pick your battles

dear, you (1)

 

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything is a quote I heard a year ago that I often play in my head when I’m feeling overwhelmed. There have been times where the goings have truly gotten tough and I wonder to myself: “How can I do all of this?”

I’m not here to tell you to get an agenda or planner. I’m here to tell you a simple response to that inner monologue:

You don’t have to.

Whether it’s at work or at home, you have a team of humans who were pulled together as a team to well, do it all as a team. There is no honour in being a martyr who can do it all, and there certainly isn’t honour in struggling but not telling anyone you need help. Sure, there may be praise for getting it all done on your own but in my experience, that praise never comes. Because when you struggle and complete the nearly-impossible tasks without asking for help, no one really understands the breadth of how much you did and thus, your hard work may go unnoticed.

Look around at the stuff you have on your plate and consider,

“Do I need to do all of it in this timeline?”

“Do I have anyone who can help with some of this?”

“Am I doing my best and still can’t do it all?”

Then, decide. All anyone can ask of you is to do your best. You have the knowledge and strength to take on anything this world is going to throw at you, but you can’t fight every single fight. Pick your battles and make these decisions out loud. Ask for help when you need it, and take a break when you know you need that, too.

 

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love,
ELLE

mind your beeswax

dear, you (1)

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what success means to us. Is it a nuclear family and a solid median household income? Is it travelling the world and learning new languages? Is it spending time with friends and writing your book? And if it isn’t one of these things – is that a failure?

There are so many paths to take at every point in our unique adventures. People in my life are pursuing dreams bigger and smaller than mine, but that absolutely doesn’t mean that any of us are doing this wrong.

It can feel terrifying to compare yourself to the folks on your Instagram feed. Some might have a Masters, a new family, a house, a beautiful wedding, a cool job. If you’re comparing notes with people on social media, it’s no wonder you feel like you don’t stack up.

When was the last time you shared a post online about something awful that happened to you? Probably never. And why would anyone else? In fact, maybe someone looks at your perfectly curated life online and thinks that you’ve got it all. We’re all in on this charade together.

Live your life in whatever way you’re happy with. There’s no how-to manual on navigating the rest of your life. We’ll all get there in the end. Take your time. Have fun along the way. Turn off your wifi sometimes.

 

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love,
ELLE

fake it til ya make it

dear, you (1)

Let’s talk about confidence.

I’ve known plenty of successful, confident people who didn’t know what they were talking about—in this case, let’s call him Steven. I can objectively say that the Stevens I’ve met in my life are rambunctious, driven and hold heads up high despite (and let’s face it) we know a lot more than him. But he is so confident in his abilities that he convinces others of it: he moves up in the ladder, gets the promotion, gets the better grade or whatever it is, while it always seems that you get left behind.

Now, that’s not any fault of Steven for being able to portray that level of self-esteem and leverage it to get what he wants. But it does provide a disservice to us if we don’t do the same—especially if we have the same (or better!) capabilities that he does.

And while you and I both know that Steven may not be the smartest guy in the room, we also know for a fact that it’s the confidence that got him there. This week, I want you to walk into every encounter with the exact same level of confidence that Steven has. Even if you feel like you may not totally know what you’re doing or if you feel completely out of your depth. Hold your head up high. Drown out your insecurities. Believe in your own ability.

I know that sounds terrifying and uncomfortable to be so self-assured, but you know that you know your stuff. People like Steven have faked it until they made it; lucky for you, you already have it. You just need to be ready to share it with everyone else.

Be assertive. Be confident. Know your worth. If Steven can win over a crowd and have no idea what he’s talking about, you can walk in with that same enthusiasm, a lot more knowledge, and woo the crowd over, too.

 

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Did someone forward this to you? Subscribe here to receive a pep-talk straight to your inbox every Wednesday. Until then, see ya next week!

love,
ELLE

gone swimming

dear, you (1)

Hard decisions are really freaking hard. I’ve recently had to make an important choice myself: Will I go over the deep end and try something terrifying, unsure and potentially life-changing, or stay in the shallow pool where it’s safe and guaranteed I (probably) won’t drown?

This sort of self-reflection is so tough to swallow. A year ago last year, you felt so blessed to be in this position and now you’re seeking something bigger. Why can’t you be happy with what you have? Because you’ve grown. And you’re still growing.

It could be as big as a career change or even as everyday as going out when you’d usually stay in. Whatever it is, there is no wrong answer to that tough choice. Though, I will say this: I can’t tell you about the nights I stayed in. Even times when I went out and was bored by the company, at least I had a funny story to tell.

Staying on the shallow side isn’t a bad thing – just don’t ever think it’s all there is. Even if it’s scary, even if it seems monumental, we have the rest of our lives to get it right, and maybe even a little wrong, too.
Let’s mess things up sometimes. We can forgive ourselves later.

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Did someone forward this to you? Subscribe here to receive a pep-talk straight to your inbox every Wednesday. Until then, see ya next week!

Thanks to Otakuaegyochan for this week’s theme, “making important choices.” Click the comment button below to tell me what themes you’d like to hear about next week! Until then, see you Sunday.

love,
ELLE

 

97

the tale of my life
marred with working class dreams
and making ends meet
and violent boys
and skipping dinners I didn’t deserve

if it’s really true that we all have our own burdens to carry
and some are invisible and some are so terribly heavy
I hope that the words I write down and the stories I tell
of every bad thing that’s ever happened to me
become someone else’s survival guide
in how to be thrown into the depths
when you swore you weren’t the drowning type
and learning how to swim to shore.

 

 

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love,
ELLE

Tips on How to Brave an Internship

As some of you know, I started an internship at the beginning of this summer to get my foot in the door as a first year student. I’m happy to report I’m still there and working part time on a month-by-month basis! It was such a shock to receive the offer because they knew I was going back to school, but still tried to keep me around. It was such an amazing experience this summer—and I wanted to share it with you!

First, I want to explain that the process of getting the internship was difficult from the start. I was a first year student with some great success from this blog and my content, but I was still someone who had no formal experience in the industry. On paper, I knew I sounded like a gamble.

I had put out at least 30 applications as a PR, communications or marketing intern across Toronto and came up with ‘No’ or more often, no response at all. In the same day, I had two requests for interviews. I nearly threw up from being so nervous.

If you’ve been on this site long enough, you know what’s coming next! Here are my three key things I learned about internships:

Understand that in an ideal world, an internship is meant to benefit you more than it benefits the company.

We had one-on-one chats every week to talk about how things were going, how the workload was, and most importantly—how I felt. Did I feel like I was learning something new? Was there a project floating around the office that I wanted to get my hands on?

There are a lot of jokes about how interns are tasked with getting coffees, printing documents and menial tasks. Mine was definitely not that–I worked directly on client campaigns, coordinated events and made sure to touch as many things as possible. Which leads me to my next point,

Get involved in as many things as you can, so that the moment you’re gone—people notice.

This goes down to the little things: I ran the dishwasher every evening and unloaded every morning. I reorganized the recycling and garbage system to make it more efficient. I always played music for the office throughout the day. These weren’t expectations for me—these are very minor details that I inserted myself into in such a way that the second I didn’t do it, you’d know. Even in bigger things—I’d get emails on non-work days for certain items my colleagues knew that I knew. My value became apparent both in my presence and in my lack of it.

When the going gets tough, tell someone.

The most challenging things about being an intern is that you are an assistant to everyone. Which is good because you get to cross disciplines and learn many different things, but it also means that no one person knows how much you have on-the-go. One person needs your help organizing a deck, another needs a content calendar out this week, another needs a byline proofread in the next hour. To a single person, they’ve only asked you for one task. However, four other people did the same thing—suddenly, you’re drowning.

There are a lot of romantic ideas of “always say yes!” or “keep your head down and make it happen!” but there is a limit where you’re stretched thin and won’t provide a few pieces of great work, but rather many pieces of average work. Knowing this limit doesn’t make you weak, but it actually (and this surprised me) makes you smart. This work can be distributed. It’s not the end of the world—but it might be if you don’t speak up.

It wasn’t easy, and I definitely got my gigantic foot through the door because of this experience. I was as fresh as they come—but I swore to them that I would try my absolute best. And here we are!

So that’s it! Have any of you done an internship before?
How did it go?
And if you have any questions or if you’re starting one soon, feel free to reach out!

 

Love,
ELLE