HSL is all about embracing a uniquely personal journey to find your true self and a meaningful perspective on life. In January, I talked about friend and fellow Philly blogger, Jessica Lawlor after participating in her "Get Gutsy" contest. A month later, we're trading places and she's in the hot seat. I'm asking her about the first time she realized she needed to look at life through a different lens, and what happened when she came out the other side.
Turns out, the simple step of getting outside of her comfort zone led to the meaningful life she was looking for.
HSL: Tell me a little bit about your background and when you began to focus on your life’s journey in a serious way.
JL: I’ve always been a writer and have been blogging on and off under various blog names since 2008. However, it was just two years ago that I decided to make a drastic change in my life...and began documenting the journey on my Get Gutsy blog.
A couple of years ago, I was a completely different person. I was 30 lbs heavier, confused about the future, unclear about my goals...and in general, in the midst of a mini quarter-life-crisis. On the outside, everything looked fine...but it didn’t feel good on the inside. I knew something needed to change, but I wasn’t sure what. I stumbled upon the quote, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” one day on Pinterest and immediately, it resonated with me. I began to use this quote to guide my decisions and thinking.
That’s when I decided to launch the Get Gutsy blog. It’s been a whirlwind since then. Over the past two years, the blog has led to launching the Get Gutsy Essay Contest/Week, Interview Series and an ebook. Now I'm launching 30 Days of Gutsy, a new course that begins on March 1. Register by 2/28 if you're ready to get gutsy and reach your goals.
HSL: How did you develop your plan for Get Gutsy and what was the tipping point that made you say, “I have to do this, it will enhance my life.”
JL: As I mentioned, I had been blogging under various other names for years, the most recent being a book review/writing blog. I lost interest in that specific niche and took a break from blogging for a few months. During that time, I did a lot of soul searching. That was when I discovered the quote on Pinterest and realized I wanted to change my own life, and in the process, inspire others to change theirs.
I knew the best way to do that would be through writing. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to blog about, but decided to keep the topic general enough that many topics could fit under one blog umbrella.
That’s why I went with the theme of getting gutsy- you can get gutsy in so many different ways whether it’s something as crazy as jumping out of an airplane or something as simple as trying a new fitness class. I knew that pretty much everything I’d want to write about would fit neatly under this general theme of stepping outside your comfort zone.
What surprised me most in all of this was that the blog quickly became less about my personal story and more about the stories of those who read Get Gutsy. The blog has truly become a passionate community of go-getters who help one another reach their goals. I started this thing thinking it would help me (and it has) but it has become so much bigger than that and helps and encourages so many others. In turn, they help me too! I’m incredibly grateful for the Get Gutsy community.
HSL: How do you live your mantra of getting out of your comfort zone in your daily life?
JL: Stepping outside your comfort zone can truly be anything. It can be setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each morning to pursue a side business. It could be meeting a Twitter friend in person for dinner for the first time. It could even be standing up for yourself at work. I do these small things all the time- I like to say anytime I have butterflies in my stomach, I’m likely doing something that gets me out of my comfort zone.
HSL: To say you’re a busy person is an understatement. What are the major challenges that get in the way of your day-to-day happiness and how do you deal with them?
JL: Honestly, one of my major challenges is fitting in everything that I want to do...while staying sane! I consistently overschedule myself because I want to do everything! I have trouble saying no to fun social plans or opportunities for networking. While I love going to events and hanging out with friends, I find myself getting stressed and overwhelmed when I have a packed calendar and little time to work toward my goals.
HSL: What suggestions do you have for people who are trying to find their mission or refine their life’s journey?
JL: Get started now. So many people never make a change or even attempt to reach their goals because they are terrified or don’t know the “right” thing to do next. To be honest? There’s no such thing as a right or wrong way to find your mission or change your story. I encourage people to just take one small step in the right direction. Maybe that step is writing down one big, scary goal they have. Maybe it’s sharing that goal with a friend who can provide accountability and support.
I’d also encourage those looking to make a change to find a blog, newsletter, course or community that might be able to help them throughout the journey. Support is key here and can make all the difference, especially when making a big life change. But seriously, just get started now. Otherwise, you’ll look back and wish you had done it sooner.
So - Jess took control of her future. What are some of the things you have you done to find meaning in your life?