Redefining the Definition of Career Success in Today’s Insta ‘Reality’
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NYC 4:30am. My alarm rings it’s chimes and to my own surprise I don’t feel completely out of it as I roll out of bed, off of my brother’s Manhattan couch actually, where I had spent the night after getting in the afternoon prior from San Francisco. Five years later and I am still getting excited for that crazy early morning shoot at an epic location.
I am in New York for the National Sales meetings my company is holding. I will be rushing off to the office after my fingers stop feeling frozen but first thing’s first, the Brooklyn bridge at sunrise with Allie Provost who I’ve planned this shoot with for the past two weeks.
As I finish my fishtail braids and put on a dark lip stain, I shake my head and laugh “a red lip before the sun is up. Totally normal!” The weather is on our side, a crisp 33 degrees which a day later when it got down to 5 feels like a lottery win. Allie takes her test shots as I stand in the middle of the Bridge in my full-length puffer coat, waiting until the last possible second to take it off and proceed with my care-free twirl. In this moment, I feel so damn happy. Cold yes, a bit ridiculous sure, as early morning joggers and bicyclists swerve past my layers of tulle. But happy. This was a dream once, a bucket list moment. To watch the sun rise over the Brooklyn bridge, epic dress on, twirling in the cool air.
As Allie and I hugged and said our goodbyes a few hours later, I walked over to a nearby coffee shop. Throwing on my jeans and comfy sweater in the bathroom, before ordering my second coffee of the day and thinking to myself “the ‘after’ is always the best feeling”. That moment when you complete a task or goal which you knew would be a challenge. That quiet moment of “I can take a little rest now” is priceless.
I’m not talking of course about the simple fact of a photoshoot on a bridge. I’m talking about grabbing every little opportunity and moment of success, however small it may feel in the big picture of your overall life and cloning it over and over again until you can step back and see that you’ve been able to sew quite a large and intricate quilt.
“grabbing every little opportunity and moment of success, however small it may feel in the big picture of your overall life and cloning it over and over again”
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In my 5 years of blogging I have often mistakenly thought that until I could be a ‘full time blogger’ I did not achieve true success. Like all of us in the insta universe I have spent way too much time comparing myself to other influencers who in my view had climbed the IG mountain quicker and proclaimed their ‘quit your day job and chase your dreams’ mantra at the top.
I lamented the fact that between my 9 to 5 job, my 2 kiddos and the seemingly endless daily list of to-dos I could never fully do everything I would love to do with my blog. But one thing remained. I did not stop.
As I see the next wave of new influencers take their unsure steps and DM questions like ‘where do I start? What do I do to grow?’ I feel it is immensely important to share this single lesson which on the surface seems almost too obvious and simple. Don’t stop! Your success may not look like the cookie from the mold created by the entrepreneurs and influencers before you and that might just be the best part.
I’ve always kept my 9 to 5 and my blog careers very separate. So separate in fact that I often get confused comments and direct messages saying ‘you work?’ when I post a seldom work event or meeting on my IG stories. I am indeed a corporate gal, working in the wine industry for a champagne house managing Northern California for sales and events. I often joke that I should have named my blog ‘Blogging After Dark’ because most posts are created well after the rest of my fam is fast asleep, but I’ve finally come to the realization that for me at least, it’s the best of both worlds. Yes, I am sleep deprived and constantly feeling like I’ve got way too much on my plate, but I am also endlessly thankful. For all of the incredible opportunities I have been able to have because I live in these two very different worlds.
I recently read a blog post titled “Bloggers that also have traditional 9-5 jobs” by Dana Mannarino of The Champagne Edit and it put a big smile on my face. Among these was of course one of my favorites Jenn Lake, who is a huge inspiration for me of a woman who manages a big job (SVP at Zapwater Communications) and a BIG blog (Style Charade). Allie made the list too, and I learned that on top of running her photography business and blog, she is also a student. Basically, what I am trying to say to ya’ll is the side hustle is the new full-time job and please stop beating yourself up if you have not been able to turn your passion into your (only) career. In fact, there is almost no woman in my life who is not doing something ‘on the side’ as I often learn over a second or third glass of wine.
“the side hustle is the new full-time job”
The cherry on top of this overly caffeinated cake is that as I look around at my peers both in the blogging community and beyond, I see women who are working damn hard. Who are chasing dreams. Who are supporting their families. Who are grasping every opportunity and not stopping for a second to look back on some standard of how we should be defining our careers.
So, for my fellow side hustlers. Wherever you are in your journey, whether it is starting a blog, going back to school or venturing out into any unknown, DON’T STOP! Wake up excited, even if it’s at 4:30am. Brave the cold, literal or symbolic. Keep taking the small steps, because eventually you will stand on that bridge, looking out onto a beautiful city before you, thinking “Yes, this is just the beginning!”