February 18, 2016: Day 73

Windshield view from Vegas to Kingman
"Go where you are celebrated, not where you are tolerated."

A friend shared this quote in mid-December and it has resonated with me ever since.

Just coming off a life change in leaving a job very abruptly, my feelings were many and mixed. The remaining December was a bit of a blur for me. As the CPU in my brain went into overdrive, over-analyzing the details of my departure, this simple quote kept coming back to me.

I lost sight of this quote as my 90 days off became an adventure over the last month or so. But after spending a day observing and listening to my parents and husband, the importance of these words couldn't have come across to me any stronger. So simple, but so true.

Is a relationship ever fulfilling when you feel tolerated and not celebrated? The answer is never. I run into this far too often with people staying in the same organizations or in the same relationships for far too long. And it really is all about relationships in both our work and personal lives.

Even if 90% of the people at your job celebrate your great existence, it only takes the minority of the tolerated crowd to make your life miserable. Personal relationships carry even more weight. I can't imagine going through life without a spouse who celebrates me; celebrates us. I never feel tolerated. And that is a joyful existence.

Garrett and I enjoyed a wonderful Thursday with my parents in Kingman, Arizona. Our Mexican dinner together was full of sharing life, including some great conversations on our past work lives.

My mom described three different bosses with three different experiences. The shortest-termed boss of the three caused her the most heartache. She was barely tolerated. As Mom described the other two longer-termed employers, she shined with a smile. Time well spent.

Dad has always been his own boss. Always. And no negative job evals were received during this tenure. His reminiscing over his work life was one of hard work that paid huge happiness dividends to him. Better than annual bonuses.

And my parents celebrate each other. Every day. There is no 'tolerating' each other as I have seen way too often between long-time married couples. I am blessed with great examples of parents. They live a life well lived and are great mentors to me.

A dear friend shared with me words from her mentor on a work life well spent. She described her friend and mentor as a little Asian woman with a fierce personality and a strong accent. Following a big layoff at my friend's company, she asked for words of advice from the woman, her elder by many years.

The words of wisdom were not what my friend expected.

“Never be afraid of being fired. Have a plan B. Don’t be afraid of risks. If you are afraid to fail, you will never do anything.”

When my friend asked for more clarification, as though developing a master plan was in order, the little lady's next line of advice came quickly...

“What are you waiting for?? You are old enough to do this. If you wait too long, you’ll be old like me and not able to do anything anymore.”

Enough said. I loved these words. The fiery little lady had no clue that she 'paid it forward' with this advice to me as well.

Celebration and appreciation are a great way to exist. And working to not be fired? Nobody positively changes the world or an organization without taking risks. Living afraid is living in fear. And fear paralyzes. Positive change can't occur in an immobile environment. That is an impossible feat.

Everyone wants to make a difference while leading a happy life. But you need to be empowered, brave, and appreciated to fully realize these great feats. You also need to know when to walk away.

And now for my advice...If Plan A's don't work, Plan B's can be glorious. My 90 days off was my Plan B. No magic to the 90 day number. It just felt right the day I had to execute on it.

Life is good. I have no doubt that the next chapter will be full of continued happiness and positive change. The key is not accepting anything less.

(90 Days Off realization #14: Don't make compromises on the big things in life)

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