Fix the Broken Things in Our Lives…

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I have an awful habit of not staying on-top of fixing things that are broken in my house and car. I guess it’s because I think I have a higher tolerance for chaos in my life than average (because it doesn’t seem to bother me to leave things but hey maybe it is bothering me in ways I didn’t realize!) and well… I’m lazy. I’ll admit it, i’m so lazy when it comes to some things in my life. I have no care at times for some things.

Last weekend, I took it upon myself to go around my home and car and fix anything I could. Just one day out of the weekend, actually. I did this after months and months of letting things go broken by doing the following steps:

  1. I told myself… no more. I will not live like this.
  2. I put it on my Google calendar that I’d fix things.
  3. I followed through even though I didn’t want to do ANY OF IT. It was a chore. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t grand. It felt like the worst work on the planet. ha!

HOWEVER, AFTER I fixed those broken things last weekend…. I felt accomplishment, I felt joy, and I felt happiness in a way I hadn’t felt for a long time. AND, something else happened…

My other problems in my life that were not physically broken things seemed to feel less like problems and seemed totally more manageable or less of an issue than they were before.

So, I share this because if this can have that kind of power for me, then I think it may for you too.

Maybe we start out small (I love my own advice!…. I totally need to practice what I’m preaching here too. ha!), and we fix just one little broken thing in our lives right away or even better… the minute it’s broken – don’t even let it sit. The effects of fixing that one little thing could quadruple and spill over into fixing more than you’d ever imagined.

Let’s fix the broken things in our lives.

Lessons from my MBA… the kind that are personal and are not taught from a book.

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My MBA taught me that I need an outlet such as writing or communication with someone I trust (often that’s myself or my good friends) to get the best understanding of myself and the situations I’m presented with.

The team-focus in my MBA and all the writing I did for it helped me to see this about myself. I never knew it until my MBA.

It taught me also that I absolutely love reading. I never read for fun until my MBA… it was reading those Harvard Business Review cases that I grew a fond love for reading, ironically. A lot of people laugh at this when I tell them…

They say, “You grew a passion for reading from HBR Articles? – You’re nuts! haha!”

My classes showed me that I am smarter and more reflective than I ever imagined. My self-confidence grew, and I now understand a lot more about myself than I did with my undergraduate degree alone.

I also noticed that I had a lot to contribute to my MBA teams and classes because I typically have ideas and/or input that is different from maybe what everyone else thinks. Or, maybe I am brave enough to say my thoughts whereas others hold in what they feel if it opposes the mainstream thought.

My MBA helped me to find my own voice.

Overall, my MBA helped me dramatically with my own personal growth.

And it’s still and will always be a work-in-progress. This I learned from MBA too… I thought I knew so much more before my MBA.

My MBA humbled me – it let me see the endless things that I didn’t know, and that there’s infinite things to learn in this world.

It was far more than the lessons you learn from a book or being in class. It was a very personal journey.

The Time I was Trying to be and do Everything with Everyone… And Power of Saying “No”.

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It was my junior year of college and I was involved in everything, working a lot, had my first upper level business classes, and decided to live in the freshman dorm hall because it was cheaper. I found I ended up with horrible grades, and I nearly failed one of my classes.

I had a roommate that took over the whole entire room with her never-ending things she had and upstairs neighbors that played music so loud that my dorm room shook. The next semester of my junior year I realized I needed to make some significant changes otherwise I was going to not do so hot in my college career and might go insane!

So, I took away all of the commitments that were serving me no true value or purpose by taking a closer look at what I really wanted and needed. I moved to another dorm room where I had my own room that enforced quiet hours in an upper classmen residence hall.

I could breathe again, and soon my sanity came back.

I realized from all of this that I needed to learn to be more selective with what I did with my time, who I was around, and again that my environment I was in either was demotivating or motivating.

Everything seemed to go to heck that first semester, but it all fell into place again once I made some hard decisions to get back to what I needed.

The High-School Awards Ceremony I never forgot…

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This writing was another reflection exercise I did for one of my MBA Leadership Classes.

This class was so profound for me in my MBA. It helped me to learn sooo much about myself and how my life experiences have affected me and thus in-turn as a leader.

……

It was at an end of the year awards ceremony in high school that I realized I was at the top of my class and I was different.

That year each teacher gave out top three students in their class awards as well as top 10 for each subject. I found out that I was in the top 3 for every one of my classes and top 3 in my entire class. This was in about 9th grade this occurred. I
found that I was 3rd performing in my class at that point.

I didn’t know this until that exact point. I just simply did my work and didn’t care that I was performing well.

It started with a few awards, and then after about 4 trips up to the podium in front of the entire high school I started to realize that this was both eye-opening, but also I felt sad. My classmates soon realized that I was standing up for nearly every award there was given to be a recipient, and they all started guessing that I was going to be called ahead of time. They did this with all of the 3 of us or so that had numerous awards. They seemed upset that we kept getting the awards and they didn’t.

I was picked on afterwards about the awards. They said I didn’t deserve them and that I was just “Miss Smartypants” and that I needed to help them cheat on their homework because I had all of the right answers. Some of the people in my class actually did help them to cheat and they played up the attention while I again got frustrated by everyone and I thought of myself as different for not allowing myself to help my classmates cheat. I offered them the chance for me to teach them, but they didn’t want it. They went to those that would simply give them the answers.

It wasn’t until this awards ceremony and the aftermath that I realized I felt and was different from my classmates in many regards. I went home that night of the awards ceremony with about 10 awards total. I felt sad because I wanted everyone else to be able to feel a sense of achievement and recognition like I had at the ceremony. I felt sad for them that they had to watch me come to the podeum again and again and I felt their pain.

I felt so many emotions for the people out in the crowd watching me again get an award, and what was worse was that to me the awards really didn’t mean anything. To me,
they were paper and I didn’t like the attention that came with getting an award.

I didn’t want everyone to think of me as “Miss Smartypants”.

I wanted them to see past this and look at me as good friend or a caring person.

The Change of Friends in 7th Grade…

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This writing was also a reflection exercise I did for one of my MBA Leadership Classes.

This class was so profound for me in my MBA. It helped me to learn sooo much about myself and how my life experiences have affected me and thus in-turn as a leader.

……

I mostly have been a person to stick with a close set of friends valuing quality over quantity of friendships. When I find someone that I really like to spend time with and talk to, I really hone in a lot of what makes them unique and yet I am able to see their weaknesses.

I had a friend from 3rd grade till 7th grade that was my sole friend. I didn’t see any need to make more friends; she was all I needed for socialization. I did everything with her and I really put a lot of value on our friendship. We were two peas in a pod.

It was great, but over the years as we got older I realized more and more that while she was a great friend she also was discouraging to me and almost held me back from being my best self. I noticed weaknesses in her that I hated over time.

In about the 6th grade, we started to really like the boys…. We would talk about the different men we liked and about our classmates. What I found was that I was actually very brave and curious about everyone while she was shy and talked as though she was afraid of everyone and everything. I was still her friend, but I would suggest we sit with other people at lunch or maybe we could do something that was kind of crazy but could be fun! She resisted. She didn’t want to do anything out of fear for what people would think and she didn’t want to eat lunch with anyone else.

Eventually, I started to feel trapped being her friend even though I clearly could have just went and did the things alone without her. One day it all came to an end, but by my actions. I told her that I was going to eat lunch with my friend I was making in my band class and she was free to come, but I wasn’t going to sit with her anymore and maybe even be her friend. I told her what I thought about her, and she was upset.

We grew apart and I made new friends. Of course, I noticed the same things with my new friends. They were fearful of others and never were curious about other people who they had their negative views of. I wanted to talk to everyone and get to know everyone. I soon felt different and as though my thoughts weren’t appropriate because nobody seemed to be like me.

I showed my bravery and curiosity in other ways though. Sports was one. In sports, I was able to play with multiple of people instead of sticking to the group of friends I was around all of the time. I talked to the preps, the geeks/nerds, the “white trash”…. Everyone! Lol Band was also my outlet. There were in my opinion no social norms in band, I could talk with everyone there about band because we shared that interest. So, I did. I tried to not be distant from anyone in band and I was most myself there than any other place.

Therefore, I found from this experience that I need to feel free and allow my bravery and curiosity to show. I also learned that the environment and again people I’m around has an influence on how I allow myself to be. I find that I cannot be around closed-minded people for too long, otherwise, it internally bothers me or I begin to inhibit their characteristics instead of acting as my true self.

Near Failure of First Grade…

… And the importance of learning that who I am around will either destroy or help me. Realizing how to find a way to create an equilibrium.

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This was a reflection exercise I did for one of my MBA Leadership Classes.

This class was so profound for me in my MBA. It helped me to learn sooo much about myself and how my life experiences have affected me and thus in-turn as a leader.

My first grade teacher noticed that I was different from the rest in the class. I either wanted to be extremely close with everyone or extremely distant, self-absorbed in my own thoughts sitting alone.

My teacher had hair that extended to the bottom of her behind. When she would circle us all up for story time, she took her hair down from a bun and allowed it to be extended in its full capacity. Most of the classmates would play with her hair while she read. They would awe over her long, beautiful hair.

I sat alone away from everyone and watched them. I didn’t say a word. I did touch her hair, but I didn’t want to play with it nor sit with the kids that did. She pointed this out that I wasn’t sitting with the rest of the kids and told me I needed to come close with the rest of the kids and partake in story-time. I listened, but I hated every minute of it to the point that I couldn’t focus on the story being told but rather just the situation at hand. I thought the rest of the kids were weird! Ha!

I grew distant from my teacher and the kids in my class so much that I stopped caring about the lessons being taught by my teacher in class. My teacher, of course, told my mom about my behavior and my teacher suggested I see a physiologist and be enrolled in the special education for my school because maybe my behaviors had something to do with my parents recent divorce or maybe I had a learning disorder.

My behavior just wasn’t appropriate for a 1st grader and I wasn’t doing well in class. My teacher wanted to hold me back a grade because she said I didn’t belong in 2nd grade yet. My mom took my teacher’s advice about having me see a psychologist and I was enrolled in special education.

It was found that I did have a harder time than others with learning, but that with hard work and motivation I learned well with time and actually I picked up on things that other kids didn’t. I wanted to understand, and I was curious about everything. I often asked my special education teacher about how everything worked and I talked about how I felt the rest of the kids were acting weird.

My teacher still wanted to hold me back to repeat 1st grade though. My mom told her and also fought the school principal to negotiate that I be put into 2nd grade still with the stipulation that I show a good performance within so much time and if I didn’t show good performance in 2nd grade then the school could move me back into 1st grade.

Surprisingly, I did outstanding in 2nd grade and continued to be a straight A student from there on. I did so well that they took me out of special education after a while in 2nd grade.

However, there was one difference and my mom noticed it too….. my 2nd grade teacher was a lovely woman that encouraged me to do well and was very nice to me. I still think extremely highly of my 2nd grade teacher.

The impact of this event on my values and direction in life

I learned that I had large control over my success or failure. I can either fail or succeed depending on the environment and my awareness and control of the situations at hand. I can also let things bother me to a point that I become extremely distant and essentially fail if I allow myself. I learned to point out my frustrations with people and situations and distance myself from them or take care of them in a way that can be useful and to my advantage.

Inner Harmony – I learned that I must value inner harmony.

I must have time to reflect and a place to voice or get rid of my frustrations. Otherwise, I may not succeed and I may start to think about things other than what I need to be at that moment to achieve success.

I have to be able to have own self and my thoughts under control about “things going on that I cannot control”, otherwise I cannot do well.

Affiliation – I learned that I need to feel somewhat a part of the group. Respected at the very least.

My 1st grade teacher focused on my weird behavior and always pointed out my weaknesses. Whereas, my 2nd grade teacher showed a sincere appreciation for me as an individual absent of my flaws and when she did talk about my flaws she always talked about what I did that was also good and made me feel very special.

I’ve noticed this even as an adult, and it has been somewhat of an inner battle with my value for independence because I sometimes view the need to be affiliated as a weakness instead of something that helps me find inner peace.

I need to feel a sense of belonging.

I secretly hated that special education took me away from the rest of the class. I wanted to be in the class with everyone else enjoying the Spanish lessons! I always had my special education time when everyone else studied fun Spanish in 2nd grade. I felt awful about it that I never got to learn the Spanish like the rest of the kids. Haha.

Instead I felt like an outsider and a freak.

However, I enjoyed my 2nd grade teacher pointing out what made me an asset making me feel like I belonged in my class and I made a contribution.

I still struggle with this one, I feel as though that I shouldn’t require to feel a belonging. That independence and self-control should take more precedent. So, this is something I’ll need to continue to work on to be an effective leader.

The Mom Files…

My mom’s birthday would have been last Tuesday, May 21st if she were still alive. I pulled a few old pieces of writing I did about her and us in honor of her. Hope you enjoy.

Old Writing #1:

My mother’s death and the value of living life to the fullest and showing a sincere sense of respect and happiness
for those who are meaningful in my life.

“Life is short, live it to the fullest.”

My mom died when I was in my freshman year of college. We didn’t have the best of relationship and we never hugged or showed affection for each other.

She made me hug her before I left for college, and it was the last hug I ever got from my mom while she was in good health. It was a very emotional yet eye opening experience which has shaped my thoughts about life and showing of affection/sharing what someone truly means to you in your life. I never did really until after my mom’s death show affection to anyone nor let them know what they meant to me.

After my mom’s death and to this day, I make it a point to let my friends and those I value know that they mean something to me if they do. I enjoy showing affection to those I most care about.

I also learned that you have to forgive people and move on from things in life a lot more than what I did previous to this life event. I learned that life is short and you must live life the best way possible being appreciative and showing others what they mean to you because they may never know without you saying or showing how you feel.

Old Writing #2:

My Hero – My Mom

My mom is my hero. While we didn’t have a good relationship for many years, now thinking back to how she raised me, never failed to share her harsh opinions and observations, and put up with my bullheaded nature growing up which wouldn’t be easy for nearly anyone – she’s my hero.

She taught me many lessons in life and I still live by many of them. She had perseverance to put up with a child like me that questioned everything and was extremely curious and always standing my ground with my opinions on a wide-range of things that may or may not have been grounded.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wouldn’t be the person I am without her personality of speaking back to me in opposition to what I thought, making me question my thoughts and beliefs even though I became frustrated many of times.

All along she believed in me and the success I could have in life. She was the one that motivated me and pushed me to get things done and never give up when I wanted to stop.

She was my punching bag but also my rock. I needed her more than I ever wanted to let onto, and when I lost her in my freshman year of college I realized so much. My mom is my hero.

However, it’s too bad I never realized this until she died because I would have liked to have seen her in this light while she was alive and I could tell her.