You Are Here

Last week, amidst glittered business cards and sequin headpieces, I was asked for my advice on blogging. I had hopped a flight to Salt Lake City to spend a whirlwind 48 hours manning the blogging mentor table for Altitude Design Summit, a conference that will always be dear to me in that it was the first entrepreneurial summit I’d ever attended, something like six years ago?

And so, here I was. Steaming coffee and a pulsing high-altitude headache, with a braid in my hair and a notebook in hand. I’d assumed I’d get a variety of questions (I’ll share the most common ones later this week, along with my answers), but it seemed that most ladies simply wanted one thing:

Permission to follow their gut.

Over and over, women sat down in front of my table – weary eyes with a single, fading spark – and said, “I want to be here, at X, but I just heard that I should be arriving here, at Y. What do you think?”

Run from the Y, I’d say. Run far, and fast, in the opposite direction of the should. Because the should – the Y – is a path that is not yours. It is a path for someone else, a path that very likely offers reward, but it is not your own. You found your own when you said “I want to be here, at X,” and isn’t that half the battle?

We spend so much time longing to find our X – our path – and if we’re lucky, it is revealed to us through a series of terrible jobs and sleepless nights and endless failures. And then, we find it, sweet and lovely and lush and green, but we clear it away looking for Y – this shiny, emerald city of a path that was never intended for us.

And so, my advice was always the same: You have found your X. You are here. Let yourself be here, and let the Y be there. Now, get to work.

So to you, friend:

If your X is a mother who finds joy in baking veggie muffins and finger painting with your toddler, run far from the Y that says you must accomplish more.
If your X is a nurse working the night shift who finds peace in comforting the sick and the hurt and the confused, run far from the Y that says you must be at home, vacuuming.
If your X is a blogger who finds fulfillment in writing and connecting and learning, run far from the Y that says you must have a book deal and a TV show and a larger Instagram following.

You have found your X. You are here. Let yourself be here, and rest in the crux of this spot, this day.

p.s. Huge thanks to Brooke of Alt Summit for the photos (portrait taken by the ever-talented Justin Hackworth).

  • Yes! I just re-read a quote this morning by George Bernard Shaw that I had written in my journal.”this is the true joy in life-the being used for a PURPOSE recognized by YOURELF as a mighty one.”

    Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what FEELS mighty for oneself and instead get caught up on what “mighty purpose” looks like based on what others are doing or what others have told you you should be doing.

    Thank you for the reminder. :)

    With gratitude,
    Tania

    • Oh, I LOVE you. Just met your sweet friend Rubi and we talked about how amazing we think you are. ;)

  • I left a pretty cool and good paying job over a year ago. the “shoulds” told me to find another job but I didn’t listen. I started a cookie company instead. it’s amazing and I love it but I find more shoulds all over the place here too. I should sell more. I should be in more stores. I should have a cookie for this thing or that. I’m glad this is the advice you have. it’s perfect, amazing, and right on time. thank you.

    • Congrats on your cookie company, Julie! I love hearing you can relate to this. :) Keep following your gut!!! :)

  • Wow! That Justin picture captures your spirit. It is lovely. And, your advice to go after what you want, priceless. Blessings!

  • Yep yep yep. A thousand times yes. Even though you made people cry ;)

    Seeing you last week was like taking a long tall drink of adrenaline. Hope it happens again in not so long. xoxo

  • This is really good advice! It seems like all I have been reading lately are the how-to’s for traveling the “Y” path! Thanks for giving permission to follow the heart…it’s very refreshing and much needed!

  • Thank you for this, Erin. I have my X in my heart and am chipping away at bringing it out into reality. I just need to be my own brand of nerd. ;)

  • Thank you so much for this! I feel like this is the true “life balance” that we all struggle with (at least it is for me). How to achieve that middle ground between ambition moving forward and happiness in the present. And how to seperate the internal messages in order to get there.

    • Isn’t that the truth? Such a tricky art to juggle, and I think it comes in waves. Am learning to rest in the comfort of today’s rhythm!!!

  • Oh Erin…you’ve helped myself (and so many others) find their X. Thank you for the inspiration, as always. It was an honor to finally meet you, hold your hand, and give you a hug. I’m so glad you shared that photo – I did too! That is what ALT is all about. xoxo

  • Yes. YES! I believe this and wholly embrace it and am so glad that you were there to articulate it and spread your love, acceptance, and comfort to the ALT attendees. Recognizing what makes our soul sing, and then having the courage to live in that space, it where the real living happens. Doing more of what we like and less of what we think we should. All the while applauding those around us living in their happinesses however different from our own. There is real truth and clarity here, Erin. Thank you for sharing!

    • Oh I love your thoughts and perspective, Miranda – thank you for sharing this with us this morning! :)

  • Oh thank you. I have indeed found my X. It is not glamorous but it is 100% fulfilling and exactly my place right now. Thank you for this nudge to walk in contentment with head held high.

  • you doll! always encouraging people to be themselves. i find it funny that we so often need that reminder, but we do! thanks, erin. you sprinkle sunshine everywhere you go!

  • Girrrrrrl. This is your heart and your soul here, and this is why I love and look to your blog as one of those that make up my constellation of “true north.” I don’t know when I will ever set foot in an Alt Summit, but I don’t need to. Just needed to read this today and remember that I have found my blogging bliss already. Thank you, Erin.

  • Erin, this post made my heart so happy. It’s funny how there seems to be a similar theme with the current journey of creative types. I’m finally beginning to realize that the safe, stable Y I’ve been living career-wise isn’t truly what my heart wants. And I’m FINALLY in a place where I feel that I’m ready to go for X. This post is one more piece of encouragement that has really spoken to me – thank you! I truly appreciate your blog and your beautiful words. xox

    • Ah, thank you Lesley! It’s funny how one person’s X is another Y, yes? So happy you’re leaping to your X! :)

  • Oh Erin, what a GREAT message! Don’t you feel like your 30s are when you can give yourself full permission to settle on the X? Like you’ve tried out the Ys (sometimes asking yourself, in the end, why? ;) ) and then you reach a certain age and realize life is too short to chase anything but X. Great thoughts!

  • Thank you for this, I needed it. I’m in the X spot with my business and fighting the Y a lot recently. I’ve been in that place of trying to not be so hard on myself, but to also work on being brave in different areas I know need it.

  • Girl, you know I love you. And I love this. Listen to the beat of the your own drum. Listen hard. Follow it. Even it beats a different rhythm than everything else you’re hearing. xoxo Your words are good and meaningful. I like the way you dig. :o)

  • oh, did I need to hear this. It’s how I was feeling just minutes ago. I am the X, I just recently found my X, but I was just moments ago overwhelmed by the Y when I read your blog post. I KNOW I am supposed to run hard for X. And I know we’ll always have to fight against Y’s. But thank you, and thank God, for the people who remind us that God has blessed us to be X and it is okay to take our own road. Praise Jesus.

  • Erin, thank you for sharing your wise words. This is a reminder I need and want to share with those around me.

  • I’m still searching for my X (the spot it marks seems ever-elusive), but am doing my best to do so away from the draws of the Y’s that seem to pepper my days (you should do ‘this’ whilst you’re looking, just do ‘that’ for a while)…it’s hard, and it’s scary, and I’m not sure what I’m really doing, or where I’m going, but I’m determined to get there.

    Thank you for sharing this,and for all those who commented – I find comfort in the words of others who are on a similar path.

    • Oh Tori – hang in there. That X is tricky, and I’ve found that mine often moves around a bit, like feathers and wind. But I know when I’m NOT near it, and I suppose that’s the part worth listening to. :)

  • Your hair looks so darling with the braid. You’ve given me new hair inspiration for my mid-length hair. It’s great to hear a fellow blogger say that it is ok to go for what your gut says and not feel badly about what you “should” be doing instead.

    • Thank you so much, Sophie! I have a gal named Rubi Jones to thank for the braid – she’s a talent! :)

  • Man oh man I needed to hear this!! Even though I know in my gut that I’m on MY path, there is a constant battle to push harder and farther. Always asking what’s next, how do I accomplish more or how do get to the next goal? Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to not have all the answers today, but keep working/doing/living and everything will fall into place. Thanks for sharing this Erin!!

    • I couldn’t agree more. There’s a fine balance between pushing ourselves and being content with our own path. Harnessing that contentment today!

  • Wonderful and needed words for me ~ thank you for your exhilarating article on finding our x’s. The second to last paragraph got me emotional; I’m just in that phase where I’m coursing through, working on making work and life changes to bring happiness. So far, so good, and this encouragement was not lost on me.

    Much love.

    Bev

  • Thank you for helping me to recognize my X is fine. And helping to remind me to stop listening to folks who think I should be at Y.

  • This is SO nice to read, especially right now, when I feel like I’m surrounded by people changing jobs and talking about raises and I’m vaguely wondering if I should think about starting a job search, just to stay competitive. I need to trust my instinct more, I think – and also accept that it’s okay to change my mind about what I want from life. When I was in my teens, I wanted a fancy apartment and success and glamor, but that doesn’t mean 2015-me has to want the same things. Anyways thank you for sharing this… it’s so important!

    http://kemptish.blogspot.com

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