Truth on the Table: Staying True to Yourself

Staying True to YourselfWoo doggie! It’s shaping up to be a very busy week, and only getting busier. But no matter how busy I get, I can’t shake the itch to share at least a small morsel of wisdom with you each week, so today I will share some very special and almost life-changing advice I recently received. There’s a table, some people, a little conversation, and a lot of very important hold-on-to-your-truth action, and it goes a little something like this.

Each day we have numerous encounters with other people, at work, at home, and out in the world. In these daily interactions, there is often a lot of competing truths each trying to make their point. From this, a sort-of battle for energy ensues, where one person or group of people is usually trying to prove they’re right or make a point.

So envision this table I spoke of earlier. It is sitting there, right between you and whoever is on the other side of any particular interaction. During the interaction, that person or group of people will lay some stuff out on that table. This could be praises, judgments, ideas of what’s wrong and right in general, and what’s wrong and right about you, etc. Then, you are probably going to do the same, and lay your share of thoughts and beliefs out on that very same table for the opposing side.

And here’s where that hold-on-to-your-truth action comes in. This is where you have to realize that you are never obligated to accept everything that is placed upon that table for you, just as the other side is not obligated to do so. You can take the bits and pieces that make sense to you and align with your particular truth, and leave the rest. In other words, you never have to accept what others think of you. You know who you are, what you believe in, and what makes sense for you and your life, a.k.a. your truth, and that is the only thing that really matters. That is what you have to be loyal to, always. That’s if you want any real chance at some delicious HAPPY, of course.

If we were to let every interaction we come across make us question our truth, or even worse, attempt to change it, we’d be left miserable and completely unsatisfied in a pursuit to constantly be approved by everyone else (practically impossible), instead of by the person who matters most to your general well-being, YOU.

And that’s what I have for ya today. Wasn’t that short, sweet, and things-that-make-you-go-hmm-tastic? I thought so. Have a positively positive week, and remember staying true to yourself is always the way to go!

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

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8 Key Career Lessons Grounded in Positivity

Career Lessons Grounded in Positivity

Today, check out eight career lessons grounded in positivity that have helped me be more productive, more successful, and stay just a little more sane.

Career Lessons #1: Be nice, and get a lot more done.

I strongly dislike the phrase, “You are too nice.” In my experience, nice is good, nice is welcomed and nice is productive! Even if you love what you do for a living, work is stressful. No one is paying you to just have fun ALL the time. So why not maintain a positive attitude, play nice with others (even people you don’t exactly want to bestie-up with), and get more done?

One thing I have found from always striving to maintain my cool and smile at work, even when others are getting a little edgy with me, is that I just get more done. Plain and simple. People are more likely to help me, to answer my questions, and to put my requests before those of others. Plus, the workday is just a lot more pleasant with a smile on your face, and around people who are not afraid you’re going to bite their noses off for every little thing. No one likes a crabster at work, even the crabsters themselves!

And no, being nice doesn’t mean being a push-over. It just means putting a little extra effort into understanding the stresses of others in different roles, being receptive to questions and to mistakes (you make ‘em too!), and always being willing to talk through any issues to ultimately accomplish your goals.

Career Lessons #2: Find intrinsic motivation.

You can’t always wait for accolades, compliments, smiling faces, and lots of dough to motivate you to do a good job. Besides, these things are not part of the everyday. On most days, you just have to look inside yourself to stay motivated and produce good quality work.

One thing that has always worked for me is that regardless of outside stressors (outside of myself), I refuse to put my name on bad work if I can help it. So when the goin’ gets tough, I motivate myself with the thought of producing high quality work, not because someone is going to come by and start clapping for me or hand me a wad of cash, but just because that’s the way I roll. It makes me feel good and it gives me purpose. Plus, it is something I can control.

Career Lessons #3: Be helpful.

Please never, ever say to someone, “That is not my job.” Say it to yourself, with your inside voice if you like, but never utter those words. Job descriptions are never going to be 100 percent comprehensive, and hey, stuff comes up, so relax, roll up your sleeves, and always be willing to help. Besides just being good Samaritan-like to do so, this also helps your co-workers and managers build trust in you. And when you need a little hand, others will be more likely to be there and give you what you need.

Career Lessons #4:  Be a rock star problem solver.

I don’t care what anyone says. Whether you have five years of experience, 10 or 25, no one knows everything, especially in a world where things are constantly changing and evolving. Don’t worry so much about having all of the answers, and just practice being a rock star problem solver.

Don’t have the answer to that email right now? Not really sure how to attack that huge project your boss just emailed to you? Heck, maybe you don’t even know what she/he is talking about. That’s OK. Kindly express that you’re not sure, and say you will do a little digging and provide an update soon. Then, go. Research, ask, and think. You’re a smart cookie. You’ll figure it out.

Made a mistake? That’s OK too. Focus on rectifying it instead of drowning in self-pity and making excuses. I have noticed time and time again that everyone understands we make mistakes, but no one likes a terminal attitude. Unless you are conducting surgery, there is usually a way to make a situation better, fix a mistake and find a better way. Take a minute to feel bad, and then get to fixin’!

Career Lessons #5: Find a good balance between salary and passion.

Unfortunately, passion alone doesn’t pay the bills, and salary alone doesn’t buy happiness or feed your soul.  When thinking about what career to go into or change over to, or what job to take, try and find a good balance between passion and salary. Don’ take a salary you can’t live on to do something you love, and don’t take a job you hate just because it pays a lot.

Take me for example. I am a writer to the very depths of my little heart. It’s what I have loved to do since I was a kid. It is what drives me, excites me and fulfills me. So I chose a career in marketing which allows me to write but doesn’t leave me livin’ the starving artist life. For a girl who already comes from poverty, that is just not cute ya’ll. This way, I make a good living at something I enjoy, and still get to do what I absolutely LOVE most days. Sometimes, when I’m stressed about money, I think I should have been a pharmacist or a lawyer, and make more money, but then where would my HAPPY be? It’s not worth it. Just find a balance.

Career Lessons #6: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Don’t do something wrong just because you’re afraid to ask questions. Again, none of us know everything. Plus, we all have different ways of learning and absorbing information. I know it can be hard especially if you tend to be a little shy like me (hard to believe, right?!), but suck it up, and ask. When the job gets done the right way the first time, everyone will be glad you did.

Career Lessons #7: Show a little personality.

Take some time to scope out your surroundings, and the personalities of your managers and co-workers, but don’t be so afraid to show a little personality. We spend a lot of our lives at work, so why spend it putting up a front? Save your energy for the actual work, please. Of course, you always have to gauge what is appropriate and what isn’t in your particular professional environment, but don’t think you have to be such a robot all the time. I’m fairly certain companies realize you’re human. It’s OK to tell a tasteful joke, add a little professional flare to your attire, and just be you. And if your environment doesn’t allow you to be even a shadow of your actual self, I’d venture to say you are in the wrong profession or the wrong company. Just a little bite for thought.

Career Lessons #8: Fake it ’till you make it.

Finally, always remember to fake it ‘till you make it baby! It’s taken me a while to really see myself outside of the career-less world I come from. Throughout this learning process, I’ve really had to muster the confidence, self-motivation and strength to believe that I belong here in this corporate world just like any other, more privileged individual. I’ve had to constantly remind myself that the education I was fortunate enough to receive and work my booty off for means I will never be stuck in the bonds of what could have very easily been. So no matter what your particular obstacles are, believe in yourself, push through the doubt, and make it happen!

And remember, a little positivity always goes a long, long way.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Kindness Counts: 9 Tips for a Kinder Existence

Kindness Counts

Every day, I pay attention. In fact, I probably pay more attention to every minute detail of my surroundings and social interactions than my brain and heart can really handle sometimes.  One thing that I catch myself paying extra, special, focused attention to is people’s attitudes. I notice when people are kind, even if just in tiny, little, minuscule ways, and it always, always, without fail, gives me a little boost, a little pep in my step, and a great big smile.

Then there are the times when I pick up on a more negative energy; attitudes that feel more like quick, sharp bee stings.  Sometimes it’s really subtle – a slightly irritated or condescending tone of voice, a less than pleasant look, or an off-putting gesture. I imagine people often don’t even realize they are being a little on the jerky side, or how their energy might affect others around them. But me? I notice. That’s just Sonia. I’m sensitive to people’s energy, and I pick up on that stuff. I think a lot of us do.

Enter the topic of kindness which I haven’t visited in a bit. I believe with everything I have that there is always a positive way to have a conversation, even when it involves a tough or controversial topic. I believe there is always a small gesture you can make to help someone feel more comfortable, always a positive way to tackle a situation, always a small way to be kind, and rarely a thoroughly good reason to be a dick. Yes, I said it.

In that vein, here are nine small, but meaningful ways to live a kinder existence.

Kindness Counts Tip #1: SMILE!

Whether it’s at a homeless person on the corner, your neighbor, the cashier at your grocery store, a fussy child, your co-worker, just SMILE! It’s free, it’s easy, and trust me, it makes a sizable difference. Most of us just want to be acknowledged, and there is no better way to acknowledge someone and their humanity, than through a great, big CHEESE.

Kindness Counts Tip #2: Show appreciation.

Take time to thank those who contribute to your life (made you laugh, did you a favor, offered advice), whether that’s  a mentor, a friend, a nurse, the bar tender at your favorite spot, an old professor, a family member, anyone. Maybe it’s just an actual “thank you” and a smile, maybe it’s a thank-you note, or a small treat. It might take you five minutes of energy, but it will give someone else a whole day’s worth of warmth.

Kindness Counts Tip #3: Respect others.

We are all different – complete with our quirks, our bad days, and our likes and dislikes. But we all contribute in our own very special way, and I believe we should respect what everyone has to offer. Never make people feel they are less than you. Never talk down to people. Never ignore them. Try to find a happy medium between what you bring to the table and what they bring, knowing neither is better than the other, just different, and equally as valuable.

Kindness Counts Tip #4: Listen.

People want to be heard. Hell, people NEED to be heard. Even if you don’t agree, just listen. Give people a turn, and then talk. Give others the opportunity to let go of what weighs on their hearts and minds. Then when they have what they need, they’ll turn and listen to you. Don’t shun people out because what they are saying is not what you want to hear. Just listen.

Kindness Counts Tip #5: Apologize.

Hey, screw up much? Of course you do. We all do, and that’s A OK! Practice self-awareness. Realize when you’ve made a bad choice, offended someone, hurt some feelings, and apologize. People are pretty easy, folks. They just want to have their feelings validated. They don’t actually want to hold on to grudges. They just want to hear you’re sorry. Screw up, own up to it, apologize, and move on. Screw up, hold on to that pride like a kid to a chocolate bar, make the situation worse, and dwell. Easy choice, I’d say.

Kindness Counts Tip #6: Be honest.

Clearly, there is a place and a time for brutal honesty, and you can’t always go around telling everyone exactly how you feel. Plus, being honest doesn’t equate to being a jerk. Instead, just be as honest as you can as often as possible. Especially in situations where people are reaching out to you, asking you straight out how you feel, give them the answer they deserve, the honest one. Don’t beat around that old tired bush, just come out with it. Don’t lead folks on, or tell them what you think they want to hear. That ends up hurting a lot more in the long run, every time. And hey, some people might not like what you have to say, but in the end, they will always find a way to respect it.

Kindness Counts Tip #7: Build spirits up. Don’t tear them down.

Give compliments where compliments are due. Encourage people. Support them. Help them wherever and however you can. Again, SMILE! Don’t interrogate. Don’t search for flaws. Search for good qualities. See the good in people. Forgive. Give chances. Stay positive. Don’t hurl insults at every turn, even when they are hurled violently at you.

Kindness Counts Tip #8: Don’t let ‘em harden you.

OK. So you’re throwing out all the kindness you can muster, and you are still getting nasty attitudes, rude comments, and harsh dismissals. So what? If we give into that, we only perpetuate the ugly little cycle. Be nice even when others are not. Be the positive light in Negative Alley. Don’t let ‘em harden you. The right people will appreciate it, and the harder ones? Well, sooner or later, if you just keep pushin’ through kindness, you’ll strike a chord, and soften them right up! Negative or angry people are not bad people. They just need your kindness the most.

Kindness Counts Tip #9: Be humble.

No matter what you achieve in life, what faraway lands you might travel to, how great your possessions and accolades might be, stay humble. Always remember the path you took to get there. Remember the bad days when the good days come. Remember those who helped you along the way. Never start to think you’re better than anyone. Know that things can always change. Appreciate, love and share kindness. Don’t get cocky, and don’t you ever dare think you have nothing left to learn.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie