Bench/Bitch-Marks & Soap Bubbles

Seeing the bench marking your ass

from sitting down and getting

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goals done –

for someone else,

it wore, but didn’t hurt.

 

Don’t stress about those bench, or bitch-marks,

because that won’t help your dreams hitch.

 

Pitch your dream to God, the Universe,

it’ll get tossed back to you.

Maybe not how you imagined,

but bigger than that.

A rolling shimmery ball,

like those iridescent soap bubbles you blew with the wind

way back when.

Now,

it’s so big and radiant,

You can’t put your arms around it,

or break it.

 

It’s yours –

to transform,

to follow,

to share.

Intuition & Good Choices Vs. Manners & Old-Fashioned Habits.

Growing up in a southern traditional household,  I was taught mannersangel-1294116_640 and to be polite.  I was also taught to NOT rock the boat.

I suppose it’s fine to a point is social situations where you have no intention of being nothing more than acquaintances with a person. You have nothing invested in that kind of relationship. You’re not going to have a long-term relationship with them or do business with them.

As I approached the age of 16, all legal work was game to earn a living and I shouldn’t be too picky because one could never be too prepared. Yes, when starting out most can’t be picky, but the mindset was typically – “money’s money.” If someone wanted to hire you that was a good thing, never mind if you thought it was a good fit, or if you are interested in the work.

I didn’t have a name for intuition till early high school and even then, it was light discussion among friends – something mentioned in women and teen magazines as something all females should have. I wasn’t sure how to talk about that body/gut feeling and or know if it was the same as intuition. Parents and teachers didn’t give it much credit. At the time, the local public library wasn’t stocked with much info on it.

Old habits/beliefs die hard.  Until about 7 years ago, I’ve taken on some freelance clients or partnerships for the sake of money/survival/not rocking the boat/being polite that I “knew” at a gut level weren’t a good idea – and proved themselves to be a bad decision.

I’ve come a long way from those childhood/teenage beliefs. Particularly when they come in conflict with using my intuition.  I haven’t thrown my manners or sense of practicality about money out the window. I just give my intuition as much, and sometimes more notice than old-fashioned manners or my parent’s ideas about work.

Recently, a business salesman and owner approached me during a delayed flight about working for him.  He seemed like a nice enough person. He talked at length about business, family and some random topics in between. Twenty minutes into our conversation, I felt myself wanting to put distance between our seats, but it was too crowded. There was nothing he did specifically that was alarming. I just felt increasingly uneasy. He gave me his business cards for two companies he owns after he learned that I was a freelance copy writer and worked with other marketing professionals. He mentioned that in light of the advertising/marketing help he
needed, that money was not an issue, “I’m good for it,” he said.  I thanked him, but said nothing else.

I mentioned my feelings of being weirded out to my husband who was with me when we got home. He said, “Yes, you should listen to your gut. I thought there was something off about him, too.” I researched the guy’s companies later that week.  They had a mix of good and bad reviews. A recent one stood out. I’m paraphrasing here – Don’t work with this guy. He seems sketchy. I ended up not hiring him after he told me about having hundreds of dollars in overdrafts (he actually showed me proof of) to run both of his companies.

If I’d decided to work with him or refer him to a colleague for the sake of being helpful/polite/following up, who knows if this guy would’ve ever been able to pay for the work?

Anytime you have an unsettling feeling about someone take heed. Manners and good social grace won’t always save you from getting short-changed, or a lawsuit. So, if you have these old-fashioned habits/rules about manners ringing in your head in these situations, notice how your body feels. Is there tightness in your stomach? Do you feel nauseous? Or, do you feel in general very uneasy? There’s truth there.  Follow it.

Are the Hot Fires of Your Work/Creative Passion Fueling You or Burning You Out?

Growing up and until about a five years ago, I thought being passionate about my work and or, creative interests won out over everything.  I thought being passionate gave me the motivation and drive to continue pursuing my goals, and or dreams. It does, to a point. However, it made me realize it is also why I have a hard time seeing some long-term projects to completion. I’ve burned myself out on my passionate feelings in different phases of an idea, project, etc.  You may give so much energy to one part of a goal, that by the time other details are necessary, especially with long turn-around projects, your brain is toasted and fried and you want a vacation.

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A side effect of too much passion?

In this instance and others, I’m finding that passion, for me anyway, wears me out quicker – emotionally, spiritually and physically. I think it’s because I have multiple interests and pursuits as a small business owner. Maybe it’s different for those who are dedicated to one specific career path, hobby or endeavor.

According to Harvard Business Review, there’s different types of passion. There is obsessive passion and harmonious passion. The former, by name alone, is the healthier version. I know I’m committed to it and  being aware about which type I’m operating from.

A medium to high level of interest can make me happy for a greater length of time as long as passion is present. It can make its appearances, but it doesn’t need to be the headliner.  With it, I find that I’m more emotionally attached. This can serve its purpose(s), but it can also be a hindrance to cutting my losses when an idea or project doesn’t work. I also have found that with a high level of passion for something comes greater expectations -Expectations of people, outcomes, etc. If you’re even a somewhat sensitive person, this can make moving forward a challenge sometimes when expectations aren’t met.

Passion is not practical all the time. I’m doing my best to apply it in moderation. I’m liking my interests with an hour or two of passion sprinkled into my life regularly. What is your experience? Share by clicking the comments link to the left.

Stay Authentic in Pursuit of Goals, Dreams & Keep the Respect.

Authenticity. It’s a great concept. For me, it’s being able to bring my real self (all aspects of my personality) to work, a party, and life in general.

I’ve joined a few networking groups that are strong advocates of authenticity and are the backbone of why the groups exist. I’ve met some great people within them. Of course, I’ve met others outside these groups that are about being authentic, too. Sometimes they are harder to spot though.

Over the past years I have had a few weird experiences while being my authentic self in professional networking scenarios. In calling attention to them, I hope to create awareness and hopefully a new kind of authenticity.

Have you ever been in a situation where a colleague/acquaintance agreed to help you out with one of your fledgling ideas/businesses? This interaction was short-term and it turned into a barter exchange that was quickly fulfilled. Since then, you’ve learned what you want and don’t want to do with this business idea. You didn’t feel the need to check in with the colleague/acquaintance who helped, as they didn’t express interest. A year later, when asked about it, you said you weren’t sure you wanted to pursue that route anymore, though you did appreciate their help. Shortly after, this person soon cut ties with you on Facebook/LinkedIn, etc.

This has happened to me in a few different ways over a decade after I told a few people I was switching tactics/interests, etc. I was being real. I wasn’t clinging to an idea that didn’t hold my interest for the sake of stick-to-itness. In the name of authenticity, I get it if a person no longer identifies with my plan, or purpose and vice versa. As humans, and if you’re an entrepreneur – a dynamic one, you are likely evolving regularly. Shouldn’t those who’ve changed their game plan be allowed the same option for authenticity as those who authentically step down from supporting us? We should be allowed to change our goals and or, change our minds without losing respect.

So, do these authentic networking groups offer space for this? Yes, at least the ones I frequent do.

It would make sense that bringing our true selves to these groups mean connecting and then, reconnecting if we no longer identify when a colleague switches direction. I think there is a peaceable, authentic way to show support of someone when they do, without ditching the relationship and or, fading out.  Is closure necessary for authenticity in ALL relationships? I would think that there’s a good middle ground for everyone to be real with each other without acting like jackasses. Maybe it could be a simple as this –

You: Hi, I’m changing my game plan for this business idea X. I don’t feel xyz details are a fit for me anymore. I am going to focus on idea Y now.

Colleague/New Friend: I’m sorry to hear that. I was excited for you. I don’t relate to idea Y, but good luck! (Alternate reply – I’m sorry to hear that, I was excited for you. I don’t relate to idea Y, but I wish you the best with everything. If I come across any resources that’ll be of help to you, I’ll pass them on.)

You: Thanks! 

The second response is not necessarily ending the relationship in this conversation. Either way, I suspect such acts of closure don’t happen regularly. Most of us were not taught how to have such conversations with friends or colleagues. At best, we know how to end a romantic relationship, a volatile friendship, and sales-y/spammer/stalker situations. For these relationships that are in-between, we tend to let them fade out. Sometimes this happens naturally because one or both parties move away, etc.

Whatever your life changes, I believe maintaining authenticity with others is important as your plans evolve. Does the level of commitment/interaction in the relationship change the need for closure? If the interaction was nothing more than a casual one-time meeting, it doesn’t call for it. However, if an exchange of some sort over a few meetings or more – yes. Offering some follow-up I think shows respect. Maybe I care too much?  Maybe it becomes too much work to do on a one-on-one basis for those that are very busy/overwhelmed? I know that some will define respect and authenticity differently from me. So, I am curious – what’s your experience and preferences? Leave a comment and join the conversation.