My 17 Year Work Aniversary

This was taken yesterday on my 17th anniversary at MRIS. I want to share with you my story.

In 1999 I was laid off for the first time. I spent half that year on full severance and went to the beach, partied with friends, and was having a great time handling and training exotic animals at a local wildlife preserve. I was young, in my 20’s, and had my whole life ahead of me. The end of that year, I started working for Sylvan Pro-metrics as a computer tech doing their Y2K upgrades nationwide.

When the world didn’t end on December 31st I realized it was time to get a new job. My mom, Debbie Egbert, was working for a company called MRIS out in Rockville Maryland as a trainer. She said they were hiring. I interviewed with Roberta Gentile and Eric Barton. I was hired. This ended one era and was the start of many others to come.

During my time here at MRIS (a Bright MLS), I have done many things. I had my wonderful blessing of a child. Obtained and have lost a few cats and a couple dogs along the way. What I have also been blessed with is a different kind of family.

When you spend 17 years with a company you don’t just do it because of the branding or the name on a building. You do it because of who makes that company. How they shape who you are as a professional and as a human being. First there was Roberta who was able to exhibit strength and intelligence without compromising who she is as a person. Then there was Carmen Hodges who showed me how to exhibit strength and intelligence, compassion and empathy, all while never compromising who I am. Carmen continues to be a driving influence in what I do almost daily. Almost as much as my own step-mom; both have since passed from cancer. It always seems to take the good ones! Monica Williams… thank you for having faith and letting go of the reins showing me I could swim even thought I still thought I needed the boat, paddle, and life-jacket. Now I currently report to Dessie Harvey who has given me the resources to learn to be more independent and improve my relationship intelligence.

Just as important as the individuals who lead us are the people we spend our days with. Leslie Gaye (Ms. Jackson herself!) was with me for over 10 years. We cried together, laughed together, and had our angry moments too. When I look back she was a key part of my life at MRIS. There are so many but I have to thank Brenda Lawson, Brian Frankl, Qiana Downs, Hegel Encarnacion, Andrea Person. Most of us have moved on to a new life in different directions but I still value all the good times and lessons learned.

As I sit here and think back to when it all started, I smile. I’m looking out at 40 students who are as eager to learn as I am to teach. Dolly Parton “9 to 5” is playing through the speakers and I feel an energy in the room that is like nothing else. This is what it feels like to love what you do!

So when someone you know reaches a milestone such as a 17 year work anniversary, they aren’t just celebrating those years because their name was attached to a title under a company brand. They are celebrating almost a quarter of a lifetime of growth, experience, and friendship.

Thank you everyone!

Escape From Darkness (ACIM)

I find lately I am always listening to some type of audio book, sermon, or other inspirational recording.  Today, I am listening to pieces of the Course in Miracles (ACIM) library. The following statement stands out for me today.

Holiness can never be really hidden in darkness, but you can deceive yourself about it. This deception makes you fearful because you realize in your heart it is a deception, and you exert enormous efforts to establish its reality.

First, let me say that I know what it is like to feel as if you are sitting at the bottom of the deepest and darkest pit of despair. That place where you just know that God has abandoned you and left you there without so much as a night-light. During that time there was nothing anyone could convince me that I was there because “I” kept myself there.

Now,  I think back to every dark place in my life and I smile. In hindsight, I know I chose to stay where I was. At that time I was not capable of seeing another option. I believe that this also happens for a reason and allows us the opportunity to grow and learn. It’s “mean to be” in some cases. I also recognize that sometimes we find ourselves in a situation based on another individuals action. I’m not disputing that. However, how long we stay exposed to external factors is our choice.

My challenge to you…  the next time you find yourself fearful of a situation, STOP! Close your eyes, and look for the light. It’s there and will help you eliminate the darkness you surrounded your light with.

If you find that you have difficulty with this process, I am happy to be your guide!

To listen to the audio that inspired this post, click on the “ACIM” book image below. english

Self-Talk

Imagine sitting in a restaurant and a child walks up to you. They start talking to you and you ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Now, take a moment to think about what your response is.Growup

Let’s assume the child you imagined wanted to be a doctor. Did you tell them how hard it would be? Did you mention the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans they would spend 30 years paying off? Did you tell them they were not smart enough?

I doubt in your imagined conversation that any of these questions (or questions like them) were part of that conversation. I would venture to guess you told the child that their plan sounds great. In every scenario, I imagine you enthusiastically told them they could do it (or anything).

Now think about the last time you thought about doing something that was different from the path you are on. What did you tell yourself? Did you consider the reasons and then try to find a way to make it happen? Or did you tell yourself all the reasons why not to try?

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If we can’t imagine telling a young child their dreams aren’t valid, WHY do it to yourself? We are all just children of the same universe. It’s time to embrace and encourage that inner-child.

You are what you think! It’s a proven fact. Studies over and over support that positive self-talk propels us forward while negative self-talk keeps us stuck (or even worse, moving backwards).

Here are seven things I do to help me combat my negative self-talk monster.

1. Acknowledgement. That’s right! Ignoring them, worrying about them, or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t change the fact that these are currently a part of your thought patterns. We have to change these thoughts. First, we need to acknowledge they are there.

2. Replace The Critical Voice. Some people may just say stop criticizing yourself. I don’t know many who are successful until they replace it with an uplifting one. Looking in the mirror and saying “You’re so fat” doesn’t make you want to lose weight. Let’s say your goal is to be healthier (or lose weight). Replacing the “I’m fat” voice with something productive and uplifting like “I’m not in the condition I want to be” is a more gentle truth which we are much more likely to work on.

Let’s say you wanted to travel the country from New York to Oregon. You get to Ohio and realize your budget doesn’t support the entire trip. So you go home. Stop looking at these little surprises as set backs (and remember to cut yourself some slack). You didn’t cut your trip short. You got to see everything from New York to Ohio. Enjoy the journey!

4. Cut Yourself Some Slack! No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect. Telling yourself that you’re “never going to get that job” or that “you’re not good enough for [insert dream here]” is not going to get you anywhere except feeling defeated.

5. Stop Catastrophising. If you get a D on your first test next semester, you’re not failing the entire class. Life is a lot like a final that YOU get to create the questions AND the answers for. There is NO fail! It’s just a journey.

6. Stop Blaming. Yourself, others, the government… things just happen. While we may not be directly responsible for an event, our choices are what put us on a path. Acknowledge it, replace it, and don’t shift the responsibility (mentally, emotionally, or physically) to someone else. You are the creator of your dreams.

7. Practice Self Care. No matter what changes we want to make in out lives, we must always value and care for ourselves in every way. This link is a great place to start if you are having trouble coming up  with your own. 80+ Self-Care Ideas. By practicing self-care, you reinforce your own value and it is much easier to eliminate self-talk when we value ourselves in thought and action.