Recently I’ve been trying to find opportunities to Help Someone Else. I guess I already tried to help people when I thought I could, but it’s different when you’re actively looking. It’s not aiding my finances, but it is inspiring and stimulating. For some reason, when you help someone else with their ideas or their goals or their questions, your own imagination activates and creates.
I’m working with Kate Storey on a project, and today I met with Kim Westwood to hear about her new project, and tonight I offered to help three people at the “How to Find a Job You Love” class, and tomorrow I’m coworking with Judith Gammie, and hopefully there might be something I can help her with too.
If anyone reading this knows someone who needs help, holler. Even if I can’t help, I might know someone else who can.
In other news:
I’ve been to a couple of School of Life classes this month: How to Be More Confident and How to Find a Job You Love. I’ll write up notes on those later. The job one was great, and I think most people in the class came away feeling inspired, with new ideas and clear next steps. I found, though, that I’ve been following most of the recommendations in the class since I went rogue last year. Most. There’s one new piece of advice I’ve put in my planner, so I’ll see it every day: “Action not reflection.” I’ve been thinking so much about skills, aptitudes, likes, dislikes, jobs, roles, futures, possibilities… but I agree with the advice; I need to reduce thinking and increase doing. I need to try different kinds of work on for size. (Which complements this: Writing gets us writing. Not thinking about writing.)
I applied for some part-time jobs over the weekend, so that I might have a more stable income while I do my fun freelance work. It seems like most available UX roles are either full-time or on long contracts, which I’m not particularly interested in, so I’ll try to find something regular and part-time (which might not be UX) while still being free for popup jobs. Yeah!
I’ve been feeling a bit weird lately and, instead of having zero interest in watching TV or movies, I’ve been waking up thinking: “I just feel like watching a TV show.” (I haven’t followed through on my impulses, though. I’ve been confining layabout activities to the evening-time.)
I’ve been thinking about something that annoys me in TV shows and I’m going to call it The Zombie Phenomenon. You know when you’re watching a story where the characters start noticing that other humans are getting sick, dying, seemingly coming alive again, and attacking other humans, and they don’t use the word “zombie” for ages? And they don’t treat the situation as though they’re dealing with zombies, and they keep getting surprised (and attacked and killed)? As though they’ve never watched a zombie movie before?
I took this last December; I liked the colours. It was at a bar in East Brunswick – beyond the beer garden, there was this strange red barn housing a pool table.
Just a shorty post today… I’m working on a helpful UX-related / startup-related piece, but writing something informative takes much longer than writing about thoughts and news. I’m drafting it on paper at the moment. I find that’s the best way to avoid procrastination and get something started.
* I don’t have to have a perfect, regimented daily schedule that includes both morning pages and meditation (which I was finding impossible to do). They are like software programs. Depending on circumstances, I can choose to run one program, both, or neither. Anytime.
* Morning pages and meditation both help me to work out problems, work out what I think, plan things, and they usually improve my mood. Morning pages especially helps with planning and finding direction. Meditation helps more with spontaneous new ideas, and it has also changed how I listen to people. I used to be a person so eager to converse, to have a flurry of back-and-forth; now I am learning/changing to not be so desperate for that immense exchange. I can be still and listen.
* Always tell people what you are striving for: If I had not written and talked about wanting to find people to make things, I would not have found any. I have three dates, maybe more!
* If you are frustrated that something isn’t as good as it could be, it might be something you should do yourself. (Similar to the envy exercise: Consider people you envy. What is it about them that you really envy? You need/want to be doing that thing.) Victoria Cullen suggested I should do an intro talk at a hackathon. She’s right. There are other things that people have suggested, and… they’re right, too. I need to look more closely at my criticisms, like the movie critic who subconsciously wants to be a film director.
* After so long – trying to parse and concisely understand my previous job experiences, but I had only produced a mishmash of imperfect theories – it has come down to this: I was bored. But there are two types of bored. There is big-picture bored (a bored soul), and there is small-picture bored (a boring moment). There were usually enough challenges so that I wasn’t bored day-to-day, but my soul was bored. I wanted so much more. I wanted excitement; I wanted to change the company and products and in big ways; I wanted to be around other people who wanted so much more. I wonder how many other people are out there thinking, “Well, it’s not that I’m bored… so I don’t know why I feel this way,” when really, their souls are dying of boredom, and if they were given a chance to make a company amazing, they would thrive.
My theme for April is Coursera. I’m behind on my arguments course, but I’m still loving it. I’m up to unit 3: Inductive Arguments. Taking a university subject is stimulating. I feel good from learning and doing the exercises and quizzes. I’m glad I’m only taking one, though!
ION: I felt like I was failing at my attempt to make a living from freelancing, then some work fell in my lap. I was struggling with some aspects of Girls Club, then some people offered to help. I had a bad go of it with mistakenly trusting some people and being burned (I have learned, once and for all, that my overflowing optimism thwarts any attempts I might make to accurately read or assess people), but at the end of the day, I come home to a man and a dog who love me, and everything else is relative to that.
I’m continuing with artist dates (my date this evening is a School of Life class called “How to be Confident”), morning pages, Coursera, this site, finding freelance work… and Kate Storey and I have discussed our aspirations, and we’re going to start working together on Mondays in the same space; partially on our own projects, but also we’re collaborating on a project she’s been thinking about, which she described to me, and I really like the idea. I think it will involve meeting new people every week.
I’ve been working out of White Labelled this week, and oh boy! Owners/management sure do shape their company. I’ve worked in places where no one talks to each other, and it’s because the management doesn’t ever do that: they don’t collaborate, they don’t go around and talk to anyone, they don’t communicate well. But at WL, the management talks. They walk over to people, they discuss things, they communicate, they stop for chit-chat. Blessed be the office where everyone is talking!
I was listening to episode 9 of Back to Work yesterday, and Merlin Mann was talking about how (paaaarraapphrrraasseddd) thinking doesn’t get us doing-what-we-want-do-be-doing. Only doing gets us there. For example, writing gets us writing. Not thinking about writing. I need to be regularly reminded of that.
I slowed down on my 1,000 words per day habit because I made Work (freelance work) my new priority. And, duh! Of course I have been starting to struggle with writing, and updating the site, and even communicating and sharing thoughts. I need to backtrack and make Work and Words both a priority – maybe on different days of the week.
Yesterday I had a wonderful, inspiring catchup with a friend, Kate Storey. She is in the same position as me – isn’t sure that she wants to work full-time anymore, because she would like to pursue her own projects, so she’s thinking about working part-time and having a day or two to herself, to work on her own ideas. We’re going to work one day a week together, in the same space. I really want to find a group of people like this… so that we can all work alongside each other, and inspire each other, but I can’t seem to find the right people!