The challenge of representation

How do you include everyone?

It’s not as simple as black and white although in some cases that might seem like enough. I suppose I’ve learnt and am learning that it’s about having minorities be seen.

Sometimes people make the mistake of being bare minimum. They use a sea of sameness with one person that’s ‘other’ in order to look like they’re being inclusive. In reality they might just be trying to tick a box.

But it’s not always straight forward because when you’re used to only focusing on one type of person, how do you grow away from that authentically?

And then we have to ask the question of what’s authentic anyway and who decides?

I’m online enough to know that everyone is a critic these days and people only need to see a glimpse of something to get the pitchforks ready and call you out.

If a brand went from showing one type of person to a wider variety people will day they’re jumping on the bandwagon or that it’s not enough because what about xyz.

It’s easy to be critical but it’s worth asking yourself if it’s actually helping or if you’re just adding to the noise.

Replicating work life at home

For a lot of people they will have reached a point where they have realised working from home just isn’t the same as being in the office.

Because it isn’t.

You might find yourself less focused, less productive and more distracted, especially if you live with other people.

And so it might be helpful to find ways to replicate how you feel at work in your home.

A few ideas are:

Create a suitable working space – Even if it’s just setting up at the dining table each day. Working from the sofa or your bed isn’t a suitable environment because they’re unlikely to places that you associate with work. Also it’s helpful to create some separation so that when you log off for the day you can move to the sofa to relax or tuck yourself into bed and read.

Get dressed – Not into your work clothes but wear something presentable instead if staying in your pyjamas or wearing a worn out pair of joggers.

Follow your usual routine – Whether that’s starting your day with a cup of tea at your desk, a mid morning snack, going through your inbox for the first 30 minutes of the day, having lunch at 1.30pm, whatever it may be.

It’s just a part of life

Some things are meant to happen but that doesn’t mean they’ll be easy or that they won’t make us sad.

But we often have a way of making these things worse.

We often think that ‘bad’ things or inconvenient things aren’t supposed to happen instead of just acknowledging that they’re apart of life.

Things like heartache, rejection, stress or challenges in life.

I’ve learnt that these situations often end up so much worse because of how we react towards them.

For example you don’t get the job you wanted and you react by thinking that there must be something wrong with you, that it’s hopeless, that you’ll never find a job.

But in reality every human that has ever lived has experienced rejection at some point. People get rejected from jobs all the time because when 10 people are interviewed for one vacancy there can only be one winner.

A good tip is to train yourself to acknowledge these things as a part of life and have a plan for how to manage them. So, maybe the next time you get or feel rejected you can just take it for what it is instead of internalising it.

 

High expectations

Or perhaps the title should read ‘How to be eternally disappointed‘.

I don’t believe in working yourself to the bone (well it’s not for me anyway) however if your expectations are sky high, you might have to.

You can’t sit around passively going through life like a sociological ritualist and expecting the world.

You’ll only end up disappointed.

You can’t be half-hearted either.

You gotta go, go, go with full gusto.

But to avoid burnout you have to be smart about your approach and find ways to be productive and get things done whilst maintaining  your overall well-being.

A few ideas are to have set working times, get at least 7 hours sleep a night and make time to do something relaxing like meditate, get a massage, or go for a walk.

What to do if your manager isn’t helpful

You might feel frustrated but all is not lost.

In a previous post I wrote about job satisfaction and I thought it might be useful to delve into some practical tips. It’s all good and well telling someone what to do but it’s sometimes helpful to tell them how.

So, let’s say you work in an office and your manager is not much help with anything that you need help with. It could be about the work you do or maybe even career progression etc.

What do you do?

It probably gets frustrating but it’s always useful to remember that you always have options.

First up, ask for what you want/need?

Ask confidently, ask a second time.

Don’t be afraid to call people out (politely) when they don’t follow through after assuring you that they’d do xyz.

If you feel like it’s not working, ask someone else.

Chances are even though a manager is their as a main point of call, there’ll be someone else that can help you and someone else that will.

Lastly don’t expect too much from people.

Yes, ask for help when you need it but don’t be reliant on others to drive your ship,¬† they have their own stuff to do too.

Putting it into practice

If you have an idea of what could be done or what is possible, would you be willing to put it into practice?

It’s really easy to talk the talk full of excitement and enthusiasm. But actually doing the things you talk about is a whole other story.

It’s easy to give advice when things are going well or tell other people what to do.

But what about taking your advice first?

Why not actually do the thing before you talk about it?

It’ll add some validation when you later recommend it to others and that might be what they need in order to listen.

3 simple tips for successful daily blogging

Shortcuts might be enticing but you can’t escape doing the work.

Write more than a post a day
You’ll have days when its easier to write so take advantage. I’ve had days where I’ve written a weeks worth of posts which is a stark contrast to the days where writing a single post feels as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree.

Dedicate a set time in your day to write
If you make it part of your routine it’ll find it’s way into your subconscious and then you’re set. My writing time is the journey to and from work. It’s around 90 minutes daily and I find it easier to use that time than make time before or after work to write. Granted I can and often do write at other times in the day but never as consistent as I do on my journey to and from work.

Don’t aim for perfection
You have to put more importance on having something to publish instead of it being perfect. I often refer to this blog as a writing practice because that’s what it is a place for me to practice writing. It isn’t a place for me to be perfect.¬†I understand that perfection is a falsehood. Focusing on trying to make every piece perfect is a waste of time when you can just write something better tomorrow.

That’s all you need to successfully daily blog. There’s no trick to it. Sure, it might he hard to come up with ideas sometimes but the more you do it the easier it gets.

Job satisfaction

Let’s delve into a topic that matters. But first cue the music *plays satisfaction by the rolling stones*.

If someone asked the question of what would make you happier in your current job, what would you say?

If the answer is more money, think again, think about the job itself.

Some possible answers could be:
To be less stressed
Work less hours
To feel more connected to the people you work with
To work on more interesting projects
To learn a software or a new skill
To have a manager that’s helpful
To feel heard
To be recognised for the work you do
To feel valued

Some of these could probably apply to life in general and I’m guessing the same could be said for whatever is on your list too.

A lot of us settle when it comes to what we do for a living then get surprised that we’re unsatisfied.

If you decided to work in healthcare because you were taught it was a good stable job and you got scared into believing that an ‘unstable’ job would be too risky, sure you might grow to like what you do but you also might not.

If you make choices based on the belief that you can’t get the things you actually want, well then you’re probably not going to get them.

Now let’s get back the list and against each point write down what you can do to make them happen. And what you will do if there’s any pushback.

After a month or so you’ll probably notice some changes in how you feel about your job.

If not you can always get a new one.

You don’t have to grin and bear it.

The Monthly Manifesto

For the last few months of 2019 I’ve been creating a manifesto for each month that I read every morning.

It’s sort of like a list of affirmations around a specific theme like opening up more, speaking my truth or letting go. I don’t remember what sparked this idea but it’s something that I’d recommend.

In some ways it’s also like a love letter to myself full of encouragement and self-belief.

The purpose is to give yourself control over how you begin your day and re-affirm the intentions you have for not only the day but your life overall.

When I write my manifesto I ensure that I’m open and in-flow, I think about what I want to focus on for the coming month, what I need to work on or be reminded of and then I just write.

Each manifesto so far has started with the same 2 sentences that sort of set the scene and open up my mind to fully receive the words that follow.

It isn’t any form of magic but I’ve found that when I start my mornings declaring that ‘I am letting go of what no longer serves me and embracing joy’ it becomes embedded into my subconscious. All of a sudden I’m having moments where I’m questioning why I allow certain things in my life and if they are serving me.

I’m an advocate for having practices that help and this is just one of many things that works for me.

The basis of this particular practice is to begin each day by reminding yourself that change is possible.

Lessons in leadership

If I’m ever looking for how to be better at leading, Sinek is the first person I would turn to.

I’ve never read his book ‘Leaders eat last’ but I have heard him talk about leadership and read his daily quotes on leadership. He says and writes some really useful stuff that get you thinking about how you can be better at what you’re aiming to do or how you can do things differently.

but aside from Simon Sinek who is an author and TEDx-er, I also know quite a few people in my personal life that are leaders. By watching them I’ve been able to pick up a lot.

Sometimes we think we need the famous or popular person to teach us how to do things because we fall into putting them on pedestals.

But if you spend time with different people you’ll find you’re surrounded by people you can learn from.