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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

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How I’m fighting my critical inner resistance, one day at a time

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There is a buzz in my brain. A hum. Like, when you go to a hotel room that has a kitchenette in it, and the low sound of the refrigerator keeps you up all night until your boyfriend sits bolt upright in bed and maniacally rips the plug out the wall? You know, like that.

The hum is restless anxiety of ‘needing to get stuff done’. It’s similar to that nagging sensation when you feel like you forgot something, but you’re not sure exactly what.

When I listen closely and intently, the hum starts to have a needling voice that…


People are much more than how they earn a paycheck

Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

One of my favorite icebreakers is to ask a stranger to tell me the worst thing they’ve ever done. Most of the time my conversation partner is taken aback, stumped, or left profoundly uncomfortable as they mine the archives of their life searching for a suitable answer. It’s not so much that I’m dying to know everyone’s worst sins but it’s a shocking enough conversation starter that very quickly morphs into meaningful discussion. Discussion that doesn’t involve what we do for work.

Without fail, nearly every time I meet a new person, the question, “So what do you do for…


For your next big thing—whatever that thing may be—consider going at it alone

Illustration © Ross McCammon

Because I’m writing this story alone, I don’t need to discuss with anyone how to start it off. So it will start with a story (an efficient story, I promise) about how for years I fundamentally misunderstood my mother’s experience raising me. It will end with a call to action, but this is how it’s going to start.

My parents split up when I was only a few months old. As I grew older and began to understand what raising a child actually entails, I built a narrative of struggle around my mother’s life. The image was: My mom was…


It’s all about choice, intentionality, and frequency

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

During this Great Social Reset period, Americans are rediscovering what it means to be a social human. What are friends? What do I do with them? Do I have any left? While getting reacquainted with our social circles is undoubtedly going to be awkward — and exhaustingnew research shows that maintaining friendships is easier if hanging with friends becomes a part of our routine.

Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, and his colleagues surveyed 127 adults about their social interactions over the course of a week in 2018. At five points during…


Attempting to power through isn’t always the answer to feeling stuck

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I, like most people I know, get stuck all the time — stuck on thoughts, feelings, physical challenges, creative projects. And when I get stuck on something, The first thing I do is attempt to work through it: I try to unpack the thought, unwind the feeling, bust the plateau, or force the creative insight.

Sometimes this works. Often it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, the best thing I can do is step away. But it’s also the hardest. My brain, like most human brains, hates leaving things undone. I face a strong urge to lean in and continue picking at…


Stop sidelining what’s important in favor of what you can check off your to-do list

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Human beings crave progress. That craving distorts what we work on. Vital pursuits with less tangible progress are frequently sidelined for trivialities we can check off a to-do list.

Think of the last time you updated your computer. Just having the progress bar made the wait more bearable. The inching left to right may have been inconsistent. It may have been downright misleading, as the frustration at witnessing it stall forever at exactly 99% can attest.

But imagine how much harder it would be to wait if the progress bar weren’t even there.


The answer isn’t a simple yes or no

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It’s a question I’ve asked myself in the past: Is it possible for an introvert to become an extrovert? The short answer is “kind of.” But after studying what true introversion is, I believe the better answer is why would you want to?

If you wish to become an extrovert, what are your reasons? Is it because you want to be able to do all the things extroverts do: be bold on stage, hold the room in conversation, or approach strangers with ease? Or do you want the image of being an extrovert and for people to like you?

If…


A list of things I’ve learned the hard way

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The great Admiral Hyman Rickover used to say that success teaches nothing; only failure is educational. I don’t know if that’s completely true, but I will say that my own short time on this planet has had its share of teachable moments rooted in mistakes, usually of my own making.

For going on 10 years now, I have written a piece on my birthday around the idea of lessons learned. This year, at 34, I thought I’d focus exclusively on my failures and what they’ve taught me. …


One rule for doing it without feeling like a jerk

Sure, why not

The wildest thing happened this past weekend.

Wait for it…

Parties.

As in, I attended some. Plural.

It was my first real weekend of Hot Vax Summer, and my first proper going-out in 18 months. And somewhere amid all that rusty social interaction, I realized something. Well, two things. One: I know a lot of Geminis. Second, and the reason we’re all here: that the only kind of ‘networking’ I ever want to do is going to parties where I can be my damn self and enjoy the people around me. I know, what a concept.

I cannot tell you…


Here’s the advice I’m giving my coaching clients

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I recently tweeted a piece of advice that I often tell my coaching clients: If I had to feel motivated to start a workout, I would have done 23 workouts last year, not 230. If I had to feel inspired to start writing, well, there’d be hardly any writing. If you want to stop 20 minutes in, fine. But give yourself a chance.

It’s a platitude, yes. But it’s also true and not just for the concrete tasks on your to-do list. In every part of life, there are highs and lows, periods of energy and periods of exhaustion. Sometimes…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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