Life Lessons, Mindset, Self Growth, Self Reflection

Why I Am Successful

I haven’t thought about it much. I’ve just been doing and doing and doing. Now I’m starting to slow down and reflect – especially since it’s the holidays. This is part ‘why I am successful’ and part ‘my authentic self’. Both go hand in hand. To be one, I have to be the other.

Change is hard. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s utterly necessary to be successful. I used to be anxious. I used to be depressed. I used to have a lack of fulfillment in my life that I would often fill with alcohol and fake friends – people I didn’t even really like, but called them friends anyway just to have something. I changed all of that. I went from accepting the fact that depression was always going to be a part of my life to waving goodbye to it through a rearview mirror. I went from feeling anxious all the time – especially around other people – to just having stress here and there about major things. I went from fake friends and relationships to authentic ones. I went from unfulfillment to complete fulfillment.

Each change I made was uncomfortable. Each one was hard, and some were downright painful. But they were worth it. I went from a miserable career to one that brings me joy. I went from one terrible partner after another to the best partner anyone could ask for. I went from unhealthy relationships to healthy ones. I went from putting on a major facade all the time to being my authentic self.

I remember my therapist telling me that I was one of her favorite clients because after each session I would go and act on the things we talked about and I would come back with new barriers to tackle. I learned, I grew, I worked on myself, and I made painful realizations and worked hard to correct them. I read books, I had deep conversations with friends and coworkers, I did a lot of self-reflection, and I met with my therapist regularly.

Realizing I was co-dependent was painful. Facing the fact that my parents fucked up was even more so. I got angry, I laid blame, but ultimately I decided it was my responsibility to fix it because I’m the one that it affects. By the way, co-dependency is not what you think it is, and most people are a little bit co-dependent. As funny as it sounds, I highly recommend the book “Co-dependency for Dummies.” It really helped me learn what it is, what kind I was, and how to SET BOUNDARIES (something I never learned from my parents – but I’m not salty about it, I swear). Making decisions based on what I wanted and not what I thought others wanted was also part of it. Along with not taking on other people’s problems as my own. All of this was a major step towards me becoming more authentic. I stopped acting in a way that I thought would please those around me and just did what I wanted. I stopped feeling stressed and responsible when someone talked to me about their problems. I stopped saying things I thought others wanted to hear and said what was in my heart. I was becoming more and more my authentic self. I lost fake friends and gained real ones. And I met the love of my life.

Changing careers was scary. Telling my parents I was switching from engineering to teaching was uncomfortable. Telling my boss was even worse. I almost threw up I was so nervous. Changing jobs was part of becoming my authentic self. I didn’t like standing at a desk, reading specs, calling clients and vendors, and checking CAD drawings. I wanted to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. I wanted to build a better community. I wasn’t doing either as an engineer. I have very high patience when it comes to helping others. I have very high patience when someone is learning something new. And I can explain things in different ways. I am caring and passionate and it just made sense for me to use my skills to be a teacher. So, I made the switch, and I have never looked back.

Moving is also uncomfortable and difficult, but new places always come with new opportunities. When I moved to Texas to be closer to my love, I got way better training and preparation for becoming a teacher than I could have dreamed of getting in Florida. It was like the pieces just fell into place.

My next thing to try is also scary and likely to be uncomfortable, if not downright painful the first few times I try it, but I am going to push through and do it anyway because I want to continue to be happy and successful. I am going to try a PBL (project based learning) in my chemistry class after the break. It is going to be very different than any other way I have taught before and has a lot of components. I took a training over the summer and have resources that I’m currently culling through, but ultimately I will not be successful at it if I don’t give it a try and actually DO it. I’ve put it off for an entire semester and that’s long enough. I’ve got to keep pushing myself into new, uncomfortable things because that is how I grow and learn and succeed.

What do you do to be successful? What is the most uncomfortable, yet ultimately rewarding situation you have pushed yourself through? Did you grow? What will you do next?

Please share your thoughts, stories, musings, or reflections. I love to read them.

Uncategorized

Life is a Balancing Act

I think part of my problem lately is I’m doing too much. I’m working too much, I’m socializing too much, and I’m trying to do too many hobbies. I want to do all the things, but I shouldn’t because that leads to burn out. Same to you. If you are the kind of person who wants to do all things, I encourage you to take a step back and look at each part of your life for areas to reduce stress and time consumption. Like Marie Kondo says: if it doesn’t spark joy, don’t keep it.

First thing to do is figure out ways to make work easier on ourselves. For me, cracking down on the cell phone policy and letting students’ test grades replace their missing daily grades is a good start. That will reduce the stress of students not paying attention and not understanding, as well as reduce the time it takes for me to track down students with missing work. It’s important that work doesn’t consume your life, even if it’s something you love. I love my career, but I don’t like working long hours and stressing out about things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Finding little ways to back off your responsibilities or your cares can go a long way into make work less of a source of stress.

Next thing to do is to take a look at the calendar. If your calendar is anything like mine, it’s full of social events and fun outings. But where’s the home time? Where’s the “take a bubble bath and read” event? Not there. If you’re like me, you have a good social life and you like going on outings or taking trips. But when every single weekend is filled with something of the sort, burn out can happen. I believe that is what is going on with me. I ended up canceling my plans this weekend and taking a hiatus instead. TV, video games, reading, crocheting, and writing. If you are feeling burnt out from all your social events, I suggest doing the same. Pick an upcoming weekend and put “hiatus” on the calendar for all day both days.

The last thing I need to back off on is hobbies. I want to play just dance as my exercise (I don’t like working out), learn new songs on the piano, read books, blog, crochet, knit. How many hobbies do you want to spend more time on? I think the key isn’t to give up hobbies, but to not try to do all of them every day. I read fiction almost everyday in the evenings, but I have lots of non-fiction I want to read as well. Just dance, piano, and knitting are things I wish I could make time for everyday, and in doing so I get frustrated and discouraged when I don’t do them everyday. Maybe I’ll have different days for different hobbies or just rotate them. How do you balance your hobbies?

What areas do you struggle with balancing? How do you plan on balancing these things? Any tips on juggling multiple hobbies and an active social life? I love to read your comments, personal stories, advice, and antidotes.

Uncategorized

Breaking Down

Last night I had a dream that I ran away. I ran away from the responsibilities of work, of home, of everything that I am tasked to do with as an adult. I swear I was coming back. I just needed to leave. I didn’t tell anyone, even my partner, that I had gone. I was in another country with a friend that I had recently met. I’m not even sure who he was to be honest, but I knew him in my dream. After almost a full day had past, I felt guilty about not telling my partner, and I tried to message him to let him know I was alright. But of course I was in another country and didn’t have wifi or cell service. I did go back. I had to use torpedos to fight off giant sharks (thanks Spyro) to get back, but I was coming home.

Last night my partner dreamed that I ran away. But in his dream, I had left a note, and I wasn’t coming back. So I guess the two of us are having similar concerns about me. Lately, I feel fragile, and I don’t know why. I’ve been pushing off whatever minor responsibilities I can because I didn’t feel like dealing with it at the time. Then I would forget and when I remember about them, I would panic and stress out and try to push it out of my mind again. But that thing I have to do is STILL THERE and I have to buckle down and get it done.

My partner thinks I’m being too hard on myself and I just need to give myself a break. And take a break. That’s what this weekend is going to be about. At least today. And yesterday. We’ll see about tomorrow.

It’s just that I haven’t felt this way in a long time and I’m frustrated about it. I’m a badass. I’ve tackled my issues that were causing my chronic depression and anxiety and I painfully worked through them until they were no longer an issue. And yet here I am. And I don’t know why.

Yesterday I got scammed out of $30 for some e-tickets. I didn’t have a good feeling about it and I should have at least looked at the person’s facebook profile so I could have seen that it wasn’t very old and clearly fake. But I didn’t. I cried a lot. Mainly because of all things that have been going on lately and this was the last straw. This wouldn’t have happened if I had just bought the fucking tickets when I was supposed to instead of putting it off like everything else.

The day before that I took a shower where I washed my hair and shaved then got out and started to dry off. As I pulled the curtains closed, I saw my wash rag on top and realized it was dry. I hadn’t bathed. How stressed out do you have to been to space out on bathing?? Also, while I was in the shower, my partner came in and asked about us renting a cabin the next day. I thought I was supposed to hang out with someone while he babysat, but he saw the availability and was talking to the lady on the phone right then. Also, we were supposed to go to a renaissance festival the day after. I had a minor panic attack/melt down. I don’t think I cried, but I got down in the fetal position for a bit before getting out of the shower.

The day before that I went to fill out our water filter and then put a cup of water in the microwave to make hot water for tea. I spaced out staring at the floor the whole time. When the microwave went off it brought me back and I got onto myself for letting it go off (my partner was in bed). I took the cup back around to where the tea is and water covered the counter. I had left the water running filling up the water filter. Wtf. I’ve never done that. It took 2 bath towels and 4 hand towels to dry it all up.

So basically, I feel like I’m falling apart. I don’t know what to do. Take some me-time I guess. Do some knitting, read a book, and write. And don’t run away from my partner who is amazing and silly and can always make me smile – even when I don’t feel like it.

Have you ever run into a set back like this? What did you do to overcome it? I would love to read your comments, advice, related stories, or random remarks.

Family, Relationships, Vacation

Family is the Best or the Worst

I really don’t think there’s an in-between. A family that isn’t involved is a bad family just as much as ones that are involved in all the wrong ways. Family is a group of people that you are given at birth to be by your side. Neglect can be just as damaging (although in a different way) as abuse and nasty words. Family can be nosey and judgy or loving and supportive. They can be there for you through thick and thin or only give you a call when they need to take advantage of someone.

I am fortunate to have a good family. I have the kind that will not reject me when I do thing that they don’t agree with. Instead of judgement and shunning, I get support or at least an acknowledgement that they are still there. My family has reunions two or three times a year, annoy each other with a big group chat, and like each other’s posts on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

I must attribute some of my success to having such a ready support group. I love that they will support me even when not agreeing or even understanding what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. They trust that it’s what I think is right, they give tons of unasked for advice, and they check in to see how things are working out.

I’m very happy to be at the Christmas reunion right now. We are missing a few family members due to work and surgery, but everyone else made it out and we are having a wonderful time (although I am glad that everyone has finally gone to bed).

What kind of family do you have?

I love to read your musings, stories, opinions, and reflections, so please comment away.

Mindful, Mindset

Fixed vs Growth Mindsets

Many people go through life thinking they’re smart or they’re dumb. That they can do a thing or they can’t. That they get it or they don’t. That they’re strong or they’re not. This is a fixed mindset and they don’t see the opportunity to try and improve. They see that either someone has a talent for something or they can’t do it at all. From their perspective, when someone works hard at something, it’s because they’re not good at it. If someone is studying hard it’s because they’re not smart.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t born knowing how to walk and talk and solve math problems. I worked hard to develop the muscles and motor skills to be able to walk. It’s easy now, but it did not start out that way. I struggled to learn vocabulary and how to say “mom” and “dad”. Taking is mostly easy now, but again it did not start out that way. In order to be able to solve math problems (that I find easy now), I had to study and practice a lot. Just like a master at the piano started off struggling to read music and play at the right tempo. But with a fixed mindset, we don’t think, “oh wow that person worked really hard to be able to play that well. I bet I could be that good one day too if I put in the work.” Instead, we think, “oh wow that person is really talented at the piano. I wish I could play like that.”

Having a growth mindset means understanding that you can always improve at something and you can gain any skill or knowledge you want if you put in the effort. Just because you burned your dinner the first time you tried cooking doesn’t mean you can’t cook. It just means you need to figure out a better temperature for cooking that meal. Just because lose at chess the first time you play doesn’t mean you can’t practice and learn and become a chess master. Having a growth mindset means understanding that you can’t do something yet, but with effort, you can do or learn anything.

How can you change your thoughts and words so they reflect a growth mindset and not a fixed one? By adding “yet” when you hear yourself say, “I can’t do that,” or “I don’t know that.” By looking at the famous painter and saying, “s/he must have put in a lot of effort to become that good.” By telling yourself over and over to just try and you will get it. Remember, walking was once hard for you too.

Which mindset are you?

Self Growth, Self Reflection

What Holds Us Back

What’s holding me back? Myself, mostly. Holding me back from what? I’m not 100% sure. My why is to give people what they need to be happy. I can mostly do that via information such as career path options, steps to overcome depression, pointing out where to get things they need, etc. I love helping others. Even my hobbies are proof of that. I knit and crochet, but very rarely do I make anything for myself. It’s always a gift for someone or something that’s part of a charity. While this blog is more of a personal record of my journey, I have overcome some great barriers to my own happiness and hope to share how to do so with others so they can overcome their own barriers. A lot of what I like to read are teacher or self-improvement books or books that make me see the world differently because a better me means I can help others be a better them. If that makes sense. I enjoy playing the piano, but rarely do it. I also have the idea that I want to be in shape for myself, but can’t push myself to work out. “I just don’t have the time.” I say that a lot. I also say, “I don’t have the mental capacity right now,” or “I don’t have the energy right now.” These phrases have held me back from pushing my work on my blog, reading books that I want to read, working out, and practicing the piano.

No more. Those phrases are stories that I have made up. They are not reality. In reality, I can do all the things. Yes, I want to be careful I don’t over-exert myself. And yes, I want to make sure I make time for relaxing as well. But I can relax and read a book or relax and knit something. I can also write when I’m “not in the right mental state” because writing will put me in the right mental state. I know that. Even if I just spit out what comes into my brain, doing so will put me in a writing mentality and then I can go back and edit and complete the writing.

I just have to start. I guess that’s supposed to be the hardest part of any task: starting. The analytical part of me wants to make schedules and lists in order to work in all the things I want and need to do. The problem is, schedules and lists don’t work for me. At least not for more than a day or two. Routines do. If I get in the routine of reading during my lunch break, then I’ll get the reading done that I want. If I get in the routine of working out right after work, then I’ll get into shape. And if I get into the routine of splitting my time after dinner between writing, knitting, and playing the piano, I’ll get to enjoy the benefits of participating in the hobbies I want to keep up. Since my partner cooks dinner, I can work on chores while he cooks and get the cleaning done that needs to get done. I can do this. I will do this. And I will be a badass because of it.

What’s holding you back?

Self Growth, Self Reflection, Uncategorized

My Why

Ever since I was a kid, I loved making people happy. Mostly by giving them stuff or just talking to them. I talked to everyone when I was a kid. I also spent most of my allowance on things for other people, rather than myself. When on vacation, I used my money to buy souvenirs for others. Whenever I did anything crafty, it was usually to give away to a friend or family member. So what is my why? To make others happy? Pretty much. But it’s more than that. I don’t want to just hand someone a present and see them smile for a few seconds. I want to show someone the path they can take to overcome their demons and get to true, lasting happiness. I’ll even hold their hand while they do it, so they know they have someone supporting and rooting for them. I want to empower people to make that hard change that might be painful at first, but leads to life-long joy. I want to inspire people to take the leap and show them or equip them with everything they need to do it. And yes, if giving a homemade blanket to someone who is cold makes their life a little easier, even if it doesn’t help them achieve lasting happiness, I want to do that too. I want everyone to know that there are people like me who care. I want them to know that they’re not alone. That is my why. What is yours?