Doubt and Determination | Stephanie's December 2020


It feels so weird to be typing this recap in 2021! I feel like not much has changed now that it’s 2021 because a New Year doesn’t necessarily make problems vanish but at the same time I feel a bit more at ease because of the concept of a New Year? I don’t know but whatever it is, something about the start of a New Year or “new” anything gives me a determined fresh feeling which I enjoy. Let’s get started with the December recap!

--Stephanie

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Lifestyle:

I can’t believe I’ve been at my current role for a month now, seriously week after week just kept passing by me, where does time go? Maybe it’s even weirder that I started my role during major holiday months of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, that time seemed to pass by even faster this month. I feel strangely kinda “old” to this team now but at the same time still “new”. It’s a weird in between feeling!


Honestly most of my days were pretty similar, weekdays were dedicated to work and weekends were dedicated to family and friends time. When I first started in November, my work life balance was pretty bad and I would be working after dinner… I truly felt like I had no shut off. While my work life balance is still a work in progress, a big highlight of mine for this month is to be pretty strict to myself about not turning my laptop back on after I shut off around 6pm. I would go over my typical work schedule but I think I might save that to do a day in my life at work video later on this year :) So stay tuned!


Another lifestyle highlight of mine this month is that I surprisingly caught up with a couple of people I haven’t spoke to in quite a while over facetime. I’m really glad I was able to catch up with them, each of them felt like those relationships where you don’t talk to for a while but when you sync up you could just talk on and on. I’m truly not the best when it comes to reaching out to people I don’t already text on a regular, so I’m glad people decided to hit me up this month and it also taught me the importance of how I have to hit people up first. (It also made me reflect on my past relationships and maybe I should’ve hit people up first more)


To stop myself from rambling, I’d like to do my monthly good and bad (improvements) list:


The good:

  • Survive my first month of work!

  • Set clear restrictions to myself about not working at night

  • Go on a run every other day

  • Hella random but I had a mini taco bell phase LOl

  • Caught up with old friends and didn’t show up late to our calls

  • Put things into perspective and hold my ground

The bad (areas of improvement):

  • Became afraid to speak up (slowly regaining my drive as of now though)

  • Afraid to take risks at work with my ideas because others may not think it’s a good idea (also slowly regaining my drive as of now though)

  • Could improve work life balance even more

  • Should reach out to old friends to FT first next time instead of letting others reach out first (maybe its bc sometimes I think people might not want to chat with me?)

  • Had very inconsistent praying … at night i tend to fall asleep and get lazy

  • Became distant in conversations with family and friends because I was so focused on work and then me time

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Lows:

Honestly I wanted to cry a lot this month. Thinking back, my mind is clear now and I don’t really need to vent about it but I decided to share anyways to keep it real:


1) Feeling like I'm not good enough at work


Honestly I probably will not be over this one for quite some time. I can say I’m in a decent mindset as I’m typing this right now, but I’m sure it will fluctuate over the weeks and I will be a mess again. Not that it’s okay, but when the time comes again, I know I have it in me to clear my mind again.


It’s too long of a story on how I got my role, but in short -- someone else was in my role prior to me joining and that person was much older than I am with a manager level title. Somehow I got the role and I just have to stop questioning it and believe in myself. I still do feel like I’m not enough to be honest. I don’t know much, I feel alone, and I don’t feel very helpful.


I was catching up with an older friend/mentor/sister figure in my life, Leslie, and I felt a lot better even though she’s in a different field than me. In just one chat, she seemed to understand how I was feeling. She shared how I probably feel many things; the need to do well on my first post-grad job, the need to do even better at work than the person before me because they didn’t get extended even though they were more experienced, and to accomplish all this in a 6 month time frame. That she knew I might not want to stay, but it would hurt if I didn’t get the option to choose between an extension/conversion vs just being let go of.


I wish I had a happy ending for you all on how I overcame the “feeling like I’m not enough at work”. I don’t think I have a solution. However, what made me feel better was catching up with Leslie because she straight up saw everything I felt. She didn’t try to ignore my problem or tell me I’m thinking too much and I think that’s exactly what I needed. I know I have to face these challenges head on and I needed someone to tell me they see these problems. I think this also goes to show to me, how conversations with a “mentor” doesn’t always need to have a conclusion, results, or actionable next steps. I think we put too much pressure on that. It’s so powerful to me, having someone listen and acknowledge your problems. Just that alone, made me feel less alone in the process.


2) Forgetting why I want to help people in the first place


This month a lot of people in all walks of my life asked for help. I truly want to help everyone I can! It makes me feel good that I get to impact someone positively so it goes both ways. However the more people that asked me for help, I noticed I was expecting a “thank you”, and when I didn’t receive a sincere one I started to get frustrated and upset. I started to forget why I wanted to help people in the first place, and it wasn’t because I wanted repayment or anything or else I wouldn’t have offered to help. It was an unhealthy time for me, I was upset at myself at work and then I was upset when helping people after work, I felt like a bitter person.


I ran by some thoughts with friends and that really cleared my mind. Of course I want my friends to validate my story and agree with my side when I vent, however I think it is just as important for people to tell me when I may be biased.


Revisiting "why" helped me clear my mind why I offered to help in the first place. It was never because I wanted something back from these people but because I truly wanted to help out where I can because I know how it feels to feel helpless. That along with this girl I met on LinkedIn who I helped without expecting anything in return, made me feel ashamed for expecting a big thankyou from my friends and family just because I know them. Sometimes we are biased around the people we’re close to and I think this was a wake up call for me.


3) Less depth in my personal relationships


Having work take up so much of my mind made me less responsive to my circle and I noticed that a lot this month. Whether that was with friends on text, friends I couldn’t meet in person as much anymore, or family I used to make talk with at home -- I noticed a decrease in all aspects. And while I think it’s important to give it your all at work, it’s just as important to be present with the people you care about. And to be honest, I may never reach that same present level I was when I was still jobless. However I think there are ways to improve and be present in a different way, and I think acknowledging problems is the start of surpassing it.


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Lessons:


1) It really is all about your perspective

This month taught me so much about how powerful perspective is. I was able to feel better about some of the things that made me cry, not necessarily because I found a solution or the person that’s bothering me made me feel better, but by changing my perspective.


Putting myself in someone else’s shoes made me a more empathetic person, and while I don’t think it excuses people for doing shitty actions, it does help me understand where they’re coming from and why they are the way they are. I think I really came a long way with my manager this month, we still have a lot to work on but things got a lot better. He didn’t necessarily do anything bad and he also didn’t do anything grand for me to have a better opinion on him. However, trying to understand him and his situation, has made all the difference in how I see his actions.

I think changing our perspective can truly help us shift our mindset during some of the toughest challenges. Instead of “why me”, try to understand why the situation is the way it is and how it affects others too.


Changing my perspective on others also applied to changing my perspective on myself. This month was a constant war in my mind to be honest. I had to constantly change my perspective of myself and cheer myself up and tell myself that I got this (even during times I felt bad about myself and didn’t believe it) because who else will believe in you if you don’t first?


2) Life is a series of decisions

With the exception of the family and socio economic background we’re born in, I think life truly is a series of decisions we make. Of course some situations the decision involves more than just us alone (school acceptances, job offers, and relationships), however for the most part, we do have a say in decision making.


During those tough times where I feel like I wasn’t good enough, well I think back, that it’s a decision to stay not good enough. And it’s also a decision to get up and work hard to learn and feel good enough. I think this also applies to choosing to think badly of someone, or choosing to understand someone’s story. Depending on how we decide to take action or not, I think we actually have a grip of control on our lives more than we think we do.


When I came into my role, I felt like I was on a blank page with little to no direction. I still feel this way often times to be honest. However; we aren’t as powerless as we think we are, I shared this in our 2nd podcast episode, but when we don’t have structure then we just have to build it ourselves.


Something about structure and direction, even if its just one that I created myself, made me feel more at ease that I wasn’t just aimlessly doing things and remaining clueless. I was reading this article on Medium by Obama, and enjoyed these quotes so much and hope they bring you clarity in building your own structure too whenever you feel lost.



"I created a sound decision-making process — one where I really listened to the experts, followed the facts, considered my goals and weighed all of that against my principles. Then, no matter how things turned out, I would at least know I had done my level best with the information in front of me." -- Obama

and

"The best we can do is find a framework that helps us consider our choices, knowing that there may not be one perfect answer. That way, we can rest a little easier knowing that did the best we could in the circumstances, come what may." -- Obama

3) It's okay to not be 100% sure

Lately, I think back at the decisions I’ve made, especially the ones that seem to greatly define my path. It’s hard to not waver or not doubt your decisions because you can’t go back in time. I find myself doubting, a lot, and I’m not sure if its because I’m not 100% satisfied with where I’m at right now (in all aspects, professional and mentally). However I think back to how i was before I made these decisions, and at the time, I was pretty sure of where I was going. In times of doubt, I try to believe that the me who made the decision was sure of it, and to trust that things will work out in the future.


Another great quote from the same article:

"While I couldn’t guarantee the outcome, I was confident in making the decision." -- Obama

4) Make systems, not goals

Okay this one is controversial and I actually only thought of this when I started seeing posts about this at the end of December/Jan 1. However in the posts I saw about this, I feel like I learned a lesson that will help me moving onwards with New Year Resolutions.


This lesson argues that we should chase after making and improving systems in our life (routines, processes, habits, etc) instead of making goals about wanting to be X by next year.


For example, my goal early in 2020 was to have a FTE secured by grad. When I didn’t, I felt very dejected and down. This lesson argues that if we continue to make goals about wanting to be somewhere to have something by ___, when the year is over and we don’t get to that “somewhere” we will feel down and that we didn’t achieve anything. Instead, we should focus on building systems in our lifestyle. Honestly maybe a better way to word this is to make goals on improving lifestyle routines instead of making materialistic or title related goals? I don’t know how to best phrase it but you get the point!


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Pick of the month: Netflix Parties


I look back to what made me happy this month and honestly it was catching up with loved ones during the holiday season and doing things like watching things together through Netflix Party.


My new role took so much of my daily hours and off hours I still kept thinking about it, stopped praying and journaling daily. It was and still is unhealthy, but having the time to stop and pause to spend time with loved ones, even if its to just watch something for an hour -- I really cherish down times like these.


Here’s to 2021. I’m going to be honest that I don’t think things will be easy moving forward, but we have to be confident that we have it in us to make it better than yesterday. When I started writing this post a few days ago I was actually in a much better confident mindset, today as I’m wrapping up I am feeling a bit more iffy. However that’s how life is, we could be crying one day but laughing the other. I decided to choose my article cover photo to remind myself the determination in my eyes when I first started writing this post.

Wishing everyone all the best into the New Year!


Cheers! Until February,

-- Stephanie

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Highly recommend reading this article:

https://barackobama.medium.com/how-i-approach-the-toughest-decisions-dc1b165cdf2d


Songs I’ve been listening to this month:


  • Fellin’ myself -- Mac Dre

(such an oldie, but it was actually through watching Fruitvale station via Netflix Party with a friend, that made me revisit this song!)