"What are you up to today?"
I get asked this a lot. I think because the opportunity to be asked this presents itself more often when you make your own work schedule. When I'll be spending my day working, I usually respond with a downcast and sarcastic
"Ohh, living the dream,"
And say I'll be editing or sending emails. Because that's what we do, right? We shrug off the obligatory necessity that is our work because it isn't common to love your job let alone express it.
I'm lucky. Work for me means interacting with interesting, creative people. It means encouraging women to treat themselves to an empowering experience. It means creating a memorable, rich experience that makes these women look and feel beautiful for maybe the first time in years. It means making photos, making art.
I love my job so much I created a business from nothing to be able to do it. I work really fucking hard to keep that business alive. I fight with myself on the reg to convince myself I am good enough to keep doing it. I am tired and hungry a lot. I yearn for Netflix nights instead of Photoshop 2am's. And I love it.
I love being able to design my day. I love being my own boss. I love the ability to shift my schedule around to be there for friends and family. I love staying at nice hotels. I love getting to know my clients. I love making them sparkle. I love just being able to say, "I MADE THAT!" when I look at my photos and my business. I'm so fucking lucky.
And yet, when people ask what I'm up to, I give them a humdrum, disingenuous
"Living the dream."
The caustic response I curated to fit into the norm of hating your job started to sink into my blood, and eventually it hit my brain. I was dreading editing instead of looking forward to seeing the end result. I delayed sending emails instead of thinking of fun questions to ask my new clients. I hadn't blogged in weeks, because nothing about my business felt worthy of sharing.
My automatic sarcasm became my truth.
HOW UNGRATEFUL COULD I POSSIBLY BE?!
How ungracious of me to NOT express my love and passion for what I CHOSE and CREATED a business to do? Neglecting to express my excitement for my job was a total "fuck you" to all of the people who've had a hand in this establishment, including past Jodi who worked her ass off to make it exist. Not to mention the fact that my negative response just wasn't genuine.
This is a cautionary tale, my friends. Your words have power. Not just over other people; they have power over you, too. Small words you may think are insignificant can have a tremendous influence over your thoughts, perceptions and actions.
There's good news, though. Positive words have just as much if not more power than negative ones. Pay attention to your words. Make sure they honestly reflect your feelings. Especially if those feelings are positive ones!
So the next time someone asks you, "what are you up to today," or "how's it going?" take a beat and consider your actual feelings before you give a meaningless stock answer. And who knows, you might get some good, hearty real talk back! How cool would it be to do away with small talk and have more big talk?
But that's for another post...
Be Beautiful to Yourself,