfect time is a myth. It’s never going to come. I’m never going to feel completely ready and I’m never going to have enough money, courage, or backup plans.

We keep waiting for the “perfect” time to make our big ideas happen, but really, this is just a way for us to let fear take control. If we tell ourselves that it’s not the perfect time, then we have an excuse, a scapegoat, and then we don’t have to do whatever we’re afraid to do.

There will always be a reason to not do what you want to do. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough support. Not enough resources. There will always be an excuse, a reason to stay inside your comfort zone, and not go after your big goal.

But who wants to live a life driven by excuses?

Was this the best time to quit my job and move to a new country? Probably not.

I only have enough money saved to get me through the next few months, I don’t know how much I’ll be making through Your Super Awesome Life, and I don’t have a detailed plan for what happens next.

But I decided to do it anyway. I took the leap and made it happen. I booked the plane ticket, turned in my resignation, and packed my bags.

Some days I still get scared. I wonder if this was the most responsible decision (probably not) and if I should have waited for a more “perfect” time. But then I remember how incredible it feels to know that I took a risk, to know that I created this life for myself. And I’m so glad I didn’t wait.
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Ashley Wilhite is a Life Coach who helps courageous women break free from expectations, create radical change, and begin living a bigger, bolder, more radiant, super awesome life.  Whether you want to move across the country, backpack through Thailand, become a yoga instructor, write a book, or quit your soul-sucking job, Ashley will help you change your life, one daring adventure at a time! You can find Ashley aYour Super Awesome Life.

Guest Post: Stephany from Stephany Writes

When Stephany put out the call to bloggers that she was trying to achieve a goal of guest posting on fifty blogs, I jumped at the chance to have her over on mine. Since I’m still a newbie at this, I selfishly wanted to hear from a blog veteran about her experiences.

Blogging: A Personal Journey
It’s hard to pinpoint when my blogging journey began. Originally, I started blogging in high school because that’s what all the cool kids were doing. None of the cool kids actually read my blog and my posts were entirely silly and dramatic, but that’s the actual beginning.
From there, I graduated to a Blogspot blog in college, where I wanted to share my collegiate journey which eventually evolved into more blogs about my teaching internships.
But what I was doing then wasn’t what I, personally, consider blogging. Blogging is about way more than simply writing down words. That’s called a journal, even if it is for public consumption. Blogging is a way of life. It is about community, connection, inspiration. It’s about finding people who inspire you. It’s about writing down the scary stuff just in case it might help someone else. It’s about the blogging community – this incredible group of people I would be so lost without. The blogging community has changed my life.
My real blogging journey started with a WordPress blog I called Season of Singleness. I started that blog in the Summer of 2008 and I posted sporadically, as was my M.O. On average, I posted a few times a month and it was with that blog that I started writing writing. I wasn’t simply sharing the day-to-day happenings in my life, I was writing about my passions and triumphs and failures. I didn’t write for an audience so my posts were my journal entries to the world. I knew nobody, save for my mother, was reading my blog so I just wrote for me. I think I was most true to myself on that blog, true to my beliefs and my passions and writing down an honest story of my life.
Then I started receiving comments. Not many, but one or two here and there. I followed the links back to their blogs and it was as if a whole new world opened up for me. I started reading their blogs from beginning to end and while their lives were drastically different than mine (one was a newlywed while the other moved across the country for college, something I could have never fathomed myself doing at that time), I found such inspiration in their blogs. They blogged frequently, usually five times a week and I began clicking on the commenters links to find myself in an entirely new world – the blog world.
It was then I decided to switch back to Blogspot with a new blog, that I called Classy & Sassy. (Go ahead. Laugh.) This is when I had a bit of a blogging crisis where I wanted to change my blogging style, wanted to find readers and grow my blog. I started commenting like a fiend. My posts became more “meme-style” and about comments than sharing my journey.
But something was still missing. People weren’t commenting. I didn’t have hundreds of readers. I hated the way I was blogging. What was I doing wrong? I was following the formula that successful bloggers before me had told me to do! Leave comments. Write on a schedule. Ask questions.
I finally decided to scrap that blog and start fresh with a new blog. I racked my brain for what to call it. For what would set me apart yet was inherently, wholly me.
Stephany Writes.
It was perfect. I was just beginning a new journey of journalism school, where I would fulfill my needs to become a full-fledged writer. It was 100% me.
I started Stephany Writes in August of 2009 and I’ve been through my own ups and downs with this blog. I’ve struggled finding my voice and being true to my journey. I wondered if I was being too vulnerable, opening myself up too much. My faith has been through riotous changes over the past three-and-a-half years which has been showcased on my blog.
But I found success with this blog. I have found success in all different ways – not just in how many readers I have or how many comments I receive – but in the way I share my journey. In the things I write and the way I (hopefully) inspire people. I’ve opened myself up on this blog and while yes, I admit that sometimes I do write for the readers, I also write for myself. For what I want to write about and what I want to say. Even if it means opening myself up to criticism.
The formula for what makes a blog a success is unique to each blogger. I had to go through a lot of growing pains to find the formula that fit for me. I knew I didn’t want to blog just to blog. I wanted to share my personal journey, write about topics most people shy away from, and connect with people. I’m not going to lie to you: I love receiving comments and getting feedback with what I write. While there are bloggers who have been blogging for 6 months who are more popular than me (and I don’t consider myself popular at all!), I had to stop comparing my journey to theirs. Just because they can get 50 comments per post doesn’t mean their way is better. Our ways are different. And do I even want that? I’m really not sure. The readers who comment on my blog now are people I know. I know their journeys. I connect with their stories. They are my friends.
The bare bones of making your blog a success is this: share your story. Connect with readers and find blogs that inspire you. Comment, comment, comment. Be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to stretch yourself as you write. Be vulnerable. And above all, remember why you blog and what keeps you going.photo (8) cropped-SWheader7

20Something Blog Swap!

20Something Bloggers is hosting a blog swap! The fabulous Laura & I switched for the day- you can find my post over here on her blog!

Hi I’m Laura and I blog over at Girl in Flight! I’m so excited to be doing a blog swap with the lovely Kristen!

So, childhood vacations…(it feels so funny saying vacation because I’m from the UK and over here we say holiday. Vacation is a much better word!)…what can I say? I have to say the most exciting vacation I had is the first time I ever went to Trinidad.

Trinidad is this tiny little island (and speaking as a resident of the UK, I know about small islands!) in the Caribbean, and it’s warm and lovely and the first time I visited, I was ten years old and it was probably the biggest culture shock ever.

You see, I’m pretty anglicized really. I say bath like “barrrrthh”, I eat roast chicken on a Sunday, I call soccer “football” and if you’d asked me then what an Oreo was, I probably would have said a breed of dog. So when we touched down after a ten hour flight, everything was new: The wave of heat that hit you as you disembarked, the way people stared because for once you were lighter, not darker, than the people around you, the accent, the crazy fast driving and the way the “bathroom” was in the outhouse!

But this vacation made me. I suddenly realised why I didn’t find English curries deathly spicy, where I got my smile from, what it feels like to run barefoot along miles and miles of beautiful beach with the sun beating down and the sand hot between my toes. And of course, most importantly of all, I discovered Oreos. My aunts and uncles and cousins would laugh at the way I almost lunged at the chance to eat one whenever they offered one. For years they would send them over in little packages until, of course, Oreos got the message and hit the UK. My friends were pretty fast to agree I was onto a good thing!

So there is my favourite childhood vacation: I met my family for the first time, experienced breath taking views and glorious weather, and of course found the chocolate cookie goodness that is Oreos. What more could a ten year old child want?!

Did I mention we took a boat ride through an alligator swamp?!

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