Recently a friend of mine, an engineer, was given a project at work. She has degrees and years of experience in the field of Engineering and was very curious about why she was given this particular set of tasks. When she spoke to her team lead, he replied by referencing her choice to work part-time and that it was the easiest job he could find to assign her.
Working part-time doesn’t mean a lack of education, time, experience, energy or that you are looking for an “easy” task. My friend chooses to work part time to enjoy a quality parenting schedule with her 4 and 9 year old girls. Her husband also works, making an adequate income to contribute to the support of the family. In fact, my friend’s part time working schedule gives everyone the balance they are looking for.
In this case, is this a success or a set back? An engineering degree, choosing to work part time and time to enjoy life, to me, sounds like a great success. But, being told you need easy work because you won’t work at home in the evenings and full time in the office sounds like a set back. Navigating through the bias of part time work is tricky. Finding the support and understanding from your employers is essential – and a little give and take from both is success. My friend has her yearly review this week. We will see how it goes.
Success! Is it planned, tracked and achieved? Or is it luck? According to Success for Teens, a free publication from Success Magazine, only you can define what success means, no one can do it for you. Which also means that no one can really place their desires and dreams on you and expect you to achieve them. So what does it mean when we do things “for” other people?
I am a committed follower of Top Chef and I often hear competitors say they are competing for their families or their moms. That kind of statement doesn’t connect with me. It isn’t that I am heartless and wouldn’t consider dedicating my efforts to someone, but doing something with such weight and expectation must be done for the self. How is the physical, daily effort of becoming an Olympian or CEO benefiting someone else? It isn’t! It is and must always be for the self – so that the residual outcome from the effort might be a benefit….for others.
This is my opinion and feel I am getting a little “micro-deep” for a blog. So, let me reference a great example. The very famous series of pictures in this post is of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967. At the time, it was considered a men’s only race and as you can see, her efforts were not appreciated by some men. For her courage and her ability, K.V. Switzer opened the door for all women who run the Boston and other Marathons. She is a historical figure for women’s rights….and success. But my point is, her efforts first and foremost, encouraged by injustice, guarded by other runners, were to succeed for herself.
Being Thin-skinned is not a recommended or appropriate attribute for any professional adult. Crying, withholding information, the silent treatment and passive aggressive behavior are but a few ways women reveal their thin skin, says author Dr. Lois P Frankel. Whether you are a musician who has heard a few, “thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you…” Or someone who has made a mid-life career change or you are mom whose teenage angel just turned witchy. It’s OK. It’s your process of the event that will reveal your self with thin or thicker skin.
My go-to response when thrown a curve is to let it sit. I don’t judge, react or take action until I can sort out my view. Then, I move into an appropriate response. The answers to questions that address my values, feelings, time, self-respect and a suitable behavior should dictate my move. Do we sometimes get hit so hard that we cry? Yes – don’t worry, it happens. But should I continue whining about it or use pity to get me way? Of course not.
We have people in our lives who want us to be brave. Punching someone is not brave. Back stabbing and blackballing is not brave. Taking time and thickening my skin is brave. This is what I have learned about myself. My skin is getting thicker.
Glenda the Good: Home is a place we all must find, child. It’s not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we’re always home, anywhere.
Let us continue to find home or enjoy it.
Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I—I think that it, that it wasn’t enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it’s that — if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Glinda: That’s all it is!
Scarecrow: But that’s so easy! I should’ve thought of it for you –
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart –
Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!
Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?
Glinda: Toto too.
Glinda: Whenever you wish.
Finding our home opens the next phase to understanding we are a strong self, a purposes self and full of everything we need, and then some. I will walk as if… I am home and allow it of fill my conciseness – and my countenance.
For me, January has been a bit of a yelling fest. My search for self has been interrupted by random people either yelling at me or “giving me a stern talkin’ to.” In each case, I am completely surprised. And in each case, I have a choice. – I can weigh their information up against what I know to be true of myself. – I can react and defend myself. – I can listen and in a low tone excuse myself. – Or, I could actually yell back at them.
In case you were wondering, I always choose the high road and respectable calm exit. But what about the more assertive response? What about saying, “you are out of line.” What about standing up to a bully or disrupts the self-righteous instigator? There is nothing wrong with this approach, in fact a more assertive response may be necessary. Women and girls in general should investigate that place between being mean and being a doormat. We need to incorporate an assertive response that says, “hey, you sound upset, maybe it’s me, but maybe it’s not.”
I have to admit, I did allow all this interaction to confuse the perception I have of myself. I wondered if I have had the right approach – for that day and for the entire length of my life? I kept my balance and decided to be better prepared the next time it happens, if it happens. It might be time for a new approach, a self, interrupted.
The word for today in church was, gift. Have you ever considered yourself a gift? Or that what you have to offer yourself, others and the world is your gift? Well, consider it because this is the thing you have been looking for. Yes, understanding that you are gift begins to close out all the noise, crap and false self conversations around you. To see myself as gift, I can say no to unimportant offers, controlling colleagues and mismatched partners.
For 388 weeks, my all time favorite book has been on the New York Best Sellers List. This week at #3, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, is 1 of 3 things I would take to a dessert island (chocolate cake and water being the other 2), because it takes me back to a child place when I knew I was gift. Another story with similar insights is the Wizard of Oz. I hope to connect the two in my next post.
Consider the birds, children and the beauty of nature. They all know they are gift. Small children naturally live a life that expresses their unique gift-ness. After a 3 month capitalistic season of over gift-giving…. just think, you have been here all along. You are the greatest gift.
On page 124, deep into a book that finished my 2015 reading plan, I find the secret to a better life. It reads, “We need to refuse to enter into an antagonistic relationship with ourselves. Quit blaming ourselves and being victimized, and take responsible steps to remove the victim….This is only useful to momentarily indicate when we may have violated our own moral codes.” So, why am I the first one to disregard myself, my value and my worth? And, how does this thinking affect my ability to live with others?… or even impact others in my same career.
The St Francis Prayer says, “Let it begin with me.” When I carry the weight of the “should” and “can’t”, I have got to go back to the view I have of myself. What are my values and my passions? Am I valuing myself as a productive and even disruptive contributor in my career? If the answer is not yes, I have to find out why not.
The view we have of ourselves, guilds and carves the path. Whether that is to the right, left, into good relationships and away from. Over the month of January, I will lay out a few ideas that can help us get and keep the right view of self. It will surely help to lead my life in the right direction.
There is a beautiful song by the Sundays titled, “I Can’t Wait.” She sings about all the thoughts in her head – with no reflection in her life. I completely empathize and know it’s time to change that and enter a journey of metanoia. I want to enjoy a time of vulnerability, rest and real life acceptance. A way of matching up all the thoughts in my head to small actions in my life. I hope you will share your thoughts and enjoy the journey with me. The blogs will begin again on January 2, 2016.
Recently my husband and I watched a movie that showed much different than I expected. I was glad for the opportunity and for making the choice to see it. When my expectations of someone or something interfere with an opportunity, I know I will loose out on a transformation every time. The movie we watched was about a man who took a risk to be himself, to allow his flaws to be seen and to follow the biggest risk of all – exactly what his heart was telling him.
I have realized, my desire to keep up with the status quo is wasting time, holding me back and therefore, keeping my voice silenced. I may sound like a misguided creative “looking to make a difference” in the world, but maybe if I stop matching up with those around me and give what I have – I will do just that.
The transitions from one phase of my life to the next are really a process of looking for a door. I have wandered into job interviews, relationships and quiet meditation in search for the door that will take me to my next reality. Sometimes it has been the right door and other times it is just, the next door.
On the evening of July 31, 2015, I spent a few hours at home by myself. I drank some beer, ate an entire chicken sandwich then ice cream, watched bad popular culture TV, ate potato chips and finally drove to the store to buy something, anything. It was at the store that I realized that all these bad choices were an effort to “find the next door.” I don’t believe I am in a life transition but a seasonal transition. That night I was trying to shake off the hard hot summer of building my business and helping young singers realize their goals and walk into two weeks of rest.
All those vices I tried were like half open windows and closet doors. They aren’t hurtful just mildly demeaning. For me…the realization of the process is the way to my door. My body will shed all that junk and my journey will continue. I have found the door.