Well, my previous entry was about my feeling directionless, lost.
Two days after that post, I got into another car accident. Thankfully, this accident was not as big as the previous one, but I was still shaken up. Plus, this time around, there are more doctors’ appointments to tend to than in 2010. A lot of these appointments have taken up the majority of my time since late July.
I attended SXSW’s inaugural year of their V2V branch in Las Vegas last month. A new twist on the SXSW brand; and, what can I say, Las Vegas is fun. Got to see Tony Hsieh’s startup community in Downtown Vegas; met many wonderful people from Austin, Kansas City, San Francisco, New York, and even Denverites/Boulderites.
When I returned to Denver from Vegas, I was on fire to get going with several new business concepts. Since mid-August, I have been working on the concepts and am ready to get the business plans written and then executed.
Unfortunately, heavy rain fell upon Colorado last week, causing many areas to flood. My bedroom in my apartment did not fare well: my landlord and I had to remove the padding underneath the carpet and have been blowing fans on the damage since Saturday. Hopefully this will be fixed tomorrow.
Now, I am in the midst of Denver Startup Week and I have mixed feelings about the kind of press the event has received. Stay tuned for that post tomorrow.
Umbrella for coffee. Just a random photo from my photography collection.
I feel like I have driven myself into the ground these past two weeks. That old familiar feeling: I am doing too much. I am overcommitted.
The difference this time, though: I have come to the conclusion that TAOpivot is not what I want to be doing for life.
I have not talked much about TAOpivot in the past month; I told friends that I would put the business on hold for about a month. Now, I am not sure if that will even be the case. When telling people what I do for a living, I have found that I end up mumbling my usual pitch about TAOpivot. Or, the spark has disappeared.
What am I to do next? I have kept myself busy ( and earning money!) with a few gigs with local startups in the time being. I realize I have reached my burn-out point with all the gigs floating around my head and around my work hours.
I have an idea of what I want to do next after TAOpivot, but I also am afraid of figuring out how to execute this idea.
Thus, I have been lost all weekend and today. My therapists say I should journal about this turmoil I feel; I have done so, but I have not come to any a-ha moment yet. It is hard for me to completely turn my back on what I have worked on in the past year, especially when there are still outstanding clients and prospects reaching out to me.
I just don’t care though.
That’s it, I suppose. That’s all I want to say for now.
My mind is spinning right now. Clearly, my usual Wednesday post has been moved off to today, Thursday.
Yes, I suppose I have reached a slight writer’s block for this week’s post, but there also have been many ideas whirling around in my mind.
One thing I would like to mention for the time being: I am the queen of winning conference passes via Twitter this year. Folks, you’d be surprised at how you, too, can also win opportunities like that, just by being more aware of who you are following.
Also, the past couple weeks I have been able to finally figure out my asking price for my writing services. Stay tuned for updates on those services, and please spread the word to your friends.
Finally, I am offering some “Pick My Brain” sessions for anyone interested. You can read more about that on a new page soon.
Off to finish the first full week of June. I can’t believe it is already June!
After my San Francisco trip earlier this month, I was exhausted: depleted of energy, frustrated with TAOpivot, and annoyed at how little time I had to myself off the computer. I was dragging my feet on meetings, tasks, etc.
So, last Monday evening I decided I would unplug for 24-30 hours. I was also cutting myself off from in-person interactions. All I wanted to do was sit in my apartment with my cat, read, cook, organize my bookshelves, etc.
Just some solitude for myself to rest.
The time unplugged and with no human interaction was just what I needed. I admit, I had not had a true day of unplugging … probably ever. Last December, I was on and off my phone and computer, but not too active. Still, that was not true, 100% unplugging.
It felt great to finally be able to finish some book club selections, rearrange my bookshelves (I notice I have a lot of health, business, and writing books; not enough fiction hmm), just RELAX. Come Wednesday morning, I was reluctant to hop back onto my phone and laptop; I wanted to stay offline for another day or two. But alas, I hopped back on to check emails from clients and connections.
It was only a little difficult for me to not check my phone, but I reminded myself that I was not missing anything. It’s true: I have come across articles lately about how our generation is growing increasingly “afraid” of missing out on social media when out and about. “What am I missing while I am in my meeting? What am I missing while I am on this date?”
I was reprimanded one time by my eldest sister for being on my phone too much. She asked me, “Are you REALLY missing something important by checking your phone every few minutes?” I tried to prove her wrong, but instead I proved her right (this was Thanksgiving 2011). Since this incident, I have been more aware of my habits with my mobile devices; I have made a point to put the phone away during meals with friends/loved ones. Nothing is so important online that I must miss what is happening right in front of me.
Hence, I do want to take my days unplugged more seriously. I want to enjoy my time with my friends and family instead of wallowing away on the Internet. I hope to implement unplugged days about once a week from this point forward.
This thought has been on my mind for most of this year and maybe part of last year: have I garnered attention to my accomplishments for the sake of my accomplishments and my own merit, or has some of it been based off of my standing in society as a minority AND as a woman?
I am probably not the first to have this thought; it is something that intrigues and bothers me. Earlier this year, I was thinking about applying for a small business award in the area. However, I have put those plans off until next year since TAOpivot is still pretty new (and only now gaining attention). Still, I was put off by the different categories listed for the awards: Best Small Business, Best Small Business Owned by Minority (Women included), and several other categories. I found myself questioning, “Why would I want to apply for the one that’s blatantly spelled out for me?”
Many times, I believe that groups, organizations, hell, even awards/recognitions can oftentimes wear the thin veil of segregation. Just look at some headlines that have popped up in recent media: “Best Female Leaders of 2013″, “First Hispanic CEO”, “Successful Black Women in Business”, and so forth. It is great and all to highlight these people, but to put that label on them? Can they not just be “best leaders”, “great CEO”, and “successful women in business”? Why do we have to point out what is “special” about their recognition?
In the end, it’s still segregation and borders racism. I know in my case, I want to noticed for my accomplishments and merits ALONE, and NOT because I am an Asian woman. Do not get me wrong: I am proud of my Asian heritage and proud of being a woman of the 21st century. But I do not want to have labels put upon me when I am recognized for my achievements. I just want to be recognized for being a living, breathing human being who has achieved great things.
It’s time we put those labels aside and be proud of who we are for what we do, and not for the color of our skin or our gender.
Joyful Harvest field trip to a local farm. For some of the kids, it was their first visit ever to a farm. Just some of the many experiences the center brings to Joyful kids.
Note: Not paid to write about Joyful Harvest. This is a situation dear to me, even though I do not live in Maine. To see a friend in pain, to hear about how the children will lose a safe haven if Joyful Harvest closed down….doesn’t this also bring pain to your heart?
Crowdfunding: it seems to have opened doors for so many. Projects getting funded left and right….dreams coming true.
But, should ALL dreams get funded? Even the ones that don’t contribute to society?
I’ll admit: back in August, I ran my own crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. I wanted to raise money for TAOpivot so I could pay for an intern and ease some of my financial burdens with running the company. I chose the flexible funding option; most of the money I raised was through my loved ones. I did not reach my funding goal, though.
In hindsight, I see that I did not have a strong enough campaign or message to compel strangers to contribute. However, as I watched which campaigns got featured on the front page, I also grew bitter. How come campaigns for making zombie figurines were getting overfunded and mine, a worthy social pursuit, was not?
My friend Shay, aka Black Girl in Maine, recently put up a campaign on Indiegogo to help her nonprofit organization, Joyful Harvest Center, to stay afloat. Joyful Harvest is a safe haven for children from low-income families in the Biddeford area of Maine. I hurt seeing how few people contributed to the fund; I hurt even more seeing how the center could potentially close its doors by the end of June due to lack of funding.
And again, I am reminded of why, many times, crowdfunding is a way to fund everyone’s dreams, but some dreams seem “more important” to the public than others. People would rather see more useless objects in our society than to fund organizations that are trying to improve society/our economy.
And then, these same people wonder why they’re unemployed, or why there is still a high-unemployment rate in the U.S.
Is this how human nature shows its true colors through this new way of funding? Have we, as a society, grown numb to trying to help each other out for worthwhile necessities in life? Have we suddenly decided that funding a statue of a not-so-famous celebrity on a dinosaur’s body is so much more important than helping a nonprofit organization for at-risk youth?
Sure, life is unfair, but if we’re a society built on making the next generation of leaders, why are we turning the other way when it comes to what Joyful Harvest Center is trying to achieve? What other socially-minded ventures are trying to achieve?
A vague title as I sit here and try to figure out what’s the best way to talk about this topic. Do you get what I mean? Do you feel like the society our ancestors (ok, maybe not MY ancestors, but…you know…) have built in the U.S. is stifling to some degree? Especially in this changing world.
About two years ago, I had this exact suffocating feeling when I first started my B-school program. I walked into my classes and felt that, as groupthink, many of my classmates wanted to be nothing more than hardcore businesspeople. I struggled during that time, trying to figure out “Am I only just a hardcore businessperson myself? But what about my creativity? Can I be both a writer and a businessperson?”
Even though nobody was outright telling me I couldn’t be both (and more), I felt strongly that society wants us to be in silos: you’re either a creative person or you’re not. You’re either in finance or you’re in painting; NOT BOTH.
Fast forward to the present, and I still see this prevalent in how the media portrays current events/etc. Have you heard about our former President George W. Bush and his paintings? There seems to be a lot of shock and awe over his newfound talent and pastime. As I read over the article linked above, seems that the media (and the general public) assumes that “He was our President. He can’t also be a painter.”
It’s this kind of mindset that keeps us in shackles throughout our lives. I was fairly upset trying to compromise my life during business school…until finally I decided, enough is enough. I CAN be a writer AND a businessperson. I CAN knit and also do business strategies. I CAN be more than what society would want to box me into!
From that point forward, I felt liberated. Sure, sometimes I still get the reactions of “Wait, what do you do? You do that AND this?” and I end up getting self-conscious for a moment as I get this innocent yet pointed question from others. But, in the end, I know that I must take those shackles off from my mind, my life. I don’t have to be just one profession.
And you don’t either. You, too, can break free and know that, whether you write poetry and play rugby, or you draw caricatures and do PR…you can be whoever you want to be. You don’t have to be in a box. We weren’t meant to live this way anyway.