I ran into an acquaintance at the gym today, who for the sake of this article, I'll name Wren. Wren and I aren't 'besties', and maybe using the friend might feel too deep.
But there are many people like Wren who I've encountered in my life. We've done social events together and we've had conversations in group settings but we've never engaged really one-on-one.
So Wren hugs me, asks me how I've been and of course I give her a bible-length explanation of what's going on with my radio shenanigans. Wren squeals with excitement and has me blushing with all the kind things she says.
So then I ask, "you're a senior right" and she nods, kind of apprehensively. Wren proceeds to tell me how upset she is and stressed out, especially because she's still in the process of applying for higher education.
The first thing I told Wren is that "successful people succeed no matter what". And it's true!
My colleague Rebecca once told me that she sat in on a meeting with an college department who asked professionals (of which Rebecca is) about what students are lacking. She said that the entire table mentioned that 'successful people are going to do well, fight for what they want and land the jobs they want'.
I have to admit in my own moments of doubt, I didn't think I could get to the places where I am today. Doubt is an important weapon for successful people. Doubt stops you from being cocky, it reaffirms why you want something and makes you question whether you're doing enough to reach your goals.
It's hard to be a successful person in today's society. With the many disadvantages some are geared with and the privileges that others receive, Other times, series of failures may seem like a setback (see my previous post about 'three strikeouts'). But there's plenty of people who continue to succeed with their goals, no matter what they are.
So if you don't consider yourself successful, then start creating some successes! Bake a batch of delicious cookies, start a small garden, clean your house, apply for some new jobs, have a meaningful conversation with a friend.
Not every success needs to be a million dollar check. But not to be corny, but any kind of success is going to feel like a thousand bucks.
I recently was dealt with a few minor blows which can best be summarized as three strikeouts.
We all know what happens during a singular strikeout: the team's fanbase becomes rather upset, the music kind of fades out, people stop drinking their beer to angrily say something about the strikeout (whether it be their own batter or the other team's pitcher). It's a moment of defeat, but only a moment. A strikeout doesn't mean it's game over (unless you had two outs), but it's still a rather sour experience. You'd rather get on a base or at least hit the ball. But instead...well, you let the other team get the better of you.
But three strikeouts in a row? It's not impossible, but when it happens it feels like the baseball has hit you in the gut. You didn't even a chance to touch a base. Instead you got sent back to the dugout three times in a row.
Can you imagine what the audience feels now? Upset becomes fury or sadness, the second without beer becomes a minute as you can't even move your hand to raise a glass to your lips. The angry comment becomes a rant, the rant becomes a thesis and that moment becomes a hard obstacle to overcome.
For me, my three strikeouts made me rather ticked. And I'd rather be ticked then sad, because at least I channel my anger into energy. It's easier to siphon anger then it is to recharge sadness (at least for me!). And while I was on the phone with my friend, ranting about how the pitches were terrible and how the referee needed glasses, I came to the realization that there will be a new inning.
In a game of baseball there's usually a minute or two (or a commercial break) before the next inning (and for the sake of this metaphor, the game never ends and the other team doesn't get to bat). You get time to be upset, you get time to kick over a bucket of chips and toss a cold one out for the baseballs your team missed. But by gone, you can't let those three strikeouts get to you. You can't let that change the flow of your game. Because whether you want to admit it or not, more baseballs are going to be tossed at you and you're gonna have to swing, and hopefully land on base.
So what's next for the strikeout king? Well, I'll enjoy my commercial break writing blogs and whatever else comes across my desk. Then I'll put the helmet back on, spit out some gum and take my place at home.
I was looking at Indeed.com and seeing what jobs are out there in Cleveland (It's something I recommend everyone in the professional world does, even if you're not actively looking for a job. You never know what you might find for yourself, friends and family).
While looking at jobs, I find myself in one of these categories:
Not Interested At All: It's as clear as a clear crystalline prism that shining a bunch of light: I'm not interested.
Interested, but underwhelmed at the financial compensation: I consider myself a la Paris Hilton or Tiffany 'New York' Pollard where I'm up to try new experiences and jobs, but only at the right prices.
Interested, but totally under-confident: We've all been there, it's a great job but it's asking for 40 years of experience, 2 degrees, and skill-sets and previous project experience you can only dream of having.
These second two are where it's rough: we don't want to be underpaid and we want to be challenged. But it sometimes seems like we're missing out on the best opportunities. Why can't the job pay a couple bucks more? Why can't the job be an 'assistant' or more of an entry job (don't get me started on the entry jobs that demand advanced experience!)?
So how do you find the right opportunities in the job hunt? But not only the job market, how do you find the best opportunities in your personal life, your romantic life, heck, every part of your life?
Keep At It: My good friend Monica once told me that she had to apply for over a hundred jobs in a small period of time in order to get perhaps eight-ten interviews, three-five second round interviews and before finding her perfect job following graduation.
When Monica told me this, I kind of grit my teeth. A hundred applications? A hundred cover letters? A hundred times signing the government forms where I don't claim to be a veteran and explain that I'm a white caucasian? Sounds like a lot of work.
And it is, and not to be Debbie Downer, but you're going to put in a lot of work for interviews and phone-calls that you might not get. But this tip worked out for Monica: she's in Europe, paid for by the company I should add.
Find Out What You Don't Want: While finding out what you love is super important, discovering what you don't want is even stronger! Let's say your name is Maggie Marie (I don't even know where that name came from) and you think you might want to work in the sports industry. Well, a job opens up as an assistant coach for a little league team! Maggie Marie takes the opportunity and gets hired but finds out that she doesn't like kids and wants a more administrative role then a coaching role.
Or in Ricky River's position (clearly I'm going for a Rocky River inspired name here), he thinks he needs to date someone within his general profession. Ricky River starts dating someone who has the same job as he does and finds out that such a relationship won't work.
Being able to say 'I don't want that' is so helpful in sifting through opportunities.
Being Open: Perhaps the most important is being open to an opportunity that presents itself to you. Open in the sense of considering and investigating the opportunity properly instead of writing it off. For example, Maggie Marie (she's back baby), comes across a job that doesn't seem to be what she wants but decides to at least apply. During the interview she finds out that the job description forgot doesn't properly explain the position well and decides she's heavily interested in the position.
On the other hand, Ricky River doesn't think he'd be interested in introverts because he's such an extrovert. But he goes on dates to find that maybe he's better off being with an introvert.
To give you some more ideas, I jotted down a few of my experiences with opportunities:
Friends: A good chunk of my friendships happened randomly honestly. Casual friends or colleagues recommended grabbing drinks or appetizers and then real friendships and connections formed. I've made friends at the gym, while recruiting for my fraternity and even walking on the street.
This Cool New Job: I saw the post for this cool part time job but thought it might be a scam. But the job kept coming up so I decided to apply for it. Not only has this job been an excellent opportunity, I'm super happy and love my new colleagues.
This Blog: I've actually really gotten into this opportunity. And this opportunity came from the whispers of folks who said I'd be good at it. So, opportunities can be right in front of you for the longest time before you decide to take hold and see what happens.
I should start this off that my alter egos are a FUN story, and not me showing signs of psychosis. I guess these are better characters or nicknames but alter egos make it sound slicker, right?
Reebs (Origin: high school, from the students) Arguably the first alter ego, Reebs is the competitive one, the atheltic one, the one who wants to toss the football around and then trash-talks the opposite team. He's the loud one, the defensive one, the one who can't be wrong and yet there's something lovable about this psuedo-jock who clearly made the JV team but quit, claiming he was 'too good' even though he was third string.
Hribstar (Origin: high school, from friends): Hribstar is the pop star, the creative soul who is always churning out material for the masses. Hribstar is ready for the people, a pleasant obnoxious that boosts people up. Hribstar is a visual learner and a rather visual person, offering up eye-candy. Perhaps his only downfall is that he's pretty busy and sometimes forgets to attend to his friends.
Father Time (Origin: a student government meeting in college): Father Time appears to make time, doing the impossible in a short amount of time. He's introspective, quieter, peaceful and calm. He'd probably wear a mister-peanut monocle and carry a cane. He bends time on the regular and has excellent advice. Perhaps the only thing on the weary with Father Time is that he's a bit intimidating and on the wrong days, a bit stand-offish.
Matilda (Origin: my roommate didn't want to tell her mother she was living with dudes, so her name for her mother was Matilda): Matilda is a social justice warrior who enjoys excellent coffee, bookstores and intellectual conversations. Matilda is bold, brash and ready for action, words are the claws and facts are the talons. If Matilda had the time, there would be more composting, more gardening and definitely more speeches (definitely the weakness of Matilda, pretty much the equivalent of Kyle from South Park: speeches and social justice everywhere!).
Todd (Origin: a forty year old woman at the local Irish pub gave me this nickname): Todd's a professional kind person who would go out of his way to make sure you were taken care of. Need a favor, need a hand? Todd is here. Todd's the perfect gentlemen, he's a romantic and ready to treat you right. Heck, he's perfect for the parents. Todd's major flaw though is that he's kind of...well, spiceless. The other four alter egos thankfully help him out.
One door closes and another door opens; the phrase is practically biblical advice passed down to encourage people that failure or the unexpected isn't negative or finite. Rather it's the start of a new beginning or journey.
But I've kind of adapted this classic line and gave it a Hribar spin: one door closes and a window opens instead.
First off, how many doors can a house really have? Especially if we're only going to consider doors which open outside the house in the first place. Let's be real, if we are closing and opening doors within the house, then we're really not changing or evolving. We're choosing similar patterns of behavior, repeating and perhaps redressing like that plastic table that doesn't really work but we use it anyway because you need a table for beer pong.
Windows take the house's perimeter and mesh it with the world around the house. There's always plenty of windows in a house, each facing a different direction and perhaps a different environment. Unlike some doors, windows are forced to see change (the change in weather, the change in the community, the change of view).
There's also something rather committal about going through a door. The 'door/door' metaphor implies that you're walking through this new door as if every opportunity that walks up to you is going to click or stick. But in reality, somethings what we need in life is the idea of an opportunity (e.g., I like the idea of Chinese takeout, but maybe I'll pick up Chipotle instead). Granted, life is a bit more then food (OR IS IT?), but sometimes we need to know what we don't want to do in order to know what we want to do. If we 'walked through every opportunity' then we might be wasting time through projects or prospects that don't appeal to us.
But with windows, it's different. You don't even have to open a window to see what's going on outside the window. You can open the window, but you can just stand there by the open window. Heck, you can be creative and peak your head out of the window, all from the comfort of your own house. Maybe you're just not ready for the door, maybe you're not ready to walk. Maybe you just want to see what's out there first.
I give the advice of 'a door closes and a window opens' because it throws people off (I remember using the advice on my own mother who contemplated the thought in a gas station, Thelma and Louise style). People don't expect a window to be in the classic metaphor. But it points to the fact that life isn't predictable. You may want a door but life might hand you a window. But let's face it: we've all climbed through a window and used it as a door.
So this blog is my version of opening a window.
Many people have suggested that I start a blog, but it wasn't something I heavily considered. But now I'm here, slowly pouring my husky frame through the window. A door closes, a window opens, and a twenty-something adventurous creative guy falls out of it.
I keep saying "I write" but don't share anything. So here we go, let's share.