Grit or Get Off The Pot

im/possible

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by a**holes.”
– William Gibson.

Have you ever shared your life’s grand plan with someone and in an instant your dreams were dashed with negativity? We all encounter discouraging naysayers on our path, but it’s particularly difficult to stay focused in reaching our goals when those closest to us can’t or won’t be our support system along the way. Danielle is experiencing this right now and commented about it on my Facebook page. Here’s her story:

I’ve wanted to become a writer for quite some time. The only problem is my family doesn’t support me in my decision. They say things that really make me feel like I won’t be able to make it. I get tons of support at school with my teachers and I’m grateful for that, but my family makes jokes at my expense that make me feel self conscious for wanting to write. It’s gotten so bad that I don’t think I’ll be able to become a writer anymore. Any advice? 

People who try to talk you down from a dream are usually working from a place of fear. It isn’t necessarily their fault. They might be repeating discouraging words said to them long ago, or they might be too scared in their own life to follow their passion. It’s crucial that you keep this in mind. Remind yourself it’s their insecurity and like a virus, you will catch it if you don’t build up your immunity. Here’s how:

Shut them down.

Tell them to keep their negativity to themselves. If they keep this up you will never dedicate a novel to them. Ne-ver!

You could also try giving them a taste of it. Crush their goals and dreams just for fun. See how they like it. Infect them with their own negativity. Then (wait for it…) write a short story about it. Everything you experience—better or worse—is material. At the very least take notes on their behavior. The sound of their voices when they judge. Their facial expressions. The sound of their laughter. Show them, with your writing, how antagonistic they are.

Become Boobs. Now Find Your Bra.
Like a pair of boobs you need support. So go find a few bras. By this I mean people who support you. Share your writing with the teachers who believe in you. Join or start a writing club. Become an online member of a writing community. Read about writers. Read about writing. Surround yourself with other people who share the vision. That’s the bug you want to catch.
goals
Don’t dream it. Do it. 

Right now writing is your dream, but you should make it your reality. Decide upon smaller tasks instead of focusing solely on the final work. Write them down, tack them up on a wall near your desk. Look at those reminder notes every morning and put at least one of them into effect. Maybe that means writing a short story, putting a book of poems together, completing specific writing exercises each week, studying two books on the craft per month. Your family will see you working at achieving your goal and hopefully will respect your vision more and more. Or they won’t. (See: Shut Them Down.)

The most important thing a writer can have—more important that talent, skill, education—is GRIT! Stick with it. Thicken that skin. Shut out the noise. Cliche? Yes. But oh so true.

butler quote

Now go kick some ass.

TTYW,

Lisi

 

 

 

BEST FRIENDS FOR NEVER

Here’s what’s #trending right now in my inbox: BFF break-ups. The silent but deadly kind where you both wake up and are no longer following each other on Instagram. If you are female over the age of nine you know what I’m talking about. This is Kendra’s story:

Hi Lisi! I have a problem, maybe you can help. You always give the best advice. It’s about my best friend, now my ex-best friend. We met at work two years ago and became best friends fast but then I noticed that she always had a lot of free time and nobody else except me to fill it. She became really needy. Problem is, I have a TON of people in my life, friends I’ve had before her and then I got a boyfriend. I made sure to be available to her as much as I possibly could. She started making friends with another girl and tweeting about stuff “bad friends” do once they have boyfriends. We just started drifting apart fast and I kept hoping she would reach out to me or I would think about texting her just with “Hi” to see where things go, but I remember all the times she’s said mean things to me in the past and I’m not sure I want to go through that again. It really hurts me still and I wish something could be worked out, but now I think I feel resentment towards the whole thing because I don’t know what I did to make her act this way. Help!Love you! Kendra

Clap your hands if you can relate to Kendra’s story. Did you hear that thunder, Kendra? The entire female population is making some noise. This is the romantic-comedy formula for best friends. Girl has girl, girl gets boyfriend, girl loses girl… Cliche at this point.
Here are your options:
1) Go deep, Kendra, and ask yourself the hard question: Do I want this person as a friend?
Be honest with yourself. Do you miss her or the idea of having a best friend who worships you? Is she more trouble than she’s worth and is this “fight” more of a blessing than a curse? Is it a way for you to get rid of someone who brings you down? Aside from your hurt feelings has life been less complicated without her making you feel guilty and responsible for her feelings? If the answer is, “Yes, Lisi. As a matter of fact, I have been feeling better without her in my life because I don’t feel like I’m being punished for having a life.” Then stop here. Consider yourself lucky and continue to surround yourself with people who support you.
When-Rachel-Calls-Out-Monica
If you truly miss her, explore option #2.
2) You need to talk about this like your ancestors did—without screens, in person. Send a cute card. Yep—pen, paper, stamp, postal worker. Tell her you miss her. Tell her what you miss about her. Tell her you’d like to meet and talk about it in 3D. If she doesn’t respond she’s not the friend you thought she was and it’s done. If she does then go for it. Once you’re together take a moment and describe what it must feel like to be her. Tell her how you think she must be feeling about this fight. She will let you know if you’re right. Then ask her to tell you how you must be feeling. This allows both of you to feel this fight from the other person’s point of view. It helps. Trust me. Then ask her if she wants to make this work. If she says yes, put some new rules in place. What does she need to feel secure in your friendship? What do you need to feel unencumbered by her?
BFF
In a best case scenario you will redefine your friendship and come out stronger. Worst case, you’re done. Which means there’s an opening in your shopping cart for someone new and fantastic. Either way, you win.

TTYW,

Lisi

 

MAYDAY

interim blahg

Networking The Room

Last week I mentioned one reader’s comment caught my attention. Here’s what Juliet asked:

Lisi, what is the best way to network? Especially if everyone in the room is richer/more accompished than you are?  I’m about to go off to a fancy college and need to know how!

First, Juliet, you have to know what makes you valuable. To start, get the phrase “everyone in the room is richer/more accomplished than you” out of your noggin because people can sniff out insecurity and it smells like a dude’s locker room. Anyway just because someone is rich doesn’t mean they’re better than you. One of my favorite quotes comes from Dorothy Parker, “If you want to know what God thinks about money, look at the people he gave it to.”  Everyone in the room has value. Before you enter, figure out what yours is. Come from that place.

 If your experience is limited ask smart questions. People love talking about themselves. Ask them what they do, what they love about it, how they got into it… find common ground. “And there I was thinking I had the biggest collection of animal oil paintings. How can I see yours? Do you have a website or facebook page?”

Then follow up. Always follow up.

Make your goal to gather information. This is not the time to pitch yourself. No one wants to feel like they’re being played at a party. They want to feel like they’re fascinating you and that you have no agenda other than being fascinated. But be a detective. Remember names, gather contact information, and leave a good impression (read: limit alcohol, trust me.) Just when you think your brain and bladder are going to explode, excuse yourself and hit the latrine. Lock yourself in a stall and write down everything you remember.  “Sarah just got promoted to VP of Marketing, her favorite part of the job is the free samples she gets from snack companies…”

Then follow up. Always follow up. Sprinkle those details into your correspondence. “Hi Sarah, it’s Juliet. We met at the Olive Garden. We were talking about our love of snack samples and all things marketing. I thought you should know a friend just slipped me a pack of chocolate chip gum. It’s not going to hit shelves until Spring 2016 but if you let me take you to coffee and pick your brain about (some specific marketing thing) I’ll save the last piece for you…”

Before you crash any corporate retreats, start small. Join clubs, ask a stranger where she got her boots, volunteer. Most networking these days happens through friends of friends, family, and social media connections. Start developing those relationships now so you have a base before you’re on the hunt for a job.

Maya Angelou says, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So make people feel good. Then follow up. Always follow up.

networking the room

(start by following up to this post. Let’s see how you do.)

TTYW,

Lisi

Party Animals

What did I do over the holiday, you ask? I hung out with some true party animals. Meet my new friends.

my bunny friend

pup

Too much champagne.

 

bee bee

Okay, okay, one is a dear old friend.

 

weirdo

And one of them is a lie.

Photos aren’t enough proof I can party with the best of them? Here’s some video evidence I’ve still got it, at least over the holiday season.

No Belly is cuter than this Belly.

I’ve read through some of the messages and comments you left while I was away and one got my attention that I’ll be addressing on the blah-g. Juliet asked, what are the best ways to network? Heck if I know but I’ll think about it and get back to you next week.

 

TTYW,

Lisi

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 581 other followers