The Simple Words You Need to Hear This Fall Equinox

The Simple Words You Need to Hear This Fall Equinox

Lean in.

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In the past, I haven't paid too much attention to seasonal equinoxes. I barely managed to recall their actual passing, let alone their relation to the stretches of light and dark in our days.

Now, I've developed a keener eye to these momentary days. While this fall may be "just another season," its arrival deserves our notice. This fall equinox, after all, has been marked by the famed Harvest Moon, a moon so vivid and immediate its light aided the ancient harvesting of crops for three straight nights.

We are also now losing a little smidge of light every day, tilting closer to winter.

You don't have to believe in astrology or any meaning held by the stars to acknowledge this equinox. I do hope, however, you take a moment to hear these few inspirational words as we move more closely towards dark and cold.

Lean in.

It's natural to want to resist any motion that urges us into darkness. I tend to particularly resist winter and any premonition of it, including the snow that currently tips the mountains where I live. I find the early dark of winter days to be unbearable, the sliding into depression inevitable.

Resisting this irrevocable change, however, isn't helping anyone—least of all yourself. This recent full moon may have brought impulses of change and transition with it; lean into these. Let them occur and trust that what emerges on the other side of the change is meant for your greater good.

Why not now?

We're so good at saying we don't deserve things. We're so good at closing off opportunities, shutting down channels. We mention tomorrows and future years without acknowledging the potential of the present.

If you're nurturing any ideas about anything, whether it's a creative project, what to do after graduation, where to travel, how to dress—why not now? Identify what's holding you back and then, maybe, choose now.

Self-care starts when you want it to.

Easing into colder months often means reaching more for hot drinks, fuzzy socks, and indoors. But don't let the weather alone give you permission to indulge in some self-care.

Caring for your needs—identifying them and consciously meeting them—can happen at any time, provided you give yourself permission to care for them. These bright fall days and crisp air may have more energy in your step, often a productive energy, but don't let the anxiety of production and cold mornings keep you away from what you long to do, whether that's taking a soothing bath or turn off your phone for a hot minute.

Relish possibility.

There's always potential wrapping its arms around you, even when you are most blind to it. Take this equinox—this deliberate turning away from the sun—to seek out the most unexpected potential in your life.

Where are there holes of possibility? Where can you fill them? How might you be closing yourself off to newness and change?

To hell with it.

Fall is not the time for convention or giving in to others' desires. Nor is it the time for perfection. Fall is the time of kicking up leaves and watching a favorite series on Netflix. It's the time of lingering longer than you feel you should.

Don't get caught up in the monkey mind—let loose. Your heart will thank you.

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You Are Only The Main Character In Your Own Life

It's a hard truth to face, but in everyone else's life, you are only a background character.

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You are the main character in your own life.

This is an obvious truth.

The not so obvious truth is the fact that you are a background character in everyone else's life.

Imagine this. You are getting dressed one morning, deciding whether or not you want to wear red pants, because you are afraid of what other people think. You're worried people are going to judge you, or pass comments on your red pants, or point you out to their friends and talk about you and think about you and your red pants all day long.

Here is the honest truth. This won't happen.

We are quick to worry about what others think of us and assume that other people care much, much more than they actually do because we are the main character in our own lives. To us, we are the most important. You are the star of your own show, dedicated to you for your entire life, with hundreds of thousands of people as background characters. This holds true for you, it holds true for me, it holds true for the person who made your coffee order today or the girl you saw in the grocery store.

Do you know what this truth means? It means that literally, no one cares.

No one cares if you wear the red pants.

No one cares if you cut your hair or get a tattoo or post an Instagram picture with a different edit than usual.

We might think that people care because we don't realize that we are only background characters in other people's lives.

As your temporary, honorary internet spokesperson, I am here to tell you this: since no one cares, you should just do whatever it is that you want to do.

Post two times a day. Three times a day. Seven times a day. Document your life unapologetically. Go through radical changes. Go through subtle changes. Literally just do whatever it is that you want to do because yes, people might think about it for a second. They might stop and show their friend a picture and say "oh, look, _____ went skydiving today" or "____ got a nose piercing". And that will be the end of it. And they will move on. And the next day they will not even remember it.

You are the main character in your own life. So write your own story. Do not let others dictate your novel. Background characters are in the background for a reason.

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Five Questions To Ask If You Want to Be an Entrepreneur

The entrepreneurial existence is not for the light-hearted or the purely whimsical.

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The average age of an entrepreneur is 42. But don't let this fact dissuade you: studies indicate that the millennial generation cares more about entrepreneurship than previous generations; over half dream of self-employment or starting their own business.

Certainly, the perks of crafting your own business are ample. Entrepreneurs often get to set their own schedules, create their own rules, and delight in bringing their special visions into the world. If you have the right skills and financial savvy, entrepreneurship may even provide profound job security, an asset for fresh graduates.

Yet the entrepreneurial existence is not for the light-hearted or the purely whimsical. There are several things to consider before bushwhacking into your own business, especially if you are still lining up your cards for your future.

Ask these five questions to get started. (These are not meant to be comprehensive—I highly advise consulting mentors, advisors, and family members further before taking the plunge!)

What's my specific vision?

Whether you've envisioned opening a raw vegan café downtown or launching a luxury men's clothing brand, it's essential to identify your specific vision prior to crunching numbers, setting up a Kickstarter, or taking out a business loan.

Vague, hazy, or fanciful visions will struggle to cohere—if they are able to do so at all. Vision functions much like a clear thesis statement in an academic essay: the more precise and specific it is, the more likely the essay is to follow a solid, logical structure.

Your entrepreneurial vision will feed into your master plan of attack—basically, your plan for doing this thing—and all future financial decisions. Down the road, it can even determine your brand itself, how you go about marketing this brand, and who your target audience is.

Take a moment to assess the specificity of your current vision. (Hint: the most specific visions will make it easier to answer the following questions). If you're having trouble nailing down details or even the "how" of this vision—the steps you'll take to implement it—chances are you need a little more specificity before passing Go and collecting your $200.

The "vision" or "idea" stage of business planning may last longer than you realize. Many successful business owners spent years letting an idea simmer, getting to know their market, and building a team.

This doesn't mean this stage isn't valuable—it is incredibly so. Yet, depending on your vision, this stage requires a little more commitment than most realize.

What resources do I have to accomplish this vision?

Dreams don't spread their own wings—you'll have to carry this vision into the world eventually! Turning your ideas into tangible products or teams of employees requires resources, and a lot of these.

Many entrepreneurs recognize their need for financial resources. Working capital is often necessary to craft a prototype, rent a commercial space, or hire first-time employees. For some prospective business owners, this may involve taking out a business loan to cover initial costs. For others, it may mean creating a plan for setting aside the money needed to start a business for the next several years.

Working capital is valuable, but so is time. Most entrepreneurs have to navigate crafting their vision while working another job in the interim; developing a business of any kind requires a commitment of more than mere minutes.

Lastly, you may also turn to others—friends, colleagues, business partners—to bring your ideas to fruition. It's important to assess who's all in in this department and who will require more incentive to join the collaboration.

Be honest about this question. If you find you don't have the immediate resources to accomplish your vision, don't fret. There are plenty of solutions: time (for one), loans, and patience.

Am I prepared for unanticipated challenges?

According to a recent study, 90% of startups fail. Ouch. That can be a tough statistic to swallow, especially if you are entering a rather competitive market from the outset.

Failure is not the only challenge you'll face in some capacity as an entrepreneur. Other obstacles may surface, including financial difficulties and unsuccessful product launches. Take a moment to consider what challenges you can anticipate with realizing your vision—are you prepared to meet them?

I'm not just talking about financial setbacks, here. A lot of startups face failure or dwindling profit margins due to lack of market savvy, timeliness (or lack of timeliness), and/or an absence of creativity or thinking outside the box.

What tools do you have at your disposal to face challenges? Are you eager to navigate obstacles with an open mind?

Who is my target audience?

This question is easiest to answer once you've spent some time formulating your ideas. Knowing who you wish to cater to as an entrepreneur can help you direct your vision more swiftly.

Of the millions of consumers, professionals, and citizens out there, who are you catering to? Most specifically, what need are you attempting to reach? How does your vision resolve a problem or issue and what improvements does it offer (of any kind)?

Identify your target demographic. Then spend time getting to know them. This may be incredibly easy; it may feel impossible. In either case, developing your vision with your audience in mind can give it the legs it needs to run and then sprint.

What's my Plan B?

A lot of prospective business owners neglect to answer this question, because it suggests that their vision may fail. Yet not having a realistic alternative to an entrepreneurial plan could have immense consequences, and not only financial.

I'm not saying you should throw yourself into two separate ideas. But do have a rough approximation of what your other options are. Sometimes Plan Bs become the ultimate Plan As.

Bonus: Would I be happier doing anything else?

Enough said. Being an entrepreneur is tough work. The ones who succeed throw their hearts and minds into what they do—they can't envision doing anything else. If you're happier doing something else, do that instead.

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