Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

2019 Goals

Posted: 9.30.2011 in Goals
  • Improve my mood (better sleep, smile more, eat better, vitamins, do things that make me happy, etc.)
  • Get better sleep
  • Move to Seattle
  • Join a group or club in Seattle (flag football starts April 6! But will keep an eye out for other groups)
  • Get more serious about buying an investment property
  • Write two blog posts per month (last year’s 1/week was too ambitious)
  • Read one book per month (audio book, podcast series, or lengthy magazine qualify)
  • FaceTime Baker once/week minimum
  • Snowboard somewhere new (Solitude, Snowbird, Jackson Hole, Mount Bachelor, Summit at Snoqualmie, Crystal Mountain)
  • Visit a new national park (Grand Teton National Park)
  • Climb a new 14er
  • Start donating blood again
  • Take an international trip
  • No cavities
  • Run 10 miles/week or at least 500 in the year
  • Keep my weight down
  • Start dating again (or at least try)
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2018 Goals

Posted: 9.30.2011 in Goals

It’s been five years since I last posted new year’s resolutions on my blog. As such, it’s safe to assume I didn’t quite hold myself accountable to all of that year’s goals. So, this year’s first goal will to be (1) recommit to annually sharing my goals and making a valiant effort toward achieving them.

2) Blog at least 1x per week
3) Read 1 book or magazine per month
4) Find at least 2 more steady freelance gigs (or a remote job in journalism)
5) Run 2 miles per day (total 730 for the year)
6) Visit gramps at least 1x per week
7) Hike a 14er, ideally in CO
8) Snowboard somewhere new
9) Visit a new national park
10) Move to a new city
11) Start donating blood again
12) Switch investments to index fund
13) Finally close dad’s estate

“You’re so busy” is something I hear often. It’s also not uncommon for me to get a “boo” or sad face emoji when I have to turn down an invite. As long as I’ve been old enough to use a planner, I’ve had a busy schedule. And as long as I’ve been able to tell time, I’ve been squeezing every minute out of every hour.

Most of my close friends know this about me, so it can be mildly irritating when they give me a hard time for being so busy or not being available with fewer than 48 hours notice.

That doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty, though. It’s a bummer when I miss fun activities or, worse, friends’ life events. But I’m both a planner and a woman of my word, and I also have a legit case of FOMO. So if I want to do something, I’m going to say “yes” to the first invite or I’m going to plan it myself. And once I’ve committed, I’m not going to flake. (Unfortunately some of friends are too comfortable with doing the latter.)

The last time I heard “you’re so busy” my friend then told me to “cancel things” so I wouldn’t be so busy. I was both humored and confused. Why would I want to cancel the things I had planned? It’s not as though these things appeared on my calendar without me knowing. Sure, it can get exhausting, but I took on all of these plans/trips/events/activities/etc. And again, I don’t bail.

So recently when I read an article about shifting the notion of being “busy” to that of being “focused,” I finally felt as though someone understood me. And I started feeling less guilty.

“When we describe ourselves as ‘busy,’ it takes away the intention behind our priorities. ‘Focus,’ on the other hand, puts us back in control of what we want and need to get done.”

A simple word makes the difference between a schedule filled with mundane tasks or meaningless activities and one filled with those that are important to me. My guilt and negative self-talk around being busy aren’t warranted. I need to remind myself that I’m focused on doing things that improve my life, and hopefully others’ around me along the way.

I haven’t yet used the approach when communicating with friends, but I’m hoping it’ll help them understand that my “busyness” is not only self-inflicted, but also purposeful.

“Reminding your friends why you’re so focused can help them better understand that you’ve chosen your schedule for a reason. You’re not just busy fulfilling other people’s demands—you’re working on something that’s important to you.”

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Now, at this point in my life, as I make some big life decisions and changes, my calendar is more packed and color coded than ever. I’m focused on accomplishing as much as I can in my last weeks at a company I’ve spent 7.5 years. I’m focused on getting the most I can out of a city I’ve lived for nearly 12. I’m focused on finding a new place to call home as I visit eight cities in three months. I’m focused on making my passion of writing become a full-time reality and sustainable livelihood.

“Put yourself in control of your schedule—in all its hectic glory—and know it’s packed with reason and meaning. It’ll lead to greater satisfaction and more motivation as you choose to keep hustling.”

When i think about what I’m focused on, it reminds me that my schedule is not full of meaningless tasks and activities. There is intention. This is what I have prioritized. I am in control of what I want to do.

December 13, 2016

It’s been 10 days since I’ve written, but funny enough I’m still at Rado Boutique Hostel in Santiago, where I was when writing my last blog.

In those 10 days, I’ve stayed in six different lodges, trekked/walked/climbed 157,651 steps and seen some of the most beautiful scenery. December 6 was the first day of my trek in Southern Patagonia, in Torres del Paine National Park.

I booked with an agency called Chile Nativo and was added to a preexisting group of two – third wheel to what I expected was a couple. When I arrived for the 11 am briefing, though, I learned there would be four of us and that we were all single women. Two of them were coworkers who had tacked on a Patagonia trek to the end of their work trip to Santiago. The other gal was a Massachusetts native-turned San Francisco resident, who was traveling by herself. She’s normally inclined to make long international trips like mine, but this time she only had a quick break for the trek and a couple days in Santiago.

All these girls were big travelers actually, and my passport – with nearly 15 different countries stamped in it – palled in comparison. The coworkers, Eva from Slovenia via Albania and Lucy from England, were in a line of work for a nonprofit that had them traveling quite a bit, mostly to war-torn, third-world countries. Erica, who would be my bunk mate for the duration of the trip, once took a 10-month trip around the world, picking up an Irish boyfriend along the way who joined her in her travels.

These ladies were legit! And after getting to know their lively, easy-going personalities, I was even happier to be matched up with them.

Day One
After the briefing, we were set free in Puerto Natales to get lunch before we set off by private van to Torres del Paine National Park, about 2 hours north. Once there, we set off on an easy hour hike with our day packs to the first Refugio where our big packs were waiting. We saw heaps of guanácos (in the alpaca family), royal blue Lago Sarmiento and hieroglyphics. This was the easy day, and was by no means preparing us for the couple tough days to follow. The only difficulty we encountered was the insane wind that made walking the flat trail slower.

After settling in, we cheers’d Pisco Sours to the adventure ahead, chatted over dinner and waited for the sun to set at 10 pm before going to bed.

20161207_122831Day Two
Our energetic guide, Chuma, warned us that this day would probably be the most difficult. Although we would only be bringing our day packs, the trek was uphill for the first half of the day. We climbed to 880 vertical feet to the base of Los Torres – paltry compared to what I saw on the Inca Trail – passing dry valleys, dense forests and rock ravines.

Once there, the view was a worthwhile reward: The three towers loomed in the distance, with a beautiful aqua-colored lagoon of glacial slurry below. We sat for nearly an hour, taking it all in and eating our soggy salmon sandwiches. The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to making the trip back, which was a bit quicker but not necessarily easier.

Day Three
We checked out of our Refugio and set off with our full packs nearly six hours (disclaimer: which included two cat nap spots at mirador salons the route). We were headed west toward the French Valley, one of the park’s other popular sites that help make up the W. We ended at a small Refugio tucked away on the hill with views of Lago Nordensjkold and Los Cuernos, the mountain peaks of the lodge’s namesake.

Chuma said this would also be an easy day, and considering we should have made the trek in less than four hours, we definitely turned it into an easier one. Otherwise, there were some hills to conquer and we were carrying our full packs for the rest of the trip. The day’s trek didn’t end at a breathtaking destination the way the previous day’s had, but we all agreed that the scenery along the way was equally beautiful, just different.

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We arrived to Refugio Los Cuernos in the late afternoon and checked into our upgraded private cabins that I immediately fell in love with. They were super adorable with a front door and porch that looked out over the massive aqua-blue lake. It was from that point, though, that everything went downhill. The water kept coming disconnected from our private bathrooms, the showers didn’t get hot or drain, the comedor was way too small and way too stuffy, and the wind got so bad at night I was afraid our little cabin’s roof would blow off. By the next morning Erica and I were eager to get out of that place.

Day Four
Needless to say, I was in a bit of a funk on this day. Adding to my mood was the fact that instead of continuing west along the W and up into the French Valley, we had to backtrack the route from the day before and wouldn’t get to see the French Valley. Just three days before we set out on this trip, an essential bridge connecting the east side of the W with the west, just below the French Valley, broke. Word on the street was that a small boat was taxiing people from one side to the other on the lake at the mouth of the river. But, over the course of the first few days we learned that this boat was not only unreliable – some people waited just to have it never show up – but also not equipped to handle the volume – hundreds of people cross that point each day, but the boat fits only 12.

Basically, this bridge situation meant that people attempting the W west to east could not get across to ascend into the French Valley and people going east to west (like us) couldn’t cross after descending the French Valley. Both sides would have to backtrack and take a bus-boat combo to get to the other side at the farthest points of the W.

After all the planning and money and time and excitement, we would not be able to officially complete the W and we would miss out on the French Valley, one of the most amazing sites of the region. Sensing our disappointment, Chuma and the folks at Chile Nativo came up with a plan the night before for us to forge the river by foot on Day Four. If we were willing, we would carry our packs (over our heads if it got too deep) and wade through the icy cold glacial river. Though Chuma didn’t have anything but guesses to the river’s depth and current, I was elated. We would get to see the French Valley!

Unfortunately Chuma’s lack of info (research) concerned one of the others so much that she managed to talk the other two down from their excitement (she did have some valid points). Radioed reports back from the river claimed it was a bit deeper and stronger than Chuma’s initial guesses, so majority voted against the idea. While I would have still forged the river, I wasn’t comfortable putting the others’ safety at risk.

20161209_135059A silver lining to the frustrating situation was our rare opportunity to spot a puma while making the drive to the other side. We got out of the van for quite some time and watched it before it finally crossed the road in front of us and disappeared into the hills.

Day Five
This was technically the last day of our excursion with Chile Nativo and the last leg of the W. We left Refugio Paine Grande and headed north to Lago Gray and Refugio Grey, both named after the glacier that fed the lake. We walked at a steady clip, despite hills to climb and very strong winds pushing against our fronts. Because it was our last day, we were on a time crunch to arrive before 1 pm. The gals had tickets to the boat that would take them in front of the glacier and then down the lake to where the private van would pick them up and take them back to Puerto Natales. I had a separate 1 pm reservation to kayak in front of the glacier; it meant I would forgo the boat and have one more night in a refugio before trekking back down the previous day’s route to get to the boat-bus combo back to Puerto Natales.

After saying bye to Chuma and the girls, I joined 9 other people to kayak. We got decked out in neoprene suits and gear and awkwardly set out in double kayaks as if we had just learned right from left for the first time. Before we could even go 50 meters, though, the less-than friendly Polish guide at the front cancelled the journey due to winds that had just picked up and abruptly changed direction.

Instead of waiting to kayak the following morning, I joined a group leaving for a glacier hike. And perfectly, my German friend from a previous refugio was going on it by herself. The excursion ended up being really cool, allowing us to see the glacier from a boat as well as on top. We saw some amazing ice formations, tunnels and streams while on top of Glacier Grey. It’s just incredible to think something like that exists (I might try to dedicate a blog to that later).

Day Six
A night at Refugio Grey was included with my glacier package, so I had to make my way back down the left side of the W from Grey to catch the transport from Refugio Paine Grande. I had no problem making the 3-4 hour trek myself; it was only semi-strenuous and the route was very clear. Chile Nativo provided me with all the instruction and tickets I needed.

Instead, the problem was that “heavy rain” was in the forecast. My pack wasn’t waterproof and despite having sprayed my jacket before the trip, I wasn’t confident it was waterproof. Hiking while wet can be pretty miserable.

After breakfast I quickly hiked further up the trail to a couple miradors of the glacier and hanging bridges. I made good time and made it back to the lodge to eat lunch and get my big pack. That’s when the rain started… Needless to say, I was not motivated to leave my cozy spot in the lodge and start making the trek.

Fast forward three hours: I was soaked, cold and not stoked that it would be another five hours before I arrived at my hotel back in Puerto Natales. It was 5 pm, the boat left at 6:30, and the bus left after 7, arriving in Puerto Natales at 10 pm.

At one point during the hike I contemplated staying in the park an extra night to try to hike to the French Valley – I would cross that river myself dammit! But at this point, I just wanted to add a night so I could take a hot shower, dry my clothes and climb under warm covers. So that’s what I did. Fortunately Refugio Paine Grande had a bed available in a six-bed mixed dorm. I had to rent a sleeping bag (mine was back in Pueto Natalas, because we didn’t need it during the trek) and share a room with four smelly boys and another gal. The shower never got warm, let alone hot, and I couldn’t seem to warm up, but curled up inside my sleeping bag in one of the lounges was way better than wet on a long bus ride.

Day Seven
Torres del Paine, you are amazing and glorious and wonderful, but I am ready to get outta here!

After checking out, I retired my beloved Brooks trail runners. I had actually planned to leave them behind after my last trek; they had seen plenty of miles and I needed to unload some weight. They were still soaked from the day before, so they were definitely not coming with me.

I caught the 11:35 boat and the following bus, and that was it. Thank you for the past week Patagonia! Even though I didn’t officially complete the W, I’d like to go to some of the other places in Patagonia in the future before returning to Torres del Paine. The region is so massive and spectacular that I’d want to see other infamous spots like Fitzroy, El Chaltan, Calafate and the lakes district first.

November 14, 2016

We made it!! We reached Machu Picchu relatively on time, healthy and uninjured – so successes on all accounts!

The second day was the hardest (see previous post), the third was the longest (6:30 am to 6:30 pm) and the fourth was the earliest  (3:30 am). In addition to the small daily goals our guides gave us, each day became a small goal and ultimate accomplishment.

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Along the way to Machu Picchu during the past four days, I ticked off some other notable accomplishments.

– Hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
– Visited my first “7 Manmade Wonders of the World” site, unless you go by the list that includes the Colosseum in Rome
– Showered in frigid Andean glacier water
– Drank fresh Andean glacier water
– Ate guinea pig
– Tried Inca Cola
– Pooed in a squat toilet
– Nearly hiked a 14’er, reaching 13,800 feet
– Chewed coca leaves
– Was on time every morning and to every one of our meetings
– Went without makeup for days
– Didn’t run out of cell phone battery power for four days
– Christened my new trekking poles and sleeping bag in the Andes

The other day my boss asked me to think about what my long-term salary goals were. I was a bit caught off guard by the question… or request, rather… because my immediate thought was “More, of course. Why would I want it to stop?” She admitted being perplexed when her boss asked her the same thing, but she ultimately took the time to think about it and understood where the request was coming from.

Until I have a deeper conversation with my boss, I can only assume there is a commercial angle behind it. And let me tell you, I’ve learned a thing or two about thinking commercially during the past couple years. As a manager, I had to take a bigger-picture approach to my thinking and decision-making. Sure, employee efficiency, productivity and morale are important, but it all needs to fit in with greater company goals.

paycheck-for-allNeedless to say, I definitely spent some time thinking about my boss’s request. I don’t necessarily associate myself with a dollar figure, or even a title for that matter. I’ve recently changed my career path – still undecided on whether it’s temporary or permanent ­– and my title with it. I had quite a struggle when tasked with coming up with my new title. After a conversation with the head of my department, though, she helped me realize that the title didn’t really matter. “I know titles are important in America, but it doesn’t really matter to me. To me you’re not ‘Lindsay the Editorial Manager’ or ‘Lindsay the Recruiting Coordinator’; you’re just Lindsay.” She not only put me at ease, but she also gave me a great compliment, confirming her belief in my abilities regardless of my title.

Title aside, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around what I’m worth in terms of dollars, especially the implication that it’s a set amount that doesn’t change or increase.

Back when I was a manager, the GM of our office at the time helped me understand the value of our employees. “People are hired to do their jobs well,” he said; they’re obviously not hired to do their jobs poorly or even to a mediocre level. As far as we’re concerned, the people we bring on board are agreeing to do their jobs well in return for a salary. That said, I was hired on the same premise: If I’m doing my job well, I deserve my salary – no more, no less. If I’m doing my job well, I’m not falling short and I’m not going above and beyond, I deserve my salary. At my performance review a year later, my boss would tell me “You’re doing your job well and performing to a level we expect from our employees.” The most I would expect in a pay raise would be a cost-of-living increase. I think that’s only fair for both parties. Ironically the cost of living increase for 2016 is basically zero, but generally it hovers at or below 2%.

I strive to do my job well, but I also like to challenge myself and feel as though I’m providing value to whatever it is I’m working on or whoever I’m working for. So going back to my boss’s question of what salary I’d like to be making, I’d still answer “More,” even if it’s simply the “more” equivalent to doing my job well. But considering my level of drive and perfection, I expect more from myself and would like to think that I’d be going above and beyond more than I would be performing just “well.” So in that case, I’d expect an annual raise higher than cost of living; an earned promotion might deserve something even a little higher.

As I found in my last position, there is a ceiling for growth: a ceiling for my responsibilities, a ceiling for my title and a ceiling for my salary. I get that some roles – maybe most roles – don’t have unlimited growth. And generally, there’s a threshold where a company is financially better off bringing in new blood for a lower price than keeping a senior in his or her position at a high, growing salary. That’s probably part of the reason for the recent move out of my department, as the department head whose responsibilities could easily be absorbed by talented, lesser-paid staff members underneath me. I get it, and I’m not offended. Sure, I think I was underpaid in that management role, but I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at this company and I’m grateful that the executives saw a fit for me in a new role that has new growth opportunities.

So how that relates to my boss’s question… While I believe I deserve an increase in my salary in accordance with my performance, whether I do well or go above and beyond, I recognize that there’s only so much a person can grow in a particular role before they don’t have anything more to contribute or, more than likely, they become too expensive. So when an employee gets to that point, and even before really, they have to think about what their longer-term goals are. I’m far from hitting the ceiling in my new role (I think), but I understand (I think) that my boss and the executives want to set the expectation that this potential exists. They want to understand what my greater goals are, whether monetary or not, and see how they fit with the goals of the company and what they can offer, or not…

Considering I went into journalism, that low-paying career path I mentioned earlier, it’s reasonable to assume that money is not my only motivator.

In my new recruiting role I end many interviews with the question “What motivates you in your job?” For sales roles, we hope they say money; otherwise we question why they went into sales. For someone like me, a creative who entered a field that doesn’t pay well, it’s more than money. Like I said before, I want to be challenged and feel as though I’m adding value. I also want to be with an organization that values it’s employees and shows it in ways beyond the price they pay for them. Work-life balance is important to me; I don’t mind working long hours if I need to every once in awhile, but I don’t want to do it all the time. I want to have a life at work and one outside of work, and maybe I like the people I work with so much that they even overlap sometimes. I also want to work for a company that is understanding and flexible; I don’t want to be micromanaged or scrutinized against rigid rules.

Fortunately the company I work for appreciates those same things I do and it’s made up of fun, hard-working people like me. It’s given me amazing opportunities, helped me improve existing skills and develop new ones, and been incredibly flexible, allowing me to have a life outside my full-time job. That’s all I can ask for.

But, I still can’t deny that “worth” is at least partially tied to money. And I’d be lying if I said I don’t care how much I make as long as I’m happy in my job. I’m currently happy in my job, but I have bills to pay and would like to get to a point where I’m living comfortably. So since moving from my previous role, I’ve been working hard and going above and beyond where possible. I don’t want to limit the value I can add and I don’t want to limit my growth potential. As long as I haven’t hit the ceiling in whatever role I’m in, I want to keep growing in every way – salary included. If I have hit the ceiling, then I want to find a way to keep growing in every aspect, whether it’s with my current employer or in a new career move.

Now, for lists of places to check out in Los Angeles curated by yours truly . . .

My Top Picks in LA

  1. Greek Theater
  2. Camping in Joshua Tree
  3. Plan Check
  4. Hearst Castle
  5. Lemonade
  6. Malibu Wines
  7. Hearst Castle
  8. Hollywood sign hike
  9. Griffith Observatory
  10. Perch
  11. Camarillo Outlets
  12. Harvelle’s
  13. Beach camping
  14. Marina Del Rey Summer Concert Series
  15. The Georgian Hotel
  16. Bungalow
  17. Guisado’s
  18. Paradise Cove
  19. Grand Central Market
  20. Philz Coffee
  21. Urth Café
  22. Jay Leno at the Comedy and Magic Club
  23. Donation-based yoga in Santa Monica
  24. Villain’s Tavern
  25. Holy Aoili food truck
  26. Outdoor movie screenings in the summer
  27. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  28. Beach bonfire
  29. Balboa Christmas Boat Parade

My Yet-to-Visit LA Hotspots

  1. Beacher’s Mad House
  2. The Hudson
  3. Laurel Hardware
  4. Trystero
  5. Abigaile
  6. La Boheme
  7. iPic Theaterx
  8. The Little Door
  9. Palihouse
  10. Supperclub
  11. Break Room 86
  12. Beach Nation
  13. Rustic Canyon
  14. Bazaar
  15. Manchego
  16. Chaya Venice
  17. Tar & Roses
  18. La Botte
  19. Next Door
  20. Jiraffe
  21. The Federal Bar
  22. Samosa House
  23. The Wallace
  24. East Borough
  25. Wildcraft
  26. City Tavern
  27. Truxtons
  28. The Overland
  29. Laurent Café
  30. Buffalo Club
  31. The Hungry Cat
  32. Church & State
  33. The Hunter & the Hart
  34. Fundamental LA
  35. The Craft
  36. Hinoki and the Bird
  37. Westside Tavern
  38. Rock Sugar
  39. Tavern
  40. Toscana
  41. Bar Chloe
  42. Burger Lounge
  43. Bocchi Burger
  44. Flores
  45. The Tasting Kitchen
  46. Gjelina
  47. Beer Belly