Shame on you, not-knower!

Professional

I have toiled with the idea of becoming a professional of just about every field I have been exposed to. I hear about something cool and spend way too much time writing my story in the future…as a preparation for future interviews or documentary films 😉 about my great success.

My boyfriend and I were discussing today how we can get these stories in our minds that frame our experience. We can be told once that we aren’t organized enough, and then live our entire lives thinking we are not as organized as we should be, regardless of our level of organization. I was told when I was young that I could never have a regular job. I was told I wouldn’t be able to deal with office cultures or climbing the ladder. I would take personality tests that told me I might never fit into the world professionally. I had been internally and externally reinforcing the idea that me and work did not mesh, and we never would. I never thought to question this either. In actuality, I can work in any setting if I decide to, and I am able to fit into the professional world as well as the next guy or gal. I haven’t always known that, but it is true. And, it is crazy how much of my life I spent thinking that I couldn’t. Perhaps, it would be better to re-frame CAN and say ENJOY or WANT or even BE SATISFIED. But, I digress.

Maybe I want to be a UX designer or a bank manager, or maybe I really really don’t. Maybe I want to learn French and become a French teacher or a cooking teacher or a professional financial LEACH! Maybe…but probably not.

The truth is I don’t know. I have been so ashamed to admit that I don’t know that I have created a million narratives and worked really hard to believe them. I have primarily done this out of shame. I either took on the shame myself or allowed someone else to shame me for not having it all figured out yet. Well, you know what? I have NO CLUE, but I don’t want to feel shame surrounding it. It just makes it worse.

 

 

 

Career Positivity

Professional

In an age of women stepping up in the career department and gaining confidence in unprecedented ways historically, I must admit I am not quite there. I suffer from quite the inferiority complex in my professional pursuits and dreams.

I found a website that claims it can help people deal with this using the law of attraction, and it has a step-by-step list.

Step 1: Determine who you feel inferior to.

The article then lists the most frequent culprits of this feeling. The list includes those who have impressive, dynamic careers. I am not sure if this is exactly what it is, but I think it fits the bill enough to display the feeling.

Step 2: Stop worrying what others will think.

I am likely as guilty as the next person on this matter, but I am more guilty of assuming that I am innately flawed than that people are judging me. If anything, I think that they are finding out! “Oh no! They know that I might not be born to do this job that I ONLY do to make money!”

Step 3: Build Confidence

The article suggests that we treat ourselves better, do what we truly love, and act confidently. Those suggestions are pretty vague, unfortunately. But, sure, overall I totally agree. I am a generally confident person, but I could admittedly benefit from building professional confidence specifically. This is a general idea that I can keep in mind until I can seek out building professional confidence as a separate topic possibly.

Step 4: Replace negative talk with self-affirming talk

This idea is what drove me to write this blog post in the first place! I had a moment today during work where I felt inadequate, exposed, and downright shitty. I wallowed for longer than I should have. Then, I thought it might be beneficial to change my mindset. That led me to the post. And, I need to practice self-affirming talk in my professional life more often…i.e. all the friggin’ time!

Step 5: Surround Yourself with Positive People

Yes.

….No more steps!

But, when do I ask the universe for some stuff? I was waiting for this part. I guess I will have to try again tomorrow!

 

A Wanna Be

Professional

I am a “wanna be”. There are pretty specific requirements for such a role.

  1. Not be much of much.
  2. Have had potential at one point of life to be more.
  3. Not follow through.
  4. Not know how to follow through.
  5. Dream about being someone or something else.
  6. Repeat.

This is the life of a wanna be, a loser, a me. I am pretty smart, pretty nice, pretty funny, but I am not good at anything. I am kind of a loser in a lot of ways. I feel like I am not crushing it at work. I feel hopelessly in the middle. I am Middle Michelle… not bad, not great, not sad, not happy. I am not passionately engaged or passionately disengaged.

Am I sedated? Am I lost? Or, am i painfully mediocre… just another regular ass person that thought they were going to change and save the world. I am just NOT a big deal, and I am really bummed at the prospect of coming to terms with this reality.

I thought I was going to be interesting and wild and weird forever. Most of those parts of me were aided by the intoxication of myself and those around me. I was never those things. I was always just me.

Is there a version of me that can still do something great? Is it possible to be the lame, loser, underachiever that is me…and still DO something great. Like, maybe I can’t BE great, but maybe I can DO great. Be is what I am. I can’t change that. I was always screwed in this regard. Perhaps, though, I can DO something new and interesting. Maybe I can be scared but still do something. Maybe it isn’t over even though I am increasingly SUREEEE that I am a lame, loser, freakazoid, boring, wannabe, idiot that stresses out a lot over dumb stuff.

Maybe I can still do something. Maybe I haven’t sung my last song after all. Maybe, this wannabe can fly.

This might be it.

Professional

At times, life feels devoid of purpose…a purpose-less life. I have heard people who recover from various life crisis, such as quitting a corporate job or selling a business, call it a purpose problem. A purpose problem seems to be there when you are crazy successful and you lose your way. Then, your story can turn into a tale of changing gears and being successful at something new. What about those of us that feel like we never have found purpose? What about people like me that usually feel like their days are boring and bland and that there isn’t much they can do about? Where are the podcasts and the inspirational books and seminars for those people? Have they not been made or created because no one who has “made it” can understand that line of thinking?

I have been studying and pursuing a more mindful and present approach to life. Perhaps I need to practice what I have been reading about in this regard. Perhaps I need to accept that I may not have a purpose on this earth. Perhaps, I am actually like floating accidental-like on a breeze. It is possible that I have no innate or unique talents in this life or on this plane. This might just be as good as it gets for me. Can I learn to be okay with that?

Now maybe this way of thinking will open up new avenues for me…avenues I hadn’t thought of or allowed myself to explore. But, maybe…just maybe… I am meant to do exactly what I am doing in this moment. And it doesn’t matter what I think about it or wish I had. This right here….this might be it. Perhaps I need to accept that this…is my fate.

Often times, when I have received a stroke a good luck, it is after I have given up its possibility or inevitability. Maybe this is what will happen. Or, maybe it won’t. I might have to be okay with that. I am not completely there yet. That is where I am at. And, that is okay. Everyday, I will try to remember that exactly where I am is perfect, regardless of whether this currently reality changes in any way. I am right where I am meant to be…even in my confusion. This is it. This is life. Accept it.

Day 32: A new day and a new challenge

My 500 Words, Professional

It is day 32, which means that I have accomplished my initial goal of writing 500 words a day for 31 days. I did it! It also means that I cultivated a habit during those 30 days and am now continuing to write. I have extended the goal from 31 days to 50 days. So, the journey continues. I have debated throughout this process whether I should try to focus my messaging to a certain idea or topic throughout, but I like this free form style due to the fact that I have to write every day. In order to stay engaged, I need freedom to switch it up and just write about what feels interesting or good. So, that is what I am going to continue to do.

This weekend has been tough on my body. I am not sure if I am drinking more than normal or just fighting off sickness, but I am so tired! I feel like I need some R&R for the next week or so, and I am so excited for it. The older I get, the less alcohol and me mix. We are slowly going our separate ways. Also, I am staying at someone else’s house with the dog in our bedroom. It is not sitting well with my soul.

In any case, tomorrow will be a new day, and I have high hopes to get back to my healthy, normal self after some sleep and better eating and drinking habits. Balance! Such a struggle to strike it!

On to more pressing matters, like my career. I have been thinking a lot about moving in a more creative direction and trying my hand in a new space. I am interested by light, color, and how it makes you feel or think about a thing. I am just in an exploratory mode when it comes to this, so we will see! But, I would love to have more creativity in my professional life and to work on projects that excite me a bit more than I am currently. But, I also love health and the promotion of wellness. If I could combine these, which I think I can, that would be a cool next step.

I wonder how I could manifest the next step in a way that was meaningful and cool. It isn’t a blue duck, so it is hard to say. I guess I would love to turn this blog into a health and design blog, just to promote those ideas and designs. This could mean anything. It wouldn’t be limited to design in spaces but open to clothing, accessories, art, digital arts, film and more. Am I making any sense?

Basically, I want to explore more about how design can make our lives better, like actually better. Also, maybe it doesn’t. It could be the exploration of this as well. Well, I am just kind of musing for now on what could be. Maybe my next blog will be about the interaction of these two things. Maybe it will not, and I will move on yet again!

Until tomorrow, we shall not know. Tootles amigos!

Day 22: Does surrender make a difference in your career?

My 500 Words, Professional

I wrote in my post yesterday about Eckhart Tolle’s perspective on presence in the your work or your career. And, most importantly, for those frenetic freaks out there like me, what surrender means for change!

I also mentioned yesterday  that I would let readers know some other ways that presence, mindfulness, and surrender has affected me in my professional search. First, surrender to the moment led to my dream (old dream :)) job working in Europe as a 22 year-old travel monster. Then, at age 24, I found myself traveling around Asia, MISERABLE, and paralyzed with fear and indecision regarding the future. I was really depressed, in hindsight to a worrisome level, and told G-O-D, in my saddest head voice, that I was done trying. I would allow whatever came next and I couldn’t fight life anymore. It was either that day or the next day, when I was pushed to go “tubing” so that another girl had someone to go with. We were in Vietnam on an island, and I fell off the tube into the water. When I emerged from the water, I could not walk on my right leg and had ripped the muscles in my leg. It was a miracle, in a bad way physically, but a necessary way mentally. I was on a plane home 1 week later…and on a healthier road to building a new life.

Approximately 1 year from that day, I found myself in another life predicament. I was really happy by this point and healthy. I had paid off debt and felt good about myself. I had interviewed for a flight attendant position with a major airline and was hired (at least to come to a 6 week training) for an Italian speaking role based out of the NY area likely. It was strange for me in a few ways. I was in some ways really excited. I would be traveling to Italy all of the time, which aligned with one part of me. I would also be paid like a big girl (kind of, but I would have benefits) and would finally get back out into the world. It felt like a positive step for me in the life development department, but it wasn’t what I wanted. But, I decided I had to do it.

As departure day approached, I packed my bags, said my goodbyes, and readied myself for a new adventure, even if it didn’t feel like my own. I got down on my hands and my knees and said to G-O-D that I had no clue if this was right for me. I wasn’t sure, but I was going to go. Then, I asked if the universe would intervene if this wasn’t my path. I said, “If this is my path, let’s do it. If it isn’t, I would be okay with that too…even if it means not knowing what is next.” And, I surrendered the outcome entirely. After this, I went about my business. Less than 48 hours before I was set to take off, I received a jumbled phone call from the airline. My offer was rescinded. They messed up and were sorry.

Surrendering took me from a path I didn’t really want but was certain to a path with a highway full of question marks leading in every direction. It was scary, but it was exciting. And, more importantly, I knew it was right.

Day 21: What is a Meaningful Career?

My 500 Words, Professional

I have become a pretty avid listener of Eckhart Tolle. He has some great advice that resonates with me, so perhaps it will resonate with you.

  1. Start with where you are. Accept the moment.
  2. Surrender. TRULY surrender to presence. Be present in every moment.
  3. Do one thing at a time at work, bringing in the possibility for space, whether it is a breath or meditation.
  4. Be grateful for the opportunity to be bored and the opportunity to practice presence.
  5. Do this and it might bring a greater sense of aliveness.
  6. Align yourself with the moment and power begins to flow through you.
  7. First the power flows into your routine activities, your relationships with colleagues, and often then change may come.

 

I love this! I have found this to always be true in my life, change has come after I have accepted exactly where I am, what I am doing, who I am loving, etc. Resistance feels like the winner’s decision, like you are telling the universe that you are better than the moment. In any case, you are making a value judgement on the moment, but the moment just is! You can’t argue with being! But, we try, and, heavens knows, I try, too!

I have done this with every job and have found that it stifles progress in my job, creativity, relationships, and just personal happiness, honestly. I cannot help but recall when I was 22 and working as a waitress. I was living with my parents after college, working at a bar/restaurant, and plotting for the future. My oh my, so much future plotting! After almost 9 months of obsessive planning and feeling trapped– the horror! Alas, I started to read more, to settle into my life, and to trust that it wasn’t forever but it was right now. I started to worry less, have more fun, build stronger relationships. I was lighter, albeit still dreaming and hoping but with excitement instead of panic.

Then, one day, right out of what seemed like the blue, a job I had applied to sent an email asking if anyone could be in Europe by Monday…as an intern had backed out of an amazing travel job opportunity. Without panic or worry, I responded that I could. The next day, we scheduled a job interview and I was on a plane the next morning. It was crazy and unexpected, but totally natural. I had aligned with my power and with the moment. Change flowed naturally through me and around me.

It was a life changing job for me, but it, too, had an expiration date. I have been trying to tap into this force of change since it happened, often without success. After the travel job, I was lost. I had lost my presence and my power. I had lost my way and found a lot of sadness had found its way into my heart and mind, originating both from the external and internal forces of life.

I will share more ways that I have found re-alignment with myself next time, but what I can share that is the theme is that the work is constant. Like losing weight, you don’t lose 30 pounds and then go back to your old ways without gaining the weight back. You don’t align yourself with presence and the power of the moment for one moment and then never again. It really is a constant practice, and practicing this more and solidifying better habits that root me to the now is my goal for 2019.

Day 20: The Mind Needs Problems

My 500 Words, Professional

I just went for a walk to break up the work day, lamenting all of the things that annoyed me about the day. I thought about Eckhart Tolle and the spiritual learnings I have been exposed to the past few weeks. I have been trying to tap into my “inner being” and separating my mind and its ramblings from my true self. I have found this to be a pretty useful exercise,

Conan O’Brien in a recent podcast he posted, mentioned that growing up, he believed that in order to be successful, you have to be miserable. This resonated with me. I grew up thinking that in order to be a good person, I had to suffer; I had to be broke and lose something in order to gain what I wanted. This is really not true. This is a limiting belief that can seep into so many areas of life. It can poison your mindset, your belief in what is possible for your life. The insidiousness of this thinking has been harmful to many of us. I have started just by writing affirmations of the beliefs that I want to have about myself and my life.

I have started to do this to shift my thoughts about work and my career path. As a side note, I write down my BIG goals all the time and revisit them. This is different and is in service of my bigger goals. I digress. So, I wrote down a few things that I thought would help me with work specifically.

Daily affirmations:
– I am so proud of my work.
– I am creative every day.
– I am doing meaningful work.
– I am present.

These daily affirmations were created to combat the negative thoughts that assault me in the midst of my work day. It seems that I am distracted and disempowered at times during my day. I created this “note” on January 18, 2019. I KID YOU NOT that this has helped me drastically. In less than a month, I have felt my job improve and rise to meet my expectations of purpose. This seems ridiculous, but it has been true so far, making me a believer. It might be my attitude, or it might be my reality has shifted. It might be some combination of both. In any case, I have had the best work month that I have had in a long time, maybe ever.

I feel more purposeful, challenged, and in alignment than ever. I have gone from menial and what I have found to be exhausting tasks to being asked to write, research, and learn within complex topics that help further the business and help better protect people. I don’t know what could be better. That is not the say that things have gotten easier. Work has actually become more challenging in the past month, but it has become increasingly worthwhile. I don’t know exactly what is going on, but I like it. I look forward to what is coming next, and I hope I remember to stay positive and to attract the job I desire, not that I think I deserve.

Day 13: Do You Plan Your Posts?

My 500 Words, Professional

Today, I spent a lot of time thinking about my goals, or rather my big, audacious dreams. I am maniacal about my personal information upload and try to cram most moments into brain updates of some kind. Today, I did a lot of that. One podcast I used to accomplish this was by The Life Coach School about setting impossible goals. It builds off the Tony Robbins idea that you need to change your beliefs of what is possible to achieve what was previously thought of as impossible. It resonated. So many dreams that I have yearned for in my life were buried because I thought they were impossible for me…that I could never even come close to achieving them. Crazy! If only I knew how pliable our universe is and how my biggest impediment to achievement was that very thought. Ugh…C’est la vie.

On day 1 of this challenge, I thought it was all a bit of a stretch…that I probably wouldn’t think of a way to write 500 words each day. Now, I am like…”hmph…500 words is pretty doable actually.” How sad to think I could have quit right away…and likely probably already have a trillion times before. Perhaps my first product will be some kind of challenge that anyone looking to smash those limiting beliefs. If you have a belief or an impossibility that makes accomplishing your dreams impossible, share it with me. It would be nice to know I am not alone out here! I am even thinking about starting a podcast. They are my favorite media, and it could be fun to get involved. Do you listen to podcasts?

I digress! I am thinking that I want to add one more feature to this challenge. I want to add an outline of each post…to get in the habit of thinking about what I am going to write before I do it. It might be kind of ridiculous to do this, but I want to get a better idea for how I can optimize my personal writing process. If that means that writing an outline will help, then I want to start doing that! I have gotten comfortable in the past 13 days (only 13 days, gasp!) with pumping out 500 crappy words. But, I want to add a little challenge, without abandoning my current goal of 500 words for 31 days. I will start (and finish!) the edX course “The Writing Process” that is offered by Berkeley through the awesome education platform. I think the course is an undergraduate, introductory level, but I haven’t taken a class like this in years, so I think it will be beneficial. I am also planning to take what I learn and apply it to my new goal to add an outline of my blog post and attach it for the next 18 days. My assumption is that it will improve the content and the flow with just a bit more effort…I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out!

One of my favorite sayings has always been, “trust the process.” What I will do instead is test the process and see if it makes things better 😊.

 

 

 

Day 8: What is copywriting?

My 500 Words, Professional

Copywriting is the creation of text surrounding the publicity, sales, or marketing of a product or service. It is the words or text that strive to promote and persuade the target audience to engage, decide, or act in a certain manner. It is…everywhere. I found myself asking what exactly copywriting was after a conversation that started with me very sure that I knew what it was and ended with me googling it to be sure. I had always thought about copywriting and “copy” in terms of advertising campaigns, and it is. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about this nebulous term and to learn of its broad scope. I decided to sign up for some online courses and to download a copywriting podcast to listen to while I work.

I am learning a few interesting things, but I am struck by one general nagging thought. Copywriting as a profession seems to be devoted to knowing your customer or target audience and telling them in the most efficient and effective way possible how your product or service solves their problem. This spoke to me, as it is about communicating in the most effective way to a certain target audience. And, it sounded fun. So, I was implored to keep learning.

I learned some terms that seemed important as well: value proposition, direct-response copywriting, conversion copywriting, and the 100 audience formula. Why don’t we talk about the importane of copywriting and persuasive messaging more? This seems so critical to the sales and marketing success of an enterprise, but I have only heard it as a freshman year journalism student when kids talked about what kind of jobs they would be OK taking. I was confused then and now, even after many years attempting to understand the professional and regular world in all its weird splendor, it seems like we never talk about the things that matter. If this is a skill, it seems like it is an underdeveloped or at least acknowledged one. Sales is often seen as an ability, a calling, or a product of persistence or beauty. And, yes, perhaps it is all of these things. But, really, it is a skill. And copywriting, the messaging, and the mindset that goes into the creation of impactful words in strategic times and places can teach us a lot about how to sell.

I have been told at various points of my young professional life that I was great at sales, terrible at sales, should definitely make that my career, and should look elsewhere for opportunity. The room has been split. I have found ways to connect and do well and have found plenty ways to fall flat on my face. Luckily, my ego is bothered by the thought that I can’t do something well and especially that I just can’t do it. I like to try to overcome it. Maybe studying copywriting, which combines the need to sell, which exists in every business, and my interest and passion for writing. It would be great if this new avenue to explore might be a fruitful, or at least interesting, one.