Category Archives: Attitude

How Lucky Am I?

HowluckyamiI often tell people that I’ve been lucky in my career, lucky in love, lucky with how awesome my children and grandchildren are, and lucky in life generally. The last time I was talking to someone about my job and said that I had been really lucky, I stopped myself. While I have sometimes been lucky to be in the right place at the right time, I have worked my ass off to get where I am in my career. Luck? Nope. Hard work, dedication, respect, self-improvement, learning constantly–those are the things that have put me where I am in my career. Well, maybe now that I think about it I was lucky that I was fired from a job I held for 15 years and ended up floundering a bit until I took a temporary job at an international law firm in the word processing department, which turned into being a floater secretary, which turned into ending up at my female attorney’s desk when her secretary had extended jury duty and then was promoted to another position, leaving me assigned to her and working in a permanent position at the law firm. Maybe I was lucky that she was patient enough to teach me what I needed to know about litigation since I had spent the first 15 years of my career doing probate, estate planning, and corporate law. Maybe I was lucky that our personalities mesh so that we work well together. Maybe I was lucky that I accepted a huge cut in my salary just to work full time and learn a new specialty. Maybe I was lucky to love the thrill of litigation. Maybe I was lucky that she went to bat for me to get my salary up to where it should be. Maybe I was lucky that when she moved to new law firms, she asked me to go with her. And that could be where luck ends. From there, I worked hard to learn all I could about litigation, court filings, etc. so that I could do a good job. I worked hard to figure out my boss’s idiosyncrasies so that we could continue to work better together (and now it is 23 years later!). I worked hard to do the best job I could do with attorneys whom I respect and who respect me back and to continue learning and improving every day. I worked hard to be the best legal support professional I could be, including going to night school to get a paralegal degree, taking and passing several legal certification exams, continuing to attend CLE courses to keep learning ways to help me and my firm, joining professional associations (and being active) so that I could make valuable connections in the legal community, and showing up every day and busting my butt to do a good job.

Lucky in love? Maybe it was lucky that I went on my very first date with a boy from church and we double dated with an even cuter boy and his date. Maybe it was lucky that the cute boy actually liked me and eventually asked me out. Maybe it was lucky that we didn’t go to the same high school since our academic careers were very different. But, no, it wasn’t luck that has kept us together for 44 years–it is hard work and dedication to our marriage. It is ignoring the small annoyances and being thankful for the small things he does right. It is loving every single day–whether that means a quick peck when he comes home, cooking dinner every night (gluten free mind you!), putting dishes away, loading the dishwasher, washing the windshield of my car, checking tire pressures, whatever thing needs to be done for one person that the other person does.

Lucky with how my children and grandchildren are turning out? Maybe it was lucky that I didn’t go to jail for child abuse when my children were teenagers. Maybe it was lucky that we didn’t have much money, so I learned to give them time once in a while instead of things. Maybe it was lucky that my husband worked from home when they were in school. But, no, I worked hard to show my children that I loved them–no matter what. I worked hard to take a day off of work around their birthday to spend an entire day focused on them and doing things they were interested in (and have continued that tradition with my grandchildren). I worked hard to keep holiday traditions alive in our family including Santa footprints and timing multiple extended family celebrations.

So have I been lucky in life? Absolutely! But I’ve worked hard for what I have as well, it hasn’t been handed to me. Except by my husband–I’ve been pretty lucky there. But this life is hard work if you want it to be a good one. As they say, life is not a spectator sport. It is something to get up off the couch and enjoy. Do things that scare you. Do things that stretch you. Do the things that those you love want to do. Then, just maybe, you’ll be as lucky as I am.

Our Normal Is Someone Else’s Perfect

Our Normal Is Someone Else's PerfectI recently spent some time in Sedona, Arizona, with one of my granddaughters. While driving around, I saw beautiful houses in this gorgeous area full of red rocks, rock formations, and vortices. Then I saw some of those beautiful homes with campers or trailers in the back yard. My first thought was why in the world would someone want to leave this gorgeous area to go somewhere else? Then I thought that perhaps my “perfect” is just someone else’s normal.

That theory trickles down. You may have a better house, better car, better view, or better job than someone else and they are wondering why you’re complaining. Those things might be their “perfect” while it’s our “normal.” It’s those things we have and see every day. Perhaps we need to stop and look at what we have and do through someone else’s eyes. The house you’ve had for 10 years? It could seem like a mansion to someone else. The car that you dread getting into every day because the window sticks? Perhaps it’s better than walking for someone else.

Spend some time just surveying all that you have. It may not be better than someone else’s–in fact, chances are excellent that it is not–but your “normal” is still someone else’s “perfect.” Be satisfied with it. If you’re not happy with it, make it better. If you hate it, move or sell and buy something you are happy with. Something that is “perfect” for you–at least until it becomes your “normal.”

I just feel like I need to be grateful for what I have been blessed with. It’s certainly not the nicest house, car, etc. even in my own neighborhood, but it is perfect for me. It is my “normal” and I’m sure there are a lot of people who think it is their “perfect.” So I need to be better about realizing that it is my “perfect” and treat it that way.

Knocking The Shout Out Of You

Knocking The Shout Out Of YouI was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul podcast with Tim Storey. One specific thing he said jumped out and hit me between the eyes–“Don’t let life knock the shout out of you.”

I believe we are all put here to make a difference in this world, to figure out why we are here, to live with passion for the good in life. That is our shout. Sometimes we forget our shout or we’ve been told to tone our shout down enough times that we actually do and it’s hard to dig deep and find it again. But find it we must! We are all born with a shout inside us that we use to make friends, find our passion, volunteer, experiment, travel–all the things we do as we’re finding our place in this world.

Some of us may have had the shout stuffed back down into us, beaten out of us, ignored, ridiculed, squashed, and basically had the development of our shout halted in mid-stream. If that happened to you, realize that it happened and then move forward. Bring your shout back into your heart and work on living your life shouting. Don’t stop working to find your shout and once you find it, shout as loud as you can for as long as you can until your shout feels free to do its thing and shout away even when you’re not thinking about it.

So starting today find that passion, dig deep and find your shout, and then SHOUT and don’t let life knock the shout of you again!

Bitchy McGrumperson Is Not Welcome Here

bitchyIt’s been a very rough holiday season for me. Not only was I completely overwhelmed with new work responsibilities, but part of getting older is that your kids are also older and have their own lives and traditions. This year, and for I think the first time in my adult life, neither of them was able to share Christmas with me. We are doing a late Christmas celebration with my son and his family this weekend, so I’m feeling better about it.

In the meantime, I feel like I have been Bitchy McGrumperson. And that made me think about how some conversations I have with friends are all me complaining. While I feel like I need to release that somewhere, holding conversations with friends that are full of my complaints isn’t fair to them or to me. I would love to have positive, uplifting conversations with my friends. And I will.

Another piece of getting older that has been really hard for me is that my husband has been going through his hunting and fishing stuff (and trust me, there is a TON of it) and getting rid of a lot of it because he physically can’t do it anymore. He’s been hunting and fishing since he was a teenager and it has been difficult for both of us to face the fact that there are things we are just not able to do anymore. Some of us haven’t admitted it yet and are doing everything possible to continue to be able to do it all but realistically there are limitations.

I don’t want to be old. It has been more obvious to me lately that I am getting there. Sharing television shows that I grew up with with friends who have never seen them (like who has never seen The Partridge Family??), hearing music by groups that younger people don’t even know, looking at a Christmas tree (or two) full of ornaments from the last 43 years that bring back a rush of wonderful memories, but remind me that I’ve been decorating a tree for 43 years. It all has come crashing down on me this holiday season.

But the new year is a chance to check in and make changes to things that make you unhappy. I just this week found a new song on my iPod that I hadn’t paid attention to before–A Beautiful Day by India Arie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZNavhGrzJ4). If you listen to the lyrics, it is an amazing message. In fact, I think it will be my 2018 anthem that I will listen to every morning on the way to work to get my head in the right place. Work should calm down some, my kids will continue to get older and have their own life traditions, my grandkids will continue to grow and start new traditions in their lives, friends will come and go, and life will go on. I fully intend to be part of my family’s traditions (by force if necessary) and I have promises of continuing with old family Christmas traditions this next year because my kids were unhappy to miss out on them, so 2018 promises to be another amazing year.

Age is something that I have no control over, but how I treat people, how I allow others to treat me, and how I treat myself are all in my control. I will make a real effort to take charge of my own life and be happy where I am. Bitchy McGrumperson can take a hike. Life is far too short to spend it bitching and complaining and feelingĀ  like others are in control of my life. Here’s to an absolutely remarkable 2018!

Most Motivational Statement Ever!

I’ve been listening to a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcasts. He is no nonsense and has great marketing and motivational ideas. Note, however, that he uses the swears–A LOT–so if you are offended, skip his podcasts.

One of his statements hit me hard. Gary said when asked by a young lady how to keep motivated, he told her “You will die.” He believes that is his most motivational statement ever.

It is also true. You will die and you don’t know when. So don’t wait to go for your dream. Don’t wait to have kids until you’ve traveled, bought cars and houses, and have the job of your dreams, just have the damn kids before you’re too old to enjoy them and your grandchildren. Don’t wait to do something your heart is telling you to do until you finish school, have a new job, or have time. You will never feel like you have enough of whatever it is you’re waiting for to make a move. And I guarantee you will NEVER feel like you have enough time to do anything. But you do!

For a week or so, keep track of every minute of your “free” time. How much are you spending doing things that aren’t useful or aren’t helping you reach for your dreams. Are you being sucked into the Facebook chasm? Are you signing up for more newsletters and other emails than you can read? Are you going out with the boys or girls a night or two a week? Are you zombie watching TV for hours on end? Once you know where your time is going, you can work to get it under control and spend your time doing things to get you to your goal.

One of my favorite concepts is that we all have 24 hours in a day, the same as Beyonce, the same as Elon Musk, the same as all those people you see killing it and say you want to be just like them. How you use it will determine your success in seeing your dreams come true.

Just remember–you will die. So until then, quit putting things off and use your time wisely to make your life better, happier, and more fulfilling. Life is too short for anything else.

Bitch and Complain or Preach and Sustain

Have you ever listened to yourself in a conversation? Are you positive sounding? If everything that comes out of your mouth is a negative thought, how do you think that makes you feel? And then how do you come off to others? 

I know there are plenty of times that I complain about things, but I’m actually trying to be better about catching myself and changing my words. If you are putting negative energy into your world, what do you think you are getting back? You guessed it! You’re getting back negative energy. Do you want that in your life? Or do you want people around you to feel that energy and try to change it for you? Is that really fair to them? You are the only one in charge of you. 

I’ve known energy vampires throughout my life. Those are the people who suck the energy out of you while you’re trying to help them be less negative to keep your energy positive. Those people are physically and emotionally draining. They truly suck all of your energy out of you. And that leaves no positive energy for you. People with no positive energy are true Negative Nellies.

I’ve spent time with people who were so negative, their energy completely enveloped me, making me believe all of the negative crap they were saying. I then have to make the decision to either get sucked into all that negativity or change the subject (and my outlook) into something much more positive.

The next time you are in a group of people, just listen to the conversation around you. Do you have people at the airport describing in great detail the problems they had getting to the airport, checking bags, making connections, or boarding? What does that do to you? Does it make you worry about the rest of your trip and what things could go wrong? What about the people at work complaining (constantly) about the boss? Does that make you start thinking that those things are true and making you focus on every little thing that goes wrong but may not even affect you? Just stop! When you start hearing those things and you’re not involved in the conversation, turn your ears off. Quit listening to the negativity. If you are part of the conversation, redirect it. Start talking about something else and ask questions of others in the conversation to get them talking about something else. Start making other people feel positive about their own life. 

Life is far too short to be mired in negativity. Don’t participate in it and don’t condone it. Think about good things going on in your life and work to perpetuate them. Preach positivity. Lift people up. Positive thoughts multiply just the same way negative thoughts do, and I would much rather be surrounded by positive thoughts and positive people–and so I am! I’ve made that choice to make my life better. Shouldn’t you?