An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Art Of NOT Being Offended

In a world where everyone takes offense at everything, be secure enough in who you are to practice taking NO offense

Two things have spurred me to write this post. The most recent one was a group chat I was in with several other bloggers. We always have light hearted, fun discussions about a whole variety of topics. Except this time, one of the bloggers took serious offense to what another said. She basically stopped the whole conversation with, "OMG, how rude! I can't believe you just said that to me!" It changed the whole vibe of the group chat because nobody knew where to go from there. I don't think anyone else took offense but this one particular blogger, but her offense ruined the conversation for everyone. That exchange reminded me of a seminar I went to at Wanderlust (a big yoga/love fest festival) where the speaker was teaching us the basics of Bhagadad Gita, a seriously life changing way of processing the world around you. One of the many things he had us repeat was, "I take no offense." Because offense means you're making someone else's statement about YOU, and odds are, it has nothing to do with you. The world does not revolve around you. So let it go. I want expand on this and tell you all about the art of NOT being offended.

Just sitting over here, not being offended at things and it's SO FREEING

It's an interesting world we live in, isn't it? Social media is where most people get news about the world, family and friends, yet most of us criticize it for not being "real." Bloggers talk incessantly about "stuff" - what they're wearing, where they're traveling to, their cars, their weddings, all this material stuff. That, I should add, they hope makes you want that "stuff" too. It's a pretty pathetic world if you really think about it: Fake news, excessive materialism and nonstop comparison.

When that blogger took offense at the light-hearted comment, I wondered how awful it must be to be her. She was so wrapped up in the comparison game that she couldn't handle playful comments. She took it as severe criticism and took offense. It has to be absolutely oppressing to be that wrapped into what other people think of you, don't you think? To turn a fun conversation into something that was all about HER, and negative and offensive, is absurd. What a waste of her (and everyone else involved with that conversation) energy!

Why be so concerned about what other people are doing and thinking? Why not focus on making yourself a better and more positive person? Because here's the thing: You don't control what others think or do. You can only control your reaction (including taking no offense). Let what other people are doing and thinking go. Especially if you're processing their thoughts and actions as negative. There isn't much we actually own in this life, but our thoughts and actions, including how we react to others, are two of them.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned in life is that if someone lashes out at you, or has some sort of sharp criticism, or in my case - leaves a negative comment on your blog or social media - it's actually not about you but instead a reflection of something that's going on with THEM. If someone were to call me a bad mom, for instance, it's not that I'm indeed a bad mom. It's more that they're struggling with something they did as a parent.

Henry taking offense at the flower falling apart. It's ok, he'll learn the art of letting it go soon.

When you start to process the world in a way that it's not all about you, it's so freeing and it becomes much easier to NOT take offense. It also enables you to be a more compassionate and emphatic person. Empathy is something the world needs so much more of! Think I'm a bad mom? Cool, I hope you figure out what it is that's bothering you about motherhood. Offended by my lack of makeup on a daily basis? Awesome, I hope applying makeup on thick makes you feel better about yourself but odds are you feel some type of way about your inner beauty. See what I'm saying here?

There's definitely an art to NOT being offended. And it takes regular practice. You have to train your brain to let things go and to not make a given situation about you. A huge part of this process is letting go of comparison, letting go of the importance of material items (after all - you can't take any of that stuff with you when you leave this earth and they are just things that don't define your importance) and realizing other's words or (re)actions aren't about you. In the wise words of the yoga instructor at Wanderlust, "Repeat after me: I take no offense. Now do it again. I take no offense."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Blogging Supplies That Get You Organized To Make Money Blogging

Get the supplies you need to successfully organize your blog and start earning money blogging!

Friends and strangers alike reach out to me often to ask me "how do you make money blogging?!" I have a couple posts where I outline my favorite public relations firms to work with and some lessons I've learned about blog moneitization, but the real key to earning a consistent income blogging is twofold: 1) you have to consistently publish content (that means you need to take blogging seriously, like any other job you've held down) and 2) you need to stay organized and on top of your business and your brand. I'm listing out the items I use and how I use them to keep myself organized, and dishing some blogging for profit tips along the way. Without further ado, here are the blogging supplies that get you organized to make money blogging! Affiliate links used.

Everything you need to start get your blog organized and start making money blogging

Not surprisingly, blogging relies on technology. Technology relies on a power charge. It's really easy to have your desk get cluttered with iPhone, iPad and laptop cords! My battle is keeping the cords away from tiny toddler hands that love to play with them, too. These nifty little clips keep your charging devices in order so you're not fumbling around when your charge gets low! You can keep all your devices fully charged so you're not running out of battery when you're about to capture that perfect Instagram shot, or are trying to shoot a product in the few minutes of "good light" that's left for the day.
Mobile device holder 
Have you ever watched a video with terrible camera shake? It's awful and looks unprofessional, and likely won't do anything to expand the reach of your blog. This phone holder can also hold tablets, so no matter how your filming, you'll have a smooth video. It's for desktops, so you can look up and not get the "double chin" problem of simply propping your phone on your desk. If you're not into producing videos, it's nice to have so that you can facetime and work. If you use your camera for photos, it's a great holder to use the timer function for shots that require you in them.

A creative space
One of the biggest things that's helped my blogging was when I got my own desk. I picked it out and styled it just how I wanted. Having your own space - whether it's a desk in the corner of a room like me or you get your own whole office - is KEY. When I started blogging, I did it from our breakfast bar, which meant I couldn't keep paper supplies and pens and all sorts of other office "stuff" nearby. I also didn't have it well lit, using only the icky overhead lights. Invest in a cute desk lamp  like that one or this one so your lighting doesn't give you a headache and you're able to create a personalized, creative space to write and edit photos.

Spiral bound notebook
Sound old school? Maybe, but I find that when I'm writing on my laptop about one thing, other ideas often pop into my head. I have a spiral bound notebook on my desk where I have an on-going list of blog post ideas so I never run out, keep my financial records (I also track them electronically but keep paper records for backup) and take notes at any conferences or workshops I attend. The spiral bound is essential because you'll constantly be switching back and forth between all your sections. Pro tip: get two and keep your finances in it's own notebook so if you lose it/forget your "ideas" notebook, your finances aren't lost (or found by the wrong hands!) too.

Paper planner
Yup, old fashioned again. I know some people love their phone calendars or apps to track their editorial calendars, but not me. I'm a visual person, so I like to write out my calendar on paper in an actual calendar! My planner is my most used "thing" beyond my phone - even more than my laptop! I plan my goals, editorial content (basically, what posts are going to publish when), daily and weekly to do lists, brand collaborations and even personal appointments like the kids' dentist, when they don't have school, etc. This way EVERYTHING is in one place, laid out for me week by week. This planner is super cute, but so is this one and neither will break the bank. No, you don't need an expensive customized planner to get the job done!

Multi-colored pens
This goes hand-in-hand with the planner. I color code my planner so that at a brief (or sleep deprived glance) I know what's going on for the day. Blog posts are listed in orange, paid collaborations in green, personal appointments in purple, the kids' schedules in blue and so forth. I started doing this mostly because I had fun with it, but soon realized how helpful it is to stay on track! I pay most attention to green things, because hey - that's how I get paid! I'll list deadlines for drafts and reporting forms in that color. If you're a visual person like me, it's extremely helpful to organize yourself "in color." I like this pack because the pens write nicely, and I know I won't run out of colors for all the different topics I track in my planner.

DSLR camera
This doesn't have to do with organization, it's true. But I can tell you that after I invested in this DSLR camera (this is the actual one I use, with this lens) my Instagram account exploded past the 20k follower mark, brands began reaching out TO ME to collaborate, my monthly income more than doubled and I finally got accepted into some great blogging groups and PR firms, continuing my cycle of more money. It's true that my most viral pin was shot on an iPhone, and I even started making about $500/mo with only an iPhone camera, but if you want to be taken seriously and make more than entry level income for each paid blog post (and Instagram post!) you publish, invest in a DSLR, learn how to use it and best of all, write it off on your taxes as a business expense. It's worth it's weight in gold, and I wish I'd have had it sooner. Blogging is 50% images, 50% writing, but social media is far more image-focused, and to promote yourself you'll need those high res shots.

Being organized is essential for any business owner, and if you're trying to make a go at blogging for a living, it's no different. You have to be on top of your content. You need an editorial calendar so you're not posting the same posts consistently and can create a great content mix for your readers. These supplies got me organized so that I started to make great money as a blogger. Used consistently, they can help you too.