On New Year’s Eve last year, we sat in a coffee shop in Five Points, drafting our 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. Among twenty other things, I wrote “Hike to a hot springs”.
Summer 2017 came and went and we didn’t end up hiking to a hot springs. Another resolution, like “Continue my drama-free stint with mom” that fell under the loose-some category of you-win-some-you-loose-some.
Last month I found myself in Tofino, British Columbia, getting on a float plane with three women who had been strangers to me up until three days before to fly to a remote coastline where we would hike to a hot springs.
Intention is a powerful thing.
I’m not saying its a magic wand, that putting your hopes and dreams into words or writing will make them come true, but I really do believe that there is something to be said for putting an intention out into the universe.
One of the earliest things my step-mom taught me was the power of intention. I brushed her off, the concept too new-agey for my teenage attitude, but time and time again over the last seven years, I’ve been faced with her loving I-told-you-so look as I’ve had to admit that setting an intention really did create something.
I’ve been writing since I had access to pencils and paper and hoping to make something out of my writing since I was thirteen. I’ve been on Instagram for over five years and I’ve wistfully followed other ‘grammers who have found friendship, money and even jobs through social media. I’ve always hoped my creative outlets would turn into something, but years of writing stories, of blogging, years of posting and hash-tagging, never turned into anything.
In February, I stumbled upon @erinoutdoors on Instagram and fell in love with her inspirational words of encouragement, her beautiful pictures and her lifestyle. It just so happened that she was speaking in Boulder the next week. I did something totally unlike me, for some unknown reason, and schlepped myself up to the Madewell store at the 29th Street Mall with a friend. We sat on the floor and listened to her tell her story and I found myself inspired.
When I got home, I was determined. But more than that, I was intentional. I was going to figure it out. I was going to be a blogger, an Instagram influencer. It was going to happen. Within weeks, the opportunity to be featured on two smaller blogs came up. A small clothing brand accepted me as an ambassador and mailed me two free t-shirts. The opportunities that had never presented themselves before were now falling into my lap.
My work put on a Thrive seminar in March and we were guided in creating a purpose statement.
My purpose in life is to inspire others to get outside and experience life, while protecting the wild places we play in, through blogging, social media and other creative outlets.
My intention was in writing and I kept reminding myself of it. I took chances and reached out to companies and individuals that I never in a million years thought would respond to me. I was open, I was honest and I was blunt.
Since February, I’ve had my blog posts featured on several blogs and accepted ambassador positions with several companies.
It has absolutely been work. Work that my family looks at me like I’m crazy for doing. When 5pm rolls around, I close out my work email and open up my personal email and end up spending another few hours “working” for practically nothing. Each little win fuels me to keep going, to keep remembering that intention I set. I want to help people love the great outdoors as much as I do. I want people to stop living in fear, in stories and chase their dreams. Ultimately, I want to become a freelancer and make money off blogging and Instagram, but its about more than that.
I feel privileged when I get to lead a group of Mtn Chicks on one of my favorite hikes. I feel privileged when a brand reaches out to me and wants me to represent their product. I feel privileged when someone tells me I’ve inspired them to quit their job and pursue a life that they’re really passionate about.
Yes, it may just be six free coconut waters at my doorstep. Yes, it may just be my words on a website. Yes, it may just be a huge Instagrammer liking my photo. But the little wins are worth it.
I’ve felt the little wins slowly but surely all year, but they seriously started to feel like big wins in October.
The thing that I’ve seen happening on Instagram for years, the thing that I wanted more than sponsorships or features, was community.
In October I found myself sitting across from Kirsten of This Adventure Life and connecting over our mutual hatred of fake Instagram photos and love of exploring. I found myself boarding a plane to British Columbia to go surf with Kieren from The Lady Alliance and make friends with eighteen other women from across Canada. I’ve found a community of rad Colorado women to hike with in Mtn Chicks.
I’m terrible at making friends and so this sense of community, finding people who I can truly connect with online and creating in-real-life friendships, has been so incredible.
And, the cherry on top of a year’s worth of work – last month I signed a contract with Copper Mountain Ski Area to blog for them for the season and got a free season pass.
Am I successful? Hell, no.
I have 850 Instagram followers and my blog posts get 30 views on a good day. My total compensation so far has been three shirts, six coconut waters, several coupons and a season pass.
The goal of this story was not to catalog my journey, but to show that the power of intention is real.
Dreams do not become reality on hope alone. They require hard work and strong intention and maybe a little nudge from the universe.
A co-worker wrote to a few of us last week something that really resonated with me.
Consider this: you have been given everything you need to accomplish “it”, whatever “it” may be. So go do it.
You have what you need to start pursuing your dreams. If “it” is something that you really, truly want, stop hoping and get to work. Set an intention, share it. Breathe life into it. Back it with hard work.
And see what happens.
I promise I’ll have an I-told-you-so look ready and waiting.