I've had a lot of conversations around the topic of 'quality control' lately (thanks David and TigerBeat!) Maybe it's because I'm getting older; maybe it's because I'm getting wiser - but in all aspects of my life, it's become a priority - a NECESSITY - to demand the best of myself, for the situation I'm in and for those around me. I've alluded to some of this on Fresh Jess through my health and fitness posts, but I've been working hard on applying this in my professional endeavors and personal life too.
When you up the bar on yourself and make a commitment to (TRULY) do better every day, you find yourself alone in your own mind a whole lot. Practicing your craft. Learning new skills. Researching. Journaling. Jotting ideas down so you can try and capture them as quickly as they come. Writing EVERYTHING down. Mind-mapping. Brainstorming. Trying things and failing. Trying again. Trying new things. Reading and absorbing the words of people you want to learn from; who inspire you. Who don't necessarily make you want to be like them, but who make you want to do better.
So where does that leave room for family, friends and acquaintances? Family's easy, because I will always have (or make) time for them. Acquaintances are even easier, because they are more than likely 'acquaintances' for a reason. You have a really loose tie in common, but other than that your personalities or interests don't mesh well enough for y'all to hang out on a regular basis. Friends are where it gets tough. When you're on a warpath and going absolutely 100 on chasing your dreams, you'll discover which of your friends are genuinely supportive of you, and which aren't. It's a tough pill to swallow to discover a friendship's reached its expiration date, but necessary to wish them well and move on with your life. Your people should never make you feel bad or guilty about doing you, because they never see you or hear from you. They should know not to take it personally. Treasure those who uplift you, challenge you and make you stronger.
Image via Rachel Roy's Instagram
Over time (and over social media), it's getting easier and easier to weed out the people whose energy I need and want in my life, and those whose energy is just toxic. If you have time to tweet or update your Facebook criticizing how people dress, talk or live their life, I ain't got time for you. Social media is amazing, but it's also made it real easy for people to (passively) complain, criticize and throw shade. I can think of a handful of people who've taken indirect jabs at me personally, but I find solace in the fact that while you spent time thinking about me, I spent it working hard. Unless you're a professional comedian or writer making money off of your sarcasm, I'm hitting that unfollow, unfriend or hide button on ya. Turn that energy into something positive for yourself - or better yet, for your community.
I used to blog about every news article, Seattle event and new, cool, shiny thing that caught my attention. When I posted 5 things a day, no one read anything. Now I try to only post when I have something truly meaningful to share or talk about, sprinkled in with sponsored posts that are a necessary reality for someone who wants to make something out of their blog. I pay painstaking attention to my traffic patterns and other analytics, constantly staying on the pulse of what people like and don't like to read here on Fresh Jess. I wrote an article for IFB this week called "The Mid-Year Blog Check-In" about taking time to take stock of your blog and see how you can do better. A fellow IFB member left a comment saying she'd redesigned her blog 6 months ago and didn't think she needed to change anything about what she was doing. No disrespect to her, but IMHO, you should ALWAYS be on your toes, changing, taking risks and trying new things. Doesn't have to be big things, but little tweaks can always be made to make your blog supremely great over time.
Stay hungry. Quality control.
I've been blogging a lot this year about my adventures in mind, health and fitness. I am definitely not perfect, and have a long way to go, but there's a definite shift in my life around the food choices I make and the way I spend my time. i.e. More of my time is spent working out, and with others who like to eat healthy and are active too. Trading happy hours and excessive time sitting down for walking meetings and getting fresh air has been one of the best resolutions I've made - and stuck to - this year.
I am always seeking new opportunities to flex my skills, writing, guest blogging, doing press and sponsored brand campaigns. I share my successes and those of my peers and Aces on social media all the time. I work in social media, and it's pretty much in my nature to share, so I'm just always online sharing, period. I've lost followers and Facebook friends for one reason or another, but that won't ever stop me from seeking more doors to kick open, new friends to meet and more resources and celebrations of success to share on my social media profiles. I'd rather do that anyway than complain about my life. I don't have much to complain about!
As I get older, I get bolder with owning my opinions. If there's anything I've learned about social media, it's that everyone wants to share their opinion, but they're never ready to see people opposing their beliefs and a lot of times, don't care to see others' opinions in the first place. I have a lot of respect and patience for the opinions of my friends, digital and real-life. I'm just better now about demanding respect for my own.
I know this is a long post, and thank you for letting me wax poetic on it. This has been on my mind for weeks, and I've written this about ten times and deleted or abandoned it every time. It can be tough to own convictions when they get strong, but that's when we need to own them the most.
How are you practicing quality control in your life?