What do you think about? What invades your psyche like a swarm of moths on a early summer evening, where swatting away only makes them stir with greater frenzy?
Yeah,maybe you know the feeling.
This past weekend, I unplugged nearly 100%. Given how plugged-in I am, this is a feat of nearly WTF-DNA-discovery-Watson-and-Crick-are-at-my-house-doing-kegstands proportions. I went for a 3-hour hike on Saturday, out mountain biking with a friend on Sunday, and on Monday, I went out to shop for a car (knowing that Beatrice Olivia the Mini Cooper’s place in my life was coming to an end).
Here’s what I realized, through both silent contemplation and animated conversation throughout the three days:
I can’t answer the simple question: What do you really want to do?
So today, I slap, and the backhand is cocked (heh, I said cock) back and ready to fly.
I wake up every day and look at my life. I think, “I should be happy — this is everything I’ve ever wanted!” Two books, a column in a kickass magazine, furry friends to greet me at home, and the best friends I’ve ever had waiting for me beyond my front door. The bank account is decent. Cash flow could always be better, but I can’t complain about the cash. I date (rarely, by choice). And I’m finally getting back to doing all of the outdoorsy things I love like hiking and cycling and soon — climbing. I’m great at my job, I love my clients, the new business keeps coming in…
so what the fuck is wrong with me?
Why can’t I answer the question: What do I really want to do?
If you stapled me to a tree and threatened to have Justin Bieber dry hump my leg if I couldn’t answer that question, I’d be completely hosed and possibly need to have my leg amputated.
Because the answer is a resounding I. Don’t. Know. But here’s what I do know.
I love writing. Telling stories. Motivating. Taking people from point A to Q on a path sprinkled with holy cock* amounts of laughter and visuals that will burn your retinas. I love speaking, but even more, I love talking with people after I’m done talking — because it’s their turn (and their words and ideas that matter most). I love the look on a client’s face when we get it done. I love seeing others succeed and knowing that I had a pinky finger — and maybe, if I’m lucky, a hand — in it. I love being a part of team, because people are always more powerful in groups than solo.
*The phrase “holy cock” is fully attributed to my friend Merredith, who spouted that gem as we were discussing the amount of fees the Facebook IPO was generating for those behind the scenes. The answer? Holy cock amounts of money, my friends. Holy cock.
I also know that if I had to work as an office drone again on an 8-to-5, I’d probably shit pygmy hippos and single handedly eradicate their residence on the endangered species list.
So there are the things I know. And yet I can’t seem to figure what the fuck my problem is.
What’s Your Problem?
Yeah, you, Erika. So you’ve made the list and you know what you know. But what is it that you’re not saying or admitting to yourself? The truth has got to be closer to that you’re denying something. What are you denying?
It’s time to map this shit out and figure out what’s next, because when you can’t answer a simple question like, “What do you really want to be doing?” — chances are you’re focusing more on what you don’t want than what you do. If Snooki can make the cover of some pop culture rag about her pregnancy while the everyday world trembles in fear that not only did someone fuck her in the first place, there’s going to be a tiny little Snookette running around soon — you, Erika, can figure out what the fuck it is you really want to be doing.
And yeah — maybe the answer to that question is as simple as, “What would you do if money were no object?” Maybe.
But the only one who’s going to get this shit figured out is you. So today’s the day where we start figuring it the fuck out.
That’s where you come in.
You — my readers. Do you really think I’m capable of doing anything without you or without sharing it with you? You’re the underwire in my career bra, folks. So let’s stop fucking around.
Where You Come In
What are you not telling me? My Facebook page is bumpin’ with comments, but the blog has been pretty quiet as of late.
Do I suck? Have I lost something? What initially brought you here and what keeps you coming back?
These are the questions that I need answered. So what the fuck, guys?
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
It’s to the point where I can’t see the forest for the trees and I never believe my own fucking hype. So what’s the hype? What do I need to keep doing or go back to doing or fucking quit like Nic Cage quits Vegas? I’m not asking you to tell me what to do, but I’m smart enough to know that:
1) You folks are the reason I get to wake up and do things I love every day.
2) If I’ve lost my career compass, who better to ask about its location than you?
I believe that for any business, its audience holds the key. I have beat the everliving fuck out of myself for nearly five days now, not knowing what it is I really want to do and how I’m going to get there.
So I ask:
- What do you enjoy?
- What brought you here?
- If you bought my book, why the hell did you do that?
- How do you describe me to people you share my stuff with?
- What do you miss?
- What do you want to see more of?
- And if I could redecorate this joint, what would make it a place you’re comfortable having the shit beat out of you every now and then (in the most loving way, of course)? Because I know you like the slaps.
And I know that’s a metric ass ton of questions. So pick one. Answer ‘em all. Drop me an email at erika@redheadwriting dot com if you don’t want to leave a public comment. Reply to the email that delivered this blog post to your inbox.
For the first time in a long while, I’m taking my own advice. I always have said that your audience is the best barometer. It’s high time I tapped into mine for some honest feedback.
So — slap me, my friends. Slap away. Help me answer this. I’ve turned the tables and it’s your turn to cock (heheheheh) back your hand and let it fly in my direction. It’s dangerous to be alone with your thoughts, as we have an innate talent for turning them over until we get to the answers we want to hear instead of the answers we need to hear. Hiking, biking, and car shopping were all most glorious, but I’ve been alone with my thoughts for entirely too long.
PS: If this happens to be your first stop here, you’re welcome to weigh in as well. Just don’t say a frog’s fine ass hair-sized thing about my vernacular, as I guarantee one thing: It ain’t gonna fucking change.
PPS: As always, typo corrections are welcome. It wouldn’t be a blog post from me if it didn’t have at least one!
The Slapping Booth is open. Let ‘em fly.
so how have you answered the question? it is the question I still have not been able to answer. i've gotten as far as 'what I know so far', but how do you fill in the rest and have that aha moment when you know? How do you move yourself down that seemingly invisible path? I'd love to hear your advice and clarity!
...dammit. Late as always. I came here because I am reading unpopular. I know what i want to do. I'm getting brave enough to go do it. Reading someone like you gives me (probably a few others too) a bit more courage to walk away from what looks good from the outside to do what is right for the soul. I bought the book to try to find a way to do 'it' differently - it kinda gets me there. Don't redecorate, do you know how damned irritating it is every time i frigging apply updates to my phone and have to stare at that stupid app screen to find the menus i just got finished getting to know? It's not the furniture, it's you that we come here to read. That's it. Cindi
Holy crap, where have you been all my life? Kristen Kalp brought me here (hellooooo Brand Camp) and I'm gonna suck away so many hours reading your blog. And I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that you said cock (hehe). Bookmarking in 3...2....1.
hey there , just found you off of a link from the band camp blog. First off, I love the gratuitous use (note I didn't say overuse) of fuck throughout this post. Weeds out your intended audience, conveys the anguish that this series of questions is surely inflicting upon your psyche, all of those things. Having just found you I can't really be of much help in answering this question for you but I love the fact that you had the balls to ask it. Seems to me that the first part of answering that kind of question is seriously asking it of yourself. Cheers to finding it. And to quote a little fortune cookie fortune sitting here on my desk, "Any idea seriously entertained tends to bring about the realization of itself." Fucking A!
Dear Erika - 1. I have no idea how I got here. Honestly. Not a clue. But I know that when your shit ends up in my inbox, I am delighted. So, keep doing what you do best - calling the world out on it's bullshit and being totally, transparently honest. 2. I have no fucking idea what I want to be doing. So this slap came at a particularly opportune time for me. The job I currently have has nothing to do with my degree (which took me more than 3 years to decide on in the first place), plus, it makes me miserable and pretty much pays me in peanuts. But I can't tell you what I want to be doing. Only what I don't want. Which I do believe is worse. 3. So I'm taking some ME time. I'm sitting down with some paper and a pen (maybe multiple colors of pens) and writing out (by hand! GASP!) a list of what I like to do. What I would do if I won the lottery. What I'm looking for in life - which is bigger than a job or a career. I'm gonna find me a nice quiet place outside (cause I do love sunshine), and make me a list. We'll see what happens from there. BTW - that's how I decided what degree to pursue. So if it worked once...
Erika, love the passion and realness in this post :) And actually, that's why I swing by - I included you in my list of badass blogpreneurs because you're a fantastic one, and the world needs badass blogpreneurs. http://ryzeonline.com/badass-blogpreneurs Is that "too vague"? Maybe, but it's a foundation. It's a start. It leads to other, more specific things. For example, it steers you away from 'ballerina blogger' and towards 'inspirational speaker', know what I mean? Rock on and ryze up!
I bought your book. Haven't read it. kick myself regularly for that because I know that if I were to do that, it will help me get my ass in gear and follow my dream of quitting my day job and doing my new and exciting venture. that's why i come here, with the hopes that today will be the day. i need a plan, but i am afraid to execute and i'm hoping that reading your stuff will push me over the edge. in a good way. thank you for this slap, because you SAY you're looking for feedback but what you're really doing is getting us to think about ourselves. thanks as usual! <3
As someone who literally just dropped in, because I am searching fruitlessly on the web for direction on what I, personally, "really want to do" with my life. I can honestly say congratulations on your achievements (e.g., books and being great at your job, and loving your clients, etc.) I notice you didn't say you love your job though. Interesting. Well, anyway, as someone of your accomplishments, I feel, personally, that you have a responsibility to those less accomplished (I don't have any books published, I am not great at my job, I don't have clients that I love...etc), to INSPIRE into finding their own accomplishments. Yes, you, my friend, have a responsibility to inspire. Or wasn't that what you were doing in the first place? Look, people change. They change every day. They change all the time. What you really want to do "with your life" today won't be the same as it is tomorrow. Relax. And if it's time to do something else, and you know it, (and you always do), then don't be afraid. Close your eyes, plug your nose, and plunge. Btw: I don't know what I want to do with my life at this particular second, let alone in the next year or so, and I can STILL say: deep breath, relax. and plunge. So plunge. You'll be ok. Just never forget, with much power comes much responsibility. And you've got a responsibility to us, your readers, to inspire, if nothing else. And if you don't know what I mean, figure out what inspires you, then share it with people. No worries. Breath. Plunge. Inspire. ;)
I love the straight talk... and your thoughts on work/life balance. Keeps me coming back, and looking forward when I see those posts hit my inbox. Also love your thoughts on bone-head social media and marketing in practice by some companies, many of whom should know better!
I enjoy honesty. I like motivation. As I wound my way through the interwebs months ago I came upon your glory and I connected. You are real. I dig it. You are wicked smart. Nice.
I don't know how I got here. Your writing is funny so I keep you on my Google Reader. I was watching a commencement speech that Neil Gaiman gave. He talked about never having a proper career. He had a list of things he wanted to do. So he does them. Make a list of the shit you wanna do and do it. Stop worrying about having one path or doing that one thing. Do a lot of things. Do things that make you happy. Do things that are uncomfortable (but in a good way). Just go out and get some interesting stuff done.
"You folks are the reason I get to wake up and do things I love every day" VS. "It’s dangerous to be alone with your thoughts, as we have an innate talent for turning them over until we get to the answers we want to hear instead of the answers we need to hear" I only get into trouble if I "think" and stop being creative. Do the things you love every day - For us and for yourself. Some introspection is natural, but don't let it take over. You'll be a lot of things in this life. So, get bigger, grow into other things (maybe welding - not knitting) or figure out how to do more of what you do. But, ALWAYS do what you love (you're good at it). This is my first time here and I like your site and you honesty. Good luck to you.
What's missing is the specificity in pragmatic, operable action. Cutting the bullspeak, when I first came here, there were a lot more 'if you are starting a business, these are specific steps (online, on your taxes, with your clients, in your day-to-day work habits) you must take.' As someone starting my own LLC ( for video production), that was invaluable. Not that I don't need plenty of more broad, motivational, 'get your ass in gear you pansy-livered lazeabout' speeches. I need them, you give them. But I feel the overall tone of the blog is leaning from from hard advice to general motivation. This is all my knee-jerk response to this post. If I actually went back and calculated over the past year, I could very well, percentage-wise, be wrong, but sometimes perception counts more than post-count. Of course you should not be beholden to readers to give away all of your trade secrets. I have to figure out plenty for myself. But I don't comment much, looking at it now, because I don't feel the urge to interact with motivational speeches and bitch-slaps. I do feel the need to have a chat (small or internet-based as it may be) with someone with more experience when it comes to reading clients and responding how they need, or making sure my finances are absolutely in-line every quarter. Everything is still quality, enjoyable, and spot-on. I'm not going anywhere, fo'sho. But the content balance has shifted, and away from what I came here for in the first place.
Erika, Is it possible that you've crossed the line from unpopular to popular? That your audience expanded beyond your niche ... because it wanted to ... and now there is simply a moment of being in a new Hall of Mirrors? You have an opportunity to walk in any direction, but it may include walking away with ... uhm ... jet black hair... or ... a new chance at full-blown expression on a new staircase ... or ... that you've been deeply burnished by the past three years and are ready for a new level of recognition of your splendor ... one that includes endorsements you may have once shrugged off? Could the back away feelings have to do with crossing that line?
I deleted your blog in my inbox yesterday, I had nothing to say, because, frankly, you've had nothing to say...until today. (holy hell that's a lotta commas) I don't know what you've read in your 700 comments and emails since yesterday, but today's musings on Van Halen and music seem to have you back in the saddle. Thank you, my other favorite red-headed Coloradoan (my husb still won't forgive you for registering name w/CO Sec of State first - tough shit for him). Glad to have your poor use of the English language, composition and punctuation return in full force. You said it first, consider your English teacher called. That's why editors get paid.
I'm here for the colorful language/stories (you make me laugh-often out loud:) and for a bit of hope that "the lost art of customer service" (business) is not fully lost (I rarely see it in my daily life - your book & social media are helping with that. Thank you.). (Since subscribing, I've read every blog article when they appear in my inbox, but I rarely comment. I'm sure that's about me not you. Your article in Entrepreneur magazine is the first one I read when the magazine arrives. Side note: I'm "old-fashioned," I still like to read magazines and - gasp - even newspapers sometimes. Please don't call the green police, I know it's bad.) You inspire me and today you strike a nerve too, or perhaps it's sadness, I'm not sure. I too cannot answer the burning question: "What do you really want to be doing"? I have a great instinct when I trust/listen for it but I find an extra frustration that I just can't marry the two. I. truly. don't. know. (either.) How that is even possible is a mystery to me. Finding the answer seems to be another mystery. Good luck Erika!
I think there must be something going around; you're not the only one asking these questions of yourself right now. What keeps bringing me back to your site—and what led me to purchase your "Unpopular" book—is your raw honesty and your wit. You're a smart, opinionated lady with seemingly boundless courage. I'm smart and opinionated but had it drilled into me to always temper what I say, be diplomatic, don't ruffle feathers, etc. And it sucks. It bites the big green waffle. Yes it does. I often find myself coming back to what I think of as your "fire in the belly" post—This Life and Hints of Pregnancy—when I'm wondering why I can't get my own stuff together. I also think of an eight-week self-directed (with a sabbatical at the end) program I did back in 2003, based on the "Clarity Quest" book by Pamela Ammondson. I'm not suggesting this would work for you—rather, I think you're actually quite far beyond needing so much hand-holding . . . which is my point. You are a raging, blazing, no-holds-barred inspiration. I'm not just trying to blow sunshine up your skirt by telling you this, and I imagine you're getting similar feedback from others. Sometimes even the best, hardest-rockin' lives feel a bit murky for a while. People looking at a stellar exterior may not understand that you can still feel like you're floundering inside. When this happens to me, I try something new (like pie-baking) in my personal life—or go back and pick up something old that I dropped (like belly dancing). I've no idea what this might be for you, but this gets me back to feeling engaged, gets my mind moving in different circles and often lets some "oomph" and new sparkly ideas spill over into my professional life as well.
Whenever I feel like I am at an end, whenever I feel as though I am unsure of the next step (whatever that means) I look around and find the best way I can contribute. That might be a massive undertaking or it might be watering your neighbours plants for a weekend. Either way, if I look for an opportunity to contribute and keep my bullshit detector on (for people willing to take the piss), I generally keep moving forward. I enjoy your writing, haven't bought your book because I have enough to do right now and I describe you to people as "someone you should check out. Google red head writing and look for red hair and tatts" I hope you keep writing. I really enjoy your work. Stay lucky.
Dunno. I'm new here and pretty much have the same problem. Must say that I commend you on creating an entire "bitch slap" blog category with "bullshit" as a keyword tag. Now that you've taken your crisis to the masses, lets hope for a whole new perspective to be dropped at your door in full on burning dog doo style.
Oh Erika! Shut the fuck up! (and I mean that in the most loving way possible) hehhehe You are an Inspiration! I look up to you because not only are you able to speak your mind freely, you do it with finesse, integrity and power. And the best part, people really like it! Hunt you down and pay you for it! I wish I had a .015% of what you posses! It's funny you write about this today and this has also been weighing heavily in my mind as well. I am so lucky to know you and have you in my life! I'm sure other readers will say the same thing. You bring a connection with your writings and are so down to earth! I DID buy your book! Because I love supporting my friends and smart ass mama jammas out there when I can! I love your rants. I love your bitch slaps (cuzz I'm kinky like that) and I even love when you write about absolutely nothing. Hehhehe You are you and God bless you for that!! Keep rocking! I love you!!! Eileen
In order: In context, solving (computer) problems for people and, at the same time, teaching them to avoid those problems in the future. The light of dawning understanding is like a drug for me. I don't remember. You're a good example to follow, almost a mentor, and you're a friend. I want to support you in the things you do because I know the things you do are worth supporting. She's as smart as her wit is sharp. Having people around to bounce ideas off of. I miss having coworkers even though I never want to be one again. A little more detail. Apps you use, how you fixed that problem, etc. I don't care for bright colors. I'm an Earth-tones guy.
I've started following your writing recently, because I enjoy your "tough love" approach. It's common sense, which is rare to find these days, as well as humorous and naughty enough to keep me reading. I share your writing because it's amazing, but always with a warning that it's not for the faint at heart (because I'm not big on being pounded by someone out to be passing judgement on everyone in sight). Haven't read your book yet, but yet is the key word. It will be happening soon. Don't know that I could ever easily unplug, but would likely get more done if I did. The site is your choice, but think you could do something that says "YOU" more than this site does. Spunk and funk comes to mind. Hope this helps and very much look forward to reading your book.
I'm sort of with Lou Moran on this... You seem to be missing a special someone. When it comes to the business side of life, you can define goals, make a plan to achieve them, then bust your ass to accomplish them. But you can't do that with love. It comes when it comes, and we really have no control over it. I've been following you long enough to know some of your history, and I won't presume to know your personal life or your head-space. I hate commenting on something so personal, but that's how I read your situation.
I'm here because I'm sick of everyone else pussy footing around trying not to offend anyone. You tell it to us straight, angelface. You shred brands who deserve no less, you bitch slap us upside the face when we (or you) need straightening the fuck out. I found you through twitter, originally (eons ago) and your posts fill me with joy on a regular basis (yes, joy! *vom*) You never fail to provide us with a liberal dose of reality. And you don't panda to us, your readership. But you talk to us with respect, on the level, like you would a faithful friend. I can't wait for you to bring the book tour to Providence. And I was totally serious about taking you to all the best places when you're over this way. (I wouldn't offer that to just anyone -- nudge, nudge.) I haven't bought your book yet, but it's in my Amazon wish list (does that count?) You could bitch slap me or accept my lame excuse that I've been buying way too many books recently and I'm forcing myself to read the ones I have before I buy anymore. (Yeah, like I said - lame *smile*) I spoke at a conference on Cape Cod and bigged you up there and in a blog post I wrote on developing an authentic writing voice. I wanted people to understand that it's okay to be yourself -- even when you're writing. You don't have to adopt some fake-ass persona because you want to be taken seriously. Just be yourself. The right people (YOUR people) will stick around. (AKA it's okay to be unpopular, right?) I miss your brand bashing. Only because so many companies are doing things ass about backwards and it's refreshing to have someone spell that out for a change. I like your online hang out (and went to Judith Shakes Designs for my website as a result -- which is frikkin' awesome, I might add. She's a GENIUS.) But I have to say, a redesign would be good. A change is better than ... a rest? Or something. So maybe sprucey spruce things up around here... lots of big, bold font and open space like Ashley Ambirge's digital home would light my candle. There we go, m' love. How's that? xo :: N
I have browsed the extremely lengthy comments below but haven't read each of them verbatim so sorry if this is redundant, BUT: One of my favorite quotes says, "The thing that screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it's supposed to be." We get even more screwed up if the picture of how it's supposed to be is blurry and/or surrealist. I think you would agree that you feel like you are missing something (and for the record I don't agree with the handful of people below who are suggesting that this eternal question would be solved by the presence of a man in your life. Really?) Maybe what you need to do is look back and think about where you thought you would be by now, or what it is you were expecting would happen once all of the pieces fell into place. The honeymoon stage of being able to do it your way is over, and you seem like the kind of person who needs a project. If you can pinpoint even a shadow of an idea of what your subconscious expectations are, maybe you can figure out what it is you feel like you're missing, and proceed from there. Easier said than done? Absolutely. But isn't everything.
The best advice I can give you is to take some time and be quiet. Continue to unplug and listen to that voice that is inside all of us. I know you have listened to it in the past, and you need to find it again. It will guide you to where you want to be. Look at your own words - "Two books, a column in a kickass magazine, furry friends to greet me at home, and the best friends I’ve ever had waiting for me beyond my front door. The bank account is decent. Cash flow could always be better, but I can’t complain about the cash. I date (rarely, by choice). And I’m finally getting back to doing all of the outdoorsy things I love like hiking and cycling and soon — climbing. I’m great at my job, I love my clients, the new business keeps coming in…" There is no doubt you've reached goals you set for yourself professionally. And done it without sacrificing who you are; hell, you've embraced yourself and opened yourself wide to others. And that's great. But sometimes, we need to withdraw and not be so open. We can often share and share to the point that we are left drained. I don't think the answer is so much "What do you really want to do?" as much as "Who do I really want to be?" The first question deals more with our external selfs, where as the second question deals more with our internal selfs. Personally, I don't think you've lost your career path, I think you've filled the past year-and-a-half so full with external activities, that what you're really seeking is more a question of who I am and out of all the options available to me what matters most to me. And I don't think that's a question about career direction. Yes, your readers are what enable you to get up each morning and do what you love in terms of writing or consulting, but your readers and clients need you at your best. And if that means you need to unplug for an extended period of time while you sort through this, we'll understand - at least, those of us who really care about you will. Last, consider this, if the comments on the blog have slowed, could it be because folks have taken your advice through the years and are engaging in their own lives and work? Maybe it's just become easier and/or quicker to incorporate comments on Facebook, somewhere they were already. It's just a thought.
Thinking out loud here... Maybe your problem is you wake up every day thinking, “I should be happy — this is everything I’ve ever wanted!” I know it may sound crazy. But, hang in with me for a mo. I set some Big, Hairy Ass goals (BHAGs) for myself when I was 10. I reached them, *all* of them, by the time I was 38. My reaction? Depression. I thought I'd lost my mind. But, after noodling it over, I realized I never thought I'd *actually* accomplish everything. I was stuck in this crappy phase of, "Now WTF am I supposed to do?" It took a bit of time and effort - similar to what you're doing now. But, I was eventually able to set some new BHAGs. Problem solved. So, my advice is: Celebrate what you've accomplished. Continue to unplug from the world and reconnect with you. *And*, set some new goals. Like: * Start a call-in radio show. * Start a call-in TV show. * Do both. * Pair up with The Brain and take over the world. * etc. Hugs! Kellie
i read this hoping it'd be my answer to "what do you really want to do?" it always surprises me to hear other people feel this way, especially those who seem to have it all going for them - like you. it makes me feel a little bit better about having no clue. so, let us know when you find the method to uncovering what you want to do and then what it is. i believe you will.
Erika, I first came across you when you did an interview with Jay Baer and it was featured on his blog Convince & Convert. I checked out your blog and later on decided to buy your book which I recently finished. Overall the biggest thing that stands out to me about you and what I most admire is your honesty and humility. These two qualities I believe are something that is lacking in today's society and it's refreshing to hear a perspective from someone who isn't afraid to let the shit fly and step on a few toes if need be. People like you, people that challenge the status quo and march to a different beat, make things happen. So what do I want to hear? More of your wonderfully blatantly honest, cursing, crazy no-bars attached advice on life and business. Your book was great. It was refreshing and made sense. I'm mulling around the idea of starting my own business someday and your book was really helpful in helping me get some aspects of that idea figured out. Thanks for that. As for what you should do with yourself...I can't answer that. Heck, I'm in the same boat. I'm currently finishing up my Masters degree, trying to find a job, and dreading the shit pile of student loans I have to pay back when I'm done. There's no feeling I hate worse than that of not knowing what to do with yourself. It annoys the hell out of me. Thru all the bullshit I've been through in life though, I've learned one thing...you change. What I thought I wanted to do with my life 6 years ago has morphed into a completely different thing. And the thing is, I think it will keep on doing that. You see, we have new experiences, we lose interests & gain new ones, we find out that we have talents we never knew existed. When you figure out how to get a handle on all that, let me know. I could use some help too. ~ Jesse
Sweetie! You can't answer the question because the very question assumes that the answer is not something you already have/do/are. You know what you want; don't try to bullshit me.
Since you use the "forest from the trees" metaphor, I sure as hell hope you visit Betsy Lerner's blog.
Never one to shirk when asked my opinion about anything What do you enjoy?What brought you here? I don't remember why I came. I have NO idea what I followed, but I'm glad I did. I know what made me stay. Whatever post it was, you said "fuck" a lot. I love that word. It pisses me off to see it spelled like this :"f$*k" . Or some other little typographical bleep. I hate when women are expected to be less than fully functional in the use of the English language. And I hate it even more when women conform to that expectation. I like that you are nonconformist. You have mentioned being politically conservative (I think?), but I am never left feeling like your ideas exclude us liberals (and oh yeah, full disclosure, I'm a rampant liberal). You are vivid and descriptive, and your ideas always make me THINK.
Erika - I am in awe of your writing. The authenticity with which you express yourself is mind-boggling. I agree with a previous poster in the belief that you are very smart, so let me share my "brains are like sieves" theory - smarter people have smaller holes, so more stuff gets caught - you, my friend, have teensy tiny holes so it is no wonder you're driving yourself mad with all these questions. Unplugging is necessary. However, sharing with us is necessary, as we rely on you. I'm not sure how I found you but I'm sure glad I did. Haven't bought the book yet but only because I already have a pile of biz-related books; once I make my way through them yours will be added to my list. Maybe what you should do is take some time to figure out what your mission should be. What really floats your boat? What makes you happy? Do more of those things and less of those that don't provide, as my high school science teacher used to say when we asked what we would get for doing extra credit projects, "intense personal satisfaction." Go away from us if you need to - but please come back. Truly it is the journey, not the arrival, that matters. Every journey brings blessings but sometimes they aren't obvious. Take the ride and report on what you find.
What do you enjoy? - Your filthy mouth, and how it delivers excellence that I'm THINKING, that for the most part, I know and understand, but don't know how to put into words so eloquently. That, and of course, the pictures of adorable animals. But I think that's mostly on Facebook, so whatever. What brought you here? - The fact that you use "fuck" like a comma. Thus, making "business stuff" digestible (I choke on buzz words) and easy to understand. If you bought my book, why the hell did you do that? - I needed a coaster? I wanted your autograph? In all honesty, I saw your presentation at the Growth Conference and knew I had to buy it. The autograph was a bonus. That, and I take sick pride in my "friends with books" bookshelf. Glad to add you to it. How do you describe me to people you share my stuff with? Quoted: "She's like me, but knows what she's talking about when it comes to business stuff, and wrote a couple of books, and her blog is awesome, and she bitch slaps people. Okay, so we're both on Twitter, have tattoos, and say fuck a lot." What do you miss? - I don't know that I miss anything. I like it here. What do you want to see more of? - Honestly? More posts that are the super-vulnerable, "I'm scared to hit publish" kind of posts. Your writing style alone reminds us that you're human (referring to aforementioned use of the word "fuck") but those deep, soul-searching, "here's what I'm dealing with, know that you aren't alone"-type posts are the real gems.
I read your stuff on the email...so responding is a click away. (Whew! Exhausting.) Your email is one I actually look forward to each day. You push me to stretch, push me out of my comfort zone, and make me better. Not a bad effort with an email. So thank you.
My life changed when I realized it will always run a low grade insanity. There will always be things that I don't like, wish weren't true, and don't want to do. So I might as well be happy today. Because if I wait until things settle down, it will never happen. I always have mixed feelings about everything, well, except dark chocolate salted caramels. So when I remember, or get crazy enough, I shift my attention to the things I like about right now. Asking what you want is useful, but it's also a moving target, at least if you are growing and changing. Instead, you can start with what do you want to try next. I don't care what you do, as long as you keep writing and telling the truth. And tweaking the outside stuff doesn't work anyway.
I came for the smokin' hot, bikini clad redheads writhing on Mini Cooper hoods but that's not available here. I actually come for the thought provoking and sometimes thought enhancing articles/posts. As for today's slap, i have been thinking along same line lately. Your book is on my to read list and may get bumped to the top to provide a difference to what I normally read. I hate to cut this short but I am at work and need to go before someone notices me goofing off.
"even more, I love talking with people after I’m done talking — because it’s their turn" This is what I love about doing my solo performance stuff. I tell my story and then folks line up to tell me theirs. And that's pretty much awesome.
I've been an avid reader of your blog for over a year now, and can say it spurred me to have the faith in myself, and what I really wanted, to apply for a job I never thought I'd get. But I did. And it effing ROCKS. And now, I'm to be a yoga instructor as well. Because it's what I need. And your posts, for the longest time, kept bringing me back to that. To be honest though, I have noticed that lately your posts have been a little more eccentric than normal, with a lot of frustration lingering in the text. It seems like a lot of you shaking your fist at people and situations. (note - it is not that this is unacceptable behavior, it's your blog after all, it's just departs from what I saw as your mission) You've also been quite hard on yourself. You've said yourself that you will always be your own worst critic, but you can't believe all of your own lies. You do have a pretty rock star life, but clearly, something is missing. Maybe it is a person, like folks keep mentioning, or maybe it's the time you need for you. No one else is going to "let" you slow down and enjoy the beauty that you've built. Tell them all to take a hike for a bit and take it all in. After all, you are your own boss :)
You strike me as someone who gets up in the morning just waiting for the opportunity to scream "The Emperor is naked!". It is entirely okay to not always know what you want to do next. (unless the Al Qaeda have adopted the horrific tactic of roaming the Rockies armed with ropes and overmarketed teenage Canadians). You've gladhanded your way across half the country on an "always-on" book tour and are maybe wondering if what comes out is 100% genuine? Maybe you're in close proximity to a birthday that you've attached a greater significance to than in really warranted. We all have our days. Sometimes we have a lot of them in a row. They pass. Don't get the panties all in a wad over it. Just makes it last longer. Now, to answer your questions specifically: What do I enjoy? No bullshit. Real life. A kindred spirit that does not suffer the numerous fools we find ourselves pit-deep in on a daily basis when we sally forth in the world. And that Emperor is nekkid thing. What brought me here? A twitter pic of a naughty librarian with tats. Well, that got my attention. Above items held it. I did buy the book. Got about halfway through then unplugged myself from the world for a week, turned off the internet, went away and did whatever I woke up that morning wanting to do. Worked wonders. Once I catch up with the work left behind, I'll get back to the book. I bought the book looking for insight into the "new world order" by someone whose opinion I respect, and won't bullshit me. I share yourself with people capable of appreciating it. No introduction is necessary beyond "you'll dig this." Truthfully what I miss is your presence. I realize the book launch took priority (and it should) but things kinda got quiet around here. If I knew what I wanted to see more of, you'd have to pay my consulting fee. Seriously though, I think the greatest gift of your prose is that you SURPRISE me with what you put out there. I don't know if it truly is spontaneous, or you're just shit-brilliant at making it look that way, but I wish I could pull that off. That being said, I'd love to know how the fuck the squirrel got into your apartment in the first fucking place. No idea about how to redesign. It's your site. But no frilly curtains. Okay, so if none of that helps, at least it wasn't bullshit. If you still don't know who you wanna be, go be somebody else for a weekend or something. The idea that we are tied to our current identity is the biggest bullshit of all.
Your natural ability to drive a conversation and talk WITH your readers is what blows me away every time you write. Love it here and I'm sorry for not being a more avid commentator. You certainly deserve it and I need to remember to treat people as I wish to be treated. Comments are dabombdotcom. :)
I stopped by one day not too long ago on the advice of a friend and stayed because I recognized that your fucking brilliance was something I needed more of in my life. I'm sure you get this all the time, but I think of you as a friend and trusted colleague (even before I interviewed you for my blog and read your book). You have a way with words. You have a certain je ne se quoi that I don't get from other biz folks. And now I'm happy to oblige with some feedback for you: relax. I'm a bit older than you, so I can say this: you will probably never find just one thing that floats your boat. Smart, creative folks like you and I will always want a challenge, always want to learn something new, be something more. And that's okay. In fact, it's how we grow into even MORE brilliant beings. In my experience, we all go through cycles. Some of us have 4 year cycles. Some of us 7 year cycles. Long enough to get in, learn a crap ton of stuff, and learn how to share it with the world. Then the restlessness sets in. Time for composting (like your wise friend Amanda pointed out). Relax. Hike. Drink wine. Play with hedgehogs. Just make sure you play enough and spend enough quality time with Erika so that when inspiration hits, you'll be ready.
I'm here because I delight in and am constantly inspired by your no bullshit response to just about everything. I always step away from my computer thinking that you are right on. And I do today too. I have to say, I've been trying to answer the exact same question for YEARS: what do I really want to be doing. And I have always kind of figured that I was somehow bullshitting myself, and simply not admitting what I wanted for fear of losing stability, regular income, and actually putting myself out there to succeed. My lame-o regular job is safe, you know. It is so uplifting for me to read that a kickass chick like you has the same dilemma. I know I'm not necessarily helping... but I want you to know that even this blog post - your uncertainty, like my own - is inspiring too. -Nicole
Red, I've been following you on FB (just short of a restraining order, I hope) for a while now, and I do think you're trying to be all things to all people. You've posted things that I have internalized. You're sharp, very sharp, scary sharp, but you can only spread yourself (heh heh...sorry) so thin before holes develop. Your brain must be amazing. I picture zillions of purposeful bees zooming all over on purposeful missions, but doing an awful lot of crisscrossing. Maybe a slowdown, a re-centering, a regroup, and re-evaluation of (please excuse me for saying this) your core values is in order. I recommend a vacation that is NOT a working vacation. They can be done. Amazing how the sun will continue to rise and set without direct intervention. Some minor planets may drop into black holes, but that's okay. If I could, I would sentence you to the Outer Banks until you find your path.