Editor's Letter - Maximizing yourself today for tomorrow

Yes, I realize it’s March 1st when this is being released on-line (the print version was released in early February) but it’s something that I want and need to share.
Change is never easy…yet it’s essential to forward movement or at the least, lateral movement.
I took a big step with this article and so far, the response and comments have been overwhelmingly positive.
Flip me your thoughts in the comments or via email at jay@modernmississauga.com

New year, new you, new aspirations…2019 can be a glorious year for you and it certainly should be a good year for you. Whether you’re a resolution-setting type of person or not, I implore you to make this year the one where you maximize yourself.
There’s no need to wait for the first of the month, your birthday or other day to start maximizing yourself; the optimal day is today.
You may have noticed that the above handfuls of words aren’t quite like our usual feature articles, and you’d be right.  I’m aiming to start conversations, create and foster engagement, and learn more about the valued readers of Modern Mississauga.
My contact info is on the Masthead and I’d be happy to hear from you.
Let’s delve into some ways to maximize yourself in 2019 and beyond.

Comfortably escaping your comfort zone

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Odd title, right? I’m all for the idea of shifting out of your comfort zone. I’m not quite for the 180 degree approach as I’ve found it more harmful than helpful. Start with a few degrees at a time and tweak as you progress.
Want to join a gym, for example? Great! Don’t go seven days a week for the first month if you’re starting off. Maybe two to three days a week for a month is the approach to take when facilitating a noticeable change in your lifestyle.  Let’s reference the “Tortoise and the Hare” fable for this one.
How I’m doing it: I’ve rarely been comfortable in front of a camera in pictures or video. I have this small gap (that feels like a canyon) in my teeth. I feel I pronounce my “R’s” peculiarly and blink too much or not enough. Are these real concerns? Of course. Will/does anyone else notice? Definitely maybe.
Owning Modern Mississauga Media has, over the past three years, slowly nudged me to find ways to embrace it.  Yes, it’s easier today yet I’ve still got many kilometers to trek where I’m where I want and need to be.
I’ve created a schedule (that’s absolutely tweakable) where I’m doing short social media hosted selfie-videos and documenting the adventures of owning a media company. It’ll include the wins, lessons and commentary and it’ll include my face and voice. I’m doing it because I want to learn about my community and what their (and your) thoughts/opinions are, ask questions, prompt engagement and learn what more I can do to provide you with better, stronger, smarter content.

Learn a new craft/skill/talent in any capacity

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Regardless of your age, regardless of what anyone (falsely) says, you can always learn a new craft, whatever it is.
From knitting to playing guitar to calligraphy to running and everything in between, if there’s something that’s got you interested, dig deeper. There are a plethora of free online resources that’ll get you started and help provide direction for advancement.
Ask those around you if they know anyone who does “insert X here” and if you can be connected with them. Check out online forums on the subject. At the very least, invest a few hours into yourself with this.
How I’m doing it:  First, I joined the Travel Media Association of Canada to create with a network of talent that I can learn from and engage with. I frequently travel and create travel articles so this is a natural (albeit long awaited) progression.  I’ve applied for a position with the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada for the same reasons.
Secondly, through online courses, I’m learning how to produce smarter and more engaging digital content. While I release six beautiful issues a year, there are still 359 other days of the year where I need to connect with my readers, both existing and new.
Oh, and I’m learning (oh-so-slowly) how to be a better cook because, well, I’m 40 and it’s never too late to learn. Who wants a fresh bowl of ice cube soup and maybe burnt toast?
It’s the thirst for knowledge and aspirational side of me that pushes these decisions forward.
Whatever you want, whatever you aspire to do, whether full or part time, simply, smartly and strategically move forward with it. Worst case is you realize it’s not for you and can move on to the next exciting ambition.

Care not what others think

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I know, I know; it’s a touchy subject...
I debated including this and the deciding factor was sharing my personal experience.
Maybe it’ll change a view point. Maybe not. Regardless, it’s worth the chance.
From online negative comments (of which there’ll always be) to in-person jeers, it’s so easy to say or write the aforementioned.  The lesson I’ve learned is that you are absolutely unable to control anyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Sure, debate and discussion is encouraged but each of us are wired differently and will have our own reasons for our thoughts.
Other people’s thoughts on/about you may hurt or offend you but I say this with the utmost sincerity; do not change who you are because of others. Change for you and only your own reasons.
How I’m doing it: I post content daily in written, video and social media platforms and there’s a reason people say “Don’t. Read. The. Comments.” I still read all of them and respond to almost all, even the foul ones. When I started this company, I was too entrenched in what others wanted me to do and took the criticisms to heart. I’d lose sleep over it. I was a textbook “people pleaser.” Fortunately, I eventually realized it and turned away from bending to what others wanted.
Quite simply, if you strive to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up not much of anything to anyone.
I absorb everything said and written about Modern Mississauga Media and myself.
The difference now is I’m much more confident in my plan and vision for myself. 
I know what’s best for me.
Only you know what’s best for you.