Self Improvement: Relinquishing Control

My journey to starting my new career is a fairly new ambition of mine (although I have been thinking about it since the day I left my first job. However for the last couple years, I have tried doing things to better myself as a person, often time I fall flat. Whether it be going to the gym more, eating right, working on my temper or something else: I am able to make it work for a short period before I fall back to my old ways. In the last year, it has dawned on me that I have been going about it all wrong. I focus on the wrong things to change and how I go about it.

Last year in the process of selling our house, living with my in-laws, buying a new house, starting a new job, and.. a few other things, I realized how difficult I can be to be around sometimes. Sure part of this was unhappiness, that likely stems from my career choices. But I also fall victim to different characteristics of mine that get the better of me and make me a pain in the ass. My plan here, along my journey to a new career, is to also document some of the self improvement tasks I am working on. Characteristics that can make me difficult to be around, or make me a worse person, and how I am working to better myself (and ultimately those around me). This blog is about my journey to starting a new career and inspiring others along the way. My journey involves much more than just the career choice, but life choices as well, as everything is related and builds off each other. So with that, today’s topic is: I am a control freak

Now, I shouldn’t really say I am a control freak, as I can be fairly laid back and easy going. But I do like things done a certain way. And I can be very defensive and manipulative when it comes to things I want done a certain way. There is something about knowing what is going on and having a sense of control to a situation. In reality, I tend to get more controlling over things I am passionate about: my kids, my marriage, my friends, my house, etc.

Being in control, and wanting to be in control and not generally a bad thing, I would usually not list that as a characteristic that could make me hard to get along with. However, I tend to take it too far. If things are not done my way, I get extremely argumentative (that is a topic for another day) and defensive and tend to not back down. I become irrational and do not listen to what others have to say. Hell, even after I know I am wrong I will stick to my guns (stubborn.. yet another topic perhaps), I will argue and argue till I get my way, that way I can stay in control of the situation. Sometimes, it is not very obvious. I tend to manipulate people (or try) to do things I want. For instance, if my wife happens to leave dishes in the sink and I have been putting mine away, I may passive aggressively say something like “WE need to be better about putting our dishes away.” I Obviously mean ‘YOU’ as I have been putting mine away (and this is probably a bad analogy, as I am more likely to not put my dishes away… shhhhh…). Sure sometimes, I do mean ‘WE,” but often times, I mean ‘YOU,’ and lets be honest, that is not fair, regardless of who I am dealing with.

So the real question is, how do I work on this? I am still a work in progress, but here are some of the things I am doing to better myself and Relinquish Control:

  1. Discuss the issues as they come up with my therapist
  2. Take a deep breath and try to understand where others are coming from
  3. Ask myself why do I feel the need to be in control here
  4. Let others lead. I am not always right (I am hardly right)
  5. Exercise. Exercising allows me to release any pent up aggression
  6. Practice letting others win. As I don’t always have to be right, perhaps let someone else “win” even when I know I am right (its good practice
  7. Last, and probably most important: Listen. Listen to what others are saying and doing. Everything else listed above can come after I listen, and understand

Perhaps not everything listed here is truly about relinquishing control. Perhaps a lot of my other issues I need to work on are highlighted more-so here than intended. But the main point here is, is that I am a work in progress. I have identified areas of my life that need to be improved, for not only myself but those around me. This is one big journey to a better me.

Do you also have issues with control and having to own the situation? Share some of your experiences and how you practice relinquishing control, below.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Anxiety, Daily Life Stress and Moving Forward

About 12 years ago, was finishing up my summer school courses that were needed to graduate. During my finals week, I started at working at one of the best companies in the world. I had gone from a High School and College athlete, to a full time student and restaurant worker, to being a full time employee at a major company. I was scared, I was excited, I was happy and I was sad. Every emotion you could have I felt as I had no idea what to expect of the rest of my life.

For a year prior to this, I had started planning how I was going to propose to my girlfriend who I had been with for 4.5 years at this point. We started dating in High School and even did our first year of college as a long distance relationship. I was madly in love with this woman, and at the time, it was the only thing stable in my life I could count on, and I was about to kick it into gear by proposing to her.

I had planned to propose to her in December when we would be on vacation together. I had the ring and her Dad’s approval. I also now had a safe/secure job in the business world: I had everything I had ever “wanted,” right? It was at this time, I started to get sick. My stomach was always upset, my palms always seemed sweaty. I had these panic attacks and could not breath, I did not know what was going on with me. It was not until speaking with my doctor that I determined what was wrong: I was suffering from anxiety. I could write an entire blog post on Anxiety and what it is, but that has been done by countless others (feel free to contact me, and I will be happy to discuss if you like). It was at this time I went on Zoloft and from there planned to learn how to control my anxiety.

I stayed on Zoloft for a couple years but ultimately went off as I learned to cope and deal with the anxiety (not to mention my life was in a fairly good routine, so it was much easier to manage. That is until this last December when some other life changes happened (this is a future blog topic, but not one I am ready to discuss).

Over the last 12 years I have dealt with daily stressors of my job and my life. I have had marital spats, kids, job changes and even moved. I have been sick, and had some medical issues (one of which was an appendectomy) Last year we sold out house, moved in with my in-laws for a few months while searching for a house and then purchased a new house. Handling my stress was difficult. That was until December when things made another big change and created my journey back to Zoloft. Along with Zoloft, I have done many things to really keep my stress under control:

  1. Meditate (I use the Headspace app and it is amazing!)
  2. Yoga
  3. Going to the gym
  4. Going on  a walk
  5. Going on a bike ride
  6. Play with my kids
  7. Spending time with friends/family
  8. Therapy

I would normally add sex to this list as that has always been my best stress release, but right now (see some of the issues listed above including medical). But there is a reason I share all of this:

My journey to changing my career has been a very long one. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I have gone done my current career path for a reason, but its time to change. Anxiety has been difficult but I am learning to deal with it better. Daily life stresses around my job, family and life are tough, but I am dealing with those too. If you want something, you have to go and get it. And right now, I want to make my life better for myself and those around me. I want to be happy and satisfied. Anxiety will always be there in one way or another, but I cannot hide from it, I have to push forward.

Leave a comment below if you have experienced Anxiety or what your favorite way to deal with stress is.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

A Week with No Kids

I am a father of two. I have a 4 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. They are the light of my life and I love everything about them. I love their personalities, their little voices and their compassion. I love them when they are happy, and I love them when they are sad. Both of my kids are absolutely wonderful humans and I miss them when they are not around… most of the time.

Do not get me wrong, I love my children more than life itself and I would do anything for them. And I truly do miss them when I do not get to be around them. However, sometimes it is nice to have a break. I have never been one to think that, but as they get older and our lives get more and more hectic, I see the need for some alone time. And what it took to discover that, was actual alone time.

This week, my parents took the kids to their home out of state and my wife and I had the week off. Missing my kids is a given, but at the same time it has been kind of nice at time. Normally my routine has me coming home from work, playing with the kids, fighting with them to eat dinner, getting them in the bath, and dressed and teeth brushed, reading them a few books and then putting them in bed and laying with them a bit. When all is said and done, I am usually not able to change my clothes and relax until close to 8:30 at night. This week? This week, I am able to come home, and sit on the couch and unwind for a bit. Eat dinner when I want and not argue with anyone over what food to eat. Instead of waking up to get in my workout before anyone is awake, I can sleep in and then work out at night.

Sleeping in! That is another thing. When you have kids, you never know what time you are going to wake up. The kids could sleep till 8 or they could be up at 5:30. But either way, I have to get up early to work out just in case they also get up early. But now I can sleep in a little longer and relax and just not have to parent.

Do not get me wrong, I love so much about parenting, but it is hard. Not that I would EVER leave my kids, but I see why some people do: they are tired and stressed and can’t handle it, so they run from their problems. But is parenting really a problem? Is life really a problem? As Rocky balboa said (in one of my favorite quotes) “The world aint all sunshine and rainbows..” Life i shard and will keep you on your toes, but you can’t run away from it… and not that i ever would. But what I have learned is that you need time to recuperate.  It doesn’t have to be a week, but a weekend every now and then, or a night with the boys/girls: something to let you have some “you” time and refresh.

AS much as I have missed my kids this week, I think it was a week like this to really help me realize how important these breaks are. I would much rather see my kids every day than not, but the occasional weekend or day off I think is best for everyone.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Guilt, Regret and Re-Framing Your Mind

Guilt and regret are dangerous. They are a disease that manifests in your brain and brings you down. Through life, everyone does and says things that they ultimately regret or feel guilty about. Some things are bad (perhaps killing someone). Others are not as bad (calling someone a name). However, regardless of what it is, if you are unable to get over the guilt and regret, you will have a very hard time moving forward.

As I mentioned, most everyone has done something in their life that they regret or feel guilty about. I unfortunately have a short list of those items. But as time goes on, and I regret decisions I have made, I feel more and more guilty and that weighs on me and brings me down. It affects my well being, and my attitude towards life. How I treat others are affected by this as well.

For the last 11+ years, I have worked in the world of Business and Technology. And as I stated before, there were many aspects of this I have thoroughly enjoyed. Yet, there is something else missing. When I was growing up, I always felt encouraged that going into business was the smart/safe move and that is what I was focused on. Nothing else mattered. When I got into college, despite enjoying classes on Psychology more than business, I pursued this route. I was driven by success and money and figured that was the only way to be happy. I had a girl that made me happy (who I would eventually marry), and all I ever wanted was a safe/secure job that would allow me to provide for her and my family one day. What I didn’t count on, is that it wasn’t the money that made me happy. Helping others made me happy. My family makes me happy. If I am unhappy, how can I be the best father and husband I can be? The short answer to that is: I can’t.

After my first job ended, I almost went back to school. But I was engaged and wanted to provide for my future bride. I figured I would find the right job that would meet most of my needs. I didn’t. I left to find another job. I failed there too. Without realizing it, I was falling into a hole of negativity. I was living with this regret for not choosing the right major in college and the right career path. I felt guilty that I was not being fair to those I loved. They all deserved more. I wouldn’t say I was unbearable to be around, but I wasn’t pleasant either.

Last year was a cray year filled with stress. We sold out house, moved in with my in-laws, bought a house, I changed jobs at work, my wife quit her job to attend to her start-up full time, and everything changed. I started to recognize my unhappiness at work as I changed roles. I was trying to fill a void by going about it the same way I always did. According to Albert Einstein, that is the definition of Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Near the end of the year, I started to seek out counseling. I was unhappy with my decisions. My regret was causing guilt and I was taking it out on those around me. I saw how I was treating my in laws, my friends, my children and my wife. I was pushing people away. I was not being fair.

When speaking to my therapist, we have discussed many topics, including my career. I told her I felt stuck and that it was too late. She assured me it was not too late and that I could make things right. For me, making it right was doing something that would fulfill me away from my family. I can make a good living, provide for my family and spend time with them, while doing something I can enjoy.

I am slowly starting my process. I am working hard at my job. I am planning to go back to school. And by the time I am 40 (I am in my early 30’s), I hope to be on a brand new career path.

Sometimes happiness is right under your nose.

Have a great day!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Why Am I Doing This?

I am a fairly private person. I hate writing. I am extremely busy. I have a lot of things to worry about and work on in my life. So, why am I doing this?

If you read my first blog post the other day, you learned a little more about me and why I am looking to make some changes in my life. Why I am going back to school and staring down the barrel of a new career, when I have so much going on in my own life. And while I was hopefully able to give some insight to that, the next question becomes, why am I blogging about it and sharing it on Instagram?

There are actually 2 reasons for my madness: to inspire myself and to inspire others. For myself, I have the type of personality that gets really into something and then once I miss a day or two of it, it falls at the wayside and I forget about it. Through all my trials and tribulations I have been going through I have tried a lot of things: journaling, talking to people, meditating, working out, etc. And while I have still done well with some of it, the journaling has nearly come to a halt, and I have not been as consistent with my meditating (even though I really enjoy it). But with this, my hope is that by sharing my thoughts and feelings, as well as discussing my journey as I trek through it, I will inspire myself to keep going, while also keeping myself accountable. I may not stay consistent and could go a few weeks between posts (especially as I find something worthy to discuss), but my hope is that I can do it to keep myself focused. School starts up in August, so I want to make sure I am ready to go and ready to take on the challenge of balancing work, school and my family.

Aside from keeping myself honest and motivated, I am also hoping to inspire others along the way. Again, as I had mentioned in my first blog post the other day, one of the issue I have and why i dislike the business world (at least the sector of it that I am in), is that I am not doing anything in my day-to-day, that is helping or benefiting anyone else in an overall positive light. Sure I am helping other companies streamline their systems or helping our company as well, but to me that is not as fulfilling as doing ro saying something that can truly inspire others. So while I am hoping to transition myself into a career that directly helps or benefits others, I am hoping this blog can help people along the way. Whether its an inspirational story I share, or a hard/frustrating time I am fighting through: my hope is that it helps someone else with a similar problem. Whether its about their work, marriage, parenting, or perhaps like me, they are working a job they are unhappy with and feel stuck. Hopefully they too can realize they are not stuck and can find their way out. Find their passion or their drive and work towards that.

Have a great day!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Welcome

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

As I am sure you have learned from reading my About Me page, I am capturing my journey as I explore going back to school and completely changing my career. At the time I am writing this, my About Me page is very short and to the point, and perhaps in time I will update it. However as it stands currently, my bio is fairly short and I do not go into much detail… so I guess I owe you an explanation.

I am 33 years old and I am a married father of 2. I graduated from a top 10 university in 2006 and have been working in the tech/business world ever since. My first job was with one of the tech/Search giants and the job sort of fell right into my lap. At the time, all I thought I wanted to do was go into business. My Dad worked in business, and I knew it was a safe route, and one I could make money. I have this romanticized idea of working for a start-up and making good money and just enjoying creating and making great things. The only problem with all of it is, in reality, I hate it. Well, hate is a strong word… but I dislike this [business] world.

Since I started in business, there were always part of me that enjoyed what I was doing and parts of me that despised what I was doing. Learning, creating, and working with analytical minded people, much like myself, has always been enjoyable. And these tech/business jobs always provide safety and security that allow you a lot of freedoms  to build a life. The downside to these jobs, is often times you cannot “get behind” the work you are doing. Sure a lot of this is cutting edge technology, but I look around at my day-to-day and I do not feel I am making an impact on anyone else.

After I left my initial job (I was on a 1 year contract), I work as a contractor for awhile before filing for unemployment in 2008 during our recession (just after I got married). From there, over the span of 5 years, I worked for a couple different start-ups before landing my current job (another large company, doing great things in their industry). Every time I started a new job I would be excited and have a lot of energy and think “this is it. The job that will make me happy, and the job that I can make my money with.” The problem was, after a couple years, I would get burnt out and find the job boring and tedious. I would then go in search of a new job, one that had everything from the previous job I liked, but fixed one of the “issues” I had with working there. Even at my current company, I changed roles after 2.5 years as the current role was wearing on me.

Within the last year, I have also been fighting some personal battles as well, one of which being that I felt a lot of my unhappiness was affecting those around me: my wife, kids, parents, in-laws, friends, etc. I was stressed and I was not happy and I was taking it out on everyone else. Coupled with some other personal stuff, I set-out to talk to a therapist. Seeing this therapist turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. She has helped me see through so much of the fog in my life, and to better understand not only myself, but how others see the world. I have worked on and changed so much about me for the better, including my outlook. I have a long way to go, but one of the big things we discussed, was that I am not “stuck.”

For so long I have considered leaving the business world and doing something else. After my first year, I almost left to be a firefighter, but didn’t because I knew I wouldn’t pass a physical (bad joints) and I wanted to be able to provide and figured I would find happiness. The other things I had considered were teaching and being a therapist (Family, occupational, Sports… any of those would do!), but I felt it was too late as I needed to support my family. What I didn’t think about was that I never had those strong feelings for this job in the first place. I never truly wanted this job, I was made to believe I did in my upbringing. Instead I wanted to help people. I wanted to do something to help those around me achieve. So with that, we decided that maybe I should go back to school.

Starting this fall, I will be taking a couple classes at a local Community College as I complete all the prerequisites to apply for a Masters in Psychology program.  Even if I decide not to go this route, its nice to know there are options. .

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.