Hey guys!  Sydney from Untemplater here and boy am I excited to be an official Yakezie Network Member!  It has been an eye opening roller coaster ride for me over the last six months and I wouldn’t have come this far without you guys, so thank you!

So What Exactly Is Untemplater?

Untemplater is a lifestyle blog with the goal of building a thriving community for everyone who has ever sought more out of life.  There’s no reason anyone has to stay stuck in a template lifestyle, wasting away from the daily grind, and putting all dreams aside until the conventional retirement age of 65.

I really believe in Untemplater’s motto, which is “Work where you want… Live how you want…Be who you want to be.”  On the site you’ll find all sorts of fun and helpful topics including entrepreneurship, personal finance, mobile lifestyle, and self-improvement.  Although I’m the resident/principal author for Untemplater, I welcome guest contributors several times a month to share their own stories, experiences, and expertise because there’s so much we can learn from each other!  If you have an untemplate adventure of your own that you’d like to share, please drop me a note.  :)  If I can do just one thing right with this blog, I want to help more people discover how to shatter the template lifestyle and find the careers, relationships, and adventures that make them come alive!

Calling All Captains

So you may not know this, but the site was born back in January 2010 by six entrepreneurs.  Untemplater took off like a rocket ship, and meanwhile so did the entrepreneurial careers and lives of the six founders.

As a result of all of these personal changes, the site started to get dusty towards the end of last year, which I can completely understand now that I know how hard it is to run a business and a website while simultaneously working other jobs and dealing with life changes.  Anyway, something had to give, and Untemplater started quietly calling out for a new leader to step in and take the wheel.  Untemplater was like a deserted treasure ship who needed a new captain to come aboard, pull up the anchor, scrub ‘er down, and set her sailing on a new course.

Around this same time, I happened to be doing some soul searching.  I was trying to figure out why I felt happy, yet somehow unsatisfied – like I wasn’t getting enough out of my life.  But I just couldn’t put my finger on what was missing…  When I heard about the opportunity to take over Untemplater, I admit it didn’t even occur to me it could be the answer and missing piece I was looking for.

Doubts And Fears

Instead of jumping up at the opportunity, I let my mind get flooded with intimidating doubts and fears.  My prevailing thoughts were that my experience was nothing like any of the founders, so why would any of the readers care what I had to say?  I made other excuses to myself like the fact that I’d started a craft blog last year and gave up before it even made it off the ground.  I couldn’t dedicate myself to that project and failed, so I figured “why let history repeat itself?”

I allowed more insecurities about my past to rise up and started recalling humiliating memories of being the last kid picked for teams in gym class, getting bullied at school, always being the quietest one in the room (even though I was always quite rambunctious at home), and just feeling like I never quite fit in with everyone else.  If I wasn’t popular as a person, how could I run a blog?!

I tried to forget about the opportunity, but Untemplater kept calling my name, and fortunately I started to listen.  It took some time but I started to squash my fears one by one.  I was encouraged by friends including Sam, whom I really admire and respect in the blogosphere and as a mentor, to just go for it.  Sure I didn’t really know how to do half the things I’d be doing, but the idea of taking the reins and running my own website didn’t seem so impossible anymore.

Reboot, Get Ready, Go!

One by one, my doubts and fears were replaced with excitement and adrenaline.  In this process I decided to start a new chapter in my life and become Untemplater’s captain while simultaneously creating my own business.  Change isn’t easy though, and to be frank it was one of the most challenging periods in my life the first few months.

Even though I was making a little bit of progress each day, it felt like I was trying to walk through wet cement with a blindfold on most days.  I even got so stressed out that my back and neck almost crippled me at one point, but I didn’t give up because I was on a mission.  I made some changes in my life and ultimately overcame those physical pains – thank goodness!

Learning, Changing, Adapting

Fortunately there was only a small amount of backlash from a few cranky readers when I officially took over Untemplater earlier this year, and it ended up being a good thing because it helped me grow a thicker skin.  Criticism keeps me on my toes and motivates me to continually look for ways to make both the site and myself better.

I’m working a lot more hours nowadays, yet I’m having so much more fun compared to when I was working less!  It’s still a challenge adapting to being busier though and I’m still trying to find the right balance between my day job, side jobs, blogging, cleaning, running errands, spending time with my loved ones, keeping up with friends, eating healthy, helping my parents, studying foreign languages, improving my photography and computer skills, decluttering, and finding time to meditate.  Phew!  I’m out of breath just writing all those things down, which reminds me – I forgot to include exercising!

My life has changed so much this year.  I’m so glad I squashed my fears of running a blog, and finally feel that I’ve found the answers to a lot of my soul searching.  Even though I can’t say I’m a tech, lifestyle, or entrepreneurial guru right now, I believe that if I keep learning, changing, and adapting…someday I’ll get there.

Here’s to a long, fun, and fortuitous journey!