If you decide to do something, actually do it.
In January of 2016, my husband and I determined that if there was ONE thing that we could do better, it would be to follow through. It seemed like for the past two years, we were spinning our wheels. At the time, he was unemployed and I was only working part-time, struggling to pay our rent and consistently pulling out of savings in order to stay above water. Financially we weren’t following through on our goals. Career-wise, we were disappointed because we knew that we could do so much more, yet didn’t feel like the right opportunity had come around yet.
We’ve made a ton of progress in this area this year. With only two months before 2017, we’ve secured jobs that challenge us to follow through on our day to day tasks. And if you decide to do something, we’ve learned to actually do it. Always easier said than done.
Share Your True Self.
Stop putting up the barriers that don’t serve you.
Most of us put up barriers everyday to protect us from judgments and pain. I think about how we each have had embarrassing experiences in our past that now cause us to throw up walls when we hear certain words or when we interact with certain types of people. The ability to stay open and honest, to admit insecurities and vulnerabilities, and actually connect with people on a thoughtful and genuine level, is something I’ve learned is critical to developing relationships.
Does it sometimes get me into trouble? Certainly. I find this isn’t appealing to everyone, especially to older generations. I have worked with a few people this year that have admitted that they see my honesty as weakness; my mistakes as proof I’m not a leader; my empathy as a sign I’m not assertive. That is just an opinion of a few people who don’t fully understand where I’m coming from. I don’t pretend to know something I don’t. I admit I’m in my mid-twenties and I don’t always know how to handle every situation or every person. I’m learning and I’m okay with that.
Challenge yourself every day.
The growth I have seen in myself this past year is certainly from the risks I have taken. I have challenged the status quo in my mgmt team and spoken up with my ideas, questions, and concerns. I have presented at a state-wide conference about marketing programs and services in the parks and rec world. I networked extensively at that conference and secured many new relationships. I have organized and led two org-team meetings, each with 30+ people in attendance. I sat down with two directors this year and learned from their experiences and perceptions. I have had difficult conversations with my fellow coworkers who I then started to supervise. I have given corrective feedback to men three times my age. I have worked smarter rather than harder with my limited hours.
Some of these items might not seem like big risks. But I think that small steps create big results. And for someone like me, whose natural tendency is to run and hide from large crowds; to not have my voice heard in groups, who prefers one-one-one conversation, who naturally internalizes information rather than share feedback. I’ve learned that my natural preferences don’t always serve me, or others around me. I have challenged myself to think differently, take chances, and develop meaningful lasting relationships with those I idolize.
As 2016 comes to a close, I’m satisfied with the progress I’ve made. I have aimed forward towards my goals, with the result not being that I’m comfortable, but rather that I’m challenged. This is my story.
I enjoy change because it challenges me to be a better version of myself.