Maybe it’s time to pivot, motherf*cker.

I’ve been writing this one in my head for just over a year now. But I wanted to get the colors just right before I showed you.

It was a year ago — late winter, when the snow is just starting to melt but the sun hasn’t quite come out yet — when I first scribbled this phrase in all caps on the left side of my journal:

MAYBE IT’S TIME TO PIVOT, MOTHERFUCKER.

///

I was three weeks into an eight-week course on business and branding, learning all about how to build sustainable systems and connect with amazing clients and generally make a living while doing good work that I love.

There had already been one existential crisis so far: during Week 1 I’d taken stock of my strengths and whatnot and realized that I wasn’t quite doing everything that was in my heart to do. Briefly I wondered whether I should quit making websites and just be a preacher instead, but then I remembered that I loved building websites and that most preachers I know of are either scumbags or broke (I realize this is an overgeneralization, I’m sorry) and also that if I was a preacher I might have to give up swearing prolifically on the internet*, so I quit that existential crisis and went back to work on this business and branding class.

*please note that this is not about my commitment to swearing. I don’t give a fuck about that. What I do give a fuck about is the freedom to speak candidly and honestly, which occasionally involves swears but doesn’t have to. Sadly, many professional Christians are implicitly banned from this sort of thing.

So now it’s week three and we’re having another existential crisis. See, the teacher told us to write about the brands we love, the feelings those brands evoke, and the sort of things we want to communicate to people who come to our websites.

The words I wrote were things like this: fun, playful, friendly, relatable, non-corporate, kind, relaxing, hopeful, connected.

I looked at my own site and it was the opposite of all that: brooding, dark, artistic. Hell, you land on my home page and the first thing you see is my back as I stand lonefully on a bridge.

That’s when I realized I might need to change a few things up around here.

What do you when the brands you love are fun and playful but you are angsty and depressed? 

MAYBE IT’S TIME TO PIVOT, MOTHERFUCKER.

///

I started thinking about what that would look like here, if I tossed the angsty sadboy brand out the window and started dreaming in color instead. It would have to be bright, playful, energetic, and welcoming. Most of all, it would have to be real. Not a version of me constructed to look professional, or hipsterly, or millennial. It would just be me.

But I also knew that this pivot would have to transcend colors on my website. It would have to be a thing inside my soul too.

So I opened my journal again, and wrote this:

Maybe it’s time to turn the page on sadness and angst and choose playful instead. A time to pivot away from depression and vacant stares and choose sunshine and joy and curiosity and excitement instead.

///

That was a year ago.

I made a vision board (ok, it was Pinterest), hired a photographer (she’s amazing, check it out!), and drew up some plans for a new site. Then I procrastinated for many months.

Procrastination is often a sign that there’s something deeper happening which should be attended to. I usually procrastinate when:

– a project is so important to me that I want it to be perfect and that’s intimidating
– a project is so boring and I wish I hadn’t agreed to do it and now I just want it to go away
– a project has ignited a fresh existential crisis and I need to rethink my entire life

And I needed this to be perfect. After all, it was me — my whole existence distilled into a few pages of WordPress content signifying a fundamental change in my approach to the world from angsty to playful.

But eventually I made something that I am proud of, with mischievous photos and bright colors and lots of open space. Here it is. This is it.

///

Still, I’ve been procrastinating on pushing this bright new website into the world. Because just when I thought this was finished, I began to realize that once again it was time to pivot.

Here’s how that conversation went inside my brain:

Me: [working from home, standing in front of the fridge] I’m hungry.

Also Me: You’re not hungry, you’re just bored. Drink some water and go back to your desk.

Me: Why am I bored?

Also Me: Because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing with your life?

*record scratch*

Whoa. I was just trying to eat some carbs and melted cheese, not have an existential crisis.

Me: What am I supposed to be doing with my life? 

Also Me: Writing and speaking, duh. We’ve been over this.

It’s true. We have been over this. See, I’ve been a writer / speaker / designer for a while now but the designer part was what took up all the time and paid all the bills. And as my business has grown, the writer / speaker part has fallen into disrepair.

Over the past year while I’ve procrastinated on the website redesign because it had to be perfect, the nagging thought in the back of my head has become more and more pressing, ultimately spilling over into a conversation with myself in front of an open fridge.

///

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about ideas as “disembodied, energetic life forms” that wander from person to person looking for a channel through which they can become manifest:

When an idea thinks it has found somebody – say, you – who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention… The idea will try to wave you down (perhaps for a few moments; perhaps for a few months; perhaps even for a few years), but when it finally realises that you’re oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else.

This terrifies me, the possibility that I might carelessly send away an idea that’s been knocking at my door, trying to get me to notice, begging me to bring it into existence.

But after the conversation with myself at the fridge, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I knew that if I kept adding design projects to my to-do list and focusing on building a kick-ass website business, I’d be ignoring the Thing I’m Supposed To Be Doing. And eventually, it will give up and go away.

It’s time to pivot again, motherfucker.

///

So hi, welcome to this new site of mine.

I’ve cleared away some of the trappings and whatnots to make more room for words again.

It’s not what I thought it would be when I started working on it a year ago, but no good thing ever stays the same, now does it?

///

an addendum:

I am still occasionally going to do a website or two, but on a very limited basis. If you need info about that, it’s right here.

If would like more information about my speaking availability, you can find it on this page. If you know of anyone looking for an ex-fundamentalist cult-survivor hopeful still-Christian person to talk about God and love and also fucked up church stuff, will you point them my way?

 

Maybe it’s time to pivot, motherf*cker.

March 27, 2018 | 6 minute read

pivot

I’ve been writing this one in my head for just over a year now. But I wanted to get the colors just right before I showed you.

It was a year ago — late winter, when the snow is just starting to melt but the sun hasn’t quite come out yet — when I first scribbled this phrase in all caps on the left side of my journal:

MAYBE IT’S TIME TO PIVOT, MOTHERFUCKER.

///

I was three weeks into an eight-week course on business and branding, learning all about how to build sustainable systems and connect with amazing clients and generally make a living while doing good work that I love.

There had already been one existential crisis so far: during Week 1 I’d taken stock of my strengths and whatnot and realized that I wasn’t quite doing everything that was in my heart to do. Briefly I wondered whether I should quit making websites and just be a preacher instead, but then I remembered that I loved building websites and that most preachers I know of are either scumbags or broke (I realize this is an overgeneralization, I’m sorry) and also that if I was a preacher I might have to give up swearing prolifically on the internet*, so I quit that existential crisis and went back to work on this business and branding class.

*please note that this is not about my commitment to swearing. I don’t give a fuck about that. What I do give a fuck about is the freedom to speak candidly and honestly, which occasionally involves swears but doesn’t have to. Sadly, many professional Christians are implicitly banned from this sort of thing.

So now it’s week three and we’re having another existential crisis. See, the teacher told us to write about the brands we love, the feelings those brands evoke, and the sort of things we want to communicate to people who come to our websites.

The words I wrote were things like this: fun, playful, friendly, relatable, non-corporate, kind, relaxing, hopeful, connected.

I looked at my own site and it was the opposite of all that: brooding, dark, artistic. Hell, you land on my home page and the first thing you see is my back as I stand lonefully on a bridge.

That’s when I realized I might need to change a few things up around here.

What do you when the brands you love are fun and playful but you are angsty and depressed? 

MAYBE IT’S TIME TO PIVOT, MOTHERFUCKER.

///

I started thinking about what that would look like here, if I tossed the angsty sadboy brand out the window and started dreaming in color instead. It would have to be bright, playful, energetic, and welcoming. Most of all, it would have to be real. Not a version of me constructed to look professional, or hipsterly, or millennial. It would just be me.

But I also knew that this pivot would have to transcend colors on my website. It would have to be a thing inside my soul too.

So I opened my journal again, and wrote this:

Maybe it’s time to turn the page on sadness and angst and choose playful instead. A time to pivot away from depression and vacant stares and choose sunshine and joy and curiosity and excitement instead.

///

That was a year ago.

I made a vision board (ok, it was Pinterest), hired a photographer (she’s amazing, check it out!), and drew up some plans for a new site. Then I procrastinated for many months.

Procrastination is often a sign that there’s something deeper happening which should be attended to. I usually procrastinate when:

– a project is so important to me that I want it to be perfect and that’s intimidating
– a project is so boring and I wish I hadn’t agreed to do it and now I just want it to go away
– a project has ignited a fresh existential crisis and I need to rethink my entire life

And I needed this to be perfect. After all, it was me — my whole existence distilled into a few pages of WordPress content signifying a fundamental change in my approach to the world from angsty to playful.

But eventually I made something that I am proud of, with mischievous photos and bright colors and lots of open space. Here it is. This is it.

///

Still, I’ve been procrastinating on pushing this bright new website into the world. Because just when I thought this was finished, I began to realize that once again it was time to pivot.

Here’s how that conversation went inside my brain:

Me: [working from home, standing in front of the fridge] I’m hungry.

Also Me: You’re not hungry, you’re just bored. Drink some water and go back to your desk.

Me: Why am I bored?

Also Me: Because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing with your life?

*record scratch*

Whoa. I was just trying to eat some carbs and melted cheese, not have an existential crisis.

Me: What am I supposed to be doing with my life? 

Also Me: Writing and speaking, duh. We’ve been over this.

It’s true. We have been over this. See, I’ve been a writer / speaker / designer for a while now but the designer part was what took up all the time and paid all the bills. And as my business has grown, the writer / speaker part has fallen into disrepair.

Over the past year while I’ve procrastinated on the website redesign because it had to be perfect, the nagging thought in the back of my head has become more and more pressing, ultimately spilling over into a conversation with myself in front of an open fridge.

///

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about ideas as “disembodied, energetic life forms” that wander from person to person looking for a channel through which they can become manifest:

When an idea thinks it has found somebody – say, you – who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention… The idea will try to wave you down (perhaps for a few moments; perhaps for a few months; perhaps even for a few years), but when it finally realises that you’re oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else.

This terrifies me, the possibility that I might carelessly send away an idea that’s been knocking at my door, trying to get me to notice, begging me to bring it into existence.

But after the conversation with myself at the fridge, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I knew that if I kept adding design projects to my to-do list and focusing on building a kick-ass website business, I’d be ignoring the Thing I’m Supposed To Be Doing. And eventually, it will give up and go away.

It’s time to pivot again, motherfucker.

///

So hi, welcome to this new site of mine.

I’ve cleared away some of the trappings and whatnots to make more room for words again.

It’s not what I thought it would be when I started working on it a year ago, but no good thing ever stays the same, now does it?

///

an addendum:

I am still occasionally going to do a website or two, but on a very limited basis. If you need info about that, it’s right here.

If would like more information about my speaking availability, you can find it on this page. If you know of anyone looking for an ex-fundamentalist cult-survivor hopeful still-Christian person to talk about God and love and also fucked up church stuff, will you point them my way?

 

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