From Associate Director to Entrepreneur: Rebuilding Identity

 

Because I get asked daily from my friends and family, “How are you doing?  How is your business?”  I will share where this roller coaster of change has me at currently mindset wise. And it may not be pretty.

I am sure I have said this before about switching careers. I knew it would be hard. I knew getting a business off the ground and finding prospects and clients would not be easy. As the saying goes through, you don’t know what you don’t know. And there was a lot, mentally, that I could never have anticipated.

I have had a hard time articulating this so let’s see how it goes putting it in writing.

At my last job, my title was Associate Director. I managed a team of Business Analysts within IT. Sounds fancy right?

I never “felt” like an Associate Director. I never really put that much thought to the clout it may carry to others. If there is ever such a thing as “looking” like an Associate Director, I am fairly sure I did not even have that aspect of it. I never really thought of it as my identity. At all. It was just the title I happen to have that awarded me different opportunities and visibility. I never felt attached to the title.

Yet, leaving that title, that Associate Director thing, I realize now I did have some attachment to it. Which kind of blows my mind.

The attachment is not in the sense that it defined me. (My friends and family had no real understanding of what my job was. I was basically Chandler from Friends). Which is fine. It was a job for me, not a passion.

The attachment I am discovering I have is knowing “what” I was, I guess you can say. Again, anyone can define what an Associate Director is and it would mean something different to each of them.  Yet, it was like this tangible thing that despite not being passionate about it and despite how others may perceive it, it somehow helped me understand my place in the hierarchy and the ecosystem.

(Sanity check! Am I making sense?)

So to go from that understanding to essentially redefining myself has been challenging. As a Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle and Fitness Coach, I am not taking on something that has never been done before; if anything I am entering into a highly saturated industry.  I have to figure out what my place is in this ecosystem I have become part of that sets me apart from the rest.

And that is what has been surprising to me, how much it has shaken my confidence.  I am still figuring out how I fit into this world.  Yes, I know I am meant to be in it, and I know there is a place in it specifically for me; until I have that well established, it is going to continue to be quite humbling in this vulnerable, ambiguous transition.

So when people ask me how I am, it gets harder and harder to answer, which is the polar opposite of what I expected six months out from my corporate life. That also turns into this cycle of feeling like I should have more figured out than I do and then it brings on more insecurity. So you see, it is a total mind fuck. Excuse my French.

The other question I often get is, “How do you spend your time now?” And I become anxious whenever it is asked. Because the truth is, I do not have tangible responses to answer with. I no longer can measure productivity by the projects my team has in flight or the percentage complete of initiatives I am working on. I no longer have time sheets that I can bucket my hours into.

My “tangibles” are things like spending time researching events I could participate in or following up with prospects or maybe even the hours I do spend training and coaching. But I do not have metrics or anything to show if I am trending up or down. I have no idea if I am doing well or sucking at this new career I am in. There is no benchmark. And there is no one I report to who can tell me how I am doing.

I could compare myself to others I suppose if I did want to benchmark, but that leads to all sorts of issues. Never ever compare yourself to someone else. Never. You are not them. They are not you.

So it brings me back to this reality. All that I do, or do not do, is on me. And while that is invigorating at times, it is also downright scary as shit. It is a challenge I struggle with every day to build my confidence when there is so much unknown.

I KNOW in my heart of hearts that everything WILL fall into place. And I know the struggles are what bring success.

I realize that if I live in the negative and the fear for too long, they will become reality. I struggle with all that I have written (and more) every single day.  No matter how much I understand on an intellectual level in terms of how I need to feel or how I should act (fake it till you make it right?), It does not just magically happen, not even on my “good” days.

It comes down to this. The things that often are our biggest nemesis are issues and struggles that have been with us for years, decades even and quite possibly our entire lives. Mine as I mentioned is confidence.

Our nemesis though can also be the key to our success. I know my business is going to rely on me finding my new identity and my new place in the ecosystem, but most importantly it hinges on finding my confidence.

 

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The First Person to Write Her Own Q&A

Ok since I am a big ole hypocrite, I am writing today after all! I posted on Facebook that I was taking a break from my blog, but atlas, it has drawn me in. Much of what I have been writing has been far too personal and possibly less than pleasant to post, at least right now. I decided to write a Q&A which is semi-ridiculous to write my own questions (but I never claimed to be totally normal). I did get a request or two that I incorporated and many are based on things I have been asked at some point in my life.

First, allow me to digress for one minute please, which speaks a bit to why I am re-evaluating the blogging I am doing. I struggle with posting what is real with what might be too personal (because my stories are not always just my own. Other people could be affected by them). I also feel like the unpleasant stuff that comes to mind for topics could easily spiral into sounding really salty and bitter, and I fear if people read that in isolation, they could misunderstand who I am at the core.

Anyways, one of the things I am finding is that my writing is very much tied to my career transition. It is it as much a journey in starting a business as it is in finding myself. I know, that sounds super cheesy (but it’s the real dang truth).

Much of what I feel like I am going through is like this shedding process. There’s an idea in life that I whole heartedly believe in that to get what you want, you have to give some things up. Right now, without even realizing I am doing it, I am giving up a lot of my own emotional baggage. I have to let go of being the person I was when I was in the corporate world in certain ways, like accepting that I cannot be as independent as I was.  I do require more help and support than ever before. I have to let go of so much of what I was taught ever since I can remember like follow security and always have a plan (even if it means not loving what I am doing). I have to give up spending time with people that either drain me or distract from my goals.

­It is heavy shit, guys. And while I consider myself to be sassy, sarcastic and sometimes light hearted, there is also a lot that is sort of dark that goes on in my brain on a regular basis.

And that is why I will try my hardest to not digress a million times in this post. (I make no guarantees though).

 

Q:  What brought you to California from New Jersey?
A: About 10 years ago, the company I was working for at the time was going to relocate me to Los Angeles. I was a Consultant and we had a new client in Edmonton, Canada. They flew me out here for a few days to look for an apartment . I had never been to Los Angeles before and instantly felt in love with it. I always felt it in my soul (for real) that I was meant to be on the West Coast. Well, it was decided that the journey to Edmonton from LA was not really as quick and easy to be doing on a weekly basis as we had thought so they did not sponsor my move out here. I did still make the move (on my own dime). And wouldn’t you know that as soon as I did, they decided to send me to Edmonton anyways. Nope. Not bitter about that at all.

Q: What has been the most surprising thing about the career transition you are making?
A: The emotions. Holy shit. I expected highs and lows, but I had no idea they would be as extreme and varied as they are. Some days I feel really positive and confident about my decision to start my own business and other days I feel really in-over-my-head and insecure about whether or not I am truly qualified to be doing this. I constantly have moments where I am so grateful and humbled by all the support and love I receive. I definitely have more moments of crying than I ever have which makes me feel like an 80 year old Jewish grandmother.

Q: What are your Top 3 for leading a fulfilled life?
A:  1. Given I am in a major transitional stage in life right now, the most glaring is to be true to myself. I could have chosen to stay in a job that did not light my soul on fire or I could have tried for the unknown with a higher chance for gratification. I also find when it comes to my business, I get a lot of (unsolicited) advice about what I should and should not do. And I take it all into consideration, but at the end of the day I have to do what  feels right for me even if it means making mistakes along the way.

  1. Balance. This could mean something different to each of us. I am by far more of an introvert than an extrovert. I love my own time and I do love being around other people, only when I feel it is quality and fulfilling. I am past the age of being around people out of obligation or taking in anyone else’s energy. Ok I digress. I also mean balance in terms of sticking to my health and fitness routine with doing things that are good for my soul.
  2. The people I surround myself to. It ties into a point I made relating to balance. It is so important to have positive people around me and not anyone toxic. I am beyond grateful for all the amazing friends and family I have in my life.

Q:  Wow, in the question above, it is surprising that “money” was not in the response. Why is that?
A: Huh, wouldn’t you know it? I am actually surprised because I do get stressed about money these days. Not because I am in any dire financial situation(yet), but the unknown of how I am going to start earning again (and how much) can freak a girl out.

Having said that, I guess though it is because money comes and money goes. And I have had many years of having plenty of it to do as I wish that will tie me over for the time being in terms of experiences and memories. I also am confident that despite having freak outs about money, I will start earning  it again.

And to the point above, I know that money is not everything. Having the security at my job and being paid regularly regardless of how little or how much I worked,  was wonderful, I will not lie. But I walked away from it because clearly  it is not everything.

Q: You have travelled to so many countries, about 30 perhaps? Which do you want to go back to?
A:
OMG Guatemala. I would go back to Lake Atitlan in a heartbeat. Being around so much gorgeous nature and so much spirituality, is something that always warms my heart when I think about it. It also was a yoga retreat which is ironic because if you know me, you know how much I really do not enjoy yoga. Despite that though, I experienced so many unique things.

Q: Are you still selling ketones? (For the record, I legit get asked this a few times a week).
A: Yes but more behind the scenes. It is not an income generator for me and I decided to do it more for fun (and finance my own ketone supply). I LOVE the products and being in ketosis. I still sell to people, I just do not post as often as I used to. It started to feel too salesy and icky. And the thing is too, I rather spend time promoting myself for my own business. Boom!

Q: What is the name of your business?
A: Patience, my friend. I’m hoping to launch my website over the next few weeks and that will be the big business name reveal.

Q: What foods can you not live without?
A: Avocados obviously which also means guacamole. Which leads to burritos (especially breakfast burritos). I would be so sad if I became allergic. Please god, don’t ever let that happen! And almond milk. Being lactose intolerant is super limiting and almond milk has been a savior. Oh, and those delicious vegan ice cream sandwiches at Sage, which I am completely craving right now and it is taking every ounce of self -control to not get in my car now and go.

Q: Who are your favorite people on the planet?
A: My nieces and nephews. I mean, I know I shouldn’t have favorites but well… They are adorable, loving, funny and always surprising me. And they make me want to be the best person in the world. I do not get to see them nearly enough so I cherish every little moment with them.

Q: Last question. What are 3 things about you that people may not know?
A: I am an award winning parallel parker, I am skilled at picking things up with my toes, and I can only wink my left eye.

Calling in Good Karma: Gratitude of an Entrepreneur

Calling in Good Karma: Gratitude of an Entrepreneur

 

Foreword: As I get asked often how I am doing and where I am it in my new life, this is my current state. Warning: it is sappy.

 

The other day I received a text from my (former) cleaning lady just saying hi and that she hopes I am well. I realized that I may not have told her I had left my job (a little more info on that here)  and would be taking a break from her services, which hurts a lot. I have no shame in admitting that I loved having someone else clean my condo. I messaged her back about that and she responded that she wants to come clean for me without me paying. She was actually rather insistent and at that moment, without explanation, I started crying.

I kind of thought I was having a mini-meltdown and that I had finally lost my sanity. Like that was the moment that I was legit crazy. Why did that make me cry for fuck’s sake?

Was it that I had become a charity case?

No, I knew it was not that. I knew it was her way of saying thank you for what I had done for her over the years. I sent many friends her way that became her clients too. Also, anytime I cleaned and purged my condo (which I did dozens of times over the 7 years she cleaned for me) I gave her all of it.  I had stuff I did not need and I knew she would get it people who did. And I never thought twice about it or like it would be ill-received. Yet, when I know her gracious offer was done as a way of saying thank you, I almost refused to accept it.

And then I started thinking of all the kind things my friends and family have done for me since I left my job which resulted in more tears. I recalled all my friends who treated me to lunches, dinners and drinks when I passed the NASM Certified Personal Training exam. To my brother who flew me in on miles to see my family in December. To the friend who gave me a beautiful Christmas present as a thank you for all that I had helped her with as her mentor that year. To a friend who has an extra ticket to see The Book of Mormon who wants to take me, her treat. To my esthetician who has thrown in some complimentary services. To the owner of the CrossFit I joined asking me to write for their blog. Then to my cleaning lady’s offer. I lost it. I totally lost it.

And I realize and I know in my heart, nobody has offered or done any of these things, or the countless other things not mentioned, out of obligation or out of charity. They did it because either they are paying it back or because they just genuinely support me and want to see me succeed.

And that’s why I lost my shit.

One of the ironic things is I do not do favors or “acts of kindness” out of obligation. I consider myself highly loyal and won’t think twice about doing something for someone else. I do though to be frank, get put off whenever someone justs “expects” me to do something. If that makese sense. And I know that everyone who comes to mind as supporting me is the same. They are not doing anything thing because they feel like I expect it. They are doing it because they want to.

And that is why I keep crying when I try to wrap my brain around it. I know I am loved. And I know I am supported. There is just something about having it manifest in ways that I never dreamed of or expected. Because if there is one thing to know about me, it is this.  I have never been handed anything nor have I ever governed my life based on what I felt entitled to. I have had to work for everything I have ever had from money to relationships to my own happiness.

I have been given opportunities in my life, like jobs, that I had no real qualifications for. But I was offered them because people recognized my integrity and work ethic and I proved to them I was capable. And it is very much the same reasons why I am being given so much love right now. It is a reflection of who I am which is very humbling and extremely overwhelming.

There are certain times in life that we expect to receive things, like on birthdays. We expect to receive gifts and cards and dinners out and text messages wishing us all the best. And it is not that we take them for granted. But it is different when gifts in any form and acts of kindness happen when we do not expect them.

I have had said a million times since knowing I would be leaving the corporate world that I have been astonished at how much support I continuously receive. I have lost count of how many times people have told me I am brave or inspiring.  Every time someone tells me that or does something for me, the impact still affects me profoundly (and can be measured in tears!) And if anything, the more it happens, the more grateful and assured I become.

(Also, just a warning if you have not picked up on it yet,  basically if you do or say anything nice for/to me, you might turn me into a gushing emotional mess.)

I also know that all this love and support is validation that this whole new business venture, this new life is meant to be. It’s all going to be ok. Correction. It is going to be amazing.

 

CrossFit Open: It Is Not About a Number

Foreword: For those who are not in the CrossFit world, there are still some points that you can relate to in this post so please, read on. And in case you are wondering what the hell is the CrossFit Open? Think of it as like the equivalent of the qualifiers for the Olympics. There are the elite (like the top 1%) who will actually qualify, but it is open to anyone who does CrossFit. 

Also, 18.1 is the numbering convention of workouts (2018, 1st workout). The workout was 20 minutes of as many repetitions of:

8 Toes-To-Bar

10 (5 each arm) Dumbbell clean and jerks

14 (men)/12 (women) Calorie Row

 

For someone who resisted signing up for this year’s CrossFit Open as much as she could, I have to say, as much as it pains me, I am…. gratified that I did. And if I am being totally honest, I have to acquiesce that I did not hate it. I mean, I did legit feel like I might black out at least twice during 18.1 (breathing would have prevented that!) but I got it DONE! And more importantly, I am satisfied with what I accomplished. This experience of course inspired me to share some words of wisdom. (Or is it wisdom? It may just actually be reality checks. You can be the judge of that).

  1. Strategy, strategy, and strategy.
    I knew that rowing would be the most challenging part for me and the most time consuming. And had this been a year ago, I would have been a total stress case and just focused on how bad I am at rowing. Not this year. I did not let rowing mess with my confidence and instead I strategized. It was about mitigating the weaknesses to not let them define my performance.Fortunately, I also was able to go to a very timely rowing clinic the Sunday before 18.1 was announced, and I FINALLY learned what is meant by “it’s all legs”. I never had figured that out in all the 6 years I have been doing CrossFit.  I always swore my legs were strong based on what  I could squat and deadlift, but it seemed irrelevant anytime I got on the erg. Now that I had picked up a new rowing technique that was indeed 80% legs and did not require my shoulders to get to work, I took that knowledge with me into The Open.Now, the knowledge and technique did not mean that I became any faster in the last week. It just meant that I could be more efficient on the erg, and that when I got off, I was not wrecked. And I was able to save my arms and shoulders for the other 2 movements that needed them. That was part of my strategy. I was not after speed per say (because height and weight is a real disadvantage with rowing). I wanted to be efficient and not wrecked after each round.

    When it came to toes-to-bar, I stuck with sets of 5-3 from the get go. I could have done all 8 unbroken for a few rounds at least, but I wanted to preserve my grip. And so I was still able to fly through them in record time (not to toot my own horn but to toot my own horn, someone asked me after seeing me do them if I was a gymnast).

    For the dumbbell clean and jerks, I realized after the first set of 5 with my right arm that I needed to break before switching sides. If you want to expose any weakness, do a movement with a dumbbell instead of a barbell btw. I did not want to fail on any or have to break in the 5.

    I stuck to my strategy like peanut butter on bread and my rounds were fairly consistent. And for that, I am happy. I have done this and seen people that even when they strategize, they do not execute on it. They may start off fast and furious and feel good the first few rounds and then drastically decline. I did not want that to happen. And it didn’t. Cheers.

    I felt pretty calm during 18.1 which says a lot. Past years I think I was spastic and inconsistent and far more psycho about it. Being able to stay focused on strategy takes discipline and trusting the process, which is something we all can and should do more of.

 

  1. Efficiency is just as important as being fast and explosive.
    As I mentioned with rowing, it was about being efficient. Hopefully over time I will get better with being able to go faster for meters or calories, but for now, focusing on being efficient is more important.For a workout such as 18.1, when it is twenty minutes long, being efficient means being able to sustain a pace. Some people have a tendency to go fast and hard out of the gate and burn out pretty quickly. I see this in workouts.  I often am lagging behind others and then find I have lapped them. It is usually because I was pacing and being efficient while they may have over-estimated how much they had in their tanks.  And I think this comes with experience in CrossFit. It has taken me probably 5 years to figure that out. I used to have this idea that being first at the beginning meant I would have a faster time, but it does not always correlate to that. One of my goals has been to be more efficient and consistent.There are still times for being fast and explosive, for sure! It just takes some experience to know when. I went for that tactic when I had about 10 seconds left to get on the rower and get a calorie or two before time was up. But again, if I had rowed like that during the workout, I would have gotten about half the rounds I did.

 

  1. Ask “How did you do?” instead of “What was your score?”
    I am deliberately omitting my score from this post or anything I post on social media. I am making a concerted effort to shift the focus of the Open on people’s accomplishments and not their score. For a few reasons.Disclaimer: Everyone has a different school of thought when it comes to The Open. Some people want to measure against others as a benchmark. Some want to be #1. Whatever it is, it’s all good with me. I personally subscribe though to the school of thought that for some, if the focus is on a number, it diminishes the work they put into that number no matter what that number is.There are people who could never do a toes-to-bar before the Open and guess what? 18.1 forced them to get over their fear or out of their head and go for it. And to me, even if they get “just” 1, that 1 rep is a freaking amazing accomplishment. Going by a number alone does not always tell the full story.

    So I have been asking “how did you do?” because I want an answer that is not just “200” or “250” or “300”.  Tell me about your triumphs. Tell me about what proud moments you had. Tell me what you learned you need to work on.

 

  1. Rep schemes and order of movements in The Open can drastically change anyone’s score. The Open workouts could easily have different results if the rep scheme is different or the movements show up in a different order. Imagine if the toes to bar reps had been higher. Maybe they were 15 reps per round. The scores could drastically change for those who find toes to bar to be more of a struggle or had the rowing calories been higher, that too could have shifted people’s scores.Look at 17.4 from last year. The workout was an AMRAP 13 of:­­55 Deadlifts
    55 Wall balls
    55 Calorie row
    55 HSPU (handstand push-up)

    When I did this last year, I struggled through wall balls and rowing, two of my weaker movements. (Height matters!) I never made it to HSPU, which is a bummer since I am actually respectable at those. And there are people who got a higher score than me because they did get through rowing, even if they could not do a single HSPU.

    But say the order was reversed and HSPU was the first movement. That would have meant that a lot of people who did RX would have to had to scale. And even people who struggle with HSPU may never have gotten past them. My point, which is not to knock anyone, is this. There is an element of the luck of the draw so to speak. An open workout can easily play into strengths just as easily as it can into weaknesses. So does that mean someone is better or stronger because they happened to have been able to get even just 1 HSPU than someone who never got off the rower? Absolutely not.  Does it mean you are less strong because a weaker movement showed up first? Absolutely not. It’s just the way the WOD was programmed that was a more favorable order in a chipper (or less favorable depending).

 

One week into the 2018 CrossFit Open and overall I am far less mental about it than I have been in prior years. It has been a big shift for me in mindset which is really why I finally allowed myself to be okay with signing up.  I am treating it like it is really about me (I mean, I have an element of being competitive but I am not letting that get the best of me). It is about overcoming hurdles and acknowledging and celebrating what I do, no matter the score.

We have 4 more workouts to go. My goal is to stay sane. Stay positive everyone!

When Did Social Media Become The Jerry Springer Show?

Ok ,soooo the title is a tad bit exaggerated but it got your attention, didn’t it?

I have no shame in admitting I love social media. For the most part.  Although, with social media being a quick and easy way to reach many people, there has become this acceptance or license to use it for a few different things that really, in my humble opinion, are beyond what the boundaries should be.

 

  1. Being overtly sexual.

Ok so just don’t do it. People generally do not want unsolicited comments and messages that are sexual. I wrote a whole post on that which is here.

 

  1. Medical diagnosis/advice.

It is one thing to ask for suggestions on things like what stretches to do for a tight hip flexor or asking if anyone has a recommendation for knee sleeves. It is another to detail symptoms of extreme pain in your back expecting someone to give a medical diagnosis. OVER SOCIAL MEDIA. What happened to calling our doctors and scheduling an appointment?

 

Comparing one’s symptoms to someone who comments is not exactly an approved way to diagnose. Just because someone has similar pains or symptoms does not mean their diagnosis are identical.

 

And I know people have the best of intentions in their comments, but they are not medical professionals. Go find out what is going on with you so you can heal and back to your regularly scheduled programming.

 

  1. Aggressively pushing your beliefs onto your followers.

I see a lot of posts about important topics that 100% should be socialized.  Often though, the commentary that someone posts along with it is this sort of “you are stupid if you do not agree with me” kind of mentality. (Politics and gun bans immediately come to mind). It is admirable to be passionate about a cause, but insulting one’s followers’ intelligence in an attempt to persuade them is 1) not effective 2) puts them on the defense and 3) is disrespectful.

 

Take vaccinations for example. I see a lot of posts from both camps: anti-vaccinations and pro-vaccinations for children. I personally, for the record as someone who has no kids, have no opinion on the matter which is why I am using this as an example.  If someone wants to sway people in the other camp, do so with kindness and education. Do not do it by telling them they are terrible parents if they do or do not vaccinate. Because again, 1) it is insulting 2) it is not effective and 3) it is disrespectful. Nobody wants to be told they are a bad parent and they are not likely to be open to considering anything after a comment like that.

 

  1. Publically bashing people.

There is this thing called diplomacy. It is ok to tell a story and give perception and insight, when done respectfully. I do this as much as I humanly can when I blog (because believe me, there are times I reference personal stories that it takes every ounce of my being to not let the New Jersey come out of me).

 

It is another thing to air dirty laundry, spew just pure hatred directed at someone and play the victim with the right to say anything and everything without a filter.

 

I for one do not want to see a public feud between supposed friends/family on Facebook (and sadly I have seen this many times). If someone has an issue with someone else, but cannot exercise diplomacy when in a public venue (because Facebook is public any way you look at it. It is not a conversation between 2 people when you have even just 1 follower).  Take it offline.  End of story.

 

 

  1. Rewarding bad behavior.

 

On Social media, often what happens in the case where someone, for example, publically bashes someone else, people who think it is a little crazy town most likely are just going to scroll right past it without commenting.  The people who do take the time to comment are buying into whatever the person is selling. Perhaps the person posting felt someone said something really rude to them or they had a big fight with their parent or friend or whatever it is. Again, if they are not telling a story or making a point respectfully and with diplomacy, they are likely victimizing themselves. And so people comment like “You are inspiring! The other person is the devil!” or “OMG you are so great! You are sooooo right to be sooooooooooo upset!”

 

They are not challenging them for the other details (aka the other side of the story and or the details that perhaps were conveniently left out). Nor are they saying, “Hey, maybe you should take that post down and go talk directly to your friend.” They are just validating whatever the person is saying and feeling. They are essentially rewarding bad behavior. And all that it does is make the person feel righteous.

 

I can totally go down a rabbit hole with this one. And I will.

 

It perpetuates the problem that people think it is ok to be unfiltered, hateful and acting victimized. We obviously cannot prevent people from posting such things. We can though opt to NOT comment on them. People posting like that WANT the attention. So duh, if they are not given attention, maybe they will stop posting.

 

 

There are always boundaries. There are things that make sense to do on social media and then there are things that cross the line into perverse, ignorance, hate, and lack of sensibility. I try to govern my life outside of social media by all that is good. Good energy, good people, good discussion and just plain old respect. Facebook can go so far past what is good that perhaps it can be reined back in a smidge or so.

 

 

 

 

Think You are a Leader? 5 Things You Ought To Check Yourself On

Foreword: I am using the word “leader” quite loosely in this post. I have very strong opinions of what a GREAT leader is. I also know that many people are self-proclaimed leaders when in actuality they do not know the first thing about being a leader. So when I have references in the negative about a
“leader” in this post, please know it is that latter group that I am referring to. I also do not mean to insinuate that any one of my readers is a bad leader

I also apologize in advance for the rants (they are too good to omit though right?)

The other night when I was hanging out with friends, the topic of zodiac signs came up. A friend said to me, “Oh you are a Leo. You must be stubborn.” I laughed and said, “so they say”. Because really, do stubborn people ever admit they are stubborn? I followed up with this though, “I am definitely stubborn when it comes to the principle of things and being ethical.  I have a hard time letting go of something when I do not agree with it.” Which is where this post came from. Leadership is something I take oh so seriously and it drives me insane knowing there are people in this world running around proclaiming to be leaders. They mistake their rank or title for leadership. They mistake teaching the ropes on social media as coaching. They mistake publicly bashing people (on their team!) over Facebook with “being organic.”  Ok, I digress a little bit. But the point of that last statement is that being a leader means knowing the difference between being diplomatic yet honest with being disrespectful and malevolent.

Without further delay, let’s get into what a good leader is NOT.

  1. A good leader never wants someone on their team who does not want to be there.
    I have never believed in holding anyone back or preventing someone from pursuing other options or doing anything to advance their career. Sometimes being a leader means accepting that you will be a stepping stone. People change and morph as do their needs. Just because someone does not need us anymore, does not mean we did a terrible job leading and coaching. It just means we gave them what they need to keep moving. Keeping anyone who wants to be there creates resentment and imbalance in a team. If someone finds another opportunity that aligns with their goals, a good leader supports that. It is not a personal attack necessarily. And if it is, then that leads me to the next point.
  1. A good leader recognizes a learning opportunity when they see one.
    Deflecting or projecting an issue that someone brings to a leader’s attention is most likely indicative of an insecurity, arrogance and just being stupidly lacking in self- awareness. There are moments that come our way that are blessings not punishments. Having someone express a concern, even if it IS directly targeted at you, is your chance to rise above it. There may just be some truth to what they are saying and if you are a good, solid leader, you will think about it from another perspective.If someone cannot handle feedback, to be totally blunt, they have no business being in a position of leadership. Period.And furthermore (oh snap I used “furthermore”), if someone cannot handle feedback from a manager, a peer, a subordinate, anyone in the workplace, chances are they cannot handle it anywhere else in life. Which I will say for the millionth time, that is indicative of immaturity and a lack of self- awareness. I have zero patience for people who are always the victim. It is never them.
  1. A good leader does not dismiss someone’s opinion or feelings.
    Anytime we communicate with someone, whether it’s a boss, a peer, a friend, a spouse, a customer service rep (seriously, who likes being told as a customer you are wrong?), we want to at a minimum feel validated. Whether you agree or not is beside the point. People want to feel heard. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conversation and have your points completely not understood and ignored. Literally it is like talking to a wall. A wall that you probably want to punch. So, if a “leader” is completely missing your points, know when to take that battle up with someone else who can influence them or merely just walk away (and plan your escape route. Seriously). Some battles are better left untouched.
  1. A good leader does not manipulate.
    Manipulation can come in many forms and pretty much every time it is a control thing. To my first point earlier, keeping someone on a team when you are the only person who has the power to relinquish them is straight up manipulation. Telling someone how much you have done for them and how much they owe you is manipulation.  Telling someone in one breath how highly you think of them and in the next how much they have disrespected you is also manipulation. Be honest and be real. People think they are sugar coating things when really they are trying to either confuse the hell out of someone else or manipulate a situation to make them feel like they are back in control (which for real, who wants to deal with that?)
  1. A good leader does not have an attitude of entitlement when someone wants to leave.
    Warning: This one gets me especially fired up.
    Sure, there is going to be disappointment at losing a good resource, but good leaders do not harbor resentment about it. A good leader knows that people will move on at some point and no matter how much they may have done for that person, they have the right to move on.Putting in a few days or a few months or a few years training someone does not make them yours. They are not indebted to you.

    And having someone leave is not even always a bad thing. It could be opening an opportunity for you or someone else. Because often you have to let go of something to get what you really need.

    Really though, I am calling bull shit on anyone who feels that they cannot release you because releasing YOU is DISRESPECTFUL to THEM. Putting in time training is part of the job description and it is not wasted time (for anyone). I get so fired up because I once had someone who refused to release me because she felt like she put in months of her time training me which is time lost that SHE will never get back. (Those were her words, not mine).

    Case and point. That shows immaturity and spite, which again, are not exactly cornerstones of being a leader.

    Being a leader is not an easy thing even for those who have that gift innately. It takes cultivating, training, real life experience and most importantly a whole lot of humility (and a whole lot less of ego). I am grateful, truly, for my past corporate life. I was given an opportunity to lead and it is something I have always taken seriously.

    Leading is not about me. It is about other people.  It is about inspiring others around me and not draining them. The main common theme of every single example above is that it shows a mentality of only thinking about oneself instead of others.

    Having a “me me me” attitude is the antithesis of a leader.

    There are a lot of things you can fix in this world when it comes to issues with people, but you cannot fix  those who are ignorant or irrational, especially when they are in the height of their “it is all about me” way of thinking.

    Perhaps for some of these “leaders” they will have that “Oh snap” moment and have some over due self-reflection. I just know for myself, I cannot stick it out around those types waiting for them to figure out. And neither should you. It is okay to walk away from a “leader” when they are downright irrational and overly emotional. As the kids say today, you do you.

Six Types of People Who Will Suck the Soul Out Of You

Foreword: I was about half way done with this post when it dawned on me. I am sure I am not the first person to write about this topic. And so I googled it and sure enough, I am not. Fortunately, the ones I came up with I did not see on the half a dozen articles I found so at least there is that!

I know I am not alone in feeling like the energy around us recently has been out of sorts. It is almost hard to explain but if you have expereinced it, you know what I mean. And if you think I sound just bat shit crazy (which may be true), the important thing to know is that it sparked me thinking about energy. And often what we are picking up around us is not even ours. It may not even be that of someone standing ten feet from you, but it is coming from someone who orbits the same world you live in.

And as long as we let them orbit in OUR world, we are allowing their energy in. Which made me think long and hard about the types of people who we would no doubt benefit from saying adios to.

  1. The person playing the victimI have met people who have gone through some horrific shit yet when they tell me about it, they will be sure to say “It is ok. I do not want to live in the negative or let it take over my life. I am moving ahead and grateful for what I do have.” Those people, hold onto them. They will raise your vibrations and be that good energy you want. It is the people who do the opposite. The ones who are constantly complaining. The ones who repeatedly are being “targeted”. It is never anything they do. They cannot help that they have a mean boss, a mean neighbor, a mean co-worker, and mean friends. Everyone is always mean to THEM and they are just PERFECT. Yeah, right.

Those people, the victim people, they are exhausting and will suck the soul right out of you. Turn around and walk away. And do not look back. No matter how hard you try to be nice and to be a friend, they are always going to find fault in you. Because remember the last 10 friends they had they slowly divulged over time about how they wronged them? Well guess what, you are being primed for #11. And who the fuck wants that drama?

  1. The zero accountability person.

I almost did not include this one because well, I could easily write 5000 words on this alone. I am an adult though and I promise I can be concise on this point.

The zero accountability person is likely to also be the person playing the victim. Because when someone has a victim mentality, it is NEVER anything they did.  They are just innocently going through life being awesome, kind and selfless who just happens to have bad shit happen to them. All. The. Time.

There is a strong correlation to happiness and taking a long, hard look at ourselves.  Happiness is not just something that happens. And being on a quest for happiness does not entitle anyone to be a total jack ass to people or to self-sabotage.  Our quality of life is a reflection of owning the good, the bad and the ugly.

So if you find yourself around someone who never takes accountability, if you do not separate yourself from them, you are 100% likely to legit go crazy.

  1. The person who tries to talk you out of your dream.
    Going into fitness and coaching, I have gotten an unprecedented amount of support. I have had people who have questioned or raised concerns about elements that I may not have thought about. That I welcome. Please, help me think through details I may not have considered. That is cool. That is being a friend.

If I did though encounter someone who told me that I am absolutely insanely stupid to pursue this dream, I would obviously first punch them, and then start second guessing my decision. Crushing someone’s dream is demoralizing to say the least. We need to support each other.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If I told anyone that I was leaving my corporate job to become an exterminator, they would have laughed in my face. And rightfully so. I go into a 3 month trauma when I see a water bug so no way could I be an exterminator. A good friend, even if they do not agree with the dream, will at least try to understand what you are seeking. What is it you are missing that you want something else? If the dream is misaligned, they will help you find a more appropriate one without just quickly denouncing it.

  1. The Social Media public basher

You know the people who vacillate between extremes? Like one day they are posting about how much they love avocados and puppies and the next day they are bitching about their ex-wife and how she is stealing custody from you. Yeah, to me, when they go to that extreme, it is negative. And it is not that they are not in the right for how they feel but I do not always trust those who are not using sound discretion in what they post.  It is social media not an episode of “Judge Judy”.
Not to mention, if you see someone who is bashing someone openly and without tact, what makes you think you will never be in the hot seat?

 

  1. The person who gets all their Intel from Facebook (aka the gossip)

Ever have a conversation with someone who is catching you up on all these people you are mutually acquainted with? And you start wondering how is it that this person has managed to know so much about all these people? Then, in one of their mesmerizing stories, they mention they saw something that a friend of a friend of a friend posted about  on Facebook.

 

Move along, sister, move along.

 

  1. The ageist.

Disclaimer: I am the BIGGEST hypocrite for including this one. Full disclosure I am a total ageist (but I swear I am working on it!). I make fun of millenials any chance I get and am in total awe of anyone over 50 with a 6 pack. But having said that, I know it is not right.  And I am grateful for everyone who proves me wrong every single freakin’ day.

There is such a tendency to associate expectations based on age. Like nobody can possibly have their shit together before 30 and nobody possibly truly learns to love themselves until age 40. And 60 year olds should stick to crocheting and watching “Golden Girls”. (Ok bad example, those chis are the best. For all ages!)

 

Ageists will take self -imposed expectations and unfairly places them on others. “Anyone over 30 who is not married is hopeless” or “He is 25. He does not know what life is.” If you go to an ageist for advice, are they going to look at you fairly or are they going to make biased assumptions about you based on age? Just something to noodle over if you find yourself in the company of an ageist.

 

We all have dreams and we all have passions. We need to really consider the people around us and ask ourselves: are they inspiring us or are they draining us?