Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Biggest Successes and Mistakes: Read This and Save Yourself Time

Biggest Successes:

1. I was 24 and had been a government reporter for three years. All my life, I'd dreamed of going to New York City. To jump from small-town reporting to financial writing in the city was one of the scariest moves of my life. At the time, I had a love interest who was looking for a woman who wanted to settle down, get married, and have kids. I chose my heart. I chose New York City and making my own way. Occasionally, I see him: He's married with kids. It's the life I could've had, but I would've always regretted pursuing my dream.

2. The workforce can be a tough place: Very few people in corporate America are transparent. In two instances, I've paid professionally for upholding something morally important to me. I won't climb at others' expenses or by neglecting my own sense of what's right. Has it cost me some rungs on the professional ladder? Possibly. But I sleep soundly at night.

3. My closest friends are people I trust infinitely: I know they are good, kind, caring, honest people to the core. They've seen me at my worst and still loved me as I am. My best definition of a good friendship (or relationship of any kind) is you're more of yourself with that person. If you don't feel that way - if you cloud your persona to impress or keep the other person happy - move on and find your tribe.

Biggest Failures:

1. I once listened to the suicidal tune "One Last Cry" endlessly over a guy I thought was the one for me. I wallowed in regret and a sense of the one that got away. Fast forward five years: I see him at a club and he has no idea who I am. Fast forward fifteen years and he's gone through one marriage (which ended in him cheating on his wife) and now has a horrible reputation for being an overgrown womanizer. I could've spared myself a ton of time and energy by not wallowing. Move on sooner. If it didn't happen, there was probably good reason.

2. I once read a quote by someone who had succeeded in every area pursued but felt like a failure anyway: The reason was she had never pursued her passion. Every success elsewhere inherently felt like a failure because it wasn't what she wanted. My true nature is creative: My truest passion is writing. I turned away from it for logical reasons: It wasn't "sure enough;" it wouldn't pay the bills; the economy was crashing and the arts are the first to go.. I've had successes in other pursuits, but that gnawing sense of failure lingers when I ignored what I really loved.

3. I stayed too long. If you're in any kind of an unhealthy situation, the only thing to do is figure out how to get yourself out. Years ago, we had a cat who adopted us. Her home was terrible (we later learned). So she just instinctively found the biggest pet lovers within a five mile radius and moved herself in. Well, it became an ugly fight with the original owner. To acquiesce, we refused to let the cat in, feed her, do anything. What did the cat do? She chose to be homeless: She refused to go home because she didn't feel safe there. One day, she approached me, emaciated and mangy. She stared at me and let out a cry demanding help. All I could think was, Wow, you're smart. Not smart in the intellectual sense; smart in the intuitive sense. She ran on instincts and trusted them. I helped her. Follow your own more.

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