Wednesday, December 30, 2009

River Wide, Mountain High...Getting Past Obstacles

It has been a while. I haven’t written because I had a lot on my head and heart but I wasn’t in a place to wax poetic about my situation. Once I was ready, I was busy and kept putting off my writing time. Then, today, I was opening the door to go outside at work. I wasn't venturing far. I just needed to get in range of my car, press my key and set the alarm on my car. An older female co-worker saw me and in her motherly way admonished me for not wearing a coat. I explained that I wasn't going all the way outside and was just opening the door. The woman with her exclaimed "Leave her alone. She is young and healthy!!" Given that the statement couldn't be further from the truth, I started to think about how my outlook on life has influenced my outside look. In some way, it is all connected to my quest to become a new me. A person that is positive, happy and in control of my emotions for the most part. I can’t control what is going on with my body or my future but I can control how I react to things. Because of that, I choose to react to each disturbing medical diagnosis, each job application rejection, each denial letter from a publisher with a positive outlook. That is not to say that I won’t every get upset. In fact, I cry, stress, panic and yell when I need to. I am not a robot and I am not advocating being emotion free. Eventually, though, you have to take a step out of your grief bog or you will slip into quicksand. Actively seek the lesson and if you can’t find one, make a concerted effort to find the silver lining. Can’t find either? I’ve been there. In fact, I am there now. The only thing left to do is to encourage myself. I have been through worse and I have learned that no matter how wide the river obstructing my path through life, it can always be crossed. I may meet another obstacle on the other side BUT at least I got to that side…and if I got there, I can get through the next obstacle too. As I face the latest obstacle before me, I remember a quote I was given by a friend when I graduated from law school: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 7, 2009

Entitled to Boldness

I have been in my new job for less than 3 months and I already want a promotion. I know how that sounds. Crazy, right? A position opened last week and here I am, still on probation. I don’t have benefits and can’t accrue vacation time BUT I know I can do this job and excel. The problem is that I still love my current position and am just getting comfortable. So, in order to apply, I am going to have to sell myself and my idea for the position, which would change the way the job is currently done and how they planned to fill the position. In short, I want both jobs. In short, I want a new position created just for me. As I thought about how to present this to my supervisor and the executive director of the agency, I started to doubt myself and ask if I wanted to be that person who tried to upset the balance. What made me so special? Why would they create something for me? I am the new kid on the block. Should I even ask for such a thing? By the end of it, I had doubted myself into not even asking but then I decided not to run away from being bold. What’s the worst that could happen?

Being bold is not part of our DNA. It is something that is either encouraged or stifled by our parents, mentors, teachers, friends, and eventually by ourselves. Usually, at some point in our journey, we get to a point where we remain stagnant because we don’t want to ruffle feathers or we think that acting on our idea will paint us as a person who upsets the balance, asks for too much or thinks he or she is special. What we never ask is why those things have come to be categorized as unappealing? Why not be someone who upsets the balance. Civil rights, women’s suffrage, gay rights…none of that is part of the balance. It is when the balance is upset that we find progress as a society. Most people acknowledge that and admire those who fight for change.

Why don’t we do this in our own lives? We only have so much life to live. Why spend it going along with the status quo when it doesn’t make us happy. I say do your part to knock down the walls in your life. Want a promotion? Ask for it. Want more out of your relationships? Ask for it. Want more education? Go back to school. You may not know how things will work out or if the answer waiting for you on the other side of your question is “no.” At the end of the day, all you will know is that you tried. Live your life as free of regret as you possibly can. Upset the balance. You are entitled.