This time last year, I quit my job.
Next week, I will start a new job.
Today is my 11 month anniversary of f(un)employment!
I am feeling very reflective. Its been almost exactly a year since I went to work at a real life job - you know - the kind where you show up in the morning and work on things and you sit at a desk, and you wear something a little more structured than yoga pants, and then you do it again 5 days in a row.
A year of f(un)employment has been great for me. It has also been very difficult. (I was going to say challenging, but it was just plain difficult at times.) I have lived on less money than I ever imagined. I have had more free time than comfortable. I struggled with a guilty feeling and questioning my worth because there is a lot of identity involved with having a job. It was a struggle for me to accept that I am contributing to humanity and society, and on a developmentally appropriate path as an adult, without having a 9 to 5.
Technically I have been working, but I don’t consider promotional modeling (talking to strangers and giving out free beer) and working-vacations (traveling to nationwide car shows) the same kind of work.
In this year, I have done more listening - to myself, my body, and other people; more output - I have been so creative and productive; more reflection and spiritual growth - through journaling, community involvement, diet and meditation.
I have learned how to witness the reactions of my body and my mind as a way to listen to my true self. I have been an obsessive consumer of other peoples knowledge and advice.
Watching interesting Ted Talks and thought provoking documentaries, taking yoga classes, soaking in advice from Levo League Office Hours, entertaining my horoscope on Astrology Zone by Susan Miller, reading inspirational books like Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein, attending food and yoga retreats, like Yoga Nirvana’s Kawaii retreat, Summer/Winter Solstice and the Woodstock Fruit Festival (where I talked about listening in a recent post) and I have been a general learning addict.
Here is what I heard:
1. Set Boundaries
No Compromising & Set Priorities. If you don't set your own boundaries and priorities, someone else will do them for you. I have found that when standards are defined, they can be met. At work, with friends, with family, for yourself - define what is acceptable.
Know your “no”. Practicing “no” is so powerful tool, because it puts you in control of what happens. I am generally uncomfortable with the word “no” - I don’t like hearing it and I don’t like saying it. I have decided to think of saying “no” as rejecting just one thing, and saying “yes” to endless opportunities, some that may not even exist yet.
Treat yourself as a top shelf item. Don’t waste your time, energy, happiness, or peace. Value your value.
Good for me + Good for others = Balance. Make good, balanced decisions. If only one of these things is true in the situation, something may be off.
2. Own it
Own your successes + own your failures = Owning it. This is a two part process of fully owning it. Failure is when things dont go the way you planned. When I was a child, my mother told me that I might get in trouble for doing something wrong, but I would surely get in trouble for doing something wrong if I lied about it. She was speaking from the experiences (as a lawyer) of uncovering other people’s dirty laundry and airing it out for them. The mentality of being honest with mistakes is a less stressful way to fail. Owning success’ is equally challenging and uncomfortable.
Be Authentic & Be Confident. It sounds like a given, but the juxtaposition of these qualities leaves something in the middle: Fake-it-‘til-you-make-it mentality v. Imposter syndrome. I haven't fully figured this one out yet, so I’ll just lay this scenario out there: There she is, faking-it-til-making-it and trying to be confident, giving herself high-fives and an inflated self confidence. And then, unexpectedly, she starts to be recognized for the positive results of her efforts. Striving to express authentic feelings, still uncomfortable with owning her success’ and wanting to qualify with, “Oh you misunderstood, I was actually just using that thing where you fake-it-til-I-made it.” I’m still searching to transition over to that authentic confidence.
3. Ask Great Questions
Great, not just good. People who have the answers want you to ask, but you have to ask a great question! Make it interesting, informed, and relevant. Be short and direct. Compliments help. Puns are funny. Be vulnerable and honest.
Know what you don’t know. This means that you know enough about the subject to understand your own ignorance (if not more). Do diligence in researching any subject that you wish to discuss or receive help with.
Technique to get mentors. This is a great way to virtually network. Reach out to anyone that knows something you don’t. Tweet them. Email them. Comment on their story. Put yourself out there in an informed, respectful way.
This buzz word, flow, is thrown around a lot. I have truly learned and lived flow. Things come into my life, things go out. Ideas come into my head, some flow down to my hands and mouth, some die before they reach that far. The term “living in the now” and the buddhist concept of “zero” are very similar. Here one day, nothing is given, but that makes it special. Flow means appreciating moments. Appreciating life for the experiences, and releasing a direct attachment to the results. Releasing judgment of what is good and bad, positive and negative.