It’s All About The Hustle…and That’s Okay

Ever have people say you work too much?  I sure do. Many feel I need to take a break and take more time out for myself. And, to a degree, I agree with that. I mean, I went to Morocco for 10 days and people are still commenting on how less stressed I look since I came back. Which is good.  Part of what I work so hard for is the chance to travel – you guys know how much I love to see new places and experience things I haven’t before.  Snap back to reality though – there are more things I’m working towards – more accomplishments I want to achieve.

One of the biggest reasons I moved to Colorado was to pursue an opportunity that had the potential to grow into an even bigger career move. When I started the job here, it seemed pretty straightforward and I just had to learn some new products, customers and the culture out west. The was only the tip of the iceberg. The TIP. Two pivotal team members moved on a few months after I arrived; two of my departments more than doubled and the third took a nose dive and then we doubled the size of my team. People were internally promoted and we had to restructure and rehire. We took on a new brand of product. We kept growing. The third department totally turned around and we made all our profit back and more. We have a fleet of trucks to sell and a plan to move them along. All of this to say the vision keeps changing, growing and morphing into something I couldn’t imagine.

Door
Cool door in one of the fortresses in Morocco – Open doors always catch my eye 😉

And guess what? I am so damn proud I am a part of it. I have been learning and growing throughout this whole process. Has it been easy? Nope. Could I have done it in 40 hours a week? Not even close. My point here is that sometimes you need to work hard over long hours in order to get it done. I can also tell you this – if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have the same job right now. I would have failed miserably.

Many of you know I’m a big reader and can finish off a book a day if I wanted to, provided it was fiction. I have the hardest time finishing a self help or business book though. It can take me months. (Mostly because I’d rather read for fun!) Enter the world of audio books. I have a long commute with this job, so audio books are my new best friend. I recently finished listening to Daymond John’s book “Rise and Grind”. Daymond (of FuBu and Shark Tank fame) is widely known for his side hustles and entrepreneurial spirit. In this book, John examines a lot of different people and what they do to make themselves successful. It’s been an interesting read, but I found myself feeling vindicated for my crazy hours and work outlook.

I can make everything and it’s mother about me if you give it enough time, but that’s only part of it. There are a lot of people out there working long hours and pulling their weight in order to fulfill their dreams. It just looks different for different people. I can get up before five and get to work before six and not get home until after six to seven pm. Why? Because that’s where this stage of life has me right now.

One of the successful people Daymond interviewed in this book is Gary Vaynerchuck, a Belarusian American entrepreneur, New York Times Best selling author, speaker and Internet personality. Gary says “People talk all the time about finding a work-life balance but it is not the same for everybody. And it’s different at different times of your life.”

How true is that? I used to work weekends and now I don’t. I made a promise to myself when I moved here I would find ways to make the best of it and that’s what the weekends are for. (Or an occasionally extremely lazy Saturday because I’m wiped from the workweek). I’m working longer hours during the day, but my weekends are free. See? Even though my hours have increased, the balance is different. And, occasionally, I actually take a good chunk of time off to recharge.  Like Morocco.  It makes such a difference. 

There were so many interesting people interviewed in this book and one of the others that stood out to me was Catherine Zeta-Jones. She has had a successful music career and is very active in charitable work. But did you know she launched a home goods line in 2017? She is quoted as saying “I was taught to dream big. To this day, I dream big.”

A dream is just an idea until you have a plan. And I have some dreams I still want to come true, so I’m working through my plan to make them happen.

I read this somewhere once and it currently lives on a sticky note on my wall at work – “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes reality”.

So basically, your dream cannot become reality until you have a plan of action and put it in motion.  If you’re looking for me, I will be somewhere doing just that.  Making my dreams come true.  One step at a time.  Even if it means I have a crazy work schedule for a few years – it will inevitably change again once the next stage starts.  And I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll be okay with that as well 🙂 

Marrakesh
The beauty of Morocco was all around – all you had to do was look.

People In The Air

So I have a question for you -Do you normally talk to your neighbors on airplanes or pretty much just sit down with your headphones on and pretend to go right to sleep? Personally, I usually go with the latter. But, sometimes you meet quality people when you least expect it.

Two weeks ago I was on a midday flight from Denver to JFK to meet up with the group I was vacationing with for our flight to Morocco. Due to the time difference, I had to get out of Denver earlier in the day to be in New York for our 8pm group flight. I was technically working that day so I went in early, worked for a few hours and was still clearing up some last minute items while waiting to board the plane.

When I got to my aisle seat, I had my noise-cancelling headphones on, my laptop accessible and I opened it up and continued to work as soon as we reached altitude.

As many of us do nowadays, I glanced at the two people next to me, smiled and went about my business in my own little bubble. I worked for about an hour and then bought lunch when the flight attendants came around. The older lady in the window seat got my attention and let me know the bag from the sandwich I just purchased was leaking. We swapped it out and thus, she saved me from a soggy lunch.

After I finished, I was reaching for my laptop again when the older gentleman next to me taps me and says “Before you get all set up again, I need to see a man about a horse”. I laughed and got up so he could go to the restroom. When he returned, I pulled my laptop out and started back in on my never-ending email.

A few minutes go by and he starts talking to me. So I took my headphones off and found he was commenting on Outlook and how it looked like “some other guy’s program I was sitting next to”. I showed him a few things and he thought it was terrible people had to deal with “that many emails”. That’s when I realized he had a heavy New York accent and that they must’ve been visiting Colorado. My natural curiosity set in and I asked them about their trip.

Turns out this couple has been married for 50 years, raised three kids and put them through college and now travel to see all the things they missed out on. They are in their early 70s and I was surprised as hell to find out how adventurous they are. She even went zip lining in Costa Rica a few years ago!

They were telling me how they toured around Colorado and how they tried a different ethnic restaurant every night. Their favorite was a Thai restaurant were they apparently made friends with the owner. The lady who would buy restaurants, make them profitable, sell them and then go see the world with the proceeds until it was time to do it all over again. The man was fascinated with her as she had a younger boyfriend and said “Man, she was a tiger!” with a big look in his eyes. Cracked me up.

As we talked, I found out he was Ted and she was Bobbi and that Ted had been in the fashion business and the insurance business and that Bobbi had worked at the New York Public Library in the Children’s section for over 40 years. They told me of life in the Bronx, of raising their kids and how she now wants to move to Manhattan and he hates the city. Typical, right?

Ted gave me a tip to use a car service instead of Uber when I came back (I needed to get from a hotel by JFK to LaGuardia at 4am yesterday and it ended out working perfectly). He wanted to hear about my trip when I came back and asked for my email address. I gave him one of my business cards and Bobbi was going to put in her bag. Ted took it right away and says “No, this is going in my wallet!” He was a riot.

All of this to say, I’m so glad he started talking to me – I would’ve missed out on meeting some great people. Don’t get me wrong – there are times I get on a plane and I don’t even want to look at people, let alone talk to them. But with so many people ignoring each other lately, it becomes easier and easier to just ignore them back. After all, they’re strangers.

Ted was true to his word and emailed me the next day. I sent him a reply yesterday when I got back to work and he sent me one right back. He has questions about my trip and what it was like to be in Morocco and he finished it with “it seems to be a good place to sell fence-post diggers”. And – you guessed it – I cracked up again!

The Things We Take For Granted

Colorado sunsets – here’s hoping I never take them for granted

Ever think about the things you Are lucky enough to have? Not usually. We tend to think about the things we’re working towards, or striving for or saving for. Sometimes, we think about the things we wished we had. But what usually slays me is how I’m not ever thankful for something until I don’t have it anymore.

Take last week for example. Two of my friends and I headed up to the mountains for the weekend. I woke up one morning and my right eye was freaking out. It was trying to stay shut, watered enough to fill a small glass and overall hurt like hell. This has happened a time or two since moving to Colorado since the air is so much drier – I even switched to daily contacts to ease the craziness. Which – would have worked had I ACTUALLY changed them every day. Or didn’t sleep in them. But, half of America sleeps in their contacts, right? So what’s the big deal? (This is solely based on my opinion, not facts of course.)

So I dealt with it like I normally do. Frantically search everywhere for re-wetting drops, put a cool cloth on my eye, the usual. It eventually cleared up and I was ok. It was a little scratchy the next day but not too bad. Until I went home on Sunday. Then the thing was in such pain I just took out my contacts and went to sleep. Monday was a mess. It got red, painful and watery throughout the day til one of my employees begged me to call the eye doctor. I did and was able to get an appointment the next morning.

Now, imagine this. You live a good 40 minutes away from your job, you need to drive home and your eye is freaking out and in pain. What do you do? Pray really hard, put your sunglasses on top of your regular glasses and attempt to drive home. Staying in the slow lane so you have to do the minimal amount of lane changes. While trying to stop your eye from watering and running down your face. With two sets of glasses on, driving directly into the sun glare. Get the picture yet? It stunk. And honestly, I felt so alone. (In hindsight, I should have took an Uber home.)

But, thankfully I was able to get home and practically kissed the pavement while thanking God I got home safely.

The next part of the story involves ice packs, lots of water, sleep, and a trip to the eye doctor to find out I had an eye abrasion. All loads of fun, let me tell you. Then prescriptions, lots of blurriness, trying to read email and work, and healing.

It took a good week before I started to feel better – and thank God, it is completely healed now. And I have a fresh batch of contact lenses waiting to be picked up. So I can change them everyday. (Someone may need to do an accountability check on me in a few weeks do make sure I’m still being “daily” about this. Lol)

The craziest thing about this whole experience? When I went to the eye doctor, squinting and favoring my eye, guess how she made it feel better? She stuck another contact in there. It was the strangest thing. Guess it acted like a band aid cause it immediately felt better.

Thinking of what we take for granted came up last week when my cousin posted about how they have to go through an intense cleaning process in order to eat produce in overseas where they are currently living. We tend to not think about how others live or have to do daily tasks differently, just because they are in a different situation than we are.

I have a deeper respect for people with eye issues or even blindness after this past experience. It was horrible. I work 10+ hours a day and more than eight of those hours are in front of computer screens. Not being able to see correctly out of one eye and try to read was brutal. But I only had to deal with it for one week. I can’t even imagine what people have to deal with going through life without being able to see properly.

So I guess the thought of the week is to be thankful for what you have and be mindful of those who are lacking those things. Whether tangible or intangible, our struggles are definitely our own, but sometimes it helps to view them through the lens of those less fortunate.

If you have a spouse, hug them. If you have children, squeeze them a little tighter. If you have health, thank God for it. And if you’re still sleeping in your contacts, take them out!

“That’s Why You’re Not Married Yet”

Handle your business

We’ve all been in situations where someone says something to us where we kinda tilt our head to the side and think “Did I hear that right?  Did they just really say that?” It usually comes from out of the blue and we rarely see it coming.

I was in a meeting last week with my boss and a coworker, discussing some upcoming purchases we were going to make.  Near the end of the conversation, I mentioned that I was going to request more funds to buy more trucks (I mean, naturally right?) We needed to make sure our inventory was current.  My boss just shook his head as he knows how I like to spend money – so we can make more money of course!  The sales lady looks at me and says “Now, that’s why you’re not married yet!”.  I just looked at her with a bewildered look on my face, trying to figure out where she was coming from.  She backpedals a bit and says “Well, because you like to spend a lot of money.”

Naturally spending money without thought can be a huge issue in a marriage, not to mention business.  What she didn’t see was my laid out plans with the ROIs attached – she just assumed I was going to just throw money around. In this case, I know this woman and I am pretty sure where that comment was derived from, but it sure stayed with me.

The good news is that I can take those comments for what they’re worth at this point in my singleness, but it never makes it okay for someone to say them.  I’m pretty sure she would not like it if I responded with “Oh that’s why you’ve been cheated on before”.  (You feel me people?)  Most of our associates have the best of intentions (for the most part) but I don’t think we often take into account or realize how we are making people feel.

I was often corrected as a young woman to not use people as my “punching bag” because I would deflect my own feelings of being unwanted onto others in efforts to make myself feel good.  This was beneficial to no one – I had to be made aware of my own misgivings as well as the way I make people feel.

It was a good lesson for me as I sometimes throw around random comments.  Am I saying things just to be funny or are they coming from a deeper source of hurt or flat-out meanness?

As far as why we single people are single, there can be a lot of reasons.  And not because we’re unattractive, unemployed or generally annoying.  To be frank, there are plenty of the above who enjoy the state of matrimony.  And to that point, there’s plenty of married people who spend a lot of money on forklifts.  Right?  Now don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of crazy people who are not married.  And for good reasons.  But be careful about giving the half-crazy single people a bad rap – we’re actually pretty awesome people.

Now, if you are one of those single people who have been the lucky recipient of some of these comments, hang in there.  You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.  When they do come along, do this for me.  Excuse yourself, go find the closest bathroom, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a badass who is rocking this life for all its worth.  Go out of that room with your head held high and know how awesome you are.  You won’t have to tell anyone, they’ll see it.

Rock on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

H2O and Motivation

I’ve been back to the gym training with the one and only BP, trying to get my stress and blood pressure under control. Along with lifting – because as much as I complain about it, I freaking love it.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on me increasing my water intake. I’ve gone from about 60 ounces a day to an average of 120. Pretty dang impressive, right? Sure. But now I need a personal restroom! Anyway, good news here is that it has drastically reduced my blood pressure without having to take meds. Win! (Unless you start to think about how dehydrated I must have been for the past year. But…moving on.)

So tonight I show up to the gym for my bi-weekly session and was, of course, filling up my water bottle since I now need to drink a few thousand tons a day. Or so it seems 😂 Anyway, the fountain is right next to the door leading into the group class room. Zumba music was starting to waft out of the room and I noticed a lady standing there looking with a slightly unsure look on her face. “Are you going into this class?” she asked. “Nope, but I always wanted to try it” I returned. “Me too” she says with this almost longing look on her face. I just looked at her and smiled. “You’re this close – why don’t you just walk in?” She didn’t even hesitate and strode in the door. I walked up the steps grinning – I just love when people give us a push in the right direction.

After I was done getting beat up by BP, I was standing at the top of the stairs making plans for my next torture/secretly awesome session, and I noticed that same lady come walking up the stairs. She was red and sweaty and looking for her husband who was lifting. “Hey – how was that class?” I asked. She smiled wide – “Oh my gosh I loved it! I’m so glad you said something – I really enjoyed it.”

Cool, huh? The best part about this was how confidently she walked in there and how she looked afterwards. Like she accomplished something. Even if it was little – it was a huge step. (And here am I – still not brave enough to go in there. Haha)

So, if you have the chance to nudge someone in the right direction, do it. And if you are the one being nudged, take the opportunity to do that thing that sort of scares you. Or really scares you. You never know what will happen. Like dancing in a Zumba class (shudder)

Was It Worth It?


This past week was the one year anniversary of me leaving everything and everyone I know to go on the adventure of moving across the country and living in a brand new state. A lot of people have asked me over the last few months if I regretted it. If I wished I just stayed home. Or, on the other end, how I was enjoying my best life. How did I not just gaze in wonder at the beauty around me.

And the truth is – almost all of those thoughts and/or feelings have run the gambit of my emotions over the past months. Some more than others. The one that hasn’t? Regret. And for that I’m supremely thankful.

Was it uncomfortable? Better believe it. Was it awkward? Damn straight. You try and make new friends when you’re 36 and completely out of your element and tell me how easy it is. “Putting yourself out there” is a term I now understand. Completely. But then again, I’ve met some pretty amazing people and I’m working on building those friendships. It can be done.

Work was it’s own story. There were highs and a whole lot of lows. I haven’t felt like such a rookie since I was 18 and looking for work. Things were just so different. Not bad, just different. I’m good at what I do so there were a lot of assumptions that I understood how this particular company worked. Talk about awkward. I was screwing things up and didn’t realize it. And I didn’t understand how much more mental strength I needed to lead a bigger team – how much more time it would take. On the flip side? It was so worth it. I have a great group of people who work hard and try their best. They rise to the occasion when I ask them to. They let me know in little ways how they appreciate things. It’s pretty rewarding.

Then there were people who didn’t understand me and didn’t try to. There were people stabbing me in the back. And I didn’t exactly know how to handle that. But I figured it out. And the truth eventually came out. It always does.

But again – I don’t regret a single thing from this past year. You want to know why? I wouldn’t trade the growth and the experience I gained for the easiest job in the world. I am so looking forward to working this job in 2019 simply because I learned so much and I understand more of how things work here. So take that 2018! All the stress and long hours and awkwardness were worth something.

My personal life was almost the same way. A lot of highs and a lot of lows. There were some Saturdays I never even left the house. Or left the bed for that matter. So many people had told me how brave I was in moving by myself and starting a new life on my own. I just said thanks and moved on. I was so busy doing all those things I never even processed the whole experience. I went out and explored and saw all the sites I could. Until about two months ago. Then the enormity of my situation hit me. I was a mess. Depressed. Stressed out. Home sick. Friend sick. Lost relationships sick. Hated this state. Hated the weather. Hated my job. Hated everything. It was rough and sure as hell wasn’t easy trying to navigate that alone. But, guess what? I found strength and help in unexpected places. And the expected ones – I just needed to reach out for help. Took me a bit but I finally figured it out.

The growth I experienced both personally and professionally over the past year was difficult. But necessary. I do not have a single regret about leaving or starting this life. (Although I miss everyone like hell and it stinks missing out on things. That’s just reality.) Every experience, good or bad, helped shape me more into the person God wants me to be. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

And there were awesome things. Like people coming to visit and exploring this gorgeous state. Like going home for hockey games. And family vacations. And holidays. Sporting events. Concerts. Hikes. Meeting new people. I went to Europe! It was a fantastic year.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that 2018 sucked for a lot of people I know and love. For me, it had its sucky points, but the good outweighed the bad by a long shot. Learn to see when you’re experiencing stress and depression and reach out to someone. It’s a hell of a thing to go at alone. And it will effect your health. Don’t ask me how I know.

If you have a chance to do something that could be life-changing but scares the heck out of you – do it. If it seems like it was a bad idea – hang on for a bit and leave the emotions aside. If it really is bad – turn around. There’s no shame. You won’t have to wonder anymore. But if it is good – really good – then you gambled and won out on your best life. There will be no regrets.

And then you can stand on top of the mountain of all that junk and say “I did it. I’m on top!”

Just trying to go on vacation…

Ever try to leave and go on vacation and there is so much to do beforehand that you don’t even have time to be excited? From getting your house together, to packing, to finishing up a thousand little projects at work before leaving – there is little time to be excited; let alone do research for where you’re going. But the best part? When you’re finally out of the hotel, off the shuttle bus, through security and on your plane – what a feeling of relief. And you have nothing but time to be excited and get ready for your trip.

Even if your plane needs to be de- iced first. Or the jetway is frozen to the door. Life is good!