Interview with a Young’en Willing to Leap

Yah! It’s time for a new hero! In honor of this month’s looking back at our younger selves, I thought I would showcase one of my favorite young’ens who is everything I wish I was in my mid-twenties.

I worked with Candace for the short period of time that we were both at a downtown Milwaukee job. Immediately, she impressed me as someone who was going somewhere if she could just figure out what “somewhere” was.

Turns out it was San Francisco. Girlfriend took a leap of faith to move away from everything she knew, including a steady, albeit mind-numbingly boring, job to go test the waters in a new place. My goodness, do I wish more people did this!!

So let’s hear how it’s worked out for Miss Sake.

1. Who do you want to be when you grow up? Are you this person yet?

Young and Wild Hero CandaceThe daydream was always President Sake, hah. I think I saw myself as someone who was going to make an impact. I wanted to leave my mark or set off a wave. That was always the end goal.

I think it’s a path I’m walking down. I’m proud of some of the hard decisions I’ve been making to get there. I think I’ve realized along the way that seemingly little things, like how you treat other people, and leading by example, make that coveted impact as well.

2. What is your favorite part of your life?

I’m happy I’m continuing to look at the world with wonder. The new scenery here keeps me so curious about all the experiences yet to be had. Even if it’s a solo mission, I love finding any new adventure to add to my story.

3. What’s the most annoying part of your day?

The super aggressive nightly walk home through the hills of North Beach is pretty annoying. It’s like scaling the Himalayas. I thought it would get easier by now, but it is clear that is not happening. The upside, of course, is that I can rationalize not going to the gym.

4. How do you handle a stressful day?

Quality time with your lady friends is the only way to mellow out. Throw in a bottle of red and a delicious meal and you’ll forget what you were worrying about. Friendships are a vital part of the happiness equation for me. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without the women that helped me get here.

5. What is the biggest secret to your success?

You can never stop believing in your ability to make it happen. Everyone will be the authority on what you should do. Pressure comes from all directions, but don’t waiver and don’t panic. Be patient with yourself and your goal. Just keep moving, even if it’s at a snail’s pace, and refuse to ever quit.

6. What is the biggest “duh” thing you do the rest of us don’t?

Talk it out! I’ve learned not to operate based on assumption. Real, honest to goodness, open communication has added a richness to my life and continues to improve my relationships with the people I love.

7. What was harder for you to accomplish than you expected?

It’s been an ongoing battle for me to get over a fear of professional failure. I sat for a year and a half in one of those jobs that paid the bills at the University. I love working in art and supporting students, but I was plateauing and I sat there knowing I was capable of more.

As women, I feel like we’re taught to be humble and grateful for what we have. But sitting quietly while waiting to be plucked from professional obscurity definitely wasn’t working. It took me awhile to learn how to be my own biggest advocate and just go for it. The hardest thing to learn was how to hustle and campaign – fight my way up.

After sweating through six rounds of interviews over the course of the last two and a half months, I now finally get to say that I run University operations for our Orientation & Parent Services departments. It was a worthy battle as now, for the first time ever, I can truly say I love my job.

8. What comes easiest to you? Does this help or hinder your awesomeness?

Halloween Pretty Woman costumeI think connecting with people has been my strongest skill. Your perspective builds with each person you meet and attempt to understand. The more invested you are in others, the better you understand our collective world. I think it’s been a huge positive, but it’s not without some mental and emotional labor.

9. Have you had the same goal(s) your whole life or do they change? If they change, how often?

I never was a big ‘goal’ person because I didn’t like the rigid pass/fail parameters. Instead, I sort of focused on developing my ‘ideal self.’ My ideal self has shifted through the years under the weight of tough decisions. Break ups, bad jobs, lost loved ones, failure. The bad creates a lot of good. Going through tough times changes who you are. Having an ‘ideal self’ keeps you pushing to be the best version of you.

10. What is your ratio of life-planning to life-happening?

I’m a huge believer in Karma. Do your part. Work hard. Be nice. Put good into the world, and the universe will make sure you get good back.

11. What else should we know?

Hero CandaceI’m still figuring it all out. We are all works in progress. In terms of success, I think the only metric we should use is, are you happy? If you are, you must be doing something right.

12. Bonus question: Is San Francisco what you expected to be?

I don’t think I could have imagined this. It feels like magic some nights – like I’m playing a character in someone else’s cinematic life. San Francisco is truly 49 square miles surrounded by reality.

13. Bonus question, part 2: Is this your forever home? If not, will you try something new or come back to the Midwest?

This is one I struggle with. My heart is back home in Wisconsin, along with all the people it belongs to. I think I’m honest with myself knowing that, pending a get-rich start-up venture or hitting the general lotto, the cost of living will eventually push me out of the city. It doesn’t seem like a place for one to put roots in the ground. In an ideal world, my family would move out to California and we would all live happily ever after in the suburban sunshine.

I’m so, so, so proud of Candace. So happy she went to California and is living the dream, including holding a job that makes our days together seem laughable vs. status quo. If you’d like to see more from Candace, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram. Do check out her Instagram… she’s not kidding about going on daily adventures!

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