entrepreneur, Uncategorized

Coconuts on the Beach

 

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In our culture, we are always looking forward – towards our goals, dreams, aspirations. We work each day in the hopes of achieving specific outcomes: climbing the corporate ladder, owning a home, paying off debt, having a family and marriage.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with working for the future, but the problem is that we are so preoccupied that we forget to enjoy the journey.

Consider your path as a timeline; our end goals are just a blip, while the journey to get there stretches out as far as it needs to. We suspend our joy, presence, light and love for 90% of the process. Do we want our joy to be on the straight line, or just a single dot?

Coconuts on the beach

A lot of our culture is fixated on the results of hard work – the instagram photos, highlight reels and coconuts on the beach. But, we forget that life is supposed to be the journey. The process IS life, in itself: growth, change, joy, sorrow, challenges.

Life is not the vacation. Life is every single day before and after it, and also the vacation, each given equal presence and attention.

I have nothing against coconuts on the beach, but it’s not the remedy for life’s challenges. Embrace the journey and remember to enjoy it. After all, that straight line is where you’ll spend most of life anyways

Thoughts

Thoughtful Thursday: Failure is a Blessing

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Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

About the future. About the present. About my upcoming birthday, when I’ll be turning 25 (eek!) and exiting the carefree years of my early twenties. Somehow, I feel like I should be more of an adult. Yet part of me still feels so free.

c7eb7d8fc9e93b6cead1fd2f7bacbdfdLiterally and figuratively, I find myself at a turning point. As I enter the next few years of my life, I’m unsure of how, where and with whom I’d like to spend them. I like my current office job and adore the people I work with, yet it doesn’t fulfill me the way writing does. They say you should pursue what you do to procrastinate from real life; in my case, fitness, travel and writing are all equal first loves. But how could I turn a few hobbies into a fulfilling, financially sound career?

I continually come back to the same answers, regardless of the question. I would love to spend my life writing, helping others with fitness and nutrition, and traveling whenever I can. That’s what I want. But I didn’t go to school for it, I have bills to pay, and live in one of the most expensive places in the country.

This past year has been inexplicably tough, and filled with more ups and downs than I could ever imagine. However, the hardships have come with gifts attached – I now have the ability, education and freedom to build the exact life I want.

7fc0622a4155614cbd5ad5bbbd68574cI’m unsure of whether or not its possible, but I am absolutely determined to try my best.The only true failure is to not try in the first place, right? I’m blessed to have a strong support system to catch me if I did fall, but I have faith that I’m on the right path, as scary as it may be right now.

No matter our goals or what our metaphorical ‘fork in the road’ may be, we can all benefit from failure. It’s always scary to try something new. It’s always terrifying to leave our comfort zones, financial security, and support network in search of something greater. Failure is only one outcome; and there’s always the possibility that we will find ourselves, find success, and build the life we’ve always dreamed of but never thought we’d achieve.

If I have to move to another island, state, or country, if I have to leave everything I know, spend all my savings to invest in my future, or forgo some of the luxuries I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy – so be it. This is my path, and as long as I go forth with faith and effort, I will get to where I need to be. Even if it’s not where I thought I’d end up when I started this journey.

Here’s a little motivation to get you through to your goals, whatever they may be 🙂

Love,

Nikki

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Thoughts

Wednesday Wisdom: Resilience

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As humans, we love to compare ourselves. We see such a breadth of differing cultures, personalities, perspectives, and combos of charachteristics that we seem desperate to label as “strong” or “weak.” What makes someone weak? Is it their actions and decisions, their personality, or how they look at the world and their place in it? On the flip side, what makes someone strong?

Personally, I disagree with the desire to toss my peers in a box with some label in order for the world to make more sense. I think, in some ways, we’re all strong. The fact that we all make it through each day, regardless of the rough patches, indicates some general degree of strength it takes just to exist in modern society. I think that we all have strong moments, and weak moments; we all make some decisions out of love and resilience and others out of fear.

This whole thought process got me thinking – what is the most important quality that makes people strong? Or what is it that makes people in general strong? For that, my friends, I immediately came up with one answer: resilience.

f12cd0d9759b1546e6037839853ccda2Whether we live lives out of love or fear isn’t dependent on luck, money, or circumstance. This world is pretty crazy, and anything can happen; the wealthiest person can lose everything with a few bad investments or just bad luck. The luckiest man can find himself one day on his knees without it.

Resilience is the ability to just deal with whatever crazy shit is going on in your life. It’s the ability to mak something out of nothing, push through the bullshit. The ability to love through the hurt, forgive through the anger, and thrive in your darkest hour. Resilience is finding success through the failure.

Resilience is a gift. It’s in all of us, whether we realize it or not. Time heals all, right? Yes, but it’s actually the resilience within ourselves that is able to heal over time. No matter how tough life can get, we always make it through. There’s always another day.

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Travel, Uncategorized

Cambodia: Leaning In

Since today’s a busy one, I’m sharing a story I wrote for Lean In – an awesome organization and worldwide community dedicated to encouraging and empowering women. Spearheaded by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In features stories of strong women taking risks, switching careers, making moves and succeeding by ‘leaning in’ to their dreams, instincts, and ambitions. My story is about my study abroad trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where I taught English to impoverished orphans and learned more about myself and the world than I ever though possible. Follow the link to read my contribution !

http://leanin.org/stories/nicole-bleidistel/

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Thoughts

The College Graduate’s Conundrum

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When I graduated college, I didn’t think it was a big deal. To me, it was the inevitable end of five years of student loans, late nights, and part-time jobs. It was the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was surprised that so many people – strangers, even – congratulated me on something I didn’t even consider to be an accomplishment. I had never figured out exactly what I wanted to do. I had pretty much looked at the credits I had and picked the best-sounding option that would ensure a swift graduation.

I absolutely hated school. I did well and loved to participate in class discussions, but it angered me that both my parents and myself had to shell out so much cash in order for me to have a chance at success. It’s unfair that students doing what society tells us is the right thing are forced to dig themselves into debt for a brighter future. 

Yet the reality is that even the best students’ futures looks pretty bleak. Experts in our field that came to our senior seminars told us to expect 1-3 years of unpaid internships before we can land a job. Since the job market sucks, they suggested we work at a restaurant – the exact thing I’ve been doing while in college – in order to afford our student loans.

To my logical head, this is all bullshit. Unpaid internships is pretty reminiscent of indentured servitude – except that we don’t even have a promise of a job at the end of it. Going to college and living that lifestyle, no matter how much you struggle, is pretty awesome. But the ramifications of it are little more than social Darwinism; if you have a bachelor’s you belong in that category. We only hire people from that social pool.

Regardless of my feelings, I’ve come to understand that graduating college is a great accomplishment. I will have a brighter future in the long run, but my less-educated counterparts will win out financially for the next 5-8 years. Then I will leap ahead of those that don’t have an awesome skill/business/idea for the rest of my life.

But graduating college is an accomplishment with a lifetime of strings attached.  That piece of paper means that you’re supposed to have a lifetime of success; not excessive wealth, but some degree of it. You should have a relatively nice car, a relatively nice house in a relatively nice neighborhood with relatively well-behaved kids that will themselves go on to college.

As college graduates, these things are expected of us. When I visited my family post-graduation, the questions weren’t how are you? What classes are you taking? Instead, they were much less personal and more demanding. What are you going to do now? Do you have a job lined up? What happens next? The expectations are the fine print your professors never told you.

Although I do hope for a successful life, I also strive to break the mold. Unlike a lot of my classmates, I don’t have a plan for where I want to go, what I want to do, what firm/organization/company I desire to work for or who I want to become. I don’t have a solid plan in any way, shape or form. My only goal is to be as happy as possible in all aspects of my life. To travel. To explore. To write, whether it puts cash in my bank account or not.

In the quickly approaching job search, I hope that this optimism and focus on my own happiness, rather than pride or money, stay with me. I hope I have the strength to leave the job I hate to search for one that I love, even if it means resorting to eating ramen noodles for a month straight. That is what I consider the greatest gift  that graduating college entails; the ability and qualifications to never, ever settle. 

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