What Do You See in That Bug?

My roommate came out of her room this morning carrying something in her hand. She headed out the patio door. As she put her arm over the rail, I asked her what she was doing.

“I found a bug in my room. Just a small, flying insect. Must have come in through the window screen.”

“Wow,” I responded. “You’re nice. I would have smashed it.” I demonstrated by hitting the nearest wall with my palm.

SMACK.

“It’s the Buddhist in me,” she smiled back.

As she went back to her room, I wondered if she would have had the same set of actions if that bug had been a scorpion, or a big black spider; both of which I have encountered in the apartment since I have lived here.

I know her. If she could have come up with a way to humanely removed those from her living area, she would have.

She is a better person than I am.

SMACK!

This interchange then got me to thinking about the similarities of this scenario to how I perceive differences in appearance in terms of being a threat to my being, and how I act (or react) to people under those same circumstances.

Again, it would take a lot of courage to apply that same approach to a spider or a scorpion. Something bigger, uglier, with more ability to injure me. It’s so much easier to accept something when it is pretty, colorful, shiny, funny; not so easy when it is ugly, mono-chrome, hairy, curt, serious. BugsLifeWallpaper800 spider

Now take that thought and apply it to people, or things, or situations.

Not only does it take courage to see through the façade of initial appearances, but it takes endurance to overcome the fight/flight syndrome that is the partner in crime to that attitude of judgement.

There is no excuse for not being aware and having good judgement at all times. That is not what I am advocating. Constant awareness is a key survival mechanism.

What I am advocating is mixing in the elements of courage, endurance, faith, hope, trust.

In terms of a big picture, I hope that in my daily encounters, whether with people or things or circumstances, that I can accept the challenge to apply my roommate’s holistic approach:

Know (or perceive) what a thing is, but, with hope and courage, move past any fear and get to a place where I can act with humility, compassion, and love towards it.

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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How To Survive As An Independent Contractor

SuccessThe growth of the contingent workforce – that part of the workforce that works for an organization on a non-permanent basis –  is not a new trend. In an article written in April 2011 by Joshua Wright (Data Spotlight: Independent Contractors On The Rise on http://www.economicmodeling.com), it was indicated that as of 2010, the number of independent contractors had increased by more than a million since 2005. Across all industries for which data was available, the percentage of independent contractors rose. Now in 2014 and 3 years later, I have no doubt that, with the economy heading in its current direction, the trend has picked up steam.

Whether you label yourself an independent contractor or a consultant, being your own boss can be a risky proposition. As an independent contractor, you assume the responsibilities that are traditionally the burden of the corporate entity. You must market your product or services, assure payment of invoices, pay your own taxes, carry your own insurance, and manage your own image.

The fears that accompany these responsibilities can be formidable, particularly if you have a family to take care of or other long-term financial goals and responsibilities to maintain. Workflow can be inconsistent from contract to contract, which means cashflow can vary drastically.

What can you do to increase your success as an independent contractor?

Network constantly. View every person you meet as a potential for new business, whether directly or indirectly. That person knows people, who know more people. Word of mouth is a powerful tool; nobody likes the risk of hiring someone they don’t know. Networking groups are helpful, but by no means should membership in these groups be the only means of connecting with potential work opportunities.

Keep your horizon clear by considering everything. I am a firm believer in peeking into open doors, even when they don’t look the way we expect. Some of my most successful endeavors have been a result of this approach. Not only does this expand your income opportunity, but it can contribute to a larger network, a broader perspective, and an expanded skillset.

Maintain and grow your skillset. Speaking of skillset, always be on the cutting edge of what is going on in your industry. You can do this by reading, attending industry conferences, experimenting with new techniques and software applications, networking. Oh, and you can also take classes now and then. The worst thing you can do to your career as an independent contractor is to stagnate by not paying adequate attention to what you bring to the table.

Stay positive. There is nothing more to say about this. Too many negative thoughts can kill any great idea or opportunity. Be positively pragmatic by understanding the risks and by identifying at least one advantage for every disadvantage.

Don’t burn bridges. Review the idea of networking discussed previously, particularly the part about “word of mouth”. People talk. Who you become in a conflict will stick with you longer than you think. Negative talk due to inappropriate or destructive behavior will get around eventually. Remember that independent contractors are scrutinized much more in the job process than their corporate counterparts. Be discreet, principled, and positive in every situation.

Be your own best advocate. Remember, you are your own advertising and marketing department now. Doing quality work will ultimately be the last word. But, don’t be afraid to speak about your strengths and abilities.

Keep precise records. Not only will a daily log help keep you on track and accountable, most times it is necessary for invoicing and taxes.

This is by no means a finite or definitive list; success is subjective, to a degree. I hope that every individual who reads this post will have other ideas about what works and what doesn’t and that they will post it, comment, and contribute to this knowledge base.

Bottom line is that the traditional makeup of the workforce is changing. Many more of us are choosing to be our own boss. And, thanks to networking and social media, the information we need to be able to do that more successfully is right at our fingertips.

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Fear And Need: Motivators or Inhibitors?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself…..What are you afraid of

What causes you to be fearful?

What gives you the most fear?

Is it the fear of losing something?

Or, is it the fear of something happening?

What about need?

Have you ever analyzed your needs versus your wants?

It seems basic, but it is my belief that most people cannot differentiate between something they want and something they need. They get confused.

“I need that job…”

{even though he currently has a perfectly good job}

“I need those new shoes and purse…”

{even though she has half a closet full of them}

“I need that guy to text me today…”

{even though she already has a boyfriend}

Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needsEach one of these needs has a basis in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anyone who has taken college, or maybe even high school, psychology is familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. His theory states 5 levels of need: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualization. Each level must be satisfied before the individual can devote focus and motivation to achieving the next level. In other words, if one can’t attain food and water, one can’t focus on buying a home or doing the right thing, having a family or the respect of others.

But, each one of those is a “need” on steroids.

My intent is not to delve into the details of need. My intent is to make a link between the satisfaction of needs, or lack thereof, and fear.

Fear can be motivational. After all, it is a main tenet of survival. In a dark, empty parking lot, you want fear. You need fear. It heightens your senses, makes you more aware of your surroundings. It causes adrenaline to flow, which is critical to spurring you to move quickly if you have to defend yourself or to run for your life. Neither fight nor flight happens without adrenaline…and neither exists without fear.Good fear

Need can be motivational as well, particularly if we look at Maslow’s top levels, like esteem and self-actualization. The need for esteem can direct you to make wise choices in your career, your community, your family. The need for self-actualization can prompt you to think more deeply and logically about issues and to experience life more completely and contentedly. In other words, need can propel you forward to a fuller life.

However, both fear and need can be detrimental, particularly when they are not held in check and/or they become intertwined.

For example, Harry needs his job, but he is so fearful of losing it that he clenches onto it. He fights for it, but in the wrong way. He makes irrational decisions, or even bad choices, that, in the end, lead to the loss of that job.

Or, Mary needs Joe in her life. She knows he loves her and she loves him. But she is so fearful of doing something wrong or that he is going to leave her that she runs away: she backs away from the relationship. She is not present, not accessible to Joe. In the end, Joe turns to someone else and the relationship crumbles after all.

Fear and need are necessary in life. But they can run rampant if allowed to. They can restrain and strangle true potential and severely limit the beautiful possibilities that God has laid out for each one of us. And, whether alone or together, fear and need can become a way of life, a dark path that does not offer potential for the achievement of a full life.

So, I ask again: “What are you afraid of?”

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Undone On The Un-Holiday

Happy-Valentines-DayToday, I received a Valentine’s greeting from a male friend. Not a new occurrence, by any means. He sends one every year. He is one of my best friends with the biggest heart.

But, his greeting did not have the effect that I am sure he intended it to have.  To be honest, his greeting might not have had any intended effect at all.

Quite possibly, I am completely over-analyzing it.

This, as well, would not be a new occurrence.

Nonetheless, here I am.

I suppose there are a few things I should have felt:

  • loved
  • cared for
  • included
  • wanted

After all, he did take time out of his busy morning to think about me.

Sadly, I didn’t feel any of those.

Even while I was appreciative of his effort, what I felt instead was simple melancholy.

I’m not sure why it hit me like this because I have always thought of Valentine’s Day as an un-holiday: a Hallmark event and only one more way for the masses to spend lots of money on things that none of them need and that are mostly irrelevant to the true meaning of love.

Another temporary frenzy that will wind down and blend into the next un-holiday.Amusable-pink-flowers-bunch

Maybe all those years that I was happily married I took for granted that my husband and my sparkly married relationship would last forever. When Valentine’s Day rolled around every year, I grew to expect roses and chocolates, sometimes champagne and a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant. As our relationship started to falter, the only thing that I could count on was the flowers, because all the other great things about our marriage fell to the ground and shattered.

But, again, he still bought me flowers.

Is it irony that now, I both miss and hate the idea of Valentine’s Day and its misappropriated expectations?

As my relationship crumbled, and I plowed through a divorce and the aftermath of emotion that came with it, the concept of love, of men in general, became anathema. Unpalatable and nauseating.

valentines-dayI scoffed at Valentine’s Day decorations in the stores and ridiculed women who needed that attention, who expected that attention. They must be weak and are definitely needy.

Now that the destruction of my marriage, my old life, is complete and the memory of “him” has fallen into the shadows, along with a few failed relationships since then, I find myself feeling lonely. I can be with great friends, laughing and enjoying my time. Yet, I still feel that loneliness. Does this mean that I am ready to begin to want someone in my life again? That the closeness with a significant other is becoming more critical?

As I meander towards achieving my new goals, and a new life, I wonder if all the time I have spent fearing that bond, I probably have been secretly wanting it and trying to get back to it.

Could it be that the fear is being overtaken by need?

Say it isn’t so. I want a redo. I want to go back to before his text. Without that, I could have gone blissfully blind to the “significance” of today.

As you can see, his greeting was a grim reminder to me that I am still alone, and starting to feel a bit lonely.

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.