Awesome Apprenticeship: January

We asked Courtney Ramirez to be our Awesome Apprentice; she’s taking the 52 Weeks to Awesome course and will be writing us a post at the end of each month to share her experiences with us.

Look how excited she is!Here we go! Week one of fifty-two. I feel like I’m staring down a long road and at the end, there’s my awesome self staring back urging me to take the next step.

So why am I doing this work? Things could stand to be more awesome across the board. The idea of having just one thing to do each week that will create small but steady progress is very appealing. Although I’ve been trying to make progress for the past several years, I feel like the successes are few and far between. I think part of the problem is trying to take on too much too soon. As if I’ll only be happy if everything is fixed and up to par within one month. That’s just not possible for anyone – but I expect it from myself? It doesn’t make much sense. Working on the 52 weeks to awesome dovetails nicely into my goal to be more like a turtle in the coming year. Start trying to race to the next level and instead just take small steps there. Ironic that in the year of the rabbit I’m embracing the tortoise.

And we need a tortoise type year after 2010. We lived in three different cities, broke through gender barriers as my husband became stay at home dad and we started the adventure of homeschooling. After all that change, “slow, steady and simple” has become the name of the game in my household. It was an amazing year that tested my strength, patience and fortitude. There were tears and a few good belly laughs. But there was also an underlying feeling that living our life unconventionally had somehow gotten into this crazy mess. That settling intro “real life” was the key to feeling happy all of the time and seeing more of what we wanted. But even on the worst days, we realized that where we are on every level is so much better off than where we were six years ago when we both worked full time out of the house. We realized that we were pretty lucky to have what we do, and that in and of itself is a big accomplishment even if it’s far from perfect. The next step needed to be getting balance and making tweaks to our life and feeling more awesome about our choices.

With this in mind, I started putting together reminders of my new mantra of “slow, steady and simple” around my house and office space. I cleaned up my bulletin board in my workspace and only kept the scraps, notes and post its related to my core business. I moved everything else to a folder called “Future” – this way I don’t have to give the ideas up but they aren’t in my way either. I also created my own mini-collage for my work space – we did one for the family on New Year’s and I’m not sure why I didn’t do one for just my work stuff. It includes some quotes, some numbers and some pictures that represent what I want to achieve and see more of in my life. In the center is one of my favorite pictures of my daughters (who are 6 and almost 4). Because at the end of the day, they are my main motivators for being more awesome. I want them to grow up to be amazing women – so I have to set a good example first.

In addition to making my space better, another part of completing my first mission was to evaluate what supports and hinders me as I go along my path. I wrote down some of my old favorite things to criticize myself about. But then I asked myself – are these really hindrances? Does going to bed late really hurt me or is it far better to just get over what time other people get going and accept myself for the night owl that I am? I opted for the latter and so far so good. I realized that by focusing on things that aren’t actually limiting me I was preventing myself from seeing the real culprits, like the negativity that came from thinking that early birds have an edge.

As I worked the rest of the way through lesson one, I started to think about what the end of this process would look like. But then I stopped myself. Thinking too far ahead into the future isn’t slow, steady or simple. For now I am going to take one week at a time, one lesson at a time and see where it takes me.

Courtney Ramirez is a content, seo and marketing superhero consultant by day and geeky BBC sitcom watching mom and wife by night. When not developing carpal tunnel by writing for her clients or playing the Sims, she’s homeschooling two girls and toying around with the idea of starting a new blog. You can follow her on Twitter.

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