Letters to anyone,

I’m not sure what it is about 1:00 am that really draws me in but I seem to find myself in the same place, every night.

I was fifteen years old when I first fell in love. The feeling, unlike anything I’d ever known before in my life, took over me like a fire engulfing a home in a mere matter of seconds. Before I knew it, I was flat on the pavement wishing for the ability to be anywhere but where I was.

It’s funny how life does that to us… knocking us on our ass when we least expect it, testing us, seeing what we’re capable of and how long we can withstand the pain of heartbreak and heartache.

You know, Michelangelo believed the best way to judge the essential elements of a sculpture was to throw it down a hill and the unimportant pieces would break off. Sometimes, I think, life is like that. It tosses us down a hill. But when we reach the bottom and only the important things are left, that’s when our vision clears.

Would I go back in time and change anything? Certainly not. Could I have been smarter, done better or avoided the heartbreak? Certainly, absolutely, and not at all. When I made it through that, my vision cleared. The beauty of heartbreak is that it teaches us, not only about ourselves and who we are. but heartbreak teaches us what we want for our lives and what we don’t want. And 15 year old me, well she had a lot to learn.

I’ve heard people say that if you wait long enough, if you hold out hope and always keep trying, good things will come. And I think, slowly but surely they do. I don’t think it’s a massive change, as though you get to wake up one morning and be a completely different person. I think it’s much more subtle than that. We make small improvements every day and suddenly that heartbreak that encapsulated our entire existence seems like a distant memory.

The heartbreak I am suffering these days, it’s a different kind of heartbreak. I do think the same principles apply, though. 30 year old me, she still has a lot to learn. And this heartbreak, it may not be over a boy, but if you asked me honestly I would tell you it hurts just the same.

Well, I had this all thought out in my head and now that I’m here, I’m having a hard time drawing this to a close. I want to say something profound, something hopeful, something thoughtful, but I can’t. Small changes, I guess. One day at a time. If you’re there, if you’re struggling, if you’ve been tossed down the hill, just remember that those unimportant pieces are falling off (being left behind) for a reason.

Sincerely, Vee.

The brutal truth.

There’s no secret to being social media famous. I’m sorry if this bursts preconceived notions or beliefs of what’s possible, but there isn’t.

Anyone who is famous on social media got there based on one or more of the following: dumb luck, an ability to follow fads/trends and… probably because they were in the right place at the right time (or they’re a Kardashian still riding the fame of their sister’s sex tape).

I know I’ve said this before but PLEASE don’t spend your money on social media workshops. Please don’t spend your money to buy followers. You work hard for your money and there’s nothing either of these two options can give you that will bring you fulfillment to your blog, twitter, Instagram or any other platform.

I believe people who sell ‘Social Media Management’ and people who sell ‘ [X amount] of Authentic Followers’ are stealing. I really do. Please don’t get scammed.

I want you to know

You change things. You make things better… you make me better. The way that you see the world is admirable and I’m drawn to it in the way the tide is drawn to the gravitational pull of the moon. Bright, reliable and relentless.

I love who you are. I love what you stand for. I love you. I love everything about you and, though I know change is inevitable in life, I hope your change comes through growth. I hope that, much like a fine wine, the very basic core of who you are and what you stand for only gets better with time.

Thank you for your kindness, for your sincerity, for your generosity in a world where it seems to be dwindling at increasing rates with each day that passes. Thank you for making me believe more and believe better of myself and better of everyone. Thank you for always seeing the bright side, even on a dull day. Thank you for existing. I know you probably don’t feel like it makes a difference, but your existence in this world does. You are the change that I want to be and the change that I wish to see.

Thank you for always trying, even when I tell you not to. And thank you for never turning away when I tell you to leave, because you know that it’s the moments when people push others away that they need someone the most. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for never questioning and thank you for always supporting, even when I don’t deserve it.

Thank you for being you. For being strong, independent, intelligent and brave. Thank you for being thoughtful, grateful, insightful and humble.

I want you to know you change things. Because you do.

Beginners guide to wordpress analytics (and using them to grow your audience)

*Warning – this is an exceptionally long post.

You’ve heard of them, possibly from your boss, probably from sports and absolutely in gambling. Analytics have become a powerful force behind the things we do.

The process of collecting, storing and using data is not new. Scientists have been doing it for hundreds of years with research. It’s only been in recent years, however, that analytics have become an integral piece to business and life with respect to our computers and how we use them.

Why do analytics matter?

Quite simply, analytics matters because they work. You can be overwhelmed with data and the value of it may be unattainable. Applying analytics creates insights. Human brains were not built to process the amounts of data that are today being generated through social media, sensors, and more. So analytics allow us to compile data in an easy to understand format to use it in our favour.

With wordpress, analytics are essential to understanding your audience. If you’re here as a hobby-blogger, then you likely won’t desire knowing any of this. But, if you’re openly, willingly trying to grow your blog, analytics are an important piece to doing so.

WordPress has laid out analytics in simple graphs and charts to make it easy for every user to understand. Here are some of the ways you can use wordpress analytics in your favour.

UNDERSTAND WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS FROM

For me, the vast majority of the audience that reads #MillennialLifeCrisis are from the United States. Second behind the United States is the United Kingdom. This information is important to note because if you want the most people possible to see your blog posts, you want to be posting during the hours in which the most people will be awake.

The ‘Magic Hours’ for distribution of communication are between 11:30 am-2:00 pm and from 7:30 pm-8:30 pm. These time frames are widely used by companies around the world as windows in which to distribute their information. So, if the majority of your audience is from the United States, schedule your posts to be released such that they’ll fall within that window. If the majority of your audience stems from Australia, try to schedule your posts to be released during that window… from an Australian time zone.

UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE ARE FINDING YOUR BLOG

Use the “referrers” section to understand how people are finding your blog. In many, if not most, cases, the majority of referrers will be wordpress.com readers. This is because when we come on wordpress, we browse each other’s blogs. But take a moment to also understand where else people are finding you.

For me, I don’t have a facebook account for #MillennialLifeCrisis, or personally. So, seeing that 6 people have been referred to my blog today from Facebook shows that people are taking my content and sharing it to their facebook pages. This is not only a huge compliment, but can also show me that it might be a valuable thing for me to create a facebook page for which to share my content.

Take note of that listing on the bottom as well. ‘Search Engines’. Though it’s a small number, only two referrers today, it’s an important number. What ‘Search Engines’ is telling me is that two people were able to find my blog through their search of a subject on google. This is HUGE! If your blog posts can crack the google system, this means your content has the possibility of reaching an even greater audience than wordpress users because your blog posts will appear when people search the subjects you’re writing about.

‘POSTS & PAGES’ CAN TELL YOU WHICH OF YOUR POSTS RESONATED MOST WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Review the ‘views’ listing under posts and pages and allow this to show you what posts have resonated most with your audience. By flipping between “Day” to “7 days” to “30 Days” all the way down to “All time” you can see which of your posts have received the most attention, not just on the days in which you posted them, but have continued to receive attention even though you might have posted them three months ago.

Knowing which content of yours has ‘withstood the test of time’ and not just fallen into the back pages of your blog can provide you insight towards popular topics. Popular topics help provide subjects you may wish to follow up on, subjects that could gain interest should you take a deep dive further into.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR ‘INSIGHTS’

This section tells you the most popular day of the week and hour of the day. Please note that this section will change/update weekly. But, if you’re someone that perhaps only posts one blog post per week, reading this insight might suggest that Monday is a good day to post next week.

Not only are ‘Tags & Categories’ how most people find you through WordPress, but they’re also how your blog finds its way into search engine listings. Using proper tags of your content can make a big difference so far as to who finds your content. So, if you’re trying to grow your audience/readership, ensure that you’re properly tagging your posts, and you’re reviewing this section of your analytics to see which tags/categories are gaining the most traction.

Case in point of proper categories being critical – posts that have been made to #MillennialLifeCrisis that I did not categorize have provided the lowest amount of traction to my blog.

If you’re unsure of which tags or categories to use, I recommend using the ‘search’ function to search tags and categories similar to the content you post. If you post reviews of music, search ‘Music’, ‘Music Reviews’, ‘Rock & Roll’, and so on and so forth. You can see which tags and categories have the most updates and gain the most traction.


Honestly, I could go into analytics all day long. There’s so much to make use of and so much to learn from. I think the most important lesson to take from your analytics, though, is that if you really want to grow your blog/audience/readership, they’re abundantly important.

Perhaps I’ll make another post like this further down the line. For now though, I think this is a good starting place.

Use your analytics wisely and they’ll be one of your greatest tools to blogging, communication, distribution, social media and online business in general. It’s all in using what you’ve got in front of you!

30 lessons to live by

While I believe there’s truth to the statement ‘you learn through experience’ I also believe there’s truth to the idea of learning from other’s mistakes, gaining from other’s wisdom and becoming who we are thanks to those we surround ourselves with.

Even if they might sound cliche, there’s plenty of life lessons that can be learned from the simple act of listening/reading. In a lot of cases you might already know these lessons. In a lot of cases, it’s just a matter of re-reading it to put it top of mind.

Here are 30 lessons to live by that withstand the test of time:

  1. You are not your parents. As much as people might try to tell you that you’re just like them… you are not, I repeat YOU ARE NOT, doomed to repeat their mistakes or force yourself into the same situations as they are/were in. Be yourself, don’t try to become them.
  2. Collect moments, not things. Memories are the only currency we have that doesn’t diminish in value with time. While tangible objects collect dust and can invariably disappoint over the years, our memories never dim, nor fade. They forever live on in our minds with a bittersweet sense of belonging.
  3. A man is not a financial plan. This one comes directly from my mother. Trying to hinge your bets on living off someone else is an insecure way to live. Make sure that you’re capable of looking after yourself financially, then your partner can add to your life, not control it.
  4. Debt isn’t worth it. Buying things you cannot afford might fix your problems in the short-term, but long term will give you nothing more than stress and anxiety.
  5. Failure is growth. Society tends to tell us that failure is a bad thing and that’s really not the case. So long as you’re learning from your failure, you’re growing as a person. Learn from your failure and you’ll appreciate your success so much more when you accomplish it.
  6. Comparison is the thief of joy. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Don’t compare your step one to someone else’s success. [Insert Name Here] might be a billionaire at 20, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you’re not.
  7. Change is good. Even when it seems like it sucks. Remaining stagnant in a world where change is all around you is a naive failure to flow with the natural order of the world.
  8. Age is just a number. Don’t ever discount someone because of their age. Age does not tell you intelligence, competence, capability, confidence, or anything about a person beyond the year they were born.
  9. Body positivity has zero to do with what you believe is attractive. Body positivity is a respect for the human body and what it does for a person. What you find attractive in a person has NOTHING to do with treating people with respect and appreciating what your body does for you and their body does for them.
  10. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. There’s no need, reason or excuse for being rude, mean or demoralizing. If you can’t be kind, keep your mouth shut.
  11. Putting up walls diminishes authenticity. Creating a persona to shield yourself from surrounding judgment, or potential judgment, diminishes the integral aspects of who you are. Don’t let your true self fade behind the walls you build.
  12. Exercise contributes to every aspect of your well being – physically, mentally and emotionally. It improves your health and your outlook. It forces much needed serotonin on your brain and can vastly benefit your outlook towards the world.
  13. Giving love is one of the best gifts you can give. Receiving love is one of the best gifts you can receive. Never underestimate the value of love.
  14. You get more from giving more. Success doesn’t come from seeing how much you can take. If you want to live a life of abundance, give with grace and give as much as you can.
  15. Even if you’re questioning whether to let your head or your heart decide, ensure you listen to your head. That tiny-voice inside of you always knows what’s right.
  16. Grudges cause nothing but pain. Allow yourself to move on from the past. Remember that just because you forgive does not mean that you need to forget. You can forgive someone and not carry the weight of the pain they caused whilst remembering so that you don’t ever have to suffer that same pain twice.
  17. Travel makes you more interesting, insightful and accepting person. You learn when you see how others experience and you become more open to things beyond what you could ever imagine. Travel and travel often.
  18. You aren’t always right. There’s always more than one version to the story. Practice humility and remember that you’re wrong sometimes, too.
  19. You define your life. If you want it to be meaningful, make it meaningful. If you don’t, you won’t.
  20. You cannot control others, only yourself. Make sure that you’re a positive example of what you want the world to be.
  21. Gratitude multiplies happiness. Consciously focusing on what you have, rather than what you don’t, is the best use of your brain.
  22. Please yourself first. Don’t wait for approval from others in order to look after yourself. Just like no one in this world can make us feel as bad as we can, no one in this world can make us feel as good as we can.
  23. Self-awareness is more valuable then personal achievement.
  24. Knowledge is power. The more you learn, the more you earn. The more you know, the more you bring to the table. The more insightful you can be, the more tolerant and understanding you are. Don’t ever stop learning.
  25. If you want something done right, do it yourself. You know what’s right for you. Don’t try to pass it off on someone else if you know you’re more than capable.
  26. Your thoughts are like boomerangs. What you put out into the universe will come right back to you. What do you want coming back?
  27. The easy road is never that. Trying to take the easy way out is like trying to cheat the system. In the end, it’s going to come back to haunt you.
  28. Honesty, even when it hurts, is far better than any lie, comforting or not.
  29. If someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time. I’ve heard this quoted to Mya Angelou. She’s pretty darn right on the money when it comes to this quote. Offering second chances always seems to show you what you already know/knew.
  30. Make every day count. You never know when it will be your last.

Good Friends

I’ve always been a firm believer in the distinction between friends and acquaintances. And, though over the years I’ve qualified some into the friend category that really didn’t deserve to be there, or belong there, I’ve learned my lessons and I think I have a sincere understanding of those that cultivate my inner circle.

See, good friends don’t want things from you. Good friends don’t put stipulations on your friendship. Good friends are just there for you. Good friends help when they can, listen when they can’t and call just to genuinely see how you’re doing. Good friends add to your life. And you, if you’re a good friend, do the same for them.

Good friends are good people. And you know who are good people and who aren’t.

When you really stop to think about it, you know who your good friends are. Like they say in the song, ‘somebody’s gonna drop everything, run out and crank up there car, hit the gas to get there fast and never stop to think what’s in it for me… or it’s way to far’.

Are you a good friend?

Do you have good friends? Is there anyone you’ve categorized as a friend who is more of an acquaintance?

Can you be a better friend?

How can you be a better friend?

Powerful people empower people.

It sounds cliche, and I guess it is. But, the important part here is that it’s true. Don’t waste your time with silly little people that bring you down. What’s important is surrounding yourself with people who celebrate your successes, push you to be better and believe you’re always capable of more.

When people feel empowered, they believe more in themselves and their ability to control both their personal and their professional lives. Helping to empower others promotes optimism, self-sufficiency and can help immensely with ‘the battle’. As much as we like to act/pretend or believe that what others say and do doesn’t effect us, it does in a big way.

So if you’re feeling up for it, and want to empower those around you, here are some small suggestions of how to be a better support system, mentor and all around good fucking person.

  1. Always offer the words ‘thank you’. It sounds so simple but they seem to be the most undervalued words in the English language. The truth is, when you say thank you, you’re letting someone know you appreciate what they’ve done for you. And when it’s not always clear, that ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
  2. Give your time and attention without asking for anything in return.
  3. Give sincere compliments. Actually work at it if you have to. Why? Because you should never pass up the opportunity to make someone smile, and, make them feel better about their day.
  4. Go out of your way to help new people. Whether it’s a neighbour, a coworker or however they fit into your life, it’s an unnerving feeling being the new person. Make their transition a little easier by going out of your way to introduce yourself and provide help where you can.
  5. Share successes. When you find success, the people that matter will celebrate your success. The people that matter are people you’ll want to share your successes with. So, spread the wealth.
  6. Listen, listen, listen. Sometimes… actually, most of the time, what people really need is someone who will hear them. So, listen. The time will come when someone will return the favour, trust me.
  7. Exemplify the behaviour you wish for others to follow. When it really comes down to it, good people attract good people and assholes attract assholes. Who do you want in your life?
  8. Provide positive reinforcements. No, human beings don’t need compliments to be successful. But if you help someone in celebrating the small victories, each time you do it, it’ll boost their confidence more and more.
  9. Be honest, always. Honesty, even when awful, is far more valuable than any lie, no matter how comforting.
  10. Promote autonomy. Allow others to know you believe in them while giving them the leeway to do things for themselves.

At the end of the day, it’s like my grandpa always said… treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’re empowering others your benefitting others. And, if you’re empowering others, they’ll empower you. It’s a nice circle to be in. So please, consider it.