#UpbeatAuthors: Next Step on the Ladder

I am currently in a strange state of waiting. Or maybe it’s a holding pattern.

I’m facing retirement from my day job within the next five to ten years. Hard to believe the time has come to start thinking about that, but there you have it. Another rung on the ladder of my life. I have taken steps–many–to make this happen comfortably. But I like my day job. I like my co-workers. So I’ll hold out until I’m truly ready to retire.  Or the job is no longer there. That happens, you know. I’ve survived vanishing jobs before. If it should happen again, I’m in better shape. I’m ready for that next rung.

One of my publishers just closed its doors. I had five titles with them. I want to self-publish those books.  Self-publishing is the next rung on my author career ladder. There are steps I need to take to make this happen. More treads to climb. But the outcome will be worth the effort. 

It’s a good feeling to have career plans in place, along with the knowledge that I’m flexible enough to handle whatever comes my way. Too bad the rest of life isn’t as secure.

#UpbeatAuthors: Self Esteem

I just finished reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. In the chapter on self-esteem, the author examines the late 20th century trend to make everyone feel better about themselves about everything: participation awards, trophies, grade inflation, etc.  The mantra was “every single one of us can be exceptional and massively successful.” A whole industry grew up around this theory.

Common sense tells us, “maybe not.” The author observed: “adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults.” He also posits, “A true and accurate measurement of one’s self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves.” If you feel good about yourself, even when you’re messing up everything, you develop a false sense of competency. That is not self-esteem; it’s entitlement.

Not one of us is entitled to anything. We all have room for self-improvement.

Besides: who gets to define success for me? For you?

We can’t all be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. I do not have the skills or inclination to be a brain surgeon, an auto mechanic, or a plumber. Nor am I suited to be an executive. I don’t need the current definition of success. Every day I see people stressed because their self-esteem can’t take not being “the best”,  being on the fast track to…somewhere.  Why? So they can eventually relax and retire? I’m all for relaxing right now, while I can still enjoy it. My self-esteem doesn’t need the false glorification of other people’s opinions and decisions.

My goal at this point in my life is to be content.

  • I don’t want a corporate career. I had one. I had a very cool one. It went away; I moved on.
  • I’ve always wanted to be a published author. Now I am one. While best seller status would be wonderful, it isn’t necessary to make me content.
  • I like my day job. Yes, there are frustrations. Yes, there are things I can do better in it. Each time I master a new aspect of my job, I feel positive about my ability to adapt. Frustrations simply mean I’m human, with human responses.

Self esteem shouldn’t be wrapped up in what you are. There’s an update to an old (offensive) saying: “Too many coaches, not enough players.” To which my self-esteem responds: “Hey! I’ll warm the bench.” That’s not low self-esteem talking. It’s the voice of a woman who’s comfortable with herself and has nothing to prove to anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Fear

Fear can be paralyzing.  Keep you up at night. Be the root cause of illnesses.

Some of my favorite ways of dealing with fear include:

  • Reminding myself I have no control over anything except my emotions and reactions to situations.
  • Journaling–writing out my thoughts about anything has always been a way for me to understand exactly what is going on in my head.
  • Breathing–sometimes a person needs to take a break from everything going on in her head and breathe. Don’t think about anything else except the breathing. This is actually very calming.
  • Count your blessings. I know this sounds hokey, but remembering all the things one has to be grateful for can improve one’s state of mind.

Here’s a list of other suggestions.

 

 

Listening To Your Heart

Human truths aren’t about facts.  The workings of an inner voice depend on our knowing that we do not know. Listening to the heart is a real thing. It is dependent on intuition and subconscious knowledge. Here is a great article on the subject.

The author of the article suggests ten ways to learn to listen to your heart:

  1. Quiet your rational mind
  2. Practice meditation
  3. Go with the flow
  4. Notice the messages from your heart
  5. Trust in your intuition
  6. Don’t disregard the intellect
  7. Get creative
  8. Listen to your body signals
  9. Follow spontaneous and intuitive thoughts
  10. Ask yourself a question and see who answers

There’s some great insight here.

 

Letting Go

We’ve all made fools of ourselves at one time or another. We’ve embarrassed and humiliated ourselves and done things we wish we could either undo or do over. Memories of those moments keep us awake at night, haunting us like the Ghost of Christmas Past haunted Ebenezer Scrooge.

Or we’ve been angry and upset about something that happened to us. We’ve been slighted. Insulted. Ignored. These incidents fester.  Unchecked, they can poison a person’s outlook on everything.

There’s a meme floating around on social media: “Don’t look back; that’s not the way you’re going.”

Great advice. But letting go is easier said that done.

What works for me is writing out my wrath. Putting my pain on paper with a pen. Keeping a journal or a diary or whatever you want to call it lets me vent without annoying other people. I’ve heard other people write things down then burn them. That would work. The point is to get it out. Let it out. Once it’s out, you can let it go.