Three Simple Rules In Life

Happy Sunday! 🙂

go after what you want

If you do not GO after what you want, you’ll never have it. – Sitting around wishing, or worse, talking about what you’re gonna do (without action), isn’t going to get you anywhere or any closer to your personal or professional goals.

I get the fear factor situation because I too once allowed fear to nearly alter my destiny.

I stood outside of the meeting room door, paralyzed by fear, waiting for my turn to audition for a Trainer’s position.  My head and heart both desperate for the much-needed career change.

Stomach knotted, heart racing, and a wicked urge to use the bathroom. Deep inside my head two whispering voices spoke.

What if you look stupid?  What if you fail?  You have never done this before? They are going to laugh at you!

How did I get myself in this situation?  How do I get myself out?

I stand. Walk to the water fountain, sip some water and sit down again.  Bonnie (Training Director) steps out of the room,

We are ready for you.  Come in when you are ready.

I acknowledge her but grow more afraid.  Another trip to the water fountain. My hand touches the door to enter the room, but fear prevents me from opening the door.

I turn around and walk toward the exit sign.

 I can’t do this.

The other voice stops me again.

You can do this!  What’s the worse thing that can happen?

To this day, I don’t remember how many sips it took me to muster up the courage to follow through with the audition, but I am glad I did.

I walked in the room and faked every ounce of confidence like I’d presented a dozen times before.  Prior to my audition, I’d never done public speaking, but they did not know this.  I presented to executives and mid-level managers.

To assess my ability to deal with typical training situations, they enjoyed acting out roles of employees who had bad attitudes, who did not speak English, or who just did not want to be there.

I remember laughing a few times, because the scenarios were funny. At the conclusion, I was relieved and happy that I followed through.

Later I was told, I was one of the top three candidates.  A month later, I got a phone call. Although they enjoyed my presentation, the company’s policy to hire from within, broke the tie.   While disappointed, the experience was a confidence booster and life changing.

I quit my job (working a good 60-70 hours per week), but continued night college classes. We (me, hubby, and our young daughter) went to Disney.

After a much-needed vacation, I took a holiday seasonal job selling Elizabeth Arden cosmetics at Macy’s.

Stay with me…

Two days before Christmas in a crowded cosmetic and fragrance department, a woman approaches me.

Hi!  Aren’t you the woman that applied for the trainer’s position at Trop back in August?!?

Yes, I did. Why?

Someone left the department and they wanted to contact you but cannot find your paperwork!  Are you still interested in the job?

I’m thinking is she serious?

Uhh.. YES!!

She writes the director’s name and number down and instructs me to call her.  The first chance I got, I called and expressed my interest in the job.  Before my shift ended, I answered a call and this is what she said,

Merry Christmas!  The job is yours!!

Reliving the experience still makes my heart flutter.  I had taken calculated risks that paid off well.  What if I hadn’t auditioned?  What if I had never quit my job?  What if I did not take the cut in pay?  The what if’s are endless.

The bottom line is that if I did not go after what I wanted, I would have missed out on future opportunities and my path would have differed and I don’t think for the better. I was stressed out, over-worked, and burnt out.

If you do not ASK, the answer will always be NO.   I was one of 125 employees laid off from a job that I loved. While disappointed, because I loved my job and my director, I knew I would fare okay.  I felt sadness for my colleagues who cried and only saw darkness before them.

I was numb and confused.  The new president of our company had recently held a pep rally.  I was among nearly 5,000 employees who were optimistic about the company’s future. Our president told us that he valued us and the company would depend on us to move forward.

On my drive home, I thought to myself, I’m a model employee.  Excellent attendance, outstanding reviews, respected by colleagues and superiors, superb initiative and more. Why was my position eliminated?

A letter was in order.  Yup!  I sat down and wrote a letter to the new president. My main question to him was simple.

 If I am the type of employee you want, why was I laid off and not moved to a different position?

I also requested to meet with him to discuss my future with the organization.

I hand delivered the letter to the president’s administrative assistant and asked if she would give it to him and she did.

Tho I didn’t get to personally meet with him, he read the letter and responded.

I was rehired as an intern that eventually lead to a full-time position!  If I hadn’t asked the question, the answer would have always been NO.

If you do not step FORWARD, you will ALWAYS be in the same place. Both experiences were opportunities for personal and professional growth.

I could not predict the outcomes but held faith that something positive would occur for me.  I was correct. Both situations opened new doors, new challenges, and more importantly, the confidence to continue to step forward.

Not caring about what others think about my decisions, because they are mine to make and no one else’s, feels damn good.  Waiting for the approval of family, friends, or colleagues is pointless because they may not share the vision. I do understand that there is difference between seeking approval and soliciting respectable feedback.

Look around and take inventory.  We all know someone stuck in a bad place. They want to be in a different place but are afraid to step forward. The mindset creates a stifling and toxic atmosphere. Playing it safe in sports doesn’t win the game, neither does it make you happy in life.

If stepping forward were easy, everyone would do it, so do not be afraid to go it alone or with a small team in your corner.

success

By the way, Yes, I am still participating in the 100 happy days challenge. A few challenges have prevented me from posting, but the challenges aren’t keeping me from being happy. I will play the catch-up game this week.

Enjoy the day! 🙂


A Leap of Faith

20130330-095836.jpg

After eight months of working ten-hour plus shifts, six-day work weeks, attending mandatory 9:00 a.m. staff meetings on my only day off, the stress and demands of my job began to take a toll on my 28-year young body. The combination of the long hours, attending evening classes at a community college, mothering a pre-school age daughter, and maintaining my young marriage, one day, it all hit me like a ton of bricks.

Literally, I was meeting with an employee. Attempting to give her an annual performance evaluation. The day, like most, had been a busy one; customer complaints, billing account issues, and more.

I was celebrated by my staff, my peers, and my General Manager for maintaining composure during the most difficult times and known for pulling solutions out of my magic hat to solve bizarre problems. They never saw me sweat. I still believe every problem/challenge has a solution.

On this day, bricks lay on my chest. I remembered taking deep yoga like breaths, confident that the pressure on my chest would disappear and not return. Dana (not her real name), didn’t recognize my discomfort. She was most likely blinded by the anticipation of receiving her overdue evaluation.

I shifted in the chair—to the right— then to the left–but no relief. As strong as my tolerance was for pain, I sat silent… surprised and unable to maintain control through the pain. Tears trickled down my checks leaving shadow like stains through my bronze foundation. The moisture flows uncontrollably.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Pausing… “No. I’m in pain. The pain won’t go away…”

My doctor saw me the same day. Several tests later and a few days later, I find myself angrily sitting in the examining room with my doctor. My tests (Blood, EKG, and a few others returned negative). I’m a mess, but don’t realize it… but I was about to find out.

“Your body is responding to stress young lady. Your work schedule and daily routine is affecting your health. You need to change jobs!”

I sit quietly and listen. He goes on to say more.

At that moment I feel the verge of a nervous breakdown invading my soul. My body wants to shake, convulse, fall on the floor and cry and scream. I want to tell him to go straight to hell. “Change jobs!” I snap. “Easy for you to say, DOC….TOR!!! I’m trying to get my damn education, you’ve got yours!! Asshole!”

He tells me that I need to take some time off from work and writes me a doctor’s note, which places me on immediate medical leave.

“Is he F’n kidding! I run the front office of a hotel. August is peak season. You don’t take weeks off in August.” He tells me I don’t have a choice.

I return to work and looking for the GM/Owner. He’s nowhere to be found. I clear his desk and leave the note with a request for him to call me. He NEVER called me. His only concern was hotel revenue.

During the weeks that I stayed home, I felt battered, broken, and beyond repair. My body, my mind, and my spirit were frail. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was going to fall apart. I followed doc’s orders and rested.

During my medical leave, I applied for a Training Coordinator’s position at a casino (located right next door to the hotel where I worked). I interviewed and auditioned (in August); however,  the position was offered to an in-house employee. I was given the standard, “We will keep your application on file, blah, blah, blah..”

Two weeks later I returned to work. In my mailbox was a nasty memo from my GM/Owner,

“Due to your absence, the hotel as lost X amount of dollars in revenue….” The rest is a blur!!

After careful discussion with hubby, the next day I took a leap in faith and resigned from my position. My GM wanted to know how I could  afford to quit my job without another job and insisted I work the next two weeks straight without a day off. I refused and worked my normal six-day workweek.

We took a much-needed family vacation to Disney. After returning from Disney, I decided to take a holiday seasonal job selling cosmetics at Macy’s. I previously enjoyed selling cosmetics and thought I could have fun. Fun was the motivator NOT money.

Two days before Christmas, the store is jammed packed, wall-to-wall shoppers. A girl walks up to my counter:

Girl:  Excuse me, aren’t you the lady who applied for the Trainer position back in August at Tropicana?

Me:  Umm yeah, why?

Girl:  Someone left the department and they are looking for your paperwork, but they can’t find it. Are you still interested in the job?

Me:  Yes, I am. (I wanted to say hell yeah!)

Girl: She hands me a card, writes down a number, and tells me to call the Director.

On my break I call the Director. She tells me she’ll call me back. Later that day she calls,

“Merry Christmas, the job is yours!!!”

I started my new job on January 4, 1994! It was one of the BEST career moves in my life. The normal, 9-5 like hours, weekends and holiday off, were perfect for my family and school. Starting with my attitude, everything changed for the better. I could see the shine in the sun, every detail around me became clear. I know that I became a better mother, a better wife, and a better student. I was earning substantially less money, but I was happy; happier than I’d been in a long time.

This experience taught me that sometimes in life, the path before us is unclear. Visibility may not be at it’s best; however, if you are doing good, carefully think through situations, weigh the pros and cons, and your core instincts tell you to move forward, then by all means, do it… whatever “it” is!

“Sometimes your only available transportation is leap of faith.”

Don’t sit around and wait for an ideal situation or opportunity to come, you may end up waiting forever.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!