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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Come See Me At My New Website!

Becoming a Badass has a new home! Come check out www.becomingabadass.com and sign up for my newsletter while you are there. That way the blog will come to you!

Wow! It's been almost 5 years since the Becoming a Badass adventure started. I'm so grateful to all of you who read, supported and encouraged Becoming a Badass. I've had so much fun and learned SO much as I transitioned from LA party girl to Jackson Hole badass.

I'm getting a little weepy here thinking about my former platinum blonde self deciding I wanted to be athletic and go on adventures. I've come a long way since my first post about riding a bike down a flat road and being passed by a woman running. What makes me the happiest when I think back though is all of the people over the years who told me that I've inspired them to become their own best version of badass. I'm truly honored to have been a part of your improvement. Thanks for letting me into your life through this blog and sharing in my own personal journey.

My next adventure is happening now at www.becomingabadass.com. Becoming a Badass is now a business that helps other people achieve their dreams. I'm a career coach with a certificate from NYU and I can honestly say that I like coaching more than I like skiing on a powered day or traveling to exotic locales.

I get to help people figure out what they want to do with their lives and how to make their dreams a reality. I've never felt more badass.

I hope you join me as I continue my adventure. I hope I can continue to inspire, motivate and teach you. Please, come on over to www.becomingabadass.com and input you email address. You'll be signed up for my newsletter. You can also follow the blog on the website. Really though, I think it's time we take this relationship to the next level :) It's time for a newsletter!

I cherish you, badasses. Thanks for helping me live my dream. Thanks for sharing your adventures with me.

                                Jessica Zelenko-Barrier

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Keep Fear From Killing Your Success and Fun

Will Smith is laying down some really good career advice for all of us. 

"Keep loving people. The important this is to make sure with your [work], your [work] is a gift to people to helptheir lives be better and to be brighter. And what happens a lot of times when you see people fail in this business [or any work] is that they're in it for their ego. They start doing it for themselves. And it's like, your trying to help people just get through a day."

He is talking about being an actor but I think this applies to all professions and all work. It's so hard when your work is all about you, your personal success and what you get in return. It's so much easier to be good when you are really trying to help make peoples lives easier. Their days better.

Because, seriously, don't we all need some of that. I'm all about positivity and keeping it fun. That's why I started Becoming a Badass. But the flip side to that is that life can be really hard. If you aren't focused on being happy, strong, generous, successful, positive and, most importantly, loving, it's easy to slip into a dark place. I know it is for me. It happened to me very recently.

Am I alone in this feeling? Is life always easy for some? I don't think so. We all experience great loss, disappointments and pain. Every single one of us. Some of the losses are real. Losses of health. Losses of loved ones. Losses of dreams. Losses of jobs. Some of the losses are fear taking over our minds and stealing our happiness. Losses of confidence. Losses of love. Losses of faith.

Losses hurt. I believe in positivity, love, faith and God but sometimes shit is painful. Ok? I'm not alone in this, right?

The good news, as far as work and success is concerned, is that means there is always tremendous need for people who are making the world a better, happier, positive, more love filled place. If you can keep focused on helping people's lives be better, there will always be work for you.

How can you use who you are and what you love to do to make the world a better, easier place? How can you help people just get through the day? Because that will make you successful in all senses of the word.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Just Decide to Be Awesome

Can someone explain what attractive is to me?

I remember being very young, about 11, and really trying to figure out what attractive meant. My brain works too much. Blessing and curse.

Back in middle school, junior high, whatever, attractive became very important. You were or you weren't. It was cool or it wasn't.

The guiding principles were ambiguous and I never felt secure. I remember genuinely looking at myself in the mirror, questioning, am I attractive?

Is this a good mouth? Is this a good stomach? Is this a good ass? What exactly is a good ass? I truly didn't know.

There weren't clear cut guidelines. I was lost.

My own feelings weren't helpful. My attractions didn't fit the norm. I was technically attracted to the geeky guy with no social skills who was just really good at fractions. I felt attraction. But my world, aka: middle school cool girls, told me that he was NOT attractive.

Well then, what the hell was that feeling?

One of my first boyfriends in the 7th grade was born without legs. He was an incredibly funny, charming, smart and cute guy. My attraction to him confused me even more. The shock that I was his girlfriend in my small southern town also confused me.

All this what is and is not attractive bullshit is damn confusing.

Is it a feeling? Is it a social norm? Is it set in stone or flexible?

For a long time, I didn't think of myself as attractive. I thought I could sometimes cross the barrier of attractive through humor, charm, sexiness and smarts. I thought I was sometimes capable of attractive but not inherently attractive.

Finally, I got fed up with the feeling of lack. I got sick of being confused about who it was ok to be attracted to. I decided I would be attractive.

Fuck it, I'm attractive. Why the hell not? This is so mixed up and confusing anyway, why not me?

I just decided to tell myself that I was attractive. I did so on a daily basis.

A few years later my boyfriend said to me, "Well, people like your writing because you are so pretty."

I was totally stunned. I'd spent a huge part of my life thinking I wasn't pretty and now I was so pretty that I was getting unfair accolades? WTF? Ummm. Sweet?

One of the first essays I ever wrote was titled "I Am Not a Pretty Girl." I was serious.

Now, it's not uncommon for people to tell me that I will be successful because of my looks. It happened earlier this week. It kinda happens regularly.

It blows my mind because I made a very conscious decision to start being attractive. Then, the world accepted my decision.

I wasn't born with this belief. I decided to cultivate a feeling of attractive because it was painful, fucking daily, to feel unattractive.

You can decided to be anything. Seriously. I know it's crazy, but I've lived through the experience many times. I've become smart, funny, pretty, driven, inspirational all through a conscious choice. (Not that I maintain it 24/7. Cut me a break.)

I'm really not trying to be a bragging asshole here. I'm telling you a secret. You can be anything you want. You just have to decide. You just have to embody it in a way that feels good to you.

These defining factors, attractive, smart, successful, whatever, are a choice you get to make. Do it.

Report back to me. I love this shit and I really love hearing from you.

I'm embarrassingly honest here in the hopes that you will be too. Please. Thanks. xo

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why Being Freaked Out Doesn't Matter

I'm really scared and intimidated all of the time. How did you not know that?

I started my blog, Becoming a Badass, purely to get over my fears. To prove fears don't matter.

I've mentioned to a few people recently that I've always been a very fearful person.

Each person looks at me with shock.

I look back in shock that they are shocked. Really? Damn, I must being doing a good job.

As a child I was so shy that I would cry if someone outside my immediate family spoke to me.

As a kid I would regularly wake up screaming at slumber parties. (didn't earn me cool points) For years, I dreamed that someone was coming to get me.

Until a few years ago, people would regularly say to me out of no where, "You look confused."

I started saying, "That's just how my face looks."

My face looked like that because I was confused and freaked out by EVERYTHING.

I use meditation, self-improvement projects and solid plans to keep the fear at bay.

I have fears, you have fears. It doesn't matter. Get out there. Badass up and kick some ass. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Are you gonna let a couple of old ladies show you up?

Think you can't get your dream job? Aren't qualified? Too old? Too young? Too female? Too male? Too late?

In 1937 two women in their forties traveled around the US apply for jobs. With every job, they focused on SHOWING THE EMPLOYER how their skills could get the employer MORE CUSTOMERS AND PROFIT. They were offered over 100 positions.

We are talking two old ladies in 1930's standards. And at a time when ladies barely help important jobs, let alone old ladies.

They wanted to prove that no matter what you think your handicap is, their's being women over 40 in the 1930's, you can still get the job you want. You just have to present yourself correctly. Show the employer how your strengths and skills can help their company.

They wrote a popular guide to job hunting in 1937 called We are Forty and We Did Get Jobs.

Hats off to Clara Belle Thompson and Margaret Lukes Wise. OG badasses!

Want are you let stand in your way? What strengths do you have to focus on instead?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I feel so damn old and stressed. You?

I've been dancing and singing in my car lately. I live in a very small town. The chance of being seen by someone I know is definite. I'm going to keep doing it anyway because it's fun and it makes me happy.

Going after my dreams is stressful and scary. Right now my dream is to run my own highly successful Career Coaching business. I'm learning a lot of new skills. I'm doing stuff that is unpleasant and deals with a lot of reading, planning, scheduling and numbers. I'm a fun loving, creative type. I feel like a COMPETE FUCKING MORON at least once a day. I also feel like the SUPERHERO of my own life in moments. It's a terrifying, thrilling, fun, nauseating roller coaster. I love it, mainly, but it's super scary and stressful.

I'm also turing 30. I'm not crazy about that.

The stress has been building and there is no sign of it lightening up. I'm snappy. Edging on depressed in moments. Exhausted. Not badass.

I was yearning for my youth the other day. It struck me, in a flash of inspiration, that I don't have to act like an old, stressed out person. I can still prioritize my own good time.

I giggled at the thought of me and my high school friends. We used to drive around the suburban town of Marrietta, Georgia aimlessly, in a way only a teenager can. We'd dance like crazy to the Presidents of the United States of America and the Reality Bites soundtrack. Our dancing would be kicked up a notch at every stoplight. Our goal was always to get person in the neighboring car to dance. We were really good at getting strangers to dance.

We would also have random dance breaks in parking lots. I carried that tradition with me way into my twenties but I haven't in a long time.

Thinking about those times is like watching an episode of the Wonder Years. It makes me feel calm, nostalgic and happy.

Snap back to my present life. I'm surrounded by books on Career Coaching and business building. I need to finish dinner and my house isn't clean. I'm an adult. It's hard and stressful. I get in my car to go run errands and work. I'm carrying my tension along with a shit-ton of stuff to return to the library. WHY DO I HAVE TO FEEL SO OLD?

Light bulb moment. I don't. I can rock out to Selena Gomez, singing my heart out and dancing like a damn fool at stop lights if I want. So I did. And I will. Because it's fun and it feels good.

Once, I was doing a crazy damn made-up workout as I walked up a residential hill. Most of the surrounding houses were second homes, so no one was around. Until, suddenly, there was someone sitting on their couch, watching TV. I stopped doing my crazy, ab-burning exercise that involved kicking and punching or something. I walked normally by.

Then it occurred to me, I'm out working on my fitness and that person is inside on a beautiful day, watching TV. WHY AM I ASHAMED? I'm having fun and doing something good for myself that doesn't hurt anyone and could actually inspire others to have a better time.

So, I restarted my crazy workout. I'm going to keep up with my singing and dancing in the car. It's fun and it makes me happy. That's a damn good reason to do something.

What are you going to do to have some fun and make yourself happy? How could you inspire others?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Does improving your life feel like a pain in the ass? Solution here.

If you want to change your life, you have to create new habits to support the change. Change is not immediate. It is created slowly, over time, as the result of cumulative action. 

You set yourself up for failure if you think one time actions will create change. You will succeed if you focus on creating and maintaining consistent habits that support the change.

For example: I hate my habit of staying up late to watch TV. I got into this habit when I worked at a restaurant and would come home late with a racing mind. I'd watch TV until I was almost asleep and then go to bed.

My mind still races late at night but I want to be able to go to bed earlier. Now, I have a new habit of going to bed when my husband goes to bed. As my mind races, I visualize how I want tomorrow to go or how I want to feel longterm.

I've replaced my old habit of watching TV to shut my mind off with a new habit of shutting my mind off with visualization. When I just went to bed earlier and expected to fall asleep, I'd get frustrated with my racing mind and end up back in front of the TV. I recognized that I needed a new habit to deal with my racing mind. I've been focusing on my visualization habit for a few weeks and it's getting easier and easier. I'm still tempted to go watch TV but the temptation is fading. I'm slowly creating a new norm.

Change takes time and consistent practice of new habits. Keep working. You'll get there.