This photo was on Facebook today and it just really resonated me from a personal and professional standpoint. I seem to be so very busy lately with all sorts of projects, but which ones really speak to me? I work freelance to be able to have the control over my business and my life. The kind of freedom that people stuck in their cubicles dream of. Am I being true to that?
Are you true to yourself? That’s an interesting question. It should be the kind of question we all ask ourselves and then have the luxury to be able to live. Sadly though, many either can’t, choose not to, or even worse, don’t even know that it’s an option. I fortunately have the option and can, but am I?
The great thing though about life, is you get a choice. No one can make you do anything. The “gun to your head” scare tactic…you still have a choice. “I had no choice” is never an excuse. And I’ve decided to make some choices to help me get back to being true to myself and what my goals are in my career and my life.
They are not easy choices. Nothing really truly great in life is an easy choice, an easy decision. But you know it’s a great choice, a great decision when once you make it and act on it, you feel a release off your shoulders, a spring in your step, an excitement each morning when you awake to face the day ahead.
I have an extremely odd way of making those tough decisions. I use a Magic 8 Ball. Yes, that’s right. I ask my question, swirl the ball around and let it reveal the answer. BUT, I don’t look at what the Magic 8 Ball says for my answer, I get more philosophical than that. When I read the answer, I focus on my immediate gut reaction. Do I feel relieved? Or do I feel like I was punched in the stomach. That first, immediate reaction is sub-conscious and can’t be faked. By honing in on that, it allows me to make those decisions that I know I need to make, but I keep rationalizing both sides of it.
Regardless of the strategies to help make choices, important decisions in your life, they must be made. Waiting in limbo for too long may make your life stand still, but time is still passing, time that you can not get back. Time spent worrying, rationalizing, stagnating.
This photo had me thinking about the decisions that I’ve had to make recently that I had been stagnating on. Those choices that I need to make to get back to who I am, to be true to myself. Those choices that once made, will drastically improve my personal and professional life because when you are living and working on your purpose, you feel invigorated, alive and most importantly, happy.
Making a Postive Difference in Someone’s Life..
Years ago (heck, might even be close to a decade ago), I did a weekend seminar designed to help you find your purpose in life and then use that purpose to make your dreams come true. Hokey, I know, but I’m a self-help nut-job. :-) After the first full day of classes, I spent the evening really reflecting. Journaling, just letting whatever come out. From there I reviewed what I had written when it just hit me…my purpose in life, what truly makes me happy.
In the workshops, they told us that in order to truly get a honed-in succinct purpose, you had to get it down to 2 or 3 words. That’s right! We had to condense our purpose , what we are destined to do in this world, and get it down to 2-3 words. In that evening’s personal pow-wow, I came up with mine…evoke emotion. To elaborate slightly, I feel the best, the happiest, the most successful when I am making other people around me happy. I like to be the cause of people’s happiness. And it doesn’t have to be anything big or crazy. Sometimes the littlest things can make someone happy. Just as a straw can break a camel’s back, so too can straws bring happiness to people (heck, I’m happy everytime I have a straw in my Starbuck’s drink!).. :-)
I think that’s why I can’t focus my efforts in work at just one genre. Lots of things that I can do make people happy. When I put makeup on someone or teach them how to make themselves beautiful, it makes them (and me) happy. Some of my most favorite customers are the ones that when I finished their look, I couldn’t get the mirror out of their hands. They were so happy with how they looked, that they actually started tearing up. I love that!
In my social media and digital communications work, I try to find fun and humor in everything. With the explosion of tech communication, we are constantly bombarded by news, horror stories, disasters, and drama. Unfortunately, the drama sells, it goes viral, it’s what clogs up your newsfeed. And it’s a major downer! I can’t stand that I scroll and see a natural disaster somewhere, another scroll and I see a man-made disaster, another scroll and children are missing and/or abused, another scroll and there’s racial, sexual, financial hatred. I can’t stand it. So I made it my mission to try to change that. I try to make my posts and articles uplifting, inspiring, and always a tiny bit (ok, some more than just a tiny bit) humorous.
Sometimes I lose track of it all, but then something happens, someone says something and then I’m reminded of the power I have over other people. A great friend of mine revealed that she can’t read my posts at work anymore. I’m serious! She said it’s because she laughs so crazy, so hysterically that she either spits out whatever she’s eating or drinking all over her charts (she’s a nurse) or she ends up having people run into the room to see if she’s ok. And I love that! She’s come to expect that from me and she knows that if she ever needs a pick-me-up, then I’m right there, at any hour of the day, on her smart phone.
I guess you could say that I’m a little bit of a therapist as well. Taking people when they are having a rough time and making them feel a little bit better, give them a little more hope. A good friend of mine just lost her job. That can be devastating in this market especially when you add into the mix that she is a single mother and her car is not working right now. Being able to help give someone hope and even make them laugh a little helps with the healing process, helps with the moving on.
Now, I’m not going to say that all of this goody, goody, cheerfulness is with me all the time. I’m human, I have my down times too, just like everyone else. And there’s times when I simply can’t be that “go-to” gal for my peeps because I’ll have crap going on in my life. And while I love being there for everyone else’s problems, I do not feel comfortable sharing mine with others. Weird, I know. I’m just going to blame it on being an introvert. Lol. But I created a separate blog just for me, for my trials and tribulations. You might say that it’s my therapist. Twenty minutes typing away and then I’m back to my ole self again. So, if you need a pick-me-up or a good laugh and I’m not answering, wait 20 minutes. I just might be dealing with one of my crises. :-)
Hello, my name is Jeanette and I’m an organizing freak. Yes, I admit it. I can not function in chaos. I’m a planner as well. I have to know all my steps, my master to-do list, my map so-to-speak. I have always been that way and I am finally comfortable enough and proud to say that I will always be that way. We all operate and function in different ways. Just as people learn via different methods, people can also thrive (or not thrive) in various environments.
For years, nay almost a decade, I thought that something was wrong with me, on why I couldn’t succeed in doing things, why others succeeded when I didn’t, why I consistently felt stressed out and not myself. Part of it was those people that I thought were my mentors and while they were (and still are) amazing people which I learned a lot from, they consistently told me one thing over and over again which seriously hindered me…they told me “quit planning and just do”. While that may work for most people, I am certainly not most people and it definitely did not work for me. And it wasn’t until recently that I realized that.
I was bumbling along in my career. Trying to succeed in this, trying to succeed in that, with zero luck. I was attempting the “just do”, but I didn’t feel like myself and when you don’t feel like yourself, you definitely lack self-confidence. And when you don’t have self-confidence, well…everyone can tell. I didn’t feel strong or sure of myself. I constantly second-guessed myself. I consistently let fear of the unknown get the better of me. And I think that the biggest thing for me is the fear of the unknown. Heck, I get ridiculously uncomfortable driving in new places unless I’ve reviewed the route via Google Maps at least a half dozen times. I need to know the route, the back up route and the back up route for the back up route. The same is true of my life.
I make plans and then I play devil’s advocate to come up with a few back-up plans just in case. I’m constantly joking around that if you create a back up plan, then you won’t need it, but if you don’t have a back-up plan, then that’s when you’ll need it. Yeah, I joke about it, but I really truly believe it to the core. It calms me, it soothes me. Knowing I have a plan B and a plan C, allows me to relax about plan A, not worry so much about it, have more self-confidence about it and you know what? I very rarely have to use plan B and I can’t remember the last time I’ve had to use plan C. It’s just so comforting to me knowing that they are there.
And that works for me. It gets rid of a lot of the chaos (I’ll never get rid of all of it, nor would I want to as chaos does provide that air of excitement), but most importantly it leaves me with a calmer mind that allows me to succeed in my project du jour.
Now for those naysayers who are thinking to themselves (or even out loud), “Sure, you’re a great planner, but plan all you want, nothing happens until you do something”. Here’s where I take my planning to the “doing” level. Once I have a gameplan, I set it up into teeny tiny, succinct to-do lists. I mean like ridiculously tiny and succinct (google such-and-such to brainstorm, pick top 3 ideas from google brainstorm session, create a gameplan for each top 3 ideas from google brainstorm session-yes, those have been actual to-do items for me). Then I take those to-do items and add them into my calendar task list for the appropriate day that it should be done on. If a to-do item doesn’t or can’t have a due date, then that means that I need to re-evaluate it in my overall gameplan and tweak it to where it can have a due date. Everything in my gameplans ultimately have due dates. That’s how I can take my planning self and turn it into a doing self. If it’s a project that take two weeks to complete, then I break it down into teeny, tiny bites/tasks that can each be accomplished in one day and then I add all of those to my task list.
Sure, I end up having 40-50 tasks each day to do, but you know what? Over half of those tasks take 5 minutes or less each. And I’m telling you, you definitely feel like you are having a successful day when you are constantly checking off things as completed. And lots of little baby steps can take you really far.
Creating those task lists by due date also help clear my mind in that I only worry about what is on my list for today. I don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or next week. I don’t have to worry about forgetting something, because as soon as I think of “something that I have to make sure I don’t forget”, I add it to my calendar task list and then I’m free to forget about it until it conveniently pops up in my list on the day it’s due. It’s refreshing and limits my daily stress.
Now, one extremely important thing that I have learned and 100% respect is that not everyone operates like I do. Where I try to avoid chaos, there are others out there that thrive in it, that love it, that fuels them. There are those people who just the thought of a to-do list freaks them out. And it’s very important to know that that’s ok! We all function differently in different ways and in different environments. The key to success, especially when working in groups, is to understand that the way that you do things is not the way that others are going to want to do things. It’s ok to allow each member of a team to do things their way as long as they get to the agreed upon final product. Just as Google Maps has various ways to get somewhere, the same is true of projects.
I guess what I’m trying to say is to embrace who you are and how you work while respecting the way others work. Tolerance like in all areas of life is important. Be tolerant to others but also be tolerant to yourself. That’s the one we typically forget. Let others be themselves, but don’t forget to be yourself as well.
In the past 6 months, I’ve really evaluated the people in my work life. Being an introvert, I’m always particular about my personal friends, but business contacts and colleagues I always tried to keep everyone happy and be there for everyone. And I’ve got to say, if that’s how you are working your business, STOP RIGHT NOW! You can not and should not be working with and pleasing everybody.
People work really hard to get good reputations. They work hard, do the right things (most of the time), always watch their Ps and Qs (again, most of the time). Lol. But what people don’t consider is that who they associate with on a business level also affects their reputation.
I first encountered this years and years ago when I was working for a rental car company in their management program. I interviewed for a promotion, but what I found out later completely appalled me. The wife of one of the top managers there was my friend and she was told that I was by far the best choice for the position, but the direct manager said no because he hated the manager I was currently working for. So basically, I got hosed because of who I was associated with. Sucks.
Fast forward many years later and I had my own make-up business. Being freelance, you never know when your next paycheck is going to come, so when you first start, you tend to make the erroneous decision to accept every client that comes in because, hey, you gotta pay your electric bill this month. There were quite a few clients that while they were consistent, they definitely did not mesh with the image and reputation I was working to build. They consistently booked me, but also consistently wanted discounts and freebies. They made lots and lots of mistakes that in turn made me look bad. And other work colleagues were absolute liars that put me in the most ridiculous (and heartbreaking) situations.
It wasn’t until I realized that these toxic people needed to be out of my career in order for me to move forward. I will admit, I was scared shitless when I told each of these people that I no longer wished to work with them. I mean, there’s no easy way to say it. With one client, I just told him that my rates had recently changed (I hadn’t raised my rates in 5 years) and that I could no longer provide the discounts he was accustomed to as I felt that I had already proved my worth. He stopped using me, and you know what? I am completely ok with that. I no longer have any last minute stresses of him needing me in 30 minutes only to earn $20. Another client I did the exact same thing to and guess what…he said, “ok” and continues to book me, but at my full rate now. He respects me more now too.
The “mistakes” client I was simply up front with. I told the client that I was no longer available due to the multiple serious communications errors that were not only affecting me, but also the members of my team who work with me loyally due to the respect they have for me. And the liar…it just caused enough atrocities that it was easy to end that one. I just quit that client cold turkey.
Was it difficult to come to these decisions? ABSOLUTELY! Is it awkward when I see these people? ABSOLUTELY! How can it not be. Am I glad that I did this? ABSOLUTELY!
Since siphoning out my bad colleagues and clients, my work has actually grown, and grown A LOT! I’m now working on multiple projects with some amazing people that respect me, trust me, and that actually help my reputation get better and better.
So, if you feel stuck in your work right now, take a look at WHO you are around. Get rid of the un-classy people (in a classy way of course) and see what leaps and bounds your business takes. It will be ridiculously scary saying no to a paycheck, but it is so very much worth it. You work hard for your reputation, don’t let other people ruin it.
And to those clients of mine that I am currently working with…Shirley, Scott, Val, Adrenna, Susan…love you guys!
Lately I’ve been doing an awful lot of bartering and I’ve got to say…I almost prefer bartering to getting paid cash money!
With cash, I use it for things like buying groceries, paying the electric bill, putting gas in my car. And while I enjoy eating good food, having lights on at night and driving my kitty cat around (I own an old Jag), I don’t get to do very much fun stuff for myself. Maybe it’s the “mom” in me that I want to spend my money on “smart” things for my family, but sometimes I just want things for myself. I work hard, I deserve it. A happy mom/wife equals a happy life, right?
So it’s been exciting lately to barter my services for those that my friends and colleagues offer. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve bartered for recently:
-make-up/hair styling services for a couture, one-of-a-kind hat
-make-up/hair styling services for one-of-a-kind exquisite jewelry
-logo and marketing materials design for facials and chemical peels
-make-up/hair styling services in exchange for photo shoots
-marketing materials design for house cleaning services
-make-up/hair styling services for babysitting
I’m really open to just about anything! I think that we can all get a lot farther along in our lives and careers by reintroducing the barter system. Granted we still need paying gigs to be able to pay for our electric bill, but why not barter with our friends, colleagues and neighbors for other things?
What things do you like to barter for? Got anything you’d like to barter with me for?
Photo from thewordchef.com
There is absolutely nothing UNclassier than a grumpy grumpster. Bad, negative attitude, bitchy even. It’s just so not classy. But we all get that way some days. It’s normal, it’s natural. We do so many things throughout our days that if we don’t take a little time to destress, it can drive us absolutely bonkers. Some days we just need to “check out” for a while and yesterday was most definitely one of those days for me.
I’ve been handling and running so many different projects lately (ones that I’m excited about!), but between those, a hubbie, two kids, and the not-so-fun symptoms of peri-menopause, I will admit it, I was bitchy yesterday…and the day before that…and if we’re counting, the day before that too. You get the idea. So I decided to take a much needed break last night even though my to-do list was horrendous, I was going to do no one any good unless I decompressed and took some time for myself. I decided to do a tech-free spa night.
There’s no fabulous pictures of my spa night because I went tech-free for the evening-no emails, no Facebook, no television. I had a pile of fashion magazines waiting to be read (ummmm…one of them was from last November…oops). I also had a complexion that was feeling worse for wear. So I gave myself a DIY facial. I removed my eye make-up and washed my face. Then I put on a glycolic peel mask (the one from No7) and waited a little bit longer than what they initially said, ok, a lot longer, but who’s counting? After washing it off, I put on a super hydrating mask from Nuxe (the 24hr hydrating one). After letting that sit, I rinsed it off then went to work putting on my treatments. I’m really loving the new L’Oreal Revitalift series-specifically the hyaluronic acid serum and the regular serum. I used the hyaluronic one where I needed it so basically everywhere from my nose down. The regular serum I put everywhere else. I then topped everything off with a heavy duty shea butter cream from No7 (the one with the rose top). I then plopped myself in my recliner with a cocktail, some chocolates and my fashion magazines. All, in all it made for a fabulous night!
This morning I woke up to the softest skin I’ve had in a REALLY long time and I felt motivated to start tackling my to-do list again. Sometimes we just need to step away from things for a few hours and regain ourselves back.
What do you like to do to step away and recharge?
Photo from theje.com