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Adulting means……Being Coachable

softball girlsWhen I was growing up I was in a LOT of activities. Softball, Dance, Cheer, Basketball, Track, Field Hockey, Drama. I liked to be involved and I always wanted to be a part of the action. I loved being on a team and having the built-in family those team provided. But most importantly I learned how to coach and how to be coached. These skills have proven invaluable over my life.

A good coach believes in you and the team. They make you think you can do anything (with enough practice). They believe their team is invincible. Actually, they may not really believe that. What’s important is that they make the TEAM believe it. Coach will tell you, “When you bring your A Game, nobody can beat you.” And you believe it!

A good coach makes you work on the basics. “We aren’t learning any tricks until you can perform the basics with your eyes closed 100% of the time.” It’s important to build everything off the fundamentals in everything you do.

coach yell

A good coach focuses on the positive. When you make an error, the last thing you need is for your coach to point it out to you (and your team, parents, fans). You are WELL aware that you messed up. What you need is for your coach to tell you you’ve got the next one.

A good coach calls you out when you need it. On the other hand, when you’re being lazy or goofing-off, your coach will tell you to get to work. They’ll even make you run so you don’t do it again. I think that’s good. You only have a limited amount of time together. You’d better make it count.

A good coach pushes you out of your comfort zone. Let’s say you’ve never pitched or thrown a basket-toss or done a monologue. I think the best coaches MAKE you do them. It’s vital that the coach teach you, mentor you and support you, but pushing you off the ledge is part of their job.

A good coach knows when to back off. If you show up to practice crying or start having abnormal behavior, it’s the role of the coach to know something else might be going on. The coach should pull you aside to check in and see if you’re okay. Sometimes it may be nothing other than stress, heavy workload or hormones. Sometimes it’s boyfriend/girlfriend, family or school issues. A coach needs to be aware.

coach hug

A good coach notices what makes you special. Each person on the team serves a specific role. Sometimes the role is talent-based. Sometimes the role is character-based. Your coach knows WHY you are on the team and what role you fill. The best coaches can articulate that and TELL YOU why you’re special.

A good coach walks the walk. A coach should never ask from the players what they are not willing to give themselves. If players aren’t allowed to cuss, neither should coaches. Coaches should be held to the HIGHEST standard. It’s their job to demonstrate respect, sportsmanship, hard work, etc.

A good coach won’t let you beat yourself. “Nobody can beat you , but YOU. Don’t you dare beat yourselves today.” All teams have been there before. You’re in a funk. Or you’re playing down to the other team’s sorry level. It’s the coaches responsibility to call you on that and pick you back up.

Let me tell you why I know ALL about what makes a good coach. It’s because I had the BEST coach. My softball coach when I was growing up demonstrated all of these characteristics. I got to see them on the field and off the field. My best coach was also…..my Dad.

Dad

Adulting means…Quitting

So….you’re ready to quit your job? Are you sure? Let me give you a few things to think about before you pull the trigger.

Quit pic

First and foremost, do NOT quit your job until you have a plan. Ultimately I think you should have another job already lined up and ready to go. That’s assuming you want to continue working. Do not put yourself in a position of desperation. You really want to make sure you can seamlessly transition to your next gig. If you like your current job ,you may want to even consider keeping both jobs. Maybe you can work one day a week at the current place and then pick up more days at the new one?

There are several things you should consider when choosing a new job:

Skills: Pick a job that is going to grow and challenge you. You should be looking for something that will teach you new things. There is something to be learned at any job. In most entry-level jobs you are going to learn time-management, organization, taking direction and being coachable. You’ll learn computer systems, cash management, customer service and how to be a part of a team. As you advance you could even learn hiring, firing, training and more. Look for a job that is in a field you are interested in. That can often make all the difference in your motivation.

            Pay: In most cases you’re going to want to make more money than you were making in your current position. I mean, DUH. But I will warn you that more money is not always the best reason to move. Sometimes it may be better to take a little less money (or even money) if you can learn more skills or get some experience in an industry that excites you.

slary

Environment: Strive for a job where you love the people, culture and purpose of the company. This one thing can make or break your experience. You want to be somewhere that you have fun with your co-workers and you have a boss that supports you. Companies that have a strong culture can fill you with joy. A company that wants the best for it’s employees, that has integrity and knows it’s values tend to be great places to work.

Student-Friendly: I suggest you look for work that will be a good fit for you. Search out places that will work around your schedule. A lot of companies will give you flexibility for classes and other activities. I believe it’s most important that you get your schooling done. Plus school activities, volunteering and other interests that you have need to be integrated in your life. Work is part of what you do, not necessarily everything you do. On the flip side, make sure they can offer you the number of hours you’ll need to make ends meet. Another factor that often gets lost in decision-making is location. If your job takes you in the other direction from school, home and activities, maybe the money/experience isn’t worth it…..OR maybe it is. Just be sure to consider your gas, time and stress in your equation.

burn bridges

HOW you leave your job is critical! It is imperative that you do not burn any bridges on your way out. You need to keep it classy. You never know when you’ll need that reference. Please give them two weeks notice. It’s best to give your employer a letter of resignation. You can find templates on google. You’ll probably be asked to give an exit interview. That’s just the company’s way of getting feedback from you. They’ll probably ask you what you liked, what you didn’t, etc. It’s a piece of caked, don’t stress about it.

Finally, remember that you won’t get a paycheck from you new job for several weeks. There will be a “dead” period in between jobs. Make sure you plan for that!

Now….Onward and Upward!

Adulting Means…..Enjoying Your Summer!

2019 grad balloons

Class of 2019! Hooray, you did it! Does it feel like the last summer for the rest of your life? I guess, in a way, it is. Summer Break will have no meaning to you after this year. You’ll get up and head to work whether it’s July 1st or not. Unless you’re a teacher, I suppose. Here’s my best advice for this summer….

WORK HARD. PLAY HARD.

Trust me when I tell you this. You will never have this much energy again for the rest of your days. When life’s responsibilities start piling up, they take up a lot of mental energy. So, this summer, be carefree. Have some fun and enjoy the long, sunny days.

On the other hand, I also encourage you to work as many hours as you can fit in. Summer jobs are a great way to stockpile some money for the leaner fall/winter months. It’s a great time to get ahead on some payments you may already have (student loans, car payments, etc). Employers will often let students work a bunch of hours because the stores are busy and, quite frankly, your labor is cheap. Try to find that balance of work and play.

When you’re out playing, challenge yourself to find inexpensive activities. What’s most important right now is WHO you spend time with, not WHAT you’re doing. Enjoy your friends right now. It won’t be long and you’ll all be so busy “doing life” that time together will be hard to find. Hang out at your house. Go for a hike or a walk. Bike ride down to the lake for a picnic. Google “Cheap Fun Things To Do” and you’ll get a list so long, you could never finish it in one summer!

bike picnic

For this summer, Live in the NOW. Worrying about what’s going to happen in the fall will not benefit you at this point. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have a plan. So DO have a plan. But then let it be. Leave it alone. Anxiety of future changes will not prevent them from happening. Enjoy your present. Put your toes in the sand, laugh too loud and stay up late at a bonfire. You will not regret it.

Toes in the sand

There are a few things to iron out for the fall (while we’re thinking about a plan). Make sure your courses and financial aid are set to go. Talk regularly with your future roommate. Find out who else you know that will be on campus or in the town while you’re there. It’s nice to have people to ride-share with! Make sure you have everything you NEED. Meaning all the “stuff”. I think it’s helpful to talk with someone who’s been there before. Trust me, you don’t need every item on that College Shopping Checklist.

Please use this summer to learn how to manage your money. This is a great time to make a few small mistakes before the stakes are really high. Get in to the practice of saving, budgeting and prioritizing! Take this course to learn about financial education. It only takes about an hour!

Finally, be sure to spend some time with your family. Sit down for coffee with your Dad. Take a walk with your Mom. Play a game of FortNite with your little brother. You are about to embark on a grand adventure in the fall. They are excited for you, but they are going to miss you. A lot.

Adulting Means……Picking the Right 5

Several years ago I started running. Okay, it’s more like very slow jogging. I ran around my neighborhood and sometimes went to the gym for some weight work. I actually like to run. It’s a great way to clear my head and the feeling when I’m done is fantastic (yeah endorphins!). But as much as I liked doing it, sometimes it was hard to get motivated. I’d talk myself into other “important” things I had to do. Things like dishes, laundry, watching tv. Or I would think about how tired, sick, sore I was and how I probably shouldn’t run feeling that way. Because I had nobody to hold me accountable, these excuses seemed perfectly logical.

excuses

Then I joined an outdoor boot camp type of exercise group. Camp Gladiator! The group meets outside (usually a parking lot) and there’s a trainer to run the show. I immediately loved the challenge and variety of work outs. I was hooked. I expected to get in better shape and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine in the process. What I was NOT expecting and took me by such surprise is the comradery in this group. I’m excited to go! I can’t wait to go see the friends I’ve made. We push each other and have friendly competition. When I’m feeling lazy, I can count on someone picking me up. They’ll text to make sure I’m ready to go tomorrow morning. The trainers text encouragement and hold me accountable.

This is a great example of surrounding yourself with like-minded people. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It makes perfect sense if you think about it. If you go to lunch every day with a group of people who order the double bacon cheeseburger, extra fries and large milkshake….will you order the salad, dressing on the side? Doubt it. If your roommates lay around binging on Netflix all weekend…will you clean the bathroom and then go for a bike ride? Doubt it. It’s only natural that you start to evolve into the people you’re around. That’s why it’s crucial to choose those people wisely.

Like minded

If you want to excel in your school work or career, you want to be hanging out with people that already do that. If you want a healthy lifestyle, make friends at the gym or the farmer’s market. There are groups for everything nowadays. Search for your local Meet Ups and you’ll find business groups, gardening groups, study groups. Pick one and go check it out.

This may mean you need to change up your current situation. You may find this exercise beneficial. Take a long, hard look at each of your people. Think about how you feel around them, the energy they put out and their lifestyle. Them decide Demote, Promote or Terminate. Demote means you take a step back and maybe transition from “friend” to “acquaintance”. Promote means you get a great vibe from this person. You want to spend more time with them. Terminate is when you want to cut this friend off. That may sound harsh, but you should never apologize for doing what’s right for YOU and YOUR well-being.

I encourage you to take a time out and assess the people you’re surrounding yourself with. Do you want to be like these people? If so, GREAT! Keep doing what you’re doing. If not, it’s time to make a change. Don’t be scared. Don’t be apologetic.

ADULTING MEANS….CREATING GOOD HABITS

It’s February 25th. I’m sure you made some New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of 2019. How are you doing? Crushing them? Have you already thrown in the towel? Creating good habits is HARD.

The most successful way to create good habits is to make it EASY to do the things you should do. Let’s say you want to start eating at home more. Well then, on the weekend you should plan out a few meals you want to make in the upcoming week. Next you should go online and order your groceries. Going to the grocery store often results in purchasing items you don’t need. Finally, I suggest you make cooking fun. Play some music or invite a friend to come over to cook with you!

cooking dancing

Another example is working out. First and foremost figure out what time of the day works the best for YOU. Some like to wake up and get right to it. Others find it best to go in the evening or on a lunch hour. Another best practice is to prepare for your work out. Have your clothes, ear buds, shoes, etc ready to go. Either leave them next to your bed (morning workout) or pack them in a bag and put that bag in your car (afternoon/evening workout). Make it as easy as possible to get going. Accountability is key! If you have a workout buddy or a trainer waiting at the gym for you you’re much more likely to show up.

If you’d like to start studying more effectively, you should determine the time and place. Schedule it on your planner as if it were a meeting. Make your study place somewhere you WANT to be. It should be functional and comfortable.

pretty desk

Checking in on your finances may not be your favorite activity, but it SHOULD be done. Time and place are important for this one too. Put it on your calendar and have an inviting place to work. A Money Buddy is a great idea too! Have someone you can report back to on your progress. They can celebrate your successes and help steer you back when you get off track.

godl stars

There are a few overall techniques that may help you create good habits:

  • Don’t wait to “be in the mood”. If you’re scheduled to do something, do it.
  • Give it 10 minutes. Just commit to doing it for 10 minutes. If you really want to quit after that, you can. Most likely you’ll have some momentum going and will just want to power through.
  • Make it a game! Put a gold star sticker on your calendar for every day to stick to your plan. Trust me, you’ll like to see those stars. Maybe after 20 stars you give yourself a reward?
  • Focus on ADDING good goals, rather than SUBTRACTING bad ones. If you concentrate on the positive, you’ll start to repeat that good behavior.
  • Post your successes (and failures) on social media. This will enhance your accountability. Plus you may inspire others to start good habits!
  • Start telling yourself and others “I’m the kind of person who ________”. Likes to eat at home. Works out regularly. Studies a little every day. Is conscientious about my money. By saying this out loud, you’ll naturally start behaving like a person who ________.

Good Luck! This is going to require work, effort and intentionality, but you CAN do it!

Adulting means….Watching Out for Each Other

I live in a small town in North Texas. Our town is often listed on the “Safest Towns in Texas”. It’s quaint, quiet and honestly it can be a little boring. I love to go for jogs in the early morning hours. I plug in my earbuds and I’m off. I leave my house before dawn to attend my Camp Gladiator work outs (like an outdoor bootcamp). My 17 year old daughter rolls in from work sometime around 10:00 pm. I’ve never once been worried about our safety. The only time I’ve been scared going to my car was because I watched a particularly intense Walking Dead episode.

Jogging alone

My fairy tale land came crashing in around me 3 weeks ago. It was Super Bowl Sunday. We had all the kids in the house watching the game, eating pizza and playing board games. We’re a loud bunch when we get competitive. As I headed out to bring a bag of trash outside, my husband joined me. We were chatting about this and that standing on our front porch. Suddenly we heard a woman’s voice yelling. At first we figured it was kids playing and chasing each other. Then it got more desperate and louder. We started running in the direction of the screams. It was dark and we couldn’t see anyone. My husband called out “Are you okay? Do we need to call the police?” Then a man took off running away from us. We quickly saw a woman come out of the shadows. She was crying and trying to call 911. As we approached her we saw she had a busted lips and both knees are bleeding.

 

She was crying so hard, I took her phone to give the 911 operator our situation and location. As she calmed down, she was able to tell us what happened. She was walking in the dark (about 7pm) with her headphones in and a man came out of nowhere and grabbed her from behind. He started groping her and tearing at her clothes. For two hours we sat with her consoling her and helping her retell her story to the police. My teenagers brought water and aspirin. One thing that really struck me is how GUILTY the victim felt. Granted walking at night, by yourself, with headphones in may not be the wisest decision.

TX neighborhood

BUT as I’ve mentioned, we live in a very safe (very boring) little town. You would never expect this brazen attack here. Especially on a fairly busy street in the evening. I’d say this was a reality check for many of us. The assault was reported on all the local news channels and media outlets. At the very least, I hope others of us who run, jog and walk our streets have taken note. In no way am I saying we should stop our activities. I am angry about this violence and I for one will not be scared to live my life. I will not give him the satisfaction of “stealing” my freedom. I will, however, by more aware of my surroundings. I now have a running belt and it’s armed with pepper spray, a personal alarm and a Kubotan (see YouTube videos on how to use this weapon).

kubotan

This man is still out there. Please watch out for each other. If you See something, Say something. If you hear someone in trouble, don’t assume it’s not your problem. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other “ – Mother Teresa

Adulting means….protecting yourself

Recently my 17 year old daughter had a car accident. During rush hour traffic, she slammed in to the woman in front of her. My daughter’s explanation was this, “I thought we were all going. She didn’t.” Luckily everyone was physically fine. Unfortunately her car was totaled and the car she hit had damage. Regarding my daughter’s car, we are out of luck. We weren’t carrying insurance to replace/repair her car in an accident caused by her. The car just wasn’t worth enough money to justify that. BUT the insurance DID cover the damage done to the other car. This is when you realize how important it is to have good coverage with a good company and it makes those monthly premiums seem a little less painful.

  • car wreck

In general, insurance is there to save you from catastrophe. When the unthinkable happens, your insurance will be there to help you out. You buy an insurance policy, then if you have an incident, they pay you for the damage. Every month you’ll need to pay them a certain amount (premium) to contribute. If there’s a incident, you’ll likely need to pay the first chunk of money (deductible). Then the insurance company pays the rest. This general model applies to all types of insurance including auto, health, home-owner/renter and life. At this stage of your life you most likely need all of those.

Auto insurance covers your car and anything you damage with your car (property, people, etc). You MUST have insurance to drive a car. You can adjust the amount of the deductible. I recommend getting a higher deductible (like $1,000), but ONLY if you have some money in an emergency fund to help you cover the deductible if you ever need it.

Home-owners and Renters insurance covers your house, property, everything IN your house and any injuries occurring on your property. If you have a mortgage, you MUST have insurance. You can rent without insurance, but renter’s insurance is super cheap and worth the peace of mind.

life insurance

Life insurance can be a bit trickier. If you don’t have a spouse or family depending on your income, you can get a small policy. Just enough to basically cover a funeral. This is often provided by your employer, so check that out. If you have people who would suffer if you weren’t there bringing in a paycheck, you need a bigger policy. Again, employers often have inexpensive coverage available. You should talk to an insurance professional to determine how much you need. Get a TERM policy! Do not get a Whole policy.

Medical insurance will cover most medical, dental, vision expenses. Just like all other insurance, you’ll need to pay premiums (sometimes employers help with that) and you’ll pay a deductible (amount varies by plan). Sometimes you’ll even need to pay a portion of what’s remaining (co-pay). This can all add up and be fairly expensive, but if an incident occurs, you’ll be so happy you have it. Usually employers offer a few different options for your insurance. Talk to your Human Resources department to help you choose a plan.

umbrella money

Here’s a few general insurance tips. Don’t make any claims unless you NEED to. If you car door gets scratched at the grocery store, don’t claim that. You’ll have to pay the deductible any way. Insurance companies will raise your rates if you’ve been making claims. Also, every time your insurance policy is up for renewal (every 6 – 12 months), go get at least 3 quotes. Rates and