Yesterday my husband walked into the bedroom and handed me the latest publication of Writer’s Digest that came in the mail that day.
He pointed to the cover and said, “You want to go?”
I glanced at the cover and realized he was referring to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference that is taking place in New York in August.
My first thought was: Oh my gooooooooooooosh….no! I’m not ready for something like that. Are you bananas? There are REAL authors at that thing.
And, my armpits may have started perspiring at the thought of networking (ewwwwww…who else has social anxiety and gets the heebie jeebies from that word?) with published authors who, you know, have published an actual book.
But, my second thought was: I married the right guy.
I seriously picked the right man to marry.
I’m one smart, awesome woman. (Hmmmm…so maybe I need a little more humility? Mom, I blame you for always telling me I was the best at everything always.)
The reason my second thought was that I married the right guy wasn’t because he looks super hot in a suit or jeans and a t-shirt (although that helps).
My thoughts turned towards giving myself a pat on the back for marrying my husband because it’s incredibly important to surround yourself with the right people.
The people who believe in you, who want to see your dreams come true, and who actually want to see you happy.
My husband knows that I dream of becoming a published novelist.
One of my passions is writing fiction. And, he also knows that my brand and business is built from my writing (hello, blog posts!) and that I’m always trying to improve my writing.
He doesn’t know this (because I didn’t tell him…but he reads my blog posts so he’ll know now…hi sweetheart!) but it means the entire universe to me that he suggested it.
He came to me with an idea on how to support and encourage my dreams.
Not only that, but he was open to spending time and money on my dreams–not just willing to listen to me talk about it or say “no, sweetheart” when I ask if he minds if I spend a night or weekend day writing.
Whenever he does something like that, it makes me feel like I’m not alone in my daydreams. It tells me that he listens (most of the time) and wants to support me on becoming a better person.
I frequently joke with him that he’s an enabler because we basically have a library in our house (three overflowing, big bookshelves) and he regularly surprises me with gift cards to buy books like he did for mother’s day, giving me a card that said I’m a great doggie mama.
I know. He’s the best, but don’t get any ideas. He’s taken and I’m the jealous type who will come after you like a starving hyena after a chicken bone.
The point is that he constantly encourages me and I do the same for him.
We both want to see each other happy and fulfilled.
That makes running a business and taking risks (such as spending an entire month prepping for a CreativeLive course when I had no idea whether it’d pay off financially or not) so much easier.
I’m a better person being married to my husband. He makes me more patient, pushes me to take my health into my own hands and doesn’t let me quit on myself when I’m having one of the worst days of my career, including calming me down when I threaten to throw my Macbook Pro onto the floor and smash it into little pieces.
Okay, I’ll stop bragging about my hot, genius, hilarious, caring husband. (He has a big enough ego anyways. I don’t need to add to it.)
Let’s move onto another example: my partner in crime. The woman who wore adult tutus with me, who talked me into speaking at CreativeLive when I didn’t know if I could pull it off, and who inspires me every single time we interact with her charming personality and innovative ideas.
If you don’t know who I’m talking about, it’s Mayi Carles, the tiny Panamanian artist with a T-Rex heart.
She is the most creative person I know and just like my husband, she makes me a better person.
She pushes me to do things outside of my comfort zone, she’ll stay on a call with me for an hour just so we can brainstorm names for my membership site and she forces me think about things in completely different ways.
Whenever she shares a new project she’s working on, it triggers something inside of me to work harder. Not in a competitive way, but in a ‘I’m-so-pumped-and-feel-like-I-can-take-on-the-world-now-too’ kind of way.
Mayi and I connected seven years ago (I can hardly believe it’s been that long) and we’ll be the best of friends no matter what. Even if she stops running a business to join a traveling circus or something else I find kinda crazy.
My mom is another example of surrounding myself with the right people.
I’m literally the person I am because of my mom.
She’s the one who gave me my inner Paris Geller and don’t you ever forget it haters.
I have my mom to thank for my bright green eyes, my intense personality and my belief that I can do whatever I set my mind to do.
My mom cheered me on when I first joined the diving team in middle school and could only walk to the end of the board and dive off. The first year was brutal. I spent months learning how to do a back dive and front a flip and a really ugly looking back flip. I only placed in meets if there were only four or five girls in my age range. Then, I would place fourth or fifth.
My mom didn’t suggest that I give up. She believed in me (and drove me to the pool to practice every single summer day) which made me believe in myself and by the time I stopped diving, I’d racked up lots of first and second place ribbons along with some newspaper mentions.
She is one of the first people I call for any reason: to celebrate, to cry, to laugh, to calm down. When my husband and I are in Richmond visiting my mom and step dad, she’s the one who sits with me, gabbing away, when I’m too sick to get out of bed.
My mom makes me feel powerful and intelligent and beautiful when I spend time with her or chat with her on the phone. (Love you, Mom. Longer than the road and higher than the sky.)
And, then there’s the flipside.
The family members who make me feel crappy every single time I waste time with them. The ones who never have anything positive to say. The ones who made me feel like they were doing me a favor just by answering my phone call. The ones who made fun of my dreams.
Even though they’re family, they had to go.
I won’t name names (just in case…you know), but I had to protect myself by cutting family members out of my life.
I know that sounds harsh and it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s the right move for my sanity.
There’s the boyfriend who was emotionally abusive.
There’s the “friends” that stabbed me in the back or used me when it was convenient for them.
There’s the neighbor who always complains. Always. Life can’t be all bad, can it? Damn lady…read a good book or take a bubble bath or get a dog.
I don’t want to think about the person I’d become if I’d spent more time with the negative naysayers.
If I was a betting gal, I bet I would still be working a day job that sucked every ounce of energy I had out of me. I bet I’d be miserable. I bet the best part of every day would be when I slipped in between the covers on my bed to go to sleep.
I wonder if there’s an alternate April in another world who kept spending all her time with those people. (Maybe I read too many fantasy novels.) If so, I feel sorry for her.
We don’t want to believe that we’re influenced by the people we spend time with, especially if those people are the opposite of what we want to be, but consider it for a moment.
When one spouse decides to get healthy, it often rubs off on the other. When one spouse gains weight, it tends to make the other gain weight. (Who can enjoy a hamburger and fries when the other person is eating a salad?)
When your friends or coworkers are positive and making strides in their careers, it makes you feel upbeat and motivates you to do better, right?
On the other hand, when you go to lunch with a friend who complains and gossips the entire time, you leave feeling lousy. You grumble at the lady who accidentally bumps into you and you spend that evening binging on Cheetos and watching Gilmore Girls to “cheer up” even though you don’t really know why you feel down.
Think about it.
Who in your life makes you feel good when you spend time with them? Who makes you feel negative and frustrated and stressed?
If something amazing happens in your life, who are the top three people you’d call to celebrate with? Who would you be almost worried to tell because they’d probably dump some bird crap all over your good news instead of congratulating you?
Same thing with where you spend time online. What Facebook groups make you feel like you can conquer your dreams? Which ones make you feel hopeless or overwhelmed? Who do you follow on Instagram that makes you laugh out loud or happy? Who makes you feel like you need to constantly be playing ‘keeping up with the Joneses?’
Did you do a good job of picking the people in your life? Do you need to make some cuts or at least stop squandering away as much time with those people? Do you need to excuse yourself from a few Facebook groups and unfollow some people on Instagram?
The right people don’t try to hold you down, they don’t make you feel bad about your accomplishments and they don’t make you feel guilty for chasing your dreams.
The right people make you a better, happier person just by hanging out with them.
Period. The end.
P.S. If you’re looking for a group of positive, motivating women who never make one another feel lousy or rotten, check out Sunday Society. It’s an affordable membership program for creative entrepreneurs who are serious about making their daydreams a reality.
“Not only does April offer her wisdom and expertise daily (as well as live weekly calls), but each and every Sunday Society member jumps in, helps you, offers advice, and cheers you on. Since joining in February, not a day goes by where I can’t wait to check in and then get working on my own plans–and this is after YEARS of feeling stuck and afraid I would never be able to move forward with my dreams. April’s monthly challenges help make everything bite size and doable, and that’s also been key for me to stay on the motivation train. Love Sunday Society!” -Katie Meyers, CALMING CREATIVE