Thursday, March 26, 2015

Embracing Our Imperfections

I was standing in the FedEx store last week, patiently waiting my turn to be helped. The book nerd in me didn't mind the wait because there was a whole section of business and leadership books right by the checkout stand to keep me occupied in the meantime. This book immediately caught my attention:

I purchased and had read the first few pages before I even made it out the store. You see I am a person of trial and error. I happen to live and believe that some of my very best lessons learned have been through the mistakes I have made. I was excited to know that an author had penned a whole book on 25 other women that seemed to live and believe that very same thing. 

I am only 10 years out of Highschool, but because of the sponge that I naturally am I feel I have learned a great deal through both soaking up the advice of others and my very own first hand experiences. I started work at the ripe age of 10, thanks to the work of my Dad owning his own Sonic Drive In. Child labor was cheap labor...
I kid. 
Also, thanks to Sonic I began managing people at the age of 16. My parents taught me work ethic and how to take pride in your work early on. So even though I have only been in the professional world for about 7 years, I have learned much more well before others may have had the opportunity. 

A few months ago someone laughed at the fact that I tried to use my, then 6 1/2 years, of professional work experience as valid reasoning for a suggestion I was making. I have thought a lot about that moment since then and while I do not pretend to be a seasoned worker by any means I do know that there has been value in those 6 1/2 years along with the 12 years prior. I also know that working in a recruitment role there are certainly some pieces of advice that many could use, especially our young people. So with that I have 3 pieces of advice for anyone planning to enter the workforce, but mostly for my generation of millennials and younger. 

1. Find a company you are proud to work for-In my short time as a productive member of the workforce I have worked for almost 10 different employers, this includes my waitressing jobs in college and beyond. However, this piece of advice comes mostly from my time with the United Way. In that role I was assigned to various employers across the City of Tulsa to solicit money for their annual campaign. I was always able to tell when a company had employees that were proud of their workplace v. a company with employees that were not. Drill the employer when you are job searching. Use the tools on the internet to find out more about the workplace. Don't just settle. Find a place that has values that match up with your own life values and then give them your best. It makes a better place for all! 

2. Take control of your career growth-Too often I see people complacent and making excuses for their complacency. They say they didn't receive enough training or there are no opportunities to grow in their company or their position is boring because they do not have enough to do. One of the best pieces of advice I received from my boss in my first recruitment role was this; "I firmly believe you have to ask for opportunities that you want and are responsible for doing so." I remember when she first told me that, I thought, easy for you to say, but now I totally get it! Quit sitting back and waiting for someone else to drive your career. Ask for opportunity. Seek training. Continue to grow yourself.

3. Work hard-This seems like a no brainer, but I am so incredibly passionate about this one. I can remember when I was 10, 11, 12 years old. I can remember the high schoolers that worked for my dad. I can remember the service that was given. It's different today. I watch my Grandma and my son's 76 year old day care lady work their bum off and I think, gosh, where has that work ethic gone? I'm disappointed in our generation that has put their hand out expecting large salaries and great benefits for very little return. I am disappointed in our generation that thinks because they received a degree in something they deserve a grand title with little accountability. Work hard. Earn your way to that salary. Feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of your day. It's important. And people respect it. 

I'm reading that book right now, Mistakes I Made at Work, and it is completely feeding my soul. What great lessons there are to learn from our elders, from people who have lived a little, who have failed and failed and succeeded and failed again. I have great aspirations for myself and I am living them right now. Each day I aspire to be better than I was yesterday. I have found a career I love working for a company I enjoy so much. A company I am proud to be a part of and I hope to one day have a leadership role in. As for now I just keep soaking in the good stuff, taking control of my own career growth, failing daily, hoping to succeed, and working really hard. It's the best I can do because in the words of Jessica Bacal

"...anyone who wants to innovate, gain recognition, or become a leader will need to take risks and realize that mistakes are inevitable...rather than doubt ourselves, question our worth and view ourselves as improvable projects..embrace the imperfection of humanity."


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Precious Jesus

About a year ago, right before I had Grady actually, our church held a Women's bible study over the lunch hour. It was one hour for 4 weeks that focused around telling your story. Each week we got to listen to the story of one woman and how Jesus had worked in her life. Shortly after that started I shared the second half of my Jesus story. I shared the part after I surrendered my life to Jesus. I shared how that happened and what things had happened in my life since that time. I was planning to return and write the part of my story leading up to finding Jesus....but Grady came 3 weeks early and now here we are a year later! I am not here today to really share that story, but I started thinking about it this week when I was thinking about my relationship with Jesus.

"How do I expect to teach my children about the Bible if I don't know about it?"

"Your children are watching you so closely. What are you showing them? Is it the love of Christ and how to have a deep relationship?"

You see, having Grady has really created quite the conundrum. I want to know Jesus deeply and have a strong relationship with him and demonstrate his love daily. And I want all of these things of course because they are important to me, but they have become even more important now, with Grady. I want all of those same things for him. I want him to know who Jesus was and what Jesus did for him and why we REALLY celebrate Easter. The bunny is cute and all, but come on there is deeper meaning here! I want my relationship to be great because I want his to be even greater! However, being a full time mommy, working full time, being a full time wife, and hardly a part time sister, daughter, friend, church go-er, work outer, and anything else I spend time doing has made things quite difficult in the effort of having an intimate relationship with the creator of the universe. It goes without saying, I have F-A-I-L-E-D.

In the last several months those two questions above that I have heard in separate settings from different people have stuck with me. How do I expect to teach Grady the importance of the bible and him actually believe it when I am not doing it myself? In addition, am I exhibiting the love and actions of Christ on a regular basis so that he knows what that looks like and how to do that? I know he is only 1, but we are already teaching him the ABC's and how to say things like mama and dada. Shouldn't Jesus be in there somewhere?

The basic theme of my Jesus story prior to actually becoming a Christian was that I always felt his presence. From the time I was a small, small child I had a desire to know him. I was curious about him. I went to church because it was interesting to me. And then I came to know him as an adult because I let people talk to me about Him. I just never felt like He wasn't there.

And here is the most PRECIOUS thing about Jesus today

I still haven't felt like He wasn't there. After a year and some change of making, excuse my language, half-ass efforts at a relationship with him. Making excuses like; I am a new mom, new responsibilities, learning the new routine, blah, blah, blah...HE IS STILL THERE.

He is still there. 

He has not abandoned me. He has not shamed me or made me feel less than enough. Even after a full year of hardly throwing a bone his way, he has loved me and accepted me and shown me more grace and mercy than I could ever ask or deserve. Ya'll he is pursuing me! Just as he pursued me my whole life, he is pursuing me still today and is pursuing you too!

I am in awe. As we approach these two weeks before Easter and the celebration of his death and resurrection, think on that. The God of the Universe sent his son to die for you. Then he raised him from the dead so that you could know him and love him forever and ever, amen! He pursued you then and he is pursuing you today. Not out of works does he want a relationship, but simply loving and trusting him with your life. No matter what you have done or will do, He is still there. Fully and completely in love with you.

And as I lay my head to rest tonight I will find peace in that. I will strive for relationship and to do better tomorrow, but tonight I will find rest in knowing I am still enough.