Last year, my wife and I spent a much-needed evening out on a date. We enjoyed fireside lattes, vanilla cupcakes, and some really great conversation. Afterwards, we had some extra time so we decided to drop by Barnes & Noble bookstore—believe it or not, there are a few of those places still around.
While we were there, I walked past a book that I had seen a number of times and one that was recommended to me by many friends: #GIRLBOSS (aff.) by Sophia Amoruso, Founder and Executive Chairman of Nasty Gal.
I felt a little weird picking it up, but I knew this was the story of her life, from a homeless teenager to aspiring entrepreneur—in some ways, something I knew I’d relate to. But something on the back cover caught my attention:
#GIRLBOSS is more than a book … #GIRLBOSS is a movement.
When I started No Sidebar, it began as something personal that I was going through, and was something I thought others would benefit from. But quickly, it grew into a thriving community of like-minded folks.
In short, No Sidebar became more than a blog—it became a movement.
Currently, we have more than 50 contributors, and many of those not only contribute there, but they also write for their own blogs and websites.
We have more than 185,000 fans on Facebook, and the engagement and reach we get there far exceeds any expectations I possibly ever had.
I share these numbers with you because they matter.
They matter because they reflect a movement we are experiencing together there. At some point in our journey, we’ve all made the same decision, and it’s something Sophia Amoruso writes about in her book, #GIRLBOSS:
You’ve already taken the first step toward an awesome life by simply wanting one.
I believe we’re all in a similar place, and this one very important thing is the key toward building that awesome life—we need to want it first. And when we want it, we’re motivated to be committed to the work it takes to stay there.
Authentik is the next step in my journey, where I have the pleasure of sharing all that I have learned as a creative entrepreneur. It’s a step that I invite you to take with me, and one where we can walk the path together.
I want Authentik to be more than a blog, I want it to become a movement.
In between all of the hours behind the computer—banging our heads against a desk—there is an awesome life for us, should we choose to pursue it.
Building an Awesome Life
I have an Evernote file that is filled with “takeaways” from Sophia’s book, but here are five quotes from it that really stood out to me. I hope these provide the perspective needed to help you experience an awesome life.
1. Focus on your own journey.
The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own.
Why bother wasting time and energy thinking about the journey of someone else when you can channel that into your own?
As easy as that sounds, I find myself frequently suffering from imposter syndrome and comparing myself to others. Obviously it’s something I need to remind myself often, but beneath it all, I know it to be true.
If we embrace the “my grass is plenty green” mentality, I think we’ll be in a much better place and on our way to experience a joy-filled life.
2. Be prepared for—and willing to—change.
One of the best things about life—a reason not to go blindly after one and one goal only—is that sometimes it will take you to something that is way cooler than anything you would have consciously set out to do in the first place.
Once in a while—or maybe even more often that that—we might be presented with an opportunity we weren’t expecting. Just because “it’s not on the roadmap,” that doesn’t mean it’s not a path worth pursuing.
Often the places we think we want to go aren’t necessarily the best ones for us. I think we learn things along the way when we head down a road that might be unfamiliar. And that might just be an amazing experience.
I know there have been plenty of these circumstances like this over the last ten years of my journey, and I’m fairly certain this can be said of yours.
3. Embrace your uniqueness.
The last thing the world needs is another boring person or another boring brand, so embrace all the things that make you different.
I’ve never been someone to shy away from being different, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed about myself.
When I was in high school, I thrived on being a contemplative person and someone who was more interested in poetry and philosophy than my friends—it’s just what I wanted to do. Henry David Thoreau and Robert Frost were my heroes.
Nowadays, I place high value on authenticity and being real, which in today’s business world isn’t quite the norm. In her book, Sophia’s transparency about her journey is infectious, and something that drew me in from the start.
4. Be original in what you do.
In whatever you do, you’re not going to stand out unless you think big and have ideas that are truly original. That comes from tapping into your own creativity, not obsessing over what everyone else is doing.
This goes hand-in-hand with a few of the previous points, and is something that just makes sense to me. It’s all about standing out and being different.
Having an awesome life isn’t the same thing as having a typical (or expected) life—it’s about trying new things, going about them in unique ways, and living the life you want to live—rather the life you think others want you to live.
5. Live out what you believe.
The heartbeat of Nasty Gal doesn’t exist in one style or article of clothing. It’s in the way we talk, the way we carry ourselves, and the way we see the world.
In whatever you do, do it fully. Be sold on your approach to life, and make it everything you are. After all, you’re the one in charge.
The way people will see you is really just a reflection of how you see yourself. If you’re a happy person, people will see a happy person. If you’re a person living an awesome life, people will see a person living an awesome life.
In the end, we have the luxury of determining where we go, what we do, and who we do it with—and all of this will be based on how we choose to live our life.