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Archive for the tag “taking risks”

Stop Hiding

So there has been a recurring theme that’s been popping up lately.

I came to an epiphany while talking to a good ex. He was wishing me a belated happy birthday and we started talking about a lot of random things. And he said to me some very positive things about me to me.

I asked him if I had changed and to him, he said not one bit, but he was very worried when I was going through my rough patch. He told me he didn’t like it when I would be down on myself because I could do anything.

He said it so simply and with so much love and admiration it made me miss our relationship so much. And it reminded me that whoever I choose needs to shower me with that kind of support. It didn’t feel syrupy at all, because as soon as he said something sweet, he said something absurd and silly as he often does to break the moment. And I enjoy that about him.

I disclosed to my good ex, that for the last several years I had been hiding in a sense.

After what I thought was a failure at a newspaper I worked at, I went to another job for security and got satisfied with consistent raises and well-deserved promotions. When I fell in love, and was preparing to get married, I saw my impending move as a way out to something else; a convenient excuse for a fresh start that I was all too ready for. At that time my comfy job was making me miserable with a tyrant of a co-worker trying to ruin my life.

And finally, the feeling that the last time I had to choose between career and love, I chose a career. So to show I was all in, I went all in and chose the man. But, that still didn’t work out, I said laughing. I was existing and hiding after the split, just trying to survive. I was too unhappy to think about purpose, I used all of my energy to simply get out of bed and make it to work.

To that, the good ex said, no way. And that I was awesome for holding it down everyday and paying my bills and staying employed which a lot of people in our industry were having a very tough time doing. I was glad we were texting because I was blushing.

I told him about grad school and how it scared me a bit, but how in some ways, I had no other choice. It was time for me to take control and live up to my best self. And I can’t keep doing that being satisfied where I am.

Which brings me to work and a certain project my big boss personally selected me for.

I thought I could hide.

But for some reason, my big boss chose me. So, I was given a task and I did it, I represented. I was prepared, confident and cool. After a conference call today when I asked her a few questions about the direction of the project and preparation for a larger presentation. She basically said aside from her I was one of the best people on the team. And this was in an area I knew nothing about and had to study in the span of a week. But I brought my ideas. And people were receptive and enthusiastic. It made me feel good. She also basically told me to take the ball and run with it and I will be a presenter in a major out-of-town meeting.

Whether I liked it or not, I could not hide.

God gave me a whole lot of time to sit on the sidelines and occasionally step forward at work with moments of brilliance and leadership even when I didn’t want to, or when I just wanted to lay low. He gave me time to rest and heal and deal with my own confidence issues and insecurities.

But I’m noticing more and more, God presenting certain opportunities that say, it’s time for you to shine. Do the work, don’t fear, if I’m telling you to go and you do it, you will not fail. You will have favor.

So I started being thankful for this season, even if it means if I do something impressive today, folks are looking at me to do something even more impressive tomorrow. That’s a good thing and like my ex said, its beyond high time to start seriously believing in myself the way I used to.

When I was busy questioning why my big boss chose me to do something way different from what I do everyday, I had to stop and say why not me?

Take this challenge and impress the heck out of everyone in the room. You belong at the table. You can lead. And with the full endorsement of the big boss, I am very much empowered to do so.

Then it made me think about the bigger picture and how God gives us tasks of varying degree of difficulty to prepare us for greater things and higher things. So I started thinking about what I’m studying and the kinds of things I want to do, like be a guest on Melissa Harris Perry or be a thought leader in public health or in public health communications, and what’s going on right now with work is practice.

God is letting me practice on a smaller scale so I’ll be ready to work at the CDC or NIH or even the White House. All things are possible.

But I can’t accomplish any of those things if I’m hiding. Or if I’m doubting myself. He sent me a bunch of signs in unexpected places that I cannot ignore.

So join me and come out of hiding. If you have a gift and a skill and a sincere desire to do something, then come out of hiding, put aside your fear and do it, even if it feels like it’s on a small-scale. When you are honest, when you do things from the heart and you are trying your best, the right people notice and you find yourself rising. When you show gratitude to people who give you chances, you get more chances. When you give other people chances, you get bigger chances. You notice you aren’t where you were a few years ago and you are in places you’d never thought you’d be.

Don’t hide anymore.

Do Our Money Fears Hold Us Back From Our Happiness?

Last week, I asked the question if professional women could make great wives. And of course I said they can. I got a glance at the other side in the most unlikely of places.

Some folks from my job were holding a send off for a young woman who is about my age who quit to be not only a stay at home mom, but also watch other children she knew needed child care. Being an artist and one who loves to cook, she happily makes meals for the kids and gives them plenty of fun projects to do throughout the day.

She has the support of her loving husband, and she basically as a three-year old and a five month old to keep her busy.

It made me think of feminism and choices and women and work and family.

I don’t consider myself a kid person, so just the thought of having five or six small children running around and needing my attention all day gives me the heebie jeebies. But there are some women who really love kids and are great with them. And the world needs more of these people for sure.

Anytime someone walks away from a full-time gig for whatever reason, I count them as brave.

I guess I think about my family and how they think of money and work.

The attitude was/is you have to work and work very hard to survive. Not working isn’t an option.

Even the concept of me going back to school, leaving my job was not an option. I had so much fear surrounding the level of comfort I’ve built up with my steady paycheck, I couldn’t dream of being a full-time student. And why?

I know other people who have done it. They’ve had to scale back and with the scaling back they actually had a lot of freedom. But for some reason, doing that frightens me. I worry I don’t have the kind of financial support to do that.

I do think our parents do plant seeds of how we react to money and I realize that I do treat money the same way my parents do. My folks weren’t necessarily the worst with money, but they weren’t the best. My dad often tells me to be wise and smart and save. And it’s like I hear him, but there are times I feel like I’m waiting for someone else to help me or make me do it, when I should be doing it myself. That is the ultimate sign of independence.

When you know better, you do better. This actually makes me want to talk to my sister about how she sees money and if how we were raised impacts her decisions. We always had everything we needed and even a lot of things we wanted and we were good. And it seems like that’s the way I live my life now.

But I do have friends who I admire who are great savers and when they do run into major financial emergencies, they aren’t happy, but they sigh and dig into their savings and they get the job done.

I tend to sweat it out a bit and get horribly stressed. Things manage to get done, but I struggle.

Over the years, I’ve read books about financial literacy and in my last relationship the one thing I could appreciate was seeing how being accountable to our joint savings account made me feel good when I saw our balance grow and that we always had what we needed.

A wise person asked me, “How on earth could you do that for someone else, but you can’t do the same for yourself? Why do you feel like you can’t do it alone?” And the answer to that is I don’t know, or I’m scared. Money scares me.

Not having it. Not having enough. When I was a kid I didn’t see the sacrifices my parents often made to give us everything. But once I got to college and as an adult, sometimes I felt like my father let me in on too much. Which led to me feeling guilty when I do spend money. But there are also times, when I say screw it, I deserve a treat a break and I splurge. So where’s the happy medium?

I won’t lie, I have always associated the freedom to choose to stay home or work with wealthy women or upper middle class white women. It’s something my mind can’t fathom. But as I think about it, I do actually know other black women who have businesses out of their home and are great moms. Or working black women who walked away from paying gigs, sometimes with no real back up plan to save their sanity. And those choices were always the right choice. It was just about having the courage to ignore the voice saying you’ll fail or you’ll end up on the street.

The point is we all have choices. We shouldn’t let fear tether us to jobs we don’t like, but if we can make our lives work for us in a way that makes sense, we shouldn’t be afraid to change things up.

All of the people I’ve known who’ve taken these kinds of leaps have actually been alright and happier and will say, they may not have a whole lot of money but they enjoy not punching in everyday, but they do have their own set of challenges and problems that do come with their choices.

I know people who have gotten divorced and are trying to rebuild their lives alone as a single woman for the very first time in their lives. How scary is that? But we have to keep moving. We have to push beyond our fears and live.

Do your money fears hold you back from the things you really want?

Talking About Progress, People

Alrighty, so after my post about making promises to your self, even if it’s day-by-day, or week-by-week, I was asked to write about my progress.

This week taught me that you must have daily goals and you’ll feel better that you accomplished SOMETHING.

This week also taught me that if you don’t do every single thing you set out to do, as long as you accomplished something everyday, you are not a complete loser.

Mission one was to do an exercise in the morning and in the evening, everyday.

Ok. I did that on Monday. The other days, no dice. I started my period and things went to hell. But I did make sure, come hell or high water I have my morning workout.

Mission two was to be vegetarian all week to help jump-start the weight loss along with the everyday exercise.

Welp, I went pescetarian because I just needed more, um substance in my life and I was looking for good vegetarian recipes, but I wasn’t really inspired. Fish is my friend. In terms of food, I think I did really well this week with food choices. My snacks consisted of apples, baked Pepperidge Farms crackers and 80 calorie cheese sticks.

I said I was going to drink just water all week. Well, I went to the grocery store, so I picked up Tropicana 50 juice, almond milk and some orange juice, all low in calories. The majority of liquid I’m consuming is water, but I will have an ocassional glass of the low-calorie juices or the milk. All still good in my book.

So while I made some amendments to the promises, the point of training myself to live healthier daily is still prominent. I’m proud of myself. Especially today.

I’ve been bloated and angry, and this morning it was a struggle. For starters, things went wrong with my workout because I didn’t get up on time, so I felt rushed, and now I’ve learned in order to wake myself up morning workouts gotta be some form of cardio that gets me moving or some kind of yoga that allows me to do a lot of stretching.

No strength training, no abs (billy’s ab bootcamp workout is the truth!). So, even though I felt like today was a fail and I really wasn’t energetic or giving it my all, I pushed through. And I also realized what I needed to do to have an effective morning workout that would make me feel good about myself for the rest of the day. So it wasn’t a total loss although I was disappointed in my energy level and that I couldn’t lift it.

I learned an important lesson about myself.

Taking action on my fitness and eating has prompted me to take action in other ways.

I started looking for a new place and I found one that is bigger and more awesome at a price I’d be willing to pay, for a bigger spot. Now, pulling the trigger is something else, altogether.

I stopped waiting for that dream job to call me back and broke the promise I made to not apply for anything else until I heard a yes or no.

I saw two jobs I think I’d really like, (one of which would be totally different from what I do, and would be associated with a fantastic cause) and I went ahead and applied for them. There is no point in me just waiting and waiting and torturing myself. Would I like the “dream job”? Sure, but all of this inactive waiting is making me feel like I’m just standing still. And what’s today’s lesson?

Everyday, DO SOMETHING. ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING.

So by just sending out those apps two nights in a row, I felt better.

I did something. I took an action for my life.

For four days in a row, I exercised. I took an action.

Because I was tired of waiting on the dream job, I emailed the receptionist, with whom I believe I built a lovely rapport. I asked her if she heard anything. She told me there has not been an announcement about the position being filled just yet. She suggested I call the person I interviewed with to follow-up.  I may do that tomorrow.

From this, I deduce that either they are about to fill it, they’ve selected someone and the info just hasn’t gone public yet.

Or,

They haven’t filled it yet and they are still trying to figure it out.

Either way, all is not lost, just yet.

So that information still managed to be useful.

I took an action. I’ve been very cautious to not over kill on sending follow-up emails or phone calls, but I think I didn’t overstep my bounds in this instance.

So today’s point again is there is no progress without action. You have to take a step, you have to just do something. It may be painful, it may be risky, scary, uncomfortable, but doing something and knowing you put forth an effort does make you feel better and feel alive.

Even the King sang about action…

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