Archive | July, 2014

How to Argue… Productively (and what not to do)

22 Jul

A short two years in and we were at a turning point. Do the “Terrible Two’s” exist in relationships? After a recent argument my man and I had, I was beginning to think they do.

For a few weeks, things were somewhat rocky. With lots of traveling, working and unexpected expenses over the last month, we were irritable to say the least. We questioned our own happiness. The good news? We survived!

Some couples, however, are not as fortunate. They give up. They give in. They let frustration and painful words take over and ruin a potentially good thing.

Though raging outbursts of name-calling and yelling will never lead to a solution, it can sometimes become the path of choice when it comes to arguing. The heat of the moment takes over and next thing you know you’re kicking a whole in the wall.

I’ve learned, however, in our short two years together and our even shorter 9 months of living together, that arguing is a necessity. It is a form of conflict resolution. But, we are all human and sometimes when the opportunity to unleash bottled up emotions presents itself, we jump! However, arguing should be productive. It should reveal information, offer an opportunity to evaluate and communicate and most importantly, create a path for moving forward.

Here’s my advice to have a productive argument:

DO:

Take a moment

Sometimes, you just need a minute. Am I right? If your brain is telling you to pause, it is probably in anticipation of a wild outburst. Take that moment to breath, regain composure and develop a relevant, thoughtful and meaningful response to the matter at hand.

Evaluate the problem(s)

Discuss together what is actually bothering you. This can be a painful process as some things may be brought up that neither of you want to hear. For example, she hates how long your stories are and you’re mad she never listens. Or, he hates the way you kick his shoes out of your way and you’re mad he’s so sloppy. Now this is where things typically get ugly. It feels like an attack, so you immediately come to your own defense. Instead, just listen. Offer the respect of listening and processing the information. Then, when you’re ready, take your turn to vent. Say everything that needs to be said. Everything that you call your girlfriends about to complain. Everything you chug a beer for to wash away.

Communicate your feelings

There is no doubt that bringing up your issues with each other will elicit some serious emotions. Anger, annoyance, embarrassment, to name a few. Just like Nick Miller from New Girl, we don’t all feel comfortable expressing our feelings. It is difficult to express and admit these things – you become vulnerable. Expressing the reality of your feelings however should not be perceived as weakness. It is honesty and trust. The ability to share your emotions and thoughts with each other will strengthen your bond and intimacy.

Agree on how to move forward

Are these fixable problems? Is this worth it? Can we move past this? Ask yourself these questions. What are your personal answers? Then, ask each other and just chat. Take the time to be brutally honest with each other and get on the same page.

DON’T:

Bring up old brawls

“Well you’re the one who _______ last month.” We’ve all heard this, right? Bringing up old brawls is only adding fuel to a blazing fire. It is unnecessary and even dangerous. Old brawls that have no significance in your current argument are useless cheap shots that, when brought up, elicit more frustration and divert the path to resolving the current issue.

Resort to bashing

Attacking one’s character, skill, interests or looks is simply immature and wasteful. It is hurtful and digs the hole much deeper. Bashing is not going to solve the problem and it isn’t going to make anyone feel better. Calling someone a cotton-headed ninny muggins is really just a waste of time and energy. Bashing is a way to even create more problems in your relationship.

 Become passive-aggressive

Making passive-aggressive comments is the absolute worst. There is nothing more annoying, don’t you think? Passive aggressive comments set you up for failure. Its like saying, “I’m mad at you. But I’m not going to tell you I’m mad at you. Instead, I’m going to drop a hint that I’m mad at you and hope that you say something about it. Otherwise, we’ll keep dancing around the problem and I’ll keep being pissy.” How productive is that? Not productive at all. In fact, it is going to further your frustration!

 

There is no secret real secret on how to argue successfully. That’s why I’ve called it productive arguing. I can’t sit here and pretend that my man and I don’t argue. We certainly do our fair share of arguing. The key is to argue in a way that leads to a solution and leaves all parties feeling relieved and ready to move on.

 

How have you and your significant other avoided crazy arguments? What seems to work for you two?

 

 

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Find Your Niche, Find Your Dream – Ending Employment Unhappiness

16 Jul

Imagine a life where you’re living to work. A life where Monday mornings aren’t accompanied with pissed off Facebook statuses and double doses of sugar in your coffee. A life where your personal interests and your learned skill sets collide into something awesome. A bit hard to imagine, right? That’s because we don’t view employment this way. We don’t all expect a job that is soulfully fulfilling because the messages we are sent during high school, college and those horrid entry level years don’t align with what many consider, this imaginary life.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. Despite the messages from Career Services offices nationwide and employment agencies all over, who give resume workshops, urge networking skills and encourage job boards, finding happiness in employment is no easy task. What’s it take? Finding your niche. Finding that one thing that makes you feel invincible and figuring out how to monetize that skill, that interest, that dream.

Sometimes endless messages can make it difficult to realize what you want. It takes time and experience to hone in on what really drives you. Sometimes, it’s as simple is talking it out with someone. The Niche Movement, a movement to help young professionals avoid employment unhappiness, aims to do just that. Kevin O’Connell, founder, dreams of a day when traditional career myths are debunked.

Kevin has spent the last eight years working in college student affairs, personally mentoring more than 200 students on leadership, personal branding, digital identity, communication and more. His experience in higher education has proved to him that academia and student affairs practices are not taking risks. They’re not telling students what they need to hear about life after college.

So with his passion behind The Niche Movement, Kevin’s writing a new book! I’m a sucker for inspirational books. The Niche Movement: New Rules for Finding a Career You Love will change the way we view employment by offering true, inspirational stories along with research and life lessons from real professionals who believe that career services needs to be disrupted. Think inspiration meets career advice meets the silver lining in being a twenty-something.

The book, whose kickstarter campaign launched Tuesday, will amplify this idea that finding your niche will lead to employment happiness and help college students and recent grads harness the experiences they’ve had, the experiences they’re living, the experiences they’re going to have and continue to ask themselves: why am I doing this? How can I get back to what motivates me?

This is huge, huge news for millennials. We are constantly bombarded with messages on how Gen Y folks expect too much. Is it too much to expect a fulfilling job that gives purpose? Is it too much to expect a happy, successful life? Is it too much to expect to not change jobs seventeen times before finding something worth staying? I think not.

Let’s face it, dreading your job, the place where you spend more than half your life, is an issue. It’s a big issue. What’s worse? Dreading your first job fresh out of college ready to take on the world. Society should want this for young professionals.

Take some time to check out The Niche Movement: New Rules for Finding a Career You Love and The Niche Movement. Let’s get this great idea the traction and attention it deserves. It’s a powerful idea, don’t you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Kickstarter.Projectimagev3

Defending My Career Philosophy

8 Jul

I believe in employment happiness. I believe in doing work that is purposeful and fulfilling, work that incites satisfaction regularly. I also believe that if the process of obtaining that dream job takes a few unplanned steps or means enduring some not-so-fulfilling roles, so be it. If the promise of a meaningful career is accompanied by some tiring, stressful, developmental years as a young professional feeling out the real world, so be it. If the intimidation and expense of applying for and attending graduate school requires some extra months of thought and deliberation, so be it. This is my career philosophy.

As long as the steps you take are thought out and strategic moves toward the larger picture, there’s no issue. The relationships developed along the way help to build a strong, close-knit network of professionals willing to help as the future unfolds. The knowledge learned, the skills acquired , the experience earned during a “stepping stone job” are all leading toward a bigger, better goal. A dream. An accomplishment. This is my career philosophy.

So when someone recently told me to “wake the hell up” I began questioning my philosophy on life, especially as it pertains to my career path.

“Stop taking on all these little side projects [blogging, PR assistance, community volunteering] you’re doing for free and focus on moving yourself forward,” one said.

Am I not making moves? Is my plan not working? Am I wasting my time? This uncomfortable uneasiness lingered and left a strong feeling of self-doubt and stress. Its not like I’m working full-time in a field I love. Wait actually, I am.

There is this traditional view on how things are supposed to happen. We continue to burden our creative tendencies, our exploratory needs by forcing a timeline on life with these condescending little check boxes that, if remain unchecked, reflect failure. #FailingAtLife

…Why?

When so many others scrapped the book of life, the traditional methods toward obtaining The American Dream: Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg. These people are successful. They are revered. They are influential.

That my personal career philosophy, which perhaps doesn’t fit into the plans suggested to me, is coming under so much scrutiny appalls me. My side projects make me happy. They give me purpose. They’ve broadened my network from simply the tristate area to a nationwide network of bloggers, business owners, thought leaders and just all-around cool people.

SO HERE’S MY DEFENSE:

I believe in employment happiness. I believe in doing work that is purposeful and fulfilling, work that incites satisfaction regularly. I also believe that if the process of obtaining that dream job takes a few unplanned steps or means enduring some not-so-fulfilling roles, so be it. If the promise of a meaningful career is accompanied by some tiring, stressful, developmental years as a young professional feeling out the real world, so be it. If the intimidation and expense of applying for and attending graduate school requires some extra months of thought and deliberation, so be it.

This is my career philosophy.

As long as the steps you take are thought out and strategic moves toward the larger picture, there’s no issue. The relationships developed along the way help to build a strong, close-knit network of professionals willing to help as the future unfolds. The knowledge learned, the skills acquired , the experience earned during a “stepping stone job” are all leading toward a bigger, better goal. A dream. An accomplishment.

This is still my career philosophy. 

And if you don’t like it, you can remain chained to your check boxes, because that’s not how I roll.

 

Happy 4th of July!

4 Jul

As a proud Air Force brat and sister, I want to wish all of my lovely followers a safe and happy Fourth of July! It is my favorite holiday.

Take some time to kick off your shoes, grab a cold one, have a seat and enjoy the holiday.

But don’t forget everything that this holiday stands for: independence, freedom, patriotism…and don’t forget to thank our troops for the hard, endless work they do to keep that dream alive.

Happy 4th! Now go watch some fireworks!

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