In early 2015, I declared #whynot as my mantra for the year on Twitter. Reflecting on the past month, my friend and business partner told me that maybe this wasn’t the best mantra to choose. After all, we both ended up accepting projects that maybe we shouldn’t have because they kept us from focusing on more fulfilling work. I highlighted the positive moments of 2015 yesterday, but tbh it was really tough to force those words out of me.
I originally wanted to use this post to point out how many tears I shed in the streets of San Francisco and New York and how I’d locked myself up in Austria full of self-doubt. I’d love to elaborate on how I deactivated Facebook and other Social Media because I couldn’t deal with any selfies by people who apparently don’t hate themselves. Really, my biggest question this year was, how do you actually like yourself. But… I’ll just stop here and list all the things I did learn this past year of #whynot:
It’s ok to not be liked
In spring, I had an extended talk with a seasoned Editor-in-Chief about how criticism is not welcome in the Austrian tech scene and how that put me in the position of being bullied, ignored and possibly hated. If I wanted to be liked and accepted, I’d have to write the things startups guys want to read about themselves, but that’s often not the truth. She told me that’s perfectly fine to have that role in a system, because in the end it’s my definition of right and wrong that matters. In the second half of the year, I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with the fact that I’m nobody’s favorite person in this ecosystem. This feeling of comfort expanded to other areas of my life as well. As Taylor Swift put it:
„The moment that you realize that you’re not the opinion of someone that doesn’t know you… that moment is like you’re clean“ Taylor Swift <3
— Lisa Oberndorfer (@Oberndorfer) December 25, 2015
If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it
The things in life that I haven’t achieved yet or hate myself for are mostly things that I’ve never straight up asked for. I tried really hard to get out of my comfort zone and ask for things this year. While I did get a lot of No’s, I also received Yeses in places that I didn’t expect.
I know everyone is dealing with their own stuff, but in my third year of self-employment, I felt more lost than ever. It wasn’t until I started talking about these feelings with other entrepreneurs and freelancers, that I realized a lot of people in various industries are dealing with the same issues. Even my friend who runs a small organic shop could relate to what I’m going through as a freelance journalist. I’ve always been a fan of talking about my feelings and reading what other people are going through. I know for a fact some people assume I’m weak for doing so, but frankly I don’t want to be around those people anyway.
We run things, things don’t run we
Actually, Melinda pulled up this line from Miley Cyrus‘ „We can’t stop“ when we talked about how #whynot wasn’t the best mantra to begin with. „We run things, things don’t run we“ to me means that I control things and don’t let myself be controlled by the outside world.
Also, I couldn’t possibly end this blog without another pop cultural reference. So here is a song that feels very reflective of my past year (in a good way, though):