This month, Blair Pasalic was one of our fantastic featured writers for En Root. Her August piece focused on the process and challenges around Designing a Life in Quarantine. This week, we interviewed Blair to learn about her personal journey in navigating life design over the past few years. Read below to learn a bit more about one of our favorite members of the OutGrowth community, and to get some helpful tips for starting your own process of life design today!
Tell us about your dedication to life design. What has been your approach to building your way forward, personally and professionally?
My approach to life design seeks a balance between thoughtful planning and intentional openness to whatever life brings my way.
At OutGrowth, we are committed to giving access. Tell us about some of the tools or methods you have utilized that could help others start their journey to a life built for them?
I very much enjoyed utilizing the book "Design Your Life," by Burnett and Evans as a tool for shaping my writing career, and even my career in energy.
Tell us about a pinnacle point or moment in your professional journey- one that made you reconsider how to structure a life.
There are two:
1) A few months after having my second child, I ran a 10k race. I had never run that far before in my life. It made me realize that the only limits I have are those I am placing on myself. So I used that as motivation to create time and space for me to pursue my writing.
2) Also a few months after having my second child, I met up with an old friend who had pursued a career in comedy. He told me: "They say you have to have special connections to be successful in that business, but I didn't. I just worked hard. And now, I am paying the bills doing what I love." It was a very inspiring moment for me - that someone can pursue their passion and, with hard work, see it become a sustaining proposition.
How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?
Both examples above showed me the importance of not giving up on your passions, and, more importantly, to TAKE ACTION. Without actually doing something about it, a dream just remains a dream. Inertia is a great killer of dreams!
What are your top three pieces of advice for students and professionals who are looking to re-imagine how to design their own lives?
1) Use this period of quarantine/isolation to pursue your curiosity and passion.
2) Do something! Take any action to get yourself on the path to living your dream.
3) Collaborate! The more you talk to people about your passion, the more likely you are to happen upon someone who can help you.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Believe in your creative talents. You, Blair, have always defined yourself as sensible, and therefore you never let yourself chase after the creative things you really love doing - acting, writing, singing - because you thought sensibly: "there are so few people who succeed in these fields...the chances of me succeeding are very low." Maybe. But if you never really try, how will you know?
What is your favorite quote?
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
Based on your professional experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe students should cultivate to find success and fulfillment, regardless of what path they choose?
1) Write well! Learn to be a good writer; every career benefits from the ability to write well.
2) Be curious! The most successful people I know, professionally and personally, ask a lot of questions. And they seem to be happier, too.
3) Understand budgets. This is a non-sequitur, but if you can navigate budgets, you end up with a much better big-picture understanding of your career field, workplace, and home life.
What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2020?
I just finished writing my first draft of my novel. I am actively trying to get short stories and other writings published. I am hosting "Blair Reviews Old Books" and interactive storytelling on social media. I want to improve my writing craft and better understand the publishing process in 2020.
Blair Pasalic is a Maryland-based writer and storyteller. Follow her on Instagram and catch her new online series, Blair Reviews Old Books.