Yesterday, I turned 27. For me, 27 feels much happier than 26. While many of my friends are feeling uneasy about leaving their mid-twenties and entering their late twenties, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m also excited for what’s to come. While I spent much of the last year confused about what should come next and frustrated that my life felt like it was in limbo, everything fell in to place this summer. I choose to keep my blog and my personal life separate, but I will say that my career and my relationships have especially fallen into place. As a result, I feel healthier and am welcoming a new year with open arms. I have a few lessons from 26 to share in this post, but I first wanted to take a look back. It’s incredible how much I’ve grown and experienced since last July.
In August, EC.com turned one year old. Now, it’s almost two! In September, I participated in my first New York (Fitness) Fashion Week. It was especially exciting to attend an event for one of my favorite fitness campaigns of all time, Under Armour’s I Will What I Want. I also ran my first organized 10K, Run 10 Feed 10, with the Built with Chocolate Milk team. In October, I ran my second half marathon in San Francisco and made the giant decision to train for my first full marathon. I never thought I would take on 26.2 miles. In November, I relaunched EC.com with the help of Heart & Arrow Design and continued to train for the marathon through December. On January 11, 2015, I experienced the proudest moment of my life when I crossed the finish line at Walt Disney World. While I won’t run another 2015 marathon, I’m hoping to train for New York City in 2016.
In February, I attended my first blogger trip to Montauk and completed a 30-day Meditation Challenge. I also started my partnership with Finish Line, which has been my favorite long-term brand partnership to date. March and April were relaxing (quiet) months, spent preparing for spring and summer races. In May, I ran (and PR’d) the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in my hometown with my mom. It was her first race. In June, I ran my third Nike race and first organized 15K in Toronto. It’s been a fantastic and challenging year. I can’t wait to race in Vancouver with Lululemon in August, in New Hampshire with New Balance in September, and again in San Francisco with Finish Line and Nike in October. Now, for what I’ve learned this year.
Do more of what you want to do, less of what you think you have to do. This was a lesson learned from blogging. During the first year of EC.com, I wrote three posts per week. During the second year, I upped my content calendar to four posts per week. I thought I needed to write more posts to grow my audience. Over time, creating so much content while working a full time job started to burn me out. In May, I decided to cut back and write only one quality post per week. You should spend your personal time doing what you want to do. No one is making me blog or run races, so I should do these things how and when they make me happiest.
Your passions aren’t random; combine and pursue them. One of my long-term goals in becoming a blogger has always been to use my content as a portfolio to benefit my career. While I’ve worked at both a PR and digital agency in Insights & Planning, I knew I someday wanted to work for a fitness brand. In early 2015, I started to brainstorm how and when these two pieces of my career would come together. The answer wasn’t as obvious as I thought it would be, but I knew I loved blogging and the agency world. Recently, I created a new role within my full time job to work directly with influencers on behalf of major brands. More news about this to come.
If you know you deserve something, stop waiting and start asking for it. I’ve learned this lesson both in my full time job and in blogging. When I started my current role 2.5 years ago, there was no job opening online. I emailed a recruiter I found on LinkedIn for an informational interview. During that interview, I convinced her that I was an ideal fit for her team. Two more interviews later, I joined the team. Last fall, I saw Finish Line Ambassadors posting content to Instagram. I wanted to be one, so I found a way to get in touch with the Ambassador coordinator. I asked to be considered. A few months later, I joined the team. If you know you deserve something, ask for it.
To achieve a big goal, want it (a little) more than you’re afraid of it. I’ve said it before, but I never thought I would be able to run a full marathon. Before Fall 2013, I had never run more than three consecutive miles. Running my first half in April 2014 was a big deal. While I decided that I would run more half marathons, running a full marathon was never part of the plan. While training for my second half in Fall 2014, a friend convinced me to take on a full in January 2015. I knew I’d never be 100% ready but wanted to give it a shot. I wanted to prove to myself that I could run 26.2 miles. You have to want the big goals, but fearing the process keeps you working toward them.