YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL, BUT NOT ALL AT ONCE

Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer give me hope that our country is moving in the right direction. As a personal victim of work place harassment, I can tell you that it not only impacts the individual on an emotional and mental level, it also has a ripple effect on their career. We’re taught not to speak up about things because if we do it’s somehow a poor reflection on us. It doesn’t matter if your company stands by you and fires the ahole… the victim is left with the aftermath. You’re forced to be silent and not talk about the situation (especially if it’s one that was handled discretely).

In my experience, my company at the time did everything possible to make up for the horrible months I endured while working under this individual. That said, when they fired him, they didn’t let employees know why. He was incredibly senior and I was in a position where I worked with essentially everyone in my department as well as everyone within the C-Suite.

People didn’t know why he was let go and constantly went to me for clarity. I had to act like I didn’t know and act like I was ok. I wasn’t and because of this I threw myself into a new another opportunity. I was desperate to start over and put this situation behind me and unfortunately my desperation led me to an even more devastating role where I was bullied and mistreated to the point of spending day after day crying in the bathroom stall.

One poor position after another spun me into a downward spiral of what should have been my career progression.

I’ve been wanting to blog about this, but I’ve been so afraid of the red tape that would potentially be associated with my name. So, years later I’m still paying for this jerk’s abuse of power. Paying by having to make up reasons for my sporadic resume and seemingly impulsive career moves.

My hope that eventually more people will speak out and our society will reach a place where when we talk through our resumes, where we can be honest and finally stop hiding and feeling punished for what happened to us.

Until then, I don’t define myself as a victim anymore. What happened was tragic and horrible and very devastating; however, I believe that life is messy and we can turn tragedy into beauty. I needed time to wallow and heal and build myself back up again, but now years later, I am stronger than ever and far less intimidated.

I encourage all of you to stand up for yourself and never let anyone scare you. I never reported the abuse I was enduring, but I had guardian angels looking out for me and because of them the universe got rid of him. I wish I could go back to that place with the knowledge that being nice doesn’t mean you tolerate inappropriate behavior. I wish I would have known that I was more important than anything he could have ever done to me. I wish I would have known I was worth more.

At least I know now. I’ve been through so much and maybe it was all necessary to learn that I am worth so much more than that and to find the voice I lost around fifteen. I hope that you’ll find your voice if you’ve lost it and know that you’re not alone.

I think we all have a choice when life hands us sour lemons, we can pucker up and cry about it, or we can keep going until we find a sweet one.

Sometimes life spins you out of control, but it is up to us to find ground again. In my next post, I’m going to share what I’m currently working on which is learning how to find balance without risking becoming a master of none. I believe that you can have it all, but not all at once. You have to make small consistent strides in your most valued environments in order to design a life you not only thrive in, but also enjoy.

IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING, RIGHT?

I used to think timing wasn’t a determining factor in whether or not a relationship could succeed. I thought if two people were into one another, that anything was possible. I believed that if someone liked you enough that they would move mountains to make it happen with you, but as I’ve gotten older, I think I was wrong.

We live in a culture so consumed by work. We spend our adolescent years killing ourselves to get into the right college, our college years killing ourselves to secure the right internship, our internships days devoted to landing a job offer. Once we graduate college, if we don’t have a returning job offer from a previous internship, we begin the long dreaded search for employment. Some will be lucky enough to receive offers from companies they might not have interned with before graduation, but others are left to their own vices. So, we’re thrown to the wolves and we spend our lives climbing our version of a career ladder. As we approach thirty, I feel many people start to settle down.

That said, we are a generation of procrastination. We don’t procrastinate everything, but we do pick and choose. We might be super proactive with our jobs, but let our health fall to the back burner. We might be super successful in both work and play, but neglect any form of social life. We might be super human and have rockin bods, a killer career, and be a total socialite, but not worry about fostering meaningful romantic relationships.

In NYC, the city that never sleeps, we’re bred to believe that we can fake it til we make it. That if we just try hard enough, we too can have it all. So, we conduct our lives thinking that it will all work out. That we will have it all, but we just have to focus on x,y,z for the moment and then handle the rest. Sure, this type of tunnel vision is great for laser focus and knocking to-dos off your list, but I have to wonder, is this type of mentality dangerous?

If we wait for tomorrow, tomorrow might not come. How do we balance everything so that we can have it all without feeling stretched too thin, or that we’ve settled in certain areas? If I had the answer, I probably wouldn’t be writing this, but I will share what I’ve learned so far.

Balance is essential

Sometimes when I get super stressed out, or down, I will isolate myself. I’ll retreat from my friends and family and host the pity party of a lifetime. I’ll complain to myself about how unfair life is, how tired I am, or how I don’t have time to change my life, but that simply isn’t true and even though it temporarily lets me off the hook, I know I could do better.

I hate to reference this example, because it comes from a total troll I was briefly seeing at the beginning of this year. In his field, he really didn’t have the time to work out, but had noticed he’d put on a few lbs, so he made changes to his diet consistently in addition to working out when possible. He didn’t let the excuse of working all of the time keep him from his goal of becoming healthier. He evaluated the problem and thought of a solution. He didn’t play the victim and stuff his face with donuts (been there done that…. Struggle is real), but instead he identified his goal and made the changes he could at the time.

Transitional periods are temporary

Lately, I’ve been having a time, to say the least. WOOF. Anyway, one of my best friends reminded me last night that challenging circumstances are only temporary. I tend to be such a big picture gal that it’s hard for me to place myself in the present and accept that change doesn’t happen overnight. I tend to allow feelings to dictate how I handle a situation when in reality feelings are subjective. We can’t go off how we’re feeling and we can’t go from a mile to a marathon in five minutes. Patience is a virtue for a reason.

Prioritize what you value

We’re all chasing that paper, but at the end of the day, who wants to be broke and alone? And don’t go thinking you’re gonna be the next Hugh Heffner. I mean seriously. We live and breathe our 9-5, which everyone knows is really 24/7, but at the end of the day, I suppose it would be nice to have someone to come home to. Someone who makes you forget about the fact that 10/12 hours that day were spent on the verge of a panic attack and feeling like you’re nothing more than smeared dog shit on a sidewalk of the Lower East Side.

And hey, you’re asexual? You hate people? I get it. I’m not saying a relationship is the end all be all of your existence. I’m saying find what lights a fire under your ass and pursue it. I’m the most ADD person you’ll ever meet. I’m currently working a minimum (haha as if) of 40 hours a week, pursuing a side hustle, volunteering/joining a new charity, rekindling my love of fitness with classes and running, working on a project that takes at least 3 hours of every day and a lot of time on the weekends, casually dating, blogging, reading, staying in touch and involved with friends and family, and most importantly trying to find my mind after losing it on a daily basis.

Maybe all of that means I’m spreading myself too thin, but for whatever reason I refuse to give up.

Sometimes when you’re trying to accomplish a million things, it feels like you’re accomplishing nothing at all. Maybe that’s why Steve Jobs was such a jerk and devoted his life so much to his career that he wouldn’t even change up his wardrobe. Nah blue pants, you ain’t getting a second thought. All I got time for is Apple. He simplified everything and focused on the only thing that mattered to him. I don’t think there is a right or wrong to this way of living. I mean the dude was super successful, but was he fulfilled? Was he happy?

Things have been so chaotic and there has been so much in the mix that I know I need to cut back on a few things and stop drowning myself in the endless opportunities that life presents. That said, I do think you can have it all with applied discipline. We must schedule our time so that it reflects our values and goals. You have the power to accomplish everything you want, but you have to be consistent.

I’m curious, what’s your routine? What keeps you going when you’re stressed out and disengaged? How do you plan your life? For me, I think starting each week with a set schedule is crucial. Have I done that? Yes. Have I stuck to it? Nah. But we live for another day and with 2018 approaching, it’s time to reevaluate who you are and what you want to accomplish and what it takes to get there.

 

Xx.

THE POWER OF PROGRESS

On this beautiful fall evening, I would like to share some things the past few months have taught me:

Your mindset matters

Regardless of what you’re aspiring to change, or who you want to become, you must believe in the power of mind over matter. I have moments where I let my emotions guide me, but I’ve gotten way better at controlling them and not being controlled by them. Feelings are wonderful, but you can’t live your life according to them, because they change and are unreliable.

I understand that some feelings need to be dealt with and that might mean throwing yourself a pity party and owning the fact that no one possibly has it worse than you and no one understands and boo hoo, etc. Eventually (sooner rather than later), you need to ditch the seamless that comes with two forks… no they aren’t insulting you when they think you’ve ordered for two, maybe you’ve just ordered too much. Stop rewatching Bridget Jones and put the gym membership you’re paying a million dollars for to use… just speaking to myself here? C0000L.

Seriously though, think about it. Think about the most gut-wrenching breakup, horrific death, or massive disappointment you’ve had to deal with. It’s not that the issue ever became less painful on its own. Rather, it’s that you decided to change the way you dealt with it and thus changed your mindset. You stopped allowing how you were feeling to dictate your actions and you started doing things you knew would make you feel better. You probably fell off track a few times (or if you’re like me, more than a few), but the progress you made kept you going. You didn’t allow minor setbacks to define you. You believed that by stepping outside of your comfort zone you would eventually feel better and wah-la eventually, you did.

There is power in planning and preparation

When you’re in a funk and you’re wanting to make a massive change, it can feel extremely overwhelming and scary. In addition to getting your mind right, you need to be consistent with your actions. This doesn’t mean that you can’t trial and error new interests, but what it does mean is that having some consistency and stability builds confidence. For me, knowing that each day I’m making small and measurable strides towards my long-term goals makes me feel more confident and excited about the process.

That said, is it fun to plan everything? Nah. BUT… there is also power in your perspective. When you change your perspective and the way you view tasks at hand, it can change your life. Suddenly, seemingly meniscal tasks become much more rewarding.

Being optimistic and taking action will seal the deal

If we change our mindsets, prepare, show up with optimism and enthusiasm for the tasks at hand we will succeed.  It is truly that simple. So, I challenge you to step away from the things that provide temporary relief, but long term discomfort. Don’t settle for what’s comfortable, strive for what’s better.

Why carpe the diem?

Lately, I’ve been asking various professionals what they wish they’d known when they were my age, or what they would have done differently. I’ve been researching various books and reading an insane amount of articles about these questions. What I’ve found so far is that we often tend to get so caught up in the future, or stuck on the past that we forget to seize the moment we’re currently in.

Most of the time, we worry about things that don’t end up happening. We harp on things we can’t change and ultimately we waste time. Time is the most precious aspect of our lives. We don’t know how much of it we have and we don’t have the power to control when our hourglass runs out. When I think about this concept, I’m filled with a deep desire to make the most of it.

Today, one of my best friends texted my girl gang group chat to make sure we were all safe. Unclear exactly what happened, but safe to say that shots were fired near the world trade center, essentially one block from where she works. It is still unclear as to whether or not there were shots, but most reports have indicated yes. Moreover, multiple pedestrians were hit by a truck driver who maliciously plowed through people and killed and injured majority of them.

The same scenario happened a few months ago by my office in Times Square. It was the first time in my five years of living here that I had heard of an instance like this and having been so close to it, it scared me. Today, I feel the same fear and grief for those harmed by such a violent act.

I don’t bring up these examples to incite fear, or be depressing. Rather, I bring them up to remind everyone that life is fleeting. We can’t control how much time we’re blessed with on this earth, but we can control how we make the most of what we’re given.

What can you do to ensure every grain of sand that slips through your hourglass counts for something?