Tag Archives: goals

Full Circle


Roundabout traffic sign

It’s funny how some things can only be seen through the rear view mirror.

I remember taking the trip down for the interview. I was 23 at the time so had plenty of driving experience, but nothing could really prepare me for the Appalachian Mountains.

It rained the entire way and I was at the will of a GPS that chose to take me through the backwoods. Going up the mountains in a downpour was a struggle in my little Ford Focus, going down was worse. Spinning out in any situation is bad, but along a mountain side the stakes are a little higher. It was one of the very few times I’ve actually feared for my life.

Eventually I meandered my way into North Carolina. By then it was dark and still raining, but I trudged on to Spruce Pine. Despite being a town of 2,000, I couldn’t figure my way around town. Everything was closed and no one was on the road. Finally I managed to reach my destination, the Pine Valley Motel. I was wondering if had made a huge mistake.

I awoke to a clear skies and finally saw the mountains that the rain and darkness had been hiding from me. But I couldn’t dwell on them too long because I had an interview to attend although I’d hardly call it that. My soon to be boss took me around the county and practically warned me about what I’d be signing up for. I think he was just impressed I drove all the way down.

After the interview I walked through downtown Spruce Pine, which consists of two streets, Upper and Lower. It’s a quirky town. I think people either love it or hate it. Eating lunch at the renowned Knife and Fork restaurant (Google it) I became the former.

The rest is history. I took the job. I became the only reporter covering a county of 15,000. I took pictures during the county’s numerous annul festivals, I covered the ups and down of high school sports, I covered everything from local government to crime. I made mistakes, I learned and made new mistakes.

Slowly I not only learned my new job, but also about a new community, region and way of life. Throughout that entire time I didn’t think I was doing anything special. In fact, I thought I was doing a pretty subpar job.

Last fall I made that same trip to North Carolina on my way back from Thanksgiving in Ohio, two weeks prior to accepting my new job. Once again it rained the entire time, maybe even worse than my first trip. But this time I wasn’t scared, I was simply heading home.

That’s when it hit me, what i had done two years ago. I, shy and awkward Andrew Mundhenk, left everything and everyone I knew on a whim for a chance in North Carolina. Not only to North Carolina, but to a town of about 2,000 people. Who does that? Certainly not many 20-somethings I know.

I’m not going to lie. It wan’t easy. Not surprisingly, there’s not too many people my age living in Spruce Pine and even less to do in the way of entertainment. The loneliness was crippling at times. Nothing replaces home.

I see the experience as a gift now. I truly learned how to live by myself. I’m not talking about learning how to pay the bills and cook food. I mean truly learning how to live with yourself. It’s not something everyone can do, which is why there’s so many people stuck in miserable relationships. They’re afraid of being alone. I’m not.

Between that time and now I’ve gotten a new job at a bigger paper and now live in Asheville, which has a little bit more going on to say the least. According to my new boss, part of the reason I got the job was because she impressed with my apparent maturity to move away from home and stick it out in a small town for a couple years. Asheville is where I’ve wanted to live since I first stopped in two years ago. I’m ready to take on the next chapter of my life and all the challenges it’s now throwing at me. There are many.

But I will never forget my time in Spruce Pine and Mitchell County. I’ve never lived in a place where everyone knows you and you know everyone. I take pride knowing that a 20-something-year-old Yankee came down to a small town in the south and was able to tell what’s going on in their community.

As a closing note I’d encourage anyone who has lived in the same place their entire life to take a chance and leave if possible. SO many people I know said they were going to leave Ohio only to stay put and root in.

I’m not saying Ohio sucks and the only way to be happy in life is to leave your hometown. Moving makes you appreciate what you had and what you have. I hold it to be a necessary step in becoming a well-rounded individual, but what do I know.

I’ve made many mistakes in life and continue to do so, but taking the leap was not one of them.


New Year’s Resolution 2014: Work Against Resistance


https://i2.wp.com/blog.utest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2014-Numbers-free-Happy-2014-New-Year-Image-Wallpaper.jpg“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Since 2011, I’ve publicly made a new year’s resolution to better hold myself accountable to it. Every year I’ve been able to back it up. In 2011, my goal was to leave my dead-end fast food job which I had been working at for the past five years. I did that in three months my life completely changed for the better. In 2012, my goal was to reach my full potential and shake off my shyness. This is a lofty goal which obviously can’t be done in a year, but in one year I reached out and secured two internships which set my career up. In 2013, my goal was to have a positive mindset. No self-putdowns, no negative mindset. This positive mindset gave me the ability to go out on my own and kick off my career. These goals are not simply new year’s resolutions. They are new ideals which I add on to my life every year, each one building off the other. I continue to work on these past goals to this day.

Now it’s time for 2014.

From 2009-2013 the end goal was finding a career and graduating. My mentality was focused on gaining experience and building my resume so I could get a job. I worked relentlessly with that one goal in mind. Now that I have that I have a job I feel like I’ve let my foot off the gas. Like it’s over, but it’s not over. It’s just the beginning.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2014 is to work against resistance, not just external forces but internal as well. In fact it’s the internal resistance that worries me the most. It’s so easy to come home and sit on the couch after work waste the rest of the night away doing nothing. After going to school full-time and working two jobs I forgot what so much free time felt like. My goal for the next year is to work on the little things. To better utilize my free time. The comfort zone is truly a horrible thing in my eyes and it is so hard to escape it. Some people never do.

It’s not just laziness I must get over. Fear is always present. While I’ve taken risks and learned how to control my anxieties I still have a long way to go. I must work on my interviewing skills and my source building skills.

What I realize more than ever is success isn’t just something that one works at for a certain amount of time and then stops. Success is a mentality and a lifestyle. After researching some of the most successful people in history I realize it is an everyday thing, down to the smallest details. Every single day stacks up.

Personally my motivation comes from the future vision of myself. The thought of living a mundane life controlled by fear scares me more than anything. It’s time to put my foot back on the gas. I will not let fear or laziness control my life.

No more laziness. No more fear. 2014 is the year of doing for me.

Work Against Resistance and, as always, I wish you luck in achieving your own goals.

What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jiddukrish130342.html#WUkkiA5TRrhIvW7x.99

What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jiddukrish130342.html#WUkkiA5TRrhIvW7x.99


Three Months


Linville Gorge looking towards table rock.

Linville Gorge looking towards table rock.

 

I can’t believe it’s been three months since I left home. Since then I’ve covered everything from a power company’s controversial use of herbicides along power lines to folklore tales of legendary mysterious lights seen in this very gorge. I’ve also been able to explore a whole new region of the country. I miss home like crazy but I know what I’m doing is right and there is no turning back.

There are certainly times when I feel like a fish out of water, try all the time actually. With a name like Mundhenk I pretty much scream that I’m clearly not from around here. Things are different here but I’m glad I get to see another side of things, a new culture. I hope I can be a positive impact as a member in this new community.

There are many things I’ve surprised myself with what I’ve been able to do within this short time span, not least of which is the simple fact I’ve survived three months. I treat this like a milestone because it really is. I’ve made it through the roughest part I feel. The initial homesickness, the strange new world. I’ve also learned a lot about myself in the process. How to live alone, how to manage a budget, how to do all the little things my mommy and daddy used to do for me. What has impressed me the most though is walking into a subject I’m covering that I’m completely clueless about and by the time I’m done I’ve learned something completely new. I’ve walked into a story plenty of times wondering how on Earth I’m I going to do this and have somehow managed to do it.

Make no mistake. I’ve had several frustrations and growing pains and continue to do so on a daily basis. My goal for the first three months was to simply make it to this point. Now I’m ready to step up a bit more. I feel like I’ve reached a plateau, and I hate plateaus. I want to step up my interviewing and writing skills even further. I want to crawl out of my shell just a little bit more. I want to follow in the steps of past reporters who have worked here and gone on to do big things. I have so much potential here and It’s up to me to make the most out of this opportunity.

Just have to continue to trust the process.


Why I Became a Reporter


On the way to Mt. Mitchell

On the way to Mt. Mitchell

Throughout my life lots of people have asked me what I want to major in or what career I want to go into. However, I don’t think anyone has ever asked me why I wanted to become a reporter, and if they did I probably didn’t answer them honestly.

Sure there’s lots of reasons as to why I became a reporter. I like learning and understanding new ideas, people and concepts. I’m genuinely interested in informing people on what’s going on in the community. I also like to write and generate content that people want to see. But one reason really trumps all the rest.

It forces me to confront my greatest fears.

My general social anxiety. My fear of confrontation. My lack of assertiveness. All are directly addressed being a reporter. It’s no secret for those who know me that I’m a shy guy. As I’ve said before I’m not ashamed to be an introvert but there’s a difference between being quiet and avoiding social confrontation due to fear. I am a firm believer that if you aren’t facing your fears you truly aren’t living at all. Looking back most of the major milestones in my life I walked into them fear and hesitation but did it anyway.

It’s not just about my social fears though. I never let the constant, almost daily news I heard of reporters being laid off and newspapers shrinking dissuade me. I didn’t give into a more stable career. I didn’t look at the employment numbers or the money. I didn’t listen to the little online surveys that determine what career would best fit my personality. In fact, most surveys said the last field I should go into is journalism. I knew what I wanted to do and I wasn’t going to let anybody or anything stop me from doing it. I have to believe if I’m constantly developing my skills and moving with the times that I will remain employed. If not, at least I tried.

This is truly what I want to do and I feel. I hope to one day become an investigate reporter. I want to do something to better the world no matter how small it is. I do know though it’s going to take some effort on my part. I have to come out of my shell but I’ve already seen a large improvement in the two months that I’ve kicked off my career. I’m excited to see how far I’ve developed a year from now.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. I have a lot to learn and it will likely take a long time to be the type of reporter and person I want to be. I’m not judging anyone’s lifestyle but I have seen so many people in my life with such potential only to see it pissed away. I applaud anyone who takes a chance and pursues what they truly want in life.

Having a big salary, big house with the picket fence, wife and kids, and job security is nice but I would like to think there are other ways to live a satisfying life. Entering an “evolving” field only makes me more determined to work harder.


The Ultimate Leap of Faith


Bakersville, NC

My new home.

A lot has happened since the last time I’ve posted.

I put my money where my mouth was. I proved that I love my fear. I picked up everything I’ve owned and known in Ohio and accepted a newspaper job in beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

I’m a week in so far and I can already tell it’s going to be a great experience for me. I’m learning how to take photos and cover a variety of different topics from sports to hard news. I also realize I have a long way to go before I become a successful journalist. Hopefully the paper puts up with me until then.

I always knew I wanted to leave Ohio. Not because it’s a bad state but because I wanted to see another part of the country. It’s one thing to say I wanted to move but when the time actually came for me to follow though it got hard. While it may be easy for some it was hell for me. Leaving all my friends and family, leaving the only place I’ve ever known. But while making the decision I saw two distinct paths: one where I stay in my comfort zone for the rest of my mediocre life and the other where I take a chance and realize my dream of exploring new areas, meeting new people and learning a new culture.

I needed this. I needed to be ripped out of Ohio before my roots grew too deep in my comfort zone. I felt like if I didn’t take this leap of faith now why would I do it when the next big situation came up, or next one or the one after that.

When making some of the greatest decisions in my life I have always been seconds away from wanting to pull the plug but somehow I managed to convince myself to push though. It’s almost like the more you fear something it’s all the more reason you need to do it. It’s still too soon to determine what this decision holds in store for me, but all that matters to me is that I took a chance, I didn’t give into fear and I followed through with what I felt would be good for me.

Of course I would be a lair if I said I did it alone. There is no way I could’ve done this without the almost unanimous support of my family, friends and former professors. I feel so grateful to have such a strong support group.

I know what I did wasn’t amazing or something that no one else has ever done before. I’m also not saying everyone who chooses to stay home is a coward. I just hope my experience can serve as a small example to those who are afraid of moving out of their comfort zone, even though doing so could be the best thing that has ever happened to them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m suffering from homesickness more than I ever thought I would. I just hope and know that it will get better with time.

I plan to update this blog more often for my friends and family back home and for my followers as well.


My 10 Best Traits


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I sincerely apologize again for my lack of updates. I recently graduated, moved out on my own and have had a terrible case of writer’s block. I told myself that I would not fill this blog with fluff just for the sake of posting something and I stick by it. This blog is about quality not quantity.

Honestly I’ve been going through a lot lately and been thinking about a lot of things.  Of course, I’m not going through what many college graduates are enduring: the job search. For now I’m just embracing this period and treating as a summer vacation of sorts. I still have my full-time job which is good and all and I’m thankful for it but it’s definitely not my calling. This period has definitely given me the opportunity to think about what I truly want out of life but that is a post for another day.

The ever-going battle with myself wages on. I’ve conquered a lot of personal hurdles in the past couple of years but my confidence, or should I say lack of, still remains a problem. So yesterday one of my friends gave me a “homework assignment” of sorts to help me with this problem. The assignment: Write 10 traits/characteristics that you like about yourself. It seemed like something so simple and yet it actually took some time to think about it. If someone told me to think of 10 things I don’t like about myself I could’ve probably shot them off right away without hesitation. I think that alone shows where my mindset is.

So without further adieu my 10 best traits (no particular order):

1. My Integrity- I feel this is one of my greatest strengths and something I feel others would agree I possess a great deal of. I am trustworthy, honest and take full responsibility for all my faults. I make no excuses for my actions or inaction. I also won a scholarship based on integrity so that’s gotta say something.

2. My Open-Mindset- Another thing I pride myself on, especially as an aspiring journalist. I have my own beliefs but do not push them on other people. I am curious to hear about others’ beliefs even if a avidly disagree with what they say. I do not dismiss or ignore them. Right-wing or left-wing, gay or straight, Muslim or Christian I’m as objective as possible. It is not my place to make judgements.

3. My Dependability- This goes with integrity. My friends, co-workers, bosses and family know they can count on me.

4. My Work Ethic- I’ve held numerous jobs at a time on top of going to school full-time. I’ve worked for everything I own and pride myself on it. When I have a goal and set my mind to it, I do whatever it takes to make it happen. It may not happen overnight but I hammer through it.

5. My Lack of Jealously/My Desire for Others to Succeed- I used to want to bring people down, but now I strive to help others rise. For example, I’ve helped two people get jobs in the past couple of months and it’s truly a great feeling doing so. I think jealously is one of the most disgusting traits a human being can possess.

6. My Creativity- I have always considered myself to be a creative person. However, I feel my true potential remains untapped.

7. My Flexibility- I consider myself to be a jack-of-all-trades of sorts. I’m a fast learner and have the capacity to learn about a variety of different topics, gadgets and programs.

8. My Humility- One of my strengths and also probably one of my greatest downfalls as well. People have told me I am too humble. I definitely agree, which is why I’m writing out this list. Still, I feel humility is a great trait for a person to have and something I strive for.

9. My Wit- I don’t say much, but when I do people listen. I am an observant person and I try to make light of any situation.

10. My Determination- I WILL NOT settle for less in this life. Nuff said.

Well that was a good self-esteem boost. All kidding aside, I encourage everyone to make a list of their own. Self-insight has always helped me out. It seems like I spend a majority of my time looking at my weaknesses when I should be attending to my strengths as well.

Stay tuned for more (frequent) updates.


New Year’s Resolution 2013


2013

Following through with one New Year’s resolution is a great accomplishment and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to do it two years in a row. My resolution in 2011 was to leave McDonald’s and get a new job which kicked off a “rebirth” of sorts in my life and overall attitude. In 2012, I made it my New Year’s resolution to improve my social skills. A very vague goal that was hard to measure but after reporting for two papers in the past year I clearly overcame my social anxiety and I’m now capable at having a conversation with a complete stranger. Still have a lot of work to do but I feel a lot more confident in my overall presence and demeanor.

This was definitely one of if not the best year of my life. I saw the West Coast for the first time, wrote for not one but two regional newspapers and won a full year’s scholarship based not on academics or ethnicity but on integrity. I think I’ve learned more and experienced more than I have ever had at any other point in my life. I still have much more to achieve but it’s hard to look back at 2012 and not be proud of things I did accomplish. Sure I’ve done some things that can be observed on paper but I feel I’ve grown a lot more on the inside than anything else.

So going into 2013 I wanted to make a resolution that wouldn’t be obvious (like getting a job after I graduate because that’s obviously everyone’s goal) but also not too vague. After reading many books and researching the habits of some of the most successful people in history I’ve determined the belief that your thoughts dictate your actions is true. I need to adjust my goals and habits to achieve a better life instead of making goals to avoid a bad one. For example, I need to set my goals towards getting a job or living on my own rather making it a goal to avoid going into debt or living with my mom for the rest of my life (no offense mom). If you think something, no matter if it is a in positive or negative light, it will most likely become a reality.

My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to have a positive mindset. I’ve slowly been evolving towards this mindset for a while now. At first, it started as simply catching myself every time I was in a grumpy or bad mood, realizing how ridiculous I was acting, and turned my attitude around. When I woke up on the “wrong side of the bed” I used to allow myself to let that dictate the rest of my day. Now I don’t. Two important parts to this is, one, being grateful for everything I have. Reading the news, observing other people’s lives makes me thankful for what I do have. I can’t remember the last time I felt jealous of someone. Instead, if I desire a trait or an item a person has I work towards getting it. I think jealously is one of the most disgusting traits a person can have. It’s true some people were dealt a better hand but I know everyone reading this didn’t get the handful of jokers. The other thing is simply not caring what other people think about me. Of course, I take what others say that are close to me to heart but I no longer let them dictate my actions. I don’t let random strangers dictate my actions and I for damn sure don’t allow them to spread their negativity on me anymore.

So now I hope to continue this trend and take it one step further. No more self-put downs, no more saying “I can’t” or “I’ll never get a job in the field of journalism.” I will also continue my life goal of becoming the best human being I can possibly become. Good luck to everyone else in achieving their own New Year’s Resolutions.