I Can Relate.

Sigh, sigh, sigh, yet another weekend has passed in NYC. I love it! I have had so much to write about, that in essence. I’ve had nothing to write about. I’ve written partial blog entries on my itouch while on the train and bus, but nothing complete. I do want to apologize for not having written in 2 weeks; I’m getting into the swing of things here in NYC. However, just as I was not pondering a blog entry, I received this email. The author will go nameless, as I’m not sure if they want to be put on blast on my o-so-popular blog (note the sarcasm with a distinct hint of aspiration). The email was titled, “I can relate!”

Hey Lauryn,

I was on your FB and found the link to your blog and just wanted to tell you I think it’s really cool! I read about the company you work for and was very interested. I was wondering how did you first get involved with them? And are they hiring?

I graduated this past May and am looking for work but like you I'm too much of a free spirit to take some of the jobs that have come my way (all government relations). I don't know if you remember when we were in UB how involved I was in student government, well it took me pretty far- all the way to being President of SUNY state-wide student government and working with the NYS Governor. Sounds great right?... Not really- honestly the job was the total opposite of freedom or any form of creative outlet, even my so-called free speech was under tight scrutiny (and control) soooooo I left it All. Once I finished my term in June, I refused to re-run or go straight into grad school and have been traveling ever since. I spent most of the Summer In Montreal (learning French & eating amazingggg food) and now in the Dominican Republic, getting reacquainted with my heritage and family...long story short I can definitely relate to your journey!

Now I'm looking for work and curious about exploring new fields, far from government relations work...

Hope to hear from you soon!

What struck me the most was all of it really.

It was the obvious sound of not liking where your life path was heading and the undertone of suppressed curiosity and the growing bravery needed to change course.

It was the travel points.

It was the disgust of overly anal critiques by rigid associates.

It was his spirit.

It was also because it reminded me of where, in a short month, I have landed.

For those of you that remember, it was a month ago that I decided to come to New York City. My plan was that I had no plan. I was tired of living out life 10 years ahead, only to be disappointed that my plans never worked out. And you know, they don’t emphasize that enough in business coaching or in school. They leave out the part that indicates that your plan is a guiding tool used to keep you focused, but that the outcome will most likely be a deformed, 3rd removed relative to the initial concept. Anyways, I said to hell with the over-planning and work to death mentality. That almost worked.

A week into my stay here, I was browsing Craigslist and found an ad for a marketing assistant with an Executive Coach/Speaker. For context sake, it was in that exact moment that I was contemplating how to be a business coach, so the ad sat as some sort of sign to me. It was the only job I applied to in NYC…ten hours of marketing presentation development and 3 interviews later, I had the job. Wooo! But wait, what happened to do nothing for 2 months? That lasted all of one week! Nice Lauryn, real nice. However, the job is everything I could possibly want.

I have a direct say in the conception and implementation of her marketing and sales plan. I also am the one cold-calling and tracking our results. I research potential clients, our market position and more. As a result, I help her refine her market, really niche it down so we can target our efforts and dominate! I’m writing most of the copy as well, for the website, emails, promo videos, etc. I have a strong, female boss who has dedicated her life to the development of women. In essence, I have a coach and mentor as well. I have the flexibility and creativity to dabble with different ideas and campaigns and enough structure to keep me balanced. It will most likely be the best and last job I ever take on.

As if that wasn’t enough, in the process of making her marketing presentation to get the job, I stumbled upon I Will Teach You To Be Rich.com. The website promotes automated financing, investing and how to freelance to increase income. The freelance part is what called to me the most. About 10-15 articles later, I was sold on the idea that I have enough talent and knowledge to freelance and make $1000 extra a month. So I began pounding away at that, trying to figure out how I could help others. I came up with what I called a Creative Brand Writer, aka a copywriter. Copywriting was a natural fit.  Numerous people had requested that I do the copy for their websites, business proposals and marketing material, most of which was unpaid. I love writing and I am great at marketing and sales. Why not?

So less than a week ago, I decided that it was time to get paid more consistently for such a skill and promote myself more, just to see what would happen. My promise to myself was not to work more than 5 hours a week, no weekend work and this was to be something I enjoyed, that would increase my income and prep for greater, future investments.

I drafted and posted a craigslist ad.

I also sent out an email to all of my Graphic Design friends, inquiring about their own business needs and potential joint ventures with me in the future.

Graphic Designers like to design the websites, not necessarily write the content. This is where I come in.

The result? Three email responses from the ad and one response from my good friend Alex in Boston. I now have a client that I am working for and a possible joint venture with my very successful and talented graphic design friend Alex.

Then I think back to one month ago when I had no idea what I was doing, I think back to a time when that cluelessness was draped with the fear of the rapidly approaching future in the big apple; home of bums, pot, hipsters, mean streets, starving artists and fashion divas. I then receive emails in support of my blog and my mission and I wonder how I arrived here. It began with a decision, a decision that my present life situation did not cut it. Then it continued with a step. You crawl until you walk and you walk until you can fly. I simply began to run my way to NYC and mid-course decided I run too much in my own life and enforced a strict “jog-only” policy. I fully understand the concept of hard work, but I do not fully understand the concept of hard-enjoyment (unless of course I am traveling).

In all of this, however, I will say that it appears that when you are on the “right” path, you face the least amount of external, unnecessary resistance. Resistance or obstacles are natural parts of any path to success. However, some paths are ridden with greater strife than others, and constant conflict should not be confused with the often-enough challenge to test your gumption and resourcefulness. It has been all too easy- in some respects- to get the job of a budding entrepreneur’s dreams and begin a freelancing career all in 2.5 weeks.  The hardest part was getting off my ass to get here. Paul Esajian from FortuneBuilders once said, “I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I knew I didn’t want to be here.” Those words stung me every moment I sat knowing I didn’t want to be in Buffalo any longer.

Getting in tune with your own rhythm (who invented this word? Why is it such a hard word to spell?) Is an ongoing process that no 5-year plan can immediately solve. Nonetheless, goals, vision and action are amazing devices to help you get there. Throughout these recent months, I realized that I was rushing to get to the top of an invisible pedestal. I began feeding into it when I was in college, envisioning myself as a powerful and charismatic diplomat.

That ended.

Then I took that same approach with a different idea, this time of a business owner who was a billionaire. I was racing so fast to this invisible goal, that I had brainwashed myself into believing was a solution, that I was essentially running in place, being busy and stressed out. It consumed me. I allowed it to define me, much the same way that anyone allows any identity to define them. Whether it be artist, Hispanic, poor, rich, Pisces, New Yorker, gay, party planner, whatever, they are all identities. My goal was an identity for me, and rather than liberating me, it was suffocating.

I can happily say that, with some practice and guidelines, I am much more balanced in this moment. I stopped the mental rat race, acknowledged my gifts and passions, and accepted the path to success. And I do what I like (most of the time). I manage my finances, invest and save wisely (I love growing money), spend when I want to on what I love and have the freedom and creative power to do as I please. In 1 month I will have increased my income by 50% by working 5 extra hours a week.

It’s doable. Totally doable. You just have to be willing to fumble forward and realize that life is a drunken dance.

I will lastly leave you with this thought:

It’s when you’re doing something that doesn’t seem so spectacular, that you’re changing the world.

We think that to be “great”, it has to be inherently difficult or we need to be Mother Theresa living in India feeding impoverished children from the milk we salvaged from a deformed, orphan goat. That is wrong. To be great versions of our biological selves, we need to grow and with growth comes obstacles which can be challenging, or in other words, difficult. However, the entire process itself is not miserable or difficult. Do not mistake a challenge in the midst of growth as the same thing as an overall hatred or painstaking dislike of your current situation. Bank of America, for me, was painstakingly agonizing. Growing a business has been challenging, but overall, extremely enjoyable and rewarding.

Learn the difference and jump out of the sofa couches of your own lives to sky dive into your new futures.

It’s possible. I did it in less than a month.

LifeLalita Ballesteros