When Procrastination Is Good

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.
When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in
the field ofyour bliss, and they open the doors to you.  I say,
follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t
have opened for anyone else.

-Joseph Campbell

I assessed the pros and cons of my decision.  Before making the critical determination, I carefully scrutinized the advantages, the disadvantages, the expected and unexpected, and everything in between.  I made a choice, but emotionally my heart uttered that I was mistaken.

The tug of war between logic and emotion is a compelling and dynamic relationship.  Logic has its validity but so does emotion.  Sometimes I think feelings are underrated. Some research suggests that “individuals who experienced more intense feelings achieved higher decision-making performance.”  Hmm..

You’re probably wondering what I’m rambling about and where am I going with this.

Whelp, I’ll tell you exactly what this post is all about…  My chatter is about grad school.  To take the next class or not.

The last semester was no doubt the most challenging ever. Working full-time, caring for the home, partaking in our son’s activities, and being present in our marriage was laborious.

During the eight-week course, I second-guessed myself daily.  Self-sabotage!!   Did I belong in the class? Did I have what it took to pass the class?  Was I smart enough? Suffocating in doubt and uncertainty, I agonized but pushed through it.  The final exam was the breaking point.  I thought… no, I knew for certain that I’d bomb the course, but I did not. I received a 90 on my final and passed the course with a B-.  Whew!!

In the fall, I registered for the Spring 2017 semester but later realized that due to unexpected events, I should probably drop the course(s) until summer ’17.  I was trying to think realistically about handling a heavy workload.

I prolonged dropping the course until the final day of drop/add. Who’d believe that procrastination can be good?

On the final day to drop without a financial obligation, I logged in to my school’s site, pulled up the classes, placed an “X” in the boxes, and reached to set my pinky on the enter button and froze.

I couldn’t bring myself to finish the withdrawl and press the enter button.

Questioning myself again, I pondered, will this class be as challenging and time-consuming?  With new undertakings, will I have too much on my plate? I still could not bring myself to drop any of the classes.  I texted four people who are close to me.  Three of the four, including my husband responded.  Their feedback helped.

I have momentum and drive; it is not the time to ease off the gas and delay progress.

My hunger and thirst for this program make my heart flutter. Simply talking about the program sends goose bumps along my arms.

The work is demanding and challenging, but that’s where the growth emerges.  Finally, I’ve become quite comfortable with the sentiment of feeling uncomfortable.  In strength training, you lift to failure; then you lift again.  It is only through the discomfort of breaking down (tearing) the muscles and feeling sore, along with proper nutrition that we become stronger and develop muscle growth.

On the other side of this struggle awaits unexplored ventures and unknown opportunities.

Because I procrastinated, I did NOT drop my spring classes!!  Hallelujah!!

This post is a friendly reminder for me and for you to stay encouraged in whatever it is we set out to do.  Self-doubt is normal but pushing through the doubt is the exception.  Many people succumb to fear and to doubt and give up on their dreams.  They spend their life wondering, what if?  Please don’t give up. Keep pushing and keep it moving. Failure means success and beats the what if’s any day.  I’m delighted that I procrastinate!  I know that I made the best decision as I continue to follow my bliss. 🙂

Here’s to a new semester, to new challenges,  and to new opportunities in 2017! By the way, if you like what you’ve read here, please subscribe to Lexa’s Journal. Thank you!

Happy New Year!

Smooches!

 

 

How to Clean Up Broken Eggs

While placing 18 eggs one by one in a pot of boiling water, one egg quickly slipped out of my hand and landed on the kitchen floor. Splat!!!

As the yolk partly laid on the floor and partly resting inside the shell, I thought it looked disastrous but also colorful and pretty.

Instead of stressing over the silly egg, I took a few pictures and pondered over what could be said about the broken egg.  The splattered egg reminded me of an earlier experience in my life and inspired me to write this post.

Nearly 20 years ago, I was the Advertising/Communications Manager at a Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I was new to the position and new to advertising, but I loved the creative energy, the enthusiasm, and the department’s director was amazing! She was smart, witty, confident, and knew her stuff. I was like a sponge, eager to soak up all the knowledge my director was throwing my way. For once, I envisioned myself in a department for the long hall.

While working as a Trainer in Human Resources, the  job literally fell in my lap. It turns out, the powers that be were observing me and liked the way I conducted myself and worked with employees in the company.

Seven months into the Advertising position, out went the old president and in came the new one. As with any new leadership, the rumors began.  For or a little while, things remained the same, but eventually major changes occurred.

The new president (Dennis) may he RIP, passed a few years ago, was unlike any leader our company had before. He was high energy, unconventional, believed in giving people chances, and never seem to care about people laughing at his out of the ordinary ideas.

I remember attending a pep rally, where some employees won a lottery for a chance to step into a money machine! The machine swirled money into the air and the employee was given a certain amount of time to grab as much cash as possible. Lol!! How cool was that! You can imagine the excitement!!

Anyways, he had a new vision for the company and wanted to move in a different direction. As a result, my position along with 120 or so other jobs were eliminated. I was disappointed but not surprised. Damn though!! I was finally working for and with someone who really knew shit and was willing to share her knowledge.  Then my position gets eliminated.

I signed the proper  paperwork, packed my belongings, said my goodbyes and left. On my way out, I saw my colleagues’ devastation and tears. I remember thinking, it’s not the end the world. Of course my husband held a steady job, but still we were a two-family income and my salary mattered.

After a few days of taking the job loss in, I felt compelled to write a letter to the president. I was confused! During the pep rally, Dennis spoke. He said he wanted employees who were loyal, hard-working, committed, friendly, and more!

He described me in his speech! So, why was my job eliminated? I needed to know the answer, so immediately I sat down and wrote the president of the casino a letter. I did not hesitate on the letter because I felt as though I had nothing to lose.  My letter was not angry, dispirited or nasty.  It was a letter of genuine inquiry about why my position was eliminated. I also requested a meeting with him to discuss career opportunities with the company. I told him that I was everything he wanted in his employees and he could check my file. He seemed like a fair and reasonable man.

The next day, I hand delivered the letter to his Administrative Assistant, who graciously took it and promised that she would give it to him. I thanked her and left feeling content that I asked the question.

Shortly after, I don’t remember exactly how long but a day– a week– or several weeks later, I received a phone call from a company representative. Although while working full-time, I also attended college at night. I was offered a position as an intern in Affirmative Action.

I worked in Affirmative Action for a few months and was eventually offered a job in a new department, Quality Assurance. For a few months, I was the sole department. Lol!!

Over the next eight years, my career continued to flourish with the company.  In 2002, one month after I graduated college and earned my BA degree, I received a job offer from a local school district and gave my resignation.

Just because a situation does not go as planned, does not mean that all is gloom and doom and that a disaster has occurred.  There is always a reason things don’t work out but to sort through it, we have to be open-minded, patient, and malleable.

So what the egg breaks! It’s still raw, scoop it up, laugh at yourself, salvage what you can, and move on. Successful people arrive by way of a series of detours, road blocks, failed engines and more.

If you’ve ever played  Monopoly, at some point you will land in jail. Eventually you get out of jail and move on and sometimes, go on to win the game.

Learning not to stress over cracked eggs, broken china, the slow driver ahead, junior league football, and other trivial stuff, took me many years to understand.  However, one day I figured it out and and stopped sweating the small stuff.

I know that after bad comes good. After darkness comes light.  After pain comes pleasure.  After tears come smiles.

At 50 years old, I take it all in stride and make it a point to laugh at the silliness in each day.

Make your day a great one!  🙂

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! 🙂

Link

How we set out to overcome the borders and the obstacles we face is all about our perspective and imagination.  Amy Purdy’s story is simply amazing and inspiring!  Make no excuses!

Happy Monday and have a fabulous day!

Starting The New Year Off With “7 Deadly Sins”

New Year’s Day WOD

“7 Deadly Sins”
7 Rounds

7 Hang Cleans 95/75

7 Burpees Over Bar

7 Chin Ups

7 Pistols (Alt. each leg)

7 Planks Up-Down

7 bent Over Row W/Bar  95/75

7 Jelly Bellies

1 Min rest between rounds

Modifications 5 Rounds

Though I celebrated the New Year and didn’t crawl into bed until 3:00 a.m., this morning, six hours later, I got my butt up and went to today’s 10:00 a.m. CrossFit class!  An hour before class, my girl “T” texted me about class, so I jumped out of bed, drank some coffee and prepared for class.

Class was awesome today!  Our instructor diligently focused on technique and encouraged us to push ourselves to do better with each round.

“Come on, you CAN do it!”  “Yeah!!  That’s what I’m talkin about!”   “You guys look amazing!”

How could you not be motivated or inspired to push yourself with this type of coaching?

I am ready for you 2014!!!  Lol!  For three months, I have been planning for my new challenge, now I’m ready.

My psyche requires me to mentally prepare for any challenge that I take on.  To mentally prepare, I do the following:

  1. Mentally take myself to where I want to be (the goal) – Visualize
  2. Assess my current actions as it relates to the goal/challenge – Evaluate
  3. Honestly identify my behaviors that create a barrier to achieving the goal – Honestly Recognize
  4. Slowly wean myself off or away from the behaviors that need changing – Modify
  5. Replace the old habit/behavior with a positive new one – Substitute & Replace
  6. Find positive reinforcements (books, people, videos, images, etc…) to keep me on track – Consistency
  7. Avoid the naysayers who tell you that you’re “crazy,” “nuts,” or just out of your mind. Surround yourself with encouragers – Determination & Faith

For about 20 years, the seven steps have helped me through personal and professional challenges.  I don’t have a paper with the steps written down, I just do it.  I think today is the first day, that I can recall, that I actually thought about the process.

Best wishes to you all for a safe, happy, healthy, spiritual, and prosperous 2014!!

A Leap of Faith

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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!