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Why I Don't Mind Being Called a "Self Promoter"

"Nobody talks about you...as much as you do." 

When someone said this to my face, it stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly, I was paranoid. My heart, racing. Panic attack, pending. All I could think of was, 

"Do people think I'm a bragging jerkface?" 

Our crew for Lizz Winstead's New Years Eve comedy special. L to R: Ian Schwartz - Engineer, Liz Zilka - hair/makeup, Nick Kesler - Dir of Photography, Lizz Winstead - Executive Producer/ass kicker/the star, Erica Hanna - Production Director, Maggie McPherson - Executive Producer

Our crew for Lizz Winstead's New Years Eve comedy special. L to R: Ian Schwartz - Engineer, Liz Zilka - hair/makeup, Nick Kesler - Dir of Photography, Lizz Winstead - Executive Producer/ass kicker/the star, Erica Hanna - Production Director, Maggie McPherson - Executive Producer

So, I sat back. Didn't talk about work, life, coffees with friends, etc...for awhile. And I felt, bummed. Not because I was looking for recognition, but mainly because when my clients ask me to help them make cool things, I only sign on if it's something that makes me EXCITED. And, when I'm excited about something - I love to shout it from the rooftops, because you never know who else will be excited, too.

It's part of the idea of creating a career that you never feel like you need a "vacation" from. I don't dread getting out of bed anymore (OK, some days when we have 6am call times for shoots, it's not alllll that glamorous, but still), and since I love my crew members like family - it's a treat to get to see them. 

Speaking at the "Lean In MSP" conference about confidence. 

Speaking at the "Lean In MSP" conference about confidence. 

The difference between now  and before - is that I  post a lot more on social about work than I used to. But, that's because work makes me HAPPY! I want to talk about it. I don't need to post photos of myself getting wasted in an attempt to escape my job...because my job, IS the fun part now. (But, hey...I'm not going to turn down a small sip of Glenlivet, if you're offering - wink wink)

Hanging with comedian/creator of the Daily Show Lizz Winstead, before our shoot.

Hanging with comedian/creator of the Daily Show Lizz Winstead, before our shoot.

What confuses me, is that I get crap for talking about what I love....yet, nobody bats an eye when people complain about what they hate. Politics. Work. Family. Healthcare. Some folks drone on and on (oh yes, I realize - I rant about politics a lot - guilty!), yet - they AREN'T classified as "SELF COMPLAINERS". Why? Because well, it's "normal" to whine. It's normal to bitch on social media, but not always normal to concentrate on what is good. 

I heard a great quote by Scott Stabile the other day,

Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit, talk about your joys.”
— Scott Stabile
Pictured: Nick Kesler. You know you've found the right Director of Photography, when you call to talk to each other about life for 2-3 hours at a time. 

Pictured: Nick Kesler. You know you've found the right Director of Photography, when you call to talk to each other about life for 2-3 hours at a time. 

So, go right ahead...call me a self promoter. I call it living out loud, loving what you do, and who you do it with. And, if that makes you uncomfortable - I guess that's none of my business. 

Keep Puking Rainbows, 
Erica
 

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The Value of a Working Vacation

"Working vacation? You have to be kidding!" That was the reaction from most people when I used the term. I had planned a two night getaway to Duluth. Craving the sight of water, zen and a need to "buckle down" when it came to planning my future. I've heard from quite a few business owners who struggle with this: hammering so hard on the day-to-day operations/making rent, that thinking about the future seems like something always just barely out of reach. 

beanerscafe

I had big plans for what I was going to accomplish. Tactical solutions for a hurdle I've been encountering, planning and process to make sure I don't drop the ball on projects, planning my 1-year Puke Rainbows Party (you're invited!), and a list of approximately 7-8 other things. 

It was ambitious.
It was aggressive. 
It was...not at all what I needed. 

You see, my job has been this HUGE source of joy for me this year. It's more than a job, actually - it's inspiration, daily - both from the clients I work with (yup, kissing ass here), and the other production folks I learn from (yup, another round of ass kissing). But, that joy has been laced with some anxiety. Always this little feeling in my stomach that I'm not doing "enough." That I could be refining a process. That I could be quicker with an invoice. That I could just be...better. 

But, as I sat down to write my business plan for year two, I thought about goals. "Just TYPE, Erica..." I told myself. Because writing is always something that simply flows. So, I did. And this, is what came out: 

pukerainbows.com

Then, I chuckled and stretched my hands above my head. Cheering to myself a bit. Laughing, knowing it wasn't that simple. But, nonetheless - it just felt....good, to see that statement in writing. 

Just a few moments after I posted the above photo, there was my buddy Blois Olson - on the phone. Offering great advice. What followed was a quick 15 minute conversation about where I'm at, what I enjoy, and where I want things to be. Really valuable stuff (Thanks, Blois). 

And as I hung up the phone, I felt a sense of calm and reassurance. I already KNEW what I wanted. But, hearing the words come out of my mouth - and tossing around ideas/thoughts with a colleague, was what I NEEDED. Not some fancy 10 step plan. Not a complex strategy. Just...articulation. 

I closed my laptop. 
And looked outside. 

duluth

The water was blue. Choppy. The perfect metaphor, honestly. Just like being a business owner.

Because when you're in the middle of things, there are times you quickly go from swimming and playing in the water, to a feeling of drowning. But really, all you need - is to step out of the water for a minute (or perhaps a day or two) to remind yourself you've really been swimming hard, and that it was worth it - because you made it to the other side of the shore. 

This is probably the part of the story where you expect me to say I kept my laptop closed for the remainder of the trip. 

I didn't. 

But, focus DID change. Instead, I spent a little bit more time looking back, than I had expected. Re-hashing the highlights of the year, crunching numbers, mapping out rough goals to keep in mind - and possible ways to accomplish them, instead of a rigid plan full of tools I don't understand quite yet. More focus on balance. 

One other thing also change. I turned on my TV.   Because, I never do that. Ever. In fact, I don't have a TV anymore - because, well...the internet. Tuning out - brought a sense of escape and balance to the process. Commercials would come, and I'd continue to hammer away at things in between before/afters on HGTV (don't you dare judge me!). Also, indulging in the guilty pleasure of an hour of reality TV (couldn't stomach more than that) brought perspective - because damn, I am SO GLAD I don't have the same life as a "Real Housewife" in New Jersey. ha! 

So, as I pack up my things and gear up to head home - I've learned a few valuable lessons: 

1. Sometimes you already know what you want to do, you just need to jump out of the water to see it. 
2. Don't let the lack of a 20 part plan stop you in your tracks. There is more than one RIGHT way to do something. If you know the goal, keep moving toward it - be agile, eyes open,  and allow things to have breathing room/flexibility. 
3. Talk it out. Bouncing ideas around with someone is a great way to get out of your head. 
4. Never underestimate the stress relieving power of driving for 2 hours with the radio on full blast.
5. A little reality TV never hurt anyone. And, it can make you feel way better about your life. ;-)

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