Confidence: Karen Walrond Shows the Beauty of Different
Confidence—Karen Walrond had an ordinary life. She was a lawyer and a mom. She was good at what she did. She got to travel the world doing it. She made good money doing it. But she wasn't happy. So she soul-searched, reached down deep, and changed course. Drastically. People sometimes change jobs, when they don't get along well in one, or even change careers, when one no longer meets their needs. Karen changed course. She had a heart-to-heart discussion with herself about what really made her happy, then quit her job, and blogged unabashedly about what she really liked. She wasn't afraid to be different, even different from her own expectations, and has now, in fact, published a book on that very subject. Karen Walrond knows The Beauty of Different.
The first time Karen acted differently was in college when, after having gotten a degree in civil engineering, she decided to get a law degree. She practiced software trademark law for 15 years and loved it, even getting promoted to general council. During that time she became a mom. She took a couple of years off, living in her birthplace of Trinidad when her husband got a job there, and enjoyed being with family. She practiced law again when she got back to the States, but not with satisfaction. That's when she felt compelled to embark on the aforementioned journey of soul-searching.
Her soul-searching consisted of:
1) writing a list of every last thing that made her happy,
2) analyzing each thing on the list to determine why it made her happy, then
3) looking for patterns.
Turns out, when it came down to it, three things made her happy: 1) speaking publicly, 2) writing, and 3) shooting pictures. She redesigned her mommy blog to match those aims, quit her job to "see what would happen." She decided that any social media thing she did had to meet at least two of those aims. Notice there's no mention of "making money" in those aims, or of "being like everybody else."
Her life now is not ordinary: she's not a typical engineer or lawyer or blogger. She is an immigrant, a female engineer, a liberal in a conservative place, for instance. She shies away from even calling herself a "speaker" or a "writer" or a "shooter/photographer." She is, in her own words, "a confident misfit." She writes: "In a society where we are constantly bombarded with messages on how to think, how to feel, and how to look, it can be very easy to fall into the mindset that we are not enough, that we somehow fail as individuals. The truth is that those aspects of ourselves that make us individuals are actually the sources of own beauty."
Her book, The Beauty of Different, came about as she sought to increase her expertise and credibility in the blogosphere, to become confident in her different-ness. Each chapter cites examples of people who exemplify the "many ways individuality or uniqueness can manifest itself." Each characteristic is featured in BlogHer's Own Your Beauty series; this month's characteristic-of-focus is agelessness and features tips from actress Molly Ringwald.
So, should you find yourself in need of a change in course, consider making a list like Karen's. Try to tune in to what makes you happy, what makes you unique. It might be difficult. But Karen's journey proves that there is beauty in exploring.
What three things make you the happiest?
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