Take Action or Stop Complaining

RavenRant

Satisfaction. Fulfillment. Happiness. All things we strive for every day. But what makes able to achieve those things?

I proofread an article this week about how we as humans are never satisfied with what we have. We’re too hot, too cold, too fat, too skinny, and the list goes on. We take simple things for granted. We never stop to think things could always be worse. However, there is a flip-side to this: we can do things to make ourselves more satisfied and happier.

People complain about many things, but I have noticed most complain about their weight and job – two things most of us have total control over. If you’re unhappy with your weight, then eat healthy and exercise. If you’re unhappy at work, then it’s time to look for something else. Simple, right?

I’m not saying it’s easy to lose weight or get another job, but it is easy to take the steps to get there. For example, you can’t write a book without writing the first chapter. You can’t get your driver’s license without learning to drive. Same concept – you have to start somewhere.

Listening to people complain wears on others around them and affects others’ moods. I’m not the happy police, but I will say when I have been unhappy at work, I found another job or applied for one. If I felt out of shape and my clothes were too tight, I cut back sugar and started exercising. If I find myself complaining too much, I stop. I don’t want to hear myself drone on about something, so I know no one else does either. At the end of the day, I know I did my best to resolve the issue instead of complaining about it.

I don’t rant often, but recently change has been all around me. I told a good friend 2014 so far has been the year of change and new beginnings, and we have all been just fine. For the most part, we’ve all been happier, too.

So, why don’t more people take action? Because it’s easier to whine and complain. Change takes balls, and it’s often inconvenient and scary. But it’s often worth it as well.

What actions have you taken to make your life better?

 

Take a Risk: Change Is Good

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen Keller, The Open Door

Life. We go through the same routine, day after day, thinking everything is “normal” and maybe everything will always be this way. Then something changes and opportunity presents itself.

For the last couple months, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of changes that have happened around me. There’s been love, loss, new jobs, life-changing decisions, and lots of emotions. And for the most part, positivity and excitement overflowed us. It has been one of the longest roller coasters I’ve been on in my short life.

How did we all get here? We took a risk. We said yes or no. We challenged ourselves. We changed. We chose to live and not just exist.

It was all necessary to get where we are today – even though some of us are terrified – and we are well on our way to becoming better, stronger people. This week, I want to offer some tips on dealing with change, and this post is dedicated to all those amazing people who inspire me!

1. Admit how you feel. Don’t try to push it down or ignore it. It’s okay to be scared, excited, nervous, whatever. You’re human, so you’re probably going to feel all of those at the same time, and it’s okay. Owning your emotions will help you process them.

2. Don’t apologize. You can’t make everyone happy all the time. You’ll be lucky to make a quarter of the people you know happy all the time, so don’t feel bad or apologize for your decisions. I’m not suggesting being insensitive, but if you decide to change jobs for example, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the new opportunity!

3. Decide what you need and stick to it. This is the hardest part for me. Women especially tend to put themselves last because we are caretakers. We also need care. If you want to cry or scream, do it. If you want a drink, have a couple. If you want bread, dig in! Treat yourself how you treat those you love.

4. Dive in. Change can be scary and it’s very easy to get stuck. Refuse to settle and just jump in. It may or may not work out, but at least you tried and know instead of always asking yourself “what if”.

5. Don’t doubt yourself. This one may be the hardest to do. Keep in mind you are strong and can do anything you set your mind to. Seek advice and help from people who love you, and lean on them whenever you need. Don’t worry, you’ll have to return the favor one day.

Try to take a risk today! Even if you buy a lottery ticket for fun, dance while you clean, or call that person you’ve been admiring from afar. Maybe it’s time you check out jobs or take a hike instead of cleaning your house. Whatever it may be, remember you’re the only one holding yourself back!

 

Off the Top of My Head: On Self-Improvement

Off The Top of My Head

There’s a lot of talk this time of year about “resolutions” and self-improvement.  I took a moment to look back at things over the last year to review a big change I made and see if it can help others in a similar situation.

I spent nine years, 2003-2012, giving everything I could to an organization.  Though it was a government organization and not known for productivity, I did pride myself on doing everything I could to be the exception to the stereotype of “lazy government workers.”  I wasn’t alone; there were a lot of us there actually who worked very hard to ensure our overall mission was accomplished.  I always felt doing the job well was more important than minor rewards, and it wasn’t until I began speaking with people who didn’t work where I did that I realized how bad things actually were.  I had been there nearly a decade, was essentially a group leader, volunteered to be a committee chair, accepted lots of extra work and challenges, and had received praise for work I’d done in all aspects of my job…and still made about 25K a year.

My last year there I felt things became clearer.  Maybe I was naïve for a long time, or maybe the environment changed.  I was told a lot of conflicting things about why I could be moved into a semi-supervisory position but not paid for it.  I found out how much money was wasted around the place on silly things like mobile electronic devices, new staff, and PC replacements.  All while people were doing hard work for little money and others did very little work for quite a bit.  I became pretty angry, disillusioned, and disgusted with the place.  I was told, point blank, “We can’t do what we do here without you” only to be immediately told, “You aren’t qualified for any more money,” but I WAS qualified to do the work…just not get paid for it.

I soon realized that maybe I shouldn’t be angry at the place I worked.  Yes, they were taking advantage of hard workers by paying them peanuts, piling them up with work, and telling them they wish they could provide raises…but never doing it.  That all seems like grounds to be angry…but really I was angry with myself.  I complained a LOT about the situation…but never did anything to change it.  So when I had the chance, provided by the all-too-important contact who knows something, to break free and start, day one, making more than 10k a year more than I was at the previous place, I surprised everyone, including myself by taking the chance.  I was nervous. I don’t deal well with change. I didn’t know much about the job, but I was still confident.  I was still me.  I’d still give my all to learn it and do it as well as I could.  And within my first few weeks at the new place, a supervisor from another department came to see a database I built in my spare time that my supervisor mentioned to him.  He came over saying “I was told you made something for us I just had to see…”  No one claimed credit or tried to take possession, they just came by to see how it could be used.  My first evaluation at the new job I was told how much I was appreciated and even rewarded for the work I do.  It CAN happen.

So what was the point of this semi-rant?  I know a LOT of people are where I was in 2012.  They’re stuck in a situation they don’t like but put up with it because it’s what’s “familiar” or easy.  And it is easy. It’s MUCH easier to talk about how you need to change and what you wish was better.  It’s harder to do something about it.  But you CAN do it, and if it’s affecting you to an extent that it intrudes on your life outside of the situation no one can change it but you.  No one owed me anything at my old job.  I allowed it to be what it was.  No one owes me anything at my new job or anywhere else.  Changes occur for those who seek them and stop talking about how they need a change and actually change.

I’ve found it works in all aspects of life.  So the next time you start to think “I hate my job/situation/whatever” stop thinking and start doing something about it.  If someone as riddled with crippling OCDs and neuroses as me can do it, anyone can!

So happy New Year, RevPub readers.  Here’s to a fresh start for those who want it!