This morning, I was putting on my makeup and thinking about my upcoming day. I wake up super early (around 5:30am), and I get ready in my sister’s room so that I don’t wake my sleeping boyfriend. My sister has a bird named Millie, and she plays music for the bird. For some reason, my family thinks that birds like music, and I’ve decided that the bird likes Soft Pop. As I was putting on my makeup, the Soft Pop channel played Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” followed by a song called “Fight Song”. These inspirational songs sparked my creativity, leading me to share a story about how I recently rose above negativity.
I actually haven’t shared this with many people yet, but I recently quit my full-time job to take on part-time work and grow my business. My job just wasn’t what I hoped it would be, and it was making me unhappy. It was very difficult for me to realize that I should quit, but I eventually took a leap of faith and decided to follow a different path. I had to take a long hard look at what I want out of life, and I decided to “live like I was dying” and “fight” for what I really want: to build my own nutrition and wellness business and spend my time helping people.
When I tell people that I’m giving up a full-time salary to work part-time while starting a business, they usually congratulate me with a pitied/ “are you crazy?” type of look. Some people even said things like, “Well, I guess that’s good if you have enough clients”. I started to dread telling people about my decision until I realized that it was MY decision and I had to own it. What I am doing is not for everyone, and the only way I will succeed is by rising above the negativity. Because it is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, I’m sharing my story and my tips for keeping a positive attitude.
Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Most people don’t understand taking a big risk because they haven’t done it, and they may try to talk you out of your decision. This happened to me recently when someone referred to me as “just a blogger”. And many of my handcrafted, creative pitches go unanswered, which causes the negativity to creep into my thoughts. But, then I remember that the only person’s opinion that matters is my own and I believe that I have what it takes to succeed. Positivity comes from having the self confidence to withstand the negative comments and being relentless in your desire to do what you want.
Talk to people you love/ask for advice. When I came home from work feeling beaten down, I would call my dad or my mom. Often times, I just needed to talk out how I was feeling. I wanted someone to hear what I was going through, rather than keep it all bottled up inside. Sometimes, the people you love can see the good in the situation when you cannot. I also asked my friends and colleagues for advice. It was amazing to hear that many of them felt the same way I did. I never would have known that others face the same struggles if I didn’t put myself out there, admit my failures, and ask for advice.
Exercise. One day, I was feeling really upset after work, and Bill kept telling me to go for a run. He knows me well enough to know that would lift my spirits (and it did). The release of feel-good endorphins is actually a natural response to exercise. But, I also just feel great after having accomplished something as insignificant as running a few miles or doing a few push-ups.
Invest time in your hobbies. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my career that I forget that I love to read and cook and ride my bike. When I take some time to do these things, I feel the positivity floating through my veins. Hobbies are also a welcome distraction from anything that is bothering me.
Write about it. I think it was Oprah who made journaling a popular activity. I don’t keep a journal, but I write about my experiences on my blog. It helps me sort through my ideas and share my personal experiences with others. I’m not always the best at talking about things that bother me–I find it easier to write them down. Also, seeing words on paper sometimes makes the solution clearer to see.
Reflect on the negative experience to see the positive. It’s often difficult to see the sunshine through the clouds. But one thing is certain…the sun always comes out again. After a not-so-great experience, I reflect on the positive experiences that came from the thing. Although I left my job feeling partly like I failed, I actually learned a lot about myself. I learned that I’m great at breaking down complicated nutrition information, and I’m easy to talk to because I provide practical advice in counseling sessions. I also learned that I’m tough and I can wake up super early in the morning, spend the whole day on my feet, manage 10 people and still come home and take a run. I also met some great people and spent time in the best city in the world.
I always told my employees that you can’t change the people around you. You can only change the way you react to those people. Rising above the negative means remembering that on a daily basis.