Adulting 101

I’m not going to claim to have a high level of adult-ability however I have been adulting for around 40 years and have learned a bit in the past 25 years that I would love to share. These adulting tips are mostly for those employed in corporate America but can be useful in non-work relationships too.

  1. Learn to play well with others – in this current environment of remoteness, it seems the ability to play nice in a group may have flown out the window. Just because you no longer like assembling in a live group, you do not have the right to make life miserable for all those around you. And even if you ARE miserable, defer to the old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” For those who need more context here – honey = sweetness, vinegar = sourness. When in doubt, tend toward honey.
  2. Collaborate – like above, sharing is caring. When placed in a situation where you have to play well with others and you do so, remember to do your fair share. A spirit of collaboration makes corporate teamwork palatable. Oh, and those of you who have relationship goals of having a single monogamous relationship….collaboration and teamwork is kinda important there too. Plus…who knows, you may just find that this sharing becomes a thing.
  3. Be flexible – you may feel you are right. You may *be* right. You may have textbook knowledge while a teammate has experience. The reality is, right and wrong are amorphous when having to work together. Spend some time approaching from the opposite angle – see things through another’s eyes. Meditate on the other view point. Walk a mile in another’s shoes. You don’t always have to acquiesce. You can stand your ground if the ground is solid. But do so once you’ve looked at things from the other perspective.
  4. Accept and internalize feedback – remember as you progress in your career that you will receive feedback. Read that word as criticism – but criticism that will help you grow. Will the feedback always be provided with kindness and soft words? No. At first, you may not have tough enough shell to separate your pride from reality. Most of the time, when you receive constructive feedback it is because you have fallen short in some way. Expect that the person offering the feedback knows the business (whatever business you are in) and can help you take your career to the next level and take in the feedback. You should continue to receive feedback throughout your career. As you “grow thicker skin” you will be able to feel that you are not being personally attacked. You are being coached and encouraged even if the feedback is harsh in its delivery (not everyone is good at coaching). Also, if you are in a “creative” role – writer, artist, presenter … any creative outlet … remember that you are not your output. In other words, what you’ve written (for example) is not YOU as a person. It is a part of your role…your position…your job…and you have an identity OUTSIDE of that. Keeping that in mind will help you build the skill of accepting feedback, internalizing it, and using it. Quick tip for those of you who struggle with taking feedback (coming from someone who used to cry every time I was corrected): If the feedback is written, consider giving yourself some time before you read it. Once you receive the feedback, acknowledge its receipt and then set it aside…for a period of time (my period of time is 24 hours unless I’m under a deadline). Then, approach it with a positive mindset knowing you can use it to become better. Sometimes I read a bit of the feedback and then close the email/document and return to it later. Whatever makes it easier on yourself. One other reminder: EVERYONE receives feedback. EVERYONE. No human is perfect and therefore even the person you are receiving feedback form has received feedback. This is how we all learn.
  5. Start at the bottom and rise – This is my final piece of advice and it’s given because too often I encounter the mindset of I’M GONNA START AS A CEO. Nope. You’re not. For a good 90% of the population, you start at the bottom. Even if you have multiple advanced degrees. Doesn’t matter. You start at the beginning. Your career, as with your life, is a book. You don’t start a book on Chapter 10 or Chapter 40. You start on Chapter 1. Just graduating? You’re about to open the cover of that amazing book called your career and start it…….maybe with the prologue! We all do. While this is a generalization and some people do start at the top, truly, very few do. When you start out, it’s great to have a GOAL of reaching the top of your field but expecting to start at the top is unrealistic. You may see your favorite athletes or musicians or actors reaching the pinnacle at a point that seems to be right out of the gate, but truly, no athlete, musician, actor, artist, writer, or corporate mogul STARTED there. They started learning “the game” (whatever that game is….football, gymnastics, rock ‘n roll, tech) at a young age. If you ask most successful people when they started working at whatever they’ve excelled at, you will hear the, “I played football for the first time when I was 6,” or “I learned to play the guitar when I was 10…” Picking up a computer, learning to code, and becoming the CEO of a highly lucrative software company all in one week is unheard of….and rarely happens. Have a dream. Have goals. Reach for the stars…but realistically know those goals and dreams are realized on a foundation of hard work and feedback and flexibility and collaboration and teamwork….

I’m no self-help guru. I just see a trend that really needs to be called out.

About Solid Body Strong Mind

Planning an update to this, and hopefully a way to encourage women to stay healthy as they approach middle age. Change happening April 1!!
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