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From Traveling to TED: The Top Three Things I've Learned from 2014

angelia trinidad

Overlooking Granada, Spain from the Alhambra 

Overlooking Granada, Spain from the Alhambra 

June?! Where did you come from?

So much has happened in the past five months, I pinch myself sometimes, because I remember where I was less than a year ago floating in doubt, drowning in inaction, afraid of uncertainty. Now I'm doing what so many have said was impossible, making a living by creating a tool that helps other people live out their dreams. If you feel overwhelmed remember a lot can change in a few months!  

What have we been up to?! 

2014 Highlights

Me speaking at TEDxUCIrvine!

Me speaking at TEDxUCIrvine!

January - Launched website! Passion Planner starts selling on Amazon.com
February - Passion Planner climbs to the #2 best rated planner on Amazon.com
March - We receive the biggest order in Passion Planner history from the video game company EA (Entertainment Arts)!
April - Passion Planner reaches more than 4,500 likes on Facebook and more than 1,500 followers on Instagram
April - May: Took the trip I've always dreamed of! I spent 7 weeks exploring the beautifully diverse countries of France, Senegal and Spain!
May - I gave my first TED talk at TEDxUCIrvine's event the Adventure of Discovery (video to come soon!) 

Despite the accomplishments, I often find myself reflecting on what I learned from the failures that often go unnoticed, the growing pains, the times things didn't go exactly to plan. 

I find myself writing in the blank section in my planner, lessons I've learned while being out there in the big world.

Here are the top three lessons I've learned this year: 

1. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be a start. 

I find myself still procrastinating because things don't seem perfect, heck sending out my first newsletter didn't happen until now, 6 months into the new year! But if you're reading this now, it's because I let go of the perfectionism reigns and put it out there.

When we first start out we try to make what we do perfect. We think that we should be able to just get up and run, but when we start something new it's like learning how to walk again. We must crawl, we must fall over and over again and keep going until we feel confident walking on our own two feet. I've caught myself in this pursuit in perfection many times, and I must remind myself, to just make a decision and run with it.

Some pictures I took while abroad in Africa, Spain and France. View more and connect with me on my Instagram

2. The willingness to improvise, stay level headed and act during clutch situations is more important than prior planning, reason, or analysis. 

In travel and even in terms of my TED talk I've learned that I can either freak out because I don't know exactly how things are going to pan out or accept this moment is a gift and exactly how its suppose to be and run with it. I've learned to approach everything with my present and honest personal best and know that that is good enough. We always compare ourselves; try to live up to other people's benchmarks and expectations, when we really just need to be true to our gut, breathe, and be willing to improvise in a clutch situation. 

3. Success comes from learning how to fail fast without losing the enthusiasm to try again.

Some people think Passion Planner's success was something that happened over night and that I knew exactly what I wanted to do coming right out of college, but the reality was so far from that. I spent years procrastinating, overanalyzing it and prototyping but not doing anything about it. Doing something, taking action, messing up, and then getting back up; that process of experimentation got me to where I am now.  

Even deciding what I wanted to "do" for a living was trial and error. From second and third grade art teacher to aspiring sculptor to starting my first business and realizing that that wasn't my passion, I've experienced TWELVE different careers before I found myself starting Passion Planner. 

Me and my namesake Combinta (right) in Senegal, West Africa 

Me and my namesake Combinta (right) in Senegal, West Africa 

Wishing you all the learning, growth and ADVENTURE in the remaining 202 days of 2014, let's keep making it epic!

Angelia Trinidad

CEO and Founder of Passion Planner