Have I finally “found” myself?

After a two-year hiatus from Medium…I’m back and better than ever! :)

I read my post, “7 Pillars to a Highly Successful Me”, which I wrote in 2014, and I’m happy to report that I’ve made significant headway in five out of seven of those lifetime resolutions. Here’s a progress report with a few books and apps that has helped me along the way:

(1) Make a living — After years of working for different startups and on my own (at times, costly) ideas, I’ve landed a full-time consulting job at Autodesk, the company that makes AutoCAD and 180+ products for 3D design. I’m building out its talent community program and having a ton of fun in the beautiful Pier 9 office where there’s an industrial test kitchen, wood and metal workshop, 3D printers and laser cutters all available for my use. Oh the things I would make if I had more hours in the day! (Or, if I were to make better use of my time!) My now husband Mike has made a complete 180 in his career, and after successfully completing Hack Reactor, a software engineering bootcamp in San Francisco, he is now a Node.js developer for Cloud Car. It hasn’t been a straight path to this spot, but it’s been an adventurous one! I’m glad we stuck to our guns and kept searching for something that feels right for both of our careers. Of course, I still have side projects like the nonprofit I’m building for women engineers, WExl.org, and SIPwomen, a wine group for women professionals. I’ve decided to focus the work that I do on building communities. I’ll be writing more on here and my LinkedIn profile about that.

(2) Build a personal brand — I haven’t been able to stick to an editorial calendar, but I’m still working on it! I feel more at ease about writing now that I’ve reached some stability in my life. In the past, I’ve been able to create some sort of personal brand for myself, but it was always a bit all over the place. Now, I’ve got a better idea on what type of thought-leadership I’d like to create for myself. I think 2016 is going to be my year to create more content for knowledge sharing with my people. Lately, I’ve been Snapchatting. Follow me on Snapchat: arabelladelucco and check out my daily visions and revisions.

(3) Build something tangible — This is the second area where I haven’t accomplished much in the past two years. Working at Autodesk certainly has me itching to make my ideas into something tangible. I plan on finishing a body of work this year. The important thing to do is to keep writing and making, whether that’s publishing on Medium or cooking and documenting my cooking. Consistent output is key when you’re an artist (and anyone can be an artist). If you’re having problems with a sort of writer’s/artist’s block, read the book Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It’s helped me A LOT, and I’ve read it once and listened to the audiobook twice. It’s the best “self-help” book that I’ve ever read.

(4) Keep learning — I’ve done a pretty good job at this. I’ve been doing a lot more reading recently, mainly on topics about the brain and creativity. I’ve stopped learning how to code mainly because my husband knows how to build apps now. I figured, I may as well do something that’s more natural to me. I’m learning how to file for a 501(c)3 status for WExl.org, how to have impact within a large corporation, and how to cook for real. I’m taking the Cooking Fundamental I class for the next few weeks at SF Cooking. I just had my first class this past Wednesday, and I can’t believe how bad my knife technique is! There’s something to be said about formal instruction and/or coaching when you want to master something. The book, Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long Term Fulfillment by George Leonard has helped me with honing my skills and working through “plateaus” so that I don’t abandon my path to mastery. The author does warn against having too many projects, so, I’m trying to prioritize and focus. For example, I dropped my singing classes because I felt it was more important to get fit with the help of a personal trainer. I used Thumbtack both times to find private instructors.

(5) Stay organized — This was a latecomer in 2015, but according to my husband, a game changer! I stumbled on an Instagram post by my friend Arlene where she captured her #konmari process. Prior to that photo, I had never heard of such a thing. So, I looked it up: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The reader in the audiobook sounded a bit robotic, and the first part was a little slow, but the organization process of discerning whether each piece that you own still sparks joy in your life was groundbreaking for me. It’s at least a six-month project, but I’m getting there! And best of all, my husband is very happy with me.

(6) Be healthy — I’m using MyFitnessPal as my food journal. I track my eating almost every day, though, I skip the days when I know I totally messed up and ate too many chicken wings and drank too much beer. I tried doing the Whole 30 diet and reading its related book, It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, but I thought it was all a bunch of bologna. I don’t recommend it.

(7) Maintain strong relationships — This goes well with my 2016 New Years Resolution: “Be conscious of what my words do to others.” I’ve definitely burnt bridges before, and now in my old age, I’m trying to be more sensitive and empathize with those around me. One of the oldie but goodie book I’ve read that has helped me with relationship building is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’m generally an affable, positive person, but I do have a side of me that can use the dark side of the force. A Jedi must learn to control her emotions.