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survival2success

Advice on Going from Survival to Success for the "Instant Generation."

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Day 75: Relationship and Just Keep Reaching

So much of what I am facing is so I will JUST KEEP REACHING

I have been struggling with so many things. I think a lot of it has to do with falling into the comparison trap. I go on Facebook, I go on Instagram and I see so many of my friends living lives that look so good. It looks like they have the jobs they need to provide for themselves and their families, it looks like they are traveling and seeing things that I feel like I can only dream of seeing.

Some of it is because I personally struggle with sugar-coating life and looking through rose-colored glasses while obvious injustice, pain, and chaos occurring around me. Whether these things are on a personal level, communal level, national level or international level I can’t stop these things from bothering me. Sometimes, I have been accused of allowing things like these to weigh on me too much–hence my sometimes gloomy outlook–and slightly paralyzing depression at times. When I look at the realities of my life, what’s going on around me, and I feel as if there is nothing I can do to change anything all my energy drains from me and I lose my desire to function beyond necessity. It takes friends, family, and activity to move me forward again.

I have been in this “comparison trap-gloomy state-paralyzing depression” cycle for months. I had time periods when I thought I was breaking out of the cycle. I would be good for a few days and then somehow, I would be back in that cycle again. A few weeks ago I finally broke. Someone I cared about got hurt and I didn’t feel secure in my life either. I barely made it through that month financially and I saw photos of friends with their kids, friends traveling, friend putting up statuses about their new jobs. I just cried out to God, kept asking Him what I did wrong, asking him when He would be done punishing me, I kept telling God I was so sorry and that I was trying so hard to obey Him and do the right thing.

That night I also talked to a mentor and friend of mine. She reminded me that God does not work the way I was interacting with Him. She told me that she did not believe God put us in circumstances to punish us but rather to have us grow closer to him. That night, after talking to her, I realized I had been only sporadically spending time with God. I heard a sermon a few days later on my podcasts where God was like a good “green light” daddy. God looks forward to giving us the desires of our heart. He just also wants us to spend time with Him so we can learn to delight in Him and; in turn delight in the same things He does. So, as hard as the movement from survival to success has turned out to be–I’m learning it’s about maintaining my relationship with Him and to JUST KEEP REACHING!

 

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Maintain Relationship and Keep Reaching

 

Day 69: The Sting of Rejection and Closed Doors

 

not your door
The way to handle rejection: Trust God, especially with closed doors.

 

I fell off the grid again. I was told that if I wanted the writing of a blog to be successful, I should write on it four to five times a week. I have been failing at that miserably. I love writing, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

So here is the latest update: I have applied to many jobs in Boston, MA. (I have seriously lost count). I have heard nothing from most and have gotten clear rejections from the rest. Most of the silence and straight rejections have not bothered me but yesterday I received a rejection, and I just wanted to quit. I was near tears at the end of the day and instead of doing anything useful I went home sat on the couch, binge ate (a weird combination of food by the way: popcorn, cheese, harvest grain crackers, frozen mangos, frozen peaches and I think even some Challah), and caught up on some season finale’s of my favorite shows (Elementary, NCIS New Orleans, Bule Bloods and Bull). I also put my boyfriend through the ringer with my depressive texts.

I don’t know why this rejection, in particular, bothered me. I just couldn’t get the broken record of all the messages I have been fed by society to stop. I think what makes it so hard to stop this broken record is that some of the things on the record are statistically true and a reality for people with disabilities in society. Lies get mixed in there but when the sting of rejection when another door slams shut it’s hard to differentiate between reality and the lies. Not only that, but even if I can distinguish the truth and the lies I am left feeling like there isn’t anything I can do to fight against the persistent discrimination against people with disabilities in the workforce.

I am better today. I’m going to use my skills today. I’m going to the gym, physical therapy and I am going to take a lavender detox bath. After that, I am going to call my Melaleuca director, repost my professional resume and watch the video about cold Networking from Ashley Stahl International.  I already asked forgiveness (and was granted it) from my boyfriend for writing such foolish texts. I thank God for him. This journey to success is difficult and painful. I a grateful to have so many supportive people in my life.

 

build a door
Trusting that God already has that door built, I just have to trust His timing.

 

 

Day 50: Re-Writing Dreams, Learning to Use Social Media, and Taxes

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Social Media Icons

My family was recently gathered together to celebrate my Grandma Marge’s life. I was thankful for the time I got to spend with them. Eddie got upset at me for taking an Uber to the Hospital to visit, s0… the next time I came I rode my trike. Of course, I knew he meant that I should have called someone for a ride but, surprise! I’m stubbornly independent! My cousin Tammy was there as well. One of the things we share is our faith in Christ. We each live it out very differently but; it’s a connection that is hard to break. She is also a consultant for a direct to customer company (Young Living). She does so well. And their product line is much smaller than Melaleuca. I became so jealous. I was a little too sarcastic, and borderline mockery when she was telling my cousin Amy how she makes her business work. I’m not sure why I did that, exactly. Sometimes, I think I like to test people, and I put up some of my old walls and habits just to see if they will find me worth breaking through the junk. I don’t know why I tested Tammy, but I did, she survived, and she is still communicating with me!

Tammy was teaching my cousin Amy how she makes her business work, and I was standing by, messing with Tammy, and taking in as many details as I could. She spoke about how she used Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to grow her business. I want to learn more! I created a Twitter account but haven’t really learned the art of it yet. I created a Facebook page but need to start actively using it/ After I get those two things stated I will add Instagram to the mix. I will make this work for me one way or the other!

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Dream Board Example

Tammy also suggested I make a dream board. If she had been the first to mention it, I would have thought she was crazy. But she is the third or fourth person to TELL ME TO DO IT! All, for their own reasons, but still, four people. Alright! I even got free posterboard to do it on from our “free stuff” pile at my apartment. God gift. I have difficulty with my hands so, I’m sure it won’t be aesthetically pleasing, but it will serve its purpose. I’ll take a picture of my own when I am done. Promise.

Oh, and I finally gathered all of my tax documents and filed my taxes yesterday. I’m still poor enough that I am getting a refund. Running joke in the disability community is that we are the only group of Americans that beg to pay taxes. Paying Taxes means that we actually are making a sustainable income.

Day 39: Disappointment, Frustration, Shut-Down, and Other’s Expectations

The last week or so has been difficult. I know that I just moved, so some of it was exacerbated by the eustress of the necessary change brought on by the move, but I was becoming so frustrated and disappointed. I have had many days where I am in pain. I know this “problem of pain” is typical for this season of the year for me. But, I want to have the energy and strength to do so much more than I am. I felt bad because, after a conversation with my mentor, I went to sleep around 7:30 PM. (Although, this didn’t do much to benefit me, as I was awake by 2:30 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep.) I feel so lazy when I do things like that. Sometimes the fact that I am exhausted, in pain and can’t do as much as I have set in my mind to do leads me to start to head down the road of depression. I was starting to walk down that path. This made me even more frustrated, given I have so many good things going on in my life.

Then, to top it all off, my mentor for Melaleuca called. I haven’t done anything with Melaleuca in a while. I have been annoyed, frustrated and disappointed with myself. I only said to him last night, “I’m a slacker, I haven’t done anything. Hate me yet?” I was tired and didn’t want to push my brain or body any further yesterday. My mentor in the most graceful way possible tried to help me figure out what was causing a blockade for me moving forward. We talked for a little bit. I finally admitted my blockade, and then I got further depressed. He thankfully didn’t let me wallow in that with him for long. He moved on to a call with another business builder.

I read the below post from The Seeds for Life this morning; very helpful in not setting myself up for further disappointment.

Trying to Do It All and Expecting That It All Can Be Done Exactly Right Is a Recipe for Disappointment – Sheryl Sandberg — The Seeds 4 Life

As for the blockade; I’m still trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. The worst part is that I have tried living to please this person for much of my life and I have failed time and time again. This morning when I couldn’t sleep, I just sat at my kitchen table and begged God to help me focus on what He wanted me to do. While writing in my journal, it became clear to me that I was still so tied up in meet some person’s impossible expectations; expectations I don’t even care for. This person’s expectations exist only exist so that they can boast about my accomplishments so that they can take credit and look good to others.  In Jerimiah 9 God says;

23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.(NASB)

I am going to live according to the path that God has for me, not the impossible expectations of another person who I will never please anyway. At least, in Christ, I know God is always satisfied with me–even loves me. not-others-expectations

Day 25: Clues to Marketing, Another job Possibility

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Melaleuca Logo

You would think, that as someone with a Communications and Human Ressources Degree I would at least be decent at this whole “marketing” thing. Well, I am not. I am really bad. What really frustrates me is that I am 100% behind the company and the products they sell. Problem: I lack confidence and I take rejection too personally. I really need to work on both in order to make this work. So, I started fighting this problem by asking friends to sit through my presentation and asking them for honest feedback. Very thankful to all of them who did that for me. One of my friends asked me if there was a way for me to make the presentation my own rather then using the one put out by the company. I didn’t think I could. But, I talked to my mentor last night and thank you to the wonders of Mac, I can. Today, I will be making the presentation my own. I am actually very excited about this!

My mentor also suggested I read a book called How to Have Power and Confidence in Dealing with People by Les Giblin. It’s on my list. I got the kindle version and the add-on Audible was only a $1.99 more. I love reading along with audio. I tend to pick up more that way. I’m still in the middle of three other books. When I finish them, I’ll let you know what I thought of them.

I also have another job possibility. The community college I went to has a job opening for a Disability Services Coordinator. An employee that works there let me know about it. Right now it is only open to internal candidates but December 2nd, it opens to the public. I will continue to do what I can to pursue things with Carin University. I know, however, from experience that “in his heart man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Prov. 16:9).

Days: 13-15:Paperwork, Mistakes, Rented Tents and Believing

Sorry, it has been almost a week since I last wrote (6 days to be exact, I know; I’m still a slacker). Things have been a little crazy, to say the least. These six days have felt like a roller coaster emotionally. I think I need to re-read a book because I need to learn to stabilize my emotions a lot quicker than I do. The book is Feelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life. It’s by Brian Borgman. Sometimes, a review is necessary. Either that or I need to finish reading Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Either one, I think, would be helpful.

On a good note, I celebrated my birthday recently and had a great time. My family and friends made me feel so valued and loved. I am telling you when you are facing the brick wall of trying to gain sustainable employment you NEED that support to survive. I also got an amazing call from my mentor last night for my part-time job. It was the best call I could have gotten given the day I had. He told me that he sees potential in me and that he is not the only one. In the last two weeks, I have been told by a few people that I need to learn to “believe in myself.” This “believing in myself” is hard for me to do. Many times, for multiple reasons, I don’t even think I have the right to exist. So, the idea that I can add any value to the lives of others or society, in general, is a hard concept for me to grasp and accept. While I struggle to accept it, for now, I will just try and remember that God is in control, that he has pulled me out of the dark places (2 Sam. 22:20) and that He has a future and a plan for me (Jer. 29:11). Even if I am facing a type of exile right now, God has a plan for me, and I can believe that.

In a post or two ago, I mentioned how I was encouraged to bring a personal situation to one of the executive staff where I work. You remember how I stated that this went against all my training and instinct. Well, I have to say, I am sticking with my instinct from now on. I found out yesterday that my position is a “charity” position and I need to be happy with where I am and what I get paid. (Talk about feeling devalued). Knowing this, makes me want to push even more to get out of here. Personal and business don’t mix, ever. Don’t ever blur that line. Huge mistake.

After yesterday, I thought of quitting my job. I thought I could go back on benefits, not have to fight with SSA anymore, have free healthcare again and be able to focus on finding a full-time job that would give me a sustainable income. But, for some reason, on my way home I thought of my grandparents. They started an R.V. business here and did well. They traveled all over the world, were able to retire well and leave money to their children when they passed away. They started their business by renting two tents. The income, in the beginning, was not much; they had four children to support. They had to have moments when giving up seemed like the easy thing to do. They didn’t. They kept going. They succeeded.

I will keep going too. I will keep a professional demeanor at my current job while working hard to find a new position. Recently I filled out the paperwork for my state’s civil service hiring program for people with disabilities. I also sent back the paperwork to my Access-VR counselor for my driving lessons so they should start the lessons soon. Here is to believing in something and not giving up…

Day 10: Old Habits, Transformation and Good Endings to Bad Mondays

Sometimes we not only look for our career success to be “instant,” but we think that other transformations will be “instant” as well. One of the areas of my life that I wish would change instantly are my negative thought patterns and my knee-jerk responses.

Today was a really difficult day for me. Work was slow moving because I had very little to do. Then, while I was at work, I received a very negative personal call. By the end of my work day, I was near tears and wondering if anything I was doing was worth it. After work, I tried to pick up my medicine and found out that none of my insurances would pick it up, again. The same questions that devalue me swirled around in my brain. (Why am I here? Am I doing anything to help my workplace? Are things going to get better, or is that just a statement of false hope? Am I ever going to reach independence, have a family or should I just give up? Am I going to pay for my mistakes for the rest of my life or will God be merciful and bless me?) Once those thoughts get swirling around it’s like getting caught in an undertow. Usually, I would be caught in that undertow for a while, but I decided to think about the sermon I heard this past Sunday and let God pull me out of the undertow.

This Sunday the sermon was about Jacob and the way that God transformed him and can transform us. Granted, hearing that transformation process was encouraging but what I found especially helpful today was that Jacob’s transformation process wasn’t “instant.” It happened over decades. Jacob also made many mistakes; he was a con man; he took advantage of his brother to obtain his brother’s birthright. God blessed him. It wasn’t instant. He faced consequences, for a time he felt like he was in a dark, scary place without God. In that dark, hopeless place God showed up, and Jacob began to change. Jacob’s transformation from the one who wrestles to the one who wrestles with God (Israel) was gradual, but, it happened.

God will transform my mind; He has already begun the process. He will transform my life; He has already begun. Once I grabbed ahold of that, my day ended well. I got to spend time going over my presentation with my mentor for Melaleuca. I am finally working up confidence enough to make calls and I have a few people that I will have appointments with soon. Going over the presentation with him made me feel like I can do this presentation on my own, making it more personal. He was so encouraging. Then I listened in on our training call and was even more encouraged that if I keep working hard I can reach my goals. Good ending to a bad Monday.

Day 5: Family, Accountability and Pushing Forward

To be honest, for the last few days I have done very little to move most of my current goals forward. The only one I got to really focus on with cherishing my family, enjoying what I have now. This weekend I went out to my parents house on Fire Island. I had such a great time. I got to have a good conversation with my dad, letting him know about the possibility I have of obtaining a car through a woman at my church. My dad is actually going to stop by Saturday morning at my church to take a look at the car for me and see what he thinks of it. I am glad that I got to ask my dad my dad for his help in this area. My dad, I know, has wanted to help me so many times but he has often been kept from helping me. Sometimes, this has admittedly happened because of my own stubborn “I can take care of myself” streak that runs through me. I am so excited he is actually coming to look at the car. He even offered to help me figure out car insurance.

I also had a fabulous time with my brother, sister in law and their children. They are really such an amazing family. I am grateful that I have such a great example of what parenting and marriage should look like. I even loved playing “truth or dare” with the family. Even if this led to eating some interesting concoctions!

I have a lot going on in the work world at this point. My mentor form the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) reached out to one of his friends at Bender Consulting. Yesterday I received a call from an employee at Bender Consulting asking me to touch base with him and letting me know that there is a possible job opportunity for me. I also got contacted by CA Technologies here on Long Island about an onboarding manager position. I have reached out to Bender and will be making the call to CA Technologies later today.

As for accountability, apparently, I need some of it really bad in two major areas. One, is my spiritual life. I have been attending Bible Studies, church and small group but I have made very little effort to have my own time with God. This is not good. I am getting frustrated with myself that I have made an effort to go to the gym five to six times a week but I am doing very little to take care of my spiritual well-being.

The other area is with my part-time job. I have made it a goal to make 20 calls a week to reach out to people. Do you know how many I made last week? Three. That is just pitiful. I think on the Facebook page there is a place where I can call in and state my goal but the timing is just off because I will be at work, where I am not allowed to make personal calls unless they are an emergency. Sadly, I don’t think this qualifies as an emergency. Maybe I can just post on the site when I get home.

Today, while I was on the elliptical I wanted to stop after one minute. I was tired and my legs felt like rubber. I kept going until I finished all 15minutes. Often times, this is what happens in my life in general–something is making it difficult but; not impossible to move forward. Sometimes, I may think I can’t move forward. But once I do get moving and I finish the drips of hard work and sense of accomplishment make it all worth it.

 

 

Day 4: Meditation, Rejection, Fear and my Part-Time job

As you know, it is a goal of mine to meditate daily. For years, I was against this practice; mainly because it felt weird and I was scared that it was against my faith. It still feels weird sometimes, other times it is really hard for me to focus. I have grown enough in my faith to know, now, that meditation is not against my faith; as long as I am focusing on the right thing.

I use the “Calm” application that can be found in the iTunes app store or Google Play. Yesterday I attempted to do the daily meditation which attempted to get me to relax and “let go of time” for a misally ten minutes. I failed a few times. All the things I needed to do, people I needed to talk to, places I needed to get to, ran through my head so many times. It took enormous effort to pull my mind back to my breathing and keep it from running back to the lists of things that needed to be done.

I happened to talk to a person who is mentoring me on how to become successful at marketing and advertising for an online health company that I am working with on a part-time basis. I am having a harder time with this job than I thought I would. I love the products and the company’s values are outstanding, yet; when it comes to talking to people about it this overwhelming fear surges up within me. It’s so annoying. Well, my mentor pointed out the obvious, when we talk to people about something we are passionate about; the last thing we want to hear is a “no.” It’s a mini rejection, but a rejection nonetheless. I hate rejection and have never handled it well.

Today I meditated on managing stress through dealing with strong emotions. I actually did better with this than I thought. The emotion that popped up was fear. Fear is a huge controlling emotion for me. Fear leads me to shut down for days sometimes. Rejection, leads to fear for me. Logically, I know that when people say they are not interested in the company they are not rejecting me, but; it sure feels the same! This made me realize that this part-time job is actually going to force me to find my value in who God says I am; not my accomplishments…or in this case enrollees.

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