You are the gatekeeper

I often wonder what I would have done if I was a twenty something year old in the 90s or even 80s.

Would I still write? Maybe I’d have written articles for a magazine or newspaper and I’d have tried to make a career out of writing. Maybe I wouldn’t have tried to put my words out there and instead stuck with journaling.

The advances in technology have allowed us to be our own gatekeepers. You don’t need to ask for permission if you want to have a website, write articles, put out music, be a presenter etc

And so if you’re willing to take initiative and do something, you can do all the things that would have been a lot more difficult 20, 30 or 40 years ago.

Seeking information

We now have access to more information than we’ll ever use and can ever truly comprehend.

You might have grown up where the only way to learn about something was if you went to the library, watched a documentary on TV or even asked someone you know.

If you want to learn about something nowadays, the answer is a few seconds away. Any random thought or curiosity that comes to mind doesn’t have to pass you by.

You can google it.

And because we have that access, it might make us less likely to read books, watch documentaries and ask questions. Those are things I’d consider to still be worth doing.

When we’re seeking answers or information on a topic, we can find it out on our own pretty quickly.

It’s also something we take for granted.

Creating for your audience

When it comes to being creative and putting stuff out there, often we end up focusing on the wrong thing.

We ignore the audience we already have and put our efforts into reaching new people with the hope of growing and growing.

However, what often ends up happening is we lose our current audience in the process because they no longer feel like we’re creating for them.

Instead, you’re much better off putting your efforts into creating for the people that are already here. Those people are already interested and given time will care enough to spread the word, if what you’re putting out is good enough.

Lowering expectations

There are good arguments to support both sides.

On one hand perhaps you should lower your expectations because they’re too high. Examples of this could be expecting to earn £50,000 as a graduate with no experience or expecting a friend to reduce their rates even though you know the quality of their work will be more than worth it.

Then on the other hand, a reason not to lower your expectations is because you don’t want to get into the habit of settling. I think there’s a fine line between knowing what you want and expecting too much. Knowing what you want is great. Believing that it is possible to have more than you have right now even though it might take time is a pretty fantastic thing.

One of the most common reasons that people lower their expectations is because they allow the thoughts and opinions of others to convince them that what they want is unrealistic.

If that is the case, it might be worth being more selective about who you get advice from and who you choose to listen to.

Chocolate cake for breakfast

Chocolate cake for breakfast is a great idea in the moment. It’s sweet, chocolatey and tastes great.

But if you’re working towards becoming someone that is healthier and eats more nourishing food then you might not want to make a habit of it.

It’d be like saying you want to stay dry then going outside in the rain.

But if that is not something you are working towards then it doesn’t really matter what you have for breakfast.

Making plans for the new year

Setting goal or making plans for the coming year might seem like a waste of time. We’re in a period of great uncertainty and many of us may have already experienced a long list of things we planned to do in 2020 remain undone.

However, I think a lot of people did much more than they thought they would but in different ways. There was less focus on social activities, in person events and travel but perhaps more emphasis on wellbeing and personal growth.

Maybe this year you started a business, started a project, volunteered, overcame unexpected challenges, read some interesting books, discovered new interests, learned a new skill, developed your confidence, started a new job, got a promotion, visited a new city, bought a house, made new friends, tried some new recipes or figured out what you really want to do with your life.

Some of the things you did this year might seem small or meaningless but you still did them. It’s easy to forget afternoons spent catching up with your favourite people in a cafe, solo dance parties and endless laughter with siblings when you’re focusing on all the concerts you booked that got cancelled or all the places you never got to travel to.

And so for 2021, don’t be afraid to make plans or set intentions for the kind of year you want to have.

The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to at least check-in, recalibrate and ensure that the life you’re living is leading you in the direction that you want to go in.

Congratulations, you made it!

We’re almost at the end of a year that none of us could have anticipated.

Whether you’ve had a good time or hated every minute of it, you still managed to get to this moment right now.

Congratulations, you made it!

Despite isolation, boredom, tears, frustration, lonliness, hopelessness, anger, grief and fear we’re now at the point of getting ready to close out the year.

Sometimes we don’t take enough time and care to acknowledge the difficulties we’ve faced and overcome. Instead we just dust ourselves off and carry on, which is fine in some situations.

However, this has been a year where we have all been forced to learn and grow in ways that we never thought we’d have to. That is something worth honouring.

The pick me up playlist

Around 18 months ago I created a Pick me up playlist.

The reason I did this is in the name, I wanted a pick me up. But more importantly I wanted something I could go back to.

I’m lucky enough to know how the music I listen to makes me feel and, I curated a playlist of songs to listen to when I am in need of a pick me up.

It is simple yet incredibly effective.

And of course the music doesn’t fix the issue but it reminds me what it is like to feel good and that makes me want to make the effort to make things better.

If you’re someone that enjoys listening to music, I’d advise you to give it a go.

You don’t even need to create a whole playlist but the next time you feel down just listen to one of your favourite songs and see how it makes you feel.

On learning to voice your needs

I just googled not being able to voice your needs and there were about 1,220,000,000 results.

Being able to voice your needs is an important part of life. If you can’t say what you need, you probably won’t get it.

If you’ve ever been that person you might have been lucky enough to find someone that gets you. Not in any romantic sense but just someone that understands you even when you’re not able to find the words. That kind of person comes into your life through you being open and vulnerable enough to voice your needs.

It could be as simple as letting someone know that you need space, at first the person might be surprised or not take it well. But over time a good friend or someone that cares about you will understand that at certain times you need to be alone. And it won’t become an issue, they won’t try and make you feel bad or tell you that you have to have to talk now. They will listen and respect your needs.

On the flipside, people that aren’t able to voice their needs might end up falling into feeling misunderstood or uncared for and then carrying that feeling around them everywhere they go. But more often than not, that feeling isn’t true at all. It only feels true because you’re not saying what you need.

2 kinds of value

If you had to leave your home and could only take 10 things with you, what would you take?

Turns out the things we value in our day to day lives aren’t the same things we value in an emergency.

In our day to day life we’re more materialistic, we care more about perception. It’s not that we don’t value the things we need to survive but that they are a given rather than something we need to think about.

In an emergency we place value on safety and survival. There’s not much point valuing your green faux croc handbag when you are without food and water.

And sometimes people choose to live their day to day lives valuing only the essentials even when they don’t have to.