I started my blog a little over half a year ago as a way to channel my passion for writing and build a platform for mindful travel and lifestyle. While I still have a long way to go, I’ve successfully transformed an idea into a reality.

Other than teaching myself the ins and outs of travel writing, SEO, and social media management, I’ve also learned some extremely valuable life lessons that may just benefit you too:

1. Put yourself out there

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Berlin Wall in Germany.

I played around with the idea of starting a professional blog for so long but was always holding myself back. I realized that to achieve any level of success you have to be bold and  put yourself out there. All the awesome opportunities are on the other side of the fear of failure, rejection, and judgement.

I learned that this requires a bit of soul searching to determine exactly who you are at your core, and how you can tailor this into a personal brand. Be genuine. You shouldn’t have to feel like the face you put out there to the world is different from who you really are.

Now with everyone connected through the internet and social media, it’s never been easier to build a brand, make connections, and network like crazy. Practice self-love by boldly having confidence in yourself and abilities.

2. Be consistent

11070629_10206624363992582_3165497546101507311_nLife in general is a marathon not a sprint, a concept that’s extremely difficult for us instant-gratification-craving millennials. The key to getting anything done is by being consistent and focused. Starting off too strong with anything new may make you burn out.

Consistency is key, especially for blogging.  For example, I try to post six times a month on my blog, using relevant SEO keywords, then sharing to all my social media channels and blogging groups. I’ve grown my social media presence to be over 3,000 social media followers (still improving), mainly which i attribute to relevant hashtags, engagement, and consistency.

But i honestly never realized that blogging would help instill a more consistent work ethic in me.  It’s really about doing a little bit each day to work towards your goals.

3. Surround yourself with people who genuinely support you.

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Lastovo island, Croatia with a good friend of mine from Dubrovnik

Do you ever get a feeling that you may be surrounded by a bunch of people who don’t genuinely care? Yep, been there. I’ve learned to be conscious of things, aka people, who bring me down and drain my energy.

I’m lucky that i have a very strong foundation of family, friends, and a rockstar boyfriend who supported my idea of starting a blog and moving abroad from the start. I know that whatever I decide to pursue in my life, they’ll have my back.

I did have to do some cleansing to get to this point, which required me to make my inner circle even smaller. Yep, sometimes you have to stay quiet about your goals, and only share them with those you know will support them. Even though I do share 70 percent of my life on my blog platform, I am very selective about the people I keep close to me.

4. Listen to constructive criticism. Laugh off the shade.

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Laughing at the fact I’m posing in a drained pool..

Listening to criticism can be challenging for anyone, but instead of fighting it, you can use it to your advantage.  

I’ve received feedback about my blog/writing that has been really useful. I try to look at it in a positive way of improving. It’s taken me a lot over the years to get better at this, and I think having a blog as a platform has been good practice.

It’s also been good practice reacting to haters. One of my articles recently went viral, and a ton of people left cruel and crude comments, which really didn’t even make sense nor have a purpose. The fighter in me wanted me to respond to each of them, but I ultimately decided to ignore it because it wasn’t worth my time.

Whether it’s trolls on the internet or family members throwing you shade, you really do just have to laugh it off. Learn to know the difference between criticism and hateful pettiness, and react accordingly.

5. Define your success in the big picture.

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Overlooking Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Though it’s important to be detail-oriented, it’s easy to get overly stressed looking at your life through a narrow lens, instead of looking at the big picture. I’ll admit, this is something I am still working on.

For example, I’ve learned to look at the success of my blog in the broader picture, instead of focusing only on statistics.  When I first started blogging, I would check my number of page views daily. I then started getting frustrated when I wouldn’t reach my average number of page views in a day.  I was diverting all my energy to being hard on myself instead of defining my success in the broader picture.

I then realized that I often let all the little things cloud my vision of the big picture. This mentality then leads to constantly feeling defeated.

I’m slowly starting to realize that it is not a race. Whether it’s your job, relationship, or well-being, do little things each day to work towards your goals. But always remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you’re trying to make sense of your success, look at the grander scheme of things.

6. Fake it ‘til you make it, honey.

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Walking in Old Town, Chicago.

From what I’ve observed, many millennials, myself included, are frustrated because where we are is not where we want to be. There’s a gap between where we stand now, and the expectations we place on ourselves.

I felt this so hard when I first moved to Croatia and started my blog. Yes, a background in journalism and a passion for writing was helpful, but I had no idea what I was doing, or how exactly sharing my experiences would lead to anything.

Even though I felt silly writing to basically no one at first, I was consistent. I posted twice a week and focused on personal branding. I wrote for the audience I wanted, not for the one I had. Sure enough, magazines and newspapers in Croatia noticed my work, which launched my travel-writing career. This then led to me starting to freelance write part-time.  Six months later, I’m starting to monetizing my blog and work with brands as well.

I’m not advocating to be “fake”, I’m just say that I’ve learned you have to learn to believe in your self-worth, even when you’re insecurities are screaming, “you’re a failure what are you doing with your life?” Especially for young women, we need to own it; not only our successes but also our failures.

I honestly don’t know exactly what I want to do in my life, and I’m okay with that right now. As it turns out, the people I always compare myself to actually don’t know either.

Starting a blog has taught me that this is all normal and part of the process. Sometimes in life, you just have to push yourself until you find exactly where you need to be.

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