I flew to back to California on the 4th of July of last year for the final round of interviews for a company and position I was very excited about. I’d applied for a different position months earlier and they ended up calling me back to interview for a new, seemingly tailor-made-for-me position. Pun intended. Each person I interviewed with told me how well I did and how much s/he looked forward to working with me. One gave me a hand-written note.
When I didn’t get the job, I felt like a failure.
I came home emotionally exhausted. It was halfway through the year and I’d already gone from working in Brazil to pitching my startup in Philly to traveling back to Cali for this interview. I beat myself up for being back at home with my parents. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I didn’t believe that I could grow if I lived at home because I’ve always heard that nothing good ever comes from comfort zones. As it turns out, staying in one place was the exact opposite of my comfort zone.
For the first time in years, I decided to remain planted in one city, my hometown of LA. Throughout the year, I joined my church’s internship program, studied digital marketing + web design, enrolled in an online entrepreneurship boot camp, went on a retreat for professional creatives, and took a few dance classes. I challenged myself to focus on being present instead of being controlled by constantly seeking the next adventure/business/city/etc.
Learning to grow where I’m planted has forced me to confront limiting beliefs I didn’t even know I was internalizing. I learned the importance of building community and making a difference no matter where I am. I learned that endings don’t require an explanation nor do they require me to vilify another person. I’ve let go of people and positions that aren’t fruitful, even if they aren’t overtly “bad.” I’ve begun developing and prioritizing my relationship with God like never before. Above all, I’ve learned that being planted does not equate to being stagnant. This season has stretched me in every possible way--physically, emotionally, professionally, and spiritually.
During this season of being planted, I have started, joined, and even walked away from various business ventures, facing the full spectrum of ups and downs at each stage. I've taken advantage of opportunities I couldn't have predicted, like taking a part-time job working at salsa clubs, leading an operations team at a huge conference in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood (where the Oscars are!), and helping run an online language school.
I remember how anxious I was when I first launched my website on my 24th birthday--exactly 11 months ago. I did not expect that would lead me to
- starting the blog that you’re reading now
- teaching a web design course to middle schoolers
- building a portfolio of clients as a digital marketer and web designer
- launching a new blog for a travel startup
- curating a community of entrepreneurs and go-getters
- accepting a leadership position in an international Virtual Reality organization
One very cool and very unexpected surprise this year is that I decided to send my first dance blog post to one of my favorite role models, Massy Arias, and she responded by inviting me to a private performance + meet-and-greet with Prince Royce (the inspiration behind my interest in Latin music/dance)!
When I first started writing today's post, I reverted back to feeling like a failure. It’s been a year and I still don’t have a new job, relationship, apartment, etc. On the outside, it could seem like not much has changed. But as I continue to reflect on my journey over the last year--and not just the end destination--I realize that I’ve experienced massive internal growth. No matter what city I’m in, or what my external situation looks like, it’s my responsibility to keep growing, exploring, and encouraging. Note to self:
© taylordmills 2017