There are no such things as lazy hummingbirds in nature or in your career

One of my favorite birds in the hummingbird. I love watching them dance and zoom around the flowers, each other and the feeders. I love their colors and personalities. I love their symbolism, meaning, and energy in nature. The latter is why I have a little hummingbird tattooed on my ankle.

In other words: I’m a fan.

I put my feeders out a few weeks ago and let my mother know of my first sightings. Since she is in Indianapolis, I wanted to give her a heads up that they would soon be headed her way.

The other day I was telling Chief about how quickly I am having to refill my feeders and how they haven’t shown up at moms yet. That’s when he said the funniest thing.

“Do you think our hummingbirds are just the lazy ones that don’t want to fly any further North?”

No!

They are territorial little things and this is their territory, their summer home. They want to be here. They aren’t stuck here because they’re lazy! And by the way, I don’t think there is such a thing as a lazy hummingbird.

That comment not only made me laugh, but it also stuck in my head. And since my mind always twists things into a parallel for careers, personal branding or job searching, I saw a connection to how we beat ourselves up for being happy in our job or career.

It’s such a more, more, more type world. You did $50k in sales, great – now get to $100k. Your business broke the $5M mark, awesome – now do $10M. You made Manager, great – now you need to go after District Manager. With every mark you make it isn’t enough, you should be doing more. You shouldn’t rest on your laurels, keep going, strive for more, go, go, go!

Why?

What’s wrong with being happy right where you are? What if you don’t want to be that next title up? What if money or titles or prestige isn’t the most important thing to you? I’m not knocking any of those, I’m just saying what if right here is your right place?

Why are we looked at as lazy hummingbirds for staying where we are, even if we have the ability to go further?

Society expectations? Peer pressure? Parent blaming? Who knows?

The point is, stop it. If you are happy where you are, stop defending yourself. Stop thinking there is something wrong with you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you’ve got it all right!

You’re the lucky one: you figured out what makes you happy and you’re living it. Hooray for you! Being happy right here gives you a longer season to enjoy the sweet nectar of happiness.

 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach, and Social Media Brand Analyst I help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.  Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you unstuck

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Why I Think New Year Resolutions Bite … and Celebration Lists Rock

new years pictureI am not a big fan of doing anything that sets you up for failure. This is why I am not a big fan of making New Year Resolutions or online dating sites, but that is another story.

I understand and appreciate the idea behind New Year’s Resolutions; I just think they come with too much pressure and unrealistic expectations.

I love the pictures of an empty gym parking lot on December 30 and a packed parking lot on January 2. The third picture should be another empty lot in March.

I used to not make New Year’s Resolutions, but when I told anyone this they would look at me like I had two heads. Unheard of! Why on earth would someone choose to not subject themselves to a big, ol’ life changing to-do list on the same date as most everyone else and then proclaim it to all? I know I’m a killjoy.

I also do not like the judgment of resolutions.

I am five foot tall and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. If my Fall were filled with lots and lots of the good stuff including wine, chili, lasagna, ham and beans and other wonderful Midwest Fall food, I might make a resolution to lose weight.

This would be met with, “You are so tiny you don’t need to lose weight.” Same would be said if I made a resolution of working out.

I did yoga for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I really liked it – after we were done. During the yoga I had many a conversation with my body about how it does not care to move as though I was elastic, pleads of not having gas and a reminder that there would be wine after the session. Welcome to my world of work outs.

I also like my bad habits and have no desire to part ways with them at this time.

So now, my resolution is simple: to be less of a historian and more of an adventurer. Most do not know what I mean or how to respond to this and that works for me. Stunned or confused silence is my friend.

By the way, what it means is that I want to continue to look less and less on my past (particularly my learning experiences, labeled by some as failures) and look more to my future with great excitement and participation.

I am not a glass half empty or half full kind of girl, I’m more of a glass has room for a refill kind of girl.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I like to make a Celebration List; I am a killjoy and a list maker.

I choose not to look forward to a brand new year with the attitude I need to change or improve major or all aspects of my life. I choose instead to look back on the things I am proud of and build on those.

I had plenty of learning experiences and some pretty great successes:

  • I began walking with a group of women. On the weekends and throughout the week we logged miles and miles while we have wonderful conversations about work, life, men, children and ideas. I would like to build on this by doing it more often.
  • I was able to get one of the boys to walk on the trail without dragging me along or stopping to pee on every blade of grass. I would like to build on this by being able to bring both my boys on these walks and not be banned from the trail. My boys are my dogs, Luke and Bandit.
  • I bought a car, and said goodbye to two. I am going to and have started building on this by learning how to do simple car things – like change spark plugs, O2 sensors, fixing mufflers and learning about water pumps and other car stuff.I built a beautiful garden complete with an arbor and gate and filled it with lots of vegetables and herbs. Some actually survived! I would like to build on this by not planting so many cucumber plants, those things go crazy, and to take cooking classes to learn how to use those herbs.
  • I built a fire pit and stone walkway. I will build on this by sitting in front of the pit more often, it is an awesome place for meditation – and wine.
  • I completely redid my master bedroom. I will build on this by building a custom closet organization myself.
  • I wrote articles that had tremendous outreach and connected with new clients all over the world. I would like to build on this by offering more.
  • I had great ideas come to me, all in haphazard ways which finally came to make sense and will be building on this to launch something exciting in 2015.

I did not end 2014 in tip top shape, eating healthy and having a monstrous bank account; but then again, those were not my goals. My goal was to be happy, and I succeeded beautifully.

You Are Not Going To Please Everyone

Alone in a CrowdJust get that through your head right now.  No matter if you are job searching, building a business or just  living every day life: you are not going to please everyone.  Ever.

Don’t even try.

Just let it go.

Once you complete embrace that thought then you can focus on the matter at hand.

What is going to make you happy?

What a trite little sentence – huh?  When someone asks me this I have to fight the overwhelming urge to reply with something sarcastic like, “rainbows and butterflies and sunshine”.  It is a hard battle but I normally win.

I used to think that making it all about me made me selfish.  After all, I am a mother, a daughter, an aunt, a friend and so on – it is my job and duty to think about everyone else and make sure they are happy, safe and secure.

On the list of priorities my son and family were at the top and I fell somewhere near the bottom after the dogs.  Somehow it gets ingrained in us that we are low on the list.  This is especially true for mothers.  Once we give birth that “last on the list” instinct kicks in.

But then I realized, if I am miserable than how can I best serve anyone else?  How can I tell my son to do what makes him happy if I am not leading by example?  How can I encourage my friends to go after their dreams if I do not do the same?  Isn’t is just some big repeating example of “pot kettle black”?

Yes, it certainly is.

So I stopped.  I stopped the world and locked myself away and had a long, hard look at where I was, who I was and what I was doing.  Was what I was saying really match up to what I was doing?  No.  Was I living true to myself, in making myself happy?  No.  I vowed that it was time to change.

Then I became afraid.

What if I alienate someone by putting myself as a priority?  What if I hurt someone’s feelings?  What if they think I am selfish or I miss out on helping them because I am being selfish?

Those are called reactions and those are things that are out of your control.  The bottom line is by being happy as a person individually you bring more value to those you love.  You are allowing for all the positives in your life to start with you and this allows you to serve as a megaphone for others.  You increase the good for everyone else to allow them to see and feel that positive in you and be able to bring it into their own world.

If someone alienates you then perhaps they were more concerned with their own welfare and not yours.  If you hurt their feelings because you are trying to be happy then how did they see you in the first place?  Being selfish – damn straight, but in a positive way; and when you are happier you will be able to help them even more.

Your family and friends may not approve of the job that you are going after or the business that you are running; but if it makes you happy than isn’t that what they should really want for you?  Isn’t that what you want for them?  So why shouldn’t you want the same for yourself?

You may loose contacts, associates, friends or family in putting yourself and your happiness first.  You are not going to please everyone.  But remember, it is the quality that counts, not the quantity.

Start today, do one small thing today just for you that makes you happy.  Treat yourself to a foo-foo coffee, or a new book or a new toy.  Say no to a request for your time and give yourself that time uninterrupted.

Just do one small gesture just for you.  You will probably feel lighter, happier, more relaxed and a little bit of peace; which is a much different feeling than when you are trying to please everyone.

What small gesture will you do for yourself today?

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Freeing Yourself From The Passive-Aggressive Energy Suckers

Have you ever been having a lovely day and you find yourself doing something that you suddenly find yourself becoming more and more resentful for doing?

 

It is not necessarily the task but how it became your task.

 

It was “assigned” by the Passive-Aggressive Energy Sucker.

 

You know the type, the one that will come up and ask you in a very sweet way if you would mind doing something because for some reason or another they “can’t” or just need you to because, well, gee, you are just the best….

 

Yeah, right.

 

They don’t want to or they are expecting you to knowing that you are a good person and won’t refuse because you are too nice.  You especially wont refuse if they gee, golly, gosh just are so nice about it and are quite surprised or even slightly wounded if you even hint that you won’t.  You’re too much of a giver, a team player to ever turn anyone down.

 

And if you even think about saying no, they can twist it all around so then you feel like a complete ass if you say no.

 

I guess it really isn’t that big of a deal, it is only this one little thing, it is just this one time….all the self-given excuses to make us join their side in talking ourselves into taking on their stuff.

 

Don’t be fooled by their sweet exterior – they are not sweet.  They are sucking the life out of you with a smile.

 

They appear in many different forms in your personal and professional life.  The husband that continually drops little one liners about something that hasn’t been done (that he is more than capable of doing himself but wants you to do) that seem insignificant until about the 15th one, they it is just damn annoying – and you end up doing it.

 

The girlfriend that withdrawals or silently pouts because she has decided to change the rules of the relationship and you are just supposed to be okay with it and wait around until she decides to get back on board.  So you go along with it because you like her and even though you hate to fly you decide to wait in the concourse with all the impatient travelers.

 

The boss that comes across apologetic for being incompetent in being able to work on a certain project and desperately needs you to do it because, well, you are just the best employee in the whole world and the whole place would collapse without you.

 

The client that have paid in advance and maybe a bit more because they are so excited to work with you and then upon completion of the job continue to come back and use their “generosity” to make you feel bad in not doing just one more thing.

 

The coworker that you helped out in a pinch that now just doesn’t understand why you wont do this for them every time, I mean it is so easy for you and doesn’t take you any time at all and it would take them a whole day just to figure out the system.

 

The parent that has decided that your sibling needs something so much more than you do at this time even though it was promised to you, because, well you understand and you are at such a better place and you want to support your sibling anyway don’t you?

 

These energy suckers are crafty and their end result is to get what they want no matter if it causes you great distress.  Bottom line is they don’t care; they want what they want and have no guilt what-so-ever in using you to get it.  Even going so far as to making you feel bad if you don’t go along with it.  They are being selfish.  They are sucking the happy out of you.  They must be stopped.

 

Anger or straight out refusal does not work with them.  You have to beat them with a smile and a plan.

 

For the husband – do your own damn laundry.  If I am not mistaken the washer and dryer were invented by men so I know damn well that a man knows how to operate them.  And if you end up washing reds with whites and have a new pink wardrobe – well, live and learn; don’t do that again.  But they are a smart guy, you know they will get it next time.  I had a rule in my house, when each of the boys turned 13 they were then responsible for doing their own laundry.  It was amazing how their dirty cloths pile decreased dramatically and they were magically able to find clean socks.

 

For the girlfriend – enjoy that plane ride sister, you are going to hop in the car and take the scenic route.  You are going to two different destinations anyway, why ruin the trip?  Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t respect you enough to hear that you hate to fly.  There is another girl out there that not only will join you on the car ride, she’ll pack a picnic.

 

For the boss – you would love to help with this, as long as they know that this means you will be putting off all the other priorities of the day and those deadlines will not be met – so it is a choice of what gets done today.  It is amazing when ownership shifts back to them the priorities are re-instated.

 

For the client – you would love to continue to provide services, just let me send you a new contract for additional services as our original contract has been complete.   All of a sudden they don’t have as many needs if they have to pay for it.

 

For the co-worker –as your plate is so full and as much as you really want to help and do this for them why don’t you instead teach them the program so that way they will be able to do it themselves and probably even better than you!  Watch them run on that one because heaven forbid they actually take steps to learn the damn program themselves.  But the ownership is back on them.

 

For the parent – you are sure that your sibling would really like those tickets to the game, you know you have really been looking forward to it for a month now since the parent promised them to you; after all you thought they were giving them to you because they were proud of you for being in a good place.

 

It is okay to say no.  It does not mean that you are ungrateful, unkind or selfish – no matter how they try to spin it.  It means you respect yourself and your limits.  By allowing others to manipulate you into being or doing something that you do not want to you are actually showing yourself disrespect.  And if you do not respect yourself then no one else will.

 

I worked with a girl once that when her boss tried the passive aggressive on her she flatly said no, she was going to lunch because it was important to her to go workout and grab a healthy snack every day so that she could remain at her best through the day.  Then she walked out.

 

Oh my goodness, we all sat there with our mouths open horrified at such behavior.  But he never tried that trick on her again and we all looked at her with admiration for standing up for herself.

 

Sometimes it is hard to say no, we want someone to like us or respect us.  But you have to look at their motives.  If they are self-centered I hate to tell you but no matter what you do they won’t respect you.  So stop beating your head against that wall.

 

Be okay with saying no and if the continual pouts and attempts at making you feel bad continue don’t back down.  Stick to your guns.  If need be use their own tactics.

 

When that energy sucker continues to whine look at them with mild confusion and a sweet smile and simply state in your nicest gentle mildly surprised voice (and adopt to the situation):

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were still so upset about this.” They will deny that they are upset – don’t let them get control of the conversation, just keep going with:

 

“Now you know I really wanted to help but honestly I just can’t.” They may try to interrupt here again – stay strong, keep going:

 

“…and if there were any way that I could you more than anyone know that I would, that’s why we get along so well, because we respect each other so much – I respect you enough to realize you need help and offered alternatives and you respect me enough to know if I say I can’t then I really, truly can not.”

 

Now who is going to look like an ass by insisting that you help?  Are they really going to prove that they don’t respect you?  And if they do have the gumption to say a ‘Yeah, but…” then you can re-iterate this point: “So you really don’t respect me…”

 

It is time to put those uncomfortable shoes back on the feet where they belong.

 

Yes, it may seem like a lot of work and a game; but hey, all is fair in love, war and protecting your happy.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com

The Dreaded Chipmunk Is Back

I’m sitting in my office trying very, very hard to concentrate on the to-do list sitting to my right and fill the blank screen staring me down and obviously not doing a very good job because I find myself looking out the window.  I think I’m hoping either Ed McMahon will show up with that oversized check or some form of inspiration will appear in the driveway.

 

That’s when I saw it: the dreaded chipmunk.

 

As most people know I have four dogs (Jeff adopted Brutus so I’m down to four) and as much as I love my dogs I am also honest to say that they are each kind of crazy in their own way.  Luke eats candles (Luke eats anything but has a thing for candles), Bandit scales walls, Micki is exempt as she is old and Lexi is just crazy.  Really, I think that little dog is not right in the head.  Sometimes she just goes psycho-dog and one of her triggers: chipmunks.  The other trigger is bunnies.

 

Oh sure, they look all cute and fuzzy but for some reason she has decided they are the mortal enemy.  I think she has it in her head that the cute little woodland creatures are conspiring against humanity and it is her duty to warn everyone in a 10 mile radius with a horrific scream and rid the world of these dreaded creatures.  She sits in the front window during Spring and Summer and just waits for a chipmunk sighting.  Once she spies one all bets of normalcy are off and the real fun begins.

 

She begins by jumping into the window, pawing at it like no tomorrow then running around the house at 100 mph all while making this god-awful noise – I can only describe it as a high-pitched, repetitive “eck” type noise that grates on my nerves like nothing else!  Once this begins there is nothing I can do to derail it.

 

Now this year it is going to get better because I have two young male dogs and I can guarantee they are going to think she is playing and they are going to be chasing after her and trying to attack her to get her to chase them.  This is going to be a mistake because once she is on a chipmunk/bunny hunt she is totally focused and just not in the mood to play.  Yay me, let the crazy begin.

 

I know this is coming, I know I cannot change her mind to make peace with the rodents so all I can do is utilize the only plan I’ve got to make it manageable: first option is to leave my bedroom door open so she can go snuggle in the pillow and sleep hopefully to forget about the front window.  If that fails and she takes her place in the window seat then I get her to the backyard as soon as possible so she can do some crazy sprints around the yard, nose to the ground, until she wears herself out.  Once she is outside I shut the door and wait it out.  The boys will be on their own – it’s every man for themselves in this one.

 

She has a trigger, I have a plan.  It’s crazy I know but it is my world – welcome to it.  The whole point of all of this is we all have triggers.  Once we figure out what these triggers are the best thing to do is come up with a plan to diffuse the situation.

 

Maybe it is something that a co-worker, boss, significant other, kid or friend does that sets you off.  If there is something your boss does that gets you started down a very angry and unhappy road take a minute to realize the behavior that affects you and try to come up with a diversion tactic.  Often times it is just the realization that is the key to stopping the cycle.

 

I dated a guy who had a favorite phrase.  Every time he said it I cringed.  Then I realized that it would change my mood to spiral into a dark and twisty place.  Once I realized that it was just that phrase that rubbed me the wrong way I was able to stop and basically scold myself.  I was allowing one phrase to change my behavior.  That was stupid.  A phrase – really?

 

So I decided to consciously change the way I responded internally to that phrase. So the next time he said it I just laughed, remembering how dumb it was that I was letting it effect me, and looked at him and called him a dork.  Hey, it made me feel better, I didn’t get all dark and twisty and he responded by saying, “Yeah, I know, but you love me anyway” so he was cool with it.

 

I think sometimes we are so reactionary that we stop thinking – and that is a dangerous thing.  In a way some would say that we are letting others control us and our behavior.  I would disagree – we have the choice on how we respond.  I was “letting” him get me to a dark and twisty place but in reality I was choosing to go there.  We have so much more control over our own little world than we allow ourselves.  Slowing down to think about how we respond and what gets us to dark and twisty places is often the first step in derailing that train and getting to bright and shiny instead.

 

Once we start employing our new tactics then we find not only do we get bright and shiny, but we can also have more fun.  Sometimes when I’m fixing dinner I’ll call out “BUNNY” just to get the little dog going.  She immediately jumps in the window and starts the routine.  I’ll then open the back door and tell her “BUNNIES in the BACKYARD” and watch her go.  Cruel, maybe, but hey – she’s getting her exercise.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com