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.

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Sharing Sunday: Lazy!

It's funny 'cause it's true.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

It’s been awhile since I have published a full post. Rather than apologize for my prolonged absence I am going to offer a simple explanation: I didn’t feel like it.

I had many ideas for topics. Some of them were good, so I’ll revisit them at a later date. Some of them were ridiculous/shamelessly self-indulgent. I like you, readers, so I will not waste your time. This is just a check-in post to let you know that I’m still around, and I still intend to blog regularly.

As a rule, I am not a lazy person. I work hard at most things because I have a commitment to doing a great job. I don’t slack in any way because it is a bad reflection on me. However, the past few weeks, I have made a commitment to taking it easy. I’ve been catching up on my cheesy reality shows (current favourite is Big Brother Australia), reading, purging my massive collection of everything, and getting back into exercise.

When I started blogging, it was just a fun way to practice my writing with no pressure. Now that I have followers who read what I write, I feel more pressure to do a good job. I realize that not everything I post will be awesome, but I do want it to be exciting, amusing, and helpful. That said, the most helpful/amusing/exciting thing that I noticed in the past week is the fact that the American version of Big Brother is a social experiment that tests the resolve of the viewing public (it was awful, y’all!), and the Big Brother in places like Canada (where I live) and Australia focus on testing the resolve of the house mates.

Watching the Australian version of the show with their “halfway house” vs. “luxury house” twist made me think a lot about how those at the top of the economic pyramid have so much control over those who are at the bottom of the pyramid. (I.e. On the launch show, one of the luxury housemates said something like, “We shouldn’t feed them. We have the power to break them.”)  That immediately reminded me of slavery, and how slave masters went to great lengths to break the will of the slaves so they wouldn’t be able to fight back.

The only thing I learned from the American Big Brother is that the housemates can be racist, sexist, abusive, and have an obvious eating disorder while on the show, and instead of remedying the problem, the producers will do everything to hide it. (Hello? We’re not stupid.)

Anyway, I’ll be able to post something deep later in the week. Until then, I will continue to donate/toss/pack my belongings, exercise, read, and relax because I’ve earned the right to do it.

Live well, everyone.

Erie

Sharing Sunday: Follow The Leader

Thursday night, I recalled an example of great leadership from my past. It happened while I was in the washroom (reapplying my makeup). I saw that there was paper towel all over the floor, so I went about picking it up. It reminded me of the year the then-manager made a bathroom cleaning schedule for the team. At one morning meeting, the staff began complaining about how unfair it was for the same people to clean the washroom all the time.

My supervisor stopped the chatter cold when she said, “Listen, I am on the schedule too. I also clean the bathroom. I would never make you do something that I wasn’t willing to do myself.” I recall thinking at the time, “Man, she gets this whole leadership thing.” I have been with my current place of employment for more than a decade, and I have worked with many different types of leaders. I will have to say, that between the years 2006-2009, I grew the most because of the people in charge.

I remember another instance in which I received assistance from a great boss. It was my first year as a receiver, and 13 pallets of merchandise got delivered to the store. The warehouse only has room for 12, so I was in a bit of a panic. I called the general manager, expecting her to assign someone to help me. She did, but she also came back in her professional shirt and slacks, and helped us.

By the end, we were all covered in dirt, but every pallet was unpacked. I learned another lesson: “Great leaders lead by example.” She showed me that day that she was not too “high and mighty” to do the hard work that was necessary to complete a task. Excellent leaders are also excellent servants. (P.S. 4 years on, and I am still sad that she had to leave us.)

I had another boss that taught me how crucial it was to do a good job the first time. She would assign a task, usually a merchandise display, and give me a time limit. I would do what I thought was okay in the time frame, only to have her say, “OK”…and then do the display 100 times better than I did while explaining how and why she did it. The lesson I learned from her: “If you do a job right the first time, there is no need for revisions”. Her standard was not perfection. It was excellence. The people who worked under her leadership learned those lessons and never forgot them.

The last boss is someone who showed me how to be a boss without ever having the title. When we were both doing the same job, she was one of those people that I just knew would be promoted, which she was several times. She ended up as second-in command to the general manager; a role she did faithfully with many different leaders. The thing I admired most about her is the fact that she had the expertise and experience to be the boss of everyone, but she was both humble and faithful enough to take a backseat, and work behind the scenes. The lesson I learned from her; “Not every job is about getting credit. Faithfulness is its own reward.”

If I were to include every leader who has made an impact on me, it would take several blog posts. I also had a leader who taught me the importance of compassion in the workplace. Another leader kept everyone and on task. One leader made sure that everyone had fun, and one made sure that every staff member knew how he or she was appreciated by management.

My first examples of leaders were my parents, but I am grateful for every leader I have had  apart from them because every one has taught me something valuable. In the last 14 years of work, I have learned that managers do not have to shout to make their point. They delegate tasks to the people best equipped to handle them. They admit when they are wrong, and learn from mistakes. They are faithful. They lead by example. They do not expect their subordinates to adhere to standards that they do not conform to themselves.

Leadership is not a job. It is a calling. The man or woman who answers the call of a leader will do that regardless of the role he or she fills. One of the most misunderstood facts about leadership is whether a person can be a leader when he is not in charge. The answer to that is, absolutely. The person who can be a good example for others to follow is a leader, whether he/she is a boss or not.

The call equips a person for the role.

Thanks to every leader I have had, from childhood until now. You have all been influential forces in my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Peace,

Erie

Sharing Sunday: Complain? Hah!

complaintfreezone-sticker

A few years ago, I made a commitment to reduce the amount of complaining I do. I wish I could say that I did it after having an epiphany and realizing how blessed I am. What really happened is that my family and friends refused to listen to my constant whining. (I am a princess, after all. What do princesses do best? Whine.) My mother is an R.N. and counselor by trade, so she has to listen to people with problems all the time. It must have been so annoying for her to come home after 8 hours of helping people work through their issues and be subjected to me whining about my (mostly trivial) problems. (Sorry, Mom.)

My mother gave me an ultimatum: Either I do something about what was troubling me, or be quiet. Mom was tired of listening to me repeat the same old, boring stories about how put upon I felt, so she said that I had no right to complain as long as I refused to do anything about the problem. So I chose to address the issue, and then to drop it. I stopped whining about it, which then caused me to stop seeing myself as the victim. When I stopped seeing myself as the victim, I was able to approach the situation fairly. Everyone was equally culpable, so it was wrong for me to place the blame on just a few people. (And deflect it from myself)

Mom and Dad raised me to be accountable for my actions, as well as accepting the consequences of them. If I continued with my constant complaints, I would have been too blinded my own martyr complex to empathise with the other people involved. Complaint-free living doesn’t work for everyone. (Particularly if the person gets a payoff for complaining–i.e. attention, validation, self-esteem, sympathy) Many people have more to complain about than I do. Sometimes, I break my own rule, and indulge in a “whine and cheese” session that has a similar effect as me partaking in real wine and cheese: I feel sick, a little light-headed, and I need to lay down afterward. (That’s an affliction called “contrition.”)

I’m an avid news-watcher. I watch the news to be informed about what is going on in the rest of the world. Learning about how other people live helps add perspective. I cannot complain because even when I’m broke, I have more than most of the people on earth. The fact that there are people with a thousand times more than me has no bearing on my daily life. When I can, I will use what I have to help someone who has less than I do.

I don’t see a problem with venting frustration. Sharing one’s feelings with people who are supportive can help lighten burdens. Complaining all the time about everything adds burdens. Particularly when the person  you complain to is not directly involved. You can tell when you have tried a friends’ patience by whether or not she changes the subject when you launch into a tirade about your coworkers. If she does, she sick of hearing about that topic, but is too polite to tell you.

I figured out that complaining was holding me back. As long as I held the belief that I was always right, I could not move forward. Not everyone I encounter is at fault. Each person has equal potential to be an asset or a hinderance. Which side they fall on depends on the day, the circumstance, and that person’s choice.

Living a life with few complaints has helped me to embrace gratitude. Neither me, nor my life is perfect, but they’re both great. (If I do say so myself)

My life may just be on the way to where it needs to be, but I am grateful for every messy part of it. The mess gave me an ample training ground for what is to come. If I am not grateful for what I have, I will not be trusted with more.

It’s okay to complain occasionally. All of us do it. If complaining becomes a constant habit, it’s time to step back and figure out the cause of the brokenness. If everything and everyone around you are awful, it is either their fault or yours. Sometimes it’s both. But if you’re accustomed to placing blame rather than accepting responsibility, you’ll never figure out which, and spend the rest of your life wrongly accusing people when you are the one at fault.

This isn’t the advice of someone who has it all together. I still complain. It just isn’t a habit anymore. My rule of thumb is; if I cannot offer an alternative solution to the problem, I don’t complain. It’s simple, but it works–particularly when I have one of my self-absorbed diva moments. (Which are few and far between now, Thank God.)

As long as a person is alive, he or she will have some troubles in life. How the person handles difficulty gives the outside world a window on his or her character. Choose wisely.

I’m going to end with a quote by poet, Maya Angelou:

 “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” 

Peace,

Erie

Sharing Sunday:10 Reasons Why I’m Not Qualified To Judge Anyone

In no particular order:

I am not a judge.

No matter how great I look in a black robe and wig, I am not a judge. If I want to judge others with impunity, I will need to spend a minimum of 7 years in a proper law school, and gain experience presiding over trials. Since I have not done that, I can’t judge.

I am not perfect.

I am full of flaws. I have a lot of good qualities, but my flaws and lack of experience disqualify me from correctly judging another person.

I watch questionable TV shows.

Think about it: would you, in good conscience, trust anyone who watches The Real Housewives of Wherever, to make an accurate judgment regarding your choices? I didn’t think so.

I’m biased.

I have a unique view of the world that is based upon my upbringing, my experiences, my beliefs, and many other factors. How I view the world shapes my opinions, and I cannot always be trusted to be objective.

I don’t have the right to judge anyone.

The ability to judge another person is not a right. Judging another person is a privilege and is granted to a person who has been authorized, by a governing body to do so. That ain’t me.

Because. Who asked for my opinion, anyway?

My opinions are important to me. My right to have opinions is important to me. I am thankful to be allowed to express my opinions. However, if I’m honest, I have to admit that not a single person asked me for them. The fact that I have opinions does not give me the right to express them (particularly in regard to other people) without considering what the consequences may be.

No, seriously. Who asked me?

The assertion that an opinion cannot be wrong is false. An opinion is wrong when it is clouded by ulterior motives. An opinion is wrong when its foundation is built on erroneous information. An opinion is wrong when it exposes a clear bias. An opinion is wrong when it is based more on my personal feelings than it is on the facts. All of these may or may not be at play when I express an opinion, so I should keep some of them to myself.

I don’t know everything.

Sometimes my judgments are based on hearsay, misinformation, and ignorance. I can’t make a completely informed judgment without knowledge of all of the facts. I will not pay attention to the facts if I am standing in judgment of someone. If I don’t know it all, I can’t judge it all.

I am not God.

Obviously. I should have started with this one.

Bonus reason: I am a Christian, and while we do judgmental better than anyone else, I’d rather live a judgment-free life, than risk drawing the ire of God.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”  (Luke 6:37 NLT)

Peace,

Erin