Where Brooklyn At?!

BK

As I raced toward the subway station area, occasionally glancing up from my Google Maps, my attention was grasp by a site wondering in my right-side peripheral. It was the Brooklyn Bridge! All of the times I have visited this part of the city and I had never realized how near the bridge was! I pivoted instinctually and gazed at the two sturdy arches stoically standing in the distance. From where I was standing, I predicted it would only be about a 5 minute walk to the bridge. I must take advantage of this opportunity!

My right foot ventured toward the bridge but shortly froze as I realized I might be late for my networking event uptown. I quickly contemplated the opportunity cost for being late to this networking event versus potentially never having the opportunity to walk on the Brooklyn Bridge ever again in my life.

Well, when you put things in this perspective, the response to myself was, in the words of the great Biggie Smalls, “WHERE BROOKLYN AT?!”

Off I went!

With a backpack loaded with my two journals, agenda, computer, peanut butter sandwiches and my rain jacket, I maneuvered through fellow tourists shopping for trinkets and bikers angrily yelling at pedestrians in the designated bike lane. I was determined to reach those two beautiful stone arches and make it to my networking event on time!

My feet began to swell and the thought of turning around lurked as the time neared the start-time of the event uptown. The bridge was much further than it had seemed when looking from the street. Still, determined not to miss out on this brief adventure, I continued, and took in the sights of the entire city in the process. Onward had been Brooklyn, while the sites behind me consisted of the World Trade Center building and the full eastern coast-line of Manhattan. It was gorgeous. I would not have given up this travel for the world.

I finally reached the arches, touched the stone and read the displayed plaque, which narrated the history of the Brooklyn Bridge and its creator, John Roebling. I took in the sites one last time before beginning my trek back to the subway to get to the networking event.

When I finally arrive at the event, I was only 10 minutes late and the presentation had not even started! I thought of all I would have missed out on if I got too caught up in worry about not making it to an event that did not even start on-time. I knew this might have been the only time I would go to the Brooklyn Bridge, potentially, and if I did not go then, I may never go.

We do not know what tomorrow brings, so think about what CAN be saved for tomorrow and what MUST be done today. Enjoy!

6/25/18

Three Things I’m Grateful For:

  1. Pursuing the curricular work/ activities that bring me joy everyday
  2. Having a loving family and friends who I get to talk to and see daily/ weekly
  3. The gorgeous weather we have been having in the Northeast

An Introverted Advantage

Though I have been trying not to hard-define myself as such, I am an “introvert” by nature. What I mean by this is to not allow for “introvert” to be my identity and put me in a box to make me fearful of opportunities I may perceive to exclusively be for “extroverts.” It goes back to the post about “Introverted Networking” (posted 3.23.18). It had been too scary and too out-of-character for me to attend these meetings, I believed, making every reason for why I do not belong there and should not go.

The typical characteristics of an introvert are shy, quiet and uncomfortable around people or crowded settings. Others possessive of these traits are often most comfortable alone or with limited human interaction. Networking events, being the exact opposite of this setting, are deemed to be inherently for extroverts. This is by no means an argument to say organizers of networking events should make gatherings smaller, quieter, or with less social interaction to make the introverted feel comfortable… NEVER! On the other hand, it is rather to say it is the responsibility of the introverted to transform this fear into an opportunity to grow outside their comfort zone.

This is what I will call the introverted advantage. For the extroverted people, who are often more confident in loud, talkative settings, these events might be no big deal. They are comfortable and might even thrive in an environment where they are expected to talk to strangers. However, this lack of discomfort does not allow for them to benefit from a networking event in the way it would an introvert. Perhaps an extrovert’s “uncomfortable” setting is a place where they have to be quiet, alone and isolated from others! Being in this place would, conversely, challenge them to be outside out their comfort zone. For the record, I speak of only the introverted advantage because this is all I personally know. I do not think I am equip to speak for the extroverted advantage, for example, so extroverts comment below! Let me know!

Back to the introverted advantage… As I see it from my experience, there are often more times we will be stuck in uncomfortable conversations, attend awkward parties and have to speak in group settings in a work environment, than there will be opportunities to be alone. For this reason, I find the organic functions of the day-to-day have more opportunities for the introverted to grow! All my life I simply wished I was more outgoing, beating myself up for being awkward in social situations. I was unable to see these events as opportunities, and instead, they were burdens. I can now see that my nature is more of an advantage than a disadvantage. If we are not challenging our own comfort, we are not changing. Once again, I do not encourage anyone to define themselves and label themselves as an introvert or extrovert, morning person or night person, shy or outgoing too rigidly due to the opportunity cost which may come with the inability to recognize discomfort as a chance to grow. On the other hand, let us search for these opportunities to be uncomfortable and get outside our comfort zone.

The Expression of Joy

I have done a lot of thinking about “expressing joy.” In Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability (which I feel I need to give a second listen to), she speaks of expressing JOY and the fulfillment of happiness this brings. She speaks of a story of a man who lives his entire life like everything is just ok, not really getting overly excited or enthused about much. Then one day his wife of 25 years passes away, and he is regretful of never truly expressing the joy he had all of these years of life with her. From the day on, this man vowed to actively express joy every single day. I may have paraphrased that story a bit, but the lesson is conclusive:

Actively express joy for everything in life, big or small.

It is easier said than done mostly because life is so distracting and sometimes we do not truly see a moment as an opportunity for joy, rather, we may just see it as just another ordinary moment.

If you are anything like me, vacations or promotions were always things I was appreciative and grateful for but did not necessarily induce excitement. Perhaps it is due to a modest upbringing or not wanting to come off as arrogant or haughty, but the converse of not expressing joy, is just as poor… We SHOULD be excited and be joyous for these small pleasures in life.

This thoughts has then led to my attempt in better defining “joy,” and also finding a way to intentionally express it every single day.

First, my definition of “joy” is essentially gratitude + excitement.

Gratitude is the expression of things in life that we are appreciative and thankful for but does not necessarily induce that explosive expression of how I (at least) visualize “joy.” The visual that comes to mind when I think of joy is then sun shining, beaming on my back as I skip through a field of daisies, wearing a great big grin. That is the visual I need to live up to in my mind.

So, in order to have that visual come closer to life, the second piece of this definition is then excitement! This is an action we prompt have to prompt for ourselves. We can choose to be excited about those moments in life we are grateful for. Ever hear the old saying, “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic”? It might be a motto you may hear at a Dale Carnegie Public Speaking workshop, but nonetheless, whether in public speaking, business or in life, we act the way we want to feel, more simply. I believe this intentional expression of excitement paired with this appreciation for moments big and small, helps us to feel JOY.

As a matter of practice, every day I do express gratitude but to further express joy, this morning I ask myself a simple question:

What am I excited for today?

Now, for the record, today is an ordinary working money, I do not have anything particularly unique going on, yet still I found moments to be excited about.

  • Excited to go to work.
  • Excited to finish my tasks for my project.
  • Excited to talk to partner about his day later.
  • Excited to go to the gym.
  • Excited to have dinner with my family.
  • Excited to read my book.
  • Excited to have my bean soup for lunch.

It sounds silly but we deserve to be joyous about all facets of life. Otherwise, why bother waking up, right?

Answer this question for yourself today and feel your mood change. I promise. That is joy.

“You’re Interviewing Them As Much As They Are Interviewing You”

This quotation is one I have always carried with me throughout various job interviews over the years. It is a reminder of our worth as well as of the power we possess in making our own decisions.

Currently, I am interviewing with real estate brokerages to find a fit for me. When making the decision to decline or accept a new position, we are forced to reflect back on our values.

What do we consider to be most important to us? Do we believe this company aligns with what is important to us?

“You’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.” I would even slightly disagree with this statement and argue that we are interviewing them MORE than they are interviewing us. A company does not know what we, as an individual, value. How could they? They only know what THEY are looking for a candidate to possess to be qualified for the ROLE.

But do they know that you value a flexible schedule because your daughter has piano lessons every other Wednesday night at 4pm? Do they know that you value mentorship over online teaching because you are better at learning hands-on? Or do they know that you value having a positive working environment over any pay-increase they may offer to you?

No. They don’t. Only you know what your values are and, conversely, a company can only know what their own values are. Interviewing is an opportunity for you to find out whether or not you and a company’s values are aligned. So, back to my point. You are interviewing THEM, first and foremost.

As a pre-interview exercise, I would suggest writing out the values that are important to you. Though money is important, I do encourage you to think of values beyond the monetary. This will hopefully provide a clearer understanding about what you would be looking to hear, see and question for before going into the interview room. .

In considering my current options with this in mind, I have to trust my gut, to a degree, to cue as to whether or not my values are harmonious in this decision. I personally can physically feel angst in my gut when something is not agreeing with me (beyond the hot falafel sauce I had for lunch), so in making this decision, I trust it.

The values I consider most important in making this decision are the following:

  • Support
  • Responsiveness
  • Mentorship
  • Professionalism
  • Growth/ Learning
  • Personal-worth
  • Goal-setting/ ability to fulfill my personal goals

After this reflection, I believe I have made my decision.

The company will take you, but will you take them?