I was recently in conversation with my friend, Katie, who manages one of my favorite boutiques in the area (heyyy Gigi’s Bluffton); we were doing the usual gushing over upcoming possibilities and life in the Lowcountry at our mile-a-minute pace, her end sounding far more sophisticated with its hint of Southern charm. I rattled off all the #hashtag2018goals and word-vomited my ideas and thoughts I had for the New Year all over her (sounding more muppet-jacked-up-on-too many-lattes), and eventually turned to her and said: “Katie, what about you? What are ‘Katie’s big goals’ for 2018?”

With a big breath in, she eventually breathed out:

“I really just want to be the best at my job.”

With the tires of my thought train screeching to a halt in my head, I asked her what she meant.

To be a great manager, a productive team member, a good steward of the boutique’s brand, to love on her clients, to enjoy the process, to make processes better and stronger, to “be” in the day to day of her work.

Whoa, Katie. Whoa.

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Y’all, I’m a notoriously creative personality with too much access to coffee and information. Thanks to the world wide web and social media machines, it’s only gotten worse over the course of my life. I constantly have about 15-20 creative/product/event ideas raging through my head at any given time. What’s more challenging is that I can I can almost “see” – y’all, sometimes even “feel” what those ideas could be in real life… and it’s gotten to be exhausting, almost debilitating. Repeatedly I’ve “wasted” late nights researching and long drives home in the car thinking through action steps and ideas and marketing (you wouldn’t believe how many times my brain wants to incorporate used-car-sales-wavy-arm-tube-guys, which I discovered, are called “air dancers), but then I quickly get snapped back to reality with a glance at my already overflowing To Do’s and disaster of an email inbox. So I file the idea away in the already overstuffed “Someday” tab, trying to refocus on the tasks at-hand while the ideas keep creeping in my head like Gremlins fed after midnight.

In years past, I was “that girl” who treated every job as a “pit stop” to the next big promotion or finally getting to #soloprenuer status once I made the decision to go out on my own. Reflecting on my past job lives, I’m not sure I wholly gave of myself or really enjoyed the opportunities to learn and grow from those jobs because I had my head in the clouds and one foot out the door. Sure, I worked hard to produce the best work and most efficient results, but I’m not sure I “enjoyed the ride” (or having a paid-for benefits package).

And yet, I always demanded more of myself. I never felt like I “made it” or was truly accepted in those realms – and more so, even now. It seems today in my current “job” that everyone else is constantly announcing something “exciting” or “cool” or “special” in their meticulously minimal studios in an effortlessly J.Crew styled ensemble drinking an $8 dollar coffee with a foamy silhouette of Beyoncé on it while I’m frantically trying to maintain my current workload at a messy desk like a muppet-meets-air-dancer chugging stale coffee out of a cracked tumbler I refuse to throw out while in my 2nd (3rd?) day old stretchy pants.

And to be quite honest, I thought that was part of being a “successful” person.

I thought unless I had a million ideas and said yes to everything and continuously kept churning out new ways to do things and adding more to my plate and doing a million things at once, I wasn’t doing “it” right or satisfying my “creative” self. When asked about what I was up to or plans for the upcoming frame of time, I felt and spoke in such a way that I was doing was working towards the next big thing – never really realizing that I very well could be in that space already, missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the current “big thing.”

And because of that, I felt this constant need to do more, caught between saying “yes” to things that maybe I shouldn’t have but yearning yet so fearful of putting in the work towards the ideas I was REALLY excited about with a collaborative entity, or that I just couldn’t get out of my head – or more importantly, out of my tiny, weird little blonde heart.

It was a big reason my word of 2017 was “Responsibility.”

It’s a bigger reason my word for 2018 is “Space.”

While I’ve long contemplated Katie’s sentiment, I never really gave it pause nor attention. Yet hearing the words out-loud suddenly hit home.

How can I capitalize on the knowledge, growth, experience, and relationships I’ve built over the last few years and take heart in knowing big things ARE happening?

How do you “enjoy the process” without freaking out about the future?

Why is it a bad thing to actually like our job or our role or be happy in the process?

How do you live life like an air dancer, throwing your hands in the breeze with an excited smile, letting go of trying to “make it” and focus on bringing joy to those around you?

These are serious questions I have with myself, people.

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I’m still figuring it out, but I will say this:

I believe the Universe does want us to succeed, if our hearts are in the right place. It wants us to hear the message whether in a quiet moment catching a spectacular sunset or an excited, mile-a-minute conversation. Happiness and joy are not exclusive to those who seemingly have endless resources and it all “figured out”; but until we can learn to appreciate it, cultivate it, and send it back out in the world or share it with those who need it, the journey’s like paddling upstream (which yes… I have done… and it’s no fun). This includes appreciating and getting excited for my fellow #bossfriends in their meticulous studios with artistic coffees, because we’re all in this journey together – and I think I like my worn-in, dog hair-covered stretchy pants just fine.

To all of you inspiring me to be the best at what I feel I’m here to do and be okay with just “being” once in a while, I give you my very best air dancer salute.

Hugs & High Fives,

C

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I’ve never been much of a “New Years Resolution” gal. Partly because most of major life happenings and shifts into big changes have happened in the late summer-early autumn months, so turning the page into the next year was merely a nuance of writing a new number at the end of the date. More importantly, it was the grand epiphany that one never needs to wait for a date or new anything to seek what’s in one’s heart and strive for self-improvement that made resolutions specifically on January 1st all the more silly.

And yet, I found myself needing something to launch me into the new year (other than shopping for a beloved new yearly planner, which yes, I do spend an absurd amount of time researching before buying). I’ve noticed over the last several years, each passing of the 365 days has been marked by some repeated big lesson or feeling or ah-HA! moment. In December it always – somehow – managed to come to a sweeping crescendo, and I took the bottom line into the great unknown as a tool and/or guide into the bold new year.

I began my “Word of the Year” tradition three years ago as at that time it became a trendy alternative to the resolution train; I loved it because it made so much sense. Instead of coming up with a boat-load of rules and restrictions, a simple “word” guides feelings and actions in a more objective kind of approach. When faced with a decision, one can ask: Does it align with my word: __X__? Yes or no? Weirdly enough, these words always came to me in big ways and I never had to overly research or think about it (which is great because I used up all my extraneous brain power on planner purchasing).

In 2015, it was Simplify: Cut the fat, get focused, learn the meaning of “No,” and quit doing a million things at once distracting yourself from what you’re REALLY supposed to be doing (and what REALLY makes you happy).

In 2016, it was Joy: Seek purity of heart and a lightness around hobbies and goals and pursuits, staying connected to the big picture and the “why” of it all.

In 2017, it was Responsibility: Stay committed to my vision & goals and the people who are supporting me to get there. I only have so many “yes’s” to give, so choose wisely – and give fully into each of those yes’s with gratitude.

In 2018, it will be:

*drumroll*

Space.

Yes. Space.

Yes, I definitely gave the Universe a “whaaaaa?” face when it hit, too. I even ignored it; and when it wouldn’t leave me alone, tried to fashion it in a more sexy word: intention, focus, time-management, etc. But it persisted, and it insisted: Space.

And then I totally cracked up because it was all too perfect, speaking simultaneously to my overtly Type A self and inner emerging woo-woo girl (not to be confused with “woo girls,” you HIMYM fans).

I mean, how am I really supposed to invest in my business, my relationship with my husband, my little Lowcountry community, my friends near and far, and my family, AND enjoy all of it when I don’t hold space to do so? And how do I hold space without taking out all my favorite multi-colored Sharpies and sticky tabs and planning well ahead so I don’t give away space I’ve committed to the above mentioned priorities? I MEAN it’s like my inner Monica Gheller* and Dharma* (of Dharma & Greg) totally collided and my new planner has NO IDEA what’s coming! {insert heart-eyes emoji}

*PS. Sorry to you youngin’s who may not get the early 2000s references but GET ON IT because you’re missing out.

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So, why “Space”? The vast, infinite void often scared me because it looked like “nothing.” If my calendar wasn’t full of To Do’s and appointments and deadlines, I didn’t feel like I was being productive or, that dirtiest of dirty words, “successful.” Sure, I would schedule in a day “off” but even then it was a time to do the things I didn’t think were priorities because they didn’t directly make me a profit or inch my status up the social ladder. I sacrificed sleep and spending time with family and friends to cram in workouts and laundry and got into a BAD habit of saying I could “squeeze” in another quick project or favor into the time & space I had originally carved to start putting my personal projects and goals into action. “Space” on my calendar became my greatest fear: 1) it made me feel unimportant, and 2) it meant I actually had to face these bizarre callings in my heart and my gut, raging like sugar-induced toddlers begging for attention and to be set free. There are a lot of ideas I see and feel – by GOSH, I can feel them, y’all! – yet they still were marked by a host of unknown variables, so I filled the space, instead, with plenty of easy ‘known’ ways to make money and feel busy.

The weird part is, I don’t regret those choices and experiences. I’ve learned the lesson well enough to where I can no longer ignore it, and I know the Universe/Big Guy/Higher Power of Your Choosing was setting everything up for the next big leap. The “Space” is an opportunity to dive deep, going beyond the surface level and seeing the wonders hidden in the tiny moments of the unknown, having faith they will be filled with progress and potentially other opportunities I haven’t even considered yet. It’s staying true to the responsibilities I do have in front of me, holding that space to better give them what they need. It’s finding the joy in the journey and letting go of things that may no longer have that inherent joy anymore, and being okay to say good-bye and surrender the “FOMO” for something greater. It’s strategizing more actionable ways to simplify, knowing when to say HELL YES! and politely smile and shake my head “No.”

It’s a new adventure, both grounded in knowing the time has come to push things into the next level and having everything you need to do so – and waiting to see what new worlds await me in that vast, expansive, unexplored atmosphere.

And just for kicks, maybe it’s a chance to invest in a pair of moon boots and see if NASA would accept a 30-something into their summer camp programs.

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photo shot by Whitney of W Photography

Sky’s the limit, as they say.

To infinity and beyond, my friends.

Hugs & High Fives,
C

 

PS. For those who were wondering, the planner I bought is from MochiThings and simply called “The Large Monthly Planner.” It’s simple, it’s understated, it’s HUGE, which I like, and has lots of room for planning and notes.

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