Category: life advice

5 Things To Do When You Fail

How do you deal with failure? What should you do when you fail? Click through for 5 things to do when you fail that will reduce the likelihood of failure next time!
This lovely guest post comes to us via Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary fame.  She blogs regularly about food, photography, design and working for yourself.  Drop by her blog and say hi!

I have failed on numerous occasions in my life.

From that time I didn’t get accepted to a certain college, to the time I got a D on my Chemistry AS Level. I’d like to say that these failures didn’t derail me, but then I’d be completely lying.

As far as I can remember both of those incidents ended up with me in a tantrum like state, crying and wailing that I wasn’t good at ANYYYYTTTHINNNGGG EVVVEERRRRR. A-hem.

But then, after allowing myself time in my pit of doom, I’d pick myself up and figure out what I needed to do to fix the fails. I applied for another college, and I retook my Chemistry AS level exams and came out with a B at A level.

These two incidents really stand out to me when I hit road bumps in my career, just because you fail once doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing if it does happen.

5 Things To Do When You Fail

Without trying to sound like a self-help book, these are the things that have worked for me in the past couple of years when things haven’t exactly gone to plan.

1. Take stock of the situation

I applied for a rather large craft fair a year or so ago and got rejected, it was a bit of a blow, but I didn’t let it put me off. I upped my game, got better at what I do, and this year I got accepted to an even BIGGER craft fair.  One of the most important things you need to do when you fail is take stock of the situation.

Why did you fail? Was there something you could’ve done to produce a better outcome? Was the failure completely beyond your control? Could you be better prepared next time?

My recent trip to Liberty resulted in a fail that I couldn’t control, at least not at the time, and I learned so much from that experience that the fail was totally worth while! Would I do it again even knowing that it wouldn’t come to anything? Of course!

2.  Get angry, get mad, get passionate

You’re allowed, you know? You’re allowed to be mad that something didn’t work out, at least for a little while, because being mad will make you realize how much you really, REALLY want this thing. And how ridiculous would it be to not try again?

3. Remember that you’re not a failure

You just haven’t found the successful way of doing something yet. You’re only a failure if you stop trying, and what’s the point in that?

4.  Remember all those Pinterest-y sayings

“Take a deep breath and count to 10″, “If it was easy everyone would be doing it”, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Time to take note of all those things your Grandma used to say!

5.  Tweak your approach for next time

Albert Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” so be sane and make some changes. Use your failure as feedback & experience and come back with a better strategy.

The difference between success & never getting what you want is how you deal with failure. Click To Tweet Use it as a catalyst to improve yourself, your business or your craft, not as an excuse to give up! Don’t look upon failure as a negative thing, failure is proof that you’re on your way to success!

Tell us how you’ve dealt with failure! Your tips in the comments could be a huge help to someone!

P.S. 3 questions to ask yourself before you quit anything + What you’re REALLY seeing when you see ‘success’ 

photo by scott webb // cc


The ABCs of Self-Love: Y is for Yes

Friends, let us talk about the art of self-love.

About what it means to like yourself as much as your friends do.
To give yourself the treats/compliments/breaks you give other people.
To eat half a block of cheese because, you know what?  You want to.

The language of love that I’m particularly fluent in is saying “Yes.”
  To, um, most things.Here are a few of the things that I say yes to that help remind me exactly how awesome I am.

* Yes to monthly pedicures with my BFF.  Even in the winter.  Even when my toes are inside boots all day long.

* Yes to high quality parmesan.

* Yes to checking out my butt in these jeans and saying “Yup.  That’s pretty cute.”

* Yes to shouting “High five, self!” to my empty apartment when I finish something difficult.

* Yes to embracing my own impossibly high standards and being pleased when I encounter people who meet them.

* Yes to befriending people who make me happy.

* Yes to brunch.  Always.

* Yes to embracing my dorky desires to get up early, go to bed early and read college textbooks for fun.

* Yes to moving my body in ways that bring me joy.

* Yes to knowing when I’m bored and listless and taking action about it.

* Yes to respectfully, carefully culling non-awesome people from my life.

* Yes to being outside for half an hour, every day, regardless of the weather.

* Yes to re-reading my cheesily-titled Smile File when I’m blue.

* Yes to getting dressed and looking cute every day – even if I never leave my apartment.

* Yes to new things.  Every year.  Always.

* Yes to being direct, open and crazy-honest about my feelings.

How do you show yourself love?  What are you saying yes to this year?

Reminder: There Is Enough

It's so, SO easy to feel less-than after scrolling through Instagram feeds filled with thin, rich people doing interesting things. But let's remember there's enough to go around for everyone. Really. >>
This guest post comes to us from the phenomenal Sarah McColl
Tuesday night a friend and I went to a panel on writing. We were wrapped in scarves, and had just finished eating soup and sandwiches. The evening felt so collegiate, as we carried our trays in the bright lighting of a cafeteria-like restaurant and ventured out into the cool night in our tweed blazers to attend a lecture.
We were in good moods. A writing teacher of mine was speaking on the panel, and the evening was organized by a woman my teacher thought I ought next to take a class with.

The room was packed, and to complete that fall feeling of being at the big game, we sat on bleachers in the back of the college bookstore. The writer in charge was a high-octane, fast-talking, take-no-prisoners MC, unapologetically cutting off authors who droned on a little long. “We’ve got a lot to cover, so I’ll just summarize your points,” she interjected.

As each author talked––about stalking agents in bars or soliciting quotes from Ian Frazier––I found myself growing more and more antsy and irritated. I was hugely annoyed by everyone earnestly taking notes about how to publish a bestseller. When the question and answer period was over and people started queuing up for coffee and cookies, I just wanted to flee to the nearest bar.

My friend is a writer, too. She may not realize that I consider her my spiritual guru. (“You’re more spiritually evolved,” I said, “cause you’ve had more lives.” “More lives, like, reincarnation?” “Yeah. You’re, like, of the air,” I explained, “and I’m still of the earth.” This is what I sound like, by the by, after half a Brooklyn lager.)

But despite being on a higher plane, she shared my post-panel insecurity. To succeed, it seemed, we had to press the pedal to the metal: be out networking, sending out query letters, pitching stories, tirelessly taking workshops, going for it, full-throttle, determined and unshakable.

It all made me want to pull the covers over my head. Besides, how could we elbow our way in, I thought, when there are so many people out there doing it already? The world doesn’t need another Mary Cantwell or M.F.K. Fisher. There’s no room for us.

And then my friend told me about her dad. How for many years he felt competitive with a colleague who was, for all intents and purposes, a
genius. He spoke a billion languages and could play any instrument he picked up, and my friend’s father was always trying to keep up. And then one day watching this guy be all geniusy, my friend’s dad was struck with a bolt of enlightenment, and he just started laughing.

He suddenly felt the relief of letting his colleague reap the spoils of his success without feeling personally threatened. And so, when my friend one day was feeling insecure about something herself––someone at school, let’s say––her dad gave her a talk.

“Someone will always be smarter than you. And that’s okay. There’s space for you, too.” Click To Tweet

It reminded me of the advice I grew up with. Someone will always have more than you: more beauty, more money, more talent, more smarts. But someone will always have less.

The and that’s okay part was what I needed to hear. There’s room for all of us. There’s enough success, money, and love to go around.

There is no scarcity, really, unless we choose to look at life through that lens. One person’s success doesn’t take away from our own; someone else’s triumph doesn’t mean less triumph for us. There’s enough for everybody.

I like the way Natalie Goldberg puts it in Writing Down the Bones:

Don’t be jealous, especially secretly. That’s the worst kind. If someone writes something great, it’s just more clarity in the world for all of us. Don’t make writers, “other,” different from you: “They are good and I am bad.” Don’t create that dichotomy. It makes it hard to become good if you create that duality.

The opposite, of course, is also true: if you say, “I am great and they aren’t,” then you become proud, unable to grow as a writer or hear criticism of your work. Just: “They are good and I am good.” That statement gives a lot of space. “They have been at it longer, and I can walk their path for a while and learn from them.”

In yogic philosophy, there’s the concept of mudita:
“a sympathetic or vicarious joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it.”
More is more, and I can stand to hear it again:

“If someone writes something great, it’s just more clarity in the world for all of us.”

I’ve always been afraid of running out of money, things to say, or ideas to write about. But writing a daily column has taught me an important lesson about scarcity. There is no shortage of ideas. In fact, the practice of continually making yourself open to inspiration, ushers in only more. Creativity begets more creativity, love begets more love.

And perhaps the same is true: success for some begets success for others. There is enough, for all of us.

P.S. How to define success for yourself (but like REALLY)

photo by hal trozo // cc

How To Love Your Body, Regardless Of Size

Want to love your body? Or try a bit of body positivity? You can practice self-love and self-care by loving the body you have, right now, now matter what size it is.

Do you love your body? Like really, truly love it? In a society that tells us all the ways we’re not enough (or too much) self-love and body positivity can be hard. Mara Glatzel has some wise words for us.

How To Deal When All Your Friends Get Married + Have Kids

Are all your friends getting married and having kids and you're not? And you're worried that your friendships will change? Well, they won't stay 100% the same - but that's okay! Click through for the 6 things I did to maintain (and strengthen!) my friendships when everyone I knew started partnering up and having babies >>

Dear Sarah,

A bunch of my friends are getting married this year, and one of them is even having a son in a few weeks!  I am super happy for them.  The only thing that makes me nervous is when other people talk about how marriages and babies put a strain on friendships.  Will I see my friends less and less as time goes on?  These are people I really care about, and I hope that isn’t the case. 

Also, I’m not really planning on getting married or having kids myself, so will that make me an absolute loner (with no friends to hang out with, I mean) by the time I hit my 30s?

– Maya

Girl, I hear you.  I’m 32 and I grew up in the Midwest.

I have high school friends with 10-year-old children and 95% of my friends are married or in a live-in relationship. Navigating big-time life changes can be hard on any friendship.

Here are a few things that I’ve tried to remember now that my friends and I spend New Year’s Eve parties talking about crown molding, mortgage rates and charter schools.

How to stay buddies once your friends have kids

Acknowledge that friendships change as you get older – regardless of marriage or kids

Under the heading of “Not News To You:” life in your late 20s/early 30s is pretty different from what you were doing when you were 23.

You’ve probably got a job that you take seriously, maybe you’ve got a mortgage and you’ve probably gotten over your thing for keg stands.

Regardless of marriage and children, your social life is going to change as people buy houses outside the city, work longer hours or stop going out on week nights.

And that’s totally okay – change is invigorating!  Just know that even if zero of your friends got married/had kids, things would still be different.

Husbands/wives/moms/dads still enjoy time away from their partners and kids

Just because someone’s married or has kids doesn’t mean they want to spend every.waking.minute with said spouse/child.  In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that they’d like to get out of the house and talk about something other than potty training.

When I was traveling through Peru and Bolivia with my then-live-in-boyfriend, we frequently befriended solo travelers and traveled with them for days or weeks.  A few times they mentioned that they didn’t want to be ‘third wheels.’

To which we huffed: “ARE YOU KIDDING? We’ve been around each other 24 hours a day, for three weeks.  We are THRILLED to have someone new to talk to.”

Adjust your expectations when you’re hanging out with parent-friends

Kids are a lot of work.  And if your friend has multiple children?  And they’re young kids?  That business is time-consuming.

I’m sure you’re not expecting your child-having friends to meet you for spontaneous happy hours and stay out till 3:00 am on school nights, but it’s important to make exceptions for them socially and emotionally.
I haaaaate it when friends flake out on plans we’ve all committed to, but if you just had a kid?  I’m giving you a one-year Get Out Of The Doghouse Free card.
Maybe they’re overwhelmed with a million well-meaning visitors, maybe the kiddo has a cold, maybe they forgot about one of the three thousand appointments that babies have.  Give ’em some leeway.

Other ways that you can make hanging out easier for your parent friends:

  • Go to their house for dinner and bring the main dish
  • Meet them some place that is both child and adult friendly
  • If your friend is a stay-at-home parent, drop by their place during the middle of weekday (if that’s possible.)  They’re more likely to be free/bored and want company
  • Make sure your friends know that you’re coming to see them and they don’t need to cook you anything/put on makeup/clean the house for youDon’t assume they can’t/don’t want to hang out
Even if you’re pretty sure your friend can’t leave the kids for a Girls’ Snowshoeing Weekend, invite her anyway.  Because a) you never know b) she’ll appreciate the effort.

Don’t keep pointing out how different your lives are now

Nobody likes to go dancing with that girl who keeps shouting over the music about how she doesn’t go out now that she’s “a boring old married lady.”
And nobody enjoys the company of the girl who’s always sighing dramatically about her singleton life and telling you how lucky you are to have found someone.  Everyone leads different lives and things change.
Just because someone has a child or partner, doesn’t mean they don’t remember what it’s like to date.
And really, most people aren’t spending their free time obsessing over your relationship status – they’re not going to think about it unless you keep bringing it up.

Make more friends

Not unlike your investments, you should diversify your friend portfolio.  What happens if you met all your friends at work and then you get laid off?  Or if you met all your buddies playing Magic and you’re ready to leave the world of cards?

It’s good to have different friends who meet different needs: the go-out-dancing friend, the deep-and-meaningful-conversation friend, the laugh-till-you-pee friend.

This is not to say you should give up on your married/child-having friends, but few people ever regretted expanding their social circle. Here’s a post I wrote about how to create an amazing group of friends.

But I want to hear from you! Where are you in the married/parent spectrum? Have you been able to maintain friendships with friends on the other side?

P.S. Why you should hang out with + date people you admire

photo credit danielle macinnes and Benjaminrobyn Jespersen on Unsplash

How To End A Friendship (In the most loving, least awful way possible)

Trying to figure out how to end a friendship? It's never easy or fun, but it can be done in a loving, not-totally awful way. Click through to find out how.

This guest post comes to us via the lovely and talented Mara Glatzel.  She writes about body, beauty and self love on the regular.  Pop over and say hello!

Letting go of friendships is never, ever easy.  And this is something that can be a problem, especially if you are a people-pleaser like me.  There was a time in my life where I was so timid and socially anxious that my friend choices were, perhaps, not what they should have been.

Regardless!  The reality is this: You have to put yourself first.

You probably have scores of awesome friends, great co-workers, perhaps an awesome girlfriend/boyfriend/occasional “friend”, family of some sorts, and by piecing all of those together you can create a pretty phenomenal support network.

However, when you have someone in your life who is a constant drain of energy, who is more interested in who they think you are than who you want to be, and who you find yourself spending more time on than you have to spend on yourself – You need to make a change.

Signs That A Relationship That May Have Run Its Course

Have you evolved? Are your interests different, and the things that excited you changing? Is there someone in your life who refuses to accept it, or makes fun of you for your new behavior?

Do you feel like you are exerting far more effort into your relationship than someone else is? Is this causing you undue stress?

Do you hang out with someone just because you feel badly for them, even though you aren’t really friends? Does your guilt make you feel like you have to go out of your way for this person, even though you don’t like them?

Are you friends with someone just because you are somehow benefited by their friendship?  They have things that you want, or get you tickets to all the best shows, or invites to the coolest parties, but you don’t really like them for who they are?

Does your friend make you feel badly about yourself?

How To End A Friendship In the most loving, least awful way possible

Make sure that this is really what you want. Are you in a slump? Does everything look bad right now – not just your friendships? Have you talked to this friend, brought their behavior to light, or told them that you’re unhappy? Yes? It hasn’t worked? Proceed to the next point.

Be honest. You are awesome and strong and worth loving, right? Right. You need to act that way, and stand up for yourself if a relationship is no longer working for you. Now: being honest can be the absolute hardest thing possible, but this is a difficult subject and making excuses will not help you in the long run.

Be nice. Presumably you loved this person at one point in your life – for whatever reason. Even if they are torturing you within an inch of your life now, likely they don’t even know that you’re doing it, so be NICE when you are honestly breaking up with them.

Be real – with yourself. Make sure that it is your friend that is toxic and that they are not just mirroring your toxicity back to you. If its not them, and it is in fact you – you’re reading the wrong post. Learn how to love yourself and become  the most amazing person in the room.

Consider taking a break, and not going for the whole enchilada break up. Maybe you just need some space to breathe and reassess your relationship.

Now, I am all about finding awesome friends and building amazing relationships. This advice is purely for people whom you’ve outgrown and are making your life sad/negative/hard/painful.  You’re worth the very best!

Is this a problem in your life? How do you deal with it? Do you have any tips for walking away from these types of friendships?

P.S. How to make friends as an adult

Photo by Serrah Galos on Unsplash