Express Yourself – Suit up for Success
Not hitting the desired rung on the corporate ladder? Maybe it is time to up your clothing game and dress like the executives. Polish up your image and see if other people assume that you are what you project.
A few months ago we had an international group in for a team meeting. My wardrobe for important work meetings is tailored suits, usually with skirts and heels. That makes me feel confident, polished and ready for anything.
The meeting went well and most of the group left on Thursday; Friday was casual dress and with a $5 donation we could wear our favorite team jersey and jeans.
I turned up representing my team – NFL (American Football) Green Bay Packers – # 12 Aaron Rodgers. It was fun to have the relaxed atmosphere and camaraderie with coworkers – even the ones who like the Dallas Cowboys. I was getting all sorts of comments since it was the week that Rodgers broke his collarbone.
When I got dressed I didn’t realize that I would be having a meeting with the regional sales manager from Malaysia. We needed to sort out an issue that had been lingering and I was determined to get it resolved face to face. I don’t know if it was the energy in the whole business that day or my costume but it felt like we were in a huddle and I was the quarterback.
Not only did we get the issue addressed – I got a compliment on the jersey and he said he should get one for his meetings!
So the take away – your clothes not only transform how you feel and present yourself – they also shape how others see you. Have fun and take advantage of your super suit – whatever that may be.
Every day at noon I would walk around the corner from school and meet my mother and the crossing guard. I was a “home luncher” rather than a “carrier” or a “buyer” meaning I got to leave school and spend some time just me and my mom. I am the youngest of five children, the only girl. I loved lunchtime.
One day I was on my walk home for lunch and a van pulled up in front of me. A tall man with reddish brown hair and a mustache started walking toward me. He was saying something that I couldn’t understand, not because it wasn’t English but because I was terrified. I knew there was something wrong with a stranger getting out of a van walking toward an eight year old girl and trying to talk to her. I ran to the corner to where my mom and the crossing guard were waiting. As I did, the van peeled around the corner fast. I relayed the story to my mom with tears streaming. I was out of immediate danger but felt fear after that when I would walk home.
I have often thought about that day and wondered, was the man talking to me at all? Was he really some kind of a creep? The school is very close to several highway on ramps and it would have been easy for him to jump on a highway and be long gone before anyone knew. Maybe he was there to meet his girlfriend and he was talking to himself in anger that she wasn’t there and didn’t have any bad intentions at all toward me. I will never know what may or may not have been the reason that this situation imprinted itself on me. Something about it made it different that the thousands of other contacts with people that quickly vanished from my memory. Perhaps it is just a healthy fear of strangers, especially those in windowless vans. Kids have been taken.
About four years after the van incident a girl who lived a few blocks from me went missing. I knew her but not well. We were on softball together one season and she was a year older. She had glasses and short straight blonde hair. She had a paper route which was a big deal. That was one of the few jobs a kid could get. All of my brothers had paper routes and I helped them and wanted to take on a route when I was 13. But that was never to be.
Writing this is emotional, I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I didn’t have the language for it then but now I would say it was surreal, terrifying. Where was she and why didn’t she come home? There were 7 blocks between her house and her paper route. It felt like she would have to turn up, like it was all a mistake. Being a kid there is a naive sense of hope that kept me focused on her being okay, but also the sense that something was wrong. All the parents were visibly shaken and when the adults are worried the kids feel it. Deep down we all knew this wasn’t going to be okay.
They found her. She was dead. My friends mother explained a little bit of the news story because we didn’t understand what had happened. Looking back, I wish she hadn’t. I didn’t need to know how ugly the human mind can be and how a depraved man can steal a beautiful child from this world. I had nightmares for a long time after that and my seemingly safe little working-class neighborhood suddenly felt like a danger zone. In my dreams, when I saw her it was either as a scary ghostly floating vision or as one of the kids at school as if nothing had happened.
There was no paper route for me or any other girls in my neighborhood after that. In gym class we started a pretty aggressive chapter on self-defense. I remember being scared. We were learning how to put a man’s nose through his brain or groin kick him to do damage. I didn’t feel empowered to take out a bad man, I just felt like the bad men could be anywhere and they wanted to get little girls.
As I grew up and the initial fear of being taken began to fade, I started to read books about criminals. I had this idea that if I understood how they thought and worked then I could spot one and I would be safer for it. I had a conversation with a friend who was police officer for years and I got some serious wisdom from him. There is nothing different about these people. There is no key to it all that will illuminate why someone will wake up today and do something that most of us would never do. They just make these choices. That is so sensible and yet also difficult to accept.
The normal quiet man in the blue house with the nice lawn could be a killer, trust your instincts and suspicions.
Somewhere in Upstate NY – Author commits to spend at least one hour writing every day, but ends up thinking about what to write and dismissing her ideas.
“Oh, I could write about working” – A fresh perspective on staying focused and keeping the atmosphere positive – no this is shit, no one will want to read it.
“Of course – parenting, I can write a blog about the rewards and challenges of raising kids” pull out the good notebooks and pens to do an outline to then it type up. Set up the perfect writing area but spend time prepping not writing.
Current events, weather, the implications of genetically modifying food, top 10 books, anything? A short story? I poem? No – it is all shit.
Come on – you got this…. Write – do a writing prompt. And then it might be something like “there are 2 kinds of people in this world…” way too much pressure, I would have to write the most brilliant response to that and I am almost out of my procrastinating, I mean writing time.
But wait there’s more – I will write something starting with an A and then all the letters in the alphabet – here goes:
All day long
Because I have to
There – I wrote today
“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it”
–Sun Tzu, The Art of War
You can’t boil the ocean – having goals without direction or too many goals for the resources available is a sure way to fail.
Understanding what you want is key. It is impossible to plot a course without understanding where you want to go. The goal may be – I want to increase my net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets or I want to lose 20 lbs.
Understanding your limits is also important – I want to increase my net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets in a legal and ethical way. Getting money faster may be easier with blurred lines, but understanding that your goal is to do it legally and ethically keeps you on the path. I want to lose weight safely and keep it off. Crash dieting for a month isn’t going to cut it.
Now that there are goals – lets look at what to do to make our goals into reality.
Goal One – increasing net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets
How? Do a Reality Check – where are you now versus where you want to be?
The Current situation – I am saving money at a rate of $250 per month, current balance $1,000
The Ideal situation – I have a savings account with $15,000
By comparing the current and ideal a specific target of $14,000 in additional savings is defined as the goal.
Next consider time – Do you want to increase your net worth by December 2018? Or December 2020?
Time to take a look at the factors impacting this decision.
Do a SWOT analysis – What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? What external Opportunities and Threats impact your goal?
- Strengths – Debt to Income ratio leaves extra money for savings
- Weaknesses – High car payment, tendency to buy new things when not needed
- Opportunity – Get higher paying job, get less expensive car and save the difference
- Threats – Unexpected expenses, Increases in taxes or utility rates, Economic downturn
Understanding what is going to help achieve the goal as well as what will potentially undermine success is information needed to formulate a strategic plan.
In order to save $14,000 by December 2018 would require a monthly contribution of $1,167 per month starting this month. Is that feasible?
In order to save $14,000 by December 2020 would require a monthly contribution of $400 per month. Is this feasible or could you do it sooner?
Maybe you can comfortably save $650 per month which would put you at the $14,000 mark in 21 ½ months.
Another goal is weight loss. Let’s say I want to lose 20 pounds.
Reality Check – Do I have 20 lbs to lose?
Current Situation -My Body Mass shows Index I am 15 – 20 lbs heavier than ideal for my height
Ideal Situation – I am the ideal weight for my height
The goal is set – lose 20 pounds without crash dieting
When? – I want to lose 20 pounds by the middle of April 2018
How? – Is this do-able by my preferred time? Time to do a SWOT analysis
- Strengths – I like walking in nature and occasional hikes, I like to swim and, I like bike riding
- Weaknesses – I love chocolate, sweets, and chicken nuggets
- Opportunities – onsite workout center
- Threats – Krispy Kremes and Sonic
So if I set out to walk, hike, swim and bike ride more and eat fewer sweets and chicken nuggets – is that a strategy? Not quite, I need to add in a measurement – April 30, 2018 is 3 ½ months away so I will need to lose a set amount of weight each week. Or none this month and 7, 6, and 7 respectively in February, March and April. In order to know if I am on track to succeed I need a tracking signal.
Two goals are illustrated above. Once the facts are known determine how aggressive your strategy will be, do you want the slow steady approach or a quicker result. You can do either as long as you have the resources to meet the milestones. A milestone is a set target – balance in savings or total lbs lost at the 1 month mark – are you on schedule at this rate to meet your goal?
The measurements will allow me to adjust the strategy if it isn’t working. It is better to adjust the strategy and meet the goal than it is to give up – so if you aren’t on track adjust and see your goal through to completion.
Take a look at your own goals and try to create a strategy to achieve them.
Thank you for reading
A few months ago, as a result of one of my favorite podcasters – I signed up for an app to listen to books on my commute. I enjoy reading but don’t always have a lot of time. Listening to books gives me access to the stories I don’t have time to read and helps me avoid the inundation of negativity in the news. I am currently listening to Dale Carnegie – How to win friends and influence people. It was published in 1936 so some of the anecdotes are dated but still accessible.
I can use my iPhone and listen to the books via the Bluetooth in my car which is convenient. There is a glitch though, or, to my mind a glitch. When my 13-year-old runs out on a cold morning to fire up my car the book begins to play – so she turns it to the radio. That is fine and honesty I prefer to have the book stop so that I don’t miss something. The issue is that when I switch back to Bluetooth my Apple library kick on the free U2 album. I like U2 – but why are they the go to for my library? Try as I may to skip to Oasis all it would do was lag for 5 seconds and then BAM!
– U2 popped back up. I know this is old news since my google search of the U2 Apple hit how to delete it. But I wasn’t using my phone for music – so this revelation hit me in 2017.
So, I am driving along unable to switch on Audible because Suri wants my password and trapped in an album I don’t want to hear again.
AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No More
As I skip songs I finally get to a song that I bought years ago on my old iPod. Check it out on this link Everythings gonna be alright
The Babysitter Circus – Everythings gonna be alright
I found them when I was helping my son search for music from New Zealand 4 years ago. It makes me happy every time I hear it and the video is great too.
I was getting upset about something minor – and then the universe delivered a gift that not only made me feel better but made me happy.
Have you ever wondered about who you are and where you come from? I can relate.
I have always been curious about my family history and have done a bit of research on it. This is a hobby that I share with a vast community of pretty interesting people. I dread putting this detail out into the world because of the inevitable offers I will get for DNA testing. In our information age I can’t even order a pair of shoes online without getting 20 new catalogs from companies I never heard of. Imagine the crap that comes with a DNA test? I’d rather be blissfully unaware that I’m really not part Dutch than to be certain that I am going to go bald and to find it out when I start getting coupons for thinning hair after my DNA results get shared with marketers who are looking for people who meet my profile.
I am curious though about my people. As far as I can tell of the 4 families who converged to make my parents – there were a diverse mix:
- 1 destitute, my great grandmother married at 15 had 8 kids and died when she was about 35 a year after her 3 year old son died of diphtheria. I don’t know what she died from possibly blood poisoning and haven’t found a death certificate or obit. My great-grandfather was in the paper like a celeb on page 6 after she died. He was a religious man, became foreman of the quarry and raised his kids alone.
- 1 affluent, my great grandmother’s lineage goes back to the 1600’s; My great grandfather’s mother either had illegitimate children with a married man OR was abandoned by her husband who married someone else and peopled half the Midwest. It is unclear – he was interesting and had a birth certificate issued as an adult with a witness who knew him when he was a kid.
- 1 of middle class means – my great grandfather from Sweden confirmed; my great grandmother allegedly French but she was born in New Jersey? He worked in the acid factory, had 13 kids, one son killed in WWII.
- 1 moved around a lot – my great grandfather died young in his 30’s and I have seen photos of him as a clown; my great grandmother was a 19 year old widow with 3 kids and went on to marry and bury 3 more men. It appears that her mother also had lots of husbands who died young – possible black widows??
Unhelpfully, the site didn’t find my great grandmother- but popped up a clue to let me know they lived near the poorhouse – Oh joy! Their shitty life might have included a side of institutionalization.
The old newspapers have been my primary source of information. They can hold my interest for hours and I find myself up too late looking for information that might tie it all together. Aside from what I mentioned above, there was an extremely chaotic and uneven pace to the newspapers. A 3-inch square informs – The Mr RG So and So’s were in town visiting, unknown foreigner found dead in the woods, ice cream social to be held at the Methodist church, Worker falls in vat at acid factory ran out has not been seen since, Public defender dead of suicide – chloroform rag and bottle found on top of cliff that he leapt from. I find myself full of questions – Wait What??!! What happened to the guy who fell in the vat? How did they know the person in the woods was foreign? What about chloroform rag suggests it was suicide???
Sometimes there are answers and other times I am left to wonder. There is not always a happy ending or even a satisfactory explanation. And yet here I am. All the people who came before lived their lives and left their marks and now we are here leaving ours.
I offer one last thought – take some time to print photos and fill in your family on your history because sooner or later we all get curious about where we came from.
Anyway – Happy Tuesday thank you for reading
It’s December – the perfect time to reflect and breath in the cold crisp reality….
Today is 23⁰F (-4⁰C) in the lovely city in upstate NY where I live. It is not currently snowing and the sky is bright. The furnace is on and air inside is on the cool side, but tolerable with some flannel pajamas. This morning I decided to jump back into my blog and write. It has been quite a while since my last entry and I have been reflecting on why that is. I have been studying for an exam in supply chain management. I am busy raising my kids as well. The lack of writing hasn’t been due to my busy life.
I forgot myself for a while.
As much as I enjoy great motivators like Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, and Tim Ferriss – I can also find myself giving in the great disruptors like my own insecurities and the negative people who have all the reasons why it won’t ever happen or gossip about what someone else said or thinks. I found myself interpreting everything through a negative lens – instead of seeing opportunity and maximizing it I began to see all the signs to reinforce my negativity. Wallow I did.
Ironically – it was one of the disruptors who snapped me out. Once again I was listening to an unsolicited complaint from the soothsayer of doom when it hit me. “I am affiliated with this. I have been feeding in to the negative BS and the taint of it is on me. ”
I had this realization on Friday and yesterday I let it sink in and today I break the spell.
So now what? Well I get back on track of course. I have the laptop that I treated myself to with the back lit key board and I am doing something that I love – writing. I have been using my commute to listen to Jane Eyre on audio, Charlotte Bronte wrote beautifully and it makes me happy to hear it. I am studying for my exam and feel prepared for it. I am going to make time for exercise daily, it keeps me energized and happy. I will look at a situation and see it through my own eyes.
Thank you for reading.
Keep Warm, Read a great book and Stay Feisty!