Why We Can’t Quit Netflix

We’ve all been there… whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, or buying a full series on Amazon Prime, we just love our series. There’s something so addicting about following a crime show or a major drama all the way through to the point where you think you almost know the characters. It can be the same with books, the Twilight trilogy the Harry Potter series. We form attachments to these story lines and beg for more.

Why is it, that we love our series so much? Is it the connection to the story lines, interesting plot twists? Or could it be something more… something like escapism? I don’t think it’s intentional, but sometimes we really crave a fantasy. Life can be hard, it can be monotonous and even though we are adults, we all have that inner child that would like to live in a “Peter Pan Neverland” world, one where anything is possible. As an adult, in our own ways, our addictions to TV series are our way to escape our regular, mundane lives. We can be detectives, royalty, or survivors on a lost island conquering whatever feats may come our way.

When the series ends, or the book is over, it many times feels troubling or like a let-down. It’s as if closing those last few pages, or watching the series finale means that our fantasy is over, and it “wakes” us up. We get out of the dream-like slumber, the comatose state we were in, and realize we are back to the “real world”. Back to the kids, the obligations, the dishes…life. I think that’s the real reason why people watch Netflix and get lost in series.

I don’t think people intentionally choose to waste time watching TV or reading fiction books. I think it’s a way of dealing and maybe even hiding from pain and the world. As long as you’re in a fictional world, escaping it all, you aren’t dealing with real life or living out your own dreams and goals. You can mask pain, or unfulfilled dreams with fiction and live vicariously through characters, those that aren’t real.

So, where do we go from here? Do we stop watching the series we love? Stop reading fairy tales? I don’t think so. I think the mind does some of it’s best work when it can dream and go on imaginary trips. I think there is value in the fantasy world, and room for creativity. But I do think we need to be aware of what we are doing and realize that escaping forever isn’t okay.

Instead of clamming up and shutting out the world incessantly, I believe we should spend more time creating our own dreams, reaching our own goals, making our own imaginary ideas come to life. And I think we need to stop being afraid of doing those things that we only watch on TV. Whether it’s to travel to a place we have never been, taking on a new sport, or investing in a relationship we’re afraid to dapple in…we should stop fearing and start living. We should aim to create lives that we don’t feel the need to constantly escape from, and we should be honest with ourselves about why we feel the need to do so.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=zPFsRrX0&id=970834A46A50132B6922DC9D706F8EE5B99B4E2D&q=netflix&simid=608055976242972779&selectedIndex=1&ajaxhist=0.

10,000 Hours…

If you’re anything like me, a recovering perfectionist, you get really annoyed when you can’t do something well, naturally. I remember it back in school. I was a natural academic but not naturally athletic. I would get very annoyed and frustrated when I couldn’t play baseball in gym class or shoot hoops flawlessly like the jocks. Who knows why, but many of us have this idea that was carried with us throughout school and adulthood, that most skills come naturally and if they don’t, that there’s something inherently wrong with us. I’d accredit this idea to our upbringing by parents who expected perfection and rewarded us based on this “accomplishment” system…but I digress. We think skills, even those we are gifted with, come to us naturally, as if it doesn’t take hours of sweat and toil to make us “great”.

We all have some natural skill or aptitude in something; stunning business acumen, sports, or music. And many times we feel that that innate natural ability is all that will carry us into success. But we forget a huge component to making it to that genius or success level in our talent. Practice.

It seems so boring yet so rehearsed. Practice.  You heard it in school, over and over, “practice makes perfect”. Is there actually something to that phrase or is it just bologna? According to Malcolm Gladwell, there’s a magic number to reaching the mastery level in any skill. 10,000 hours. It takes 10,000 hours of practice doing something to become an expert. 10,000 hours of speaking, writing, singing, marketing…etc. And I think we forget this main ingredient when we pursue our natural gifts. Because they are so natural to us, we feel almost as if becoming “great” in it should just come, well, naturally. But that’s very deceiving. Just because something comes natural to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t or won’t require practice. It seems so obvious that effort would be a necessary ingredient for success but it’s so easily overlooked, probably because it’s so simple… not easy, but simple.

I remember as a new working person in the professional world, being yet again annoyed that I wasn’t at the level of my superiors. But yet again, it’s practice, it’s time. Of course those that have been in the business world for twenty years have an edge over someone who has been alive twenty years… it seems so clear that it takes time and rehearsal to hone in on our skills to achieve mastery.

So if you are gifted want to be a “great” writer, write. You want to be a great business person, put in the time prospecting. Don’t get discouraged that it takes time, that it requires practice. That’s why we had band practice, track practice, etc. We even called it “practice” in school, and I don’t think that was a mistake.

Keep practicing, don’t despise the process. When we see the greatness of others exhibited, we don’t see the hours of toil, of failure, we only see the end product. But it took them also, 10,000 hours…

Put in the time to become a master.

 

 

photocredit: http://kayleadershipacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/10K-where-to-apply.jpg.

Our Obsession With Titles

We can’t help ourselves. We have a love affair with titles. Director at Large, President & CEO, the Marketing Manager… we’re obsessed! It’s as if we somehow put so much importance on letters formed together and string them along our names… Jane Doe, MBA. And the more letters, by all means, the better! You only have a bachelors degree? Yikes! Maybe one day you’ll be more prestigious. A liberal arts degree, well that’s just not as useful to the world as the bachelor of science.

Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in recognizing hard work. The admin who has worked tirelessly for years to obtain the CEO status, she’s well-deserved of her role. The doctor who put in thousands of dollars and hours of study, hat is off to you. It’s a cause and effect world, sowing and reaping exists and therefore those who put in more should rightfully get more out of it. This can be demonstrated in the military very well. You don’t move up the ranks by not putting in effort and taking on a lot of responsibility. You don’t become Commodore of your ship overnight. There is a reason why there are titles and they help us distinguish where we all fit and maintains order.

On the flip side, there are those that don’t deserve their titles. I think the military is the easiest place for us to accept them because we realize they are earned and there is sacrifice involved in good leadership. There’s no greater degree of sacrifice than in the military. But it’s harder for us to accept the Executive’s position because I think to some degree, we don’t trust the white color corporate world the same way. And how many times has it been seen that the “Executive Admin” aka glorified secretary, did more of the role than the President or CEO? I’m not saying that it’s always that way, but many times titles get sticky and those who really perform more of the job functions many times are not properly recognized.

The problem becomes further created when we become obsessed with them, when they provide identity. Suddenly I don’t feel important without the alphabet after my name. And I think this is a problem because it perpetuates this idea, this theme that I grapple with, of finding our value as people in what we do rather than in who we are. Because what happens when you lose that job, and you aren’t the CEO or the Director of Selection? What happens when a disability makes it impossible for you to perform at the level you used to? Or your department gets out-sourced? What do we do, and who are we when the titles are gone?

I think it’s safe to say that there’s a difference between working hard and trying to be our best to serve others versus working hard to prove something. I can say that because I’ve done that–and it just leads to burn out. It’s an insecure way of being that leaks into our professional world and causes us to seek advancement and title for the wrong reasons. Bettering ourselves, there’s nothing wrong with that. Learning more and serving a wider range of clients, that’s what we should be doing. But it can never be for the reason of self-identity and that’s what this title-crazed culture has become. We should seek to serve and do our best, the titles will just be a symptom and by-product of our service.

When There’s No Closure…

I’ve spent a lot of time personally thinking about why we just don’t like incomplete endings. We don’t like the inconclusive break-up. We don’t like a “we’ll see” from a job offer or an unclear medical test result. It’s the black and white, the categories, the classifications that we seem to drift toward and prefer. Shades of gray, well that’s a friend that doesn’t offer our hearts and minds much comfort. We’d prefer to have an answer, a clear beginning and end.

I wondered why this might be. Why do we drift toward always seeking closure, seeking an answer. I thought about the movies and books we like. As children, we read fairytales. Is it any coincidence that these books have a clear beginning, middle and end? There’s a problem that gets solved and a happily ever after. And we like that completeness, that wholeness almost as much as the happy ending.

But unfortunately, many times we don’t know the reasons or the “why”. We don’t know why a relationship had to end or why we had to fail at something. It doesn’t make sense why we lost a loved one or a child, there’s no way to reason our way out of it and no way to make peace. Somehow instead, we have to choose peace and choose our closure. We have to make do with what’s been dealt us and do our best to say goodbye to let go of what we didn’t think we’d lose.

This was most seen in losing my mom. She didn’t die. She wasn’t physically ill or disabled. She just couldn’t be a mom, for whatever reason. Blame it on mental illness, call it selfish… who knows. But there’s no grave stone to grieve along. There’s no prayer card to admire. But it’s still a huge loss, and an unclear one. Somehow, my family still needs to grieve and seek closure.

Since the loss of her, I have had many others that never seemed complete. But hers taught me how to be resilient and to understand the importance of seeking peace in the midst of confusion and not understanding. The ability to choose your peace. There will be many more “mom losses” in life, many more unclear hurts. But it’s imperative to find your own peace, create your own fairytale, and to find your own happy ending.

STOP HELPING OTHERS WHO DON’T WANT IT

Not an overly creative title, but you get the point. Have you ever tried to walk a dog, and they just didn’t want to go. Every inch you went, you pulled on that leash, willing for that stubborn hound to move, and he just wouldn’t budge? Well, we’ve all had that moment with an animal, but what about with other people?

Have you tried helping someone get a job, or get out of debt, or gave them a piece of marital advice, and they just blew you off? They acted like they might be listening, but the whole time they did, their heart was just not in what nuggets of wisdom you were sharing. I’ve done that many times, and then felt insulted that my advice wasn’t heeded or help not welcomed. Why won’t they just listen? I’ve been through this before, what I’m saying makes perfect sense…

And that all might be true. What you’re saying and explaining might be spot on. But there’s many different reasons why others just might not act on your advice.

1. They may not be ready to hear it.
Sometimes other people are going through circumstances that make them impervious to what you’re saying. They hear your words but it makes no connection with their heart. They simply are not ready.

2. They just don’t care.
Not all people are motivated and want to be better. Let’s just admit it. Sometimes mediocrity is the goal, and self-improvement, well… why bother?

3. They feel ashamed listening to your advice.
It can be intimidating to listen to someone on their “high horse” talk about how they figured something out while this other person is learning. It can be humbling. It’s not that they don’t want your advice, but it’s just hard to hear.

Whatever the reason, stop casting your pearls of wisdom to those that don’t seek you out. If someone wants to change, they’ll have the initiative to start and make the first move. But handing out help, when it’s not wanted is a waste of your time and efforts. Use those efforts for those that value your perspective and want to win.

My Worth & Value: It’s Not in What I Do

I grew up in a home that stressed the importance of achieving. Good grades were hung on the refrigerator, special meals baked for getting into an academic club, and rewards for being the “best” reader in sixth grade. It was as if my mom almost loved my sister and I more if we brought home something that showed achievement. I remember one day she even told me to not bother coming home if I hadn’t gotten an “A” in a particular class. It was this tough, militant-minded way of going about reaching achievement that left me burnt out in college and confused as an adult.

I did very well in high school. I was the nerd, the track runner and a strong introvert. Most people in my classes would consider me fairly bright but also quite quiet. Once I got to college, I realized how much I was being challenged by particular classes; I chose to take the math and the science courses that would challenge me. You see, my mom always wanted me to take those courses because she said that writing and what I liked to do, didn’t have much value in the real world. So I set off on a course to do something I didn’t love as much, in an effort to make her proud or earn her love. I wanted to feel as though I’d accomplished something worthwhile, as if my identity could ever be found in what I did.

It took me changing my major, changing schools, to understand, I’ll always be me, a writer and a thinker, and that I also have a mind for business and organization. You see, you can’t really change the gifts and talents you have. Sometimes the world appears to put one gift or talent above another, but that doesn’t make yours any less important. We don’t know the impact we have on others, what we might bring to another person. To deny the world what we uniquely have from our Creator, is both wasteful and selfish.

After college, I tried to find meaning and acceptance in my careers choices; being a go-to person, someone others could count on, and knowing all the answers. And honestly, sometimes I was. But whenever I was criticized, it felt like my very core was being “attacked”, my sense of accomplishment dwindling. That’s when I realized, whether I’m super liked in my position, whether or not my title is impressive, I’m still Christina Bennett. I’m enough because I’m me, not because of my gifts or talents, but solely because of who God made me from day one. There isn’t another person that is just like me or you, or can ever touch the world in the same way. Now, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with goal-setting and trying to achieve. I would encourage all to set clear goals to live an intentional and impactful life. However, when your sense of worth and value is wrapped up in your title or station in life, it becomes a problem. Because what happens when one day, you don’t have that “thing” anymore to say you are… what happens to you then?

So slowly, I’m unlearning the desire to keep up with the Jones’ accomplishments, unlearning the need to be first or to have all the answers. I’m bringing what I have to the table and honestly, it’s enough. I’m letting go of the voice of my mother saying I needed and “A” on a paper to come home. Unlearning the need to accomplish things like my friends or family do. Because we aren’t the same people, with the same gifts so why would we ever think that we should achieve the same things? It’s a lie we believe, one we tell ourselves that we should be like someone else. But just like a fox can dig and bury things in the ground, they don’t expect to fly like the eagle can. And likewise, the eagle doesn’t question why it can’t dig like the fox. He accepts he was meant to soar in the sky.

So whatever you are, the eagle, the fox, be “you”. Do what you’re meant to accomplish. It’s your life to live, your impact to make, so make it exceptionally you.

 

 

Photo Credit: http://iysigirl.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/07/bigstockphoto_accomplishment_-_road_sign_273784811.jpg

Why Females are meant for Entrepreneurship

It never really occurred to me until I got out in the professional working world, that women and business truly make the most sense. Let me explain.

The Power of Choice

Women are the perfect fit for business because it let’s us keep our ability to choose. They give us freedom, time, and a sense of self-worth, no matter what our passion is. With the need for a better work-life balance, and managing family and professions, business gives that freedom back to us. No longer do we need to choose our families or our jobs but we can do both, with balance.

The Ability to Chase Passion

With all of today’s resources with social media being free or create easy websites via WordPress, it’s impossible not to find a way for young, working females to find a side gig online. If your passion is writing, knitting, or a guru, you can find a way to express your passion online and in a business setting.

A Deeper Sense of Freedom

When you have perfected your side hustle, or have gone full-time entrepreneur you have created a life for yourself that you dictate. Win together, fail together, it’s all you, babe. And this can be a really good thing. You dictate how hard you work for you and what that work should look like. The successes you build are yours for the taking. And likewise, if you want to take a 2 week vacation in March, then it’s up to you to decide what needs to get done and in what time frame, to make that happen.

Women are fantastic for businesses, most importantly, their own! Message me on the contact page or on Facebook to set up a consultation on how I can help you reach your business or life-balance goals.

 

 

Do What YOU Do Best

 

Truthfully, the amount of time that I have spent, and sometimes continue to spend, on things that I’m not naturally good at doing, is insane. I’m not sure why I wasted so much time trying to be a mathematician, a guru in cooking or sewing. I’m just not naturally good at any of those things.

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t take time to practice or get better at certain skills. However, I think sometimes we try to “copy” a family member or friend because we see either their successes or traits and want to be like them. And you know what? It’s a colossal waste of time. If you’re a great writer then write, do it all the time and study others who do that, and don’t give up. Don’t waste time on trying to be the revered scientist, the world needs your skill, your talent, and that is more than enough.

So be you and be true to who you are and own your skills.

Naps: Not just for the Lazy and Children

I always used to think of naps being something that those that were either under the age of five or for lazy people. The thought of yawning mid-day and stretching out on the couch with a blanket in hand and snoozing off in peaceful slumber, while the birds were out seemed like such a waste. Why in the world, when there was so much to get accomplished, would one take time out to nap?

Well, as you can imagine, as I’ve grown in age and experience, I have learned just how vital napping can be, how it helps me personally and professionally. When we take time to let our minds rest and recharge, a “power-nap”, if you will, we become more alert and focused on the tasks at hand. Research now backs this up. According to the National Sleep Foundation:

Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.

If napping is so great for us, for those that need to be super focused and alert, we should remove any stigma we have that says they are signs of laziness. I think the root of that thought all goes back to the idea that productive people just go and go; they don’t stop to take care of themselves, which is another mindset I had to break personally.

So, have no guilt. Get a pillow and a plush fleece blanket–and…..nap….. away…zzzzzzzzz.

You Are First

I think for a lot of us who feel we need to take on the world, the type A choleric personalities, it’s very hard to relax or to put ourselves first. For starters, putting yourself first has such a negative connotation, doesn’t it? We’ve all experienced this at work or home, where it’s expected that we complete A, B, and C for someone, regardless of whether they could complete it themselves, and suddenly we are wrapped up in their mess and now our own! It happens all too often.

So why does this matter? Why do I need to put myself first, you ask? Because it is your greatest asset to the world. Yup, it’s true. Think about it, when you are calm, relaxed and enjoying life aren’t you a better husband/wife, student, co-worker, boss/employee? Really, are you better at handling life’s day to day demands and changes when you are frustrated, hungry, tired, worn out, irritated? Of course not!

It took me a long time to realized that taking care of yourself isn’t just a luxury–it’s a necessity. Your body, mind and spirit work better when you take care of each part, daily. Our bodies are living beings and we need to be constantly giving it the attention it needs. Think of a plant that isn’t watered. Well that plant may be okay for a day or two but eventually it will wither. Our bodies and minds are the same way. By putting ourselves first, we can best serve others and live out the purposes we are intended for, with zeal and life.