Tag Archive | ambition

Hold myself to higher standards

Discussed in therapy yesterday how when I quit my job 2 years ago and started entry level in a new company I was ashamed of its title “customer service”. I never told anyone that title which was easy since I don’t really talk to anyone anyway. I’m not exactly a facebook blaster or twitterer. I don’t really have a social network to impress. So why the shame?

Now that job was beneath my abilities and pay grade, that is a fact. But that doesn’t explain shame. Frustration, boredom, perhaps at starting over after a decade at the last company. I chose to quit, to make this new start. I left in good standing. So why the shame?

We dove into this feeling and deconstructed some possibilities. In the warped twilight zone world I grew up in as a child, AF raised me to feel ashamed of my mother. He told me she was stupid, fat, ugly, worthless, etc. My mom worked at a fast food place when I was little to earn some extra cash and we made fun of her for that too. I think my backwards career slip has made me feel like my mom, and triggered feelings of shame I used to have for her. It triggers the “SHOULDS”. I should have a better job. I shouldn’t have quit. I am an embarrassment to my family. they must be ashamed of me. So I must be ashamed of myself. This also fits with the “Unrelenting Standards” lifetrap/maladaptive schema.

I am struggling with this right now because I am currently unable to work at all. Typing this post is a huge effort of concentration and nausea as the vertigo of this constant migraine has me. I started a new med: zonegran. It will be a few more weeks of slowly dosing up on that to see if it reduces or removes this state of constant aura I’m stuck in. Good news is the zonegran has lifted my mood! I laugh easily and I’m enjoying silly time with kiddos, thankfully, since they are home for summer now.

Looking forward to first family counseling session in a few days.


Staying put when lost only works in the supermarket

I’m lost. This phrase keeps popping into my head. And then I hear my mom’s voice telling me as a child in the supermarket, if you get lost just stay put and I’ll find you.

I can’t help but think how terrible that advice is for anyone lost in life. If I stay put right now, I will only sink deeper in the rut.

I want to keep moving, anywhere but here, and see where I end up. Because here is not gonna do. I don’t know which way to go. I don’t see the yellow brick road.

You can’t get there from here. I keep hearing that phrase too.

Is it too late? I can’t go back the way I came.

The worst part is I don’t even know what I’m looking for. So each day I keep going, pick a direction, any direction, and see what happens. Will I ever find where I belong? I’ve found many places where I fit in, where I function, where mediocrity rules the day. Blah. I want to find something so important to me that I can’t imagine a day without it.

Right now – nothing really matters.

I Don’t Need a Yellow Brick Road

The Yellow Brick Road's spiral origins in the ...

The Yellow Brick Road’s spiral origins in the 1939 film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized this morning, I don’t need a yellow brick road. I already know which way to go. I may not take the most direct route, but I am absolutely getting closer to where I want to be.

I recently interviewed for a Supervisor position in my current workplace. After much stress and excitement, they called to let me down easy, they are offering the job to another candidate.

Did I lay down and cry? Did I burst into flame? Did I cease to exist? Did I get angry and curse them? No, none of those things. I thanked my manager for letting me know, and then called my friends to arrange a girls night out. That’s right, I have girls now, and I know how to use them. I explained I had a rough week, and needed a beer and a hug, and I got plenty of both!

Why did I turn to my girls and not my husband? Well, he was great, but no one listens like my girls. Hubby was a bit too sympathetic and kept telling me it was OK and he was proud of me for trying. My girls just said, wow, they are stupid not to choose you, and handed me a beer, and turned on a mindless movie. We chatted randomly, made fun of the movie, told stories, and generally did not talk about work at all. It was awesome!

And even though I wanted this position, I was completely shocked at my response. I was relieved. I am not really ready to change my life right now, and adjust to something new. Things are so good, better to keep it this way. But I’m also so glad I went for it, because now I have no regrets. And I had some great discussions with upper management and execs that could help me if other oppotunities come up in the future. Really this is the best scenario.

And now I’m off to the airport, headed to corporate headquarters again for the annual leadership conference. I’m up early, had coffee, and egg/avocado sandwich, read many inspiring blogs, and realized I am not in bed or on the couch. I am moving, and doing. I am living. I am not a failure, not even close. I’m not sure how this happened. And I have not even had one stray thought of canceling my trip. I used to struggle to get out of bed every single day. I used to have the phone in my hand, tempted to call off work, every single day. I can barely remember those thoughts now. I am no longer prisoner to my own negativity and pain.

So with the brains in my head, and the feet in my shoes, I will steer myself in any direction I choose.

Thanks Dr. Seuss, I get it now!

Tough Tamales for You, Now walk the plank, or get out of the kitchen, or something

Walk the plank

Walk the plank (Photo credit: hyper7pro)

Several members of my department are being ‘downsized’ due to ‘restructuring’. I am the lowest level of management in my company and was told by uppermost management to choose 2 out of the 25 wonderful people on my team that they are the lucky winners that get to keep their jobs. The other 23, well, tough tamales for you I guess. Time for you to walk the plank.

I am surprised that I don’t feel worse for the plank walkers. I feel something, but it certainly isn’t stress, or pain, or even much concern. Am I a cold-blooded boss? Not at all. But I guess I am very practical and understand business is business. I also knew it was coming. Our new CEO is a shark. And yes, for the metaphor police, typically sharks don’t make you walk the plank, they just devour you, but see, she is not the one making these decisions either. She is the one we are feeding, to save ourselves. Remember the powerful woman in the custom tailored suit with the crushing hand-grip from my business trip last month?

Here’s why I don’t feel so bad. (Either these reasons are correct, or I can always fall back on the premise that I am actually a bitch, that seems to come up often enough. Although I’d never throw anyone under the bus, I won’t look back if they choose to stay in the road) (yes, another metaphor)

First, my team was made up of all women working part time (some only 10 hours weekly) to supplement whatever other income they had in their family. For most, the husband makes most of the money. For some of the retirees, they did depend on it more. But if anyone was actually surviving on this itty bitty income, then I need to talk to them and get some lessons on frugality.

Second, we are keeping the best of the best, the ones that exude positivity, and always jump in to help when needed. The ones that can produce. the ones that will work round the clock as needed and ask for more, thriving on the thrill of deadlines.

Third, I understand the corporate budget, and what they are doing is replacing 3-5 part time workers with 1 full time. Makes sense.

And finally, projecting our needs in the upcoming months, these plank walkers were not going to get many hours anyway, so better to let them go and find something else.

Oh, another finally, they were all given opportunities to apply to other positions in the company and chose not to apply. They were warned that the company is changing, they were introduced to the shark. They chose not to step up, so instead will be stepping off the plank.

As soon I heard the name of our shark, I googled and researched and climbed the crows nest (back on the ship? what happened to the bus?) to see which direction we were headed, and made sure they knew I wanted to go that way too. Hell, I even steered the ship a little. I like the direction we are headed, and think I have secured a spot in the crew for myself. But I will always have an eye on that shark, because as long as she is in charge, not a one of us is truly safe here. She has also released most of the C-blank-Os, as in we have a new CFO, CTO, CIO, all with credentials too long to list on a business card.

And I guess I feel a little bad that I think our kitchen had too many cooks for our overpriced stew. (seriously, another metaphor? Yes. I think figuratively when nervous and holding onto one train of thought is like holding onto a feather in hurricane. And I’ve had way too many meetings today. Way too many. Beer? Yes. Yes it is Beer ‘o’ Clock. I’ll drink to me keeping my job and not becoming shark bait)

My body won’t listen to my brain

My brain has set up some really doable goals. Lots of little chunks of action to lead to the final goal. My brain is super excited and can’t wait to check something off that list. My body won’t listen.

I am so tired again. Yes, I did stay up too late watching TV. Yes I did pig out with chocolate ice cream AND potato chips. Yes I did sleep in this morning and forget to take a kid to preschool. Yes he did cry. Yes I didn’t get breakfast until lunch time. Yes my preschooler got his own snacks today. Yes I feel a bit guilty, but mostly I just feel tired. Where did this tired come from?

My husband is away this week on business, so everything here is up to me. I don’t feel worried about this, but could it affect me anyway?

I just finished a super stressful go-go-go couple of weeks where I did not get this tired. Did I stop rushing about and now I can’t get going again?

Did I reach some hormonal or chemical low point in this strange cycling depression?

I’m too tired to be frustrated today, that will hit me in a few days when I look back and see all the time I wasted.

It is gorgeous outside and my garden is calling for help. My brain hears the call, but my body won’t answer it.

My oldest wants to work on a school project together with a buddy. She wants me to call and ask the mom if she can go over. I keep staring at the number. It looks all jumbled, and I don’t want to call. My brain says push the buttons, say hello. My body says that is too difficult.

I made 3 pots of coffee today, but only had 2 sips, each full cup gets dumped out as I discover it cold and forgotten. I burned the lunch, somehow distracted while I stood in front of the skillet the whole time. I had set the flame to high.

I feel completely disconnected, like I’m not in this world. Maybe I’m not. Maybe my spirit gets so bored with being  a housewife that it actually takes off occasionally, and leaves me feeling tired and empty. Maybe Brain and body don’t work together unless the spirit is there.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe I’m really just a brain in a jar and I have been unplugged from the matrix. Plug me back in Keanu!

When you can’t trust your Mom, but still love her

My mom. I love her. But I don’t trust her. And I totally don’t understand her. We are not alike. My mom did not hold my hand and guide me to adulthood.

Hold My Hand

Image via Wikipedia

My mom’s only dreams were to be a mom, a housewife. She never wanted to work outside the home and still laments that she has had to do so since the divorce over 20 years ago. Sometimes I think she would prefer to still be with that monster than to have to work each day. She claims to have all kinds of terrible diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, stenosis, heel spurs, bursitis, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, etc. The list goes on and on. She is obese, and does have high blood pressure and arthritis. The rest, I never know for sure. She refuses pain meds, stating she is allergic to them all. She has an excuse for everything that could make her feel better. All she talks about is her current pain level, and if she might stay awake to watch TV tonight.

My mom has never been to therapy. She was married to a psychopath for 26 years, she needs some serious therapy to heal from that. More excuses there, no time/money – she is fine. She is totally not fine. She has so many cognitive distortions, I just check them off while she speaks.

Now I am proud of my mom, for working daily at a crappy minimum wage retail job, and caring for my adult brother with schizophrenia that lives with her. I guess it is all too much for her to have goals and dreams for herself.

But when I share good news with my mom, I am always prepared for her downer response. She is always trying to hold me back, asking why I want to work so hard? Each time I get an offer for a new position or artistic endeavor, she just thinks I should be content to manage the house and shouldn’t take on extra duties “making my life more difficult”. I prefer difficult and exciting to easy and dull.

I love my kids, but if my only duties were to serve them, clean the house, cook the meals, and chauffeur them around – I would quickly sink into despair. My brain needs challenge and novelty to keep me going. I have 3 jobs right now, my main job, and then occasional teaching and performing gigs I take as they arise. I also am a board member (volunteer) for a local non-profit group. These things keep me very busy, on top of my kids ever- growing, busy schedule. And these things make me feel a part of our community, a part of the world. I do my part by bringing and sharing joy.

So I love my mom. I am happy with our current relationship, as I never thought there could be any relationship at all. My dad told me she hated me when I was little, so natural trust was ever there. Then all those years of abuse, my mom never protected me, so the mistrust runs deeply. She is my current cheerleader, even when she cautions me to slow down and rest. She tells me I am amazing and talented, but doing too much. When I feel low and like staying home, she will encourage me to do so. So I listen carefully, but often do not take my mom’s advice. I also feel a bit of jealousy, repeatedly surfacing in those comments. Part of her regrets her life choices, but not a big enough part for her to make any changes.

I love my mom, but I don’t ever want to be like her. I am going to steer my own ship into unchartered waters and then explore unknown worlds. I will not remain safely on the shore or pass up the chance to be the captain. Fear will not hold me back. I don’t know where I am going exactly, but I know my final destination is not my sofa.


Curiosity looks for Ambition

What's out there for you? Go find out!

Curiosity awoke, stretched with a yawn, and then spoke

What is this life that you choose to live?

Don’t you know all the gifts you can give?

What are your goals, what do you need?

There’s a hunger in you that you need to feed

Curiosity grew until this hunger took charge

Now the hunger for life is ever so large

But where is ambition, curiosity asked

Ambition is sleeping, not up to the task

Curiosity is endless, asking why, why, why

Ambition wakes up, perhaps willing to try

Ambition takes baby steps, falls down and wavers

Ambition starts running, strength and freedom it savors

The hunger gets fed, but with each morsel grows stronger

Curiosity and hunger can be denied no longer

Ambition is psyched for the lifelong marathon run

Making dreams come true is so incredibly much fun

—-(C) 2012 ——— by Roots To Blossom