Give Yourself Permission to Dream

The year 2020 was unlike any other. The difficult times affected people around the world. But, for many of us who remain, it also had beauty. Sunsets. Phone calls with loved ones. The ability to wake up to new days.

In 2021, I hope you can still dream big—even if it scares you. Then reach for it anyway.⁠⠀

We can certainly note what we’ve experienced. For me, it’s also important to remember that I am still here. And that I have much to be thankful for.

So, as we enter a new year, I am wishing you joy, good health, peace, and success. And I thank you for reading my work across publications and websites, and for staying in touch here and on my Instagram, YouTube, and other pages.

In 2021, I hope you can still dream big—even if it scares you. Then reach for it anyway.⁠⠀

Look, sometimes we can talk ourselves out of opportunities, because we think we’re not ready. But we may not ever be 100 percent ready. So let your heart dream in the coming weeks. Reflect. Research. Ask for help from your loved ones—or even a professional, mentor, or other coach—if you need it. Then take steps to make it happen. ⁠If you’re afraid, acknowledge the fear, but still do what you can. For me, doing this has been a gift. Though it has not always been easy.

As 2020 proved to us, life is unpredictable. But growth is possible.

As I close this post, I also want to share: If you’re working toward something—whether it’s writing, financial goals like saving money, a mindset shift, or something else—and you haven’t seen the results you want yet, please know that with faith and hard work, things can change. Suddenly.

The journey will have hard spots. But, to make it to the place you dream of, keep believing in yourself and do the work along the way, if you feel led to a particular result. ⁠

Please feel free to comment or contact me if you have thoughts about this post or questions about how you can work on your goals for the new year. Best wishes for 2021, no matter what. ✨

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Video: How I’ve Saved Thousands of Dollars—and Built a Freedom Fund

I get questions on money since I often write about it. So I wanted to share more on my savings savings strategy, as promised in a previous post. It’s my secret to stashing cash for lots of things—though not as secret since I shared in a story I wrote for Business Insider. ⁠

Unfortunately, many things are different now with this pandemic, including our ability to make money in some cases. But I’ve been able to seek out and find new sources of income this year. And still save and invest money in the process.

If you have questions about how to make money as a professional writer, also check out my related YouTube video, where I share five key things to know.

So, if we’re lucky enough to be working or to find other ways to get income, this mind and money trick can be a way to save for education, debt reduction, an emergency fund, investing, a “freedom fund,” and more.

In fact, I’ve saved thousands of dollars like this. We can do it. Even with $20, $50, or $100 at a time.

Please watch, share, and subscribe to my channel. Then consider: Do you view money as a tool? I do. And do you have a plan for how to save money (and potentially invest) in the coming months?

Finally, if you have questions about how to make money as a professional writer, check out my related YouTube video, where I share five key things to know.

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Video: You CAN Make Money as a Writer—5 Truths

Want to make money as a writer? You can. You just have to know the truth about common myths, and then push forward to get there. 

Some background: If you’ve visited my site before you know my writing has reached tens of millions of readers over my career. And I’ve worked as a freelance writer, magazine editor, staff writer and editor, and more. 

During this time, I’ve seen similar questions from people who want to get started writing or get better at it. And I’ve often seen writers make the same mistakes. So in this video, I present five myths about professional writing—and share the truth about each one.

If you want to get paid to write for a career, or even for a side hustle as we work more from home, this video is for you. 

Watch for the facts about how you can get started—or get better!—writing for magazines, websites, and more. And info on how you can make money in the writing business. 

Then feel free to like or share this video, and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Or comment or email me if you have any questions about professional writing or want a free consult for my coaching program.

And stay tuned—I’ll be sharing more videos with you!

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The World Still Needs Our Skills and Small Businesses

Pondering life in Washington, DC, in this throwback photo.

We’re in difficult times now. The news is sad, and this pandemic has changed our everyday lives and movements in ways we’ve never seen. As we’ve been encouraged to physically distance—leading to stay at-home-orders and business shutdowns—I’ve been thinking about what it means to own a business. And the role we can play in our economy, even as the economy contracts.

I settled on this: The world still needs our skills and small businesses. And we should continue to market them. Even now.

If you work as a consultant or freelancer, or own a small business, you might wonder if it’s still okay to sell your services. I wondered about this myself, especially since I’ve been developing more offerings for my success coaching program. And after doing some reading on this topic, I think it’s absolutely okay to market our services. And that we should.

⁣Small businesses contribute to the economy. And small business owners need our help right now. I just bought a face mask and earrings from Etsy sellers. I’m still assigning stories to writers as part of my consulting work.

For my part, I’m going to keep writing for media outlets and clients, working to grow my business, and supporting other business, too. If you’re able, I hope you will join me in giving that support.

With this in mind, I’m also keeping a few spots in my coaching calendar available for anyone who wants a free chat about how you can find success working for yourself (including as a writer or editor); find new clients; or just make extra money on the side, from home.

Our stories should be told. And companies still need help telling theirs.

Please feel free to email me or comment to learn more. Or if you just want a word of encouragement.

Your wellness matters. And your work does, too. ✨

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Snapshot: Even Hard Days Can Lead to Joy

Look deeper. Feel stronger. Go farther. Be you.

Just a reminder that even the hard days—when you look in the mirror, and feel confused and tired—even these days can lead to joy.

I am in a great place now as a writer and editor working with national media outlets and other national clients. I’m thankful for this. But I had to start somewhere and learn along the way.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the early part of my early career, and ruminating on Instagram. So I figured I’d make a note here, too.

I’ve had success over the years. But these days, I still make an effort to network. And continue to amplify my knowledge by reviewing information from reputable sources and experts.

In my goal to help others, I also provide coaching to help people get started with professional writing—and to help them find success and branch out. Always feel free to contact me if you have questions about what I do. I’m happy to help and want you to know success is possible.

For now, I’m recognizing you if you’re trying to motivate yourself to go after a goal. Or pushing through difficult times. Believe in your purpose. And I’ll believe with you.

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What We Can Learn from the Past—and These Spanish Towers

At the top of the Torres de Serranos, a landmark structure in Valencia, Spain.

When it comes to the past, I’ll say this: Don’t forget about it. Learn from it.

If you feel compelled to wallow or to beat yourself up about decisions you made in the past—or things that you endured—this advice holds true for you, too. We can be hard on ourselves. But the past is our teacher, and for that it’s valuable. The present is ours to treasure. And the future will come—ideally.

Looking at this photo, I can still remember how this day truly felt as I sat high on top of these landmark towers in Valencia, Spain. It was a peaceful yet brilliant series of moments.⁣ Sunny. Clear. Anything felt possible. I was in the present moment, and yet able to look back on what I’d learned.

It was a fitting place to reflect. These towers began to be constructed in 1392 and were used as both “a defensive feature of the city and also as a triumphal arch,” according to VisitValencia.com. Think about that. They’ve stayed strong for hundreds of years, through some difficult times. And somehow continued to be triumphant.

We can be the same way. ⁣Minus a few centuries. ?

These days, I’m grateful for my growth. I can remember the high points—so wonderful when they come—and the lows. These things work together for our good. ⁣

A street view of those landmark towers.

I’ll share more from this time in Spain, and am looking forward to writing and teaching more on wellness and success in the coming weeks. Are you looking for growth or coaching support in these areas? Feel free to email me.

Wishing you well for now. And glad to have hope and faith.

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Do You Say What You Want?

If you want something, say it. Claim it.

This statement just came to me out of the blue, and I (of course) shared it on my Instagram page. It sounds simple, but how often do we really do it?

Sometimes I think we can be afraid to say what we really want. Maybe some of us don’t want to admit what we really desire. Maybe we think we can’t have it. Maybe we don’t even consciously know what we crave!

But one of the first ways we can manifest what we desire is to SAY what we want. That’s because having success and freedom can start in your mind.

So will you join me in saying what you want? Even just quietly to yourself? The point is to get comfortable with your goals—whether they relate to your career, relationships, investing, or whatever—and to believe they are possible.

Tell me what you think? Or feel free to comment on Instagram.

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Growth Is the Goal

As this month comes to a close, I’m reminded of what I’ve learned. The new things I’ve tried. The myriad opportunities that are here now and ahead.

I’ve accomplished a lot, and you probably have, too. So you also probably realize that success isn’t immediate. The best ideas can start with a seed that then grows and matures. And growth—through life’s storms and during the sunny days—is what matters.

So as long as you’re moving, learning, being challenged, please keep going. It’s actually good when life isn’t simple. It’s good when we face challenges. The things we’ve beaten can prepare us for the next round of the fight.

These things can prepare us for big victories.

So, like the sunflowers of summer–and those that will sprout this fall (I can’t wait to see those!)–let yourself grow.

Look to the light. Start that new venture, pitch that story, write that book, have that key conversation. Do the things you’ve been wanting to do.

Experience it all. And let yourself live.

For more views of these gorgeous flowers and my latest musings on writing and life, please visit me on Instagram.

And if you need a hand with your writing projects or career goals, see this page or this one for details on how I can help.

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Snapshot: Learning from Life’s Storms

Storm clouds roll in above a DC city scene.

The clouds came in quickly. One minute the sky was bright and sunny. Then, suddenly, grayish black. With fat raindrops beginning to fall. ⁣

I didn’t have my umbrella. So I waited inside. And it passed. The storm, that is. It passed…like they always do. That’s the part to remember. ⁣

When we’re in the middle of difficult situations, it can be hard to see past the rain, and the distractions, and the stress. When it comes to writing, for instance, rejections are part of the game. Having to learn new skills and processes, and frustration with that learning curve, can be, too.

But we have to know that these things can’t last forever. That we’ll get better. And that we can withstand the hard times to get to the good ones. Nothing worth having comes without some struggle.

Adjusting our mindsets can help during turbulent times. And actually, speaking of mindset, we can notice beauty (like in this street shot I captured) even when the bleakest clouds come in.

Have you been surprised by a storm? Remember that it won’t last forever. Be calm in the moment. And realistically (all metaphors aside), carry an umbrella to be prepared. Mine is now securely back in my bag. ☺️

Please feel free to leave a comment here, or share with me on Instagram @lesliequander.

And if you want help with the storms that can accompany getting your writing or communications career going—whether it comes to pitching yourself or just having the confidence to start—please let me know. I have advice for that, too. ✨ ⁣

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Want Success? Freedom? Why It Starts in Your Mind

I’ve been feeling free. Light. Accomplished. And extra independent. Things I’ve been wanting and working toward are happening. It feels great to see things that I’ve imagined actually come to pass in real life.

And that is the key, in part. The thought. The willingness to believe that good things are coming and that I am—and we are—worthy of them.

Our thoughts matter and can affect our bodies, our lives, and our experiences. This concept shows up in science, in the law of attraction, and even in faith-based teachings.

So if you want to feel free—or more successful, content, or relaxed—a big way to shift is within your mind.

For example, taking time to think kind thoughts about yourself has psychological and physical benefits, suggests 2019 research from the University of Exeter. In the small study, participants who listened to an audio recording that encouraged them to be kind to themselves reported feeling more self-compassion and connection with others. These participants also had a physical response consistent with relaxation and safety, including a drop in heart rate and a lower sweat response. Meanwhile, those who heard an audio inducing “a critical inner voice” had a higher heart rate and higher sweat response, consistent with feelings of distress.

More mind-power info? As you may know, the benefits of meditation, the practice of training and focusing your mind, are myriad and can include helping with stress reduction, pain control, and even improving sleep.

So this July, and beyond, remember: If you have a dream in your heart, think of it positively in your mind. Believe in yourself, put in the work, and have faith. Think of the thing as already yours. ⁣You might be surprised to see the good things that can follow.

⁣So do you believe in yourself? Want some encouragement? Maybe I can help–especially if you have questions about moving up in your career (including full-time or freelance work in writing, communications, or editing) or how to shift your general mindset. Drop me a comment or email me!

⁣P.S. In this photo, I somehow managed to channel the tropics—from the city. Come hang with me on Instagram @lesliequander to see my other adventures. ☺️?

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