Stop Wasting Time and Underselling Your Talents

If you find naysayers, hecklers, or agitators lobbying against you, cut the cord. This is no time for setbacks. 

By Olivia Walters 

Time management is a distressful obstacle for both the birdbrained and overachiever types. 

Scale back on social media, mark out time in a bullet journal, or hit the pillow at the same time every night—however, and whatever works to turn time into profit. 

To the ladies and gents breaking their backs for an opportunity, you have my attention. How much rejection and how many unresponsive hiring managers will it take before you crack? 

I sat at my computer for months when I finished my degree, plugging away at job applications, character evaluations, and other mindless fill-in forms. Overtime my exhaustion exceeded my self-motivation. 

Back then I wanted to write full-time as an editorial staff member, be it news or non-profit literature. Anything that put me in a seat where I could professionally title myself a writer.

Looking at this eye-popping statistic, I felt doomed. The University of Washington’s DO-IT program reported in 2019 that 53% of graduates are unemployed or working a job where having a diploma is useless. Minded, it takes the average college graduate three to six months to package their usefulness before an employer takes notice. For me, that came down to pouring hours into cover letters, tweaking my resume, editing my LinkedIn for updated SEO keywords, even revisiting the career center at my university. 

Others massaged my sense of failure by citing South Carolina’s 2.3% unemployment rate from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Then I said so fucking what, I’m still not doing what I love. 

The importance of self-branding has sky-rocketed alongside social media. Everyone’s an entrepreneur of some sort. While we’re dabbling in hobbies as “side hustles,” we usually rest on washout, mind-numbing jobs to pay the bills. Let me just spit it out—do something you despise for too long, by the way, and you’ll end up with zero confidence in the talents that came pre-downloaded into your DNA. 

Personal assessment

Right now, at this very moment, as your eyes glide over the words on this screen, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Did someone tell me no?
  2. What happened to me after I heard it?
  3. Did I keep trying?

Writers, designers, carpenters, athletes, salespeople and just about anyone with a lick of passion will, at some time or another, hit a wall. But you’re talented, my friend, because you’re savvy enough to realize that your craft was never going to be easy. 

If what you love matters to you, then for all that is sacred, make time for it. 

Two examples from my life: 

  1. After two years of restaurants stealing my time and draining my soul, I quit, ready to pursue full-time freelance work. I know I’m making headway by sitting down at my desk, pitching to editors, but more importantly, dedicating my every waking minute and thoughts to writing. So far, I’ve reconnected with writers who led workshops I attended in the past, perfected my website, written an editorial schedule for future articles, and pitched to several editors. I landed a chance to be a guest blogger on a language learning site. I know that with continued patience and relentless drive, someone will eventually say yes. This is a game of motivation. 
  1. My partner and I wanted to set an actionable goal to help families dealing with ALS. We spent a lot of time hiking last year, so we decided to start a non-profit from the ground up to raise money for ALS patient care through a 300-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. And by investing meaningful time into our goal, we’ve already raised $900! Not to forget how much I’ve learned about applying for 501(c)3 non-profit status! 

Do not let other people discourage you from your dream. As Stephen King lovingly said in his memoir On Writing, “There are lots of would-be censors out there…they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see…or to at least shut up about what you do see that’s different.” 

If you find naysayers, hecklers, or agitators lobbying against you, cut the cord. This is no time for setbacks and self-doubt

Learn discipline and practice it ruthlessly. The results of your labor will follow. ■

Image credits // stocksnap.io

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