Can You Feel It

I’ll be the first to admit, you’re a tough critic, especially when it comes to the critique of your own actions and interactions. But, as part of your 2016 resolutions, you’ve absolved to let yourself off the leash. At 28, you’ve realized you’ve grown significantly since your early 20’s, but with maturity comes humility. You’ll be the first to admit that you’re just scratching the surface as you slowly pave your ever evolving life path.  By the way, the road to personal and financial success (which can never be measured through monetization) is far from straight and narrow. But, as you soldier along, you push yourself to create or attend events/situations where you can meet and learn from those further along the road.

I will never forget the day your Dad, Jason, dropped you off at Encino summer camp. As a child you were very shy. But, eager to fit in, you wanted your father to introduce you to the other kids attending your summer program. As you clung to your father’s leg, your Dad (whose 6’4) dropped down to your eye level. He didn’t coddle you or shun you. But, he refused to make an introduction. If you wanted to meet the other kids, all you needed to do was muster the courage to walk over and say hello (by yourself). It was a small moment that shaped such a big part of your character.

Life is riddled with obstacles. But, if you want something, you’re the person who needs to make it happen. Both of your parents have taught you how to find opportunity in seemingly inopportune moments. So to bring this back to the original catalyst of this post, you now work for a media company headquartered in Chicago. As much as you love your shift into the brand space, your co-workers are based in Chicago. As a result, you feel isolated. But, you learned from a young age that the best way to change a situation is to fix it (or at least try to remedy what you have control over). So given your tenacious nature, you researched co-office working facilities. You gave a compelling argument on why it was a necessary remedy to your predicament and won. As a consequence of your immersion into a co-working facility, you got the opportunity to attend an event where you met the CEO of a major international ad agency as well as the CEO of a thriving production company.

The lesson you learned years ago from your father quailed your fears about making any introductions. You forced yourself to ask a question during the panel as well introduce yourself  to both CEOs. But, this post isn’t about your commitment to courage it’s about your commitment to evolving. Both of these entrepreneur’s professional success is predicated by their dedication to (authentic) emotion. The presentation included example content which effortlessly infused a range of emotion into every storyline. As a result, you felt disappointed in your own work.

Then, when you went to introduce yourself to the CEO of the ad agency, you felt yourself turn on. You didn’t know how to turn off, your nerves took over. Subconsciously, you wanted to try to be memorable,  but that’s the worst way to go about anything. You just have to be yourself. Anyways, he is a successful man rooted in honest interactions. He’s not a man to respond to praise. His candor shocked you and you tried your best to shake your nerves throughout your 10 minute conversation. But, internally you berated yourself. As a highly critical person, I can say your conversation went well but you’re still learning. You need to give yourself a break, girl!!! As part of your dedication to evolving, you learned two valuable lessons.

  1. Content needs to evoke emotion. Not only does it need to evoke emotion, the emotion needs to feel familiar but also surprising. If you create content that lives on with a person after they’ve viewed it  then you’ve done your job.   As you  evolve as a storyteller, you  will strive to create compelling content. Ultimately, your goal is to evoke  emotion and fully immerse the viewer,  you want them to live in the feeling (so raw, it’s tangible).
  2. Interactions need to be rooted in authentic emotion. You relate to people because your honest (even if it means revealing your own shortcomings).  Tonight was a reminder to always just be real, don’t ever try to be something else, it doesn’t work.  Also,  flattery is devoid of emotion. Success is rooted in pain, struggle, highs and lows (all tangible feelings that are universally relatable). Also- tonight was another great reminder that success doesn’t have to make you a douche. Be kind and open always. Both CEOs (who run multi-millionaire dollar companies) were compassionate, humble and kind.

RESOLVING TO RESOLUTE

Lu, happy 2016!  I know we’ve taken a little break. Sometimes, you just need some space to think. Every time I write you a letter, I want to give you something. Sometimes it’s just a detailed memory other times it’s food for thought. Typically, I enjoy writing about dating because dating stories are universally relatable. Lately, I don’t feel the need to recount dates. Everyone you are talking to at the moment feels transient so no need to dive in or discuss. When you’re in a good place, things tend to come together. When it comes to your career, you’re always striving to progress to the next step or increase your skill set. As you push yourself in this coming year, I want you to focus less on financial success but rather focus on present goals while working your way towards the big picture. Sometimes we got so blinded by our own ambition that we forget to be present in our current situation. You’re still building the foundation of your life, so it’s ok if its not perfect right now.

I’ll let you in on a secret Lu, life is never going to be perfect. Leave room for change. Sometimes your dreams or your life changes and that’s ok. Give yourself room to explore friendships, relationships and passions.  You can’t know if you love something or hate something unless you try it. If it doesn’t work out, it will be fine. Give yourself obtainable goals. Be open to different opinions or new opportunities. Appreciate everything you have now. Your life may never be perfect but you’ve worked hard to maintain a great relationship with your family and have continued to garner wonderful memories with unforgettable friends. Cherish these moments. Life can change in an instant. The key to being happy is savoring these moments. Finesse your skills. Learn more about budgets, read more, ask questions, continue to speak up on calls, go to more meetings–all of these things are part of the building blocks that will make you successful. Remember that happiness is a choice and continue to choose to be happy. Acknowledge your feelings. Please continue to be honest with yourself about your emotions but don’t overindulge in any for sympathy. Always trust your gut. You can lie to yourself all you want but the only person your hurting is you, so what’s the point?

Also, try not to indulge in comparisons. In the words of Kanye West, 23b9d81304a4db6787cb433ea2f71a11

One of your biggest guilty pleasures is comparing. You’re human so you will have the compulsion to click on your ex-fling’s current fling’s social media page or find yourself perusing some model’s life on Instagram—when you get there, close the tab. Don’t worry about what other people are doing, just go live your life. Most importantly, always have faith and hope. Don’t expect the world to hand you everything you want in life. Do the work and trust that it will take you where you need to go. Keep enjoying all the wonderful things you’ve already received in this life. Don’t forget, a lot can happen in one year. I’m ready for the next chapter 2016.