Friday, December 28, 2012

What's Your Jam?

Stuff like this? Most definitely #MyJam
It's like that big, burly, bearded friend of yours who never dances...until The Song comes on. And then, out of nowhere, he shoots up, hollers out, "THAT'S MAH JAM!", and runs out to the dancefloor, where he proceeds to break it down like it's never been broken down before.

And it doesn't matter if it's the dumbest song ever or if he's the only one out there: He's gonna dance like it's the last dance of his life. And the best part? He's so into it that everyone else can't help but crowd around and watch, clapping and cheering him on.

Now imagine being that guy when it comes to your life.

I like to think about the stuff I love and the stuff I love to do as my jams. It's that thing (and sometimes, if you're really lucky, that sense of place in life) where you love what you're doing so much that you don't give a shit about whether or not you're good at it, or if anyone else thinks it's great, or if you ever make a dime from doing're still gonna rock out to it. Day and night, unapologetically, no matter what.

Because that's your jam.

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be a guest on a podcast and a panel for SMBMSP. During the panel, we talked about jumping tracks when it came to careers, and I advised that if you're going to go out on your own, if you're going to be a renegade badass and quit your job to do something else, you've gotta make sure that what you're doing is your jam. You've gotta be so into it that you're going to stay up all day and night to do it (if you're not doing that already)...and not because you're trying to turn your boot-strap start-up into IPO status or prove your parents wrong...but because you love it that much. So much, in fact, that having the freedom and ability to stay up all day and night working on it is pretty much the top reason why you're quitting your job in the first place.

And it can be for something as small as unabashedly loving super awesomely cheesy fan art, or as big as striking out on your own to start your own company. The point is that, when you find your #1 Dance Track, you get clarity. And not just on what you love...but how loving something is supposed to make you feel.

Right now, my current dance jam is DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love by Usher. Let me be real: I don't even like Usher half the time, and this definitely is not my usual type of jam (I'm more of an 80s girl when it comes to super jams). But no matter what, whenever that song comes on, I wanna dance. Even if I'm tired, or cranky, or have other stuff to do, or not in the dancing mood...once I hear that beat, it's all over. Suddenly I've got balls of energy, I'm dancing around like a crazy person (crazy sexy person, obviously), and I'm happy.
That's what your jam does for you: It energizes you. And it could be only one thing in your life that makes you feel that way, or a bunch of things. The main power of it, though, is that once you realize and start paying attention to how your jam makes you feel...the more you'll start to recognize the things that aren't.

Take for instance, blogging. Writing and blogging is my jam. No question, hands down...I will chuck everything else out the window for that area of my life, and once I get into the groove it, I don't want to stop. But I had to teach myself this whole jam thing even within the sphere of blogging. Observing the success of other bloggers and reading endless articles about valuable content and being a "niche" blogger...that shit can mess with your head. And the thing is...I could only write about social media. I could only write about company culture. I could only write about relationship strategy and using behavioral psychology to get what you want and a billion other things that would position me and my blog as an "expert" in a field, and I might even end up being really great at that stuff, too. But you know what?

That's not my jam. 

Only blogging about that really fucking boring. That's what I learned with Cyber Dating Sidekick...creating and maintaining a blog that's only about dating, only about relationships...yawn and snore, dudes. I would really only be doing that stuff so it could lead me to something else - a bigger payday, a book deal, a TV show, etc. And doing stuff to lead to other stuff, as some of us have already found out (or are finding out), is ultimately unsatisfying.

Writing and blogging about stuff - everything and anything - that gets my attention (mainly boys and feelings)...that is my jam, because I like doing it just for the pure joy of doing it. When it comes to stuff like relationships and meditation and even cooking, I like telling stories, even if it's just to amuse myself. I like making it personal. I like doing it for me.

And some people don't really dig that. But if we all loved to dance to the same songs, there wouldn't be any room left on the dancefloor, yeah?

I learned that when I listened to myself...when I go back to that place when I was happiest blogging and it seemed like people were the happiest reading was always when I was telling personal stories and posting the dumbest, most ridiculous stuff, and was making the blog a scrapbook, essentially, of my life. And it started to make sense in that, when I thought more about it, I started to see that the greatest successes I've had in my adult life always came when I was doing something just for me, just because I liked it. Because I loved doing it so much that I couldn't bring myself to stop. Because those were my jams.

I started this blog for me, thinking that no one would ever really read it except for myself and few close friends I shared it with. I started blogging about online dating because I basically just wanted to keep a record of how ridiculous, hilarious, and slightly-nightmarish the whole thing was so I could look back on it later and laugh when I was being happily ravished by my extremely physically attractive and mentally healthy husband. I wrote Holiday Chick because writing the Losing You series (the original blueprint for Holiday Chick) was so fun that I got lost in the writing of it night after night. I started writing about being brave through a break-up because it was what I was going through and needed to hear for myself, and then I started to attract clients who wanted personal relationship coaching in that realm.

Those are all things I did just because I really wanted to, and because it felt great to do them...and then when I did, they blew up in a way I never expected. And that's kind of what happens, I feel like, when people find their jam. Look at Chris Hardwick and Nerdist Industries...a guy starts a podcast with his two dork friends where all they do is talk about comedy and nerd stuff. Not exactly an obvious blueprint for world domination, yeah? And it is. It sounds ironic, yet the more I see it, the more I know it's true...when you're doing the thing you love so much that you don't even care whether or not anyone else is paying attention, that's precisely when everyone starts to. And god...being on the other end of much fun is it to watch that guy, yeah? It's infectious. And it's the kind of infection that makes this world a hell of a lot more fun to live in.

So figure out what your jam is. 

And then dance the shit out of it.

What's your jam? Better yet...what's NOT your jam? Join in on the conversation over at Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest if you're more into pictures than words. 

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