Category Archives: ADVICE

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

ESSENTIALISMI’m reading a really fantastic book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of LessGreg McKeown has shifted my perspective and put a name to a philosophy I’ve dabbled with for years.  I was dithering over a few issues, and I’ve already used the standards and methods offered in Essentialism to make key decisions.  Much messiness results from quick yeses and slow nos.  The philosophy of Essentialism has me taught to celebrate and embrace “No,” and the book provides plenty of logical and well-backed explanations for why your life improves when you have the courage to eliminate the people-pleasing bullshit.  As I’ve started applying the principles consistently, I’ve found liberation and a drastic reduction in stress.  As your time frees up, this book recommends you sleep more to further enhance productivity.  In sum, this bestseller is full of advice you actually want to follow.CLEAR NO

On apologizing when you aren’t sorry

RETROGRADEThose of you who read your horoscopes this month know Mercury just went out of retrograde yesterday.  Well, before that pesky planet could come correct, I stepped in it with a number of important authority figures in my life.  Ugh.  CARRIE STEPPED IN ITWhile in hindsight, I could have handled the situations with more grace, there is kernel of righteousness to my actions in both scenarios.  Since my actions are guided by the best intentions, I find it most difficult to choke out an apology just because the end result wasn’t ideal.  FORCED APOLOGYEven though I’ve designed my life to involve the least amount of shit eating possible, sometimes, we all have to eat it to smooth things over when the power dynamic is unequal.  EAT YO PIETake responsibility for your short-coming in the situation.  In one of the aforementioned instances, someone took offense to my directness, so I asked forgiveness for my “impertinent tone.”  I won’t apologize for the content of the sentiment because it was right on.  The dickhead interrupted my class talking loudly with a total lack of courtesy, mindfulness, and respect.  I turned to him and said, “Can this wait?  It’s really distracting.”  He didn’t like me calling him out on his bad behavior in front of the class.  Now because his ego is wounded over his rudeness, I have to apologize because he didn’t like the sound of the honest truth?  I’m happy to take responsibility for my delivery, but I won’t take on the responsibility for his bad behavior.  APOLOGIZING EGOWithout excusing or abdicating your part in the conflict, narrowly tailor your apology to include only the conduct for which you are truly sorry.  There’s no need to give away all your power especially when the other party shares in a good portion of the blame.  That said, if you really blew it, own your fuck-up completely.  There’s nothing grosser than a weasel trying to wriggle out of responsibility.WEASEL

Monday Morning Management Meeting: Missing Link

LINKEDIN DALIEnough with the fucking LinkedIn.  I must get a dozen LinkedIn invitations a month.  I barely know most of the people who send them, and we have no professional affiliation.  Even if we did, I wouldn’t respond to their invitations anyway.  First of all, LinkedIn was hacked, doesn’t anyone remember that?  Secondly, LinkedIn continues to get sued for a number of shady tactics and privacy violations, including for (allegedly) sending out emails to users contacts without permission and allowing paid subscribers to search for references of other members without consent.  The site imports contacts and sends those annoying “connect on LinkedIn” emails to everyone you ever knew, including your exes.  You know how many LinkedIn invitations I’ve gotten from long lost exes?  Does he really want to reconnect or did LinkedIn just hijack his contacts?  See why this site is rife with conflict?  I won’t participate.  Let me ask all you LinkedIn enthusiasts: has it done shit for your career?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Instead of thinning out your impact with such an impersonal approach, apply focused energy to building relationships with a few key people who can really help get you where you want to go. LINKEDIN SUPPORT GROUP

No Complaining Weekend Challenge

NEVER COMPLAIN NEVER EXPLAINThis weekend, challenge yourself to stop complaining.  From Friday to Sunday, every time you start to bitch – stop.  Substitute a positive statement or say nothing.  For some of us, it’s going to be a really quiet weekend. STOP WHINING

 

give it a year

WORKING GIRLProfessionally, the last five years have been difficult for many folks, myself included.  My undergraduate degree in philosophy prepared me to think deep thoughts while working retail, so I went the great fallback route and got a law degree to make my mom happy.  I litigated asses for a few years, hated it, and got swept up in the mass layoffs of 2009.  Shortly thereafter, my mom got terminally ill and I concentrated on seeing her through her last days in dignity.  Facing the brevity of life, I couldn’t go back to my soul-suck of career as a paper-pushing attorney.

So a little over a year ago against everyone’s expectations, I chose to pursue what is essentially a mythical career: a full-time yoga teacher.  I know you are rolling your eyes.  Everyone is a yoga instructor.  I get it.  Judge away.  You think I don’t get my share of jaw drops when I tell people I’m a licensed attorney teaching yoga full time?  Girl, please.  I’m not going to bore you with my credentials because I have nothing to prove, but let’s just say I have quite a bit more training than some eight week program at a local studio.  This decision was not made on a whim, I’ve been practicing and teaching for several years.YOGINI

I bargained with myself that I would give it a year; work hard, take every opportunity to teach, and ride out the financial valleys and peaks of this unpredictable career.  Not everyday was a success story.  I taught long stretches without a day off, on holidays, and subbed constantly.  Soon my income began to reflect my commitment level.  I’m doing exactly what I want to do and I couldn’t be happier.  I was a good attorney, but I’m an exceptional teacher.  I only feel comfortable saying that because I’ve worked hard to make it true (to the tune of 576+classes last year).BIKRAM CHILE

It isn’t too late to do what you want.  Yeah, it may require sacrifice, compromise, and strategic planning.  It will require you to bravely defy expectations, embrace humility, and realign priorities.  When you do get your ass on the golden path towards your soul’s rightful journey, your fate will rise up to meet you as the wind presses you towards your destiny.  Why spend your life slugging through the muddy path of resistance?  NEVERENDING STORYGive it at least a year.  Give it everything you’ve got.  Even if you fail miserably, at least you’ll avoid the tragic regret of abandoned dreams.  The more likely outcome is that you’ll succeed and never look back.FOLLOW YOUR HEART

 

throw the baby shower out with the bath water

KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN BABY SHOWERJust got back from a baby shower.  Said my Hellos.  I stayed 30 minutes because there was nothing for me at this party.  First, it was one of those invite the whole family type showers and I don’t have a kid or husband to reluctantly drag.  The mutual co-worker who was supposed to attend with me cancelled (ugh, 4th time in a row this bitch has bailed on concrete plans).  I showed up with my thick stack of Dr. Suess books elegantly wrapped.  I dropped the present off at the designated table occupied by several medium-sized gift bags.   I greeted the mom-to-be who was dressed in a tight, fuchsia, cotton, ruched tube dress.  She looked like a raspberry.  I told her as much, which in hindsight she may not have appreciated, but I love raspberries so I didn’t intend the comment pejoratively.  Dad-to-be and I chatted for awhile, but I noticed the side-eye of the older ladies when our conversation extended beyond 5 minutes of appropriate small talk.  Who is that predatory single woman circling the dad-in-waiting?  Please.  There are no secret yearnings.  Excuse the blatant bitchery, but if I wanted him I could have him a year ago when we first met and he was drooling all over himself.HOLLY MADISON BABY SHOWER

After I was done talking to the two guests of honor, I wandered around a little bit and introduced myself to a few other folks standing solo.  Nobody seemed very interested in small talk, and it’s not my strength anyway.  When in doubt, hit the buffet, right?  Well you already know that I refer to buffets at barffets and am never in the mood for a group feeding.  This spread was particularly bleak.  Two circular trays of Subway-style sandwiches of dubious origin and questionable content.  The fold-out tables lacked proper placards describing the menu.  Just down from the sandwich wheels where huge bowls of standard potato chips.  Why do people do this?  Put out enough potato chips to feed and army just to watch them soften into stale after the first hour.  Plate of pickles, ok, I get the nod to pregnancy cravings.   A couple of large bowls of mystery potato-salad glop remained untouched.  The beverage options included electric yellow “lemonade” and something that looked like soda.  Not a cupcake in sight.  Killing time with mindless eating would not be an option at this shindig.BABY BUMCAKES

The one activity provided for the children was butcher paper on the tables and crayons.  I made a doodle.  I met a couple kids.  I drank some neon lemonade.  Then I split.  There was nothing left for me.KROY KIM

To that end, if you want people to stay at your baby shower for more than the obligatory 30 minutes, consider the following:

1) With regard to length. 2 hours maximum.  This one was scheduled for a tedious 3.  I like the idea of a short and sweet 90 minutes.

2) Delicious food.  Lots of options.  Baked goods.  Simple non-dressed salads.  Fruit. Cheese. Crudites. Readily available sweets. Warm offerings.  Coffee. Tea. Iced Tea. Water.  I personally prefer an elegant seated brunch.JESSICA SIMPSON

3) Make introductions.  Reign in loners.  Ensure everyone feels included.WIZ AND AMBER

4) Create intimate seating arrangements to encourage eating, drinking, and conversation.EVEYLN LOZADA

5) Designate a separate (but within eyeshot/earshot of helicopter parents) fun space for the kids.MINNIE DRIVER

6) It’s fine if you aren’t into “baby games,” but do provide some sort of entertainment or fun.  Music. Dancing. Karaoke. Ice your own cupcake.  Whatever.  These activities start conversations and save people from dreaded awkward mingling.MINDY WEISS

7) Attentive hosting takes work, the preggo shouldn’t be hosting her own baby shower, but these two did it as a couple.  Designate a host devoted to socially lubricating the shower.  Mothers and mothers-in-law love this job.KRIS AND KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN

 

straw into gold

GONE GIRLI spent nearly a decade in an unfulfilling relationship I knew two weeks in had no real meaningful future.  I can give you justifications and excuses for not leaving – my parents died; I got laid off; I enjoyed the financial security of the union.  That’s all just weak bullshit though.  My therapist likes to say that the universe doesn’t belabor situations, we do.  He’s right.  GOODBYE CHALKRecently, I’ve been kicking it with an extremely attractive man.  He possesses exceptional qualities.  He showed me upfront that he’s a man of principle.  Unfortunately, we are both too damaged to ever make it work.  A decade ago, I would have clung to our magic for dear life, hoping to stoke the flames of compatibility and extinguish the discord.  Now, I know better.  Even though it was hard to let such a pretty thing go, I said goodbye.  I should have said goodbye a month ago when I knew for sure that we couldn’t truly partner, so I guess I still have something to learn with regard to belaboring situations.  That said, progress is progress, and I am proud that instead of squandering a decade, I cut my losses after two months before deeply entangling my heart. AARONI’m just not going to do it, try so hard to make it work.  Rumpelstiltskin was always one of my favorite children’s stories, but I would rather go solo than waste anymore time spinning straw into gold.  STRAW TO GOLD

slut reformation

REALITY BITESI’m taking this new approach to relationships where I wait at least a month before fucking.  Exercising self-restraint can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.  Within a month, most people reveal themselves.  By removing the influence of sex on the early days of a relationship, I can clearly evaluate whether the partnership has legs before my whole heart, soul, and body get tied up in the decision.  I’m not saying I don’t get down to some extent.  The probationary period is a good time to get a bright light look at his junk to make sure there aren’t any areas of concern.  Enjoy a good retro makeout sesh.  Take this time to find out if he’s got any bratty kids, psycho exs, or a shitty credit score.  Use this month to weed out the pigs, weirdos, assholes, morons, and cheapskates.  This is not some purity ring propaganda.  It’s about particularity not prudishness.  I’m a feminist, so do what you will with your vagina, but also think back on your checkered sexual past; when have you regretted NOT having sex with someone?  Exactly.          CHER CLUELESS

I don’t care if you’re in town

LUCILLE DOESN'T CAREAn ex-boyfriend from 18 years ago called my work twice yesterday looking for me.  He insisted on leaving his number with my assistants because he’s in my town for the weekend.  I haven’t talked to this kid in at least 10 years, and we didn’t part well.  I’m not sure what makes him think I want to see him.  He is very accessible on the internet, so if I wanted access to him I could have had it years ago.  I, on the other hand, go out of my way to keep a low profile.  I don’t have a Facebook page.  I clearly don’t want to be found.  I have no interest in catching up with random people who orbit my life with the infrequency of Halley’s Comet.  Furthermore, his approach to the situation tells me that his worst qualities have only ripened with age.  He’s obviously known for quite some time that he would be in town covering a particular event.  A courteous and thoughtful person would have sent an email with a little advance notice.  Instead, he called my place of employment multiple times in one day like some sort of crazed stalker and just assumed I’ll be elated to drop my packed schedule to accommodate his last minute demands.  Selfish much?  That’s why we broke up asshole.  Unfortunately, I’m going to the event on Saturday so there’s a chance we could run into each other….Ugh…I hate ex-boyfriend run-in paranoia.DON'T CALL ME