The feeling came to me when it was too late to turn back.
My husband and I were moving across the country from St. Louis to Austin, Texas. My husband was going to attend graduate school. I was excited about the change and what it meant for the both of us. As we drove to our new home, I stared at the passing fields, farm houses, and small towns, and suddenly became very anxious and sad.
It was feeling that came from deep inside and took my breath away. The feeling surprised me because during the time we prepared for the move, I looked forward to it. Now that we were making the move, I was wondering if we made a mistake.
Any kind of change, whether we choose it or not, includes some loss. What I didn’t realize at the time was the mixed emotions with any change are normal. We can be excited for change and yet still grieve for what we may be losing. While we may realize that the change brings many more benefits to our life, it is the loss of the familiar that can cause grief.
Changes in our work or job responsibilities – whether minor or major – can bring about that same kind of feeling. It’s hard not to feel that the rug is being pulled out from under you when changes occur – especially when you have limited input on the changes. The key is relying on experience – knowing that you can manage any changes in your life or work.
As soon as I arrived in Austin, I was too busy getting settled into a new life to dwell too much on what we had left behind. It did take a few months, however, for me to feel that I was finally at home. Ironically, it happened after I had taken a trip back to St. Louis for a holiday visit with family. I enjoyed visiting family, but arriving back in Austin after the trip, I felt like I was home. It was then I knew I had accepted the change.
Since that move many years ago, we’ve moved twice and, again, it was across a few states. I can truly say I’ve handled those changes a little better with experience. What I learned is that although I could have turned back, it really wasn’t an option – not if I wanted to move forward.
I found some papers from college the other day when I was doing some long-overdue cleaning. Just glancing at the papers took me back to my college days and to one class in particular – Shakespeare Literature 101.It was a class that changed my life. Not only did the professor teach those of us in the class about Shakespeare – he taught us to appreciate great literature.
Whether it’s one class or the entire experience, college is life-changing for most students. But for that experience to have any meaning, it must be an opportunity for further growth. Here are three things all recent college graduates should be doing now:
Keep learning. When you’re finished with college, it’s tempting to sell or throw away all your textbooks in a symbolic “that’s the end of that!” gesture. In reality, the end of college is just the beginning. It’s now time to use what you learned in college to continue your intellectual growth. What you learned in college sets the stage for you to learn more. Whether you get rid or your textbooks or not, seek out opportunities to grow by continuing to read, pursue hobbies, or apply what you’ve learned.
Take charge of your life. Whether you’ve been taking care of everything for a few years or you’ve had someone else taking care of things like finances or paperwork (Mom? Dad?), now’s the time to handle these things for yourself. Establish a habit of filing important paperwork, like insurance, taxes, etc. If the filing system is electronic, make sure it is secure and you have a backup copy. And while you’re at it, establish a budget and plan for all upcoming expenses, like rent, food, and student loan payments.
Be grateful.If you’ve graduated, you may feel you’ve paid your dues. But even if you worked hard and/or paid for your own college education, there are still people who helped you out along the way. Take time to write personal thank you notes to relatives, friends, or professors who helped you. As you move into your career, keep up the habit of writing thank you notes to show your appreciation to anyone who has helped you.
College is a coming of age experience in many ways. With that experience, we come to understand that there is always more to learn; good habits will serve us well; and others have helped us achieve our accomplishments.
I didn’t learn everything about Shakespeare in that college class. Instead the professor inspired his students to seek out more Shakespeare and to be open to new opportunities to grow in understanding.
“Nice guys finish first. If you don't know that, then you don't know where the finish line is.” - Garry Shandling
When the comedian Garry Shandling passed away recently. the outpouring of fond remembrances was overwhelming. Other comedians expressed sadness at his passing and spoke how Shandling helped them in some way.
The cynic might think that everyone was just following the old adage to never speak ill of the dead. However, in this day and age, there’s usually someone ready to criticize.
Based on looking at just a few of the comments about Shandling, you didn’t have to know him personally to realize that he must have been a nice man – not just to his family and close friends but to others who worked along with him in the entertainment industry. And to me that is the key. He wasn’t just nice to those closest to him, it seems that he was nice to everyone – even those that may have been seen as his competition.
I’ve had the good fortune to work with a lot of people at all levels of organizations throughout my career, and the ones I’ve admired the most are the nice ones. They recognize that being nice isn’t just something they reserve for their family and close friends – that being nice it is an integral part of their work and their business. They don’t speak ill of their competitors, they recognize that their employees or co-workers have personal lives, and they know that any success from cheating is short-lived.
The truly nice people in our personal and work lives aren’t nice because it’s a tactical action to achieve some strategic objective of success.
They are nice because that’s how they want to live their life. And that is the way we will remember them.
We want to work for companies we trust, we want to work with people we trust, we want friends we can trust, and we want to elect candidates we trust.
If we all agree on the importance of trust, why does there seem to be so little of it?
There’s probably a lot of reasons. We’ve probably all had a personal experience in which we lost trust in someone – a broken promise of some kind. And there are numerous examples of politicians, entertainers, or sports figures who have failed, through their actions, to maintain our trust.
It’s easy to get cynical and feel there’s no one we can trust, but do we want to live our lives that way?
Several years ago, I spoke at a conference about telecommuting. It was a fairly new concept at the time, and I had a manager ask me how I could trust that the employee working remotely was doing the job. Honestly, I replied, if I can’t trust that employee, he or she shouldn’t be working for our organization at all.
An organization has the ability to establish a culture of trust. As individuals, we can set examples by keeping our word and honoring our commitments.
After all, isn’t that the kind of person our employers, co-workers and friends want us to be?
"What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?" -- quote from the movie, "Groundhog Day"
If you are a big fan of the movie "Groundhog Day," then you know (spoiler alert!), that what you do does matter. In fact, the movie is about the ultimate do over – having time to become a better person.
Although it's the day after Groundhog Day, maybe it's a good time to think about those New Year’s resolutions. How do you want to become a better person in the next year?