Tag Archives: life

4 Signs You’re Not Leadership Material

23 Mar

leadership material

I don’t know who came up with this extremely popular notion of promoting employees into leadership positions based on tenure, but to whoever’s responsible..stupid idea, bro.

The truth of the matter is this…

NOT EVERYONE’S LEADERSHIP MATERIAL…

And that’s okay!

Just because you’re a genius in your field…

Just because you’ve been at your job for twenty-some odd years…

It doesn’t mean you have to have direct reports. 

It takes really particular skills to be a manager.

Heck- it takes a whole lot of patience too.

And for that reason, throughout my career I’ve been absolutely dumfounded when I’ve seen some not-so-leadership-material employees placed in managerial positions.

Let me say it again.

IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE!

And like I said…that’s okay.

You can still be a genius.

You can still be kick-ass at your job.

But if you’re not leadership material, please, for God’s sake…don’t make other people suffer. 

Now some of you may be wondering whether or not you’re leadership material.

(But really…those of you who aren’t…you probably already know that.)

Just in case though…to clarify this for everyone…here are 4 Signs that You’re Not Leadership Material.

1. You Have Zero Social Skills/You Hate People

People say hi to you and you stare at them, but you don’t say hi back. You don’t hold doors open for people 5 centimeters behind you. You know…basic courtesy kind of stuff.

If you’re the kind of person who avoids social situations at all costs and really doesn’t want to be troubled with interpersonal relationships, then that’s fine…but you have no business managing others. This is pretty self-explanitory.

2. You Don’t Like It When People Ask You Questions

Questions annoy you. When people ask you dumb questions that you think they ought to know the answers to, you think they’re stupid…you think that they are mentally challenged. Every time that someone asks you a question, you feel that they’re taking time away from you doing your own work. Open door policy? Forget that! Locked door policy is what you’d implement…peace and quiet is what you need.

Good managers want their employees to feel comfortable coming to them whenever they have questions. And the reality is, good employees do ask a lot of questions. Managers need to accept that part of their job is helping out their direct reports, and they shouldn’t make them feel bad about seeking that support.

3. You Couldn’t Care Less if Your Team is Motivated/Inspired

You’re sure as hell no cheerleader. You don’t think it’s your job to motivate those around you. You’re here to get a job done and everyone should be on the same page as you.

FALSE. Managers need to be cheerleaders. If it’s not written in the job description, someone’s lying to you. If you want your team to work well and to perform to the best of its ability, you’ll need to take out those metaphorical pom-poms at times and inspire your people. Because let’s face it, there are times at any job when morale is low. And when morale is low, not a whole lot of work gets done. Teams that get out of that slump are the teams who have great leaders, and believe me, they’re super grateful for that. Look into it…they call it transformational leadership. 

4. You Want to Punch Positive People in the Face

You hate it when people smile. You hate it when you come to work Monday morning and people are actually happy. What the heck is wrong with them? They ought to be a bit less peppy.

If you’re a negative Nancy, you have no business managing others. You need to be a positive influence, and people need to actually enjoy being around you. Do you have to do backflips everyday and sing songs? No. But you should strive to be a positive role model for others and part of that means helping others see the bright side of things regardless of how bad any work situation is.

***Now it’s your turn…what else makes someone not leadership material?

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Happy (Late) International Women’s Day To Our Stay At Home Moms

9 Mar

In honor of National Women’s Day, I was planning on finding a super-empowering TedTalk from some super fabulous woman CEO sharing her story about how she became so awesome.

And I’ll maybe probably still do that, but today, I’m gunna do something a little different.

When you think about International Women’s Day, you think about that female CEO who’s broken through the glass ceiling and now making loads of money.

And to those women… you’re doing awesome. Hopefully I’ll get there someday… if that’s what I want.

But what you don’t think much about are the women who aren’t in an office…

The women who instead of being dressed in kick ass power suits, are likely covered in baby throw up right now.

Mommas.

Stay at home mommas.

They’re often forgotten about when we’re talking about the empowerment of women.

And really, they shouldn’t be.

Because their jobs are just as hard- if not harder.

I was with a baby this weekend. I held it and it threw up on me. And it smelled bad. And I returned the baby to her owner. To her mom. And her parents talked to me about all the gross disgusting things their baby does and how they have to change diapers 54 times a day and wash the baby with a hose because her poop travels out of her diaper.

OUT OF HER DIAPER!

So today, instead of talking about the female executives that I admire, I’m going to do this…

THANK YOU MOMMA BEAR.

Because you stayed home with me my whole life and you dealt with my tantrums and you cleaned my butt and you fed me nasty food that I’m sure I threw up several times.

Thank you because you took me to every single one of my gymnastics and cheerleading and dance practices.

Thank you because you were on every single field trip and I know that most of them must have been super boring but you went anyway because I asked you to.

Thank you because you didn’t send me to summer camp. Because there was nothing that I wanted more than to just stay home with you and my sister every summer. I didn’t want to have to go be social with weird kids that I didn’t know. Even though you threatened us that one year and physically took us there and we sat in the car in the parking lot and we cried, thanks for feeling sorry enough for us that you just turned around and went back home.

You’re kind of awesome.

So for all the mommas out there who think they need a corner office and a power suit to be appreciated, I promise you, you don’t.

You stay at home mommas do so much more than you know.

And I think it’s time that you’re recognized just as much as a CEO.

Because hell, you run a family.

And God knows that’s not easy.

Stay at home mom

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Yea, This #AskHerMore Campaign is Pretty Freaking Awesome

23 Feb

ask her more

Last night I learned about the #Askhermore campaign, and as a young professional woman, I have to say that I couldn’t be happier about it. It freaking rocks.

So for those of you who are sitting there like, “what the heck is this #askhermore thing”… open up a new tab on your computer, google #askhermore, and then come back and finish reading this.

Okay, so why is this important? I think it’s pretty obvious. The #askhermore campaign is a movement that’s meant to raise awareness and to cause reporters to ask not-so-fashion-related questions on the RedCarpet. Instead of just commenting on the jewlery that’s being worn and the designer gowns, this social media campaign is asking that we place more emphasis on the amazing work that these actresses are doing.

Now sure, I’m the first one to say that I love fashion. I like pretty things. But do I think that the talent these women possess should have to be overshadowed by society’s interest in their ability to pick out a pretty outfit?

Not so much.

Us women are so much more than our outfit-coordinating skills. We’re smart. We’re powerful. We have tons to offer. And it’s a shame really that when we enter the workforce, we’re often looked at…up and down, the general perception being that a negative correlation exists between our intelligence and the height of our heels.

If we dress well, we can’t possibly be smart. If we’re fashionable, we’re obviously just trying to impress the men.

That’s really typically the general perception, and I’m telling you…it’s bullshit.

I’ve dealt with it before. I’m quite confident I’ll deal with it all my life. But I can promise you that I’ll fight it every step of the way.

Like the story I’ve told before about my college professor. Why is it that if I have nice legs I can’t be taken seriously?

So let’s start treating women like the well-rounded individuals that they are. Let’s ask women about the things that inspire them. Let’s ask them about their goals, their passions, their careers. Let’s ask them about the struggles they’ve overcome. Heck- ask them about the things that excite them. But don’t just ask them about their outfits. Let’s be a little more creative.

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5 Reasons Why This Twenty-Something LOVES Her New Job

6 Feb

Work Hard Have Fun No Drama I’ve been at my new job for 8 months now, and really… I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy-fast time has gone by. One minute I’m interviewing and BAM!!! Here I am almost a year into it. Taking this new job was a huge leap for me. For starters, I knew nothing about the industry. While most people being interviewed had years of experience doing the job at other companies… I. Had. Zero. But man was I willing to learn! People warned me. People told me the job would be terrible. People asked me if it was really something that I wanted to do. And although I didn’t know much, I knew that it was an exciting opportunity and that I needed a new challenge. 8 months later, I thank God every day that I made that jump. So to help explain exactly why I’m so happy, here are 5 reasons why THIS 20-something LOVES her new job…

  1. I’m Surrounded By People Who Are Willing to Teach Me

Like I said, I was a newbie. I accepted a job as a Contract Administrator in a large Supply Chain department and I didn’t even know what a backorder was. This could have been a total failure. But it wasn’t. And you know why? Because the people around me are really freaking awesome. Because from the minute I stepped foot in this department, my co-workers took me under their wings and they taught me everything they know. Because they were secure enough in their own abilities and talents that they didn’t feel threatened by the thought of sharing what they’ve learned over the years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

  1. We’re Treated Like Adults

Imagine a workplace where you can go to the bathroom without your boss staring at his computer counting the number of minutes that you’re away from your desk. Imagine a workplace where you can go to work and if you need to leave to a doctor’s appointment or to pick up your sick kid, you can do that and no one gives you a hard time about it. We can do that here. After a really hectic morning we can go have a nice lunch off campus, come back to work, and we’re not looked down upon for taking a break. It’s kind of awesome. We’re treated like adults. And you might be thinking well yea, we should be treated like adults since that’s what we ARE, but you’d be surprised how absolutely rare this kind of work environment is. We’re treated like professionals and even though we may not be at our desks glued to our chairs every moment of every day, everyone knows that we’ll get the job done. We always do.

  1. Our Work/Play Balance is all Sorts of Fantastic

You can go to work, work super hard, and have fun doing it. It’s true, I promise! And although I’ve questioned this notion in the past, I swear on my life I’ve never had so much fun at work. And you might think okay… she’s a contract administrator…sounds kinda super lame and boring. But dude, we laugh and we joke and we have so much fun. And the best part about it is that even though we laugh and we have a good time, we’re still taken seriously because we produce excellent work. I don’t think you have to be miserable and serious all the time to be considered a professional. I think that you can work and play and play while you work. Because really, if you don’t, it’s so easy to go crazy.

  1. My Bosses Are Approachable, Nice Human Beings

It’s not something that I take for granted. My bosses are really one of a kind. They’re legit humans. Like… super- down- to -earth –real- people- who- have- feelings- and- know- that- I –have- feelings –and- so- they’re- nice- and- not- mean-and- they- don’t- scream- at- me- and- belittle- me- and- make- me- feel- like- I’m- stupid. In a nutshell. Do they do their jobs? Yes! Really well, in fact. Do they tell me when I’ve made a mistake and help me fix it? Yep. Do they provide guidance? All the time. But do they have huge egos? No. Do they walk around thinking they’re better than anyone? No. Do they scream and yell and embarrass their employees? Never. And that’s why I love working for them. They have an open door policy and we can talk to them about anything whenever we need to and we’re not scared of them, because they’re super cool. I mean, on what planet should we have to be scared of our bosses? How does that make us perform better? If you figure that out, let me know. But in the meantime, I’ll stick to working for bosses who really know how to lead.

  1. They Took A Chance on Me

I’m like 500% positive that there are people who would have never hired me for this position. There are managers who would have taken one look at my resume and would have thrown it in the trash simply because I didn’t have experience in this field. But my leadership took a chance on me. They decided that I had potential and that I could be taught, and so they were willing to invest in me. They were willing to give me a shot and by giving me that shot, I feel the need to prove to them every day that they made the right decision. I respect them so much for that, and I feel so lucky every day to be a part of this kick-ass team. Other stuff you might like:

Our Very Busy Lives

11 Jan

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Yes, I’m still alive!

If I think about it, I’m more alive than I’ve been in quite some time, actually.

But things are a little different these days.

For starters, I’m getting married. And yes, as exciting as it is, there’s only so much talk of flowers and dresses and tablecloths that I can deal with at any given moment.

My brain is fried, honestly.

My energy level = zero.

I’m also 6 months into my new job that I love. It’s crazy and chaotic and there are times when no one knows what they’re doing, but hey, it’s so worth it! I have a pretty kick-ass team that I love working and laughing with and really- what more could I ask for?

So yea, life’s been good to me…

I’m eternally grateful for it.

But my lack of writing during this phase of severe change in my life has finally gotten to me.

And I suddenly feel the need to put down words on paper.

I hate that I’ve been neglecting something that I’m so passionate about.

And I don’t want to feel that way anymore.

So here I am, getting back to something that I love.

And is it absolutely terrifying?

Hell yea it is.

Because it’s been way too long.

But I’m gunna put my fear and my insecurity aside, and I’m gunna get back to it.

You gotta start somewhere, right?

It’s a new year, and I’ve run out of excuses.

So for all of you who’ve maybe been neglecting a hobby that you’ve at one point enjoyed…

Or for those of you who’ve been saying that you want to try something new and you just haven’t gotten around to it…

Get up off the couch, and go do it.

We’re all busy.

We all have points of craziness in our lives.

Babies.

Weddings.

Groceries that need to be bought.

We really could make a list of excuses that goes on and on and on.

And we could tell ourselves… “Oh, I’ll get to it when I’m a little less busy.”

Once the baby’s born.

Once my classes are over.

Once the wedding’s all planned.

But here’s a secret….

We’re always gunna be freakin’ busy.

ALWAYS.

If it’s not one thing stopping you, it’s something else.

Because that’s life.

Life is busy.

Life becomes busy, and it never stops.

There will always be things that need to be done, people that you need to see, events that you need to go to.

But that’s no reason for you to give up on things that you’re passionate about.

We make time for the things that matter most to us.

So don’t put them off.

Pencil them in to your ever-growing schedule.

Because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself six months later wondering how and why it’s been so long since you’ve done that thing you love to do.

And then, you’ll want to kick yourself for it.

Happy New Year everyone! I wish you all the very best!

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Four Ways Millennials Can Be Happier Right This Minute

23 Jun

happy-happiness-millennials

So tell me, are you happy?

Like, honestly… happy?

Do you even know what happiness is, really?

Or are you like most of us… stressed out all the time?

Do you spend hours in your room crying because life isn’t working out the way you thought it would?

Because if the answer is yes, I’m going to tell you right now…you gotta stop doing that.

Our twenties are a mess.

A legit freaking mess.

We’re constantly stressed out and confused and don’t really know what to do with our lives.

Then, the real-world welcomes us with an even bigger slap in the face.

We’re suddenly wearing five different hats…

We’re suddenly juggling 700,000 responsibilities at once…

Of course, it’s stressful.

And it sucks.

Big time.

Mostly because we’ve been taught our whole lives that things are supposed to get better as time goes by.

Not worse.

The older we get… the happier we become. So we’ve been told.

Because, you know… when we get older, we graduate college and we get awesome jobs and we get married and we have the cutest kids and everything is wonderful.

That’s the story we’ve told since before we can remember.

But the truth is this…

We don’t just somehow get happier.

We don’t just wake up one day and feel happier.

It doesn’t happen like that.

Happiness isn’t a given.

It takes work.

It takes time.

And most importantly, it takes some serious self-reflection.

So in the meantime, while you’re figuring out what makes you happy and what doesn’t, here are a few things we can all do to make our lives a little bit better…

To make things a little more bearable…

Because we really can be happier.

Right. This. Very. Minute.

And I refuse to accept anything other than that.

1. Stop living in the future  

Today isn’t tomorrow. Today isn’t five years from now. Today is today, so enjoy it. Sure, we should all have dreams, but we need to make an effort to stop living our lives completely in the future. We spend so much time thinking about and planning for the future that we often miss out on so much of the present. Focus on what’s in front of you. It’ll be gone before you know it.

2. Stop buying so much stuff

Money lets you buy things. And sure, things are great. But you know what’s even better? People. Relationships. Experiences. Stop spending so much money on things that’ll end up in the trash next year. You know you don’t need half the things you have in your closet. Instead, save money. Give yourself that peace of mind. Instead, use that money to visit your family. Use that money to travel. But infinite amounts of clothes and shoes and electronics? Such a waste.

3. Stop seeking everyone’s approval

You can’t get everyone to like you. There. End of story. Now stop trying to please everyone. Do things for yourself. I promise you, it’s probably the best thing you can do right now if you ever want to live a happy life.

4. Stop second guessing yourself all the time

Ugh. Should I? Shouldn’t I? But… what if…all these questions ultimately lead to inaction. Listen to your gut. Learn to trust your intuition. If you want to do something, do it. Because if you second guess every move you want to make, you’ll never go anywhere, and how absolutely lame would that be?

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Why It’s Okay To Be Excited About the Awesome Stuff You’re Doing

23 Apr

success-baby- graduation- excited

I’m not going to lie…

My life is pretty awesome right now.

Last night, I took my very last exam EVER!!!

And then I cried like a baby because I got super sentimental thinking about how my school-life is completely OVER.

I now feel very old.

Ancient, really.

But I’m also really happy because I can be a somewhat normal and functioning member of society again.

I can sleep and I can read and I can sleep some more.

Again, my life is awesome…and I’m pretty sure yours is too.

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about success and whether or not it’s like super braggy/bragish to tell people about the really cool stuff going on in our lives.

And here’s the conclusion I’ve come to…

People love to complain. People spend hours and hours and hours talking to everyone they know about just how awful things are.

Go to a bad restaraunt? Obviously, you’re going to complain about it to anyone who’ll listen.

Have a bad day? You’re going to complain regardless of whether or not anyone will listen.

And this, apparently, is acceptable.

So if we can accept the complaints and the negativity, then I see absolutely nothing wrong with sharing things that are awesome!

It’s definitely far more productive.

Now, you don’t need to be obnoxious. You don’t have to be like, “Oh, look at me…I’m better than you…you suck.”

That’s never cool.

But if you’ve worked hard and you’re on your way to living your dream and reaching your goals, heck…be proud of it!

Own it.

You’re allowed to be excited! You’re allowed to be proud of yourself!

Because if you don’t belive in your value and your success…

No one. Else. Will.

When it comes to your career, don’t be afraid to tell people about your accomplishments.

Especially us twentysomethings…we get it…we don’t have years and years of experience under our belts.

So for that specific reason, we have to make sure that the things we ARE doing…that we ARE accomplishing, we’re showcasing.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

And the peoploe who do have a problem with it?? Well, it’s probably because they don’t really have all that much going on anyway.

So don’t worry about them.

To all of you out there chasing your dreams, keep on going.

Don’t be shy to share your goals and your success. Who knows…maybe you’ll find that people are a lot more interested in helping you than you ever thought possible.

But how can they help you if no one knows what you’re chasing after?

Don’t be shy…if you’re working on something awesome, let me know!

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The 5 Most Valuable Lessons Grad School Taught Me

17 Mar

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I honestly can’t believe it. 43 days till I’m done with school… forever!!! There are no words to express how absolutely elated I am. No words at all.  

For the past two years, I’ve been working full time while pursuing my Master in Public Administration degree.

I’ve written paper after paper after paper…

I’ve had more group projects than really necessary…

And I’ve also been sleep-deprived (Dear God I so look forward to getting more sleep.)

So now that this chapter in my life is coming to a close, I thought I’d get drunk and celebrate  reflect on the most important things I’ve learned in Grad School. Because I really have learned a lot.

Not just about my field of study, but about life in general and about my future in the workplace.

And in writing this, I’m really really happy. I’m happy because I DO feel that I’ve learned things.

Two years and way too much money later, it really has been worth it.

1. It’s the quality of your work, not the quantity.

I’ll honestly never understand why some students feel the need to write 20 page papers when the professor asks for 5. I mean, come on… really? 15 extra pages?? Do you have nothing else to do? Some people really think that by writing more pages, they’ll get a better grade. It’s kind of funny actually. Some people think to themselves, “I have no idea what to write this paper about, but if I hand in a really big stack of paper, and write 10 extra pages, I’ll probably get a better grade than someone who hands in 5.” Well…um…it doesn’t work that way.

In both grad school and in the workplace, your teachers and your bosses are more often concerned with the quality of your work rather than the quantity. It’s all about efficiency, people… producing great quality work in the least amount of time. So you can be the student who spends 15 hours on a paper and turns in 15 pages, and yes, gets an A. Or, you could be the student who spends 3 hours on a paper, turns in 5 pages, and ALSO gets an A.

At the end of the day,  who’s more efficient?

It’s no secret that companies want efficient employees. It’s no secret that employers want great-quality work. So if you can find a way to be efficient with your time while still producing great quality, I’d say you’re pretty set in terms of life after college.

2. Importance of time management.

I don’t care if you have the world’s best memory…Nor do I care if you can memorize a whole deck of cards in under a minute. If you don’t have a calendar/planner/phone reminder system, you will fail miserably as an adult.

Like, big time.

Like I mentioned before, these past two years I’ve juggled work, school, my slowly-becoming-non-existent social life, a relationship, a house, crossfit, this blog, and my family.

Miraculously, I’ve managed to keep some of my sanity.

When you get to grown-up status, you realize just how crazy and hectic life becomes.Like, there’s really no time for anything. While in grad school, I’d go to work, then go to school, and by the time I got home, you know what I wanted to do? NOTHING!! Absolutely nothing!

I’ve been living a life of pure exhaustion.

But I’ve certainly found that having a planner helps organize my brain, because without it, I’d have zero idea about what I have to do.

So regardless of how crazy things get, make time-management a priority. It’s super important. Because as you get older, there’s a lot more to your life. More responsibilities, more to remember, more to accomplish. 

But I’m absolutely positive that if you organize yourself you can somehow become a fully-functioning member of society. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

3. Corporate America is very bad at implementing best practices.

This lesson makes me very sad. This lesson also makes me want to punch a giant hole in the wall and the only reason I don’t punch a giant hole in the wall is because I don’t have money to fix it if I did.

But anyway, this lesson that I’ve learned makes me extremely mad. Because I go to school and I read these massive books that are more often than not, quite boring. And then I write paper after paper after paper. And then somehow, throughout that process, I learn things. Through my Public Administration degree, I’ve learned about…you guessed it! Administration! Administration, and leadership, and organizational behavior. I’ve learned about HR practices and what it takes to run a company in the most ethical way possible.

I’ve learned and I’ve studied extensively about what the workplace SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

And then through my work experience, I’ve seen what it REALLY LOOKS LIKE.

Total opposites most of the time.

There’s so much dishonesty in the workplace and there’s a lot of poor leadership. That’s the reality. And it’s hard to deal with in a sense because knowing what I know, there are days when I just want to slap people and say, “Hellooooo?!?!?! What are you doing?!?!?! This is NOT how you’re supposed to do things! That’s not what I learned in my HR class!”

But I don’t slap people at work because that’s also one of the things I learned. You don’t slap people if you want to keep your job.

So what does that mean for us? What does that mean for us recent college grads? It means that we have a lot of work to do. It means that we’re going to see things that we don’t like in the workplace. And really, it’s up to us to do something about it.

Maybe we’re not in the position at this point in our careers to make a huge difference, but one day, when we can make decisions, we’ll need to make the right ones. Because, maybe naively, I still believe that the workplace can be a much better place if we fight for it.

4. People will surprise you.

When you’re in a class that requires you to complete a group project, you spend approximately 5 minutes praying that your group members are smart. So that’s what I did a few months ago and well, my prayer was not answered.

One of my teammates, let’s call her Ashley, had zero interest in the class we were taking. Why do I say that? Well, we had a quiz a few weeks into class and our professor allowed us to use a note card as a “cheat sheet” to write down stuff so we wouldn’t forget.

She was filling out her note card 3 minutes before the quiz.

Let’s see… she also rarely attended class. Then, the day of our group presentation, while our whole group showed up 15 minutes before class…she was late. We almost had to start without her. So obviously, my impression of Ashley was that she was the worst group member ever and that she wasn’t very smart.

A few weeks after our group presentation, we were doing another group project where our goal was to build the tallest structure using marshmallows and spaghetti… one of those team-building, hands-on kind of projects. And as time was almost up, my group had no idea what to do to get the marshmallow to stay at the top of the structure without knocking it down. Point is… Ashley had an idea. And you know what I did with her idea? I didn’t listen to it.

Not a single bit.

Because I had completely written this girl off as my incompetent teammate who shows up late and doesn’t study. So we obviously failed, we didn’t have the tallest structure. And when our professor briefed us on how we could have done better, that same idea Ashley had…that’s what he told us we should have done.

People will surprise you. Good ideas come from anywhere. So you need to be open to listening to them.

5.  Importance of a strong support system.

I’ve had serious panic attacks in the past. Like, I-can’t-breathe-I’m-never-going-to-finish-this-paper-but-it’s-my-own-fault-because-I-procrastinated- panic attacks. They’re not fun. There have been days when I’ve gone to work on 2.5-3 hours of sleep and I look and feel like a  zombie. It’s just like being drunk. Only I’m not drunk because I wasn’t able to go out and drink because I was finishing an assignment.

There have been days when I’ve felt like just quitting half-way. “So what if I’m only 9 credits away from graduation? I’m totally over this.”

And I definitely would have, if I didn’t have such a strong support system in my life.

I have an amazing family that has encouraged me my whole life really, but especially these past two years.  

My boyfriend, who I live with and love like crazy, has endured my mood swings, calmed me down during my panic attacks, and has reminded me that I’m not allowed to stop.

Must. Keep. Going.

So in 43 days when I graduate, I’m going to wear some weird dress/robe thing and I’m going to be handed by diploma, and I’m going to look out into the audience and I’m going to see my family and my boyfriend. And I’m going to feel so eternally grateful to have them in my life. Because without them, I know for a fact that I would have given up. I know that I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Because life in general is just way too crazy and too much for any one person to deal with alone.

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5 Easy Ways to Make This Year Awesome

5 Feb

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It’s February already. Can you believe it?

It’s semi-depressing to me, really. 

Time keeps going by more quickly (aka…I’m getting old).

I kind of need to focus here, though…only 11 more months to make this year the best one yet.

So here’s the list I’m using to make sure this year is awesome.

Because to tell you the truth, I’m not settling for anything less than that.

1. Make Time For Travel

If you’re looking for excuses to not travel, there’s plenty. Can’t take time off work… don’t have any money… the kids are in school. Traveling isn’t just going to happen magically, and again, you can always come up with 5 different reasons why you shouldn’t plan a vacation. 30 years later though, you’ll regret not taking that trip.

Traveling is an important part of life. I really don’t think this whole giant world was made so beautiful for it to not be seen. So go out there, and see something. Anything. Even if that means driving an hour away from home to stay at a little bed and breakfast you haven’t stayed at before.

2. De-clutter & Organize

You know that spare bedroom you have that’s become a storage unit? Go clean it! What’s the point of having so much space if you can’t even use it? You really can’t have friends and family come visit if you can’t move in your own home. So fix that. 

Nothing makes me more anxious than when I look at my apartment and see that everything is thrown everywhere and there’s a huge mess. Sure, it resembles what’s going on in my brain, but it stresses me out to no end. When you take time to de-clutter and organize, you eliminate the things you don’t need in your life anymore. Maybe there’s clothes you don’t need. Maybe you’ve got 500 boxes you can throw away. You may even have some people in your life you can do without. So out with the old, in with the new. Make space in your life for things that  make you happy.

3. Stop & Reflect… A lot

We get so caught up in our everyday routine that we don’t take time to reflect on what’s really happening. We just go and go and go and go and then we get burnt out. And then we rest a bit. And then, we repeat the cycle. Reflection is the key to growth, so if we want to make our lives the best that they can be, every once in a while, we need to stop. EVERYTHING. Just stop. And then think.

What’s working? What’s not? Am I happy? Am I sad? Why am I sad? Is there something I’ve been needing to do? Why am I not doing it? What could I be doing right now to make things better?

When you actually stop and ask yourself these questions, you get to know yourself a whole lot better. Otherwise, you just continue your routine- which you very well might hate and not even realize.  

4. Make an Effort to be Social

This is big on my list this year because basically, I’ve become a hermit. I’ve got so much going on in my life that I don’t even have a minute to breathe. And when I do have a minute, all I want to do is sleep. All the time. Forever. Because I’m exhausted. So yes, I’ve become a bad friend and I don’t get invited to social functions all that much anymore. For good reason, though, because whenever I do get asked, I respectully decline. Go out to a bar? LOL, negative. My bed just looks too comfy.

But hello! I’m 23 years old! I need to be social. I need to make a better effort to continue developing the relationships that I have. I also *cringe* need to make new relationships. Make new friends?? Ugh that sounds so stressful. But I’ve got to. So this year, my man friend and I have made that a priority. We redecorated our place so that we can invite people over. Because we realize that without family and friends, life kind of sucks.

5. Find Something You’re Passionate About & Dive In

Purpose. You’ve got to have one. So if you want to make this year 10 times better than the last, try finding something you love and throw every ounce of yourself into doing that. Maybe it’s a social cause. Maybe it’s just opening up a book and reading. Maybe it’s learning how to cook. Maybe you’re lucky and it’s your actual job. Just find something that you enjoy doing. Find something that puts a smile on your face because you’re  doing something good or something challenging- something that requires personal growth.

When you’ve got things in your life that you look forward to, the daily grind seems a whole lot more bearable. So try to find these things, and when you do, don’t lose them. Don’t forget about them. Don’t stop trying. Because there’s so much that we can look forward to in life…so many things that we can experience. It would be a real shame to waste our lives doing nothing.

So tell me…how are YOU going to make this year a great one? I’m curious.

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My Problem With All This Talk About the New Year

30 Dec

2014

With just a couple more days before the New Year, there’s a lot of talk about making resolutions.

Now I personally think resolutions are great, that’s not what I have an issue with.

Here’s what really frustrates me…

Sure, 2014 is full of promise. It’s a chance to start over or simply start something new.

But as the New Year approaches, we find ourselves making wishes.

We find ourselves begging and pleading…

2014… please be good to me.

And then when 2014 doesn’t turn out to be as good as you’d hoped for, suddenly it’s 2014’s fault. Suddenly you find yourself hoping for 2015…probably sometime around March.

But that’s kind of crazy, because a year is just a year.

What you put into that year… that’s what makes the difference.

You can have a terrible year, or you can have a good year.

Heck, you can have the best year of your life.

But it’s entirely up to you.

You won’t lose those 20 pounds you’re hoping you’ll lose without eating right and exercising.

You won’t land that new job if you’re not working on your resume and sending it out to potential employers.

You won’t make your relationship better if you sit in front of your new PS4 every night.

I don’t know how it happened or why it happened, exactly, but it seems that we’ve come to enjoy playing the role of victim in our everyday lives.

When something bad happens, it’s not our fault.

And when something good happens, it’s only because we got really lucky.

But my question, I guess, is the following: is there any personal accountability anymore?

We’re looking to 2014 as if it’s this magical place of hope and joy…

A place where suddenly we have more money and have better relationships and we’re just overall much happier.

But it’s just a freaking year.

It’s just a number.

After 1 comes 2 and after 2013 comes 2014.

Your 2014 will be what you make of it.

If you put effort into it, chances are, it’ll be a great year for you.

And if you sit back hoping that good things are just going to magically happen to you, then I’m sure you’ll find yourself disappointed.

So use this time wisely.

What I love the most about this time right before the New Year is that it’s an opportunity to reflect on the things that have happened over the past 365 days.

I ask myself a series of questions…

What’s been awesome?

What really sucked?

How can I do better?

What do I need to work on?

What do I want?

But most importantly…

How can I make that happen?

Because at the end of the day, you can make all the wishes you want while eating your grapes on New Years Eve, but if you don’t realize that the success of 2014 is up to YOU, you’ll just be making the same wishes next year.

So make your new year count.

Make it the best one by far.

Make it so good that when 2015 comes along you’re just so damn proud of yourself.

Because you were responsible for it.

Because you put forth the effort.

Because you went after everything you wanted.

And you got it.

Hope your new year is absolutely wonderful and that 2014 brings you the determination to be the very best version of yourself.

Really, there’s nothing better than that. xoxo, Kayla

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