“I’ve just been sooooo busy.” Oh just shut up, already!


Who’s that aimed at? Myself. I hate saying that line. And yet I say it all. the. damn. time.  I know it’s not an excuse for not getting back to my friend’s emails. I know it’s not an excuse for not taking the time to be there for others. And I don’t know what to do about it. Because, well, I am busy. But really I should change that to “invested.” Because I feel like that’s more accurate. And maybe it’s slightly less eye-roll inducing, (okay, maybe it hits high on your marketing cheese-o-meter, but that’s a challenge for another day).  And because I realize that saying you’re busy is not just a comment on your state of affairs. When said to others it can come off as vague and ambiguous and like you don’t care enough to tell them what’s really going on.

Recently I’ve stumbled upon a few articles regarding how people love to say that they’re “busy.” It makes sense. Being busy makes you feel like you’re being productive, like you’re doing some important work. Here’s one such article on the disease of being busy. Good stuff. Go read it and come back.

But one has to ask, why is it so important to tell others that you’re busy? And are you really busy or does your life just feel hectic? If you find your list of busy is just things you do every day, and it feels about right, well then maybe you need to re-prioritize what you do so you can add in more time for your relationships. If you count too many things and you also know you do those everyday, then you may have a time management problem. And if you’re truly trying to take something on, work on a goal, or help your kid(s) through something, or you’re swimming in the middle of a project, then say that instead of saying you’re “busy”.
I’m saying all of this because I am the worst offender of the over-general “I’ve just been RIDICULOUSLY busy lately and can barely keep my head above water.” And truth be told, it’s a combination of a lot of things.

I AM working on a huge project at work (debatably the biggest project of my career to date) .

I AM trying to meet a new goal of running a ten minute mile by St. Patty’s day so I’ve been getting up early and going to the gym a couple times a week (which makes for an early bedtime). (oh let’s be honest here) thinking about getting back to the gym as SOON as this work thing clears up.

I AM trying to figure out this whole potty training thing. I know, what’s to figure out? The kid just needs to sit on the potty. Yeah, yeah, yeah….trying telling him that.

Then there’s all the other not-so-monumental stuff like the extra five to ten minutes it takes for my son to put his own boots on, and get in the car on his own…”I DO, MAMA!” Okay. I got it. Guess we won’t be eating dinner until 7pm tonight because I now have to figure in the time it takes to wait for you do these things. I digress. Then there’s figuring out why my little coffee pot at work no longer works (such a sad day). Then there’s remembering due dates on library books. You get the point. As the list goes on, the tasks get less meaningful but they are nonetheless, tasks that still need to be accomplished.

What is not on my busy list? Writing and editing my book. Planning out ideas for the blog. Spending time with family and friends.

…And that’s my fault too. I had the thought of “I WISH those were on my busy list.” And then I mentally punched myself because they rightfully should be. And is there someone or something holding me back from making them a priority? Nope. But at the same time, there are only so many hours in a day. And even the though the saying goes, “You have just as many hours in a day as Beyoncé” I would say “Yes, but even she has to juggle at times.”

So I’m not busy. I’m juggling. I’m invested. But I’m hopeful that in a couple weeks I can at least start juggling a new set of priorities that I will be invested in.

Reader poll: Are you guilty of the “I’m so busy!” comments…or are you going above and beyond and letting others in on the heart of the matter? Inquiring minds want to know your sneaky habits!

Happy New Year!

New Years 2012

I love the New Year holiday. The celebrations, the glittery hats and the promise of a new 12 month adventure. Like most, I have mixed feelings about creating resolutions. In theory, resolutions provide us with a road-map for the year ahead. Revisiting or creating resolutions can be the first step in achieving fitness, personal or professional goals.

Of course, they can also be a recipe for disappointment. Rather than create specific goals, I’d like to focus on one word for the year. Does it feel like a cop out? Sort of. To me, this fresh approach resonates and feels achievable. When the motivation balloon has been deflated I hope to revisit my “2015 word” to gather inspiration and keep chugging along. A list of contenders:

  • Positive
  • Gratitude
  • Yes
  • Brave
  • Possibilities
  • Happiness
  • Determined

“Yes” made the cut because I’m currently reading Amy Poehler’s book Yes PleaseWhat an inspiring read by a bad-ass, positive chick. Love this:

It’s called Yes Please because it is the constant struggle and often the right answer. Can we figure out what we want, ask for it, and stop talking? Yes please. Is being vulnerable a power position? Yes please. Am I allowed to take up space? Yes please. Would you like to be left alone? Yes please.

“Yes please” sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It’s not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman.

“Yes” is great but it’s not specific enough. My word for 2015 is determined. Said better,

Wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction.

Determination mantra!

Determination mantra!

I’m determined to be positive, express gratitude, say yes, be brace, embrace possibilities and seek happiness every single day. I’m determined to have patience with my family and myself. I’m determined to write children’s books, keep running and above all else – have fun!

Happy 2015!

Fearing the Unknown


Growing up, I had a serious fear of missing out.

Here I was a little seven years old, enjoying a doughnut hole during Sunday school when our teacher introduced me and my classmates to the concept of Judgement Day. Excuse me, I thought, my little second grade heart racing. How have I been alive for seven, or eight, whole years and I haven’t heard about this…event? I had a dozen questions. My hand shot up into the air. I didn’t wait for my name to be called because my concerns were urgent. Urgent! In my little world, I was scared of being left behind in the bathroom. I was sure that come Judgement Day, I would be at the wrong place at the wrong time. My teacher thought I was being silly but my fear of missing out was real. So real, that I was kicked out of Sunday school for “causing others to panic.”

My fear of missing out only intensified over the years. I was the roommate who was always game for a late night workout, a late night popcorn break, a late night search for flights to Japan. Yes, most of my housemates were night owls and had unrealistic Spring Break expectations. I said yes to everything and in doing so, I overextended myself and filled my calendar. A decade later when my family and I moved into our first home, I listened to myself and the needs of our family and got comfortable saying no. Missing out is bound to happen. It’s a fact of life that we can’t do it all, at least not all at once.

Once I stopped overextending myself, I was left with some alone time. Why was I so afraid of being alone? Being alone is a glorious treat. Before my daughter arrived, I loved background noise. Giada’s Everyday Italian kept me company while I cleaned and cooked. Now, I love the silence of an empty house.

Fast-forward to today and I now have a fear of failure. When “older people” talked about failure, I envisioned life-altering events (or worse, a personal mistake) that lead to a lost job or failed marriage.

Now that I’m no longer checking the “20-29” box on surveys, I understand that the fear of failing isn’t about failure at all. It’s failing to not start.

My fear of failure is so real it cripples my ability to start. To start anything – a complicated recipe or a complex house project. It’s the reason I have a dusty sewing machine, a vintage doctor’s bag full of yarn and a handful of calligraphy pens. It’s the reason I’m drawn to books featuring underdogs and do-it-yourselfers. It’s the reason I’m inspired by friends – my husband included – who pursue their dreams over a well-paying job. It’s the reason I love people who chart their own course. It’s the reason I love Shark Tank and roll my eyes at people who brag about their parents’ accomplishments.

When I left my first ad agency job, my coworker gave me a really touching card with the following, edited, quote from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I took a leap and trusted my gut when I decided to leave that job. This quote validated my decision and that little piece of paper remains tacked on my cube walls. It’s a daily reminder to be myself and remain confident (even if I have no idea what I’m doing).

To me, this year feels like a lot of baby steps in the right direction. This blog is a baby step in the right direction – to encourage consistency, practice writing and create connections. Ragnar was a series of physical and mental failures that added up to an overwhelming feeling of success.When I discovered that other women were in my boat and felt like a fraud at work, I somehow gained (a little) confidence.

Small baby steps (infant steps? crawls? scoots?) take energy. It takes a lot to put yourself out there and take that leap (or carefully calculated step) into the unknown. But, I want to be successful and happy. There, I said it! I want to feel like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone when he shouts:

“Hey, I’m not afraid any more! I said I’m not afraid any more! Do you hear me? I’m not afraid any more!”

Successful, happy and not afraid. Oh, and I also want to be cool with making mistakes while practicing calligraphy because for fucks sake – they are swirly letters!  

You Have To Do The Hard Things

National Coffee Day

How do you get the “hard things” done each day? It’s fitting that it’s National Coffee Day – it’s the fuel that gets my day started. I rely on it again in the afternoon to help get me out of the ever-present afternoon slump.

A few weeks ago one of my teammates sent along this motivational article. At the time, my day was busy with urgent(ish) to-dos. Today, I pulled this down off my cube walls and found it to be motivating. Grab another cup of coffee and attack that to-do list!

You Have To Do The Hard Things.

You have to make the call you’re unwilling to make.

You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.

You have to give more than you get in return right away.

You have to care more about others than they care about you.

You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.

You have to feel unsure an insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.

You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.

You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.

You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.

You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.

You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.

You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts,”

You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.

You have to try and fail and try again.

You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.

You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.

You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.

You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.

You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things.

The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a lift of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage – or desperation – to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.


Happy Monday!

Three Positive Parenting Ads

Let’s start off the week on a positive note, shall we?

Typically, ads depict parents as outdated, hot messes. Until the holidays or Olympics roll around then, we’re hit with emotionally-charged ads that give us the warm fuzzies and we need to bust out the Kleenexes. Recently, I’ve been encouraged by a wave of positive parenting ads. These realistic ads showcase the best of parenting: it’s messy, fun, exhausting and rewarding. Case in point, I just typed “exhausting” twice.


Just in case these ads didn’t pull at your heart-strings, this one is sure to make you think twice about the overused phrase “like a girl.” Since watching this a few weeks ago, I’ve made an effort to not tell my daughter to “act like a lady” but rather, “please listen.”

Of course, these ads are meant to evoke an emotional response and leave you with a favorable impression of the brand. Mission accomplished. Share your thoughts and favorite ad in the comments below. Happy Monday!

The Best Interview Advice

Dorm front-desk worker: the first of many jobs scored by following this advice. There were vacuums to rent and frozen pizzas to heat - and I could work in my sweatpants. Dream job!

Dorm front-desk assistant: the first of many jobs scored by following this advice. There were vacuums to rent and frozen pizzas to heat and I could work in my sweatpants. Dream job!


When I registered for my first semester of college, I was certain that I’d graduate with an education degree and would be a high school English teacher. I know what you’re thinking, “But Lindsay, your sentence structure is wackadoodle.” You’re right, read on.

As I sat in my first class, surrounded by prospective educators, nothing felt right. My classmates would chime in during discussions and I often shook my head in disagreement, only to find I was the odd man out. Not only did I not belong but, I wasn’t passionate about the profession, only the subject matter.

A year later, I stumbled upon my first marketing class taught by Chuck Tomkovick. This man had energy, he commanded a room and had a sincere passion for helping students. Simply put, he was the best professor ever in the history of professors.

Chuck offered advice on how to ace interviews. All you need to do is make the interviewer think, “I gotta get me some more (fill in your name here).” Sometimes people laughed this off. But, years later when I switched gears into the land of advertising, this advice helped me to get past the initial interview. This mantra helped me to frame my answers and more importantly, helped me to stop rambling. To me, “I gotta get me some more Lindsay.” meant that I needed to:

  • Be myself
  • Be engaging
  • Be memorable

I’m not insanely smart or articulate. I’m a hard worker, a team player and really love to learn. So are a lot of people.
I like to do a good job and prefer to meet deadlines. So do a lot of people.

So, how to set myself  apart? I learned how to tell a good story and I stopped trying to be Perfect Lindsay. As soon as I stopped pretending to be someone I’m not, people started to perk up. I am honest about my experience and industry knowledge. I am sure to smile and crack a joke if one pops into my head. I dress like a fancier version of myself but, make sure that I’m comfortable. I ask questions and show enthusiasm (but not too much enthusiasm).

Sure, we all research the company, have our set of questions in-hand and send thank you letters. But, isn’t it liberating to think that by tucking in this little nugget of advice and acting like yourself you can get to the next step. One step closer to landing a great job.

This advice helped me tremendously. What about you? What’s the best interview advice you’ve ever received? What about the worst?

WWBD (What Would Beyoncé Do): Definitive Answers to Tough Questions

Beyonce motivational image

Let me start by saying that if you’re not a fan of Beyoncé, then I don’t think you’ll like this post. And to weed out the haters, how about you just pop on over to an article about Beyoncé that’s more in line with your tastes: OVER IT: Beyoncé Not Perfect? 14 Signs The Singer May Be Overexposed And Not Actually Immortal. I won’t be offended. She isn’t for everyone.

Now, for all the Queen B supporters, let’s get down to business. I’m a big fan of Beyoncé. Of course I love her music. Of course I think she’s a strong female role model. Of course I think she’s a damn fine business woman. And of course I think she’s inspirational.

So it makes sense that I would ask her to help me with some of my toughest dilemmas. Below, she weighs in with some hard-hitting advice. And then I provide my own interpretation.

Join me, won’t you?

Q: Little man won’t eat the nutritious, delicious, cheese-filled meal I prepared for him. If he had his way, he would be sustained on yogurt and goldfish, alone. Should I be worried?

Beyoncé’s official response: (gives a hair flip, a sassy side eye, and pretends to do an imitation of her husband in “Dirt off your shoulder”) “Do what you were born to do. You just have to trust yourself.”

Beyonce gif: Single Ladies

My response to Bey’s response: Okay, I’m not sure if that applies to little man, or to me, but either way I think the message is “Yogurt has protein and goldfish are considered a carb. The kid won’t die on that diet.” Okay. Feeling better about tonight’s meal-gone-awry.

Q:  I had a really terrible run and I’m starting to question whether I can even consider myself a real runner. I’m so much slower than everyone else. Should I call it quits?

Beyoncé’s official response:  “When I’m not feeling my best I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me.”

Beyonce gif: Move your body

My response to Bey’s response: So what you’re saying is I should give up and try my hand at becoming an international pop sensation, right? Not even close? That’s fair…I know I couldn’t cut it. But I think what you’re saying is that I can get back out there and continue to run because giving up probably won’t accomplish much. Thanks Bey…you’re spot on.

Q: I’ve been doing what I do for a couple years now. I always wanted to write and I’m doing that (now professionally as well as for personal reasons), but sometimes I still question where my career is headed and where I truly want it to go. How do I know if I’m on the right path?

Beyoncé’s official response: “My goal was trusting myself, and my goal was growth. I believe I had to go through my miscarriage, owning my company, managing myself….Ultimately, your independence comes from knowing yourself…”

Beyonce gif: Crazy in love

My response to Bey’s response: You trailed off a bit there, but I think I get what you’re saying. It takes a lot of guts to follow your heart and do what you truly want to do, because it’s hard to trust that you know what’s best, even when bad things happen. But, you need to continue to trust and know that you’re on the right path. So basically, I should take my husband’s advice and not throw it all away for a life as an underwater ship welder.

Q: When things don’t go my way…whether that’s parenting fails or career flops or fitness ruts (or all three at once), what’s one piece of advice you have to help get me back on my feet?

Beyoncé’s official response: “If you’ve been doing all you can and it’s not happening for you, go out and have you a good old time. Put on your sexy dress and move on.”

Beyonce gif: Strutting

My response to Bey’s response: That sounds like a great plan.

Q: I don’t normally have ice cream in the house, but we bought it when family came to town and now it’s tempting me. Should I give in even though I’m trying to be healthier (Also note…it’s Sunday night)?

Beyoncé’s official response: “I always treat myself to one meal on Sundays when I can have whatever I want. Usually it’s pizza, which is my favorite indulgence.”

Beyonce gif: Swaying with Justin Timberlake

My response to Bey’s response: It’s so good to know that you’ve got your priorities straight. Excuse me while I go pig out.

Finally, if you got through this post and you’re secretly still not convinced that Beyoncé is “all that and a bag of chips” (finger snap), I dare you to watch this and not feel hope for humanity…

(Note: If the video doesn’t load, you can also watch it here)

Finally, the moral of this post is…

Be fierce, be yourself and trust that you’re on the right path.


Acceptance is the first step in order to fall in love with your passions


How do you respond to the request “Tell me a little about yourself.”?

Typically, I launch into a 30 second elevator pitch – checking off accomplishments and current status. Went to school (insert school), work in (insert industry), which means (explain industry/company/role) and I live (city/neighborhood) with (self/people/family). Blah.

Last week at a work dinner, I was asked to “Tell my story.” As I launched into my typically story – bullet points about my past – I was interrupted and asked a series of follow-up questions. Many, many follow-up questions. It was a great way to get a few laughs at the dinner table and a memorable way to get to know someone deeper. Sure, I played tennis in school, but he wanted to know if I enjoyed it now. Throughout this line of questioning, he correctly deciphered that I enjoy running and loved cooking shows. It was a great way to get to get the answer: “What do you do outside of work? What are your hobbies?”

A hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for fun. I’ve dipped my toe into various hobbies but rarely do I dive in and give it my all. I rarely experience the reward in learning a new skill. I have a dusty sewing machine, almost-new knitting needles, half-assed attempts at calligraphy and boxing gloves. I’m not even certain how the boxing gloves made it into my closet.

The point is, we’ve all latched onto some craze or felt a surge of energy when trying something new. I enjoy learning about new subjects. I’ve checked out sewing books from the library and signed up for online calligraphy classes with little to show for the investment in time and money. It’s frustrating and annoying. Why do I bother to explore hobbies when the majority of them fail? Isn’t this supposed to be fun? Why am I stressing out about my calligraphy form? I’m sure someone could analyze the reasons why but I’ll take a stab in the dark and assume it’s because I think it’s easier. Easier to not try verses try and fail.

It’s easier…but not fun. Or fulfilling. Over the past year, I’ve experienced personal success with running. It took me months to even call myself “a runner.” It took me even longer to realize how much I truly love the sport. With every new investment – running shoes, race fees, clothing – I questioned my intentions and commitment level. Would this be “worth it” in the end? Ultimately, I experienced some level of “mom-guilt.” Everyone (EVERYONE) tells you to take time for yourself but, is this too much time? Too much focus on my needs and wants? Regardless of someone’s definition of “too much,” I fell in love with running and now consider it to not only be one of  my hobbies but, one of my passions.

Rather than skim the surface of my loves: running, yoga, writing…what would happen if I took a leap to really give it my all? The risk of failure is greater but the reward is sweeter (Jamie hits this point in another post). Ragnar gave me a taste into the pay-off of training. Now what?

In order to keep myself accountable, I joined my gym’s yoga/running program. Our class instructor sends out a weekly running schedule and healthy recipe. Each Saturday morning we get together for a group yoga class and go on a run. I was hesitant to sign up for this program because of the investment. It’s not expensive but, am I willing to wake up early every Saturday in order to run? Am I willing to make up these runs even if I’m out of town?

My goal is to continue running on a regular basis – regardless of race schedule. Plain and simple.This program combines my three fitness “loves” – running, weight training and yoga into one. How could I resist?

Getting “into” something takes guts and can sometimes be read as selfish. Who cares what others think. Just go for it and take the shot.

Three easy ways to get what you want in business (and in life, really)

coffee and a red pen.

My tools for success: Large amounts of coffee and a red pen.

Reader note: This was originally published on LinkedIn as I just got permission to start publishing on that platform. 

I thought it would be fun to highlight three bits of advice that have always served me well in business. These aren’t the only three, but they’re my favorite three.

1. Show, don’t just tell

When you’re starting out in any position, it’s hard for others to view you as an expert in your specific line of work if you don’t have a proven track record yet. You can shout it from the rooftops that you’re an expert, but until you start proving yourself, your words fall on deaf ears.

Example: Instead of telling someone you have a great idea to use a new app, show them how you’ve used that in other ways that have really enhanced a particular part of the business.

2. Make them believe it’s their idea

Countless times I’ve run into this. I call it the, “I’m sure your idea is great, but mine is always better because I have more experience/talent/insight/power, etc.” i.e. Don’t start pitching an idea to your VP with the assumption that he or she 1) has never thought to do the same thing…because you may be surprised or 2) is even remotely interested in what you have to say.

Here’s how that shakes out…

“Hi Jim – I’m glad I could catch your ear for a minute. I’ve heard you talk so much about the customer experience and how it’s so important and wanted to know your thoughts on how to make that better.”

Then they go into a great schpeel on their core ideas and focus and then you use that as opportunity to insert your ideas…reshaped as one of their own.

“That’s great to hear, Jim. So when you’re solving for x, y and z, you’ve probably thought about implementing this super jazzy widget…because it sounds like that would work really with what you’re trying to accomplish.”

And then at that point they have the opportunity to tell you that yes, they had considered it or that no, they hadn’t, but maybe they’d love to learn more about it.

And just like that, your idea is theirs. And they love you for it. And they don’t feel threatened.

3. Continually ask the most important question ever, “Can you tell me more about that?”

Or to put it more succinctly, “Tell me more.” I got this from Nilofer Merchant (check out Lindsay’s post on her concept of “onlyness”) who was a keynote speaker at a conference I recently attended on content strategy. Basically, the quickest way to get your ideas squashed is to NOT ask any questions. I have so much experience with getting shut down that I think I’m an expert on avoiding it now. This little question is now my best friend.

And this also is my number one reason for meeting face-to-face when I need critical feedback on something.

“I see that you want to change this line of text. I wanted to understand your decision better. Can you tell me more about where you’re coming from because maybe I misunderstood the intent of this piece?”

Any opportunity to let other’s talk about their goals, their frustrations, or what keeps them up at night gives you credibility, a better understanding of view points other than your own, and a great relationship with that person.

What are some other ways that you get what you want in business?

GIRLS: How being a hot mess can lead to amazing things




Can I be candid for a minute?

Don’t answer that. This is my blog post and I’ll say whatever I want!

I gushingly love the HBO show, GIRLS (and yes, I’m making “gushingly” a word). And it’s not just because I think its great entertainment. There are life lessons in there, too. I swear! Just hear me out.

What is this pile of…fertilizer?

My husband gives me a lot of crap for how much I like the show, GIRLS. I’ll admit, at first I was a little uncomfortable with the show. When you really break it down, it’s a show made up of a bunch of flailing, inept girls living off their parents’ money in Brooklyn, acting out every stereotype of East Coast girls I’ve ever encountered.

As much as I despise most of the characters, I don’t like to see them fail. But I also don’t like to see middle-aged parents that work hard getting taken advantage of by their whiny kids.

Keep that in mind when you come into your formidable years, little one.

But I kept watching for two reasons. 1) I wanted to see what stupid issues they’d come up with next and it was a train wreck that I couldn’t look away from.2) Well, let’s just say it made me feel safe and secure knowing that my life was MUCH more put together than theirs (sarcasm intended).

Seedlings rising up from a pile of…fertilizer

After a couple episodes of tolerating the characters and finding mild amusement, a funny thing started to happen. I actually started to empathize with their situations. Yes, they all look like a hot mess…but underneath it all, weren’t they just trying to figure out how to make a life for themselves?

Could I really judge them for all the times where they fell down and staggered back up to their feet? I couldn’t. Because I realized that I was witnessing them in the stage of their life where they were sorting out their shit.

And the show is still like that. Week after work, they’re sorting out their shit. They take one step forward and, seemingly, three steps back. They haven’t reached their happily ever after yet. And I love it. I love seeing their struggle because it feels so human to me. I love seeing their average, screwed up lives, and their really stupid mistakes, all in the name of learning what works for them.

We are all the pot and we are all the kettle

This isn’t just a post to tell you about other people being a hot mess. Obviously, I too was once in my twenties and I had plenty of my own hot mess moments.

And let’s be honest, I’m still just one incident away from being a hot mess, at any given time.

I have been floundering. I have been rude to people. I have had a huge ego and thought I had all the right answers only to be proved by higher ups that I, indeed, did not have all the right answers (or at least, the answers they were looking for).

I have made poor investments, both in money and in time. I have had ideas that I gave up on way too early. I have had ideas that I kept holding onto even when I knew in my heart it wasn’t the right path. I have struggled. Maybe not in the same way these girls have. And maybe at less of an expense to my parents (I hope). But I have struggled. We all have.

Is it worth it to fail nine times in order to succeed once?

“When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.” –George Bernard Shaw

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about motivational quotes that show that the path to success is through a lot of failure. And if we’re talking about GIRLS, there is indeed a lot of failure going on. I won’t spoil anything but you start to see the glimmers of success towards the end of season three. And mathematically speaking, that makes sense.

A large part of me thinks, “Good for them!” They are taking risks. They are willing to fail in order to keep working towards their dream. They are groveling if it means getting back on the right path.

And then another part of me thinks, “That’s not fair!” Because I see that while they may appear to be a hot mess, they’re taking strides past where I am in my own professional and personal growth. And it feels like I’m being penalized for making safer choices and compromising, at times.

I know it’s my own fear of failure that’s holding me back, which is obviously something these characters lack. But there it is: I’m not a risk taker. I fear failure so greatly that I’m willing to never try. I’ve never said, “I’m going to take this dream job that pays a fraction of what I make now in order to get myself on a much more fulfilling path.” No.

My mission statement so far has been, “I’m going to carry my weight for my family. I’m not going to jeopardize the life that we’ve built. Seeking my passion is selfish if it means putting others in harm’s way (emotionally or financially).”

That’s where the characters on GIRLS have me beat. They’re at a luxurious time in their lives when they can make mistakes and fail, and the only ones that feel it are them.

They’re not tied to a mortgage. They’re not key providers helping to support a family. If they get fired, they can go sling lattes at Grumpy’s and make enough to cover rent until they can find a job that puts them back on their feet.

I don’t have the luxury of taking chances like that.

Embracing your hot messness (also making that a word)

Now when I watch GIRLS, I have a new appreciation for what is being portrayed through these characters. Sometimes, their mistakes feel all too real. Sometimes, they make the mistakes that even I was too scared to make back then. Either way, I still get to witness them living out this crazy stage in their life, which of course should be labeled, the “hot mess” stage. And just like all of us, they’ll look back and remember their 20s as a blurry, scary, screwed-up place. But really, it was all necessary to make them into the amazing people they will be…about ten years from now.

So this begs the questions: Did you fully lean into your hot mess years in order to get where you are now? Or, are you currently living in the hot mess stage…wondering when it will get better? I’d love to hear your horror stories and your success stories. And I’ll share one of mine soon. I promise!

Whatever stage of life you’re currently at, just remember that taking risks and being a hot mess for a short amount of time could lead to some REALLY big things down the road. I think it’s time we all stepped up our hot mess game in order to make some strides in our own lives.

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