Force Quit on your Losing Streak

Almost a month in, and I’ve stuck to the most important of my new year resolutions: to grow in faith. At the end of last year, I was at odds with relationships in my life and wanted to turn everything over to God. Not only would dedicating the New Year to God bring me closer to Jesus, I felt doing so would also give me the answers I needed to mend the troubles I was having.

2017

In order to hold myself accountable, I made a list of 12 people in my life I wanted to either improve my relationship with or needed to forgive; I make a similar list of 12 topics I wanted to focus on, in order to be a better Christian. I decided I would consciously pray each day for the person I dedicated that month to, and would read specific scripture each day addressing the topic of the month.
The list included subjects such as my parents, my sister, specific friends, my desire for a boyfriend, and working to overcome the negative perception of news. Topics included forgiveness, jealousy, worry, judgment, and being enough for myself.

What I’ve learned in my first month is that both mending and growing relationships, with people and God, takes time. I approached the resolution with optimism and was quickly rewarded with lines of open communication between me and the person I chose for January. But praying and reading the Bible does not automatically grant me positive mending every day. I’ve learned this is a process – there will be days I feel I’ve taken a step back. Yet, overall, I feel more complete. In just one month, a peace has overcome me. While I know there will be days and months full of ups and downs in 2017, I also know I have a God that I can always turn to. And as I grow in this journey, I hope to learn how to better listen and hear His voice, in all the times I turn to Him.

 

Disclaimer: I have not stuck to my resolutions to practice French twice a week or practice piano three days a week.

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God Bless Texas

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

It’s been six months since I’ve moved to Austin, and I’m more in love with Texas than ever before. When I moved to Lubbock 5 1/2 years ago, I questioned why all my classmates were obsessed with the state. I didn’t have anything against Texas, but their obsessive love made me defend my belief that it was “just a state,” as was every other state. Nothing special.

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At work a few weeks ago, my boss interrupted me to point out, “the girl from Ohio is wearing a Texas necklace.” The tables have turned.

A week before receiving the gold chained state with a heart precisely where Austin resides, I gushed to my cousins about how great Texas is, in an attempt to get everyone to move to my oasis. The truth is, I’ve become that boastful Texan, proud to flaunt my license and ready at any moment to talk about my Lone Star home.

But I don’t think the expansive landscape is what caused me to fall head over heels; it’s that, this place I call home, is what shaped me into the woman I am today. Stepping out from everything I knew at 18, to come to Texas for school, alone, forced me to define who I wanted to be.

Now, more than five years later, I can look back and see the transformation and growth my life has lived. I am proud of whom I’ve become, what I stand for, how I present myself, and where I foresee myself going next. Discovering myself has brought happiness to my life, and recognizing that happiness makes me want to help others find their happiness, which, spoken like any good Texan, means moving South.

Happiness to Last

“Is happiness merely a passing emotion, or a permanent state?”
In my daily devotion book yesterday, it explained, both states exist.

“There is happiness that reacts to events (this is temporary and volatile), and there is happiness that overrules circumstances (which is strong and lasting).”

I’ve been asking for happiness for some time now, without realizing there are two solutions to my desire – one less satisfying than the other.

Be happy... not because everything is good, but because you see the good in everything.

Events create temporary happiness: moving to Austin and getting a job. But in the days or weeks after the event, happiness can fade; it’s the lasting happiness that satisfies, and that comes from The Lord.

I think the same principle can be applied to marketing. I’ve been searching for a content marketing position for months, after learning of its lasting effects. I’ve been on job interviews that focus solely on sales and numbers, but that ideology is like temporary happiness. After a few days or weeks, you are looking for your next sale or event to make you and your client happy again.

While ultimately business growth is viewed from a numbers standpoint, content marketing works to grow businesses by creating relationships with clients. This is accomplished by writing blog posts or ebooks, creating videos or infographics, and attracting clients with a clean website.

All these content marketing strategies show transparency and build trust. Because of that trust, clients are more loyal and the numbers follow. This is a stronger foundation to build businesses on, and will create a lasting happiness for both you and your client.

Moving to Austin was great, but living here is what keeps me happy each morning. Getting a job will be great, but growing and learning in the position, creating friendships, and meeting goals is what will keep me engaged and happy walking into the office each day.

Lasting happiness comes from knowing you are following God’s path, and you are in the right spot for the time being, even if you aren’t happy at the moment. While I wish I had a job right now, I feel satisfied knowing that moving to Austin was the right decision. This weekend presented overwhelming tasks at times, but when I asked myself if I regretted the decision, it was a resounding “no.”

The happiness I experience from moving to Austin will last, and I believe more lasting happiness will come my way.

Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start

Change: Finding Who I Am

Today I say goodbye to the place and life I’ve known for the last five years. Moving out of state for college, knowing no one, was one of the best and most liberating decisions I have ever made. It allowed me to find myself and decide how I wanted to live my life.

After switching majors, traveling the state, country and world, graduating, and working a few different jobs, I’m closer to finding my happiness, and how I want to live out the next phase of my life.

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I’m moving to Austin to live out the lifestyle I love. I’ll be surrounded by young professionals like myself, exploring and enjoying life to the fullest; working jobs that teach them new things and spending evenings on the lake, at a new restaurant, or with friends.

I’m looking forward to discovering the city and myself.
Change can be good. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Brand yourself

During my year-long job search, I’ve learned a few things; it doesn’t matter if you have the skills listed in a job posting, employers are looking for more than just someone who can fulfill each bullet point. A few years back, Forbes reported, millennials stay at a job, on average, less than three years, and will have 15-20 jobs during their lifetime.

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This job-hopping trend has created the need for workplace culture – or an environment that will entice employees to stick around. Often companies will brag about free break room snacks or flexible working conditions, like the ability to work from home a certain number of days each week, in order to come out on top in the minds of recent graduates.
So how to employers determine if a certain candidate would be a good fit with the company and its workplace culture? By exploring how you brand yourself.

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Below are three places you can brand yourself online that will catch the eye of employers.

† Start a personal blog

Personal blogs are both a great way to show off your writing skills and what’s on your mind, but don’t use this outlet the same way you did your 5th-grade diary. Research and write about something relevant to the industry you are looking at entering. What changes are leaders making and how are they making them? What are consumers interested it and how are they reacting to the changes? In the communications field, I’m constantly looking for new ways to tell and share compelling stories. Social media and multimedia are popular among consumers, but I’m also concerned with how to engage my audience, such as through the use of mobile apps.If you don’t feel confident enough to tackle an industry-related post, you can write about a less serious but still professional topic, on something that may interest your employer, its employees, or its clients. Think about community events or volunteer opportunities that encourage involvement.

You don’t want all your effort to go to waste. If you ever wonder why some posts or writers gain such popularity, leaving you with less love, check out “The Science Behind What Content Goes Viral.”

Here’s a list of reasons why people are drawn into certain personal blogs:

▪ The post sufficiently covers the topic it addresses. Puny points don’t speak well of your ability to write long-form, thorough content.
▪ It evokes strong emotion. People are more likely to engage in your post (comment) if they are surprised, humored or angered by it. Feel good posts are great but what can a reader say about a positive post that can’t be summed up with an emoji?
▪ It educates your readers about a topic. If your post is interesting or causes the audience to think, it’s more likely to gain devoted readers that discuss topics with you.

† Utilize social media

It probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t post drunken photos to Facebook or Instagram, but creating an online presence that shows your personality is important because it allows your audience to get to know you.

▪ Share your blog posts on Twitter.
▪ Update old friends about your life on Facebook.
▪ Post a picture of your afternoon at a museum to Instagram.

† Complete your LinkedIn profile

Employers are obviously going to be interested in your work history, but the social media site also allows you to add classes you’ve taken, hobbies you enjoy, and volunteer experience onto your profile. All those little “extras” help tell a more complete story of who you are, and whether you’d be a good fit with a company.

Find yourself looking for a new job? Try boosting your resume and cover letter game with these non-traditional methods.

Follow your heart, and follow your head

This month, I will be leaving my job to move to Austin. This is my dream, though doing so without a job wasn’t included in my plan. A friend told me, maybe I’m supposed to go without a job, and after applying from afar for a year without success, I think she may be right. This could be God’s way of making me trust him.

Getting a job out of college in the field you studied may appear to the world that you are “on the right path,” but only you know what’s right for you. While I am thankful for the experiences I’ve had, I’m ready to find a balance in my life. I’m ready to live the life I am supposed to, discovering new things and enjoying each day, rather than simply going through the motions.
Austin makes me want to be a better person. It opens my mind to new ways of thinking. It makes me want to reach out and help others. It makes me want to grow in my faith. It makes want to live an active and healthy life. It makes me happy.

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

Will I fail? Maybe. Does that scare me? Unbelievable. But I am confident in myself, and will trust The Lord.

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Go.

What does your heart tell you?

“There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please… give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, ‘my son-please, please, please… buy a ticket.'”

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I love quotations, and I love the book Eat Pray Love in which that one was written. As a religious and spiritual person, I pray to God each day, throughout the day, asking for guidance, and lately, I’ve been needing lots of guidance.
I’m preparing to embark on a new life adventure, and I realize more than ever my need to trust The Lord. But as an independent and strong-willed person, trust and patience don’t come easily. Turning to my parents for guidance, I asked them how to balance trusting God with responsibility. I don’t want to be so consumed with getting things in order I forget The Lord’s place in my life, but also don’t want to live reckless or irresponsibly. Separately, they both quoted the same scripture: “God helps those who helps themselves.”
God gives us the means in which to do things, but wants us to go out and make a life for ourselves. So that I will do.image12 (4)