Feeling like you’re behind the curve? Not sure whether that feeling in your gut is a kernel of brilliance or simply indigestion? Fret not, friends.
The latest installment of “Ask Sophia” has arrived, and she’s tackling the nuanced questions that haunt your lunch-break daydreams.
First up, the all-too-common feeling that everyone else is slayin’ it, while you’re just feeling slain, followed by some insight into that sketchy inner friend of yours, your intuition. Last on deck? The struggle of organizing your creative brain into one that can make that money.
Have a burning life question for Sophia? Let ‘er rip HERE, and keep checking this spot each month to see if your deepest quandaries have been addressed.
I’m almost 30 and I don’t feel like I have accomplished anything in life.
I made a promise to myself while I was at university that I would get a job that excites me every morning, but right now I’m afraid I’m not going in that direction.
I have an OK job that pays the bills, but inside, I am bursting with an entrepreneurial idea; I just don’t know where to begin. All my friends seem like they’re getting more out of their careers and getting promoted, while I feel like I’m stuck and lost. How do I get out of this rut?
—Stuck In A Rut
First, know this is really common. Women don’t typically even begin to hit our stride career-wise until our 40s. You’re super young, so there’s time on your side!
As far as your idea goes, my advice would be to test it. Start small. Aurora James of Brother Vellies, with whom I just recorded an episode of Girlboss Radio, had a string of jobs in fashion before heading to Africa and getting an idea for a shoe line. But get this: the first thing she did wasn’t launch a shoe line. It was to take a few shoes back to a flea market in New York and sell them on the street. This way, she was able to see if anyone liked what she was doing.
What I mean to say is this: Keep your day job, explore your new side hustle, and if all goes well, it could become your front hustle. And be kind to yourself. There’s never a time when I don’t need that advice, and it sounds like you may, too.
I am struggling a lot with fear in my career.
How can I tell the difference between having a bad gut feeling about a project and fearing a project because it seems challenging, and then letting that fear hold me back? I can’t seem to figure out when my gut feeling is helping me or holding me back from making progress. Do you have any experience with this?
—Tears For Fears
I couldn’t relate more. I tweeted the other day that “I can’t tell the difference between my fear and my anxiety.” The fight-or-flight instinct that keeps us going and even manifests some of our best ideas can also be the thing that slows us down once in awhile.
Sometimes, taking things head-on is what we have to do—even if it feels like we are tearing limb from flesh in the process. I had to wake up and keep going every morning for years at Nasty Gal, not knowing which way was up. I couldn’t tell if I was onto something great, or if I was the biggest fool in the world.
Intuition is something to listen to always, but beware: Sometimes our intuition is the thing that tells us our boyfriend is cheating just because he didn’t respond to our text immediately. Know your damage, landmines, insecurities, etc., then remove those and try to isolate the issues at play.
And keep in mind that each instance is its own. I suggest talking through things a lot with friends, loved ones, and especially a therapist.
Which characteristics do you most admire in other creative women?
Or rather, what personal attributes do you recommend I display and nurture to be successful in my industry and to be able to support myself doing what I love?
Ooh, this is a fun one. Well, resilience. A self-starter mentality. A singular style. To be a great creative, you have to be self-managed, which is often diametrically opposed to the nature of creativity. So the hard advice is this: organizational skills.
The soft advice? Cultivate your ability to reinvent. In a photography course, I was once given an exercise to take photos of eggs and make them look interesting. Eggs could be the most boring thing to photograph ever, but that wasn’t the point. It taught me to make even the most mundane things into something creative.
Creative women are constantly looking all around them for new inspiration, references, and an opportunity to take something banal and make magic with it. And the most successful do that not just with their creative work, but their lives. Because, let’s be honest, life can be a grind.