Monday, November 14, 2016

Communication is Key

Recently I shared about my own struggle with communicating (FYI I am a talker, kind of a shitty listener) and I realized a post on how communication can be easier might be helpful to people.

How many of you struggle with communicating with people in your life?

I am not talking about opening your mouth and saying words - I am talking about true communication of your needs, wants, thoughts, opinions, fears, feelings and more.

I am talking about the type of communication that is difficult because either you or the other person ends up defensive, fighting, angry, hurt, words are used as weapons, etc.

There are many pieces to communication - the actual exchange of information, listening, using "I" statements, learning you are responsible for your own feelings not other people, learning nobody can make you react or do anything and more.

Listening - not just hearing what people are saying but actively listening to them. There is a statistic that says we actually remember 25-50% of what we hear. So that means anywhere between 50-75% of what is said to us theoretically goes in one ear and out the other. So when communicating on important things actively listening is a must.

"I" statements - this one is easy. When talking to another party keep things on the "I." I am frustrated because I feel that you don't care about my needs VS. You don't care about my needs! It is harder to argue with the first statement than the second one right? Someone can not tell you what you are feeling they can only tell you what the intended by their actions or words.

Your feelings - this one is a tough one for most people. Going in to an argument prepared to tell someone what they did to make you feel/act/do something ain't gonna cut it. "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." In other words you can only control one thing in this world and that is yourself. Nobody else is responsible for how you react or what you do besides you. There is always a choice. So stop telling other people they are responsible for you.

Like so many things - it is a process of growth and learning. We should never stop doing either.

So whether you could write the book on communication, suck at it or are somewhere in between - keep your mind open to what others can teach you.

-Meesh 


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Freelance Update

In case you are new around here I shared about my desire to do more a while ago.

Today I want to share an update on how it has been going since I decided to try my hand at it.

Week 1: I created my account and did my profile, stopped there until week 2.

Week 2: I bid on 4 jobs the first day - 24 hours later heard nothing from any of them.
Day 2 - I bid on another 8 jobs for 12 total - 24 hours later heard nothing from any of them.
Day 3 - I heard from 1 of the 12 jobs! They wanted to know my price for 30 articles/month. I don't know if I bid too high but I merely followed the .01-.02 per word quote. Another job declined my bid - I was grateful they informed me I wasn't chosen. I then bid on another 3 jobs for a total of 14.
Day 4 - I was offered 1 job and am currently being interviewed for 2 more, 1 of which is the job mentioned for Day 3. My first job was only for $5 but I figure it is a move in the right direction - or at least I hope so.
Day 5 - I did the article for my 1st job and am waiting on review and payment.
Day 6 - I bid on 2 more jobs for the same person - I now have 13 bids in, 2 in interview and 1 completed. Not too shabby for 2 weeks in.

Week 3: Well in true Meesh fashion I forgot to keep a running update! However, what I can say is there is progress!

Right now I have an ongoing contract writing 5 articles per week for a client and just completed week 5 with them! This means I hit a milestone with UpWork and their fee has halved. One job I did was just not for me, the client was super nice and easy to work with. Unfortunately, I for some reason was not 100% comfortable with his style he needed the articles written in and did not feel I could provide him with quality work so I canceled that contract. He was great about it and gave me a positive review for the work I did do for him.

I have been consistently bidding on 10 or so jobs a week until I run out of "connects" to bid with. I have written 2 articles for the same client and those were $5 ones. They were easy and allows me to put something on my portfolio.

This is going to be an ongoing, long term goal for me and so far it is paying off and I am happy to say that. I will share another post next week on what has worked for me so far, but today is just for an update.

So there ya have it, I tried something completely outside of my comfort zone and I have not failed. I finally did what I always wanted to do, rather than doing what I thought I should do. I still love my DIY, handmade stuff and recently even made a sign for a friend's wedding. However, I have accepted that will never be my retirement plan ha ha, it will always be a side hobby/job.

However this, this writing thing could one day lead to something and that excites me and makes me want to work for it so much more. Have any of you gone outside that comfort zone and tried something you were afraid to? How did it go?

I hope to have another update soon sharing my goals when I started this and how far I have gotten on them so far.

-Meesh

Monday, November 7, 2016

Shut the pie hole, open the ears

Communication - it is a word we all know and understand, but are we good at it? Personally I love to talk and share info. That might explain this blog and my venture into freelance writing. One small problem, while I love to hear myself talk, not everyone does. This is not a new problem, I have always struggled slightly to control my urge to just blurt things out. I get super excited to share what I know and forget sometimes that conversations are a 2-way road. 

While I know the ins and outs of being a good communicator I struggle to remember in the moment. While talking is obviously a huge part of this process, so is listening. I mean active listening - that thing you do when you actually HEAR what people are saying to you. The act of being engaged in the moment, not worrying about what to say next, not coming up with the perfect response and missing out on what is being said to you. 

Now we are at the root of MY problem. I am a great talker, kinda a shitty listener. Now this is slightly scary when you realize I am a counselor. Thank the Lord when I am at work it is an automatic to turn on my "listening ears" and shut up. However in real life I completely forget that mentality.

I am assuming by writing this that I am not alone in this. There are probably other people out there that struggle with balancing listening and talking. Once again, like so many things I share on here - it is about growth, learning and balance. Never stop believing you need to grow. There is always something to learn. Balance your need to be heard and validated with other people's need to share with you.

I am hoping by putting this down in words I will be reminded to sit back and relax and become a better communicator. I never want to be the person who nobody wants to get stuck talking to because they won't shut up. I want to be the person people enjoy conversing with. I will continue to embrace who I am because it makes me, but I won't pretend I am perfect and without room for growth and progress. 

So moral of today's story: More hearing, less talking. 

Are you a talker? Are you a listener? Are the balanced person I want to become? Whichever one you are - embrace you and continue to grow and learn.

-Meesh 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Frustrated with no purpose

I feel that I have writer's block, but I also feel like I may not have the right to say that.

I am not sure if I am considered a writer or not but I do know I have continued to feel just out of reach of my possible potential.

I know rule #1 of writing is write about what you know.

Well when I think about it I know a little about a whole lot.

I know about family, cooking, crafting, DIYing, dreaming, wishing, being a counselor, criminal justice, chemical dependency, being a friend, a wife, a sister, a dog mom.

But not one of these am I an expert at.

There is a part of me that has yearned for more in the last few years which is ironically how this blog actually started.

I have ideas and plans and a desire for a very different kind of life (career wise) for myself but fail to deliver.

I have tried my hand at owning a handmade business and for a number of reasons it hasn't worked out - I haven't tried hard enough? I don't want it enough? It is not my actual calling? And so on and so forth.

However I have opted to try my hand at freelance writing - I have no idea if I have a right to do this or am just setting myself up for failure but you know what? I don't give a shit either way. I cannot imagine myself sitting at a desk doing what I do now in 20 years, for no reason other than I will stagnant and will not feel that I am doing anything worthwhile.

Therefore I want a backup plan so to speak. When I think about what I enjoy reading the most it is articles and posts that help me to recognize I am not alone and the things I think make me crazy or weird are not actually that unique after all.

In other words when other people experience the same chaos that I do. It is a good feeling to realize you are not alone. I look forward to this next step in my journey and hope that I have good news to report in a few months that I have at least managed to write something worthwhile haha.

So here is what I am asking of all of you - if you have any tips, pointers, hints, suggestions, corrections etc I would greatly appreciate them! Wish me luck friends.

-Meesh


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Regerts

Anyone catch that? You will become my new best friend if you get the title of this post haha.

Any who - I wish I could have gone through my life without this post. I wish I could say I live my life without any regrets but I would be lying to both you and myself. Some of my regrets come from not having pushed myself hard enough. However there is another part of me that believes in the lessons my mother raised me on.

I am not sure if I shared this before or not on here but my mother raised us with the belief that everything happens for a reason and if things are meant to be they will work out somehow. Now this is not to say we were taught to sit back and wait for good things to come our way. Rather it was a lesson of work hard and do what is right and best, knowing that the end results are what is meant to be.

I understand this sounds very simple to some people and I respect that. However thinking and believing this wholeheartedly has allowed me to accept that sometimes things just are what they are. Which in turn has allowed me to live my life with few regrets. The regrets I do have however are from my own lack of trying and not learning.

My regrets are more "what ifs" rather than being disappointed in the life I have today. I feel that I have been blessed with a pretty kick ass life and do not necessarily feel or need more. However that doesn't stop me from wondering what could have happened had I done somethings differently.

What if I had pushed harder and found a way to become an RN, NP, PhD, MD?

What if I had been more comfortable or braver in finding my creativity sooner?

What if I had blogged before it was cool?

What if I hadn't completed my master's degree?

What if....

Here is where the story gets fun for me - instead of getting lost in what may have been I turn these what ifs in to stories in my mind.

I create an alternate reality of where life could have ended up.

They become these intricate stories and just remind me how much I enjoy writing and spinning a story even in my head.

Once I exhaust these silly ideas I then learn from my what ifs. What aspect of that moment do I actually regret? How can I avoid that in the future? What can I do differently tomorrow to build and learn from that moment of my life? What part of my silly story did I love the most and how can I implement that in to my reality?

One of my biggest fears is looking back at my life when I am 90 and realizing I didn't push myself hard enough, or go out of my comfort zone or got lost in the what ifs rather than pushing myself forward.

A huge lesson I have learned through all of this is to push outside of my comfort zone and make myself vulnerable at times in order to grow. This is partly why I have finally tried my hand at freelancing and regardless of what happens I will never have to ask myself one day what if.

This is why I pushed to get healthy - I won't have to wonder what if.

This is why I have learned how to speak my mind - I won't have to question what if.

Learning to push past who we think we are and push towards who we can be is tough for many of us I would think. If we never get past the fear of failure, rejection and being uncomfortable we will not be able to grow.

If we do not grow what has been our purpose all along.

Someone once told me if we ever find ourselves not wanting to learn and grow in an area it is time to leave that area behind. Once we think we know it all is the time we should recognize we don't and something needs to change.

Live a life with no regrets, rather live a life learning from your past.

What have you learned from your "what ifs" in life?

-Meesh


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Patience

Today I want to talk about patience.

I don't know about any of you but I seriously lack patience.

This is often times comical to me as I spend a large deal of time at my job preaching patience and I have none myself.

I have admitted before that I lack patience and I don't try to hide it.

It is something I will work on, for probably the remainder of my life.

One of the hardest aspects of patience in my opinion is that we are a society used to instant gratification.

For many of us, through no fault of our own, have not had to wait for things we wanted.

We are used to having results right now which is why I feel we look for the "easy" way out in regards to things like weight loss.

In other words we want, what we want, when we want it and we wanted it yesterday.

Learning how to change this once we enter real world is a challenge.

We have spent the first 20+ years of our lives probably having parents, teachers, family, etc. giving us what we ask for and now we are launched in to the real world and expected to adapt.

One of the best things I have learned is: you are not alone in your frustrations with how long we have to wait for things and how hard it can be to work for something and see tiny results.

Secondly it is going to be a marathon not a sprint - we probably won't be able to change a lifetime of habits overnight or even in a few weeks or months.

Give yourself time to adjust and adapt to learning how to hurry up and wait.

It will come with time.

Start out learning how to be patient with small things - during meetings, at red lights, in lines.

Gradually build up to learn how to be patient with: others who can't or won't hear you, with people who want to fight you, with the slow pace of change and progress you experience, etc.

Learn to not take things on a personal level - THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU and chances are people are not trying to cause you frustration, in fact you are not as important as you think you are to them.

Because the world doesn't revolve around you it is important to learn that your priorities won't be the same as someone else. They have their own priorities and you will need to learn to adapt to not being #1 in everyone's eyes.

There is a fine line between learning how to work through your frustration with the slowness of life and it is another thing to become someone's doormat. No need to flip out every time you are mad but it is also okay to speak your mind when you are frustrated.

Breathe, close your eyes, unclench your fists. It will get better I promise. Dance it out, sing it out, yell it out. Release that shit in a healthy way but don't continue flipping out when things aren't on your terms and in your time frame. It is possible to adapt to the world.

We live in a fast paced world but it does not mean everything has to be fast paced as well. Sometimes it is important to slow down and live life on life's terms.

What are your thoughts on patience?

-Meesh



Monday, September 12, 2016

Journey to Healthy Part 2

Read Part 1 here to catch up 

My plan started with realizing I didn't want to be 50 years old questioning "how the hell did I get here" and trying to figure out how to eat healthy. I didn't want to be the parent of a child one day who could not teach their child healthy eating habits, or was too heavy and out of shape to chase them down and play with them. I didn't want to worry about gaining 50 pounds if I did end up pregnant with no idea how to get it back off and having no plan or idea of what I would need to do. I didn't want to continue being uncomfortable in my own body. This all freaked me out so I decided it was time.

I started looking at what I ate - which was and remains the hardest part of this journey for me. I have had to learn how to cut down on my mindless eating. I work a desk job and have my own office so I spend 75-90% of my time alone in there. This leads to eating my daily calorie intake before lunch if I am not careful. I am not proud of this, it is just a fact. I have overcome this to a certain extent by having only healthy foods on hand at all time - bars, fruit, veggies, homemade popcorn & seeds are all my typical go to's. I have some trouble in this area only due to my allergies but I am figuring it out.

I also had to cut out drinking my calories - frappuccinos, sodas and juices. This proved to be pretty easy and now I am down to only drinking calories in the form of creamer in my coffee in the morning. I try to always have a bottle of water with me I can refill through the day as needed to keep me from feeling thirsty or tempting myself with sugary drinks. 

Then I had to figure out how to work out. Thank God for my husband who started on a healthy lifestyle a few years ago and had a plan in place already for working out. It is this plan and yes it is called buff DUDES but it has worked for me so far. I recently completed week 9 of the 12 and once I complete it I think I will repeat it again. 

The last piece of the puzzle for me has been learning to be patient - I have talked about this in several places on this blog and it is something I will always work on. It is another lesson I get reminded of all the time at work - nothing happens overnight and results won't be instant. I think this is a hard part for a lot of people who start out on a healthy journey - you see so many ads, celebrity endorsements, before and afters etc of people who lose significant amounts of weight seemingly overnight and we all want that. However reality is - it ain't gonna happen. 

I lost 20 pounds for our wedding back in 2011 and kept it off until literally about 2 weeks after coming home. I then proceeded to gain back about 25 instead. This was due to the fact that I restricted my diet significantly, exercised sporadically and didn't maintain any of this once my "goal" had come and gone. This did me no favors but led to bouts of yo-yo dieting and doing better for a week or two at a time until I gave up.

I feel like at this point I am learning a healthy balance of eating good most of the time, eating what I want sporadically, working out 4-6 days a week, drinking lots and lots of water regularly and appreciating the small changes. 

I will hash out the actual changes in another post because this has gone on long enough already. I split it up in to 2 parts so that nobody gets too bored reading it. Thank you for sticking it out and I would love to hear about your own experience with a healthy lifestyle or any thoughts on mine. 

-Meesh