Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don’t become expendable! Pause, reflect, and move confidentially into the direction of your dreams!

If life is moving too fast or too slow, or you are traveling down an uncertain path; hit the pause button.  It’s time to reflect on where you have been, where you are at right now, and where you want to be.  Too many people get stuck in that ‘perpetual rut’ in life.  I have experienced that rut in life a handful of times, so believe me when I say, I understand.  Fortunately, I’ve always found a way to lift myself from the ruts. 
Unfortunately, for most it’s not as easy. You really have to believe in yourself, make sacrifices, take calculated risks, ask for help, and envision where you want to be.  When you’re ready you can begin to create the change you desire.  Instead of just being alive, it’s time to start LIVING!
Are you in an unhappy marriage?  Has your job become mundane and not challenging enough? Have you restarted unhealthy habits, or picked up new ones?  Are you living where you want to be?  Are you as healthy as you want to be?  Is life passing you by, while you sit on the sidelines?  Are you disappointed in some of your life choices?  Are you depressed?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have reason to pause and reflect.
I remember when I had a job in a call center.  I was one of the youngest in the office. I was surrounded by miserable middle aged woman who complained every day about some aspect of their life AND job.  In looking deeper into these women I found that this job and others like it were the only jobs that most have ever had.  They had seniority in the industry and familiarity in their position.  They had achieved something, they built a career.  They were deeply dug into that rut.  For many, with seniority comes an inherent feeling of self-righteousness over those beneath them.  Many of the most senior had also become complacent in their job duties. They felt un-expendable, but were they?
I am not knocking these women; they were doing what they needed to get by and survive, to pay their bills and provide for their families. They were kind bunch that took me under their wings. I learned a lot from them. However, it was a depressing work environment, and I needed a change.  I didn’t want to get stuck in the rut and become a miserable middle aged man, mad at myself for not making the move when I could.  I needed a new challenge and a change of venue.
Fortunately, I had options. I had gone to school, and earned my bachelor’s degree.  I was more employable than the women in the cubicles next to me, who never furthered their education.  I was younger, well spoken, and cleaned up pretty good.  I excelled at my job and received many accolades and awards.  I had confidence in my abilities. I applied for a new job in a different city. To my surprise (as these jobs go very senior) I got the job and left Fort Lauderdale, FL for New York City.
With the economy beginning to tank soon after I took my new position I was worried.  My company began a HUGE layoff.  My job was sparred, but many in that call center I had been working in lost their job. Those who were very senior were in jeopardy, because for the first time the company measured seniority AND performance goals when deciding who to let go.  Some of the most senior individuals of the company were let go.  Mostly some of the self-righteous ones I mentioned above who had become complacent in their job duties.  They were expendable after all.   Though, as time went on, most were hired back into new positions, but at lower pay.  Luckily I got out in the ‘nick of time’.
It took some calculated risk, foresight, believing in myself, and making some sacrifices living in a high cost city, along with a bit of help along the way; but in the end I achieved what I wanted.  I got out of the rut. You can too!

Below are some tips to help you through the process so you can begin LIVING again and moving into the direction of your dreams. 
1)      Assess everything in your life: job, family life, marriage, location, debt, sex life; the list is endless.
2)      Pause and reflect on these aspects and write them all down.
3)      Draw a smiley face or sad face next to all the aspects you have chosen.
4)      Be completely honest with yourself.
5)      Eliminate the smiley faces, and focus on the sad ones. No half smiles! If you have to think too much about it then it gets a sad face.
6)      Identify 2-3 ways you can help to turn the frowns upside down!  
7)      Begin taking action immediately; take no more than a month to try to change the frowns
8)      If after a month you are still sad, it’s time to implement some serious change.
9)       Calculate risk; financial, familial, moving, going back to school, changing careers; what do you have to gain, what do you have to lose?
10)   Make the tough decisions and follow through.

After you have calculated the risk, done some forward thinking, and realized the sacrifices you will undoubtedly need to make; it’s time to take that leap of faith.  Your new life a waits!

Kevin Maloney
Twitter @RiseUpToHIV

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