The Lessons Already Learned in 2018

We are 10 days into 2018 and the year has already brought a healthy dose of wisdom to my life. I don’t believe in resolutions — For me, it’s about finding a rhythm while juggling the important aspects of life like family, work, and a grounded approach to adversity.

For the first time since graduating college, I’m taking the plunge and diving headfirst in a different direction when it comes to my career. During my 20s and early 30s, I spent my days behind the scenes as a local news TV producer in Miami, Monterey, and San Francisco. I wore many hats from coordinating logistics and shoot setups, conducting interviews, and generating stories in fast-paced and often tumultuous newsrooms. Ultimately at ABC7 in San Francisco, I developed various digital strategies at a time when digital content was deemed as a ‘red headed step child.’

I left the news world in 2011 after almost a decade in a hectic environment with little work-life balance. The grass is greener on the other side, I thought. Or so it seemed. One of the pivotal mistakes I made with Ryzenberg On is a lack of strategy from the start. My Pollyanna approach resulted with inconsistent content and few snippets of my life here and there. Sadly, that non-method failed, because I’m not where I’d like to be in my life — professionally speaking post-TV life. (Lesson No. one learned: it’s OK to be vulnerable and admit it). 

Today the digital medial space is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut that controls what we buy, where we go, and what we do. I am unsure if I can remember a life without scrolling feeds, taking selfies, and insta everything (I kid, I kid — of course I remember!) Alas and very late in the game, I am slowly beginning to navigate the tempestuous waters of SEO optimization, impressions, and unique visitors.

Storytelling and content creation are my passion but my worst enemy. One part of the brain ponders the old adage of  ‘should have, could have, would have’ lamentations that are paralyzing. Luckily the other side is more pragmatic and believes in the ‘get it done’ mantra(Lesson No. two learned: Just do it)

A big challenge you ask? Of course. I’m scared, but a healthy mindset of taking ‘baby steps’ is keeping me grounded. I plan to hold myself accountable and have realistic expectations that will yield growth but also growing pains. The inevitable bleak moments of feeling like complete crap are imminent, because some of these goals will take longer than anticipated. (Lesson No. 3 learned: Rejection is OK and I already experienced it this year. It’s not even Martin Luther King Jr. Day — by the way)

A self-proclaimed ‘Master of None,’ I say goodbye to lousy habits. The wheels are in motion and have solid plans to stay motivated and organized, even in those days when I will want to binge watch every Real Housewives season — because old habits die hard, they say. (Lesson No. 4 learned: Plan, Plan, Plan)

The Write Stuff

Confession: I carry three notebooks on the regular. My floral planner is for appointments, due dates, and daily reminders. My red address book has every important phone number (in case of a zombie apocalypse or my phone dying — I have an iPhone 6, so its death is most likely happening in a matter of days). The last thing I want to do is post a cryptic Facebook status of ‘I lost everyone’s contacts, so please send ASAP!’ My pastel notebook is super handy to jot down ideas or additional research for a story.

For several months, I debated on investing in a social media & content planner aside from the aforementioned ones and after a little research, I found  ‘The Content Planner.’  Created by savvy entrepreneur Kat Gaskin, she saw a void in the industry and struck gold. This comprehensive guide is specifically designed to keep tasks on track, and comes  with an editorial calendar, social media posting schedule, goal setting page and other fun features. It takes away the stress of slapping together last-minute content. I have most of January and February mapped out, which is a solid foundation to keep my stories compelling, well thought-out, and informative. 

The Focus Factor

Anther foe? Distraction. While attempting to finish this piece, I made carrot soup from scratch (more on this soon, not sure how this domesticated thing happened), organized two drawers (also on the radar for a future story), and wrote a different story. It’s 1:45 a.m. and still typing away with my eyes barely open, so this clearly needs vast improvement. (See, accountability — we are making progress)

The Uniform

This one may seem frivolous, but for me dressing the part and a good work bag are key to bringing my A game. For months, I yearned for this Clare V tote and finally snagged it during a recent sale. It comfortably holds all my notebooks, obsolete phone, plus a few other necessities. When working from home (very infrequently), I change from PJs to jeans and a tee to stay productive — otherwise, we are back to square one. I adopted this while unemployed a few years ago and gave me a sense of accomplishment (baby steps, keep that in mind).

The Offline Cometh

A BIG ONE and probably the most important on this list. As I enjoy my first year of marriage (exciting, I know), staying present with Charlie is a must. I can’t be always on my phone, computer, and on “go mode,” because it, and really we, distract ourselves from our most important job: starting and maintaining a happy, healthy life together. Captured during our mini moon in Laguna Beach last Summer, this picture embodies a cathartic moment in our lives, as I realized that staying present during special milestones makes it worthwhile.

The Takeaway 

It’s going to take a lot of time, dedication, and commitment. It may not even pan out completely in 2018, and I am OK with it. It’s about approach and perspective, as I’m focusing less on the old adage of ‘no one reads my blog and why is it happening to me.’ I will keep the momentum going fueled from positive results, life lessons, and taking action.

OK — I digress. That stomach-churning overwhelming feeling is peering in because I lack a detailed timeline with specific goals. Oh, and let’s not to forget the considerable amount of catching up to do. My gremlins are pestering me, but I calmly whispered ‘baby steps.’

Stay tuned for more of this conversation. One of my ultimate dreams is for Ryzenberg On to become a community of readers that open up, share, discuss, and learn. Again, I am fully aware it’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s a start and a good mission strive for.

My quirky musings will continue. From personal style (instrumental in rebuilding my self-confidence), home decor (because nesting it’s where’s at), travel (it gives me perspective, no matter where I go), and beauty (skincare & self care with a radiant glow). I want my conversations to be candid, engaging, real, and fun (though not necessarily in that order).

My motto for this year is ‘Write like no one is reading.’ I am 100 percent confident my words will touch more than one person. This year represents  growth and seed-planting, especially professionally and in my digital corner. If those annoying gremlins come back, they will be kicked to the curb.

To more lessons learned, more experiences lived, and more importantly, accepting that life is a series of works in progress — like my old therapist in San Francisco would say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” — Winston Churchill, May 1940

Ryzenberg On is Signing Off