Sometimes I get stuck working with the same art medium over and over. I love the feeling of fabric and so I make a lot of things with it. But then I look over at my vision board and I think ok what’s next on my list of goals? Do I want to use the same method I have been doing or do I want to venture out and try something new. Paint is often a medium I turn to get my mind going. I love squishing it, molding it, adding texture to it to make it something else. What’s a new medium for you to try out?
We’ve all been there. It’s a social event where you might know one or two people. You strike up a conversation with the person next to you and the dreaded question appears: “So, what do you do?”
For some people answering that question is quick and simple:
“I’m a nurse.”
“I teach grade 4 kids”
“I’m a communications director for the federal government”
But for some of us, we cringe inside. It isn’t because we have nefarious jobs and we’re worried what the other person will think of us. It’s because it’s hard to explain exactly what we do. Especially if we have day jobs that pay the bills and evening or weekend passions that we work on that feed our minds or passions. Maybe we have multiple jobs to make ends meet, or maybe we’ve recently made the leap to become an entrepreneur.
The first time I noticed myself cringe at the question was my 10-year high school reunion. I had former classmates asking me “So what do you do now?”
After the 10th time I was asked, I exclaimed “Who cares what my job is – tell me about the experiences you’ve had over the past 10 years. What have you built, who have you met, what great conversations have you had, where have you travelled?” Some of my former classmates recoiled because it made them uncomfortable. Talking about jobs was a safe topic that didn’t really let people know anything about you. Some of them jumped right in and we had spirited discussions about great memories they had built over the past 10 years as we turned into adults.
Think about how this applies when you’re job hunting or looking to an employee to your company. We list skills on a resume as keywords with what we do to attract a recruiters attention and we rely on an interview to turn the keywords into relevant experiences. If we only rely on what we do, we often miss who we are in our careers.
Move beyond the question “What do you do?” and more into “Who are you?” and you will find you build stronger interactions and set a great foundation for both professional and personal relationships.
This post was prompted by a recent Facebook status by a friend of mine, Tad Hargrave, who has recently experienced a personal event that left him with new perspectives on the world and inhabitants. I’ll leave him to elaborate on any personal details, but he called out to his friends:
“If you have someone in your life who you know is struggling, it can be hard to know what to do or say. But all you need to do is let them know they’re still in your thoughts. That, even though you’re so busy that you love them and keep wondering how they are. Simple.” (Tad Hargave, January 7, 2014)
I think it’s also important to reach out to the people who don’t share their troubles too. I know that I often don’t share when strife is coming at me. I tend to internalize, brew it & stew it until it boils over out of control and I’m left with a bigger mess to clean up than if I had asked for help. I have been blessed with amazing friends (and my fantastic husband) who ask me how I am and don’t expect or accept a simple “I’m good.” They demand details knowing it’s hard for me to lie or skirt the full story when asked direct questions. Some of these friends I met through our Mercer Collective markets this year – so not a long friendship – but DEEP friendships.
I like doing anonymous things for people I care about and even for people I don’t know well. There are good deeds I have put in place, that some people have never found out it was me that did it for them. Nominations for award recognitions, cards left on their computer keyboard, unsigned postcards mailed to them, handmade gifts found in their bag… When I can’t be anonymous, I pick random people I know and Tea Bomb them. (I send them a collection of loose teas I sell on the side to their house). I assume that because their name popped into my head that something is telling me they are the right person it needs to be sent to at that time.
Just think about friends & family who left us too soon and we had no idea the turmoils they faced prior to their departure. Sometimes we can’t reach them. But, if we all took a moment to recognize those special in our lives, maybe we can be a significant force in their lives.
Doesn’t have to be huge. I also keep sticky notes handy with me – I will write things like “I appreciate you” “I need you in my life” “You make me smile” “When we laugh together, the world slips away” “You are important” and then give them to people, either directly or anonymously by sticking them in a book they are reading, in their open bag or the back of their electronic device. I like thinking they don’t know when the message will get to them, but I always hope it’s the right time.
I’m not putting this out there as a rah rah look at me go. I just wanted to give you some ideas on how you can go out and make small differences in someone’s life. I can guarantee you, I’m actually quite selfish at times and I will admit that I often put my needs before others. But I also find that the more I do these small random acts of kindness, hugs of faith, or handshakes of recognition with my friends & family, the more I include other’s needs in my decision making. I think it’s making me a better person. I’m also keeping Post-It & Sharpie in business with my quests to let others know they are needed, wanted, important, vital and loved.
What do you do or what are you going to do? Have you had someone be there for you – from asking or seemingly random? We have a new year ahead, let’s be there for someone we know in small or big ways!
I am not the biggest fan of the term bullying. Mostly because I think it has become the cool thing to support without anyone actually doing much to solve the issue. Do you think bullying is always about the person being bullied? It has a huge impact because we hear about the negative side effects like poor self-esteem, cutting and suicide. But what about the Bully?
How does one learn that behaviour? How does one assume that behaviour is ok to exhibit? I think we’ll find in most bullies’ baggage a healthy helping of abuse, neglect and being bullied themselves. I really do not think bullying is a natural reaction to a situation. I think it is absolutely learned. Of course, I have no psych background to back that up. Just a feeling I have.
So little bullies grow up to be big bullies. And the bullied maybe grow up to be bullies when they suddenly decide they just aren’t going to take anyone’s crap anymore.
And then we have workplace bullying. Adults intimidating each other to get what – a raise, recognition, work being done for them?I have seen a few scenes of this played out over the years.
A company owner is not achieving the success he had hoped to achieve so he looks at his employees to determine which one is the cause of the problem, despite it most likely being a lack of leadership.
Co-workers who force others to do their work for them, claiming they don’t know how to do the project. If a co-worker says no, it’s reported as not being a part of the team.
Purposely leaving co-workers out on team lunches or coffee breaks.
Saying words like “How can you not figure this procedure out? It’s so easy”
So how do we stop the cycle? Well I don’t know. Happy to hear what others think that’s for sure.