Pretty Blue Rose

life musings, fashion, and inspiration


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Wednesday Wisdom: Use it or Lose it!

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“Like physical effort, thought control is entirely a matter of intelligent practice. You must use your courage or it will desert you. You must use your determination or it will leave you. You must use your power of decision or soon you will find that you have none.” 

Think and Grow Rich

-Napoleon Hill

Wow, right?! I fully understand that concept for muscles–think astronauts and the extreme care they take to exercise their muscles in space so they don’t atrophy. (side note: if I don’t work out for a week, the next week, when I resume, my heart, lungs, and muscles feel like I haven’t used them in years…ugh!!)

Until I saw that quote, I hadn’t thought about courage, determination, or decisiveness in a “use or lose” kind of way. But we all know, once in a comfort zone, it’s hard to get out. Once you quit on one goal, it’s much easier to quit next time. Once you waffle on a decision, it’s easier to be wishy washy next time. But the good news is the same idea is true in reverse. Once you leap and make one courageous move (even if it’s unsuccessful) it’s easier to be courageous next time. Once you decide get out of bed early to work out, it becomes easier the next time.

So I encourage you (and me) to do things that require courage. Not only things like sky diving and rock climbing,  but little things like wearing a non-traditional nail polish color to a conservative work place and bigger things like creating a book series that rejects stereotypes and promotes diversity. (wonder who is trying to do that?)

Also, use your decisive and determined muscles on a daily basis. I know we tend to be all about accommodating everyone and everything, but learn to stick with a decision no matter who opposes it.

Stay inspired and enjoy the journey,

 

PS couldn’t help the He-man pic. Not sure why:)he-man-2063756_1920

 

 

A. G.

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Wednesday Wisdom: Chillax

A former boss once told me that I am a great worker, and very even keel, but (yes a but!) one of the things that I need is to feel respected. (I feel like what was implied is that I make waves when I feel I am being disrespected, and that’s not a good thing. sigh.).

I called my hubby to repeat the conversation and said, it’s not like that should be too much to ask…am I expecting too much of others? Please don’t tell me I’m overly needy because I feel every one should be respected. I just want people to show they have some “home training”.

Then it hit me, everyone has different upbringings, and something as simply courteous as saying hello in the hallway may not be on someone’s radar. (I am still shaking my head in disbelief as I typed that) But the reality is, what’s most important is my reaction to the perceived slight at work, at home, or by a neighbor.

Getting upset and giving away my joy is sooo what I need to work on…I need to realize not everyone was raised like me and that by putting my standards on others does nothing to them, but ruins my day and shortens my life.

“A relaxed attitude lengthens life” (Proverbs 14:30)

Chillaxin,

A.G.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Wrestling with Pigs

“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

― George Bernard Shaw

I first saw this quote on twitter last week, and in full disclosure when I did my research, I found it attributed to several different people, but Mr. Shaw had the most votes, so he’s who I ended up going with.

So when I saw quote it spoke to me loud and clear. When someone is going through an injustice (that’s small to them, but big to you) everyone likes to say “pick your battles”, but that gives me little consolation when I know I am being wronged/mistreated and it’s making my everyday very challenging.

However, this quote shifts the focus from being wronged to avoiding joining a mess. It gave me a palatable alternative to jumping in there and setting the record straight (or really telling someone off, let’s be honest). If I don’t engage in gossip and backbiting, my character stays in tact, but if I chose to engage with challenging people, I will inevitably stoop to their level and I will reek of their character. So by “picking my battles” I’ll stay out of the mud and stay clean. Although I won’t have the satisfaction of engaging with certain people the way I’d love to, I’ll also be able to wear a metaphorical white outfit and keep it clean, in other words, keeping my integrity and character in tact.

Pretty Blue Style: All in white

Also, this quote helped me to realize that there is no way I could engage with challenging people and stay clean. I may start out clean (with good intentions), but by the nature of who they are, and how they play, I am bound to get really really dirty. And I don’t want that.

Wearing all white,

A.G.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Stop Auditioning

 

 

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I’ve been getting a lot of advice lately. Let’s just say there are some interesting things going on in my life and lots of folks have lots to say (reminder to self: stop telling lots of folks). I was lamenting the fact that I felt dismissed, judged, and undervalued.

A mentor gave me one piece of (alarming) advice about the work place that stuck with me:

“Although unfair, everyday is an audition”.

I found two definitions of auditioning:
1-An interview at which a singer, actor, dancer, or musician demonstrates their suitability and skill.

2-A trial performance, as by an actor, dancer, or musician, to demonstrate suitability or skill.

I think we all know the first definition, but the first part of the second definition is that caught my eye.  Auditions are a trial period where it is OK to be asked to demonstrate your skills. The thing I’d like to highlight is that it’s for a limited time –hence the word  trial.

But some folks expect people to prove themselves everyday but that’s tiring! Right? Living everyday as on a trial performance is not healthy. But unfortunately, I had to agree with that sentiment. In some work circles there’s always this “thing” hanging over you about your reputation. Everything you do, say, and work you perform is always “shaping” your “reputation”. To me this means you are always auditioning, always proving.

When I mentioned this everyday auditioning advice to my hubby (he is always my sounding board and gives the best advice) he said I don’t need to buy in to that unhealthy thinking.

He said, let’s oversimplify to make a point: If you are the best cook, dancer, employee, blogger, or athlete ever and someone else shares this perspective, 50% will believe it and 50% won’t. The same is true in reverse, if someone passes along that you a horrible parent, dancer, singer, cook, there is a 50% chance that others will believe it and the other half won’t. Bottom line: there will be a group of people who believe that you are great and others who won’t, no matter what you do.

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I think of the heated conversations men have about athletes illustrates this perfectly. You can take one athlete, say LeBron James, and one person who loves him lists stats and hurdles he’s  overcome to convince others of LeBron’s greatness. But others, who know those same stats and watch the same games will disagree and call LeBron garbage. They will say he only can do what he does because of those around him (coaches and teammates) and they say he’s no good. Same athlete, same performance, very different perspectives.

So, if you are a person who cares about what folks think or even worse, thinks you can change how people perceive you, you are going through life auditioning–be it for a job or role you already have. You’ll always be trying to prove that you are worth your title.

I’m learning to focus on doing good work regardless of what others think. I will not keep auditioning for a job or a role I already have.

Changing my perspective,

A.G.

 

 


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Wednesday Wisdom: It Takes Courage

Follow what you love and it will take you-2

So y’all (yes I do say y’all now) it’s been an interesting past few weeks. (Interesting=tears).  While my day job has been a bit challenging to say the least, I think some of the interesting-ness stems from me starting to believe in my dreams to the point where I am putting action behind my vision. When old clothes stop fitting– they become uncomfortable, right?

The quote above from Mr. Cummings (with my emphasis in parentheses) really spoke to my heart. It does not take courage to fall in line. It does not take courage to play it safe. Quite frankly, it does not take courage to go to college to then get a “good job”.

But it does take courage to be a visionary. It does take courage to move past educational training to pursue what you love. It does take courage to leave the titles and prestige behind to start from scratch not knowing how it will turn out… (don’t get me started on financial responsibilities)

So to celebrate successful entrepreneurs, especially women who had the courage to change careers, check out these inspiring women below:

  • In 1979, Nina Zagat and her husband, Tim, were corporate lawyers by way of Yale Law School who relocated to Paris for work. Nina was taking cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu while working at the firm Shearman & Sterling. Tim was a self-admitted foodie before there were “foodies.” Together they started compiling brief summaries of restaurants in Paris. When the couple moved back to New York, they started asking friends for restaurant opinions. As the 1980s rolled in, they transformed the idea into a business and published their first guide in 1982. Three years later, the Zagat Guide reportedly outsold the New York Times restaurant guide. That news coupled with a New York magazine cover story bumped sales from 40,000 to 75,000 annually. The Zagats then expanded to other cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, which garnered even more success.

 

  • In her late 20’s, Keija Minor had quit her job as a corporate lawyer with a six-figure salary after deciding she wanted more than the law. At 27, she took an 85 percent pay cut to work as an intern at startup travel magazine Travel Savvy. She eventually worked her way up to Conde Nast, where she is now the first African-American EIC of Brides nearly 15 years later.
source: dailyworth.com

 

  • Nora Ephron went from being a journalist at The New York Post to writing the romantic comedies that keep us all company on rainy afternoons. Throughout her career, she added director, producer, playwright, and author to her many list of professions.
Source: marieclaire.com

 

  • At 24, Amy Tan had left her doctoral program at UC Berkeley. She started a business-writing firm, penning speeches for executives and salesmen before becoming a full-time freelance business writer. But Tan confesses that she “secretly dreamed of becoming an artist.” At 33, she began writing fiction and had her first short story published the following year. Amy’s best-selling The Joy Luck Club would not be published until she was 37.
Source:dailyworth.com

 

I encourage you to listen to your heart, do what you love, and pursue your dreams. 

Listening to my own advice,

A.G.


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Some Wisdom: Nothing Even Matters

 

I was recently involved in a situation where I was very very upset with a few folks. I was repeatedly being disrespected…in the subtle, passive aggressive way that only nasty folks know how to do…

The evening of the “most recent encounter” I went into my studio to dance (and sing) my stress away…

And since I was feeling “creative” I started looking for other dances to inspire me.

I stumbled upon this dance by one of my favorite choreographers, Galen Hooks.

her movement really is amazing. (I’m still learning it…it looks simple but it isn’t)

Well, from there I found this You Tube cover of Lauryn Hill’s Nothing Even Matters and it is Sick! (Galen’s dance reminded me of how much I love Lauryn’s song…)

So in love with their voices, I began listening to it again this morning–and then it hit me–It doesn’t matter! (duh I know, but still…). We all know about ignoring petty, angry, insecure people, but when they strike it’s hard not to retaliate.

Although, on the surface the song Nothing Even Matters is about love– but hearing them sing the phrase nothing even matters over and over made me see how small this battle is and reminded me why I shouldn’t engage.

I started thinking about how eagles soar above adversity while chickens just peck and flap on the ground. Arguing with chickens is silly. Eagles and chickens don’t fly in the same air space–so for me to engage would be like residing in the chicken coop. No Thanks!

I have a destiny to fulfill, I have people to inspire, I have dances to create, a family to raise and to love…so no this disrespect doesn’t matter.

Ms. Hill says it best:

Now the skies could fall
Not even if my boss should call

[Nothing even matters]

These buildings could drift out to sea
Some natural catastrophe

It still doesn’t matter,

 

A.G.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Road Cars vs Race Cars

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The other day I heard the best analogy while listening to the radio.

The speaker was explaining some of the differences between how race cars and road cars are built and related them to how we should operate in our everyday lives. He explained that road cars are built with a long life in mind. We expect road cars to perform reliably for hundreds of thousands of miles because they are built to last.

This is not the case with race cars, however. A race engine is built with one thing in mind: power. Race engine components are built to be light and strong, but in most cases, they don’t last much longer than one race.

We, in turn, are not built to run at a race car’s top capacity all the time. Although multitasking and constant working are things our society pushes and even rewards,  it’s not good for anyone long term. Can you handle what’s thrown at you? Can you juggle different responsibilities without letting them see you sweat? Can you manage unrealistic expectations and unreasonable staff while looking flawless? Of Course I can! But at what cost? Like a race car, you may be able to manage juggling everything for a few trips around the track, but you will burn out. Promise. If you live your life for the long term, similar to a road car, you will last much longer. Let’s try to see the long game, slow down!

Chillin in my road car…

 

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A.G.