What defines you?
Strange thoughts cross our mind during sleepless nights. I don’t know about you, but when I lay in bed, wide awake my thoughts usually start to wander in all sorts of directions. Generally speaking, the journey is a worrisome. Troubles that seem minor during daylight suddenly feel like the end of the world past midnight. (Insert dramatic background music here.)
Sleep has not been my strong suit lately. It is not something I mind in particular because my body doesn’t require much sleep in order to function. However, one of my very few goals of 2019 is to sleep better. Better in the sense of more, but also better in terms of quality. Less tossing and turning. Less troubled thoughts during the night. Hence, I have not only stocked up on reading material of why sleep is so important, but also developed a strategy of my own for when I find myself unable to sleep.
Obviously many factors come into play. I think most of it comes down to creating more routine, more free time, more balance. Well, the first two weeks of 2019 are barely over and I feel like I am on the verge to slipping back into a rhythm that resembles a hectic drum and bass track rather than an inspiring sunset session house beat. So I have decided to guide my thoughts a little more intentionally. Last night, those thoughts led me to think about what defines me as a person. Interesting, no? Funny enough, the answer (and sleep) came to me much quicker than expected. While I was drifting off into the land of white fluffy sheep, I remember thinking to myself that I should probably share what defines me with you.
I am “open”. Open to new things. I have never been a fan of making plans for the next 5 or 10 years. I have never pictured myself at a certain age, I have no idea how many kids I will have later on or if I will ever build a house. Let alone which city the house would be in. But: I have always been ready to open any door that presented itself simply by going with what feels right.
How to be open? There are many ways to be open. Open in the sense of approachable as a person. Open in the sense of excited or ready to explore. Open in the sense of undecided. Or open in the sense of trusting your gut. Maybe all of the above? Or none?
However, if you were to ask me today, what has shaped my life and career the most, I think the answer would be: Because I am open!
Here’s what that looks like in reality:
- Together with my parents and siblings, I moved to new cities, states and countries during my childhood. My parents always taught us to be open to the new destination and that the five of us together would be able to create a home – no matter where in the world. They never even considered to put us into German school when we lived in California because they wanted us to be open to the culture and language. They wanted us to learn something new.
- For over 12 years, I have been in a relationship that others doomed from the beginning. They said they knew him, he couldn’t be trusted, he was not right for me. I have always been a believer in getting to know people and then forming my own opinion. Luckily I was open to him (or the other way around?) despite what everyone had to say. Him = the love of my life.
- When we both finished school and decided to move to Vienna, some called us crazy for moving in together at age 19. Why not? I figured, if it doesn’t work out after having dated for two years, when should it work out in the future?
- When the company that I worked at moved to Germany in 2014 and got rid of most of its employees (including me, their jr. Social Media Manager), I was open to give self-employment a try. I gave myself 6 months. Almost 5 years later I am still here and am so glad I did not set out in search of a new job but rather pursued my own path.
- When I met my best friend, we instantly hit it off. So much, that we decided to found a company together after only knowing each other for 6 months. We were open to give it a try. Fast forward 5 years and we now have two editors working for us and are proud to be the first Austrian site to be an official Vogue.de partner site as part of the digital Vogue Community. I don’t even want to call it a dream come true because in all honesty, we could have never even dreamt of an achievement like that. Which brings me back to being open. Of course, saying “Yes!” to Vogue hardly requires a whole lot of openess. Still, we used this chance that was given to us to be more open and grow. We were open to expand our team with a fourth member (Nora, who whips up some seriously incredible recipes on the regular) and open to facing the fact that we can only grow by relying on other’s and their expertise more. Also, open to investing more (money) into something that we strongly believe in. Taking a fourth person onboard and upping the hours of Nina to take on more responsibility within the team was not an easy decision for us, but one we are so incredibly happy with now.
Being open does not mean you are fearless. If that was the case, I would probably sleep a little more and worry a little less. It simply means that you trust your gut enough to take an opportunity when it presents itself. So why did I feel it was necessary to share those late-night thoughts with you? Because the year is still young and the resolutions are still fresh. And because I know a lot of us have big plans for the next 354 days.
There is not really a time that comes to mind where being open has done me any harm. Sometimes it requires some trial and error. But if an opportunity arises and feels right, don’t feel the need to justify your decision. And don’t be afraid to be open for all that amazing stuff that 2019 has planned for you!
*pep talk over*