Choices to Make Every Day

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Well guys, today was my first day of work! I know, crazy right? I’m afraid I don’t have any glamorous details to report as I’m still in training, but what I can say is I am learning a ton!

Nervously holding my coffee and my striped folder with some paper and a yellow legal pad in it, I walked through the door today not knowing what to expect. I learned a lot of names, received my new hire packet, and slowly began to feel at ease in a bright room completely opposite of the muggy weather outside.

Facing a job is not like school but there is a lot of the same application. In school, I had to wake up every day prepared to learn something new. This is the same concept only in a slightly different way. Large portions of my job are centered around learning and I have to wake up every day in a mindset ready to learn.

I worked ridiculously hard in school. I killed myself for the grades I received, and there was no denying I earned them. But that verb earn makes all the difference in the world. None of my grades were simply handed to me. I was not entitled to graduate with honors, I had to earn it. The workforce is the same way. One thing I discussed with my mom is how similar this position is to what I did at Allen Samuels. However, the knowledge I already have of the system does not make entitled to anything. This is a fresh plate I am dealing with. I have to earn my position at work and I have to earn it every day.

I have discussed before how I love learning (seriously, I’ll probably be in school for the rest of my life). I now have a chance to learn at work and earn my job, but it is a choice I have to make every day.

So, in the spirit of learning, here’s what I learned today. During the morning meeting, my boss discussed an article titled One Thing Successful People Don’t Make. Know the answer? Excuses.

When we face failure in this life (and we will), it is always important to remember we can overcome. Failure tends come from one of two things – inaction, when we simply don’t do something, or action gone wrong, when we tried something a certain way and it didn’t work. But still, remember we can overcome. I know, I sound like a motivational speaker right now, but these are really important things to remember.

There are four practical applications we discussed along this notion of quitting excuses:

  1. Define your priorities 
    Defining your goal is exactly what it sounds like – know what you want and explore your options to go get it. When you know where you’re going, it becomes easier to align your priorities with your goals. As an added plus, it’s important to remember if you enjoy doing it, you’ll do it. Think exercise, if you hate running you won’t want to do it. One reason I love yoga so much is because I loved dance. Many moves from yoga are derived from ballet, therefore I enjoy it becomes my body remembers the motions from my ballet days.
  2. Do not be short-sited
    Always remember it is the end goal that matters. PR practitioners love to discuss goals versus strategies. Goals are long term while strategies are measurable, or the baby steps you will take to get there. During college my ultimate goal was to graduate, but I used baby steps like moving up a classification or my class ring as ways to motivate me toward that long-term goal. Now? Believe me, my long-term goal is still D.C., but I am currently taking the baby steps to get myself there.
  3. Do not be afraid to fail
    I am sure this is something you have heard your entire life, I know I have. The important thing to remember when you fail is keep learning. It can be discouraging but you have to keep moving forward. In high school, the worst test I ever failed was in Algebra 2. That class kicked my butt. However, as much as my teacher thought I was giving up at times, I wasn’t. I was going to tutoring. I spent hours on hours studying at night, and I did everything I could to keep learning. There were certainly bumps along the way, but come test days I faced those tests (and at times my teacher) head on. Little did I realize my hard-earned C at the end of my Algebra 2 career became what shaped me for constant A’s in pre-calculus my junior year.
  4. Accept responsibility
    When you’re honest with yourself and others, it makes it easier to accept those times you don’t get the results you want. Taking correction, criticism, etc. can be hard, but what I’ve learned is how successful you can become when you simply nod your head, take responsibility, and understand why you’re being corrected. The best leaders I have come across are those who lead by example; these are the people who accept responsibility.

A couple years ago someone told me the quote “No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how much you fall, you are never out of the fight.” (Fun fact: this quote was also used in the movie Lone Survivor) It was exactly what I needed to hear at the time, and it was also what I was thinking about during our morning meeting.

In ending my motivational speech from my first day at work, all I have to say is to keep moving forward. You may not be where you want to be, but you aren’t where you were when you started either. Keep learning, keep earning what you want every day, and stop making excuses. You can overcome.

By the way, y’all are great! Thanks for the many congrats and support on grad school and my job. Who knows what exciting news I could be sharing with y’all next!

P.S. The picture of the top is from my trip to Guatemala in August 2014. I forgot to take pictures today, but hey that looks pretty and motivational, right?

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