Personal Development

Help for the Judgmental

**For those that probably get judgmental from time to time… ;)**

I was sitting in traffic and I thought, why do people still smoke?
I was getting my hair done at the salon I thought, who dyes their hair to match the rainbow?
I read a memoir and I wondered how people can be so self-righteous?
I watched my peers and I thought how can someone be rude?
I saw something done by a relative that I thought was totally weird, I asked why?

Maybe you have too. I became acutely aware of just how much we subconsciously judge or measure others in our minds, DAILY. We don’t have to say a word; our eye rolls, thoughts, gestures and mannerisms say it all. Of course we all have opinions and thoughts, but we don’t need to spend more precious time thinking about or verbalizing them. The more time we give a thought, the longer we entertain it, the longer it takes up valuable real estate in our minds.

I wonder if half the time we can’t sleep at night, are unhappy, or just plain miserable sometimes, is because we devote all our energy toward nit-picking at others when we really should focus on our own lives. Sometimes those who tend to have a perfectionist attitude like myself, we are also classic nit-pickers. And that same talent that can be helpful when fixing a problem, can also become a judgmental tone that takes control and can ruin relationships and make us come across as crass and uncaring — even though we may not be at all. I think many times poking at another person’s flaw or difference, somehow makes us feel better. Maybe it’s because we are secretly insecure with ourselves, but pointing out something in another that we don’t struggle with, it brings us a sick sense of comfort, like I have my crap together in my life.

So maybe tomorrow in traffic, we ignore the smoking habits… ignore the rainbow hair, the books we didn’t relate to, the rudeness, and the weirdness. Maybe we focus on the sun shining in traffic, the hairdo we just got, the books we love, and all the kindhearted people there are in the world. Just maybe, that would be a better use of our time. I know I’m going to try.

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Growth

Embrace Today

Has this ever been you?

You slept crappy… it made you cranky.
You had a well-crafted to-do list… but only crossed off three things — maybe.
Your baby was super happy for about an hour…then suddenly lost it.

Yup–me too.

But a realization hit me and maybe it has you too.

One day, that house you live in will be quiet. One day, that spouse you complained about, won’t be by your side. And one day, your house will be spotless because the children are grown and gone.

To wait for that day when life feels less “crazy” makes a waste of the day you have. And that day is today.

Embrace today. Embrace the mess, the clutter, the bills, the family and the noise.

Impact, Mom Life, Personal Development, Self Help

The Little Changes Add Up

I think as moms, wives, women, people, we assume that if we can’t “eat the whole elephant” or accomplish the big goal all at once, then we have somehow failed. It’s not true. The true wins are in the everyday, the ordinary, the habits we form daily. I don’t think we are supposed to have “made it” quite so quickly. It’s the little tweaks, the small improvements and corrections that really make the biggest differences.

I may not have time to run five miles a day but I can walk before work.
I may not have time to spend with my baby all day but I can spend two hours of focused moments after work.
I may not have time to travel where I’d like to right now but I can go on a trail I’ve never been to.
I may not have time to do lunch with my relatives but I can give them a call to check in.
I may not have time to get my masters but I can read every night.
I may not be able to give millions to disaster relief but I can give something.

It’s so not about my limitations, it’s about doing what I can do, enjoying what I do have, and being who I can be.

Struggle, Talents

Lessons From Megyn Kelly’s Career

I know, I know… but hear me out–there IS a lesson here. Whether you love her or absolutely abhor her, Megyn Kelly has certainly been in the public eye a lot lately for her new show on NBC Today. And to be honest, I did enjoy watching her from time to time on her show, The Kelly File. But lately, NBC seems to be pushing her show with fighting fury and the viewers know it. It feels forced, phony, and fake–much like an ex-boyfriend.

As I watched her on the couch with the other Today women and on the Hoda and Kathi Lee show, it was just so terribly awkward. You could tell she was completely out of her element. I’m not denying her talent, but you could tell where she’s been placed is not where she belongs. And the odd part is that she keeps saying on TV, “This is where I belong. What I was meant to do.” But all the while, we aren’t fooled. How do you take a bold, confident, attractive, lawyer/journalist and turn them into the next Oprah Winfrey or Diane Sayer? I’d argue that you simply can’t. And I truly believe that on live television, there simply is nowhere to hide your true feelings or self.

I say all that not to talk negative of Megyn Kelly. I wish her success as I would anyone trying something new. But how many of us have ever tried to be or do something that just wasn’t us? A relationship, a job, a career, a major in college, a friendship…? We tried something different because we thought it might make someone else happy, we were dishonest with our own thoughts and desires, or we thought we might get more approval from others? Just as I believe Megyn is being untrue to herself and “trying” to like daytime television, I think we all should too examine our own lives. We may not be on live television everyday where the world can point out our flaws and strengths. But when we take the time to be honest with ourselves, I think we can all admit that we try on hats not meant for us.

When Megyn was behind her desk on The Kelly File, questioning others and learning the facts, she lit up her stage. But with the Today crowd, trying to be “likeable”, it’s not true to her or her talents. And if we don’t own our own “Kelly Files” and instead try to be the new Today star, we too will feel disingenuous. It’s okay to be a square or a circle. We need all types, all talents. You waste your own talent and stardom when you neglect it and try on the hats that aren’t yours. Use your own artistry, bring your own flavor. Because the world needs your version, exactly the way YOU do it.

photo credit via aol.com.

Awareness, Family, Female Entrepreneurs, Mom Life, Persevere

Best Days

“Oh, honey… enjoy this. These are the best days of your life.” Falser words could not have come flowing from anyone’s lips than these did when they hit my ears. And yet I heard this, all. the. time. My ears still ring when I think about it. Talk to any new mom, any mom at all, and tell her how awesome new motherhood is, go ahead, I dare ya. Then just watch her face. I promise you, if she’s anything like me, she’ll twitch. And I hear ya, these well meaning folks, they want you to treasure your time and your family. But statements like these, feel about as awkward to me as putting on last years’ bathing suit.

I guess what bothers me most about the sentiment is how dishonest it is. New moms hear a lot of weird garbage if we’re being real, and we are pretty thick skinned. After all, we did go through 9 months of beyond awkwardness and unwanted belly-touching. But to have a place of candor to talk about how weird it all is, really refreshes me and maybe you too. When I think about the truth of new motherhood–I think of massive changes. Every change that could possibly happen, your marriage, your money, your work, your friendships, your body,  your home, your career… it is ALL different. You wonder if you’re doing it right, you wonder if you’re co-workers will think less of you, if you’ll get fired, if your spouse still feels the same way, if you’ll lose those final and stubborn 10 pounds of baby weight… it just keeps going. And all day, every day, there’s a television screen in your mind just swirling with all the changes and things you need to do. And when we tell that same mom who underwent massive changes in such a short period of time, the woman who can’t remember if she brushed her teeth today or who just cleaned up a massive blowout diaper in her car on the way to work, “These are the best days…” no wonder she doesn’t get it — she’s a finalist in the series of Survivor. She’s the zookeeper to the animals– making sure they stay safe and no one throws any poop.12141658_1026342174076669_3828444627179536575_n

So in the spirit of being truthful, tell her something different perhaps. Say something like, “It’s hard to be a new mom–I remember, but it will be worth it,” or maybe, “Is there something I can do to help?” Better yet, ask to get her some coffee. Because when you’re brand new to all of this change, and it hits you like a truck full of bricks, all you really want is to be understood and for some genuine heart-felt help.

Business, Passion

Some Things Cannot Be Taught

There are many skills and traits that I think people can take the time to learn: patience, honesty, and time management. Arguably, there are other traits that I don’t think can be taught and one of them is “caring”.

What I mean by “caring” is you can’t cause someone to one day care. If you are working a job and on a team and a member just has a very casual attitude, you can’t really cause them to put forth effort or care about the outcomes of the team. You can try your best to motivate them or inspire them, but truly “caring” about something means that it matters to you, and that can only come from that team member.

In practical application, many companies and teams fall a part because there was someone on that team “poisoning their well.” It doesn’t take too long to spot these people, many times they aren’t even bad or aren’t aware of what they are doing. They might make snippy remarks, joke about the bosses behind their backs, or just do their jobs in a lackadaisical fashion. But I believe the reason that these workers do poorly is because they have a general lack of care about the outcomes of the team. They maybe don’t see themselves staying long term, they don’t want to be there in the first place, or they have less than satisfactory skills for their role.

When team members don’t care, it’s contagious and can cause others to feel the same way. It’s very hard to make progress when you have these workers in your midst. When you’re looking to expand your team, look for “caring”. Look for the person who’s engaged and interested, not “checked out”. It’s so critical to find the people that want to be there, that want to be on your team and take the organization to new levels.

Look for the one that cares, because that trait — is unteachable.

photo credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=k%2fVQxDmO&id=1432FB7B80E3DDDB722F2ABF80BFB80BBB2D00CB&q=caring&simid=608044444267908865&selectedIndex=8&ajaxhist=0

Awareness, Passion, Personal Development

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.

Growth, Healing, Uncategorized

Night In Room 4: Trauma Unit

“So dear, how many seizures would you say he’s had tonight…” the nurse asked me while I choked back sobs.

“Uh… I’m not sure, maybe 20?” Greg held his breath and yet again cringed and turned ashen as another wave hit him, and he let out a big exhale as it passed.

“Okay, height, weight, any known allergies?” She asked again.

I dappled through the litany of questions, while Greg shook and we headed into the ER entrance right away and he was lifted to a stretcher.

TWO HOURS EARLIER THAT EVENING…

“Hey honey, how was work today?” I asked, stirring a pot of noodles waiting for Greg’s arrival.

He dropped his lunch box to the floor and headed upstairs.

“Pretty good, I’m just going to head upstairs and shower before dinner.”

He came downstairs shortly and wolfed down a bowl of tortollini and salad. Once cleaned up from dinner and loading the dishwasher, we sat on the couch to watch some Seinfeld reruns. Greg took some more cold medicine, he’d been fighting symptoms all week, but was getting better…or so I thought.

As we laughed between jokes on TV, I noticed Greg was gripping the couch in an odd fashion. He closed his eyes and braced himself, once then again and again. It was as if he was having contractions, that was the best way to put it. One would come and then leave, then they got closer together. I figured his blood sugar was low, he had been sick after all. So I grabbed him some orange juice. He downed a glass in a single gulp and seemed to be okay for a few moments. Then they came on him again, this time worse than before. His body twitched and contorted.

“Let’s go Greg, NOW! We are going the On-Call clinic.” Why I didn’t just bring him to the ER, I have no idea. I willed my brain to work.

“Why? I’m fine.” He uttered.

“No you definitely aren’t.” I raced for my keys and flip-flops and headed out the door.

When we reached the On-Call clinic they insisted we go the ER. On our way over, Greg began to twitch and contort voraciously around in his seat. I said his name, shouted it out and he didn’t respond, as if he didn’t hear me. Then he uttered a huge exhaling breath and slunk back in his seat exhausted. I lost my focus and tried to regain it while racing to the ER.

BACK TO PRESENT IN THE ER

They led us back to a room, Greg being raced over on the stretcher. We entered the room and a short but lean looking doctor entered, no lab coat, but rather a t shirt tucked in and cowboy boats. He had curly long hair and ice blue eyes with a weathered face.

“Hey, where is this guy’s EKG, where’s his chart?” They hooked Greg up to monitors and determined it was his heart that was starting and then stopping, over and over… 30, 50, 100, 120, 50, 40, 15, 0… flat lining…

A nurse entered the room…

“We are going to move you to room 4.” They moved the stretcher out quickly and I followed suit. When we got to the door I noticed the large glass windows that pointed toward the monitors in the hall with a team of doctors gathered. The door read, “Room 4, Trauma Unit”. I prayed Greg was too incapacitated to read it.

The nurses rushed around taking blood and reading the machines.

One nurse moved toward the bed with a device, paddles and a box. I knew what this was.

“Honey, this is just going to go on your chest, just as a precaution…”

I knew it wasn’t, it was very possible they’d need to restart his heart.

Soon after more vitals were taken, a cardiologist about seven feet tall entered the room.

“Hello, folks, I’m the cardiologist on the floor tonight. Now I see some wild stuff is going on with your heart and I’d like to put in a temporary pacemaker.”

A pacemaker I thought? That’s for old people who really need it… this can’t be good.

“We also gave you antibiotics for lyme disease because it’s very rare that this would happen in someone so young and healthy.”

“Potential risks of the pacemaker are a collapsed lung. But the risk is low.”

Greg nodded, we prayed and he was rushed away without any hesitation.

The dam behind my eyes broke and I wondered what exactly would happen if and when he returned from the OR.

TO BE CONTINUED.

photo credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=0ETW5W0P&id=0B6BDB52A503062BC2A78A4720903DA28AAA8CC7&q=flat+lined&simid=608024416818237155&selectedindex=6&mode=overlay&first=1&thid=OIP.0ETW5W0PZ_p8caxLnTkLJwEsD6.

overcoming, Struggle, Tragedy

Breaking Out Of Survival Mode

It doesn’t matter what way it presents itself. No money in the bank, medial bills that were unexpected, an unexpected loss, or any combination of them all. We all have those times in life where things seem more like uphill battles than smooth sailing. For me, that started ten years ago, when my mother was overtaken with mental illness and ditched our family. Though I wished I felt further ahead from that event, there’s been a feeling of being in a “survival mode”.

Even though I’d accomplished a lot after she left, a degree, a marriage, and a child, life still got much harder after that. It was harder for my dad financially, my sister emotionally, and me in both ways. That event made it harder for us all to recover from and “bounce back”. It was defining. I do know a little something about what it feels like to have the wind knocked out of you and trying to constantly catch your breath.

But I don’t think we take the time to think about all that we go through in life. I took an inventory of what occurred in the last year and it was a little horrifying… a miscarriage, a job change, a spouse who was in ICU with a heart that stopped, and a complicated delivery. When I took the time to think about what we’d gone through in just a short time I realized just how hard life really can be. And yet–it felt like it was still survival mode. Don’t take time to think and grieve your losses, but just keep moving, keep trudging through the mud.

So what do we do when we feel this internal pressure? When we feel like the noodles in the middle of a pressure cooker that’s been cooking just a little too long? Honestly, I don’t entirely know. But here are some things that I do know that have helped along the way.

  1. First, make a list. I don’t know why but somehow listing things out on paper just makes me feel better and makes life feel more manageable. You can’t possibly conquer everything at once, whether it’s debt, bills, or just a huge to-do list.
  2. Take an inventory of what is going right. So many times when life gets challenging, we take the simple graces of every day for granted, the warm coffee, the sun shining, the helpful friends. Thank them and thank God for those simple pleasures.
  3. Take five… whether it’s a short walk, a moment to read a book, play with your kids… it doesn’t matter what. But it’s hard to keep enduring difficulties if you’re burnt out. You’re your best advocate and asset, so handle with care. YOU matter.
  4. Know it shall pass. When you’re in a hard situation it can give you tunnel vision, like it will NEVER get better, but it will. It might still be challenging for a while, but little by little you’ll dig yourself out and be proud you did.

I can honestly say that over time, I have gained a lot of internal strength from the hardships. It hasn’t always been easy. I used to resent those that I thought I figured didn’t really have a lot of struggles, like they had a simpler ride and I felt that wasn’t fair. But the truth is, no one has it easy, we just all handle it differently.

And there really is no use in getting bitter about what you cannot control. So choose to be happy anyway, make a decision to be grateful for what is going right. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Uncategorized

Success Is For Your 40’s

When your in your younger years, the 20’s and 30’s, you tend to feel like success and achievement in your career isn’t coming fast enough. Success seems to be slow and far off and you seem to wonder what all that college and education was for, because the payoff seems distant. At least, that’s how I felt.

When I think about my dream job, it includes published works, being a political commentator and contributing to news stations. So I took the liberty to look up what others who have those jobs in the media, what they did to get there. I was stunned. As I did some digging I found that almost all those that I admire on TV that cover the political news are all in their mid 40’s to 50’s. It was across the board. The authors I admire who publish pieces similar to my genre, they are in their 40’s yet again…

Here are some examples… Vera Wang was age 40 when she started designing, Sam Walton was 44 when he founded his first Walmart, and Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Model T (Business Insider).  It’s a pure myth that achievement is instant, the list is lengthy of those that found their career climax in their middle age.

Now I’m not proposing that there is something magical about this age. But really, why middle age and what’s the correlation to success? I think that we forget that success requires time, patience and priming the pump. When you prime the pump it takes time before the water flows through, but it doesn’t mean that the priming process is useless or not doing it’s job, it just takes time. Our experiences and toils in our 20’s and 30’s are still important, but they are the unsexy foundational years. They are years to learn, experiment and grow. They are the years to “prime the pump” for our careers.

When you’re starting out in your career, you don’t know how far your skills will take you. The coffee fetching, the phone answering, the filing, all those seemingly menial tasks are taking you somewhere. You start to learn how an office works, how the workplace dynamics operate, and soak in information from your workplace. All the daily abilities you acquire will build upon themselves.

Don’t despair if career success seems far off. Some of the most great achievements have occurred in time, after the pump has been primed. And priming, is a process.