Living Life Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

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Last week was really hard. I went into 2020 feeling really confident and ready to take on the world. I was comfortable. But maybe I was too comfortable?

When I graduated from college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I felt pressure to find the perfect job and be the girl boss that I had always dreamed of being. I applied for at least 20 jobs in under a month but it took me almost six months and countless interviews before I landed my current job.

The first year was hard and I wanted to quit so badly. I told myself to give it a year and spent my free time looking at job postings. I was miserable in my role and my boss knew it. I made a change and started a new role that I loved right away. I joined this badass team of women who worked hard and really cared about each other. I felt empowered and impactful in my role. I was comfortable.

Sometimes the best opportunities are outside of our comfort zones but we are afraid to make the leap. Last week I didn’t make a leap of faith. Instead I was pushed outside of my comfort zone in the worst way. I was asked to move back into my old role temporarily while our team adjusted to some other transitions.

I cried more tears than I’m willing to admit because I love my team and was so comfortable in my role that I didn’t want to leave. I had finally established myself as a leader and was prepared to have the best year. I saw all of my dreams and career goals crashing all around me and I panicked.

We aren’t meant to live safely inside of our comfort zones. There is so much life to live but we are too scared to see it. I had so many negative feelings about the job that I couldn’t cope with the thought of going back to it. I needed to leave my negative feelings behind me and move on in order to fully become the girl boss that I want to be.

It’s okay to be scared of the unknown and to feel trapped or anxious. It’s okay to want to stay where you feel comfortable. But it’s also good to do things that scare you. This job scares me but I’m going to put in the work and become an expert. I’m going to prove to myself that I can do hard things and make the best of bad circumstances.

My life isn’t over because my plan didn’t work out exactly the way I thought it would. I’m learning to live my life outside of my comfort zone. I’m taking it day by day and learning to trust myself and feel confident in my abilities.

You can tackle any challenges that you are facing. I believe in you.

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Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

The Blogger Comparison Game

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A couple of years ago I took an internet marking class in college that made me decide to quit blogging. I had already been blogging for a couple of years at this point and no longer could handle it. I hated comparing myself to other bloggers and their successes. I hated looking at my stats and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t meet the goals that I had set for myself. I decided that I hated everything about blogging and shut my door to the community that I worked so hard to connect with.

I never thought that I would come out of blogging “retirement” but I’m so glad that I did! I pretty much had to build myself back up from nothing and it was rough. I let fear and self doubt crush everything that I had created and I almost let that fear win.

Blogging in the age of social media influencers is much harder than when I started this blog almost six years ago. When I started writing a blog for a college English class I never expected to love it and want to keep writing after the class was over. Having this space has become my creative outlet and all of you have become my internet friends.

Still, I find myself comparing my little piece of the internet to other’s. I feel a sense of belonging in the blogging community yet still compare my posts and pictures to everyone else’s. I cheer people on while tearing myself down because I’m a perfectionist and nothing ever feels good enough.

The blogger comparison game is real. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way and I wanted to share how I’ve been coping with my feelings.

The wonderful bloggers who I follow are amazing people. I’ve never met them in real life but I can tell because they put so much into their writing. Instead of comparing myself to them I’ve been trying to instead put my energy into engaging and building others up too. If I follow you it’s because I honestly love reading your content and I want you to do well!

As bloggers we have the unique ability to put our thoughts out into the world in either a negative or positive way. Playing this stupid comparison game with myself was a negative behavior and it was hurting my blogging. I will probably never be a social media influencer and that’s okay. I’ll always be a shy introvert who is just happy to share her truth with the world.

Do you find yourself getting caught up in the comparison game? How do you deal with it?

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Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

My Dream Job Isn’t My Dream Job Anymore

Girl Boss: Finding your dream job after college

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much my life has changed since I graduated from college almost three years ago. I’m not at all where I thought I would be, I’m actually in a much better place than I could’ve ever imagined. I know many people have the same struggle as me after graduation so I wanted to share my experience in finding my dream job.

A few weeks ago my work sent out an internal job position in the marketing department. I immediately opened the job summary because I’ve always thought the only way I’d leave my current position would be for a marketing position. I found myself smiling along at the description and getting excited because the job summary was exactly what I’d always imagined myself doing. My fingers itched to fill out the job application and to start sprucing up my resume. But then reality hit me.

Things have changed a lot since I graduated from college in 2016. My  goals and my dreams aren’t the same as they used to be. I used to dream of planning events and managing social media for companies but now I am more than happy to help clients achieve their financial goals. I’m not client facing but I make an impact on our client’s lives and that means a great deal to me. In addition to that, I am a part of an amazing and hardworking team who always have my back. I have two strong female bosses who are willing to do anything to help me succeed. My dream job has changed because it’s no longer a role, it’s a team.

Success comes in many shapes and sizes but it can be lonely. Many people have success because they overcome failures and learn to be better than their peers. Success to me now means being on an efficient, cutting edge team. I’m one of ten people who show up each and every day ready to serve our clients and make a difference. We each play a part in the success of our company and each love what we do and what we stand for. Is there anything better than that?

So yes, my dream job has changed and it very well may change again. One day I may wake up and decide that marketing is the right move for me. Or I may retire in this very department. All I know is I am moving in the right direction and at 25 years old that’s all I can really ask.

If you are searching for your dream job and finding it to be a challenge, I hope that this post helps you. Your dream job may be right under your nose and you don’t even know it because you are looking for something else. It’s okay to take a risk and try something new. It might not always work but there’s a chance you could find exactly what you are looking for.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Photo by Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

My Legendary 25th Birthday!

John Legend, 25th Birthday

Hey friends!

My 25th birthday was at the end of October and yes I know this post is super late but I really wanted to share it with you!

Birthdays are always so special and this one was even more important because of this blog. Life of Hayley began as a way for me to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. I started blogging right after my 20th birthday and it really evolved from there into a hobby that I love.

I had been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading my 25th birthday for the past couple of months. I wasn’t worried about reaching my goals that I set for myself when I was 20. In fact, I haven’t been worried about those goals in years. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and all I have accomplished in the past five years. I’m looking forward to the next five!

So let’s talk about why this birthday was so Legendary with a capital L.

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Have you heard of John Legend? Well, my work throws some pretty sweet parties and for their 20th Anniversary Gala they invited John Legend as the surprise musical guest and the Gala happened to fall on my birthday! Which meant that I got to get all dressed up in black tie apparel, get my hair and makeup done, and spend the evening eating, drinking, and singing along to John Legend with Brett and my favorite co-workers. Talk about Legendary!

I couldn’t think of a better way to start my 25th year!

Thanks so much for reading!

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8 Tips and Tricks to be more Financially Responsible

Learning How To Become Financially Responsible - How I graduated from college debt free plus more tips and tricks for saving money

 

Hey friends,

Today I thought I would share a little story with all of you. I get asked a lot of questions by friends and acquaintances about how I can be so young but so responsible. I always have a hard time explaining that I ended up this way based on the lessons my parents taught me growing up. I was extremely lucky to learn these lessons at a very early age. I didn’t always understand the “why” but I did understand what was expected of me.

I was lucky growing up. Both of my parents had jobs, we had a house to live in, drawers of clothes to wear, and there was always food on the table. However, I felt like the one girl in my class who did not have a Barbie Dream House. You know, the giant pink house with an elevator and fireplace with room enough for Barbie, Ken, and all of their friends?

I can remember going over to my friend’s house and playing with her Barbie Dream House. I wanted one so bad and made sure to tell my parents at every opportunity. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t buy me one. They had jobs and I had lots of Barbie’s to put in the house. Didn’t I deserve a Barbie Dream House?

The answer is no. I was surrounded by Barbie’s, American Girl Dolls, and numerous other toys. My parents did not have a lot of disposable income but we still received many gifts and toys at Holidays and for our Birthdays. I can now appreciate all of the sacrifices my parents made for us.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that my parents were putting money into a CD and a savings account for me and my sister. The money that they could have spent on more toys for us was put into these accounts to save for our college educations. When I babysat or got money for holidays, my parents made me put half into the bank. I could spend or save the other half on things that I wanted.

Now I realize that this is the most important life lesson my parents taught me; how to be financially responsible.

I started working my junior year of high school and worked all the way through college. Here’s the cool thing, I wanted to work. My parents never forced me to get a job. I saved my money for tuition, books, a new car, etc. I took a lot of pride in being the only person in my college orientation group not relying on their parents for everything.

I graduated from college debt free. Partially because my mom works at the university but also because I knew how to save my money and applied for scholarships to help make up the difference.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks for managing money:

  1. Like my parents taught me at a very early age, put at least 50% of whatever you earn into the bank ASAP. That way you are not tempted to spend the money before it has been fully accounted for. For me, this includes my bi-weekly paychecks which are automatically deposited into my bank account as well as any birthday or holiday money that I may receive. My personal preference is to deposit 100% of my money into the bank first and then decide how the money needs to be spent or saved.
  2. Set financial goals for yourself that you would like to work towards. My main goal right now is to pay off my car and build another bathroom in our house. Since I know my goals it is so much easier for me to save money.
  3. Put $1,000 into an Emergency Fund for any crazy things that happen along the way. Life is crazy and there are always expenses that happen that we didn’t plan for. It’s great knowing that you have an emergency fund to fall back on if needed.
  4. Have different accounts for different reasons. My bank allows us to have several savings/checking accounts with the ability to name them whatever you want. I have a “house fund” and an “emergency fund” in addition to a couple of others.
  5. Communicate goals with your partner or spouse. Brett and I are constantly talking about our goals for the future. It’s so important to be on the same page about financial decisions!
  6. Have a budget. I cannot stress this enough. I have a budget for pretty much everything including groceries, gas, clothing, and “fun”. Your budget can be flexible but try to give yourself a range to stay within.
  7. Be willing to say no. My co-workers ask everyday if I want to grab coffee and the answer is always no. I say no for two reasons. 1. I don’t like coffee. 2. I’d rather save the $2+ every morning for something else. It’s okay to say yes every once in a while but be willing to bring your own coffee or lunch to save a bit of money.
  8. Be flexible. These changes will not happen overnight and that’s okay! Keep working towards your goals and eventually you will get there!

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the financial industry and I can honestly say that my interest in finance started from the lessons that my parents taught me about money. While people around me love to spend their money I would much rather save mine for something I really want or invest it towards my future.

I am lucky to have started saving at an early age but it’s never too late to change your spending habits! I hope these tips and tricks help you reach your financial goals!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Image via Unsplash

5 Tips for Post-Grad Success

5 Tips for Post Graduation Success

As a recent college graduate, I understand the highs and lows of post-grad life. Figuring out what your next step should be is a scary task. Let me start out by saying that everyone is different and what worked for me may not work for you. However, it is always nice to know that someone out there understands what you are going through.

So, here are 5 tips that worked for me in achieving post-grad success:

Step 1: Figure out what you want. This sounds hard but it’s really actually pretty simple. Start off by asking yourself if you want to continue your education or look at starting your career? Or maybe you want to take a year off and travel? The decision is completely up to you! I really thought that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree after graduation. I studied, took the GMAT, thought my world was ending, and moved on. Grad school is not the right decision for everyone and it’s perfectly okay if you decide to move on.

Step 2: LinkedIn. I was lucky enough to start my LinkedIn during my sophomore year at college for a class. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, join! It’s really easy to setup your account and start connecting with your classmates, friends, co-workers, professors, etc. LinkedIn is an amazing job search tool but you should start one even if you are not currently searching for a job. It’s a great place to document your achievements and goals.

Step 3: Give yourself a break! This was a huge thing for me. I was so hard on myself after graduation. I had this picture in my head of all of the amazing things I wanted to do and I felt as though I had failed. Take the time after graduation to do some soul-searching. It’s okay to move in with your parents and figure some things out. I took a couple of months to enjoy life before hopping into the work grind. This may be the last time in your life to be selfish by just enjoying a little down time.

Step 4: Figure out your professional life. Invest in clothing and accessories that make you feel and look like an adult. I never wear makeup and rarely put any thought into my outfits but it’s nice to have a nice outfit to wear to an interview that makes me feel confident. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes, start out small and buy basics that you can build on.

Step 5: Breathe. Everything will be okay even though right now it feels like your life is a giant mess. Just breathe. You will fall down a few times but as long as you are able to build yourself back up, everything will be okay.

I hope this helps! I cannot describe how much I struggled after graduation. But after over a year, I am successful in a job that I absolutely love! It’s in a field that I never imagined I would enjoy but I do. So hang in there, friends!

 

Image via Unsplash.

The Reason Why I Quit Blogging

The Reason Why I Quit Blogging

Hello, friends! Today I thought that I would share the reason why I quit blogging for over a year.

I did mention back in the fall of 2015 that I was taking an Internet Marketing class that I had to start a blog for. So, Adventures of Hayley began and I hated every minute of it. The class was all about getting views, comments, and likes. I was obsessed with my blog stats and humiliated when I didn’t do well. My professor made us talk about our blogs in front of the class on a weekly basis and I hated comparing myself to others. I used to blog because I loved it but this project made me start to despise blogging.

Not only did I start to hate blogging, I also started to hate my major. I majored in Electronic Business Marketing. I thought that I wanted to go into Social Media Marketing after graduation. But as graduation quickly approached and my Internet Marketing class continued to depress me I realized that maybe I didn’t want to do what I thought. It was too late to change my major as I was about to graduate in spring so I just kept going.

After graduation I stopped blogging completely. I was confused about what I wanted to do with my life. I applied and interviewed for a few marketing positions but none of the prospects were very exciting. I eventually applied for a finance position on a whim and became very interested and invested in the position. After interviewing for three months, I finally started my new job in October of 2016.

After working for a while in finance I realized that I missed having a creative outlet.  I tried to start blogging again several times but it just didn’t feel right. I was also planning a wedding which took up most of my free time. Now that I am  a married woman I have once again found myself missing blogging.

So, that’s the story of why I quit blogging. I stopped focusing on the joy of blogging and only thought about the statistics. It’s okay to both enjoy the process of blogging and also enjoy watching your blog grow. But over my 4+ years of blogging I have encountered numerous roadblocks and have let myself get discouraged by them. I’d like to just enjoy the process of blogging from now on. I’d like to interact with other bloggers and re-join the amazing blogging community.

Thank you for reading!

 

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