Emily has been a part of the OutGrowth community for a while, but her recent feature in En Root is really making waves. We always post blog entries on Mondays, but with the recent holiday, it made more sense to kick off this new season of 2020 with an inspiring interview. To learn more about the personal growth journey of Emily- strong survivor, lover of travel and health advocate- read below!
Tell us about your dedication to personal growth. What has been your approach to self improvement?
I am constantly trying to become the best version of myself - but it has taken awhile to realize that this path isn't linear. You don't reach the peak of self improvement and then the journey is over. Once I threw away my "ten year plan" and focused on one area of my life at a time - I didn't feel so wildly overwhelmed. Attainable, realistic goals lead to clarity and structure.
At OutGrowth, we are committed to giving access. Tell us about some of the tools or methods you have utilized that could help others on their paths to personal growth?
In order to stay grounded, I make sure to acknowledge small accomplishments, surround myself with people who make me better, practice gratitude, and develop daily routines that improve my mind, body and soul. I try to take my light, and shine it outwards.
Tell us about a pinnacle point or moment in your personal growth journey.
Losing my little brother, Luke was a tragedy, but it was a pinnacle point in my personal growth journey. I had been living in Prague for a year teaching English and everything I once knew crumbled within seconds. I see my life in reference to when he was alive, and when he wasn't. Before and After.
How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?
I had such visions of what my life "should" look like. Living abroad, beautiful photographs, going to grad school in England, having friends around the world, living a life of adventure. But, grief changes you. Life feels more raw and fragile. You want to hold onto everything you love, nestled close to you for as long as you can. Keep them safe. It's been four years now and my "life plan" has completely changed course. I started reading about mindfulness and meditation during this time. It wasn't until I moved twice more (back home to Maryland & to New Zealand) that I realized - "wherever you go, there you are." I couldn't escape this loss. I was still me, but the best version of myself was in Baltimore. And while I'm not an art therapist living in Europe - I am surrounded by love and inspiration. I'm involved in a community I care about. I have planted roots for the first time in a decade. I know that life can be taken from you in a single car ride - and I try to be present to the best of my ability. I try to appreciate being alive.
What are your top three pieces of advice for students and professionals who are looking to translate their personal growth into professional growth?
Life experiences give you an edge. Pushing your comfort zone gives you strength. Positivity keeps you moving forward.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Sometimes I picture my younger, 13-year-old self sitting across from me at the dinner table and imagine what I'd like to say to her. I'd honestly just love to give her a hug and tell her it's okay to feel so much. Sometimes people disappoint you. You are not your thoughts. And you are strong, even if you don't feel it. I would tell her to journal, learn to meditate, keep traveling, spend more time with your siblings, and positive energy does wonders.
What is your favorite quote?
"You either accept your current situation or change it. All else is madness" - Eckhart Tolle "Wherever you go. There you are" - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Based on your professional experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe can be gained/developed as a result of remaining dedicated to personal growth?
1. Find a work/life balance! Find time for friends & family, exercise, get a hobby, be creative. Don't make your career your personality.
2. Comparing yourself to others will get you no where. Compete with yourself - personally & professionally.
3. No matter what the job, how minor, do it to the best of your ability. If you're washing dishes, walking dogs, or presenting a marketing strategy - give it your all. People will notice. I promise you. BONUS: Kill em' with Kindness
Emily Bartlett is a native of Baltimore, MD. Since graduating with her B.A. in Psychology, she has prioritized exploration and personal growth - spending time teaching, volunteering, and farming abroad. Combining her passion for community outreach and mental health advocacy, Emily plans to continue her journey towards becoming a licensed social worker.