Ani

The path to Confidence isn't to reassure ourselves of our own dignity, but to grow at peace with the inevitable nature of our ridiculousness. 

Why yes, I am wearing 3 capes in that picture :)


Background

Graduate school left me with an overwhelming mountain of student loans that I was afraid would stifle my pursuit of becoming a filmmaker and artist. I felt embarrassed, confused and ashamed that I hadn't gotten to where I thought I should be in life. (No one talks about this!)

I had a decision to make: find a way to pay off my debt or follow my dreams of becoming an artist. I did both.

In two years, I paid off my student loans, produced two short documentaries (both featured at film festivals and one on PBS), all while working full-time and learning as much as I could about personal finance. I’ve since quit my day job and am a full-time freelance documentary filmmaker. I want to help others who feel trapped and lost with money by sharing my experience and knowledge. I launched You’re Already You and started leading workshops on personal finance and helping other ambitious women take action in the direction of their dreams. I’ve been featured in financial publications such as Learnvest, Zerobound, and Bankrate. 

I want women to fearlessly negotiate for a raise, confidently start the business of their dreams and own themselves fully.

Below, I'll outline the resources that most helped me create achieve my dreams and help me to keep going!

 

1. It takes courage to be present in your own life

There's an excerpt in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, about her sitting under a fig tree staring at different figs. She's deciding which to eat -- one fig represents a house, another a career as a famous poet, another a man, another a different career as a professor. She sits there so long that she doesn't end up eating any of them. Time passes her by and she finds herself sitting there surrounded by rotten fruit. I read that in college and decided that wouldn't be me. 

Here's the one class that's helped me most in becoming more courageously present:
What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast


 

2. Always go for the best parking spot to find work you love

I'm one of those people who always gets really great parking spots. Don't hate :) Instead of saying "nah, I won't check the first row with the best spots because they'll be full" I think, "No one ever checks to the first row with the best spots so they'll be empty!" Boom! The best parking spots are always empty. 

This is what I've found to be the case with job hunting (back when I had a 9-5, but also now when looking for clients).

I worked in HR for a few years and found two things surprising: the best jobs -- with the highest salaries at the coolest organizations doing the most meaningful and fulfilling work -- are always the hardest to fill.

So, I've always tried to apply to at least one job that's my super scary "reach" job -- one that makes me a little nervous and then I give it my *all* in the application and beyond. About half the time, I've landed that job/client. 
I've created video resumes before, found anyone in my network that works there and met with them in person, and I've filmed myself interviewing and watched it play back.  

Always always always, apply to a job you think you can't get, but you dream about having and wish you were qualified for. Always.I even applied to a job that said I needed a very specific technical skill in statistics. I gave it may all, didn't get it, went to graduate school and got the skill, and then applied again a year later when the job wasn't even posted anymore. I got the job and had that super nerdy tech job for almost 4 years :)
 

3. Money #realtalk #myfave

The value of the house I grew up in was less than the value of my college degree. In other words, I felt a pressure to produce and give back to my family.  However, I'm an artsy hippy at heart, so wanting to give back financially often conflicted with my paycheck. So, early on, I decided I *must* prioritize both my financial health *and* my heartfelt dreams. I vowed that I *must* become a filmmaker/artist but not be a "starving artist". I *must*. 

Practical money lessons:

  • Don't budget. It's a waste of time. Automate your budget instead. I'm offering a free webinar on how to simplify your budget into 1-page. 
  • Traditional banking is awful. Online banking will take over in our lifetime. My favorite online bank is Simple.com. You're welcome :)
  • Measure your purchases in time (in addition to money). If you make $10/hour and you buy a $10 bloody mary at brunch, then that drink's actually 1 hour of your time. Would you work 1 hour to earn that drink. Maybe not? But maybe? Spend smarter by evaluating your purchases through time.
    • Ask yourself: What's the last thing you bought that you loved? That you regretted buying? How much of your time did they cost you to purchase?
  • There's a personal part to personal finance. Numbers are super important, but your dreams are more so. I'm always working on one big financial game-changing goal -- paying off debt, getting a better job -- and one big scary dream -- making my first feature movie -- at any given time.
    • Ask yourself: What game-changing goals are you working on (no matter how big or small)?

 

4. No one will ever put you first like you can put you first

A friend of mine felt guilty and torn by a canceled family dinner that was rescheduled to right before her final exams. She was torn about what to do -- study for her finals or go to her family's once canceled and now rescheduled dinner. 

I said to her: Your time and priorities are valuable to you...even if friends, family, etc. don't understand, it's important that you understand your priorities. No one will ever care as much about your priorities as you, so you're the only one who can advocate for them. Stay strong!  

Know your priorities. Make time for them. I have a calendar exclusively dedicated to scheduling time for my priorities -- yes, they get a whole different color on my calendar because they're important and I want to give them special time and space. I treat them like doctor appointments for my life. 

(Also, here's an awesome tool I use for scheduling 1-1 calls. It takes away the back and forth emailing: Calendly.com)