Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 Ways to Make Your Life Mostly Enjoyable

I feel as if some of my entries are somewhat redundant as I live by a few basic principles to keep my life whole and enjoyable. I wanted to outline them with some analogies or anecdotes so that maybe they can help YOU construct your life in a way that makes it the least miserable it can be (it can’t be all great, we have to work for a living). Plus, I’m in a positive mood today!!

1.       Build and cultivate your relationships.
·         I mean REALLY put in the time to be sure that your family and close friends stay close or rekindling friendships that may have accidentally fallen to the wayside. I did this recently by traveling out of state to visit my great grandmother with my family. I feel a little old for family vacations, but it was definitely needed and much appreciated. I did it for me, but I also did it for my family, as they really do want to spend time and see me. To them, I’m still 12. I also attended a good friend’s wedding that was out of state. (Did I mention the family vacay and this was the same week?!). I knew it was important to her and I had a WONDERFUL time. It wasn’t easy with the travel plans and actual travel, but it was more than worth it! I stand by that you never regret reaching out to someone and making time for them! 

2.       Do what you do and don’t let anyone tell you differently
·         What I mean by this is know what you want to do and do it. This can be in terms of work/career, but it does not have to be. Here is an example: I personally LOVE my job. I don’t necessarily like it every day, but I do like the underlying purpose of it and what impact it has (however small). I also know that my job does not completely define me, my interests and my talents. While I love what I do, I also love other things and MAKE time for them. I also do this even when coworkers, friends or otherwise criticize me for being “childish” for holding onto things that I have liked for my lifetime. If you think that my passion for dance or my sorority makes me an inadequate employee, you have another thing coming! 

3.       Never give up
·         This kind of goes with the last one, but it needs to be delineated separately. It’s no secret that I love to dance. I incorporate it in my job and life as much as I can (thanks again to my People Report Call Me Maybe Flashmobbers). I take adult dance classes and go to Zumba just to be able to do it. I’ve also made a goal to be on a professional dance team. I’ve wanted to do that since I was at least 15 and now that I am done with school for now, I’m doing it. I’ve tried out a total of 3 times for 2 different teams and have been cut the first round of auditions every single time. I’ve been told it’s a waste of time, that I don’t have the right look, I don’t know the right style and have been asked how many times do they have to tell me no before I quit. Guess what? I’m not going to quit. It isn’t easy to be told no and especially to be told no so early in the process. I’m not going to lie; it’s really upsetting and discouraging. But each time, I learn something more and learn something different to help get to where I want to be. I’m still auditioning and still trying and I won’t stop until I physically can’t do it anymore. I actually felt even more strongly about this after watching the Olympics and seeing Jordyn Wieber not make all around finals for women’s gymnastics (even though that rule is stupid and she should be able to compete). She isn’t giving up, and I am not either. 

4.       Know yourself and your value
·         This can be applied to work, but also know your value in general. No one is value-less. Don’t let someone ever tell you that you are stupid or crazy. Don’t let people treat you like you don’t matter and don’t believe them when they say you don’t matter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered this, and I’ve found that the people saying those horrible things are normally more upset with themselves than anyone else. Be positive about yourself and stay that way. 

5.       Surround yourself with awesome people
·         I have a lot of friends that are better than me at something, prettier than me, more successful than me, nicer than me, etc. I WANT to be around people like that. I want to continue growing as a person and being my best self. I’m not trying to change myself, but I want to tap into things that maybe I have overlooked. Being around great people helps to make you a great person. 

So there you have it! Belinda’s 5 Principles to having a mostly enjoyable life!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Most Annoying Question Bosses Ask You

As I’ve been trying to figure out my career path and really just how to be a fully functioning adult, I’ve been thinking about all the different directions my life can take. At my job, we do quarterly check ins and can add discussions if necessary to make sure that we are meeting goals within our positions, but also to talk about what we want to ultimately be doing.

 I ALWAYS struggle with that question! “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Or “What are your long-term goals?” UM, IDK?! Every mentor or role-model that I’ve ever had has said that you need to have a basic plan and goals to meet over time in order to be successful and happy with your life. I try SO hard to do this, but I keep going back to my 20 year old self (6 years ago) and think about my answer at that age. I thought when I was 25, I’d be married with children, having a small supplemental job to my husband and maybe teaching dance on the side. Yeah, YOU GUESSED IT! That didn’t happen. 

AND I’m glad it didn’t! I have experienced and done more than I ever thought I was capable of and more than I had ever imagined for myself. I mean, I didn’t know what I could be doing and it’s hard to know what you want to do when you don’t know all of your options. You don’t know what you don’t know. You have to gain as many experiences and knowledge in order to make informed decisions about your life, goals, career, everything. 

I still struggle with this as I felt that my 20 year old self severely pigeon-holed me into a specific life path that I may have been happy with, but I would also have missed out on so much that makes me happy now. I don’t want my 26 year old self to do that to my 30, 40 or 50 year old self. That being said, I understand having direction is important, but instead of placing SO MUCH emphasis on it, maybe encourage discovery, experience and the continued acquisition of knowledge and expertise.
So, when answering the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?,” I say, where don’t I see myself in 5 years? Ultimately, I want a career that is does not only enable me to provide for a family; I want one that is meaningful and I can see my impact, however small. I also want to be GOOD at what I do. I want people to know me for striving for the very best and achieving that. The actual tasks or assignments are almost irrelevant. I say almost, because I’ve prepared and studied an area that I would probably stay within, but there is SO much to do in that area! 

I want to make a positive impact in any way that I can. Whether it be direct, indirect, financial, people-oriented, system oriented, etc. As the market changes and as needs change, what I need to do to accomplish this goal changes.  It’s difficult to know exactly your placement to be able to keep up with the changes. Experience makes you better able to see the movements, track them and understand them, but for now, I have to work hard at understanding the landscape and how it changes.  That understanding is essential to making an impact.  “What are your long-term goals?” Answer: TO MAKE AN IMPACT! 

The above is a picture of me looking like I'm making an impact. Mostly I wanted to show off that swan faucet. It's pretty awesome.