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How To Avoid Living Your 20s on AutoPilot

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How do I want to be remembered? 

It’s only 1 sentence. 7 tiny words. But, this sentence might as well as be the prompt for each and everyone’s personal manifesto.

We so often think of our 20s as this chaotic decade. It’s the first decade where we are totally adults trying to figure out all the real world entails. This includes how to find a job, dealing with your first bosses, finding apartments, staying in touch with friends, making new friends, dating, relationships and maybe even marriage and kids of your own.

I recently listened to one of the best talks from Michael Hyatt. He talked about how this simple question can bring some much needed clarity, purpose and control into one’s life.

It’s the difference between leading a driven, drifting or designed life.

A driven life is essentially when we get trapped in the endless busy cycle. It’s almost like we become robotic moving from one task to the next. Simply living life on autopilot mode.

As the drifting life is more the scenic route where we just jump for one thing to the next without really thinking ahead. To illustrate this point, it’s as Ted Talk speaker Meg Jay said the people, who spend their entire 20s experimenting with no end goal in sight. They use their 20s as an excuse to delay adulthood.

(Sidenote: If you haven’t seen Meg’s talk, I highly recommend it. Watch it here. 

As Michael pointed out, both the driven and drifting life can lead us to outcomes that we may not have chosen for ourselves had we been conscious of the path we were on.

Instead, he argues (and I would agree) it’s about living a designed life. It’s one guided largely by the question I asked at the beginning of this post.

How do I want to be remembered? 

It’s less about your legacy – at least initially- and more about living intentionally. Working daily with a purpose and drive.

This is some really heavy food for thought. It can be broken down into two sub-questions.

What is important to me? 

What single brave decision do you need to make today?

Each person’s priorities will be different. Every one else will have their own agenda and priorities and will act on that. It’s up to you to make sure you don’t wind up compromising yours to live someone else’s .

The Dangers Of Living “A Facebook Life”

For most of us, we came of age in the era of Facebook. We created our profiles in high school and college. With a single mouse click, we could stay in touch with all of our “friends.” No more having to pick up the phone and call or text someone. It could all be done by leaving a very passive message.

Facebook taps into our human need for CONNECTION. And, it amplifies and quantifies it to a level never seen before. Connection is what gives our lives purpose and makes us want to get up and live another day.

The problem arises when the thing- in this case Facebook- that helps us grow more connected to each other is also robbing us of those same connections. It is contributing to a growing sense of angst, lack of purpose and disconnection.

We live in a world now where our lives are on full display and in critique of our 500+ Facebook friends. Every status update, photo, and video is seen through our friends’ eyes.

While that can create deeper connections, it also can create a need to script our lives, by only showing the best of the best moments. We feel like our ordinary moments- which let’s face it are most things- are too mundane. So, instead we only post the best of the best.

Think about it.

We spend months- if not years- planning our dream Facebook wedding(s). Sometimes even getting started before you even land a man. Come on ladies, we all have that single friend- or friends- who have wedding Pinterest boards.

We spend an hour plus in front of the mirror getting ready in the morning or before a big event.

We disregard 10+ selfies, before finally choosing the one to post on Facebook and Instagram.

All in a way to showcase our most perfect version of our self. In reality, all this ends up doing is creating more and more shame for ourselves and the ones around us. Something I personally know a thing or two about.

According to TED Speaker, Brene Brown, shame is really “the fear of disconnection.” It’s the feeling of not being good enough. Of not being worthy of feeling connected.

She argues the only way we can get past this is by allowing ourselves to be seen in our most vulnerable state.


It’s about living intentionally and letting go of our need for CONTROL in exchange for raw, extreme vulnerability.

Believe me, I know this is much easier to say than do. It’s hard to relinquish the desires to want to control and predict everything we put out there and instead live intentionally by sharing the good, the bad and the very, very emotionally raw.

How are you planning to live more intentionally? Please share below in the comments or by emailing me directly at selfiesandsweatpants@gmail.com?

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An Open Letter To All College Students

A couple of weeks ago I watched my baby brother walk down the aisle at his high school graduation. While I’m not sure how mature I am (seriously are we ever really grown ups?)  watching the speeches at my brother’s graduation gave me a new perspective.

While I know many of the challenges they are going to face in college and beyond (as I’m encountering many of them myself), there’s something awe-inspiring about their can-do attitudes and youthful optimism. And also a bit depressing when some of these kids have already done more than I will ever do. Seriously, one of my brother’s friends already runs a successful nonprofit at 18. At 18, I barely knew how to turn on the oven. Sadly.

Anywhoo. As I get older and more engrained in the real world work culture, I see more and more friends and colleagues giving up on their dreams. Be it for a significant other, their kids, or just because they think they are too old. That’s nothing short of disheartening.

We need to channel and preserve our imagination, scrappiness and can-do attitude that we had in high school and college.

Some may disagree. Others may call it naive. But I feel this is what will separate the dreamers from the doers.

Anyone can dream big. But unless you act on it and take a few risks, dreams mean nothing. You will be just another grown up, who has settled for a comfortable life where you are simply going through the motions on autopilot.

Once you get on autopilot mode, your blinders get larger and your willingness to take risks gets smaller. You get used to being comfortable. Then months turn to years, years to decades. Suddenly you are middle aged with kids who need to go to college, a mortgage, debt and some new health conditions. You realize that all your dreams and ambitions have gone by the wayside. It’s going to be much harder to achieve them -if not nearly impossible- as you get older.

I’m not sure about you but this absolutely terrifies me. I don’t want to settle for just an okay life because it’s safe and comfortable.

It’s seeing kids that in all due respect are only seven and eight years younger than me that have reminded me about that.

The only thing scarier than following your big, scary dreams from high school and college is choosing to abandon them for the safe and comfortable route.  As my favorite high school science teacher and mentor would say, life is meant to be lived outside of your comfort zone. 

What’s your big scary dream? And how are you going to pursue it? Please share in the comments below or email me directly.

The Definitive Guide For How To Make And Keep Friends In Your 20s (Free Ebook)

Download link to the free ebook

I am sitting here with Evernote open and a blank page starring back. All I keep thinking about is what makes me qualified to write an ebook all around making and keeping friendships.

Let’s be honest. I am after all probably the least qualified person to write a book about making new friends and keeping the old ones alive and in tact. I am perpetually shy and can be socially awkward when I am around strangers. I hate the feeling of going to large meetups where I know nobody.  And, I think the word, “networking” sounds dirty.

Let’s face it. I’m the classic Type A, semi-socially awkward, over-analyzing introvert (Yes, I admit it). I run away or chicken out from most meetups. In turn, my desire for the safe and familiar land of my couch and a seemingly never-ending Netflix queue has probably kept me from meeting a lot of really awesome, badass people. So, why on this planet should anyone read a book from someone like me?

As one of my favorite songs came on my Spotify Playlist: One Life by Boyce Avenue, the main chorus came blaring on. . .

“Open your eyes.

And know you’re free to come alive.

You’ve got to live it while you can.

We only get one life”

That’s when I had an epiphany. We only have one life. We all given a set number of days on this Earth. We just don’t know how many we have left. And, we all crave connections and the feelings of being wanted. We want the best moments of our lives to be ones that we shared with our closest friends and/or family. It’s after all human nature to want to feel loved, wanted and unconditionally accepted.

The hard part to accept is this isn’t a God-given right. It takes a lot of work to build lasting, true friendships that will last a lifetime. Or, even just good friendships that will last a few months or years.

In this ebook, I have compiled tips from 30+ truly inspiring, badass 20 and early 30-somethings. It’s separated into two sections. One for making new friends. And, another for keeping existing friendships through all of the changes that life throws at us.

I honestly don’t know how many people will read it. I don’t know how many will even care. While I secretly hope this spreads like wildfire, if this book can just deeply touch and resonate with just one person, I am confident all the self-doubt and confidence issues that I dealt with while working on this will be worth it.

Download the Free Ebook below!



How To Find Yourself And Your True Calling In Your 20s

In my last post, I wrote about the importance of getting comfortable being uncomfortable in order to find happiness. I wanted to take that a step further and dive deeper into the root of all this. It’s about PASSION.

Well, more specifically, it’s about discovering and chasing your true talent. A subtle, but important difference.

I feel like our generation – that of Gen Y- throws this term, “passion,” around too lightly. It’s all about doing what you love. If there is one video that could sum this whole sentiment up, it’s the Holstee Manifesto.

The Holstee Manifesto Lifecycle Video from Holstee on Vimeo.

In theory, I think the Holstee Manifesto is brilliant, inspiring, motivational, and insert 10 other adjectives. However, I feel like many people have taken this completely out of context.

It starts something like this. Find something that you fucking love. Keep doing it. And, then auto-magically the money will follow. While that sounds wonderful on paper, That’s a really naive way to chase your passion.

Instead of trying to turn your passion into something that you do 24/7, where at some point you are just going to set yourself up for a date with burn out. It should instead be about discovery. It’s about exploring and figuring out what your God-given talent is and what you are meant to do on this Earth. It’s about making that true talent- that only you can bring to the table- a priority.

The scariest part is most people go through their entire life on auto-pilot and never have the chance to really live and breathe their true talent and potential day in and day out. I’m not sure about you – but that’s absolutely terrifying.

So, how do you dial down the auto-pilot signal and start living everyday to the fullest? To be totally honest, I’m not 100% sure. But, I do know that it starts by looking at yourself and occasionally looking to others around you to find inspiration on how to live their true calling day in and day out. Here’s examples of four badasses doing just that.

1. Tessa Marie 

“When our lives create a change in others, we have left our mark.”

For Tessa, her true talent is photographing. (Although I would add storytelling to this list, as this photography reel is nothing short of compelling and impactful). It’s about capturing the everyday moments of laughter, compassion and beauty in the lives around her.

Tessa Marie Photography – Defining a Legacy from 3Ring Weddings on Vimeo.

2. Matt Cheuvront

“This is a call not only to stop measuring ourselves by the accomplishments for others – but a call to do whatever it is you do exceptionally well. You’re not average, unless you convince yourself that you are.”

Matt is a serial entrepreneur and blogger. While he runs a branding agency in Nashville, called Proof Branding, I’ve been following his work since his freelance days and the humble beginnings of his personal blog, Life without Pants. While pretty much every post on both Life without Pants and the Proof Branding blog pack a fist full of awesomeness,  this post on the fear of being average resonates with me to the core. It’s about diving in deep, facing your fears head-on and going full throttle.

3. Greg Hartle
Would you give away all your possessions (minus $10 and a laptop) and set out on a cross-country journey? My guess is that you would look at me like a crazy person and say, “Hell no!” But, that’s exactly what Greg Hartle did.

After a traumatic personal health experience, he had an epiphany. He got rid of all of his possessions and set out on a cross-country journey with the goal to help folks and rebuild his life with scratch. His blog  and the experiences he details are absolutely fascinating and a must-read.

4. Colin Wright
Most people fantascize about traveling to exotic countries for long stretches of time. But, most never do it. Through his lifestyle design blog, Colin has literally packed up all of his things (which like Greg isn’t much, as he is a minimalist) and moved to a foreign country- decided purely by the readers of his blog- for three months. Multiple times. If that’s not a badass way to live, than I don’t know what is.

Whether you are a wedding photographer, an entrepreneur, serial adventurer, or just a typical 20-something in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, it should ultimately be about discovering what you were born to do and then chasing it.

What steps are you taking to live your dream life? I want to hear from you in the comment section below. 

5 Secrets to Being Happy in your 20s

My 20s – well the first six years of it- haven’t gone as planned. Chances are if you reading this, your 20s probably haven’t either.

I feel like I’m on the world’s longest emotional rollercoaster ride. Some days I feel like I’m on the top of the biggest hill. Giddy, happy and enthusiastic.  Other nights – like tonight- I feel like I’m free-falling down the biggest coaster drop, and all I want to do is curl up into a ball and cry in self-pity, “Why me?”

I like to think that though all of the heartbreaks, disappointments and failures that I have dealt with, I’ve become a really strong mid-20-something female. I’m independent. I’m fighter with a can-do attitude. I can handle any curveball that life throws my way. The reality is most days I’m pretty sure this is just a facade. A coping mechanism that I put on to shield myself from all the trauma I’ve gone through.

The only thing that I can really think of that’s gotten me through all this is getting really comfortable being uncomfortable. 

I know this may sound like pure torture to many of you. Why would anyone voluntarily place themselves in a situation that freaks them out or scares them shitless?

But, looking back, the scariest, most uncertain times in my life has made me that much more appreciative of what I have and often have resulted in my fondest memories. It’s forced me to be vulnerable and live in the NOW. 

I feel like being vulnerable has negative connotations in our society. In reality, I actually think it’s a good thing. It forces you to be on your toes, open yourself up and be more authentic. Most importantly, it forces you to appreciate what you do have and live in the NOW.

As I’m going on like year three of what seems like a never-ending quarter-life crisis, the biggest lessons I keep encountering from my mentors- who are all older than me- all stem back to getting uncomfortable and living in the NOW.

So, how exactly do you get more UNcomfortable? Here’s five tips from some of my favorite bloggers that I keep going back to and re-reading day after day.

1. Get Comfortable Flying Solo 

How many of you have always thought about going to a nice dinner all by lonesome? Or, grabbing a drink at the bar by yourself? I know I have. However, I usually chicken out before doing it. I let self-doubt and the fear of being perceived as “awkward” or as a creepy loner get in the way of possibly a delicious meal.

Then, I look at bloggers, like Torre DeRoche, who took a 10 day solo retreat, and realize all the things that I am missing out on because I’m not comfortable going solo. As Torre wrote,  “This is why it’s so important to learn how to love your own company, to travel solo, to dine for one. We are each living out our own journeys and so we much take care of our own needs, desires and dreams.”

2. Dream Big, But Work Harder 

This is the first decade where most of us are flying free. For the first 18 or so years of our lives, we went to school and lived by our parents’ and teachers’ rules. Then, we had college, where we got to express more of our individuality, but still lived within quite a few constraints.

Our 20s are really the first time where we get to live 100% on on our terms. Many of us start out with big dreams. Most end up abandoning them fairly quickly- usually because of lack of instant gratification, a societal pressure to “be an adult” or simply it’s too hard.

The reality is it’s easy to cruise on auto-pilot and succumb to societal pressures of being an adult in a 9 to 5 TPS report-filing cubicle job. If you want to live like they do in Office Space, by all means do it.

However, if you have bigger dreams and aspirations, it’s going to require a shit ton of work.  Like this post on the The Porch Dallas, you will need to be willing to forge ahead with a lot of hard work without a lot of instant gratification.

“Almost nothing truly worthwhile comes quickly. It takes time and discipline to become an Olympic athlete, or to simply get in shape; to get a degree, or become a CPA, or become a great husband or wife. And any of the things you truly want long-term can be derailed by indulging yourself in the moment.”

3. Don’t Settle. 

It’s not just being willing to dream big, but it’s also about not being willing to settle in your 20s. This is really the only decade in your life where you are expected to explore and try new things without having big ramifications. Once you have a wife/husband and/or kids, you have a lot more responsibilities to handle. And, a lot less ability to explore and take risks.

Don’t blow the opportunity by settling and getting too comfortable in your 20s. According to the Milk The Pigeon Blog, “the problem with comfort is that it’s boring. You don’t acquire life experience through comfort and familiarity.” 

4. It’s not your practice life.

Don’t just succumb to wanderlust and exploration with the thought of I can just start my real life in my 30s. There is no do-over time. Explore and take risks, but with a purpose of finding your true identity and calling. Make your 20s count for something.

As Penelope Trunk said, “Take your life seriously enough to be able to share difficulties and failures,” said Trunk.  “And remember that the best decisions you can make are ones that will last into your thirties. That way, you know you are doing things in your twenties that will matter.”

5. Being able to answer this question honestly.

What does it mean (for you) to live a good life? Not sure. Check out this brilliant video from Jonathan Fields as he interviews 29 change-makers on what leading a good life means to them.

What tips do you have for getting comfortable being uncomfortable in your 20s? Please share in the comment section below.

Gen Y Budgeting Tips: 11 Things You Shouldn’t Try To Buy Cheap

If you are in your twenties, like me, there’s a good chance that you aren’t exactly rolling in large amounts of money. Budgeting builds character and responsibility. When you find something below your budget, it can feel super empowering. However, not all cheap deals are worth taking. Here’s a few things that you really shouldn’t try to get a “deal on.” It may hurt the wallet a bit, but trust me, these things are worth it.

1. Laser Hair Removal/Botox/Plastic Surgery

Now, I’ve lost count of the number of daily deal emails I’ve seen for Botox and other body-enhancing medical procedures. Let’s just say qualifications, experience and referrals should triumph a potentially life-threatening cheap find.

2. Gun Safety and Instruction Classes

This should be a no brainer. If I’m going to learn to operate something that can potentially harm me and the people around me, I want to make sure I’m in good experienced hands.

3. Sushi

It’s raw fish. Seeing a deal should raise your spidey senses. Food poisoning, anyone?

4. Physicians

I’ve kind of touched upon this already, but the best doctors are the ones with raving referrals and an extensive track record of excellence. That’s usually not the cheap ones on deal sites.

5. Lawyers

Again, this is just like physicians. Experience and an excellent track record should triumph getting a good deal.

6. Mechanics and auto repairs

Now, I confess I always feel like a fish out of water in auto repair shops. I always have that vague sense I’m going to be ripped off, but I don’t really know enough to ask. That being said if you don’t want to find yourself stranded on the highway, it’s best to make sure that you find reputable mechanics.

7. Skydiving

Now, if you are crazy enough to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I’d hope you would research the skydiving company and their safety history. But then again, you could just be crazy enough to buy a deal anyway, and then I wish you the best of luck.

8. Lifevests and life rafts

If you ever found yourself in the unfortunate situation of being in a boat wreck, the last thing you probably want to think about is if your life raft will keep you afloat until you get back on dry land.

9. Condoms

If you aren’t ready to be a mommy or daddy yet? Or, don’t want any STDs? You should probably spend the extra dollar(s) on the legit condoms. Nuff said.

10. Travel/Vacations

Vacations are a chance for you to de-stress, relax, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Sacrificing fun and relaxation for the cheapest deals is not recommended. If you have the resources (or wait a few extra months to save), so you can splurge on that nice hotel room or the flight that doesn’t live at 4 a.m. from the airport that is 1.5 hour from your house.

11. Mattresses

Bed bugs, anyone? Not only will you most likely be sacrificing comfort, but who wants to buy and sleep on that “gently used” mattress full of dust mites, hair, and God knows what else.

What items do you never buy cheap? Please leave them below in the comment section.