Posts Tagged “goals”

It’s My Job & I’ll Quit If I Want To

It’s My Job & I’ll Quit If I Want To

Pairs Well With… “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi


What will you do for a job while on Remote Year?” asked…everyone. While I was still in the throes of determining my job, I knew immediately what I was not going to do anymore – anything that doesn’t make me happy or feed my soul. Ya feel me?

True story.

What she said…


LIFE TRUTH #1: It is just as important to know what you DO NOT want to do as it is the things you DO.

I just threw the biggest Hail Mary of the last ten years by quitting my job in search of something “more me.”  It had escaped me that I had also pulled this stunt ten years ago during a status with my boss.  During that conversation, the words “I think I’m going to resign from this job,” flew out of my mouth before my mind even had a chance to register them. He looked at me with confusion and asked, “Do you want to rescind that statement?” to which I replied, “Mmm…(3-2-1) No, thanks,” as if I were merely turning down a cookie.  “I guess it flew out of there for a reason. I’ll stick with it,” I continued.

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that my hand-eye coordination is superior to my mind-mouth connection, clearly.  Oh, and if history does, in fact, repeat itself, I’ve got a couple more career changes ahead before retirement.

Little did I know at the time, this “decision-making method” of mine would land me my dream job in Event Marketing…then Entertainment Marketing…and then down a path of creating and owning a few brands of my own.

LIFE TRUTH #2: You won’t find out anything new about yourself if you keep doing the same shit.

Over the last fifteen years, I busted my ass and built a successful marketing career for myself. The higher I stood on the corporate ladder, the more I felt burned out from the wear and tear of Corporate America. It is all I’ve ever known.

The demands of last minute requests causing me to rearrange personal commitments and pressures to outshine favorite colleagues for advancement opportunities got to me.  But it was the vicious “spin, twirl, repeat” cycle of the “meeting about the meeting” where teams tried to align in “real time” (and hit a word count for the day) and would “circle back” on action items by EOD.  Are you kidding me?!

All of it, little by little, began to feel like I was selling my soul for a good paycheck and excellent benefits. Because that’s what we’re “supposed” to do, right? Or so I thought…

I needed a break from the life I was leading. Actually, settling for.

So, I quit.

And figured out my plan and my new job.

LIFE TRUTH #3: Take a chance on yourself. If you won’t take a chance on you, why should anyone else?

Once I got accepted into Remote Year, I spent endless hours writing proposals, applying for jobs, setting meetings and selling my skills. Since then, I have been crushing 12-14 hour days, six days a week, for the last couple of months, and have faced more rejection in this window of time than I have in my life.  However, every morning I woke up with optimism and new-found hope that I would receive word of good news in my inbox.

One by one, I was served up these delicately phrased rejections letters, each stating a different version of the same thing: “Thanks, but no thanks.” The job interviews I had even led to rejection letters, most of which said, “We’d love to hire you when you’re back. Please keep in touch.”

Ugh. Ugh. And ugh.


When you get another job rejection letter...

Another rejection letter? You’ve GOT to be kidding me!


I quickly learned that despite having a breadth of experience, excellent background and an extensive list of accomplishments, I was going to need a new plan.  By the end of last month, I had heard it all. More often than not, I was either over qualified or an exciting, promising candidate but would be abroad. If nothing else, I could make money writing an e-course called “50 Shades of Saying No.”

But I knew I could create a new path for myself, but it was going to be a bit harder than I intended.  Lucky for me, I like a good challenge.

LIFE TRUTH #4: Quit fighting what isn’t working, and pay attention to the path you are traveling.  All paths lead to something.

There are three key things I know about myself:

  • When I stand still long enough and remain patient, the answer I’m seeking is always in front of me. Sometimes I just choose not to see it.
  • I always land on my feet, right where I’m supposed to be.
  • When it seems like I lack direction, I’m being forced to figure it out. (Spoiler alert: I figure it out every time.)


Finally, I threw my hands up and said, “F*ck it. I’m going to work for myself and create opportunities for myself.”  Now, that’s what’s up!

That, my friends, is precisely what I’ve begun to do.

LIFE TRUTH #5: The only thing that remains consistent in this life is change.

What you are doing today doesn’t always need to be done again tomorrow. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s right for you. And because you are good at doing something doesn’t mean you need to keep doing it.

If you do the things you love, success will find you. You may just discover you’ve been standing in your own way and limiting your success. This is YOUR life. Design it in a way that appeals to YOU.



The Day I Was Accepted Into Remote Year

The Day I Was Accepted Into Remote Year

Pairs Well With… “Opportunity follows struggle.  It follows effort.  It follows hard work.  It doesn’t come before.” – Shelby Steele

My alarm went off after an all-nighter of thinking.  My mind was preoccupied with a handful of things, including future direction for my life.  It was a Monday, and I haven’t worked a Monday in over a year so why I even set my alarm the night prior was beyond me.  Already annoyed for no better reason than it was Monday, I grabbed my phone to scan my morning emails.

Within my inbox was an email from Remote Year titled, “You’re In!”

I stared at it a while soaking in feelings of excitement and “Holy Shit… this is happening.”  I began thinking that my next year, hell, my whole life was about to change in ways I didn’t even know yet.  I faced great opportunity.  With opportunity usually comes change.

Not having read the email yet, I picked up the phone to call my sister.  She’s always my first dial for good or bad news.  From the sound of her voice, she was even more annoyed it was Monday.

Sarah: Hello?  (Flat tone, no emotion, can’t be bothered)

Me: Dude!  I got into Remote Year!

Sarah: What? Seriously? What did they say?  (Finally, Sarah perked up.  Apparently, she must have realized my news was better than anything she would do at work that day.)

Me: I got an email, but I haven’t read it yet.  I wanted you on the phone.  I’ll pull it up, and we can read it together.  Okay, okay. It says…

Hi Carin,

I’m so excited to be able to offer you a spot as a participant on Remote Year!  It was such fun learning more about your background, especially the tight bond you share with your sister. I can already…”

I started choking up and couldn’t pick the words back up.  As it turns out, Sarah was crying too.  I could hear the sniffles, deep breaths and even the attempts to recompose.

“I can already tell that you’ll be a great fit in the Remote Year family,” I continued I think I have to do this.

Sarah: It’s going to be hard without you here, but I know that you need to do this, too.

See, my sister is my go-to, my confidant, peacekeeper, voice of reason, sounding board and other half of my music video Christmas card – my best friend.  She plays a lot of different roles in my life. Thinking about being apart for a year saddened me, something I would have to overcome.

Through the tears, I vocalized what appeared to be my first biggest concern.  Brace yourself.

But what about my taxes?” I sniffled with tears streaming down my face. (WHAT?!?!?!  Who says that???  No joke, yet utterly laughable.)

After hanging up the phone, I lied there dazed and blank.  No excitement.  No more tears, just a state of “huh.”  But after that, the thoughts came.  And they didn’t stop.  And the scary started creeping in.  Believe me when I tell you that not everything I say, do or think is logical all the time:

But no, seriously, how will my taxes get done from another country?” (Why I was SO concerned about taxes that day? No clue.  Not like I have anything sketch to hide from the IRS.  But guess what?!  They. Are. Done. Shameless plug here for the best accountant ever at Stovall & Associates. Ask for Nick.)

Oh my God.  If this means I have to miss 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis….” (This has been the #2 concern for everyone.  I’ll share #1 later.  While I’m worrying about things like getting Malaria, Tetanus, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid, and all the Hepatitis’s, everyone else is worried about my being at Super Bowl.  Nice, guys.  Rest assured I’ll be back – and may end up making it the bonus round of Remote Year.  Month 13 in Minneapolis anyone?!)

Do they have hair color in other countries?”  (I don’t have any plans to go back to blonde anytime willingly.)

Please let it be warmer.  Please let it be warmer.  Please let it be warmer.”  (When you live in Minnesota, anything above 40 feels like a dream.)

I hope my new passport photo doesn’t look like the one I took for Rio.”  (God bless us all if that happens again.)

Little did I know, my taxes would be the least of my concerns.  As I began preparation for my departure, I faced many more obstacles including one big one tied to a little something called…an income source.

The first question that should have run through my mind was, “What are you going to do about work?

Days Until Takeoff: 17

Out With The Old, In With The New

Out With The Old, In With The New

Pairs Well With… “The doors will be opened to those bold enough to knock.” – Unknown

Out with the old, in with the new.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for 2017.  For whatever reason, the day after Christmas leaves me a little sad.  It’s likely because the anticipation that the holiday brings subsides and all the shimmer and sparkle is taken down. Once that happens, my mind starts to think about what the fresh start of the new year will bring.  Will it be good?  What will I do?  Will this be my year?  My thoughts dance around the endless possibilities in store for me and the many things I can and want to accomplish in the next 365 days.

As I look back on 2016, I still can’t peg if this was a particularly good or bad year.  It was….different, to say the least.  Lots of emotion, lots of new things, lots of adventure.

I took my first solo trip and, by reader vote, went to Sedona.  It was the best trip ever…

I’d go back in a heartbeat.

…followed by a trip to Alabama a few days later, which ended up being pretty much the worst trip ever.  (But hey, my picture turned out marvelously.)

Carrot cake by the ocean? Well, duh. What else are you going to do in Alabama?

I managed to make some shit…

Bubbly cheese dip?! Yes, please.

…try some shit…

There’s a first for everything, including raw oysters. #neveragain

….and then rant about some shit that gained me national recognition

It’s true.

…and then set a record for most uses of the word “shit” within a blog post.  Just kidding.

I had my first photoshoot and put myself out there in a severely uncomfortable way, but one that got me published…

Somewhere in the middle, I stopped to think about what is and isn’t working for me in my life today, who I want to become and what I want to accomplish.  I guess you could say in some regards it was a record year.

Yet, somehow I feel like I didn’t do enough with myself.  I don’t know what I feel like I was missing, but something.  And I can’t put my finger on it.  It’s something in between feeling like I didn’t challenge myself as much as I could have and didn’t live up to my own expectations. Somewhere in the middle, I think I became complacent.  You certainly wouldn’t guess it from the pictures, that’s for sure, but something inside of me stalled out and became idle.

2016 became a regroup year for me and I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. But next year, I plan to do more: be bolder, live more freely, be less guarded and embrace the unexpected without question.

Because when you do these things, the world becomes your oyster.

Cheers to 2017!


Five Thoughts To Get You Back On Top

Five Thoughts To Get You Back On Top

Pairs Well With… “Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” – Unknown

Thanksgiving is over and the holidays are in full swing.  It’s not long before my favorite Mariah, Kelly and *Nsync holiday tunes are in full rotation, and this house becomes its own little winter wonderland.  Deck the halls.  Hang the friggin’ mistletoe.  Create the “One Take Wonder” 2016 Christmas music video…

Put on that wonderfully ugly holiday attire. And Mom, please make me a batch of those “calories don’t count because they are bite-sized” little spritz cookies I love.  I am grateful for all of the holiday cheer.

Oh, the holidays…how fast they showed up – again!  Where the heck did this year go? (Says everyone.  Every year.)  It’s like we’re surprised that the holidays happen year after year…after year.  None the less, I love looking forward to celebrating old traditions, making new ones and wearing shimmer and sparkle all darn December long.

With a violent clap of thunder (in November? WTF!), I snapped out of my holiday daydreaming and back to reality when the noise caused me to spill my cup of decaf all over myself. This miserable and manic Minneapolis weather encouraged me to think warm and sunny thoughts.  Sitting with my back against my dresser (for no particular reason) in the middle of my room (because it’s where I felt like writing today), I drifted back to where I spent the Christmas last year: Palm Springs.

Somehow, Palm Springs caused me to think about 2016 coming to a close, which led to the biggest lesson I learned this year, and I want to achieve next, as well as the kind of adulting I want (or not want) to do.  All that enriching, useful self-reflection stuff.

Is it just me, or do we all ask ourselves at least one a year, if not more, “What do I want to do with my life?”  I digress.

Where you decide to go next in life depends on where you’ve been, perhaps even what you learned, and how you apply it.  My most substantial lesson this year was how to be resilient: how to bounce back and make the best of a situation when life kicked me down, how to calm the freakouts when life got chaotic, how to let things (and people) not bother me, how to just…be…

…and how to come out on top.

Overcoming, in any regard, takes so much practice.  Maybe it’s more patience than anything else to get to perfection – if there is such a thing.  While certainly not perfected, I’ve most definitely made a progressive start.

Here are five thoughts to get you back on top:

Control what you can.  There are certain things in life we can’t control: other people, weather, traffic, how good pizza tastes – and most of our life.  Let those things go!  Put your energies where they matter: your goals, how you treat people, the lessons you want to learn and keeping a positive mindset.  Someone shared this quote by Erma Bombeck with me last year: “Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.”  True story.

Emphasize the positive.  Some life wins are big, but others small.  Don’t discount them! See the importance in all that surrounds you, and take the time to recognize that small steps in a good direction are still forward progress.  Celebrate the wins and focus on what is going right.  No one likes a Debbie Downer.

Do not dwell.  Sure, life gets us down now and again, but how long are you going to linger in misery?  How long do you want to remain in gloom?  Happiness is a choice, and the choice is up to you!  Take time to mourn, to heal, to process, to regroup. Whatever you do, make sure you have plans to check out of Hotel Misery.  The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. What is waiting on the other side is sure to be much more enchanting.

Do not look back.  You know that voice that creeps in and causes you to look over your shoulder?  Stop right there.  Don’t do it.  Think about the last time someone said to you, “Oh hey! I made significant backward progress today!”  Nope. Never happened.  It’s just not a real thing.  Remember the reason you made your decision in the first place and trust yourself.  You know yourself better than anyone else, and your gut will never steer you wrong.

Make a bold move.  What are you waiting for?  Stirrup pants to come back in style? Good, because fashion reports state that they are making a comeback.  So, moral of the story is, if stirrup pants can make a comeback, SO CAN YOU!  When in doubt, make a snap judgment call based on intuition, and then figure out the rest of the pieces as you move along.  I do this all the time.  Nine times out of ten it all works out like it should. Scary as hell but worth every penny.

What are the best and biggest lessons YOU have learned in 2017?

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