Why I Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business

Why I Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business

Why i Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business

Being a writer/editor is rewarding, enjoyable, and sometimes even glamorous (and sometimes SO NOT glamorous). That’s all you can ask for, right?  Wrong! You can also ask for money! I have said it before, I’ll say it again: the word “starving” is not required before the word “artist.” Creatives don’t need to suffer in order to produce awesome work!

But.  (There’s always a but….)

Since I don’t believe money is naturally good or bad, we need to know when money acts as a good thing and when money acts a bad thing.

In my life and particularly my creative business, money acts as a bad thing the second I choose profit over integrity. That is why I have decided that the foundation of my business is and must always be integrity. It will be the ground I walk on as I grow, expand, succeed, fail, and succeed again.

Why I Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business
Story time:

I recently landed a job (yay!) as a social media manager and content writer for a company, working only a couple hours a week. Without sharing many details, this company sells a consumable product with an all-natural ingredient that has a long list of benefits. As a proud hippie, I’m all about all-natural health products, so I was EAGER to create their content.

I spent a couple hours talking about specifics and negotiating my prices. Then I was hired.  I love being hired as a freelancer. I become giddy. But the giddy ended quickly after I immediately did more research on this super ingredient and found it has traditionally been used as an abortifacient and can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.

Women are my audience! Women’s issues are my issues! I want women to be healthy and safe.  Thus – I can’t work for a business with a product that can terminate a woman’s pregnancy and bring other potential harm to her health.

They were going to pay me good money, and I turned it down.  Honest moment: there was a twinge of sadness that I’d be losing decent weekly income from easy work I enjoyed doing. The Boyfriend had to take me out for a drink that night. And don’t think I didn’t try to think of other possibilities like “Well I’m not technically SELLING the product…”  But no! NO!

In her book Rising Strong, Brene Brown brilliantly gives her definition of integrity:

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

If I had kept that job, I would have been comforted by the fun, fast weekly paycheck. I’m a freelancer – any amount of money feels like a squishy pillow to rest my crazy head.  But I can’t talk about fighting for women and then work for a company that goes against what I want to see for women  – healthy lives!

My fellow creatives and business owners and human beings:

If we get rich, but lose our integrity – what was it for?

If we choose comfort, but lose our courage – what was it for?

If we choose what is fun, fast, or easy, but lose what is right – what is it for?

If we profess values, but don’t practice them – what was it for?

Profit is great and necessary. But profit means nothing if we lose who we are.  As for me and my business, we’re gonna take the hit every time.  Anybody else in?

Here’s our manifesto:

The Integrity Over Profit Manifesto

What does integrity mean to you?  Let me know in the comments!

Blogging: I’m Coming Back to the Heart of It

Blogging: I’m Coming Back to the Heart of It

I started blogging because I had something to say, and I liked to write. Somewhere between then and now I lost the IT.  The WHY THE HELL am I doing this.  I’m taking it back.

If you’re not in the blogosphere, you may not know that there are literally THOUSANDS of articles out there on how to create the perfect blog/post to receive views.  Tips to go viral, build readership, etc. The more views you get, the more followers you get and opportunities to write PAID sponsored posts and advertisement.

That’s all great.  There is nothing wrong with this; everybody should learn about their craft AND pay the bills.  Nobody wants to do a lot of work to get only 5 hits on your new blog post.  But I had slowly felt inundated with feelings of inadequacy when reading about these algorithms to get high views and followers.

Things like:

the exact way to phrase a title to make it totally Pin-able

the exact way to create images for Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

the exact group to join to boost your comments

the fonts and hashtags to use and not use

the phrases and topics to use and avoid

the way to format your paragraphs just right for optimal reading

the need for writing 6 posts a week that are all the “correct” word count

the exact way to become a social media master

I couldn’t keep up.  I had SO MUCH anxiety.  Instead of enjoying writing about topics I’m passionate about, I was freaking out and spending SO MUCH TIME putting out these “perfect” posts that followed x, y, and z.  Some did go mildly viral.  My following even grew some.  But I lost the IT of why I wanted to blog.  I wasn’t always being fully true to myself.

All this info on blogging is valuable and may be the exact way I should be doing things to make money, grow, and extend my reach.  If you’re a blogger, it may be some of the most solid advice you can take.  But I’ve come to my own personal conclusion since I can’t keep up anymore:

To put it eloquently, F*CK IT!

I’m tired of trying to force my words and ideas into a certain box that’s considered the “way to do it” even though it truly may be the way to do it.  I’m doing it MY way. I want my \ blog to be so incredibly…me.

I sat in bed this morning and looked at some of the blogs I adore that got me into blogging.  These are all HUGELY popular.  I noticed something.  They aren’t all the same or following the same “rules.”  Not by a long shot.  And they don’t always have perfectly cropped and edited images.  Each of these blogging women simply have interesting lives and ideas, and they share them with their readers. 

On one of her “Big Magic” podcasts, Elizabeth Gilbert (my idol and author of Eat, Pray, Love) said that in order to be interesting you have to be interested.  I want my blog to be interesting.  Instead of spending all my time studying how to make a Pin on Pinterest bring in thousands of views, I want to soak up all the things I’m interested in.  That interest I have will seep through and make my blog interesting.

And you guys – My life IS interesting.  For example:

I woke up this morning (Sunday) in my studio in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, not knowing what I was going to do today.  Hours later I was belly down on the net of a catamaran and three dolphins swimming RIGHT underneath me!!!!  I could almost touch them!!!  They would jump in and out of the water as if they were putting on a dance.  It was rad.

Maybe a better blogger would have had a camera right there to capture the moment to share it with their readers.  But GUYS!!!!!   I was too busy seeing the dolphins to think about getting the perfect shot.  And you already know what a dolphin looks like!  If not, here is a stock photo:

dolphin-203875_1280

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!

Then, with snorkeling gear in hand, I went down the catamaran’s slide and into the Pacific.  I saw schools of yellow and blue fish.  AND THEN I HELD A REAL LIFE OCTOPUS!!!!!!  Or rather, it held me.  It suctioned right on to my arm.  AND THEN I HELD A REAL LIFE PUFFER FISH!!!!!!!   I also didn’t get a picture of any of these instances.  Holding an octopus makes you forget to pull out your iPhone and decide on the perfect VSCO filter for your blog.  Here’s a stock photo (not me, obviously):

octopus-523654_1280

I want to share that stuff with you guys.  To me, that’s what’s interesting.  I don’t have the time or the emotional strength to follow all the rules that are supposed to make your blog the latest and greatest.  I’m too busy being interested in other things.  But I promise to share those interesting things with you!

Here’s what to expect: I’ll be writing two or three posts each week that will probably be on travel, womanhood, faith/spirituality, creativity, love, and whatever crazy things/opinions I have up my sleeve.  We can talk about how not to just survive life, but to really THRIVE!  We can talk about the hard and controversial things.  It won’t always be pretty because my life isn’t always pretty.  I may cuss.  I’m not shying away from topics that would traditionally be considered bad for keeping followers.  I will attack the real oooey-goooey parts of life.

I have plenty of freelance clients who can use my knowledge of algorithms and creating viral content.  Here, this is just me.  All my opinions, ideas, and interesting parts of my life.  Without the fear of how many people will click to read.

 

P.S. If you’re a blogger choosing to do your blog a different way, I TOTALLY SUPPORT YOU.

P.S.S. Here is a pic we actually did take today.  Onward, fellow travelers of life!

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This Blog is My Fight Song

This Blog is My Fight Song

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Why blog?  They ask all the time.  The store clerks, blackjack dealers (Vegas girl), professors, strangers, coffee shop owners.  Why even bother writing in a flooded market?  Why waste the time?  Why not make the big bucks?

My only answer: Because I have to.  I have to write.  I have to speak.  But the artist Rachel Platten gave me better, more elegant and poetic words to describe this phenomenon through”Fight Song.”

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

I know I’m that small boat in a very big ocean.  I know I’m a single word, and only one match. But here’s the thing!  I’m full of those wrecking balls she sings about.  They are the words I didn’t say for too long.  I spent years of my life feeling silenced.  Literally being told to shut my mouth because God values men’s thoughts more than women’s thoughts.  And I can’t do that any longer.

So I will write.  And you may or may not read.  But I will write.  Because this is my fight song. I’m taking back my life and I’m showing it off.  I got to wake up one morning as a 22-year-old and say “I’m going to fight to make my life the best life possible.”  Two years later and I’m still doing that.  You can too. This blog stands as documentation that I have fought and will fight for a beautiful life.

What’s your fight song?

Featured Image by the lovely and talented Bethany Paige Photography

My New Year’s Resolution – Time Management: Structured Enough for Success, Flexible Enough for Fun

My New Year’s Resolution – Time Management: Structured Enough for Success, Flexible Enough for Fun

resolution2

I always know I’m going to enjoy a yoga class when the instructor begins by reminding her yogis to set an intention for their practice.  To focus our minds on something important.  Like acceptance, breathing, or joy.  Throughout the hour my intention is always in the background of my mind.

I see New Year’s Resolutions like I see Yoga Intentions. I’m not one for super goal-oriented resolutions.  I don’t have a weight loss number or organizing mission.  And hell will freeze before I give up sugar.  But I love setting my intention for the year.  The theme for the next 12 months.

For last year’s Resolution/Intention I had chosen To Be a Gatherer of Experiences and Friendships, and not a Gatherer of Things.  Let me tell you – I definitely wasn’t a gatherer of things. Girlfriend spent the year broke.  But experiences and friendships?  I gathered those two treasures like a boss.  I said “Yes” as much as I possibly could.  I traveled lots, spent time with cool people, and did as many awesome things I could fit into 8,760 hours. I was entirely satisfied with 2014.

10881906_10152958436933210_6967149610041150626_n 10897836_10152958437188210_6586476572839541405_nSome of the year’s experiencing and friendship-ing 

Then 2015 started to come near.  I had no idea what my Resolution should be.  I tried to come up with a poetic, inspired theme for the new year to match the winner I came up with last year.  But all I kept thinking of was “Time Management.”  Boring.  But you know what – it’s exactly what I need.  2015 will most likely be the craziest year I’ve ever lived.

From January to July I will be going to school full time, building up this blog, doing as many freelance projects I can fit in, working out four days a week, recording my first EP, prepping for a move (to somewhere undisclosed), continuing the pursuit of experiences and friendships, and, ya know, sitting now and then.  Then July through December I will be my own boss for the first time while living in a new place.  In order to do it all I must practice effective time management.

But here’s the problem.  In the past, I have been an obsessive and inflexible planner.  This past year was the first time I had really learned to let go and let life happen – thus all that gathering of experiences.  So my time management cannot come at the expense of living a full life.  Thus, my New Year’s Resolution:

To be Structured enough for Success and Achievement and Flexible enough for Creativity and Fun.

Resolution

I really have no idea how to have structured Time Management as my own “boss.”  With the exception of school, everything I need to do on the daily I will be in charge of.  No talking head will be telling me to do this at 11am and that at 4:30.  I’ve had a few ideas on how to accomplish this:

1. I bought a cute planner at Target

Yes, it has to be cute for me to use it.  Do I think I will actually use it?  No clue.  But I’m going to try.  Planning out a day on my phone doesn’t work for me, so I’m going to give old-fashioned paper a shot.  I’m also only using pencil on my planner, because sometimes plans need to be erased or moved to make room for creativity and fun.  I’ve also started a blogging planner to help keep this blog going strong.

2. I need to slim down Social Media

I’m a social media addict.  It’s hard to tame a necessary addiction.  In order to be a blogger, writer (and human?) – social media becomes a requirement.  But I can kill way too much time pinning, tweeting and instagraming.  There only needs to be a few minutes of social media a day.  I can’t ruin a day full of potential by reveling in other people’s lives on social meda- I must go about living my own.

3. Leave room for Rest

I know I’m entering the busiest year of my life yet.  And I will push myself to a new level.  But I must allow myself to rest.  Burning out or getting sick will do me no good.  I need quiet time: reading a book, taking a bath, or watching a movie.  I have a feeling that the Rest/Work/Play balance is more of an art and less of a science.  I’m planning on listening to my body and letting it lead the way.

4. Remember Why

When it all gets overwhelming, and I go to bed wondering what they hell I’ve done taking a chance on my dreams – I will remember why I’m doing it all.  I’m pursing every dream because I have one life that moves quickly.  I’m kicking my own ass because I have lived the practical life I should have lived and felt like I was dying every single day.  I’m becoming the woman I want to be because I have the power to do so.

I want this Intention to be in the back of my mind throughout the year.  I want the world to be mine, and I need to manage my time well enough to make it happen – with structure and flexibility.

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it. – Roald Dahl