Tag Archives: advice

sometimes life sucks, and that’s okay

Happy Friday, folks. Things have been crazy busy around here as I get ready to head off to Palm Beach next week. (I am so excited for some vitamin D.) We have a big gala down there on Thursday so I’ve been running around like crazy prepping registration lists, seating charts, gift bags, you name it. Before I head to Florida however, I get to head to PA for the holiday weekend & spend some much needed time with family and friends.

Anyways, onto the inspiration for today’s little blip of a post.

Last night I spoke with someone who’s having a really tough time with all of the things life has thrown at them. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own daily struggles that we may sometimes forget there are others who are fighting battles much bigger than we realize. Reach out to those people & remind them they are not alone and that they are loved.

It’s easy to let those crappy moments, the I’d rather-stay-in-bed-than-face-life days get the better of us. And sometimes, it’s okay to stay in bed a little later, or not feel like tackling the world – because we all have those days & those moments. It’s what makes us human. We can’t always be happy, or see the bright side of things. Sometimes life just sucks. You just can’t let those feelings consume you. You have to accept them, deal with them, and let them pass. I know, easier said than done, right?

Sometimes, when I’m having one of those days, I remind myself how lucky I am to be alive. How so many moving parts had to come together perfectly, just at the right time, to make up what and who I am. That if one teeny tiny piece of the puzzle hadn’t fallen into it’s proper place – I wouldn’t exist. And I wouldn’t be able to sit here and admire the miracles and complexities of life. So if you find yourself having a rough day, remember how the entire universe had to come together just for you to be alive.

life

TGIF everyone. Hope you all have wonderful weekends.

#16. be a guest speaker at an event

Nine months ago I walked across a stage, was handed my diploma and made the transition from student to graduate. In my cap and gown, standing by some of my best friends, we looked at each other and knew everything was going to be different. We were being thrown out of our comfort zones full of Thursday night study sessions and monthly group dinners. No more sitting around tables at student org meetings or finishing the day over a few drinks and laughs.

Some of us had jobs already secured while others were still searching for the perfect one. Some packed up their lives for new adventures while others took a chance and put everything on the line. Although we were all in different places – some hating the jobs they had, others hating not having a job – we all had one thing in common: we missed our comfort zones. The feeling of knowing everyone and everything and the sense of security that came with it.

Nine months out, a lot has changed for all of us. Some have grown within their jobs, others have landed new ones. And while it hasn’t even been a full year and even though we don’t always get it right – we’re finding comfort in the new directions life has taken all of us.

Five awesome ladies doing big things. Took this from Alex's blog!

Five awesome ladies doing big things. Took this from Alex’s blog!

This is why I was beyond excited to speak in front of a PR class full of seniors and be invited to participate in Temple PRSSA’s Young Alumni Panel with four other alums (and friends) who are all doing great things.

I joined PRSSA as a freshman and by senior year I was on the e-board co-chairing the public relations committee. Every year I attended the alumni panel and listened eagerly in the audience as they would talk about the successes each of them found after graduation. I’d soak up every piece of advice they would have to offer about finding mentors or searching for jobs or obtaining the perfect internship. I scribbled it all down in notebook after notebook, hoping that by the time I graduated I would be able to return one day and pay it forward.

As the five of us sat there in front of a packed room full of eager, bright-eyed students, much like myself only a year ago, it was a surreal feeling of both pride and gratitude. We all talked about our involvement while we were at Temple, where our post-graduate journeys have taken us and offered advice on getting involved and making the most out of your college years. I was now the alum sharing her stories of success and hard work, hoping that I would serve as some sort of inspiration to those before me, much like past alumni were for me.

take pride

The experience solidified two things: that while my friends and I joke about being pseudo-adults and not having it all together, we don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit for everything we have accomplished these past nine months and how much we’ve all grown in such a short period of time. And two, that there is nothing more rewarding than being able to give back to an organization that has given so much to you over the years – from networking opportunities, hands-on experience to most importantly – the friendships you create and memories you make.

is there such a thing as a “healthy perfectionist?”

I am a self-confessed perfectionist. I know I’m not alone in this – in fact most of my best friends are Type-A personalities with a little dose of neurosis.

I get worked up when pictures don’t hang perfectly straight. I read and reread things a million times over to make sure punctuation, grammar and spelling are flawless (that’s probably why I work in media relations). I will throw an entire craft project away if there’s a paint smear or a glue dribble. I will have a panic attack if I’m not at least five minutes early to a meeting and if I leave dinner in the oven for just a few too many minutes by accident I will consider the entire thing ruined.

Annoying isn’t it?

Not that I don’t usually push Mike’s buttons with my OCD tendencies – but last night I was extra neurotic and went on a cleaning spree at 11 o’clock at night. You know, when most people are turning in for the night to be well-rested for work the next day.

I started scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning the windows, vacuuming (my neighbors REALLY hate me now), dusting, redecorating, etc. You get the idea.

I spent the next hour cleaning myself into a frenzy and by the time I laid in bed, pleased with my tidy surroundings – my brain began short-circuiting about things I wanted to get done at work today, things I needed to do to prepare for my family’s visit this weekend, ways to be more productive, ways to be more effective… I began mentally writing ten different to-do lists simultaneously and before I knew it, my alarm clock went off and I realized I had barely slept at all.

Instead, I had spent the entire night thinking of ways to be the perfect employee, ways to be the perfect professional, ways to create the perfect career path, how to plan the perfect weekend with my family,  perfect ideas for the wedding.

I think aiming for perfection is both admirable and naive. You aim higher than most, set impressive goals, work incredibly hard – all to get the job done right (well…perfect).

But it’s important to draw a clear line between achieving personal excellence and becoming obsessive-neurotic to the point where we sabotage our own efforts.

I found a great post about this on Life Hack with a list of 8 ways to be healthy perfectionists at work (and even life in general). Here are some of my favorites:

  • Draw a line. We have the 80/20 rule (see #6 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity) where 80% of output can be achieved in 20% of time spent. We can spend all our time getting the 100% in, or we can draw the line where we get majority of the output, and start on a new project. Obsessing over details is draining and tedious, and doesn’t help us accomplish much.
  • Be conscious of trade-offs. When we spend time and energy on something, we deny ourselves from spending the same time and energy on something else. There are tons of things we can do, and we need to be aware of the trade-offs involved, so we can better draw a line (#1).
  • Be okay with making mistakes. Part of the reason why we obsess over our work is because we want it to be mistake-free. However, trying to achieve 100% perfection is highly ineffective. If we’re busy perfecting this thing, we can’t get to other important things. Realize that making mistakes is a trade off we have to embrace. The more we open ourselves to making mistakes, the faster we can get down to learning from them, and the quicker we can grow.
  • Realize our concerns usually amount to nothing. It’s good to plan and prepare, but there comes a time when we should let things roll and deal with problems as they crop up. Being overly preemptive makes us live in an imaginary future vs. in the present. Adopt a “roll with the punches” attitude.

I end with this –

“Some of us (perfectionists, especially) fuss so much over making the ‘right’ choice, but in life, all that’s really needed is to make any’ good’ choice, believe in it, go through with it, and accept the consequences.”
Unknown

one hundred percent

For those of you who hate mushy posts – a word of caution: you may not want to read any further.

When I was a little girl, I probably watched one too many Disney movies and fell in love with the idea of finding my Prince Charming, who would fly me on magic carpet rides and twirl me around in ballrooms while wearing pretty dresses. My idea of love and romance was juvenile (hey – I was only five, give me a break) and I thought it was defined by the number of roses in a bouquet and involved grand gestures of sweeping me off my feet.

Luckily, I’ve done a lot of growing up since then.

This weekend, while Mike was out running an errand, I sat down and talked with my parents who have been married for 26 years. I was sitting at the kitchen counter, swiveling around on the bar stool as I unloaded about wedding stress and financial stress. Mike and I are in the fortunate, yet painful position of experiencing a “growth spurt.” We’ve made leaps and bounds to start new jobs, move to a new city and plan for this next big step in our lives and we’re realizing it’s not always pink and rosy like we had hoped.

I have been looking out for myself and my best interests for years. It’s what we as humans are naturally programmed to do. While talking about the “financial burden” that Mike and I are fighting through and complaining about where “my” money and “my” hard work go, my dad chuckled a bit.

He then said to me, the last time you say “I” will be when you say the words “I do.”

And he’s right. While throughout the years Mike and I have certainly made sacrifices for each other, marriage is the ultimate act of selflessness. It is a vow that you will support that person, both in good times and in bad, for richer or poorer, sickness and in health and through all of the momentary lapses of psychosis in-between.

I recently read a piece on Huffington Post titled, “The Myth of 50-50 Marriage.” It goes on to talk about in order for a marriage or relationship to work, “you can’t spend your time calculating 50 percent in, 50 percent back. …You have to throw away the scorecard and start thinking about what you can do for THEM, not what’s in it for you.”

Here is where I get mushy.

While selflessness is a character trait I try to practice daily, Mike is the quintessential definition of it. He gives me 100% of himself every day and never asks for anything in return.

There are days I forget how incredibly lucky I am to have someone who will clean the apartment on his day off, or will wake up at the crack of dawn to drive me to Philly to spend time with my family. He took on part-time jobs to support me through college and would stay up with me until 2 or 3 in the morning many times as I sluggishly studied for exams and finished papers, even if it meant him being tired at work the next day.

While I was originally going to use this “Wedding Wednesday” post to talk about save the dates and bridesmaids dresses and cute décor – I instead wanted to use it as an opportunity to share how amazing my fiancé is and how lucky I am to get to grow old with him.

He has shown me that “Prince Charming” is real and that love isn’t defined by the grand gestures but the small ones that make each and every day some kind of special.

My endless thanks to you for this, Mike.

and so it begins.

I’m terrible at introductions, so forgive me for the ramblings. After this we can move on to bigger and better things.

I’m Niki – a May 2012 Temple University college graduate (Go Owls!) who just moved to the D.C. area for my first post-grad job as a PR specialist at an animal advocacy non-profit. I live with my goofy yet charming fiance and our two home-wrecking adorable cats, Winston and Sophie. All together, we make quite the dysfunctional family. Somehow – we make it work.

So why the blog? “Because everyone else is doing it.”

Or because as a post-grad who just started a new job, in a new city, preparing for a wedding while living 200 miles away from my closest friends and family…quite frankly I needed somewhere to air my dirty laundry.

But also because I hope that it will be a place where I can share the things I’m learning and the mistakes I’m making… to catalog my own growth, or connect with those who are experiencing the same things.

You see, as a 22-soon-to-be-23-year-old, I am finding myself at an important transition in life. While I’ve essentially been “on my own” since I was 15 and got my first job to support myself, I always had the fortune of having my family to fall back on if I ever really needed anything.

But with my degree in hand, student loan debt up to my ears, working my first full-time job and getting ready to become a Mrs., adulthood has hit me in the face at 80 mph and I’m going through a little bit of whiplash from all the talk of insurance enrollment and 401k plans all while living in a strange new city where I’m tasked with having to establish myself all over again.

On the ride to work this morning, AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” came on the radio. I laughed because I was immediately taken back to my diaper-wearing days, when I’d grab onto my dad’s hairy leg, bobbing and shaking my head like a true 80’s rocker. While I sat at the red light humming through the words, I felt a pang of regret for wishing those days away so fiercely.

As kids, we want so badly to grow up. We rush through the years of playgrounds, middle school cafeterias and high school English classes just so we can officially call ourselves “adults.” When I was little I used to daydream about how cool it was going to be to drive my own car and have my own house so I could see my friends whenever I wanted and not have to worry about my mom yelling at me to pick up my shoes. But now that I’m here, and that I’ve reached the stop I’ve been waiting for, I can’t help but wish I had spent more time with crayons in my hand, covered in dirt, playing with caterpillars and enjoying the little things I so greatly took advantage of.

So this first post is a promise to myself. A promise to not rush through the days wishing for something bigger and better. A promise to take a step back from the 9 to 5 life that I complain about and realize how incredibly lucky I am to have a job when so many don’t. A promise to be kinder and spend more time showing my friends and family how much I love them. A promise to “carpe the diem” that Robin Williams always talked about. And lastly, a promise to fully believe that the best is yet to come.