Why Being Social Sucks

social, socialize, sociaizing, network, networking,talk, share, awkward, connect, work, effort, dream, anxiety, smile, people, connect, connections, friends, different, discomfort, uncomfortable, bubble, antisocial, wrong, key, life, job, jobs, listen,open, heart, mark, talk, strangers, views, story, stories, work, smile, power, sucks, why,benefit, possibilities, benefits, I have never really been a social butterfly. I grew up an only child so the need to share was never present. Well, at least not until my sister was born. Even then, I don’t think I ever really grasped how to be or how to share anything with other people.

As I grew older, I was the awkwardly tall girl. I always felt like I was very different so I did everything in my power to not participate in events. I had my circle of friends somehow but I usually ended up being the odd one out.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Socializing is the key to life. It can lead to networking, which is really just socializing with a purpose. It is how people land jobs they might have never even dreamed of. It is how you connect with people and reassure yourself that you’re never alone.

Once it was time for college, I decided to stay just as antisocial as before. This lead to never networking with the right people nor opening the right doors for myself.

I missed the mark. I often retreated to a lonely place. This created a lot of anxiety that was very difficult to shake in my later years. Now that I am in my late 20s, I realize I had it wrong all along.

But why did I refuse to be social all the years?

For one, being social requires sharing. You have to give to get. In order for people to be interested in you, you must share bits and pieces of your own life to gain rapport. And who likes to put in work? I never did.

Chances are, if you share something with someone, they will share something with you. This happens because sharing conveys vulnerability which can entice people to open up more as a result.

Two, being social requires listening. Who likes to listen? Only the smartest of people. I was so self-absorbed in my own little world to ever notice that other people’s views and stories are completely relevant and valuable.

Listening more and talking less can teach anyone things they maybe never knew or things they never thought they ever needed to know.

Three, being social requires a certain level of discomfort. Chitchatting with strangers is never going to be the most comfortable thing in the world. But chances are, the other person is are worried about what they’re going to say next than whatever is coming out of your mouth or how it sounds.

Once you get over that first stage of awkwardness, socializing stops being awkward and starts being constructive.

In retrospect, how lazy could one girl be? Socializing really requires little effort and a bit of discomfort. There should really be mandatory courses in school to help students understand the value and need for socializing.

Yes, being social takes some work. And yes, it requires some discomfort. It also provides benefits we sometimes fail to see because we are too busy living in our “bubbles.”

Now that I am older, I realize that I have to make an effort to socialize. A greater effort than ever before because I am no longer in school surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis.

But guess what? I am willing put in the effort now. It’s never too late, right?

The last few months I have made it my mission to be social. I have gone to events I would usually turn my back to and I have had a hell of a time doing it. Sure, I don’t need more friends, but it doesn’t hurt to make them. And if you can make a few more people smile during your lifetime, you can leave a greater mark than ever.

In the end, socializing is networking, and networking is power. Making connections early in life can really help you navigate the world later in life. Although the benefits of socializing/networking are not always obvious and/or immediate, the possibilities are endless once you decide to open up to others.

Choose to share. Choose to socialize. Choose to open your heart.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

How To Quit Your Job The Right Way

quit, job, work, chapter, doors, right, way, how, grace, thanks, love, gratitude, support, bye, good bye,I have been writing my entire life. It has always been my dream to move the world with my words.

Most recently, I have coached someone on their first book, I have had a personal story published in an online publication, and I have started this blog you are reading right now.

I realized that dreams don’t just “happen” to you, you must make them happen. You must will them, work toward them and believe with every ounce in your heart that you are capable and worthy of accomplishing all of them.

I am not going to lie, I once thought a degree could make all your dreams happen. I worked hard to get my undergrad and graduate degrees in communications. I took one look at the paper they hand you when you are done and realized it wasn’t as magical as I might have thought it would be.

Anyway, one day I realized I was letting my dreams dim.

I became complacent at a 9 to 5 job. It wasn’t so much because I stopped believing in myself, it was more about paying that new mortgage every month. And although some days were better than others, my detective dad’s voice always echoes in my head, “stay on your mission.” And so I did just that.

A few years went by and my dreams started tugging at my heart. My fingers wanted to write as much as my heart did. I started taking action in my writing career.

Careers don’t just show up, you must make them happen with a lot of hard work and grit.

After some years of searching, hoping, and working at it, I was offered my dream job. It all happened like a movie. I applied at 2 o’clock in the morning and was given a job offer some hours later. It almost seemed like I didn’t deserve it, but wait! I so did. I worked so hard to get to this point in my life. I mean, I had worked my entire life to get here.

So, how would I break it to my current employer? How would I tell them I was going to move on? I decided to do it with a lot of gratitude, love and respect.

I ambushed my two mentors and told them I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I looked them both in the eye and said how thankful I was to have had such a secure job for so many years. I also let them know they were a huge part of my growth since I worked for them from 22 to 28 years old.

I have never seen such shocked looks on people’s faces. We all got a bit teary-eyed. It was like I was telling them I was moving to another continent.

Their jaws dropped, their smiles fell but their eyes looked like they were filling up with love.

They both told me how proud they were of me and how they knew this day would come for me-the day when I would get to shine on my own.

I then went around my office and told every department in my own way that I was leaving in a little over a week. Just when I thought no one would notice, I saw the same looks come across their faces as those of my two bosses. I got hugs and beautiful words of encouragement, joy, support and overall love.

I was overwhelmed with feelings of accomplishment and sadness. It was the most bittersweet moment of my life.

I have watched employees come and go, but never with grace. They have slammed the doors behind them and consequently slammed the doors in front of them in the process. I refused to do this. I mean, some employees didn’t even say the words “goodbye,” or “thank you.” I always thought this was a little rude and ungrateful, but to each their own, right?

Everyone chooses their entrance and exit from one chapter to another and I hope my exit can set an example for others who may have to exit sometime in the future.

 

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

When It’s Okay To Not Show Up To Work

absent, no show, miss work, when it's okay to not show up, day off, call out of work, family, prioritiesI have always been the perfect attendee. I never missed a day of school nor was I ever late while growing up. My parents taught me to show up even when you are feeling under the weather. I never faltered. I always followed directions and found my strength in structure.

So what happens when you know you will not be mentally present? Do you go to work anyway? Do you physically show up even though you know your mind won’t?

On most days, I say YES! SHOW UP! Change your attitude and leave your personal life at the door! Forget about your drama and get the job done. Tackle your mission and then go home to worry about the rest of your life.

There is only one excuse for not showing up to work. One exception to the rule. One thing that I wholeheartedly believe is a legitimate reason to call out of work for.

Family.

When family needs you, you go. It doesn’t matter if it is the biggest presentation of your life or the opening night of your play. It doesn’t matter if you made previous plans that can’t be rescheduled. You go where you are needed most.

While careers are important, family is the most important. While your coworkers depend on your work, your family depends on your emotional support.

Who will be there even when you fall? Family. Who knows you better than you’ll ever know yourself? Family. Who will never judge you? Your family.

If your family needs you, go. Your job will still be there tomorrow. And even if it isn’t, another job will show up. One that respects the fact that you value family above all else. One that makes you the best version of yourself by providing a healthy work-life balance.

I took a last-minute day off yesterday and don’t regret it one bit. My blood was calling me. My family needed me there. It wasn’t a situation where I had to even think twice about my decision. I knew they needed me and I showed up on their doorstep.

I have always prided myself on never taking days off. I have always thought showing up to work or school was priority. And while this is at the top of my list, family is my number one. It hasn’t always been that way, but I sure am glad it finally is that way.