I Hate Hiatuses

As a longtime reader of blogs, I always hate it when a favourite blogger goes on hiatus. Selfishly, you want them to write all the time so you can read it. When you start blogging yourself, you realise that sometimes life gets in the way. Between school and other real life things, there’s been no time for me to do it. However, I’m starting to blog again for two reasons: 1. I need something to do with my free time, and 2. I’m starting to work out again, and I need someone to whom I am accountable. Even if it’s just the four people, who read this regularly. Since leaving a very physical full-time job to go to school, two years ago, I’ve slacked off considerably. I hate shopping, so the prospect of having to buy more (and bigger) clothes is extremely unappealing. So, starting Monday, I’ll start writing about getting back in shape. Make no mistake, this won’t be a fitness/lifestyle blog. I love when my friends choose healthy and active lifestyles, but as encouraging as it is, it’s boring to read about food and exercise all the time. (Even if you love them, which, I don’t) As a disclaimer, I’ll say that there’s going to be some complaining. I am not the raging fitness nut that I used to be, and it shows. I barely like exercising, and I love junk, so this will be a struggle all the way. In the end, it will be worth it. At least, I hope it will. I don’t want to carry on the family legacy of having high blood pressure and diabetes, so to counteract that, I need to stay fit, which means, no more lounging. I started with a light workout yesterday, and I actually felt better after I did it. I still hated it, but my body didn’t.

Since leaving a very physical full-time job to go to school, two years ago, I’ve slacked off considerably. I hate shopping, so the prospect of having to buy more (and bigger) clothes is extremely unappealing. So, starting Monday, I’ll start writing about getting back in shape. Make no mistake, this won’t be a fitness/lifestyle blog. I love when my friends choose healthy and active lifestyles, but as encouraging as it is, it’s boring to read about food and exercise all the time. (Even if you love them, which, I don’t)

As a disclaimer, I’ll say that there’s going to be some complaining. I am not the raging fitness nut that I used to be, and it shows. I barely like exercising, and I love junk, so this will be a struggle all the way. In the end, it will be worth it. At least, I hope it will. I don’t want to carry on the family legacy of having high blood pressure and diabetes, so to counteract that, I need to stay fit, which means, no more lounging. I started with a light workout yesterday, and I actually felt better after I did it. I still hated it, but my body didn’t. Sometimes, you have to do something you do not want to do to attain what you want.

Sometimes, you have to do something you do not want to do to attain what you want.

Story of my life.

Warm regards,

Eri 🙂

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Sharing Sunday: 10 Things I’ve Asked Myself Since Moving

In no particular order:

  1. WHY ON EARTH DO I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?
  2. Who keeps putting plastic in the compost bin, and why don’t they know what ‘compost’ means?
  3. I can live without eating potatoes, right? Because I don’t want to buy a whole bag and then have them growing those weird sprouts in my cupboard.
  4. Is cleaning considered procrastinating if it needs to be done anyway?
  5. If a cupcake is the only thing you’ve eaten in the morning, is it considered breakfast or a snack?
  6. Do I have to shovel my designated parking space if I don’t have a car?
  7. Is it OK for me to play music if it’s not loud? It is my apartment, after all.
  8. I walked to the grocery store to buy nachos. Does that count as cardio?
  9. Why do I think all the makeup I brought with me is boring now that it’s not in my budget to buy more?
  10. Why didn’t I do this before?

Happy Sunday, y’all.

I Didn’t Know What To Call This, But I’m Back

This is usually the part where the blog writer explains his or her long absence with a list of reasons why they haven’t blogged since August of last year. However, my reasons for not blogging were kind of boring (Depression, school work, blah, blah, blah) What I’ll do instead is just move right along to the next topic.

In the past seven months, I have noticed a change in how I approach reading and writing. I’m a lifelong bookworm, and in 2012, I successfully completed 100 books. Since then, I’ve completed one year of university, and now, when I read anything, my inner editor automatically picks up the punctuation errors.

A few days ago, I was reading a response to a question on the Ask FM app (in which the people submit anonymous questions). My first thought was, “Dang, girl, ease up on the commas! No one takes that many pauses when they speak.” Then, I remembered that I was not reading an essay, so the person could put the commas wherever she wanted to, and her mark would still be the same. (Zero, because she’s answering questions about her life, not being graded for her writing.)

I also moved, and found out that I spent most of my time working acquiring stuff that depreciates in value. You know what’s mildly depressing? Having to fill out a form for renter’s insurance and realizing that you don’t have anything that would qualify as an “asset.” What I do have is a bunch of stuff that is valuable to me, and perhaps, my niece. (My makeup collection is enormous, and she loves it.)

A few weeks from now, I have to do a presentation about the “Desert Saints.” They were a group of Christians from the 4th century, who believed that struggle and self-sacrifice were an integral part of one’s spiritual development.

I have to say, that it’s something that I connected with right away. If I’m too comfortable, complacency sets in, so for me, some discomfort is necessary to keep me on track. Since I’m an introverted person, it’s easy to find things that make me uncomfortable.

I’ll be the first to tell you that my life as a Christian has been full of adversity. There are years of my life that I wonder how I got through them without completely losing my mind. I love being comfortable. In fact, I prefer comfort, but there’s something about going through a good battle and coming out alive that energizes me and reaffirms my faith in the God who got me through it all.

I always hate going through the tough times, but with each level I pass successfully, I learn something new. Life isn’t just about pursuing happiness, getting what you want, and making sure your people are well. It is about passing along what you’ve learned to others.

One interesting thing about Antony, one of the desert saints I read about, is that, while he lived in isolation for much of his life, he didn’t keep the blessings from God to himself.

He taught people and prayed with them, miraculous things happened, as a result. He wasn’t just eccentric for eccentricity’s sake. He used his years of struggle and sacrifice to allow God to work through him to help others.

I was initially attracted by the “away from people” aspect of his spiritual life, but I also know that I can never completely disengage because there is always someone who needs encouragement or support. A life in ministry is not one I would have chosen for myself, but now that I know “what”, I have to keep the “why” in perspective.

The first act of my life was all about me. My job; my feelings; my wants and needs, but the second act is all about what I can do to serve God best.
So far, I’ve got being kind and respectful to people with different belief systems, and being less hostile to fellow saints whom I believe are too exclusive and cliquey.
(It turns out, I’m much better at the former than I am at the latter. Oops)

Before I started school, a friend told me that the person I’ll be once I leave school will be different from the person who started. I didn’t know what she meant, at the time, but I’m already noticing a difference. Whatever happens along the way, whether it be a struggle or a peaceful journey, I pray that my experience will help someone else.

Flashback: Introvert Qualities

  • You can always tell when someone is authentic and when they’re insincere.
  • Sometimes you are totally unaware of your surroundings; your outer world can be in complete chaos, but you don’t notice until someone or something finally attracts your attention. (ex. a loud crash)
  • If there are feelings of sadness, anxiety, or anger in the room, you can immediately feel it—no matter how large the room. (or how great a number of people)
  • When talking to people, you can immediately see past what they’re saying, and discern what they mean.
  • Hidden agendas are rarely (or never) hidden from you.
  • Both praise and criticism affect you the same way; you become embarrassed by the unsought attention.
  • It’s easy for you to uncover the insecurities and weaknesses of other people, and you can play on them whenever you feel attacked or cornered.
  • When you like someone, you become attached instantly and scare them off. (This occurs more in romantic relationships than friendships)
  • When someone betrays you, you forgive easily but are perfectly fine with never speaking to them again. (And you usually don’t)
  • Sometimes you withhold your true feelings and opinions from someone because you want to ‘protect’ them.
  • You hate conflict, and avoid it at all costs.
  • You comfortably slip into the role of mediator when others are in conflict because you can easily empathize with both sides. (See previous)
  • Once you’ve identified someone as insincere, it is difficult for you to take anything they say seriously—and you usually avoid talking to them altogether because their superficiality is off-putting.
  • You’re an open book. If you like someone, they know it; if you don’t like someone, they know it.
  • It is difficult for you to hide your feelings, and you spend a lot of time biting your tongue when something or someone upsets you. (Thankfully, that changes as you get older and your less dominant functions develop; by then you’ve gotten over your need to please others and will speak up when something is wrong)
  • You’re overly concerned with how you appear to others and what they think of you. (Again, this changes when introverted thinking becomes more pronounced—you won’t care at all then.)
  • You’re more idealistic than realistic.
  • Silence is rarely uncomfortable to you.
  • You feel the need to “fix” every-one’s problems.
  • You place your needs aside to help others, and they are more than happy to take advantage of that.
  • If you are a spiritual person, you notice that your intuition becomes stronger as you grow spiritually.
  • You’re excellent at making observations about others that they didn’t think anyone else noticed. (The usual response is dead silence)
  • Complete strangers confide their deepest secrets to you because you ‘seem like a nice person’ and you listen without judgment.

I Don’t Know Squat

It has taken me the better part of two decades to figure out that I do not know everything. There are topics in which I can speak of with encyclopedia-like detail. (The modern history of Russia in the post-Soviet era; books; nail polish, and hockey–to name a few) I can talk about myself until people get sick of hearing about me (which they do often). I have always had a thirst for knowledge, and I am continually seeking new ways to learn about the mysteries of life, and what it means to be human.

In my early years, (between the ages of 15 to at least 25) my desire to learn manifested itself as pretentious arrogance and a blatant disregard for anyone who did not share the same values and interests as me. If  people agreed with me, they were decent, intelligent, and interesting. Anyone who did not agree was a moron—no exceptions. It was near-impossible to get me to admit I was wrong. If I did, I did it in such a way that still made the other person look like the bad guy. I remember an argument I had in which I realized halfway through that I was dead wrong, but I kept on fighting because I was “winning”. I didn’t win anything, but the fact that I used my logic and reasoning (and bullying) to get a person (who was right) to back off was enough to validate me.

However, with unreasonable pride comes a fall, and I fell hard. For years, I found myself in situations where all of my experience and information could not save me. I lost the thing that has always given me the most confidence; my intelligence. I don’t remember the exact situation, but when I found out that learning is continuous rather than complete, it opened up a whole new world for me, but not before making me feel ridiculous for believing I was infallible. Admitting that I was ignorant made me more free to learn, rather than relying on what I already knew. It also made me more willing to listen to points of view that differed from mine without rejecting them as false. (Or stupid)

Getting knocked off of a high horse can make a person insecure, but I can see now that I was insecure already. It just looked different because I covered my insecurity by making other people feel stupid. Being humbled in that way enabled me to see the myriad ways in which other people can contribute. Not just with their intellect, but with their experiences, talent, and support.

I can ask other people to help me with the areas I am not as well-versed in, like anything science-related. I can freely admit that I am not good at everything, and I do not feel any pressure to try. It is difficult for me to ask for help, but I can do it without feeling ashamed. How much I do not know does not define me, and admitting when I’m wrong takes more courage than pretending to have all the answers.

I will probably be a solitude-seeker until the day I die, but I also value the cultivation of relationships. The know-it-all part of my personality alienated me from people because it exalted being right above being kind and respectful toward others. Making mistakes is an integral part of my development. By getting things wrong, I can see what is right. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I have also grown from them.

That is not to say that I don’t still have moments. Occasionally, I find myself doing an internal eye roll at the things that some people say and do. I have to guard my mouth daily, so I don’t say anything snide, rude, or dismissive, and I still think that some people behave like morons. On the other hand, I am aware of it now, whereas before I would stubbornly refuse to acknowledge my failings.

Carelessness can destroy any rapport that I may have with people because I don’t think about how my words and actions will impact them. However, now that I have confirmation that I don’t know squat, I can learn from anyone without erroneously believing that I am somehow better than they are. One of the most intelligent people I have ever known was my maternal grandfather. He was a champion of logic. An intellectual with decades of life experience and wisdom, and only a 7th grade education. His brilliance was not just in what he knew, but how he applied it to his life. I once witnessed him win a debate with a person who had a master’s degree. The MA had several years of education to back him up, but that was no match for my grandfather’s 80+ years of living and applying knowledge.

I never know what other people will teach me, so I am no longer self-important enough to think that I cannot learn from them. Personally, I am proud to admit when I do not know something because being the one with all the answers is annoying.

(Seriously. People asked me questions all the time, and got upset when I could not answer them. No, thank you.)

That is all for now,

Erin

Be Wary of an Easy Ride

There are hundreds of colloquialisms about how the road that appears to be the easiest ends up being more costly in the end than a hard-fought journey. We hear, “Too good to be true” usually is; that the road less travelled is the one we should take. Even the Bible tells people that the gate to heaven is narrow, but the gate to hell is wide. It’s cliche, but adversity does make people stronger than they would be because weakness and uncertainty are a forerunner for adaptability and strength.

A few years ago, I listened to a radio program about the plight of the homeless in western Canada. One of the volunteers at a shelter said that people he meets deal with misfortune on a consistent basis and that makes them tougher, more adaptable, more resilient and more appreciative than those of us who live comparably easier lives.

Sometimes formidable a opponent is just what a person needs to shake them up, and get them back on track. Through experience, I learned to treasure the good times when they come, as well as prepare myself for the tough stuff. Everyone hates discomfort, and we don’t like the uncertainty that goes along with strong opposition. However, just as a video game gets more difficult with each level a person beats, day to day life gets more difficult with every challenge. How a person handles a tough challenge could mean the difference between moving up a level, or staying at a plateau. Life will knock us down—often. It is not falling down that tells the tale. It is whether we learn from the hard knocks and get back up to fight again.

I don’t think I’d be the same person had I not had so much opposition. I would not have known how to handle conflict if I never had anyone oppose me. I would not know the right thing to do if I had not gotten  so many things wrong. Opposition, it turns out, is the friction that sifted the nonessentials in my life away, and left the important things behind.

We may despise the appearance of weakness or vulnerability, but it is in that weakness that we find strength. A so-called “easy ride”, may make us feel good, but it does not prepare us for real life. Life can be an easy ride, but sometimes it isn’t. Just like an elite athlete in training for his or her next event, we need to be prepared both in season and out of the season because we never know when we’ll get the call to step up. We may not need as much power while things are going well, but we still need to build our muscles for when things go wrong.

Do not get too freaked out when challenging situations arise. Remember that every day is different, and things can turn around. Don’t allow past mistakes to infect the present. Take every opportunity to learn and grow. Adversity can crush a person, but it can also push them to succeed.

Don’t let the fear of failure kill your confidence. If life has knocked you down, remember that, as long as you’re living, hope is not lost. You were born to prosper.

 

Peace,

Erie

Talking About God Sunday:Answering the Call

Last week, I had my first university classes in 14 years. I was nervous but excited about the challenges ahead. (I know there will be challenges. For sure.) I also know–within the depths of my soul–that I am doing the right thing. I know this because even when I was unsure of what was to come, I had an irrational sense of peace.

One of my first assignments was to write a 750 word essay about the call and the character of preachers and worship leaders. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that me writing 750 words is not difficult. (Limiting my writing to 750 words is an issue, however.) I knew that this essay is just one of many, but in the past four days it has felt like the most important essay in the history of the world. 

My latent perfectionist tendencies came back, and I went through 2 rough copies and 3 good copies before I decided it was good enough. True to form, it still wasn’t good enough for me, but it is done, and that’s the important thing. Writing the essay got me to thinking about why I, a) Decided to go back to college, and b) Decided to go to a seminary college from which I would become an ordained minister upon graduation.

I figured out quickly that I did not do it because the prominence and high profile of a worship leader attracts me. I did not as my mother puts it, “Sign up for a holler and a collar.” I do not have any agenda aside from encouraging people who feel insecure and alone, and explaining God and the bible in a way that a child will understand.  (Also, telling people that God is not some scary dude with a beard that does not want people to have any fun.)

For me, the calling of a preacher is something that I ran away from for 7 years. I did not want to do it. I did not think that I would be able to do the role of a pastor or the word of God any justice. In one of my textbooks (The Witness of Preaching by Thomas G. Long), the author wrote that some preachers take to the pulpit eagerly, and others take to it reluctantly. I would not say that I am reluctant; I am cautious, but not reluctant. I’m cautious in a way that a truck driver is when he is driving up a steep icy hill. One false move has the potential to be deadly. I feel the weight of that responsibility whenever I have to speak/write/read God’s word. 

As a member of the congregation, I like to hear the word of God preached in a way that is inclusive, accessible, and most importantly, true to the text. Some of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard incorporate biblical verses in ways that I can apply to my life. They also give me a glimpse of the preacher’s identity, whether through personal stories, testimonies about how they overcame struggles, and rhetorical questions that force me to think of the scripture in a new way. (I also like what my dad refers to as, “Hard words”. Sermons that offer messages of hope and redemption as well as warnings for people to set higher standards.)

At this early stage,  I do not know what area of ministry God plans for me, but I know it will either be immediately apparent at my first ministry opportunity, or the result of 3 more years of blood, sweat, and tears. Either way, I am here for it. I believe that life experience has enabled us to relate to people in a unique way. The past season of my life was about toughening me up so I’d be able to fulfill my assignment without caring what others think. This season will be about refining my edges, so they aren’t as uncultivated.

So what do I think about the character and call of a worship leader/preacher?

1.There’s more work involved than anyone can imagine. (My parents are worship leaders. It is not easy.)

2. it is all about God.

3. No one can “make” God do anything, through worship or otherwise.

4. A person’s value has to come from the fact that God loves him or her.

5. Worship must be accessible, but not compromised.

6. It is not entertainment.

7. Humility, grace, love, truth, and having the ability to serve others (with gladness!) are key leadership qualities.

8. If church leadership is a true calling it will cost something. (You name it–friends, a job, family members…and the list goes on)

9. The people are not there to hear from me.

10. Ministry is more effective if you know and genuinely care about the people to whom you are in service. (Make no mistake, if you are a leader, you are in service!)

I knew there was a call on my life when I started slipping bible verses (well, the ones I remember anyway) into daily conversation. When I overheard a careless remark made by a former coworker against another, I gave them a 5 minute lecture about the fact that the same measure she used to judge others would be used against her. I knew I was called to minister when I woke up at 4 in the morning, praying for a relative that I don’t speak to much, only to find out that someone attempted to kill them at the exact moment I was praying. (They’re fine, thank God.)  I knew I was called after 4 people confirmed my call, in either direct or indirect ways.

If I had chosen this, it would not have taken me 7 years to do it. The fact that God chose me was amusing. I can communicate well in writing, but I am always too short or too long-winded when I speak. I don’t like crowds. Public speaking gives me anxiety, and I am not good at remembering which bible verse is in what book. I don’t like to be the center of attention, and don’t think I’m outgoing enough.

In an interesting twist, my lack of outward qualifications is what qualifies me.

I can’t help but be thankful for that.

Peace,

Erie

What To Do When The Sign You’ve Been Praying For is a Punch in the Face

I am not one of those “spooky” people. I am more apt to base my feelings and opinions on the reality of a situation, rather than a “sign”. That said, in the month since I resigned from my job, I have doubts, and the overwhelming feeling that I made the wrong decision.

I did what I normally do; pretend that everything is fine. Finally, at my wit’s end, I prayed for a sign–any sign–that my choice was the right one. It was all well at first. It seemed as though everything was going my way.

Then the bottom dropped out, and things started to go wrong. Part of the problem was my complacency. I am not one to panic, so I didn’t move with any urgency until the eleventh hour. After that, all signs pointed in one glaring direction: I was wrong.

In asking for a sign, I thought that I would see something that was overwhelmingly positive. I asked for a sign to encourage me to move forward. Instead, every sign is telling me to give up. I was looking for something spectacular. I found something simple instead.

When I had my first setback, I felt like giving up. Then it occurred to me; I want this to work,  but not for my sake. I want it to work because people who feel misunderstood need someone to talk and listen to them. Someone like me.

I remembered that this is not a choice; it is a calling. If I decide to ignore it, I would not be restless until I changed my mind. I was looking for encouragement, but what I needed to do was get the passion back.

One of my favourite books in the Bible is the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet, who was both disrespected because of his youth, and despised because of his role as an oracle of the God. In chapter 20, after speaking another corrective message to the people of Israel, he writes, “Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.” (Emphasis mine)

If I pay attention to how things look right now, I won’t move forward. But, in my experience, I always face the worst opposition when I am doing the right thing. (When I’m not, I’m pretty much ignored.) I don’t like anxiety, but in my case it helped me get perspective. If going to university was not the best decision, I wouldn’t care so much about the outcome.

My big “sign” was not a loud chorus, singing ‘Hallelujah’. It was not a talking fiery bush, or the stunning, come-from-behind victory.

It was a still, small voice, that said, “Keep moving ahead.”

Many times, when all signs point to, “no”, it means no, but sometimes all of the negatives are a “gut-check” to see how devoted one is to the completion of a task. Part of growing up is discerning which is which.

Ignoring obstacles does not end them. In order to solve them, I had to acknowledge them, and then do everything in my power to get over them.

It’s time for me to pick up my mantle and run with it.

Peace,

Erie

Defeatism is So Middle-Class:2013 in Review

I hear that, Countess Violet.

The year 2013 was an important one for me. In 2013, I had to (grudgingly) admit I did not have all the answers. I had to face the fact that the world was not my personal oyster, and it did not revolve around me. I had to acknowledge that my agenda was secondary, and I had to watch as my circumstances breached my comfort zone, and then obliterated it.

I will attend my first class in 5 days. The obliterating of my comfort zone started when I left a job that I had since I was 18. I was good at my job. I was comfortable there because I knew what I had to do every day.

That is why I had to leave it behind.

When I was 26, I a pastor told me that, in order to fulfill the plans God had for my life, I would have to leave my parents, and rely solely on God for my provision. I put it off for 6 years. As always, the more I put things off, the more I saw signs pointing me away from my childhood home, and into my future.

2013 is the year I did something about it. I applied for university for the first time in nearly 15 years. I was sure I would be accepted, (NOT, but I talked myself into believing it until it came true.), and I slowly made preparations for my moving on from retail.

The field I will eventually go into is not one I would have chosen for myself. I am an introvert, so by nature I avoid attention. (I always choose a seat near the back, by the aisle, so no one notices me.) However, two aspects of my calling have been a perfect fit from the start: I love to teach, and I love to encourage people who feel afraid, and insecure.

My mother says that, a person knows when something is a calling when she can do it without any recognition. When I graduate, I will have a title, but as a Christian, the most significant identifier for me will always be as a “follower of Christ”. I am in no way qualified for what I am going to do.

I’m not a “good Christian”. I do not always remember which bible verses are where, and there are still many parts of the Bible that I have not read. That said, I know this is the right thing to do. I know this because I have no anxiety about it in spite of the fact that I am in unfamiliar territory.

Last year, I went through what most people describe as setbacks, some as recent as last week. It might sound cliche, but setbacks are sometimes set-ups in disguise. I can attest to this. I do not know what this year will bring me, but I am looking forward to finding out.

In the past 12 months, I went from a retail worker to a university student. I went from steady pay, to student loans, and bursaries, and I went from certainty and complacency, to uncertainty, and faith.

I would not want it any other way.

I wish you all the best in 2014!

Peace,

Erie

 

 

6 Things I Learned About Life From Working

I know it seems impossible, but some of my most valued life lessons were not learned in a classroom. I left school very early in my post-secondary education to work. In the 14 years since, I found out a lot about the “real world” just by being an observer, and occasionally a participant. Here is a list what I have learned so far that I know will carry me through to my next stage of life.

1. Resignation letters are for resigning only. 

When a person leaves a job on bad terms, it is tempting to use a resignation letter as a final, “piss off!” (pardon my language) to one’s employers. However, the reason for writing a letter of resignation is to inform the boss that you are leaving. Do not call names, use foul language, or, heaven forbid, tell the employers how they should do their jobs. Even if you believe that your boss is far too cocky about being the captain of a sinking ship, it is not your place to say anything. You’re leaving, so it’s not your business anymore. Instead, say thanks for the opportunity and give them enough notice for them to find a replacement for you. Leave the airing of grievances for Festivus.

2. It’s not them, it’s you. Sometimes it is them, but mostly it’s you.

I didn’t really enjoy working until I learned how to take responsibility for what I did. That doesn’t mean I took the blame for things I didn’t do, or got involved in other peoples’ drama. I made the decision to take an unbiased view of what I contributed to the culture at work, and I found out that I am openly dismissive and unfriendly towards any person whom I think has a strong sense of entitlement. Which is questionable behaviour to have among my peers, and even worse to have towards leadership. In order to change the culture, I had to change my actions. Blaming everyone else for my reactions didn’t get me anywhere.

3. If you don’t hog the credit, you can’t take the blame.

I’ve always been a leader, but there are a few things I don’t do well; delegate and take credit for success. I’m not the attention-seeking type, so my first instinct is always to take whatever attention is paid on me and deflect it towards the people who helped me succeed. (Don’t get it twisted: there were always people who helped me succeed) I did this for two reasons: 1. As I mentioned before, I don’t like unnecessary attention, and 2. If a task goes wrong, the one responsible for the failure is whomever takes the credit, which is usually the leader. On the other hand, if the task is executed by a team, the entire team shares responsibility.

4. A person cannot motivate anyone he/she feels is inferior.

My parents both went to college. My mother has been a nurse for almost 40 years, and my father was an independent contractor who designed and built houses, restaurants, and apartments. My mother also worked as a  retail salesclerk, and my dad was a janitor. The fact that my parents worked in many different professions helped me to approach each person’s part with equity. I don’t think that the head of an organization is more important than the janitor. (If you think I’m kidding, just watch what happens when the custodial staff goes on strike.) Every person’s role is equally important, and when anyone behaves as though his or her role is more important than someone else, that person jeopardizes the harmony of the entire group. If a person is not relatable and down-to-earth, he or she cannot expect to be able to motivate anyone.

5. Personal feelings are best left at home.

Approximately 10% per cent of the time, I base my decisions on how I feel about a person. (My “gut” is never wrong) The other 90% I base on efficiency and outcomes. Like most people, I enjoy spending most of my  time with people that know and love me best. However, I also like getting things accomplished, and if given the choice, I’d rather work with 10 enemies that I know will get a job done, than 10 friends that will most likely goof off and be a distraction. I had to leave my personal feelings on the shelf at work because they inhibited me from being objective. In the end, I was more productive because I was more concerned with the completion the task than I was with the interpersonal drama.

6. Rewards are great, but it is better to be motivated by something other than what one may gain from success.

While I cannot stand unnecessary fawning and performance-based reward systems, I like occasionally to be recognized for a job well done. However, the lure of praise and prizes is not what drives my performance. I do a good job because I like to do a good job. I’m thorough because I don’t like to take short-cuts, and I work hard because I’m paid to do it. If a person places all his or her emphasis on the future reward, he deprives himself of the experience of the present.

I have learned plenty more life lessons at work; 7.Even if it is the truth, referring to a supervisor as a ‘self-important half-wit’ is always wrong. 8.Avoid the employee lounge if you don’t want to hear people complain about work. 9.Be kind to all customers, even the mean ones. 10. Stay out of situations that do not directly involve you, and remember that your job is a way to earn money. It is not your life, so do not allow what happens there to crush your spirit.

That’s my two cents.

Until next time,

Erie