When Good Enough Is Okay

We live in a society that’s all about reward and recognition. We want to be the best, the smartest, the prettiest, the coolest. It’s a huge pressure we carry around, and we don’t even realize it.

When I was 21 I would cry in my bed just thinking about how everyone was having so much fun without me. Facebook was not nearly as political back then and it was all about getting likes and being in other people’s pictures. I wanted to be the prettiest and most liked and I would agonize over not being invited to stuff and, essentially, the center of attention.

But at 29, I can honestly say that those days I spent crying over problems I created were a waste. Days that I spent comparing myself to others were also wasteful. Not being happy with myself was so obvious, I’m sure I would made more friends if I was more positive and open.

I’m going on a tangent but I was good enough but unhappy about being “mediocre.” Mediocre is such a harsh word and I don’t think it should be applied to people. Now I’m finally at a place where I can say “Yes, I’m doing okay and that’s good enough.” I think it has a lot to do with gratitude and being grateful. I touched on gratitude in my last post.

Examples of Good Enough

1. Putting food and shelter over your head for the entirety of your adult life. (You get an A+ for doing this for multiple people)

2. Getting a passing grade in Algebra when you’ve always struggled to learn math.

3. Working 40 years in the same position but being able to retired with a comfortable nest egg.

4. Going to any college and finishing.

5. Not going to college and completing technical school.

6. Being married for 30 years and raising a family.

7. Being healthy and going to the doctor for regular checkups.

8. Creating a workout and meal plan, not always sticking to it but trying anyway.

9. Not having a large savings yet but being debt free.

10. Being of average appearance but keeping clean and well groomed.

I’m not saying we should abandon our aspirations and dreams. Being content with how things are today are the foundation blocks of growing and building as a person. When I started in my industry, I sucked. But that was good enough until I finally got better. I kept working on it and I’ll keep working on it. I didn’t let fear of failure or not being the best hold me back from what I intended to do with my life.

So I would say, it’s okay to be good enough today and it will be fine to be good enough tomorrow. Focus on what values you want to carry in your life. Being good enough in areas that you don’t value won’t matter in the long run.

On Gratitude…

I always said that if I made X amount of dollars, I would do A,B, and C.

I would 1) Pay off all my student loans, 2) create a nest egg and maybe retire early, 3) enjoy life.

I remember being 23 and pregnant, stocking shelves at a Target hating all the customers around me and just wishing my life was “THERE” already. That place where you’ve already made it, where you don’t have to worry about money or bills and where life doesn’t feel like a struggle anymore.

I hate to admit it but “THERE” doesn’t exist.  You never really get to “THERE”  All you have is right now, right “HERE”  And if you don’t take a moment to be happy with what you have now, you’ll always be feeling perpetually unhappy and lacking.  Happiness is a choice.

Now I make X amount of dollars and I also work with customers that are in the top 5% of earners in our country.  You would think they would act more civilized, have children that are well behaved and be overall less LOst in The SaucE.  Nope, just as crappy as the Target customers who couldn’t take the time to put the ice cream back in the freezer section when they decided they didn’t want it anymore.

I’ve been feeling a bit down about my job because of this.  Like “God, this my life forever.  There’s no escaping how crappy people are.”

The best things to do when you’re feeling like this is think about your life in this order:

  1. Think About The Past: 10 years ago, I was 18 and just graduating high school with now idea what was going to happen in my life.  I was working at an Auntie Annes pretzel shop with customers yelling at me and throwing pretzels at me if I didn’t get an order right. I’d like to say I’ve come a long way.
  2. Think about the Future:  In 10 years I probably won’t be working at this place, dealing with the BS. I’ll be working somewhere else and dealing with other BS.  Or hopefully on my way to part-time work or self employment. Most likely I won’t have to work with these people I’m working with now.
  3. Think About The Now:   My job pays my bills, allows me to save.  It’s time well spent on my resume.  I have 401K match, so free money! I have health insurance.  My schedule isn’t the worst.  I’m paid fair market rate for my role.

Now having written this out, I already feel better about all the problems I thought I had. To me that’s Gratitude, realizing that your problems aren’t really problems.  Its LIFE.  And everyone is living LIFE as best they can.  We all have to work on being more grateful and being happier. Gratitude is the key to happiness. Gratitude is the best attitude to have.

Never Believe The Propaganda, Create Your Own Purpose

Corporate America is a necessary EVIL.    I’ve never made more money than when I worked in a corporate environment.  So I need this job to make money but why am I at this job?

Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

I’ve been searching for the past few years for a job that can give me meaning.  A purpose.

I envision being part of a group that is warm, friendly and a team environment. We’ll go out for drinks one in a while.  I’ll also get an hour lunch.  The workload will be totally manageable with time to spare.  I’ll be able to take initiatives over everyone else and be recognized as a performer.  I’ll be well-liked and have good benefits/salary.

I would say 97% of the population does not have a job like the above.

Most corporate environments do not offer that kind of environment.

Why?

Bottom line.

Corporations generally are in the business of making money. Making money means squeezing all your resources for what they are worth, including human resources.  As soon as money is involved, individuals tend to get crafty, shysty and overall unfair to others in order to get a leg up.  And then big bosses and companies will turn a blind eye, because it’s not effecting bottom line or rocking the boat will effect a bottom line.

Still, many companies have mantras, company values, and goals.  Many of them include excellence, honesty, integrity, teamwork.  Of course you can try to buy into this.  I did. And every time I was disappointment when I was overlooked for a promotion or someone who totally lacked these values received a better review.  The reality is that these values are a stick and carrot method of propaganda, meant to keep employees motivated and drive revenue.

In reality, company culture/values is nothing more than clever branding.  A way to keep people motivated as well as sugar coat any negative culture the company has.

So how do you stay motivated? Especially once you realize that the company values is a load of BULL*****.

Well, take a moment to think about your own values and financial goals.   “If I work here X amount of years, what can I accomplish?” “What’s my next step, If I find this company isn’t working for me anymore? Can I go and do my own thing?”  “Does the work itself give me happiness?”  “Will this help me get to retirement/financial stability?”

Having a reason in your mind will help you get through the hardest of days and the darkest of nights.  Patience and time will always be on your side, so keep at it.  But don’t believe the propaganda because truth always has a way of coming to light. And motivation built on false propaganda is like a house made of sticks.

Thoughts On Holiday Parties

 

So it’s the morning after the holiday party and trying to comb through my foggy memories to make sure I didn’t do anything excruciatingly embarrassing. I had like 5 drinks, 1 per hour.

I think I did OK. I came with the goal to be somewhat charismatic/memorable which I think I accomplished but there were definitely areas for improvement.

It was a suit/tie event for men and dress pants/cocktail dress for women. I wore a nice velvet dress that fell right above the knee. I also brought a long sleeve cover up for my shoulders in case I felt cold or just wanted to look more conservative. Makeup was the only thing I went overboard with. But it was hopefully tasteful with bright red lip gloss for the holidays.

I worked the floor saying hi to everyone that I knew and trying to strengthen the relationships of the people I worked with or knew best. I work for a pretty big company and literally everyone works in different locations from each other.

I’d say I did really well at the holiday party in terms of being charismatic and having social grace. Though I wish I would have left a little earlier from the after-party. I left at like 11pm! Which I know sounds kind of early for a night out but my company is kind of conservative but we’re all still human! It was really important for me to make sure I wasn’t leaving the wrong impression.

As the night progressed and the alcohol kept pouring, people were getting more and more loose and more and more flirty. Coworkers were telling me things about themselves that were super deep and probably not what they were trying to have a conversation about had they been sober. To be more specific, things like their ability to conceive and their surgeries to other conversation like their discontent in their marriage. At times I think I come off as a little too interested in the conversation, making too much eye contact. I enjoy in depth conversation, it makes me feel connected to people but I don’t want to come off as inappropriate. I’ve realized that people can can feel very uncomfortable and unwoven if they reveal too much of themselves to someone they don’t feel close enough to yet.

In comparison to some others, I think I pulled through OK. There have been holiday parties where people are getting too hammered and getting sick at their work function to the point of hospitalization! I’ve also seen coworkers leave with other coworkers, etc. Girls screaming at each other in cabs and being a hot mess.

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Thankfully, not me last night.

Next time maybe just leave a tad bit earlier like 10pm or 9:30 before the crazy debauchery begins and I become associated as a witness.

I’m particularly interested in anyone’s thoughts on the friendly balance for conversation and how to maintain it. And also are holiday parties supposed to turn into hot messes or is there a proper etiquette?

One Of The Biggest Financial Decisions You’ll Ever Make

 

From about age 16 we hear this question over and over. “What do you want to do with your life?” “What degree are you getting?”

It’s difficult, what you choose at 18 or 20 decides a lot about your lifestyle. Maybe you’ll aim to be a traveling DJ with partying lifestyle. It’s flashy and fun but involves all your weekends and most evenings. You’re your own boss but have to hustle hard in the beginning to bring in clients. Or maybe you decide you want to be an attorney, you’ll need 3 years of law school and a lot of debt. You graduate in the middle of your class and struggle to get a job that will cover your living expenses and your debt. Or maybe you decide to go into banking, it was great at first but now is going automated or overseas.

You get the picture, your career needs to last 30-40 years! That’s a huge commitment! You need to think longevity. Can your industry last 40+ years? Is your career mostly age/appearance related? What is the growth opportunity? Are you going to enjoy your work enough to do this for decades? These plus many more questions have to be carefully thought out for your future!

The timeline goes something like this:

20s: finish college, flail around trying to figure out what works then find a niche. Start at the bottom.
30s:grind out security in your field/job. Maybe do other adult things like marriage/family.
40s: Some progression/growth opportunity may have occurred at this point, but still trucking along.
50s: start really preparing for retirement and sending kids off to college.

The point is that for most of us, delaying choosing a career or even frequently changing careers past your 20s is detrimental for financial/personal stability.

You can’t spend your 20s and 30s working in odd n end jobs and expect the same return as someone who settled in a career at 25.

This post is not to offend those living alternative lifestyles that appreciate freedom over security. I just want to encourage everyone to be very conscious in their choices. It’s easy to start off in a job with you thought will be temporary but end up with 6 years in the hole with little advancement. It’s easy to keep changing directions and then end up really nowhere but at scratch again.

What you choose as your career matters. You can switch your major a few times or change a few jobs but eventually….you choose a career or your career chooses you.

I went to my 10 year high school reunion and it just a bunch of adults standing around saying where did the time go? As a follow up, I’m going to go over goal setting and achieving in another post. Hopefully more of us will be able to tackle our goals and be able to be proud of how our time was spent

My Favorite Motivational Mantra

My Favorite Motivational Mantra

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This is a classic but when I first read this, I thought it was useless. Talent is everything. We should aim to be the most talented, the best. I was 22 when I first came across this poster.

Talent is nothing other than these 10 tools.

1)Being on Time: its really rare to meet someone who is always on time. Being consistently on time requires planning ahead and leaving early consistently. Nowadays people don’t see the value in timeliness but not leaving others to wait on you shows that you’re RELIABLE.

 

2. Work Ethic & 3. Effort: Is really about doing your best. Work is demanding and hard. But if you put your best towards everyday, you WILL get noticed. I’ve caught colleagues just slacking off when the boss wasn’t looking, allowing others to pick up this slack. I lost respect immediately. And eventual the boss will notice too.

 

4. Body Language: It took me while to get the hang of this one. How you carry yourself is very important. Make eye contact, initiate a handshake, stand with confidence, smile. About 60% of all communication is with body language. Make sure you’re saying something positive. My receptionist literally greets everyone like they are ruining her day. We had to train her to say “hello, how are you?” and offer them refreshment to offset her rough demeanor.
5. Energy: I have a physically demanding sales job. I need to have the same energy with the last client like I would with the first. I need to fill the room with positive energy and make it translate to what I’m selling. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and realized that they just weren’t feeling it? That’s bad energy, we don’t want that. Good energy starts with how you feel about yourself.
6. Attitude: ever heard the phrase “it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it” That’s attitude. You say something in a million different ways. Positive energy and attitude is addictive and attractive. Negative attitude and energy is NOT. Complaining you have too much work or that your coworker is annoying doesn’t do anything to change the situation. Do that enough times and you’ll be dubbed the negative nelly at work. And guess what? Negative nellies get laid off during the first round and negative nellies don’t get promotions.
7. Passion: Know what your working for and why. Understanding your purpose for being at work will drive you in some of these other areas. Whether it’s because you love your field or merely because you need to put food on the table for your family, this is critical for success in any endeavor. Use that passion to fuel your performance.
8. Being Coachable: you didn’t come into the job knowing everything but you need to be willing to learn. When the company introduces new policy and program, you need to be able to learn. Your attitude plays a role too. Sometimes I find myself making excuses for myself why I can’t meet a certain goal. “It’s too this or too that.” When really my manager is trying to teach it to me and I’m my negativity is dismissing it. Being able to grow and learn will play a huge role in your success.
9. Doing Extra: My secretary has an attitude of mine vs yours, when it comes to work ethic. She really feels like any task that is new, is a task being pushed on to her. “Why can’t X do this work, she’s been doing this all this time.” But taking extra work allows you to learn skills you wouldn’t be able to do in otherwise. It could be transferable to other jobs and can even make you irreplaceable at your job. I’m not the best, but am capable of doing everyone’s job and even training others about the job. That alone gives me more value. Maybe I stay late some nights, but I don’t worry too much about being put on the chopping block.
10. Being Prepared: I’m not good at this one but it revolves around being able have a conversation with your boss or coworker and knowing your facts. A lot of managers want to know details. “What’s going on, why are your numbers showing x, why did this customer say x about you. You made x report, I have a few follow up questions.” Being able to speak and present on the spot because you know your stuff can be career changing. You never know who you’ll meet or impress so being knowledgeable about what you’re doing is key.

I’ve learned a lot but these 10 lines stick with me and have helped me grow. Build a strong foundation for work and the building won’t fall when storms and wind arrive.