Hi everyone! Every year I make a new goal to focus on, so I thought I would share my 26th goal with you today.
Really quickly before I continue, #BirthMay is my own celebration I’m doing here on my blog for my birthday! I turned 26 on May 12th but will blog every day in the month of May to celebrate!
I have been making yearly goals at my birthday for a few years now, and I thought I had blogged about it before but I can’t recall which post it might have been in. I’ve been blogging for over a year now, this is my 228th post! So it’s hard to keep track after awhile.
I can’t remember my older goals but my year 24th goal was to try new things, as I felt I was too much in my comfort zone. When I turned 25 I was having daily panic attacks, so I decided my goal would be to do more on what makes me happy. (I am planning to write a post that details more on my experience with anxiety later this month, if you’re interested in reading it.)
This year I decided that I needed to to work on speaking up. For me this means a few things.
I’m not sure how to continue on without sounding like this is something I should do already, but I want to be honest and be more direct about it. A few months ago a woman at work (who I don’t know well but I have met and interacted with a few times, enough to know she’s an amazing person) asked for my opinion and I gave it to her. Very simple. When she replied (this was via email) she thanked me for my candor and stated that was one of the qualities she liked best about me. This really shocked me as I hadn’t realized this could be a good thing in such a long time.
That might sound weird but I feel that there is so much censorship that happens around us. Everyone is so worried about upsetting someone or being politically correct. I don’t mean I want to go about insulting people (although I am quite good at it, not going to lie) but I want to feel like I can call out something if I think it’s rude/unfair/etc. and not feel like I’m the bad guy for standing up for what I believe.
I also want to feel more confident when presenting an argument or different opinion. Too often I find myself conforming to what is decided rather than challenging it. This goes against all my instincts because I am a natural leader and according to many, many personality tests, I have a very strong belief that I am always right. Because I am. (Told you.) But instead of voicing this, I just go with what has been decided. While I don’t want to be rude or be closed to other ideas, I do want to present mine and be heard as well as taken seriously.
This leads me into my next point wonderfully. I plan to focus on this goal in two ways. One, I want to become more comfortable with speaking up in the next six months. In the second half of the year I do want to focus on doing it nicely. Yeah, those personality tests also tell me that I tend to scare people off and be very overbearing with my enthusiasm. I’ve been told I’m “intense”. And, since I’m being honest, I’m a woman and that’s a trait that I’m not “supposed to have”. But I suppose that is a story for another day. I will always struggle with conforming to society’s opinion of what I am and am not supposed to be but at the end of the day I do want to be a nice person.
I have a story to share as to why this is important to me. Years ago in college I was elected to be the president of a student organization. I went through two vice presidents that year. The first was quite lazy and I had huge ambitions and dreams for my group. She had actually been the president the year before and hadn’t done a good job at all, so I inherited a group whose active members were close to 0 outside the executive team. Soon after the year started she resigned, having become too overwhelmed with the prospect of helping fix the group.
The second was more like me and a few years older. I was a sophomore and she was a senior, but I think she was a year behind in her school work and was a transfer student from a local community college in the area. Looking back, she was probably having a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings and I certainly didn’t make it easier for her. Plus as a fellow student pointed out, she likely hated that she had to work under someone that was younger than her and (in her mind) less qualified than her.
Truth be told, I was young and still learning but she taught me how not to lead. If you’ve been around awhile you know that I have said one of the best lessons I learned was that you can learn something from everyone. I was given this advice because of this person and told to look at her as an example of what not to do.
She was rude, demanding, and was very unpleasant to work with. The other three people in leadership roles with me were good friends of mine so it didn’t help when I walked in late one day after having to meet with a group about an assignment (we were students first after all) and found that she had made one of my friends cry in the executive meeting of our group. I didn’t know but she had told off my friend very rudely about not having done a task she had said she would do. Well I walked in, she brought me up to speed as I pulled out my notes from our last meeting. This is the conversation that followed.
Me: Oh that’s great! You guys got through so much. Sorry again for being late. Oh, did you do [task my VP said she would do].
VP: (Awkwardly) No… I will do that this week.
Me: Okay that’s fine. Just let me know when it’s done.
And I moved on. After the meeting she left the room in a hurry and my friends told me what had happened before I walked in. I was so mad when I heard she had made my friend cry! And my friend was now very happy because I had (unknowingly) called her out in front of everyone. (Hey, that was her form of revenge I guess.) I’m very proud that I didn’t react the way she did.
She did end up resigning from the position by the end of the year. We just didn’t work well and were both very headstrong and inflexible people. I’d like to think I’m not like that anymore but my personality tests will tell you differently and that’s why I want to work on this. Thank goodness for personality tests. They’re super honest. So I guess my goal is secretly to be more like personality tests?
That’s really all I have for now. Oh, and I do want to mention this blog post was inspired by Maggie of Dreaming of Guatemala. She tracks her progress on her own goal but I’ll let her tell you all about it herself! Check out her Making the Change series to learn more!
If you’ve read this entire post, thank you! I do appreciate it. I normally don’t tend to really check on my progress, which is strange because that’s something that’s important to do if you want to meet your goal.
Is that something you’d be interested in reading about? Maybe not in a whole post by itself but maybe as a monthly update in my “lively” posts at the end of the month. Let me know!
Also let me know if there’s a goal you’re working on. I’m interested to hear it!
Thanks for reading!