A dear friend of mine called me right after my move to Denver and let me know he was feeling melancholy. Being the irreverent smart ass I am, I quipped right back, “What a lovely color for a dog! I bet she’s beautiful.”
It’s all a matter of perspective. And thankfully, he laughed.
We often find ourselves surrounded in both business and life by those who actively choose to be passive. Who allow life or their business to run THEM instead of the other way around. As a preamble to the 2008 holiday season, I wanted to send my readers face-first into their turkey sandwiches and shopping frenzies with some heavy thoughts for both business and your personal life. In scathing Redhead fashion, here’s my unsolicited thoughts on how to run towards something in life instead of continuing to run from everything.
If it’s not working, change it.
Are you stuck in square peg-round holeville? Einstein’s definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again in expectation of different results. You’ve got to mix it up, change it around, and sometimes — throw the entire bloody thing out the window if you’re ever going to get anywhere. Some of my favorite song lyrics of all-time are from a group called The Kills and their song “Good Ones.” Once in awhile, once in ahwile ya gotta burn down your house to keep your dreamin’ alive. Afraid of starting over? See the next point.
Fear is a four-letter word.
Your mom and dad smacked the crap out of you for saying “crap” when you were a kid and your stint on this mortal coil was threatened if you dared utter one of the “worse” words. Now as adults, we’ve got no fear of dropping the f-bomb, heli-skiing, motorcycle riding, bungee jumping or running a red light, but we’ve got this thing about “change.” It freaks us out. My advice? Stop worrying about what I call the “Udda Sisters.” They’re Shoulda, Coulda and Woulda. If you spend all of your time thinking about what might have been instead of what actually IS, you’re sticking yourself in a helpless position of fear and passivity. Take the leap, whether it’s one of faith or otherwise, and get something done. Shake up your world. I’d rather hear someone use the f-bomb than the other four-letter f-word (fear). You’re an adult – nobody’s going to smack you for not being afraid.
There’s a conversation you’ve been waiting to have. Have it.
One thing I’ve gotten extraordinarily better at in my life (though I still work on it daily) is my ability to initiate what could be uncomfortable conversations. No one wants to hurt anyone else’s feelings (and those who do aren’t worth talking to anyways), but those conversations we dread are the ones that leave us a hundred pounds lighter. If you’re afraid of the other person’s/party’s reaction, think about your wants and need beforehand. This is relevant in both business and your personal like. When you enter a conversation with intention and purpose, you’re positioning yourself as a winner. When you have these conversations, though, bring an open mind and ear to the table with you. Nobody wants to talk to a wall and dialogs are always more fun than diatribes.
If you hate your job, get a new one.
This one pisses me off. Seriously. Folks, I know the “economy is bad” and many people are “just grateful to have jobs.” This doesn’t mean you can’t find a new one. What it means is if you’re a fuck-off and just a total suck on an employer’s payroll, you’re going to have a tough time finding work. But those aren’t the people who read my blog. Each person reading this is pretty much a rock star in their given field and chosen vocation. If you hate where you’re at, you all have the tools, skills and means to break out from the crowd and position yourself as a valuable and value-adding asset to the employer of your choice. So quit bitching. Do it already. (there’s no hugging here)
Real friends – find them.
It takes being a good friend in order to have good friends. The real ones don’t care about the car your drive, the clothes you wear, if you’re married/divorced/have kids/have no kids. They care about you. Have a long look at your roster of friends and see who really qualifies. Who takes more than they give? Who’s there every time you end up in the emergency room (thanks John Mueller)? Who never has cash when you go on a lunch run? Who calls you out of the blue on Sunday afternoon just to catch up? Real friends will get you through any crisis in life and you’ll be excited to be their friend in return. And hopefully they’ll tell you when that purple skirt or “cool” shirt you like so much really looks like crap on you — and they won’t use the word crap. They’ll issue you a friendly yet stern, “Jeez…WTF?!” and tell you to burn it.
Colleagues – appreciate them.
They’re your 9-to-5. The life blood of your business. They’re the people who let you do the business that you do. Take a minute and say thanks. We don’t say thank you enough in our business lives (unless someone is saving our ass and then we pee thanks all over their desks). And if you can’t find a reason to say thanks, check out the point above about finding a new gig. If you surround yourself with colleagues you admire, respect and who challenge you to become a better business person, odds are you’ll have plenty to be thankful about!
Time – take some and make some.
Think back this year about all of the times you said you didn’t have time to do something. My take on it is that we always have the time — but sometimes we choose to not make it. Life’s about priorities, and sometimes first things are first and we truly don’t have the time to spend on some things because we’re actively (or passively out of avoidance) choosing to spend time on other pursuits. This is FINE. Just be honest with yourself and those surrounding you about where your time priorities are. And then always take some time for yourself. MAKE the time for yourself. There’s a ton to be said for hanging out with friends, spending the rare Sunday afternoon on the couch napping or indulging yourself with a last-minute getaway. And you don’t always have to do these things WITH someone. Sometimes it’s a hot date with YOU, buddy. Get rowdy. (insert bad kitty meow)
Make your list – check it twice.
It’s YOUR list and it’s time to be your own Santa. What is it that YOU want? Stop waiting for the Universe to bring you things and identify the things you want. In business and your personal life, to not have lists (be they virtual or written, no matter) is to be passive. Now lists aren’t the place for solving the Middle East crisis with methods and mechanics. They’re a place for identification. I think you’ll be surprised that, once you identify your wants, the methods and mechanics for achieving them will begin to emerge. As a rock climber, I was told long ago that if I didn’t know where to put my hands next, try moving my feet as it’s likely that as soon as I moved my feet up, I’d be able to see my next series of hand holds. This is, without a doubt, the finest piece of advice I’ve ever received for both rock climbing and daily living. Make your list. Move your feet. The rest will come.
Stop reacting and start acting.
Remember all those times you set your mind to something and you did it? All I’m sayin’ is that if there’s movement in your life, be the creator. From your family to business to friends to the line at the supermarket, set your life in motion and stop reacting to the world around you. In my case, I’ve found it’s pretty cool to have the world around me be the one I want to live in. Why is it like that? Because I created it. I went after the career I wanted and did it without fear (granted, a few “oh shits” along the way but nothing that wouldn’t wash out). I allowed the people into my life who want to share life with me instead of asking me to constantly live theirs for them. I’m fortunate and I’ve worked hard for what I enjoy each day, and I credit the majority of it to my intolerance for being idle and passion for setting out on new paths or delving deeper into ones I’m already walking.
So there it is, my dear readers. Redhead wisdom to learn and live by. You can think I’m full of shit or you can take away one or two things and set your world on its head and find the cool stuff that lies beyond. In the comments on this one, please feel free to share your own “Call to Action” with my readers. What inspired/inspires you? Where do you find your inner flame? What’s the key to your kick-ass work environment? I want to hear about it.
And with that, I’ll leave you with thanks for being so patient as I know it’s been a long time since my last post. I went to Tanzania, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, moved to Denver and started on a new chapter in my writing career. Special thanks to all my readers who asked the “WTF?!?!? Where’s the new post?” Here it is. Long overdue and hopefully what you’ve come to expect from The Redhead. Check out the picture below…and the photo I’m holding is of my grandparents, Elsie and Harold Jensen. Melancholy that they’re no longer with us? Never. I opted for the melon collie.