Personal Development · Self-Improvement

Introspection

After 6 months of hustling on building something out of me, and 2 months of proving it. We often forget to just take a day to ourselves and think about what concerns we have within ourselves.. 

Some questions I have been procrastinated, but still considered are the following: 

  1. Why do I fear not having a secure future when I know it’s not in my control? 
  2. Why can I not convince myself that I am worthy? 
  3. How come my life has led me to an arduous career path instead of following the same path as the typical ones from my age? 4 years, then getting a job? 
  4. Why am I still so “big”? 
  5. Is love possible for me in terms of a significant other? I feel more in love with the work I do, my friends, and the community in a way
  6. What am I missing to keep me from being fully happy, and always stressing with one thing? 

I wasn’t able to answer many because of the numerous distractions (i.e. friends, environment) but it was a good experience nevertheless. 

  1. I fear not having a secure future knowing it’s not in my control because of accountability. I need something to fall back on and show to my parents that things will be okay. The big question is WHY? Why does it matter? It matters because it’s insurance. I can’t be that young adult living with my uncle in his garage the whole time. I have a job for now and am capable of doing more. The pandemic has made it more acceptable. And I’m glad to be able to help them out when I can, to a certain extent. After all, they’ve done so much for me and are my family. A family is a safe place you can always fall back on because they’ve nurtured you and it’s an obligation, in a way. That’s why tribes are a thing and being a part of something gives you more purpose to live.
  2. Why can I not convince myself that I am worthy? It’s hard when you feel you have not hit a milestone. Having all these contract roles is helping me understand what I like/don’t. But it’s not consistent, nor stable. I exert this confidence to a certain degree with friends and others but I also downplay myself, as Victor says. I do justify a lot, but have not accepted because of in denial knowing I can do better? And that will always be the case? You are your worst critic and at this point, I am comparing myself to others around me including my sister and cousins. I do seem like the “loser” at this point not having a stable career despite big dreams. I believe in meritocracy, but am so impatient with it. It’s a hard habit to break considering how recently I’ve come to ACCEPTANCE with the variables that aren’t in my control. I’ve slowed down a lot within the past maybe month, and it’s just the beginning of a new journey for that. Working hard and smart while finding balance is forever a journey, and I should be proud that I’ve hit that “milestone” of becoming aware of my scarcity mindset and acceptance. 
  3. My life has led me to a circuitous route because of how many different interests I have. I just care so much that it becomes overwhelming. I like the fact I am willing and capable of doing many things, but stretching myself too thin does not specialize me or make me invaluable, which is something hiring managers look for. It’s just for the universe to put me at a place now. Of course, I would love to serve a community, which can mean anything. After listening to Bret Weinstein, I believe it is more with people who have a bigger influence on others. Helping the underserved is great, but helping the middle class and higher would increase success two-fold. Helping the underserved seems like it would just keep things at bay since the more fortunate ones have the capability to create a bigger impact on the world. The question is just how, and where do I start? That is why I would love to work for the city to gain more understanding and connections to how they all give shape to the community it is now.
  4. Why am I so big? I think I anchor myself back to eating food because I’m always “stressing” about doing more and knowing more before I can make an effort when I will never know everything. Food is probably symbolic of my hunger for knowledge, knowing enough, but wanting to know more before I feel satisfied enough to proceed into whatever I am doing. I haven’t learned to cope with my stress as well as I do now- which is living more freely while still being cognizant of what I have to do. Setting boundaries for myself such as having a hobby to channel my passions into, as Jane’s therapist says, or just giving myself me-time and forming a good work area/living space has increased my morale. Acknowledging the scarcity mindset has given me more autonomy to spend a little for myself because I deserve some love for myself too. My happiness is important. 
  5. Is love possible for me in terms of a significant other? I didn’t think about this much which to me just means it’s not a priority of mine. I’ve fallen so deep with the bonds I’ve established with my friends, my family, and myself within the past year- as should. This year has slowed everyone down to realize what should really matters. Rather than always advancing and wanting the very next best thing, it’s given us the opportunity to focus on the holistic side of things good or bad. We’re uncovering deep trauma from past history, and making a better future for ourselves and the community. All these breakups, riots and so forth, has started the unfortunate cancel culture but has also unlocked the door to open opportunities of uncomfortable talks to understand the world, each other, and hopefully find closure on some adversities. 
  6. What am I missing to keep me from feeling happy? I think my friends helped me out with this. We will always want to be striving for more. When we feel comfortable, that’s our cue to breaking through that and finding new parts of ourselves, or just a deeper appreciation of happiness- which is an even more purpose to live and experience the many opportunities it gives you. There was one point in Japantown as I was eating the delectable soft serve , sesame paste flavor from Uji, where I just sighed of joy saying life is great. It really is, especially when you live it with purpose and gratitude. My insecurity of stability and not being able to fully channel my passion for work makes me think otherwise. And I can’t imagine what my next worry will be once I find a secured job. Life doesn’t have one finish line, but checkpoints. In the religious aspect (Buddhism) yes we are all suffering together, and the afterlife is when you’re set free. I do see that. You need to “suffer” aka experience, to understand what you don’t know to live a better life, and know why you deserve it. 

Other things that came up are: 

  • I procrastinate on self-love/care. A prime example would be my drive to grasp all this knowledge on Philosophy, Politics, skillsets, etc. I know it’s good for my future career, but I lose the connection in the why. Which makes me feel less enticed to stick it through? Always changing my routine? Of course, it’s nice to spice things us as things to get mundane, but I also make sacrifices to talk to friends (before) and not give myself wind-down time. 
  • What are worries and why do I have to care about the future so much? Already mentioned, but accountability. I feel the need to prove to people that I am going somewhere instead of myself. When it should be the other way around. Why should I care what other people think when it’s my life. As long as my heart is set on the decision and I’m sure to make it (save enough money/have security/game plan) then by all means.. 
  • What’s actually wrong with me? Nothing. I just think and worry too much. In the process of trying to enjoy the setting in Japantown, I was trying so hard to enjoy life and live it, but I was too distracted with thinking. I think because I just care so much. I have such a huge heart and understand more of the tragedies and trauma the world holds. 
  • My life choices right now don’t lead to any destination. I’m still experiencing what it has to offer before I settle with something. 
  • When talking about Boba Guys getting #Metoo -ed, it really saddened me when I made the connection to how people, girls? took so long to file anything against them because they think their individual voice won’t matter. Now with this whole BLM and reparation movements going on, it’s become a catalyst for people to take bigger actions. The flip side of this is how extensive are the cases with all this cancel culture going on, but hey, at least we’re in a process of establishing what… it is? 
Me and my friend enjoying good weather at Japantown’s picnic event

Cameron mentioned how these trips already tell you what you know, but I don’t think this encounter was enough, which is fine. I’m already working on myself with self-acceptance and my scarcity mindset. I have a new action plan going forward within the next few months on how I am going to live. Life is an experiment and as of last month I would say, and yesterday, it’s just the new beginning before I reach another level of myself. Self-acceptance will take a lot of time. With friends leaving, intimate trips, work, family, and myself to balance, I know I’m not the only one to do the same. 

At one point I was almost convinced to take a leap of faith with becoming an English teacher in Korea. But for now, I have faith I will find something more secure here.

It’s been great to take a step back on my bustling routine to reflect and re-frame it into a new approach. Writing this out feels really good and I look forward to checking at the end of September/mid-October to see how far I progress. 

social justice

2020 Vision

I am sure we all came into this year thinking we were going to come up and grow drastically within ourselves. This year has symbolized 20/20 greatness for many until Covid-19 inevitably trapped us in solidarity. And with the continuing major riots from bottled up oppression from hundreds of years in nationwide for #BLM, wow… It is unfortunate to apprehend the atrocity we currently face because of the unresolved issues with inequality, especially towards African Americans, to say the least. Rather than being at war with other countries……. (actively), we are now at war within our own. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean our energy towards our personal goals has dissipated. It just means it has been redirected elsewhere.

With the joined forces of Black Panther and Yellow Peril from the past, and reuniting stronger now, I wondered to what extent how many people now are genuine versus just joining the bandwagon…..Then I asked myself, “Does that make me a phony?” After contemplating for several days, I’ve realized that it does not matter. Why waste time a trivial question? I do know that I have lived in a bubble most of my life up until this year. I wasn’t raised in an environment that talked about the wrongdoings of the country, or actions to take when such situations occurred because of growing up with immigrant parents who only saw what KTSF (Chinese television news) fed them along with other large media. Maybe the tl;dr to the latter could be that I was privileged and did not have to go through such adversity as others have, or that it was my fault for not taking an interest on something so essential. Regardless, the past is not worth beating myself up for I do not have control of that. What I do have control of is now, how I will act moving forward.

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I was raised to stay out of trouble that could put my life in any danger or involved with the police (good or bad). I was raised in a family where education barely reached the high school level. I brushed off woke society because I was unfamiliar with the term. And until my early 20’s, I remained passive about it thinking it didn’t make an impact on me. My pathway in life was school, graduate, job, marry, then family. Nothing else mattered in between. I had no idea how much of a struggle securing a full-time job would be let alone a reputable one. By no means am I trying to use my past as an excuse for my ignorance, but provide more context to where I stand today. If some of you can resonate with this, remember that you are not alone.

I apologize to society for being so late in the game on all of this. I am not asking to be forgiven, but I am communicating my acknowledgment of this chaos. I hear you and understand the excruciating pain you have endured for far too long. I can understand why there are people who take their lives from this world. We as society mirror how we view the world and this year has been incredible in how we show that. Despite the solitude, we have became accustomed to, our voices have spread like wildfire. As Trevor Noah brilliantly said in his video, it has initiated a domino effect. Our actions have gone viral and continue to spread across the map. 

It genuinely pains and frustrates me to know the rage and chaos that it led. I am sorry for not being heard and I am sorry for not listening sooner. I am hurting with you, world. I am aware that I will never be able to empathize with the amount of pain you’ve endured for so long because I have not been in your shoes. How can I help make things better? How can I take part in helping with the healing process? In the end, I know it all starts with me, and my community one step at a time.

As a close friend of mine, Kit Ramussen, always told me:

Everything starts and ends with you.

Kit Lopez

So even with being a late bloomer, joining the bandwagon, or whatever you want to call it, what matters is how I want to engage myself into contributing to a more peaceful society. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve taken to expose myself to help the communities around me thus far in their causes. I am also grateful to be a part of Rotary International, where one of their main objectives is to establish peace. And through my current projects/resources, I anticipate on making greater changes moving forward. With the continuing education, I strive to grasp through credible resources to dive deeper with friends/others, I know the sky is the limit for the opportunities to transcend a better society.

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So, this 2020 energy from every one of us has become united into one towards real changes. I welcome you to join me this Sunday afternoon to share your thoughts and ideas on how to make this world a better place. More details here.

Sincerely,

Tricia Tran

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Mental Conflicts Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling

To honor both Mental Health and Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), I’ll be diving into how these topics go hand-in-hand with our lives. Asian Americans have come a long way up the workforce ladder moving into large corporations. According to Asia Society, their 2018 Corporate Survey Study shows 32% of participating companies having no presence of APA (Asian Pacific American) in the C-suite. In 2017, Scientific American reported 75% of the Fortune 500 companies are led by white men. Why is that?

2018 Asia Society Corporate Survey Executive Summary

When thinking about the characteristics of an executive leader, we think assertive, powerful, confident, and outspoken. These traits are all that society generalizes Asians as not. The reputation of a model minority has become a rising issue for Asian Americans as they face cultural conflicting values known as the double bind. How does one stay true to their heritage while breaking the bamboo ceiling?

Subconsciously, the low number of Asians in top positions send us the message that it will be a difficult climb- not an impossible climb, but one that will work out.

Jane Hyun

Jane Hyun’s book, Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling, acknowledges various facets of Asians who share the same struggle in their professional careers. Asians are taught humility rather than tooting their horn. As a result, many of these individuals are passed over for promotions and recognition which is why it is important to verbalize their desire to move into a more senior role early on. Many Asian Americans also come from families with little education which makes it difficult to have any sort of role model or mentorship in obtaining a C-level position.

There are three degrees of filial piety. The highest is being a credit to our parents, the second is not disgracing them; the lowest is being able simply to support them. - Confucius quote

Another factor to consider is filial piety – aka Confucianism. Most Asians are rooted in this background of a collectivist society that values respect for elders. It is ingrained into them that manners such as questioning authority, eye contact, and showing assertiveness are perceived as disrespectful because it causes an imbalance on harmony. Asia Society defined assertiveness as, “the capacity to make requests, actively disagrees, express positive or negative personal rights and feelings, initiate, maintain or disengage from conversations, and stand up for oneself without attacking another.” Thus, AA’s are faced with the double bind of either maintaining one’s heritage or acculturate which puts their mental health at risk because of the inability to express their conflict to family and others as it would show shame, embarrassment, and loss of face.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this issue, it is in the best interest of companies to remain mindful and forthcoming of their workplace to rationalize AA talent. Although there is no quick fix to this issue, the stress can be minimized through communication, proper mentorship (they don’t have to be Asian), open-mindedness, and understanding towards the latter.  

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Practicing Gratitude

As I write this blog, I can feel the warmth of the sunlight peeking into my window which is something I haven’t felt since my run sometime last week, or longer. My weekend has been wonderful thanks to the simple pleasures of catching up with my friends, family, and making more healthy foods to nourish my body. About a month has passed since quarantine started and it has given me enough time to adjust to the rhythm of this new norm. The luxury of taking a stroll outdoors to breathe the fresh air feels liberating. Seeing people come together, helping one another, and even being mindful of their distance makes me feel good knowing that the world has finally put their differences on pause to unify.

Gratitude has always been a value I’ve ingrained in my life since the passing of a really good friend of mine on top of my beloved grandmother. However, I often forget to practice this when life gets rough. It’s one thing to acknowledge what you are grateful for, (i.e. having a roof over your head, food on the table, waived rent) but it’s another to practice and apply the gratitude through your emotions.

I’ve recently started to take meditation more seriously with even just 5 minutes of my time, just sitting on my bed or yoga ball in silence, to realign myself, my focus, and intention for the day. While this is all easy because I am away from the ruckus, I know it will be a challenge if I were to….. go back home to visit my parents or begin working again. However, learning to pivot and staying focused on my intention(s) to keep myself aligned will allow me to live through each day as ease.

There are times like these when I like to reflect back on my accomplishments to reinforce a great quote from our hero Kobe:

Although it has been about 4 months since unemployment, I continue to maximize my time through networking online, developing/building skill sets, and more. While no offers have been made, progress is still going! I am grateful for my environment, the community I’ve built ground up, the privilege to live financially stress-free temporarily, and the time I have been given to work on my passion projects.

Despite the noise from Covid-19, how has this gift of time helped you in any way, shape or form? If it hasn’t, what are some projects or skills that you’ve been putting off? Anyone you’ve been thinking about who you haven’t spoken to in a while? I just got reminded of someone.

Let’s finish these last 3 weeks strong and be prepared for the next pivot 🙂

Personal Development

Boundaries Before Burnout

Burnout, we’ve all experienced it at one point in our lives. According to NCBI, it can have a wide range of symptoms both physically and mentally. There are 3 main areas of symptoms that are considered signs of feeling this way:

  1. Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and do not have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and stomach or bowel problems. 
  2. Alienation from (work-related) activities: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start being cynical about their working conditions and their colleagues. At the same time, they may increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and start feeling numb about their work. 
  3. Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity. 

While there are no methods to diagnose this feeling, there are ways to avoid falling into the black hole. Mental health is no joke. With the pandemic hitting hard, we’re even closer to falling into our next recession adding more stress to our lives. Whether it affects you or not, it is inevitable to witness loved ones being a victim of this tragedy, or even having survivors guilt. Some of us are even working longer hours from feeling like they have nothing else better to do with their time! It’s inevitable how intertwined our professional and personal lives have become in the past month.

How I set boundaries

What has helped me despite the ambiguous changes in my daily life, is using my planner apart from mobile calendar(s) for accountability purposes. I find joy in writing down tasks and routines to help coordinate my days better. If you can spare 10+ minutes on your phone mindlessly, why not for your productivity? It only takes a fraction of your day.

Pareto’s Principle, the 80-20 rule, explains that 80% of an output result from 20% input. I personally find my days more productive and balanced seeing the tasks/projects for the week rather than stressing to find it mentally.

sample week schedule

Regular work hours are traditionally known as 9 – 5, so I set my productive slot around that, separate from morning gym routine, making it 7:30 am – 5 pm (more or less). I do this to knock out my main goals, then use the rest of the hours of my day as “homework”, or a hobby (anything therapeutic). That usually entails reading a leisure book or scrolling through social media for an extended amount of time. These days, I find myself on Youtube watching diet vlogs, workout videos, or ways to increase productivity for a boost of inspiration. On either Saturday/Sunday, I like to do a light workout to kickstart my weekend. I typically use weekends to wind down, attend a community event, catch up with friends, or family.

Me Time: Self-care

What I just mentioned may seem heavy for those who live more spontaneously. You might wonder when I give time to myself. Having a separate work space from where I spend leisure time helps me keep a balance of both. I knew working on my bed was not good for my health. There is no stability for your back, nor would I be performing well because of feeling sluggish I’d feel being in bed majority of my day. I’ve also started to meditate again, in the form of yoga, to help ground myself to start each day mindfully, and with a purpose. Meditation has impacted my overall performance in keeping me aligned with myself.

Work area

Truth is, there are many depths to this self-love/self-care act that it can mean anything as long as it makes you happy and is enhancing your overall well-being. Someone can spend time to themselves by cleaning their home while another can be on Netflix (or both!).

Time away can be really helpful depending on your destination. While traveling is an essential luxury, going to a location where the itinerary is stacked may not be as alleviating as going to a place with the purpose to relax. I’m glad I was able to do all the tourist festivities in New York, but also unwind at night around Manhattan to reflect on life, being in the moment. Cabo San Lucas was also amazing just itself being away from the hustling and bustling noise.

How I knew and what actions I took

  1. Identify the red flags – Mood changed to pessimistic for a longer than the normal time frame, and work became burdening. Or, maybe your personal life has been bugging you with friends/family or loved ones.
  2. Patience – After understanding the experience, I knew the feeling was temporary. Burnout is like a wound. Once the injury happens, there’s not too much you can do other than nurture it and give it time to heal.
  3. Communicate – I let those around me know the struggle I was going through as a call for help. Whether it’s taking a day off, or even an ear to listen to, it’s a reminder of how people still care for you.
  4. Initiate – Once you’ve acknowledged the feeling and have received help, it’s time to act on it.

Since my big girl job, I was able to identify my first burnout around August/September where my overall morale began to plummet. I found it hard to sleep at night, wake up in the morning, and even get through the day because of brain fog. I felt like I was barely keeping myself afloat with the below-average work ethic I output. Growing up without the knowledge of mental health made identifying burnout most challenging so I’m grateful for those around me who have helped me every step of the way.

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Permission to Start: Taking the First Step

Happy new month! I went on a run yesterday around Golden Gate Park to take advantage of the nice weather. I decided to listen to 4 podcasts to keep my mind going for fresh ideas, concepts, and paradigms. I discovered the podcast Tea Talk and enjoyed their engaging, deep conversations about the stigma between Asian Americans and mental health. I was reminded that mental health is not a big concern in foreign countries, especially Asian countries. The majority of these countries are built on Buddhism dating early back, where their way of living is through ephemeral suffering to reach enlightenment. 

Snippet of the beautiful day

While this may be frowned upon in American society, early generation individuals struggle with the diagnosis of mental health because they are conflicted about accepting it into their lives. At least with East Asian culture, we shine away from showing any signs of vulnerability to not “lose face.” Expressing thoughts attaching feelings to concerns show weakness. Their idea about anxiety, or any relative feeling is that there’s no solution to come of it other than finding it within ourselves to move on and perceive all opinions with neutrality. Not only that, but they are conflict adverse because of their historical collectivist society background that pushed for sustaining peace.

That is also why it is common to see backstabbing in Asian families because they cannot communicate their direct concerns with the other person. Confrontation is an enemy with older generations because their ego getting aside from Confucius’s filial piety (孝). The facade of being normal and avoiding the talks of personal issues encapsulates why some of us don’t have a strong relationship with our families. Communication becomes a bare minimum from our repressed feelings as we think, “It’s better if I don’t say much. After all, it’s nothing they can do to change.” 

The Buddhist teachings described the Eightfold Path people go through to understand the four truths. 

This framework has been passed down for centuries and has been ingrained into our lives regardless of our belief(s). Religion is what keeps people grounded, especially for those who made sacrifices coming to this country. It is the only part of them they feel that they can keep. I’ve learned that you cannot change your parents’ mindset, but at least open it enough so they can at least respect yours. I’ve also made the connection where do’ers like my mom is only trying to preserve the idea of being religious partaking in the directional activities from the Buddhist calendar rather than with the intention to reach enlightenment (happiness). We are all a victim of this too – living in autopilot. But through practice, communication and some form of meditation, I believe we can realign ourselves back to our center.

While this topic has many depths to uncover, I will keep this post to a minimum to relay it back to my point of taking the first step. Please visit my Youtube to hear more and talk with me there 🙂

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. The root of suffering is attachment”

The Buddha

In other words, build a bridge and get over it. Let’s take a look at the Five W’s: 

  • Who do I need involved? 
  • What resources do I need? 
  • Where will this take place? 
  • When will it be done? 
  • Why is this bothering me? 

This cycles back to yourself in finding your happy place. The only person you need permission to regain your inner peace is within yourself. In some sense, the Buddha is right. Suffering is obsolete. There are always moments in your life where you feel joy whether it’s laughing from a joke, or adoration seeing a dog across the street. 

“When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going”  

Billy Ocean

 As I further my journey in life, I’m seeing all the complexities that come with it and feel like I’m given the choice to either take action or avoid it to let it arise again later thinking it isn’t my problem. When in reality, it is because I let it be. I attach feelings to the situation. Taking the first step is always hard, but there is no progress without effort. 

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New Norm: Increased Awareness

Last Thursday I was listening to a podcast from Deep South Dharma by Christie Bates (This is What We’ve Practiced For) which ties into the pandemic and human life interconnections. As quoted in the description, “Christie offers some well-tested reflections that can help us develop the capacity to live at peace with increased awareness. 

Here is what stood out to me: 

  • Social distancing means physical distancing 
  • Why is livelihood up right now?
  • How we make a living vs How we spend our lives? 

Social distancing 🡆 physical distancing 

  • Social by definition is an informal gathering organized by members or an individual. Online communication is livelier than it has ever been! I’ve video chat with people more than I have in the last 3 years. By no means have we been cutting down our social life, but our physical. 

Why is livelihood up right now? 

  • We’ve always been living with the purpose of building a stable future for ourselves. But since the pandemic started, it has made everyone think twice about their living habits to abstain from the possibilities of getting infected by the virus or even become a victim of unemployment/furlough.
  • Covid has given us permission to start, or even pick up, on hobbies/skills in our lives that we weren’t able to before because of work getting in the way. We have the autonomy to live in the present and be with ourselves and loved ones. 
  • Our ability to be in various settings via the internet in matters of minutes increases our social lives tenfold. 

How we make a living vs How we spend our lives? 

  • Thanks to technology, there is no excuse to have a dull moment in your life. For those who are normally out and about, it’s a chance for to utilize the time for yourself. Reflect how time will be spent moving forward. Doing nothing is more agonizing than it has ever been. So why waste it on nothing

Although the changes from Covid is indefinite, I am grateful for the opportunity it has presented to people overall. The grass is always greener on the other side. We are expressing gratitude for being alive, having the time to do other activities, rekindle with loved ones, and so forth. 

A motto I love to follow is: 

“Money is something we can always make back, but time is priceless.”

The best thing about life is that you can always recreate yourself. Whether it’s the new month, week, or day.  I implore you all to perceive this situation in a brighter light. This is the new norm. Having a negative mindset will only increase your mortality rate and suppress the immune system.

While we can continue to stress about this adversity, the only solution at the moment is to be aware of our actions. We must keep our distance and hygiene in priority. When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade (or something), or nothing at all?

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Personal x Professional

Over the last decades, we have seen the evolution to the meaning of work, and how much it has transcended. Its purpose means so much more than putting a roof over our heads, food on the table and safe from animal predators. The world has industrialized to where our physiological and safety needs have been met. It is now a matter of finding a home within our primary one that we seek, meaning, our workplace. This community is filled with people divided into departments some being on-site while others remotely. As the world inevitable advances and businesses finds ways to innovate, we are put this urgency to keep up because of competition (aka the new predator!) 

“One’s only rival is one’s own potentialities. One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king.”

Abraham Maslow

Especially with baby boomers finally retiring and us millennials/gen z’s becoming the new players onto pivotal roles, what does that mean? The competition just gets harder with how much more jobs, options, and people that are in the market now. Life as we know it has gotten more complex with all these tech innovations, a surplus in gig economies, outsourcing, you name it. 

How do we survive all of this? Darwinism.

“It is not the strongest species that survives, not most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin

Everything is obsolete and it is for us to learn and adapt to the change. Depending on the field you’re trying to get into, if we won’t understand the clout about AWS, or how to retain your best employees, lean, SEO optimization, etc., then what makes you think a company will hire you? 

Sure, you might have some more work experience than someone who just finished college. But are you aware of how much more current their knowledge is in comparison to your work experience of 2 years ago? Yes, I know most of what you’ve done can still apply to the next role. Have you taken the initiative to stay current and to keep reading up on your industry, the latest trends, news, buzzwords, hype? If so, then keep it up and you can stop reading here. 

Work means so much more now than your 8-hour shift and whatever the description is. To do well in your job and to stay competitive before a robot or someone offshore replaces you is to go above and beyond (duh). How do you stay competitive with others? That means taking on opportunities to work on projects with your senior, more experienced colleagues, maybe even other teams, or tackling a project on yourself. What can be improved, what needs help, or overall, what can I do to keep yourself invaluable to the company, or any company. 

It all starts with doing more. Job descriptions scratch the surface of what you should really be doing. To become successful and invaluable takes time and dedication. This means staying after hours, working weekends, or somewhere in between. And with the #covid19 pandemic, our personal lives are becoming even more intertwined with remote work being emphasized. How has this affected, or even changed your life? 

Employed or not, it is essential for us to keep up in order to stay relevant. However, please remind yourself to establish your work boundaries to prevent burnout. I will discuss that in my next talk, stay tuned!