Firefly Magic Book Review

Firefly Magic by Lauren Sapala

As soon as I saw that Lauren wrote this book I ordered off Amazon pronto. I have Lauren’s other two books, Between the Shadow and Lo, and The INFJ Writer, both of which I highly recommend. The INFJ Writer and Firefly Magic are written in a similar style where there are exercises at the end of each chapter for the reader to reflect upon. In The INFJ Writer Lauren states that you have to actually do the exercises in the book for it to do you and good,. Being a self-help book junkie I am totally guilty of reading self-help books and not doing the exercises, and now thinking about that, I might go back and re read some books on my book shelf.. That all changed a few years ago when I read the INFJ Writer. I would read a few chapters, and then go back over the questions posed at the end each section. Some of the questions take a bit of pondering, it may take a day or two for my brain to come up with something. I will open up a blank word document, write down the question and write out what comes to mind, at then when I finish the book I will have quite a bit of information out there where I can review it.

Firefly Magic is no different, if you are an intuitive HSS/HSP writer like myself, Lauren knows how your brain works. Its like she opens up your head, looks at all the programming , neurons and connections in there, takes pictures of it and then puts in all into words that we can actually understand. I have taken a marketing class, and read several other books about it, but none of them really worked for me. They all seemed a bit scammy or like they were aimed at the used car salesman type. A lot of those other books have a few things in common, they say you need to change your personality and become more extroverted, and while that is partially true, an introvert cannot become an extrovert. Now I am not saying these other books and blogs do not have good information, because they do, but their targeted audience is not the Intuitive HSP type of person that many writers are.

Lauren knows that you have a book that you are working on that is partially finished or on its 3rd re-write that you have been working on for a while. I am totally guilty of this, I have been working on my novel for about 4 years and its still in rough shape. Firefly Magic comes for Lauren’s experience as a writing coach, she helped me out with my novel a few years ago, her book is the combination of hundreds (maybe thousands ?) of coaching sessions put into actionable bits for the reader. If you are an Intuitive writer you cannot skip this book.

Why I don’t set New Years Resolutions

Every year someone you know will be setting new years resolutions. They are going to lose weight, go to the gym more, stop eating afternoon cookies, read more, write that book, this list goes on and on. In the cold and dark of January the yoga studios will be full, gym memberships skyrocket, the parking lot at the gym is full. But come February, the yoga studios are calm again, there is parking at the gym again, and a lot of new gym memberships have been sold, but most people fall back to their old routines of not going to the gym and eating cookies.

I have always wondered why we set set goals for January, that is the worst time of year. Its cold outside, its dark, windy, snowing, raining, everything is covered in ice. Well at least where I live in the northwest. The weather isn’t any better in December, but at least there are the holidays too look forward too, and eggnog. Whats the difference between December and January ? A number on the calendar ! It will change from 2017 to 2018.

Why use a new year to set goals that you know you most likely are not going to achieve anyway ? Is it because everyone else is doing it ? Its just a fad to do it at the turn of the year. Sure a new year means you are getting a little older, maybe a little fatter from all the eggnog you drank (maybe that gym membership isn’t such a bad idea after all).

How many people take a look back at their new years goals in March and check their progress ? Not many, by the time the flowers of spring come around most people have long since forgotten their new years goals.

Setting new goals and actually following through requires on going accountability. If you want to set lasting goals you need to set them much more often and check your progress at regular intervals. You have to take small steps. Sure you want to set big goals, but you have to break them down into bite size chunks. If your goal is to go to the gym more this year, think about how much you went to the gym last year. Did you go twice in January and call it good ? Or did you go 3 times a week all year ? Setting a goal and forgetting about it doesn’t do any good. It takes work !

Instead of setting non specific goals like going to the gym more this year. Set something like, I am going to go to the gym once a week in January and see how I feel. In February I am going to go twice a week and try some new machines. In March I am going to join the yoga class. At the end of each month you can easily measure your goals and re evaluate your future goals. Didn’t make it to the gym twice a week in February ? Why was that, was it something out of your control ? There was a blizzard and you woke up to 3 feet of snow blocking your driveway ? Or was it something that you did like stay up a little too late watching that new show on Netflix ? Don’t beat yourself up for things you can’t control, but you can take responsibility for the things that are in your control.

The first thing I do in a new year is perform a postmortem on the last year. So what did you do in 2017 ? was it everything you set out to do ? Did you just even set out to do anything new in 2017 ? which goals did you achieve ?

I like to call it my 2017 autopsy. Yea I know its not as fun and sexy sounding as a new years resolution, but 2017 is DEAD ! GONE ! January is time to take the last year and reflect, what did I do right ? Wrong ? What can I learn from my experiences last year and apply them to next year. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes, follow the same rocky road.

What did you do in 2017 ? how can you leverage what you learned last year to improve this year ?

INFJ Burnout

What is it about the INFJ burn out ? I cant quite seem to conquer it. To me, just about everything in life gets old after a while, every job I have had eventually turns into the movie Groundhog Day. Its life on endless repeat, and when I feel like there is nothing more to be learned, my brain just shuts off.

Its been a viscous cycle all my life. At first I go head first full steam into something I like, I am obsessed, but after a while, I learn all there is to learn, and I am done. Ready to move on to something else. The only problem is, life doesn’t always follow the same cycle.

A college class requires you to keep working on the same thing for months on end.

An employer wants you to work on the same thing till you retire.

I could go on, but how do you get life to go along with your tendencies. Do you get burned out ? Or do you keep going ? I have known a lot of people who are quite comfortable with endless repetition, and they don’t mind doing the same thing day in and day out, in fact they get quite comfortable doing it and get upset when their routine gets thrown off. A detour ruins their day/week/year etc. I love detours !

I need new stimulation frequently to keep me motivated and interested, I am all in or all out. A lot of advice you read out there says to follow your passion. Ok, but what if your passion changes all the time and I am not even sure what my passions are ? Sure there are a lot of things I am interested in, but after a while it changes.

For example, I used to love working on cars. I liked taking an old run down car and bringing it back to life. This was when I was much younger, and I fell to the allure of my my inferior function Extroverted Sensing. I liked working with my hands, and I was quiet good at it, but I made the mistake of wanting to do it for a living. I started off early in my career as a diesel mechanic, very quickly I learned I was not able to do things on my schedule and my way, as employers are only in it for profit, they want things done fast and with short cuts. They don’t really care about too much else. I wanted to do things right, and to do things right it takes, time, and that is not profitable. I burned out quickly, when I worked on cars for a hobby, I could stop when I wanted, take my time and do the job right, but not so when working for someone else.

Fast forward about 15 years and I still like cars, and I like to work on them in my spare time, but I could never do it for a living again. Now I know that my inferior function is fun , but using it too much will lead to burn out.

Infj’s out there, what do you do about burn out ?

Public Speaking for Introverts

So, you have to make a pubic speech. Whether it is for school, or work or something different, many introverts have found themselves in this same situation. So what do you do ? Freak out that you have to get up in front of a bunch of people who you may or may not know, and talk for a while, no matter how long you have to be up there , it can seem like torture.

But, there are things you can do to make it easier. Yes, I know what you are thinking, you can’t hop on the bus out of town and skip the whole thing.

Its not all that bad, in fact introverts can be some of the best public speakers.

The key is to prepare, prepare and prepare !

I used to have weekly meetings where all the upper management would be there and I had to present my agenda. At first it was daunting, being right out of college, and having to present an something to a bunch of seasoned professionals.

I saw one of my co workers go into the meeting un prepared, he was late, didn’t remember what the plan was, he didn’t have his paperwork in order. I watched the management tear him to shreds, it was not a good day for him. I was not going to let that happen to me. Long before each meeting I would go over my plan, have all the paperwork printed out ahead of time( you know in case the printer decided to go all Office Space right before the meeting). I would go over and over all my materials, and try and think of every angle that could be asked. There were certain people who would not question me, but there were others that would want to know every little detail. I prepared every detail, every angle, tried to think of every question that could possibly be asked. I had an answer or plan for every single one, I didn’t want to be caught off guard.

Practice , and preparation are the key to a good pubic speech or meeting. Find someone who you can can be your audience, who can play the devils advocate. Make notes, but you should strive not to rely on them, keep them as a reference in case of a brain fart, or someone asks a question to throw you off topic.

Try to involve the audience at some point. Ask someone in the front row their name, and involve them a little bit, I find this helps you relate to audience, even if you are speaking to a complete group of strangers.

I still don’t enjoy pubic speaking, and I probably never will, but I can do it if I need to, and so can you. Its not as bad as you think, and the more you do it, the easier it will get. Once its over, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

The many faces of people at work

The work world is full of many types of people, some are more suited to deal with a noisy and competitive environment, and some are not. There are co workers you like, and others you want to see rolled up in a carpet and tossed off a bridge. Some are good mentors, and others will look out only for themselves and yet others are good company men. Here are a few types of people I have worked with and how to deal with them.

The Mentor;

Genuinely wants to help you learn and progress your career. I have found this type to be pretty rare, most people at this level of management are only out for themselves (see company man ). They will help you get the resources you need to do your job, and will drop what they are working on to help you for a few minutes. They are high achievers and really like to share their achievements with you, and help you do the same thing. The mentor has a stake in the company and really believes in people. They will not tolerate laziness and give the slackers fair warning and will get rid of the people that don’t pull their own weight. The mentor is good for the company, and good for the people. He will challenge you and keep you on your toes. He brings up the level of everyone. If you find one, learn as much as you can from them.

The Company Man:

This guy is only out for himself and the company, and will bulldoze what ever is in his way to get things done. Will take out people who slow him down, does not help others achieve, and will surround himself with yes men, and will knock down the level of anyone around him. The company man appears very confident, but on the inside he is full of fear, fear that someone will come along and knock him off his pedestal, and he will do everything he can to keep himself alone in the high tower. Don’t trust them, and don’t get personal.

The person who knows they wont get fired:

If you have ever worked a union gig, or a place with shareholders you know who I am talking about. They whine and complain, and do just the bare minimum to get by. They know its difficult to get fired and will exploit the shit out of it. They don’t pull their weight, and try to make everyone else miserable. Others have to pick up the slack for them.

Goldenboy/girl:

Similar to The person who knows they wont get fired, but they have some sort of inn with the boss or higher ups. Maybe their Mom is in management at another location or their uncle is upper management. They name drop a lot and are always on the defense. They are usually useless and they only reason they got the job is because they are related somehow, they most likely could not land a job or cut it anywhere their “mommy” hasn’t pulled strings for them. Let them burn themselves down.

The Narcissist:

One of the worst people you can run into. They are smart, conning and very manipulative. Its all about them, they will bring everyone down to their level, and tear down concrete walls to make sure that everyone knows that the world revolves around them. They are never wrong, and will never admit fault. Watch out for the narcs, and avoid them at all costs. If they are really smart, and most of the ones I have ran into are, they can be hard to spot at first, but eventually their true colors will come out. Eventually will burn themselves to the ground and look for a new job. If you are a threat to them, they will try to take you out.

The introvert:

The one who gets things done behind the scenes. They will do an amazing job, but you will never know how they did it. Always at their desk working on something, usually with headphones on or the door closed. Leave them alone and let them work, they will come to you if they need something. Quiet and outspoken , but never underestimate an introvert !

The needy co worker:

The person who is always roaming around looking for some poor soul to listen to their problems. Their work ethic can be good or bad, as they are usually combined with one of the other types. When they walk by, pretend you have to go to the bathroom for an hour.

The fall guy:

The person you blame when the shit hits the fan. Also known as FNG.

The short timer:

Just there for a little bit to earn a few bucks then skips town. Bad attitude, and just there for a check.

The gray wolf:

Does what ever he/she wants to and gets the job done, usually very good at their job. They are good to have around, but don’t expect them to be much of a team player, as they do jobs best when working, alone similar to the Introvert. Wont take part in gossip or politics, wont follow the rules, they just want to do their job and go home.

Golden Handcuffs:

Been at the same job for years on end, makes a ton of money, but hates the job. Hence the golden handcuffs, usually just winding down the clock till retirement. They want to leave, but wont take a pay cut, making themselves miserable. They might whine and complain, but they will diligently do their work.

The guy who refuses to change:

Stuck in their ways since 1986. Refuses to change and adapt, holds onto old technologies and ways of doing things. Hates change period. When they are forced to change, they will sink or swim. If they refuse to change, they are shown the door.

The straight shooter:

Does their job, doesn’t whine, complain, bs, blame anyone, follows the rules to a T. Does what the boss says, no more, no less. Does their job and goes home.

The endless dreamer:

The one who is always coming up with crazy and impractical ideas, often flighty. Sometimes comes up with a good idea, and when its good, its good. Often the fall guy, they have a hard time following rules , and often get into trouble when doing one of their crazy ideas, loves attention. They can do a really good job if they put their mind to it, but their head is often in the clouds. They usually are cheap entertainment, as long as they are not putting anyone in danger.

The Diva:

This applies to guys and gals ! The perpetual complainer, whiner and moaner. But most of them do their job well, they just have to complain about every little thing over and over and over. Nothing is perfect in their world.

I am an introvert

I am an introvert. I found this out many years ago in a psych 101 class, but I never really gave it much thought beyond that class. An introvert, so what ?! What does that do for me ? The psych 101 prof was a bit kooky so I never put my weight or thought in to it. Fast forward about 10 years and I was working in the corporate world and I am getting super stressed, sick and just plain miserable . I was doing presentations to 30+ people at least once a month, leading meetings every week and attending endless other meetings. I was an introvert trying to be an extravert, not even knowing what that meant.

There were times when I was so worn out, I would sleep for 12 hours on my days off. Not knowing why.

One thing the corporate world did for me was re introduce me to the Myers Briggs system, I took a test as part of some training and found out that I was an INFJ. At first that didn’t mean much to me, but I started digging, and learning as much as I could. So many things started making sense.

I was trying to go against the wiring of my brain. I was really good at what I did, but it was stressing me out to the max. I was not meant for this. I knew there was more to life than endless meetings…

Are you an introvert ? Id love to hear your story ! Comment or send me an email @ travis@travisreilly.com