Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost, They Are Alive

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Not all those who wander are lost. It’s a line from the poem All that is gold does not glitter, written by J.R.R. Tolkien for the Lord of the Rings. I’ve never actually seen any of those movies, I know, GASP, but I came across the quote somewhere in social media land today, and I thought, aha! Isn’t that the beauty of the digital age we live in? You can catch small, but meaningful gems at every random click of your mouse. I’m corny, and I know it. Also, I love it. Anyway, here it is:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

That line is so true. Not all those who wander are lost. Some of us have a “nasty” little habit of constant daydreaming, planning, searching, looking – for a little spark, for a new adventure, for a fresh accomplishment, and that some of us is definitely, unequivocally, me. But it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m lost.

All my life, I’ve heard things like:

“You’ll just make yourself unhappy by expecting so much out of life.”

“You have food, water and shelter. What else do you need?” (I’m so serious. I was totally told this at 17.)

“You’re restless. That’s bad for you. Just sit.”

“Oh, stop being crazy. Stop trying to be a hero.”

Despite the nags, I’ve always pushed for more, questioned things, searched for progress, and I strive to move forward in some small way every chance I get. If you’re anything like me, and people also tell you to stop daydreaming, or just settle for what you have, stop being ungrateful, or that you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment, I invite you to take a stand with me, and yell, not all those who wander are lost! 

Try new things. If they don’t work or you fail at a new venture, try something else. Keep moving forward and searching. Make a little tweak here. Make a little tweak there. Never settle. Don’t listen to fear or failure. They are your teachers, your friends, and your road to glory. They are not your enemies. Don’t let anyone make you impossible-minded. Always stay possible-minded and forge ahead. Figure out a way to get where you want to go. Don’t let the passing of time without successes deter you. Triumph rarely happens in a day.

And when you achieve one goal, set the next. Always strive for improvement. Always find new things to excite you and fulfill you. It’s not frivolous or ungrateful, and it doesn’t even mean that you’re entirely unhappy with your current situation. But there is so much to experience in life, why stop at the now?

The day you stop daydreaming, planning, hoping and wishing, I suggest you check your pulse. All those who wander are not lost, baby. They are ALIVE.

Happy, motivated Tuesday ya’ll.

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Reaching 30: Growth Hurts Before it Heals

After the ending of my latest pseudo relationship, I swear I feel like I’ve just been through a war. Good news is, I survived and I’m much, much better for the experience. During 10, long, often bitterly unhappy months (I still managed to ride that sucker out kicking and screaming with my positivity and commitment to the big, HAPPY fight :)), I learned an immense amount about myself, the issues I still need to work through, what I want in a partner and what I am willing to accept, and in-turn, what is absolutely unacceptable to me in the realm of love and relationships, and well, in life.

I also learned that I am considerably stronger than I might think at times, and I bet if you dig a little, you will find that you are too. Sure, that situation bordered on emotionally abusive or perhaps it really was, but I walked away from it, and that is all that counts. I might have stuck around for longer than any of it ever deserved, but the whole time I continued to fight. The real problem was that the biggest battle existed between my heart and my logic. But in the end, and thank goodness, my logic won.

Now I’m in the process of straying away from beating myself up for participating in the whole crazy thing in the first place, and instead, focusing on all the lessons and renewed strength it has given me. You see, that is the thing about growth; it hurts like hell before it heals.

As more and more days go by since that last encounter, I’m beginning to feel more like myself than I have in months. My energy is up, my smile is making more frequent appearances on the Sonia show, and my heart feels about a billion pounds lighter. I find myself laughing more, breathing deeper, finding more things that I love to do, and doing them. Most importantly, I know now more than ever that I am not in fact desperate, and that I still do have hope that I will someday find the healthy, passionate, understanding, lasting love I crave and deserve, with the right person at the right time. Always focus on the outcomes, and not so much on what got you there. Pain often provides great revelations for us and our lives.

And, at times, as we get older, we wish we could be as carefree and consequence-free as we were or thought we were in our teenage years and early 20s. At least I do. But, as I sit here turning down the less-than-thrilling advances I’d gladly welcome just a few years ago, demanding more respect, nurturing my own needs, wants and dreams, and more and more frequently standing up for Sonia, I realize I’ll gladly leave my youth at the door. Because this place, where you know who you are and who you wish to become, where you rather have nothing than accept scraps, where instant gratification has been replaced by the hope in the bigger picture that awaits  – that is a much better place to be.

To everyone out there reaching their 30s as I am (it can be quite a transition I’m finding), when you think you used to be more fun, wilder, or more adventurous, you’re not by any means boring now, you’ve simply experienced growth. And that is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Breathe it in deep, and thank it for hurting so much in return for inner calm, peace of mind, and a stronger sense of self.

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Luck Needs Your Faithful Reminder Tonight

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve really become serious about making progress on what has evolved from one huge book with every life-improving/motivational topic under the sun to a much more digestible series of eBooks that will each cover one topic. One night a week I come to a Starbucks in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago because its open later than any other coffee shop I’ve seen. And, I write.

It’s a really great spot for writing. This location has an awesome set-up with a sort of counter-stool area that allows you to work while you look out onto the street. Watching people walk by and life happen while I write just helps me stay focused in a weird way. I am productive here. My creative juices just go buck wild.

Now this is also the neighborhood where I volunteer every other Saturday with what is mostly street-based youth. In the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been writing and watching life happen from this Starbucks window, I’ve seen several of the youth I volunteer with walking by. A few of them pace back and forth for the several hours I sit here, suitcases in hand, often looking lost and as if they are just passing the time, because well, they have nowhere to go. And it’s incredibly heartbreaking.

Here I sit drinking my $5 coffee, thinking of myself as unprivileged because of the circumstances I come from, constantly stressing out because of the mountainous debt that keeps me up at night,   and forever worrying about how and when I am going to get to where I want to be in my life with respect to career, love, family stability and everything else I worry about. When will I finish these books, when will I have financial stability, when will I truly get past the issues of my troubled childhood?

But then I see these kids, walking back and forth, with everything they own in one suitcase, trying to figure out where to sleep tonight, and I remember just how incredibly lucky I am. Suddenly, I focus less on everything I do not have, and focus more on all of the great things I sometimes take for granted in my life. I start to pay more attention to all the luck I do have, despite whatever misfortunes I might struggle with.

So I just thought I’d write a little note to encourage you to focus on everything that you have, and try and give less heart and brain space to all of the things you wish you had or you feel you’ve been cheated out of in life. Because if you have a roof over your head, health in your blood, and food in your stomach, you are already so much more fortunate than a lot of people out there in this troubled world. 

If you really try and focus on the fact that you are indeed very lucky just a little more often, I think you will find more HAPPY in your heart and more peace in your mind. So tonight, before I go to bed, and every night after that, I will say to myself, “You are very lucky,” and I hope you will give it a shot too.

With eternal love and hope,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Make it Count: How Being Nicer Makes a Huge Difference

Last week was rough. I just had a string of bad luck that ended in scratching the heck (excuse my French) out of my brand new, leased car’s bumper as well as that of a Mr. Joe’s, and fraud on my debit card (for like the fifth time this year! Get it together Bank of America!).

Anyways, already having had a stressful week where I swear it started to feel like the universe was trying to push me down to the ground, I got home from work on Thursday night excited to head to Starbucks and work on my motivational eBook series (writing makes me feel alive). I parked my car, and noticing it was a tight spot, decided to move it elsewhere so I wouldn’t get hit later on. I had no idea I was on top of car in front of me, and scraaaaaaaaaaaatch I went. Once re-parked, I got out and there it was – huge scratches all along the right side of my bumper. I guess this Florida girl is still having a little trouble with this parallel parking deal!

Now as you might recall from my post From STRESS to STRENGTH in 24 hours, this car is a stressor in and of itself because I had to lease it after my beloved 2006 Jetta went caput on me a few months ago. And now, I had defaced (OK, maybe defaced is a little exaggerated) the poor thing that I do not even own.  I was flustered and feeling defeated, and could not seem to spot the car I had hit, so I decided to just go to Starbucks to write and deal with it later.

When I returned home that night, I decided to peek around the street and see if I could more calmly point out the car. I remembered it was blue, and walked up and down the street until I thought I spotted it. I looked at the back, and there it was – a huge scratch on the back bumper of what also seemed to be a new car.

I was scared, but I went up to my apartment, dug out my little crate of random stationary cards and stickers (yes, I am that girl), and wrote this note, complete with sticker bouquet, and walked outside to place it on the car’s windshield.

Being Nicer Makes a Huge Difference

I imagined I’d get a very angry phone call, but I would want it done for me, so I did it anyway. I went to bed with a heavy mind, stressing about money more so than I do on any usual night (and that’s a lot). Two days passed, and there was no phone call. I thought maybe they had just let it go. Then yesterday I received a very nice voicemail from a Mr. Joe. He was incredibly appreciative of the card, thanked me for my honesty and asked that I please return his call to work it out.

When I called him back he was so understanding and said that card (because it wasn’t even just a piece of paper) was enough to make his day. I apologized again, and we decided on a plan of action.

So in light of hateful things like the recent outpouring of hate about an Indian-American Miss America, I urge you to be NICE, honest and collaborative. Because no matter what anyone says, I wholeheartedly believe being nicer makes a huge difference, and it really has done so in my life. If we could all just work to show each other a little more respect, love and kindness each day, imagine how much better off we could be. Take the time to connect with others. Put a little extra effort into your communication with folks. And don’t underestimate the power of a little stationary and sticker action – being just a little nicer and more creative about our interactions goes a long way my friends!

Sure I will have to spend money on fixing this gentleman’s car and that will undoubtedly stress me out, but I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing, and we will get it done in a positive manner instead of through arguments and blame. Look at that. Just by being nicer, I was able to minimize his stress and my own.

Also, I realize I am lucky to even have a new car or a bank account to stress about. That is also something to keep in mind. When you’re having a bad time, take a minute to really put your problems in perspective. It really helps me simmer down, and I believe it can do the same for you.

And as I always like to say, let’s work together, not against each other. Just a little food for Monday thought.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

A Testament to the Power of a Positive Attitude

The Power of a Positive Attitude

I love positive people and positive attitudes. I really do. Every time I come across one, I feel reinvigorated to spread my Care Bears attitude around even more, and follow what I believe to be my calling as a motivator of the masses (well one day). Each time I meet an exceptionally positive person who I see CHOOSING to maintain a positive attitude, I also start to think maybe I am not crazy after all. Maybe there’s lots of people out there just like me trying to prove the devil is a liar, and smiling through life, trying to make the world a better place for themselves and for others.

This brings me to my Zumba instructor Wanda, someone who I believe is a true testament to the power of a positive attitude. Wanda teaches Zumba at the L.A. Fitness I go to in Evanston, IL on Tuesday evenings. She’s this vibrant, brightly dressed, petite woman with great, wild, curly hair, and a smile that is a bigger and more powerful than her whole person.

Most days, positive attitude and all, it’s hard for me to get to the gym after long, grueling days at work, but lately, Tuesdays are actually hard for me to miss. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, I know Wanda, her contagious smile and that life-line giving Zumba music will take my mood up a notch or maybe even 10. And it’s not just me.

At the beginning of every class, everyone looks tired, stressed and tense. Very little remnants of any positive attitude can be seen anywhere in the room. Those who are in class for the first time have frightened looks in their eyes. How hard will this class be? Will this woman be a tyrant and try to kill us all (through hardcore exercise of course)? But then, probably no more than five minutes into class, the faces around me start to soften and the smiles begin to get wide.

Wanda’s positive spirit and happy demeanor is incredibly contagious, and it helps everyone forget that their legs, feet and entire bodies are hurting from the intense workout. Sometimes, when the music player in the fitness studio doesn’t work, Wanda makes up her own songs and keeps us all on track. She too says the devil is a liar, and she can make her own way, and I totally agree with her. Now that is a great testament to the power of a positive attitude!

I am inspired by Wanda. She teaches Zumba and has been doing so for many years, but in my eyes, she does so much more than that. To me, she uses her talent to bring cheer to others, while also helping them to strengthen their bodies, and more than with her knowledge of fitness or all the latest Zumba moves, she accomplishes this through a positive attitude and outlook on life.

So today, let’s all try and be a little more like Wanda, and smile at each other, dance and sing to the beat of our own tune, and when something doesn’t work, let’s find a different way to get there. Pick up that positive attitude I know you have inside of you, and run like hell with it! 

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Live More Life

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You know me. I’m always thinking, scheming, wondering where I will find my next adventure. And, ever since I came back from my way-too-short vacation in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico I’ve been thinking a lot about my desire to live more life.

I think I really make an effort every day to do more, feel more, connect more, but I’m never really satiated. I keep reminding myself that living more life is not necessarily about more money, more traveling or fancier possessions. It’s about being incredibly present in your every day, and connecting with your surroundings; learning to derive great pleasure from small coincidences and a great cup of coffee, a new experience or just a sunny day.

In that vein, I thought I’d do something I rarely do anymore, and would really love to get back into more. That’s right. I whipped up a little poem about living more life. I hope it will feed you a spoonful of inspiration today, or at least that you won’t think it’s terrible! Here it goes ya’ll.

I want to live more life.
I want to breathe richer air, and always push to be fair.
I want to reach just a little higher. Add flame, not water, to my fire.
I want to harvest more passion that I can handle. Let it take me farther.
I want to live more life.

I want to live more life.
I never want to settle for just good enough. Giving up makes life too unbearably rough.
I wouldn’t dare put a muzzle on my dreams. It’s they that keep me alive it seems.
Listening to naysayers just isn’t my style. Just let them talk for a while.
I want to live more life.

I want to live more life.
Make some small difference in people’s lives. Sounds corny, right?
I want to be more than just regular. I’ve always felt a little bit special.
I want to give myself more chances than most people think they deserve.
I want to live more life.

I want to live more life.
Express more, connect more, feel more. I want to be so human it hurts.
I don’t want to hide from the struggle. I want to go out and fight it with grandeur.
I want to experience more, take more risks. Fall down and get back up again enough times to know I’ve lived more life.
You get me?
I just want to live more life.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Color Me Stoked: Versatile Blogger Award!

Versatile Blogger Award

This week has been great overall. Tomorrow is my 29th birthday (GASP, I’m almost 30!), and I’m headed to Puerto Ricoooo. This past weekend I had birthday brunches and dinners with great friends, received beautiful flowers and thoughtful presents, and I even got to enjoy some great feel-it-in-my-heart Spanish music at a Cuban festival in a big, beautiful park here in Chicago. Then today, my sweet coworkers took me out for a great lunch. Could it get any better? Yes it can! This week I was also given my first blogging award by my wonderful follower and fellow blogger, Michele Anderson.

I am so honored to be recognized with this award because this blog, although I don’t spend as much time as I’d like to on it because of work, work, work and other responsibilities, means SO, SO much to me. To feel that my work is enjoyed and appreciated, and that my message of positivity and motivated living is making some small impact is like a dream come true for me. So, thank you Michele!! You’ve made my week a ton more special with this honor!

Now as the award asks (check out the rules here), here are seven things about me that you might not already know:

  1. I like olives in my apple martinis and usually get a lot of grief for it. Apparently apples and olives are not supposed to be friends!
  2. I didn’t get my drivers’ license until I was 20 years old.
  3. My beautiful little sister is 17 years younger than me and from the same parents!
  4. I have no middle name. Strange, right?
  5. I was born and raised in the U.S., but I’ve traveled to Cuba to visit family twice.
  6. I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, songs and everything you can imagine since I was about 10 years old. Sometimes I go back and read these things, especially the love poems, and I think wow, that’s a lot of emotion for a 10-year-old!
  7. I think and dream in Spanglish.

Now, also in keeping with the award rules, here are 15 bloggers (although there are many more) I think are awesome and am awarding the Versatile Blogger Award to:

  1. The Positivity Blog 
  2. Tough Motivation 
  3. Kindness girl 
  4. Everyday Power 
  5. Project Light to Life 
  6. A Hot Cup of Love 
  7. The Better Man Project 
  8. Girl on the Contrary 
  9. In Her Words Avenue 
  10. A Thousand Shades of Gray 
  11. Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane 
  12. In Search of it All 
  13. One Web Strategy 
  14. The PhotoBook 
  15. My Name is Not Bob 

OK, now I’m off to pack for Puerto Rico, so I can get my sun, beach and relaxation on!! Have a wonderful night and a positively positive week ahead.  I am feeling incredibly grateful and hopeful today, and I hope you are too!

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Mean People Suck: Don’t Let ‘Em Break You

Mean People SuckFor the last few days, I’ve been working on a blog post on a completely different topic, but that’s the thing about sharing motivational morsels; it always works best to attack the issues of the day. That’s why I’d like to have a quick chat (albeit a one-way one until someone chooses to comment), on the importance of working together and not against each other, and not allowing MEAN to break you. Quite simply, mean people suck, and I just won’t have it!

I see it all the time in the ol’ day-to-day action. People are so quick to point fingers and find someone to blame when a situation gets sticky, but I always urge myself to focus on results and solutions. I also stress the importance of communicating positively and fairly, regardless of how tough the cookie you have to serve might be. Regardless of the situation, always try to work together towards results, rather than against each other towards conflict. Mean people suck! Don’t be one.

Now I know it’s hard to hold on to your cool sometimes when people fling attitudes and snotty, little pointy fingers at you, but it is definitely something you should always woosah yourself through. Letting negativity or conflict bring you down to its level, what I’m referring to as the MEAN, only worsens the situation and spreads more negativity. Standing your NICE ground, on the other hand, usually helps to soften the situation, and well, quite honestly it gives folks, even the mean ones, a little more hope in humanity. And we could all use a little bit more of that, I think. Focus my friends. Mean people suck. Always choose to be nice instead!

And never let the MEAN break you, make you bitter, or dull your shine – mean people suck, but you don’t have to. At the end of the day, when I’ve walked away and calmed down from my own verge of breaking my NICE, I feel like I always win, have better relationships, garner more respect from others, and just feel healthier. Giving into the MEAN might temporarily feel like a victory, but in the end it is that MEAN that would have won once you gave into it and it’s evil little ways. Mean people suck, but I simply won’t let them change me.

So stay cool, be nice, spread kindness, let the mean-sicles be mean, and keep your heart and spirit healthy with all the NICE you can possibly muster. Because like my pal Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” and, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

One more time just for good measure, shall we? Mean people suck!

Happy Tuesday!

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Life Lessons Over Vodka: My Lowest Point

Vodka Lessons: My Lowest Point

Last week I met up for dinner with an old friend I hadn’t seen in probably over five years, and in true Sonia style, I found great connection in our conversation. I also walked away with a little learnin’, reassurance, and an invigorated sense of my HAPPY. Today, I’d like to pay that encounter forward, and share a little motivation lovin’ with you on this manic Monday morning. 

One of the first things that really hit me during that conversation over drinks and pizza, was a sudden, jubilated, “You just look happy!” Every single time I hear that statement, I’m taken aback for a second, especially when it comes from someone who knew me in my not-so-Positive-Patty days. It reminds me how far I’ve come in my journey through depression, anxiety and insecurity, and reinvigorates my passion to help other not-so-happy folks hear that same statement from an old friend some day. It should also be a lesson that it is very possible, that things do get better if you put a little effort into this life business, and that your lowest points are simply lessons that make the high points that much more delicious.

And speaking of your lowest points, my dinner buddy reminded me of a very important little morsel of wisdom that has proved crucial to staying on the right track to positivity and smiles. I can’t remember the exact quote or who he mentioned it came from, but I think the general gist will do you a great deal of good.

The basic concept is to always remember your lowest point; that point where you really felt like you could not go on, like things were just never going to get better, like the world was in a race to get you, and get you good. Then remember, the next day, the next month or even the next year, when you felt better, when things started to turn around a little, and when you survived. If you got through that, you can get through anything. So when you’re feeling a little low, lost or just overwhelmingly confused, remember that time you got through it, and remind yourself that you will undoubtedly do it again. That’s the thing about life. It always goes on, and so do you; happier stronger and wiser every time.

I remember my lowest point, always, and I keep it close to my heart even on my best days. I remember sitting on my bed in my pool house, efficiency apartment in Miami, rocking back and forth, feeling like a total lunatic, holding my rosary tightly, crying, saying over and over again in a muffled whisper, “I can’t do this anymore. Please help me.”

Dang, that was almost hard to write, and sure brought the old knot to the throat pretty fast, but hey, it’s important. If I got through that – truly my lowest point – to a place where people can actually just look at me and see my HAPPY radiating from my face, then I can make it through anything. And, so can you! If my lowest point can fuel me, it can do the same for you.

I hope that helps with whatever you might be dealing with today. And remember, just keep swimming, smiling and shining! I do, because the great thing about my lowest point, is there’s only one way to go from there – UP! 

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

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