Anytime you make a goal or decide to "fix" something in life it is going to require some changes in your habits.
If you have ever walked around a bookstore then I'm sure you have noticed that people talk a lot about "change" and "habits" in self-help books. Apparently, that is because as a culture, we don't tend to enjoy change so much. How else do you explain the popularity of a book called "Who Moved my Cheese"?
habits make the man...err. woman
Let's define habits based on the categories we listed on Monday that might help us meet our more specific goals that we finalize next week. As a reminder, here are the categories, I am focused on.
health & wellness
love & relationships
financial stability, growth & flexibility
purpose & passion
Did you define your's yet? NO? Well don't forget to check out Monday's post to catch up with us. "What are you going to pay attention to in 2016?" Once you have your categories of focus, it is time to determine what habits need to be part of our daily life to help us along our journey. Here are some of mine. Remember, try to have no more than 12. When you focus on too much, very little actually happens.
wake up with out snoozing
take vitamins daily
walk/work out daily
stop the glorification of busy
no fast food - cook more - more veggies
stop over-exaggerating and being overly dramatic - be okay with reality
love & relationships
initiate communication with friends & family better
remember special days and do things just because
gratitude journal and meditation daily
news/blogs - focused on my purpose
It's on the DVR, you can watch it later
There you go, my...now it is your turn. It's the last step until we put pen to paper with a goal for each area of focus.
Can't wait to close out the challenge with all of you.
In November we are constantly bombarded with the thought of "gratitude and thanksgiving" but for December I think that word has got to be "joy". Just about every song you can think of that talks about the holiday's mentions the word. (The below one just happens to be one of my favorites.
It is with this in mind that we continue our goal setting process with a focus on joy. It is a simple question really...
what brought you joy this year?
I don't mean, "what made you happy". Anyone can talk about what makes them happy but what actually brought you true JOY in 2015. Joy is a much different focus. Joy comes in small moments and is almost always unexpected.
here is what I think you should consider when trying to decide what truly did bring you joy this year.
the people in your life that you spent time with and left feeling good
accomplishments you made
moments of peace
I don't think it is a secret that for me joy came in the form of my little nephew this year. I also realize that I probably sound like a broken record when I talk about him but it was truly a big thing. My decision to move home seemed to validated by the birth of Otis because there is not a single person who has me me smile or laugh more in the past 8 months than that little guy. When I was sick, in bed, back and forth to the doctor's and not wanting anyone to see me, this kid would make me smile and laugh out loud. But more than that it was the joy in knowing that he had been brought into the life of my brother and his wife and completed their family. Knowing that they had the missing piece to their puzzle brought a level of joy I didn't expect.
So, as you work on this question today, think about the different kinds of joy around you.
I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Eve is my least favorite holiday of the year and I think it is in part because of the fact that most of the decisions we make on this day rarely come to fruition. And yet, we continue to do the same thing every single year. It is easy to blame all of this on the simple concept of a “New Year’s Resolution” and give up all together but making a “New Year’s Resolution” and setting goals are very different things. A life without goals and focus is one that doesn’t move very fast or far. We need to start making some goals with some substance and grit, ones that will not fade away come February 1st.
Normally I like to this in the early part of the year but I got to thinking that maybe instead of avoiding starting the year off with goals, why not embrace the idea instead? This year, for the first time, I am going to start my goal setting in December and I thought it would be great if we did it together.
For the month of December I am going to use the blog to focus on goal setting. I will work to provide tips from experts in goal setting, as well as a step by step process for us all to follow together. I will share my experiences along the way in the hopes that you can learn from my mistakes and successes.
Here is what you will need to join in the process:
A notebook or journal that you will use JUST FOR THIS.
Make it small enough to take with you wherever you go (you never know when inspiration will strike)
Enough pages to really be able to dig deep
A Pen or Pencil that you really like
Sounds funny but this is crucial. I know you have a cell phone or a tablet and computer or all of the above. But there is something very powerful about using a pen and writing things down. It shows a commitment, it allows for you to scratch it out, scribble, etc, but not erase. The reason this is good is because sometimes the things you write down and scratch out become the best inspiration later on.
30 minutes, three times a week.
First, so that you can read the blog. (of course)
You will find that things will come to you outside of these 90 minutes but it is important to dedicate some time to focus on JUST this and JUST YOU!
That’s it. Seriously. We are investing in ourselves and we don’t have to go broke to do it.
We start Wednesday so get ready to focus on you and start making big things happen in your life.
Recently, the entire basketball community was saddened to hear that a revered NBA player by the name of Moses Malone passed away. Malone was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players.
Charles Barkley who played with him in the beginning of his career in Philadelphia was asked to speak at the funeral. During his eulogy he spoke of the role Malone took in his career and called him a father to him. He made quite a few humorous remarks from their days together but there was one piece of advice that Charles received that stood out the most to me. Malone was chastising Barkley for his laziness. When Charles protested this assumption, Malone told him the following:
The advice is simple and each of us at some point in our life may have received some sort of similar advice but I wonder if we have really heard this for what it is meant to be. It is mean to be a call to action.
Suddenly it seems we have a culture of laziness in our country. People have higher expectations and are more optimistic than any other time in history. Apparently as a country we have raised confident and optimistic children. The country has also produced a very lazy work force. These two wouldn't seem like they go together but the truth is that the confidence that has been created has developed completely independent of the idea of work.
With the advent of microwaves, computers and cell phones, our society waits for nothing. The answer to virtually every single question is at our fingertips in ways it has never been before. Nobody has to actually be patient anymore. Because of this, people expect success and money to come quick. The focus is now on labels and dollars.
Today people are anxious to move ahead, to make more money, have a fancy title, receive perks etc. Generally in my experience there are three types of people in the workplace
money is the priority
titles and forward movement are the priority
head down, work hard and hope someones gives me an opportunity
the first two groups tend to be the squeakiest wheels of the group. They were taught to speak up and ask for what they wanted, they were told they were the best, they were told that anything is possible
they had money and all that goes with that. This is not to imply that everyone is rich but parents of the last couple of generations worked hard to provide their children with things they never had so 5 year olds have i-phones and i-pads. High school kids wear designer labels as the rule instead of the exception now.
Very few have heard the word no.
I originally wrote this post weeks ago and put it on hold because I know it may be controversial so let me clarify something...not all "millenials" are like this...not all parents coddle their children...no all who never hear the word no end up being lazy. But as a general society/culture I think we can all agree that there is a marked difference between the world we live in today and that of the past when we talk about work ethic and effort. I don't blame parents, teachers or anyone else. I blame the computer, the cell phone, social media...yup I said it. The reason that people don't know the difference between hard work and a sense of entitlement is simple, they don't have to. When everything is so easily accessible things like that get swept away.
How do we then convince people that laziness isn't in their best interest and that they do in fact have to "work for" whatever it is they want? I'm going to share a little secret with you, as with most of the the things I write about, I have no idea the answer to this question. I can only share my experience. My experience, just like yours is the most amazing tool for education, here are a few of the things it has taught me.
Mentors change everything - Just like Charles, I too have had people call me out on my crap and when someone you respect and admire does that, it does something to you. I mean, Harry would have been nothing without Dumbledore and I think we all know that.
Who is your Dumbledore?
Never underestimate the power of a good failure - yeah yeah yeah...Jordan failed a million times and didn't make his high school team...blah blah blah. It's easy to spout out quotes like that but the most driven people take failure as a personal affront...they get mad and instead of taking out on someone else they use it to challenge themselves for the next big thing...
what wonder has occurred because of you failing?
People are always worried about Bob. "What about Bob?" What Bob is doing is none of your business. Do you want to be average or do you want to be amazing? If it is the latter then why would you compare what Bob "gets" away with or does to you? Who cares what he does? It matters what you do and if you spend a chunk of your time worry about Bob, you get less done.
more like "who cares about bob", am I right?
Some people just have bad taste. It's true...I mean did you know there are people out there who DO NOT like ice-cream? I mean how is that even possible? If people can turn down the creamy deliciousness that is mint chocolate chip then obviously those people might not think you are so great either. But like I said, not everyone has good taste so just on't get them something the next time you are in the Baskin Robbins drive-thru line. (YES they do have those.)
do you care if they like your flavor?
so I guess the real question is...
do you want to be Charles Barkley or do you want to be a Carl Herrera?
(no offense Carl, sure you're a stand up dude.)
but the answer is always gonna be...
always be charles barkley
in my book anyway.
so, who are you gonna be? tell me below...
I'm reading a new book about modern romance. Yup, that is seriously what it is about. I'm not afraid to admit it. Admittedly, I did not know it was about that when I started reading it, but by the time my Kindle told me I was 15% into the book I was hooked. It got me thinking about how weird the concept of romance has gotten and how that same weird concept has infiltrated our work life as well and if it was a good thing or not.
I'd like to meet the first person that asked their significant other to marry them on an arena score board or the first person to YouTube a flash mob wedding proposal. I'd like to meet them and punch them in the face. (It may sound mean but it is what it is.
When those people did that, they changed everything because they made proposals this massive event that now has no originality, no meaning and forces people to think bigger and bigger is their only option. (If you asked someone to marry you in this form, I'm not talking about you, you didn't have a choice, it was expected so I understand. I'm mad at the 1st person who did it, they are on my list.) Now we live in a world of awkward white guys dancing to impress their wife and relatives at the reception and millions of judging spectators on YouTube.
You are probably now wondering, what in the world I am talking about. Modern romance has turned us into braggadocious show boating competitive weirdo's. It isn't just with potential lifemates either. All of the sudden we are trying to do the same thing at work.
We apply for jobs online with a thousand other yahoo's for the same role. A computer picks up if we chose the right generic words to win the interview lottery. Then we chat with an HR person that often times hasn't been provided any real information on the role. If you pass this step you then get to meet with 1 to 20 other people on the team to determine if you are a fit for the role. There is no timeline provided, call backs are never when they say they will be, nobody responds to your thank you email, voicemail or thank you card, even though it is an expected practice. So basically we do all of these things just to play the game. What this means, is that the idea of "modern romance" or technology has quite literally turned getting a new job into winning the employment lottery.
I sound bitter, I know but maybe I am. I have been helping a lot of people lately to find jobs and the responses and experiences I hear about are appalling. These are seriously qualified people with good resumes, good personalities and everything else you would expect from someone you wanted to hire. Now being qualified isn't enough. You need your own career flash mob. Full disclosure, you probably shouldn't do a flash mob for an HR department.
So I guess the question is, what would be the equivalent to a wedding proposal flash mob for our careers? How do we let people know who we are and what we have to offer in a compelling "man I gotta hire this kid right away" kind of way?
Some people do have some pretty interesting ideas from sandwich boards saying "hire me", taking out ads, video resume's etc. In some small cases, that works, but it isn't a guarantee. I am not sure I know the answer but...I will say this. Maybe this type of crazy idea job hunting will lose its luster. Maybe we are in the down slide of schemes and tactics to get a job and we are moving up towards good old fashioned hard word, dedication and drive...I said MAYBE, which probably reinforces the fact that I have no clue what the answer is. That reinforces the fact that maybe this post doesn't have its plot wrapped up in a nice bow.
Let's bring it back to the beginning and the idea of a flash mob wedding proposal. How many stories that start that way end with a 50th wedding anniversary? This is not meant as a judgement more of a hypothesis. When you start something as life altering as a marriage or a job it is special. You are learning new things every day, you get butterflies, there is always something new and exciting to talk about and share. All of that means that there isn't a need for any flashy addition to make it better, it's already awesome.
As time goes by, in a marriage or a job things start to settle, they become a little more routine, the quirks we used to love now make the hair on our neck raise up. THIS is when we need a scoreboard proclamation of love. This is when we need to be reminded why we are there. This may be easy to imagine in relation to a marriage or love, a tad harder maybe for a job. I see i like this, fancy resume's and big bold gestures may in fact get someone's attention at a place of employment, they may even get you in to a job but getting in is only the first step. Once you're in is when the hard work really begins and unless you are always at score board level or above, the expectation you created isn't being met. You have to do more and more to be seen and recognized for your work and it is usually at this point when people start to not like the job they so publicly fought to get.
I think it is time to bring some real romance back to our lives. It is time for us to do the work that gets us scene, recognized and adored. Modern romance? I'll take good old fashioned "till death do us part" kind of romance and get a career instead of a job.
no flash mob or scoreboard required.
In a shock to everyone I know, I missed the Emmy's this year. It is a shock because I am actually known for my Award Show parties. Sadly, this meant that I had to watch clips afterwards, What really makes this sad is the fact that it really felt like the Year of the Woman (again), at least from social media and traditional media following the event.
Obviously everyone has been talking about the speech made by Viola Davis which and for good reason, it was beautiful, poignant and thought provoking. It aligned so clearly with not just the issues of women of color on television and movies but the entire culture of race continue as a global community to perpetuate. Between the increasing racial tensions in our country with regard to law enforcement to the Syrian Refugee Crisis we remain a world where hate spreads.
If you were to ask most people if they are filled with hate or are prejudiced against other people, they will say no. Nobody admits to being hateful. They make excuses for what they do based on a variety of experiences, religion, history etc. Think about it, most people will admonish the atrocities of World War II and the concentration camps or the Civil Rights Movement yet so many are standing by and watching as the refugees are hit with fire hoses and dogs or another video of a black American being beaten or killed by an officer of the law.
So what does all of this have to do with the title of this post?
The other speech that impacted me but got less coverage was that of Regina King. Her speech was not necessarily out of the ordinary for an acceptance speech except for her seemingly very sincere shock at having won. There was one section/line though that stopped me.
It is a small but powerful sentence that I haven't been able to get my mind off of it since. It seems that we hear and see in the media a lot of the negatives and burdens of being a woman but rarely see the "power and blessing" being extolled. It is why I think this phrase needs more attention.
I study, speak and educate on women and it took me a minute to determine if I had ever expressed the power and blessing I feel being a woman. My stomach dropped as I realized that I don't honor that enough. Women are the most powerful force in the globe. Many will argue with me I am sure but let's really think about here.
1st and foremost we are the caretakers of the world. Without women, our children wouldn't become healthy and contributing adults to society. Women literally are raising the future.
We are responsible for 80% of all purchases
advertiser's want our money
We have a seat at the table - in some cases at the head of the table
We are big in numbers and we are good at organizing around a cause
we have more women in high places
the power to influence - in my mind, women are the most influential people and yet in the past have never received credit for this
We are educated
70% of all high school valedictorians are women
62% of all associates degrees
57% of all bachelors degrees
63% of masters degrees
53% doctoral degrees
now that is power...
So that is the power of being a woman, let's talk about the blessings.
It's a blessing because we have a voice and using that voice is changing the world in big ways. I feel blessed to call myself a woman when I see all of the amazing things women are doing. I feel blessed to be/have:
We are blessed enough to live in a time where we can get educated and fight for a career, a family and more and there is power in all of that
lots of conversations around women and girls now
to have a voice
empathetic to others
to be a caretaker
to be able to like sports and wear nail polish at the same time
that women in my generation earn more than our mother's and grandmother's on average and get to spend that money the way we want and still are selfless enough take care of everyone around us
I don't have to wear heels to cook in ( I actually don't have to cook) but I can
I can do anything I want but I don't have to do anything I don't want to do
The real blessing in my life is that I get to help other girls and women by sharing my experiences
There is power and blessings in being whoever we are and it is imperative that we dig in to realize what it means to us so that we can celebrate and express gratitude for who and what we are. Once we realize our own blessings we can be more empathetic to others and open up opportunities for people who don't have them; whether it is welcoming refugees into our country and caring for them, volunteering our time to help others or opening up roles for women of color and other individuals in our art. You may say these have nothing to do with each other but the do. The art that these women do open our eyes to the experiences of others.
Quick tip, be sure to look up the show Regina won her Emmy for, American Crime. It was an amazing look inside ALL sides of a single situation and the struggles we still see around race and gender in this country.
I should start this post by coming clean. I am so guilty of this that my picture should probably be next to the definition in Webster's Dictionary.
It is because of the fact that I am basically an expert in this that I can give advice on why it is just not cool. First, let me explain. Verbal diarrhea sounds pretty gross. It is supposed to. You have experienced it before I'm sure. It is when someone feels they have to speak about everything and they just keep talking and adding so much information that it causes a mental overload in the people who are listening. Once they are done talking, you actually feel like they just threw up (their words) all over you and now you want to take a shower because you just feel gross.
One of my motto's has always been to stand up, speak up; stand out, speak out. so you can imagine why this one might be a struggle for me. In the workplace there are generally three types of people in a conference room.
the person who diligently takes notes and nods their head from time to time but says very little
the person who participates sparingly and calculated, waiting first for what the boss and everyone is going to say
then there are the people that have to speak so bad that they sometimes have to sit on their hands to stop themselves from jumping in
yes I like to talk and yes I have a perspective and opinion and I suppose I just feel like if I don't say anything nobody will know that. This by the way is perfectly normal and acceptable. When it gets to be too much is when it starts to backfire against you. I am also very fond of the saying
You don't have to tell everyone, everything.
I am fond of it because it is something I need to be reminded of constantly. When you tell everyone everything some interesting stuff starts to come to the surface
you start to become the white noise in the room
they stop thinking what you have to say is important or valuable to the discussion because you couldn't possibly have an opinion on everything and be right
people start to get antagonistic just to see if they can get you rattled
it doesn't create a collaborative environment
other group members will back up, not wanting to delve in to the discussion that you may be so passionate about for fear of getting cut off
you may go one step too far in what you say and kill your whole case
How does a serial verbal up-chucker move past their tendencies?
Like most things in life, this has a simple solve. Let me explain. Most people enter a meeting room with some sort of agenda. You want the other people in the room to buy into your idea, appreciate the work you put into something or help you get something off the ground. When you have verbal diarrhea, you come in hot, guns blazing for battle. This is before you even know if a battle is necessary, it puts people on edge.
If you prepare for the battle, however, things go differently. Understand what your goals are going to be before you head in to your next meeting, ask yourself one or more of the following questions:
have i eaten yet?
I know you're laughing at this but it's like the Snickers commercial says; "you're not yourself when you're hungry". If you're going to get people to collaborate with you then you need to be on your A game, so get something in your belly. Besides, food is amazing so why wouldn't you want to be eating all the time?
It is also good to be well hydrated and have used the restroom, this might take a while.
who do i expect will be in the room & who do i expect will object to what i am bringing to the table?
This is sort of a "know your allies", "know your enemies" kind of approach. There is nothing worse than going to battle in the boardroom and watching someone switch sides in the middle. It throws you off you game and is often difficult to recover from so know who you are going up against. Know their arguments, position and where they are vulnerable or open to suggestion.
what is your point? what is your ultimate takeaway?
the things that almost always accompanies verbal diarrhea is panic, fear, a bad feeling in your stomach that you aren't being heard or not being understood. What if that is your own fault? What if you didn't come in with a clear idea and path to explain your position? You think that you are prepared but are you really? I will admit, I am an extremely passionate person. I will fight to the death for what I believe in with high emotions and vigor. That being said I have been in situations where someone came back with some good counterpoints and I was there with my mouth open and nothing coming out because they stumped me. I under estimated the objections to what I was bringing to the table and then wasn't prepared to argue against them. Rookie Mistake.
I guess what I am really trying to say here in WAY TOO MANY WORDS...(hard habit to break), is be aware and keep the following in mind...
be aware of your surroundings
know who you are going after
know what you really want to happen
know when you have lost your audience
know that sometimes silence is best
I realize I am trying to blog for the masses, but I will readily admit that this one is for me. Everyone has a journey and if you're lucky it takes a long time to get to the end. Make sure you are enjoying the view and course correcting along the way.
you came back for part 2. YEAH!
here's where we left off... (if you missed Wednesday's part one, go read it so you can catch up.)
when it happens to you...
I was struggling at work. It wasn't WITH the work necessarily. That was always the easy part. I was struggling with the structure around me and the way in which business was done. This is not to say my way was right, it is simply saying that I wasn't used to what was happening and it confounded me.
You see, in my experience, work had always been somewhat easy. I got the job, I went in, worked hard, got bored, asked for more, did more and then typically moved on to something new. Here I was in a job that I loved but the environment was all wrong. For the first time in my career it felt as if people were judging me. It felt like people didn't like me. I understand that in the professional world "being liked" should not be what keeps you up at night and normally it wouldn't. I am pretty confident in who I am and I know that I am not for everyone but at work, I had never had to deal with that.
On a weekly, sometimes daily basis, I was told one or more of the following things:
- you are too aggressive
- maybe if you toned it down a bit, people would be more receptive
- they think you are a bitch
- why don't you ask (fill in the blank with any guy's name) to help
- he got promoted because he had more experience (despite having less education and work experience than me)
- we just really need you to be less emotional
- you shouldn't care so much
- You are really good at what you do but we just need you to change this one little thing
- your personality just doesn't mesh well here
- some people think you are too harsh, I don't but "some" people do
I would come home every night and feel like I had gone a few rounds in a boxing ring. Wasn't I hired because I was aggressive? Wasn't I hired because I am good and show results? Should I be worried that people don't "like" me? Why in the heck should I not "care" about what I am doing? Wait, why wasn't I promoted?
I think this happens a lot to women, maybe not this exact thing but the idea that at some point at work, you are told to act different than who you are and you are done in so in a way that wouldn't have been said if you were a guy. Heck, some of the guys I worked with literally would go into my bosses office and FART, yes FART and they would laugh with the boss about it. First of all WHAT? or to stay with the theme...
I am not kidding. When we find ourselves in these situations (not the farting, the stuff before that) MOST women, start to question their qualifications and value. They feel the need to justify themselves and the make accommodations that men wouldn't. But why wouldn't we?
For example, how many times have you been in a meeting, maybe you are the only woman, and you are the one is asked to take notes or call for lunch? In my entire 20 plus year career I have NEVER seen a guy take meeting notes OR order lunch. NEVER! We are not "just one of the guys" and apparently that is less somehow.
These things might seem small to some but they really add up to a lot and they are why teaching our daughters to be leaders is so important. We will not become leaders if we do not acknowledge what we bring to the table. We have to find a way to move past the ridiculousness of experiences like the one I explained.
I know what you're thinking, was it really that easy for me to just "get past it"?
I was upset. I was confused and don't tell anyone, but I basically cried on my drive home every single night. This was not what I signed up for. I really had a crisis of confidence and I am NOT a person who has a confidence issue at work. But I felt like I was just hanging there and since I knew this was not me I had to develop a game plan. Something had to change and unfortunately I have yet to secure a super power that allows me to bend people at my will. This means...
i couldn't just hang there anymore...i had to be the change.
to be continued...
next we'll talk about ways to change our attitude, outlook & responses in the workplace so that we can continue our upward climbs on those ladders we're always hearing about. Till Then...
I talk a lot about "finding your purpose" and going after it. In essence making the decision to "love what you do and do what you love". I realize this is a process and not something that can be simplified.
An old co-worker of mine though epitomizes the dream of being able to do this. I will probably over simplify his journey but he decided to go after his dream of being a photographer. He packed up and moved from California to New York City. He has now traveled around the world taking some of the most amazing pictures I have ever seen.
We can look at another person's journey and assume that it was easy for them. We act as if they have less hurdles than we do, more time than we do or special circumstances that makes things harder for us than other people. The truth of the matter is we all have the opportunity to walk towards our purpose. We each have to go through our own hurdles and bumps in the road but it is still something we can all do. The biggest obstacle in our way is deciding for ourselves that we are worth it. Once yo make that decision here are a few things you will need to remember.
it will not always be easy
you will be told no, you can't or you shouldn't
it will be fun
you will learn things about yourself you never knew
you will be happy you did it
I am not going to say much more than that today. It's Friday, it's nice outside and this is a lot to think about in and of itself. What I will leave you with is a video that the friend I was talking about directed. It's a short couple of minutes but watch it, spend the weekend thinking about how you could go on your own journey towards purpose.
Hope you all have an amazing weekend dreaming of the possibilities and start seeing some light of your own.