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Learning to Expect the Unexpected: A Monthly Review

There’s something about packing up your life into small liquor boxes “borrowed” from the local LCBO that forces you to do some serious reflecting.

For example, you can’t help but wonder how many glasses bottles of wine the average person consumes throughout the moving process. Or how in the world two people could accumulate so much stuff over the last six years…

That’s not all, though.

When you move into a new home, there is a lot of change involved, and you can’t help but reminisce about all of the sunny skies and dark clouds (see: my photo of the storm this weekend) you’ve experienced along the way.

As I write this blog post, I’m up to my ears in boxes. Moving day is on Friday, and I’m distracted by all of the things I still have to do before then. But I want to make sure I take the time to pause and reflect. And while I’m thinking about life in general, and all of the exciting milestones my husband and I have shared in our first home together, I’ve also been spending some time thinking about the path of my career.

On Monday, Facebook reminded me it has been five years since I started blogging:

blogging

I can’t believe five years have come and gone already. So much has happened in that timeframe, such as three big career changes (including starting my own business), the chance to interview some of my favourite Canadians (Margaret Atwood and Jann Arden), launching an online magazine over at The Reply, bringing home my puppy, and marrying my best friend (yes, the same guy who helped me launch my first site back in 2010).

And these are just the major milestones — there have been so many little triumphs (and challenges) that have led me to where I am now. I am grateful for every single moment. But sometimes I forget to express this gratitude. I am so preoccupied with the packing and the to-do list making, it’s easy to forget to pause and appreciate it all.

My aim is to fill this week with pauses — little moments where I stop to think about the “firsts” (and the “lasts” too). After all, each one has been a stepping stone, leading to where I am today.

This post was supposed to be a monthly reflection on my progress in reaching my goals so far. But there have been a lot of interruptions this month, and I’ve discovered it’s best to just embrace them. Expecting July to be a bit of a whirlwind, my main goal was to maintain my income while preparing for the move. To my surprise, I’ve managed to surpass that. In fact, this month I was one small project shy of hitting my monthly salary rate from my full-time job (my big income goal for the year). So it has been a huge confidence boost for when things really ramp up in the fall.

While I have checked off some of my Q3 goals this month, I’ve also missed the mark on a number of others. I thought instead of doing a goal review post, I’d take the time to look back on the highlights from the month instead.

Highlights This Month

What I’m Writing:

I had the opportunity to interview MasterCard President Brian Lang for the August issue of Canadian Business. I’ve been looking to contribute to the magazine for a while now, so this was really exciting for me. And it was fascinating to speak with Brian about his career path. I left our hour-long phone conversation feeling motivated and inspired. I hope these sentiments come through in the final piece.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 11.42.31 AM

Here are a few of the pieces I’ve written for The Reply this month:

What I’m Reading:

The summer is usually my absolute favourite time for reading, because it’s a chance to curl up at the cottage and catch up on all of the books that have been piling up on my shelf. This month has been different though, and I haven’t been able to dive into the fictional worlds I’ve been looking forward to (to be honest, most of them are stashed away in boxes now). However, I have been doing a lot of business-related reading (surprise, surprise). And I’ve also been reading some really great posts on minimalism. Here are some of my favourite online reads from this month:

What I’ve Learned:

It has been a big learning month for me. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and take new opportunities as they come. I’ve learned about the value of collaborating. I’ve learned the summer months aren’t as slow as I expected them to be. I’ve learned I can run my own business and pack up my house at the same time (without going absolutely crazy over it). I’ve learned it’s more important to work with the people you want to work with than it is to take a job for the paycheque. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned when you finally realize what you are meant to do, and you find a way to get it done, everything else — the clients, the work, the scheduling and the money — seems to fall into place.

What I’ve experimented with:

There has been a lot of experimenting going on behind the scenes this month. We’re working on something big over at The Reply, and we shared a little video teaser to give you an idea of what to expect in the coming months. Check it out here.

Indyfest Interview

I also had my first interview this month (where I wasn’t the interviewer, but the interviewee). I had the chance to sit down with Indyfest Magazine to talk about launching The Reply and building a career as a writer and solopreneur. You can check out the full interview here (it starts on page 40).

I’m looking forward to what August will bring, but also avoiding setting too many concrete plans. I have a feeling it’s going to be another month of surprises, and I’m excited to see what’s in store.

How has your summer been going so far? Are you on your way to reaching your goals for Q3 (or for the year)? Let me know in the comments below.

Author:

Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.

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