Back in the day (WAY back in the day) I was a waitress at Red Lobster. It was a fantastic college gig…I went to school full time mon-friday, I would then work a friday night, saturday all day, and sunday lunch, and I’d leave with enough cash to pay my rent and utilities for an entire month (a cozy 2-bedroom apt. in beautiful Hyde Park, Cincinnati, I might add!) What I remember most though about that job is not the money (or those cheddar biscuits smothered in butter), it was a lady I worked with. She was loaded with personality….she always made the best of a bad night (and there were plenty of those.) She always stayed positive, which was something to be said because she was diagnosed with extreme diabetes. She became very sick, she disappeared for about 2 months, and when she came back to work she was skin and bones. She used to say “I am determined, unwavering…” either out loud or under her breath. She would ALWAYS say it….so much so that it has been burned into my memory. She didn’t work my last night there, and I wish she had, I never got to say good bye and thank her for her endless positive outlook on life…. and of course a really great “one-liner” that would stay with me over the next 10 years, and easily into the next 50.
Life is challenging, life is tough. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an illness that’s seemingly out of your control, you’ve lost a loved one, you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost a big account, you’ve lost your home, you’ve lost your way….strength is something we all have and “tomorrow” is a chance we all get. We all have a rough road, it just looks different for each of us. I’ve carried the “I am determined, unwavering….” philosophy thru my big move to chicago (all on my own), relationships that failed miserably, lost opportunities, financial struggles as I worked my way thru my career, and my career in general. And for all of the truly hard times, times where I only had my own shoulder to cry on, I am grateful.
To be “Determined, Unwavering…” to me means the following:
1. Don’t relive the past. Who you were when you were 15 is not who you are today. I only reflect on my past when I need some extra motivation to keep moving forward. I recall the individuals who said I “wasn’t fast enough” “wasn’t smart enough” “wasn’t cool enough” (What does that even mean???) “wasn’t talented enough” and then all of a sudden I have this extreme desire to prove all of them wrong….the huge mountain that I hesitated to climb suddenly became a tiny bump in the road. It’s the best immediate injection of super-fueled motivation you can get! Pushing the freight train forward every single day is exhausting…occasionally, one needs motivational assistance. Once you’ve got it, don’t waste one more precious second on the past, focus on the future.
2. People come and go…and that’s perfectly alright. For every 10 people you build a relationship with, 9 of them are almost surely going to exit stage left. It’s nothing to be sad about, it simply is what it is. No hard feelings…. it’s human nature. The best part…. that one person left standing is, what I would consider, a phenomenal human being who ‘gets’ you, is there for you, supports you, and is willing to stick it out for the long haul. They include you in their life, they tell you the truth, they return your call, they always RSVP, they don’t give you excuses, they support your decisions, they never lose touch with you, they take you to the airport (Seinfeld, anyone??) They are AWESOME :) And they are worth waiting for….to persevere in a determined, unwavering fashion, you’re going to need them :)
3. Set goals and achieve them. No excuses. Without goals, life is pretty dull. Sadly, it took me a VERY long time to get into the swing of things. I actually believed that I couldn’t do anything…I walked around in a cloud of “I just can’t do it.” Weird, and sad. I missed out on a lot of opportunity. Slowly but surely, I started setting goals and trying to achieve them. Once I started achieving them, I quickly became addicted. That alone changed my life completely. Turns out, I am smart…I am fast…I am talented. Goals, and achieving them, are the absolute BEST thing you can do for yourself.
4. And finally, believe in yourself. No one else is responsible for doing that for you. Be determined, unwavering… no matter what happens. Roll the dice every now and then, you’ll lose some…but you’ll also win some, too. Believing in yourself just might be the key to happiness. Believing only leads to good things:)
“I am determined, unwavering….” I know this is 10 years too late, but Thank You Helen. Funny how words can shape your entire being :)