Open Letter to the Doers

Open Letter

 

Dear Doers,

You can do anything you want to do, but you can’t do it all.

The idea that “you can do it all” is the sole robber of our time and productivity. For years I fed into the idea that I could do anything and everything under the sun, and while that might be true, I slowly realized that by doing everything I excelled in nothing.

It really is a simple concept that many have overlooked because the statement that, “you can do it all” is so deceptively empowering we forget that quality will always be placed a couple tiers above quantity.

For example, think about what your biggest goal is at the moment? Is it to complete your undergrad, get a raise, carve out more time for family and friends? Whatever it may be write it down.

Now, think of all of the things that you are involved in. Write them all down. These are the things that you do every day, the things that consume your to do list, that you enjoy, hate, write them all down.

As you skim through your list of involvements count up how many of them help you achieve the goal that you wrote at the top of your page. It might be surprising  that very few of them do. Actually, many of them hinder you from reaching your goal.

A few weeks ago I read a book called Essentialism: The disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown and it touched heavily on this topic. Too often we think that everything is important. We must do it all because nothing can wait. But in reality, there are very few things that are essential and that move us in the direction to our goal(s). Everything else could be considered nonessential and can be cut from your to-do-list at any time.

Well, that last part isn’t exactly true. Not all things can be cut from your to-do-list. We have responsibilities that go  beyond our control from time to time, but by doing the exercise explained above, it helps us realize what is essential and what is not as we strive to reach our goal(s).

Some things can be cut out of our daily lives. For me, one of my goals is to attain a certain GPA by the end of this fall semester; therefore, school is my first priority. That means clubs are nonessential and surprisingly, that is where most of my time goes.

This is not to say that I will quit every club that I am a part of, this simply means that on any given night, I grant myself the freedom to miss a meeting or opt out of an activity if it interferes with my ultimate goal, completing my academic work in such a way that I will achieve my desired GPA at the end of the semester.

I wanted to share this because the idea that we can do it all is dead. We can’t. The idea that everything is important is a myth too. Prioritizing is vital and can only be done if you have an ultimate goal in mind. Prioritization with no end goal in mind is not possible and that is probably why everything always seems important.

Next time you get overwhelmed and feel like you are working really hard but not making any progress, sit down and evaluate what your goal(s) are. If what you spend your time on is not helping you accomplish your goals, remember you have the power to change that.

Saying “No” To Pro

Sports

It gets old when people look at me and say, “You play basketball, right?” As if that is the only thing I do. But that’s not the annoying part. It’s the part when everyone automatically assumes that I want to go to the WNBA.

Sometimes you really can’t blame them, because the average person assumes that the WNBA is equivalent to the NBA, but is it really?

In 2011 the average number of fans at any given NBA game was 17,319. On the other hand, the average number of fans at a WNBA game was 7,955.

If we look at the numbers, an average salary in the NBA during the 2013-2014 season was $4.9 million. But prime time players made so much more. For example Kobe Bryant, who was the top paid player in the league that year, made $30.45 million.

The average salary for WNBA players was $72,000 in 2012, and the minimum sat as low as 36,570 for rookies; I think that minimum still stands true today. The same goes for the maximum salary per player, which is $105,000.

Now you tell me, would you want to play in the WNBA if you knew you could make more money going into a different profession outside of professional women’s basketball?

But then here comes the comments like, “But you do it for the love of the game, right?”

Many WNBA players have second jobs, many of which are playing overseas in European leagues.

For those who do not know, the money in women’s basketball is overseas. When women go to play overseas they can make anywhere from $100,000+, much better than the $105,000 cap they were looking at in the WNBA. But keep in mind that this is their second job. They play year around and it is taxing on their bodies.

When it comes to the NBA, their season is long, 6 months, but they do get a break. On the other hand, the WNBA season is 4 months long, but after the women will usually go directly from their season in the WNBA into their season’s overseas. Often, many of the WNBA players will not be back for the start of their season because they are finishing up their contracts with their overseas teams.

I’m sure they fit a break in here or there, but it is nothing like the extended break that an NBA player receives.

Again, I ask you, would the WNBA be you’re end goal knowing what you know now?

There is always that statement that, “Not every WNBA player plays overseas.”

Yes, you are correct, but that still does not take away from the fact that they hold more than one job. Of course these remarkable women can do more than just play. The majority of these women have a completed college degree upon entering the league. This is partly due to the WNBA’s mandatory age/education policy.

On top of that, many of the premier female players endorse different brands and generate an income that way. But just like every NBA player doesn’t have an endorsement deal, neither does every WNBA player, and from the trend that we have already seen, I could guess that they are paid less.

Now, ask me one more time why the WNBA isn’t my end goal.

It’s not because I don’t love playing basketball and it’s not solely because of the money. It is really because after years of receiving a quality education, I have come to find that playing professionally is not my plan A. I have dreams and passions that go far beyond the hardwood and playing ball has ultimately been an enjoyable way to get me to where I am and where I’ve wanted to go. But to deny my other aspirations would be to do a disservice to myself.

If the opportunity ever came up where I could play professionally, right now I don’t think I would say no, but if I did, don’t look at me crazy and say I didn’t tell you so.

Gratitude NOT Gripe

Gratitude

I find it interesting what your perspective can do for you. If you want to see bad things, that is exactly what you will look for and find. But with that being said, if you are looking for the good, there is no doubt that you will find that too.

All too often people find themselves looking at their current situations and only seeing it for what they view as negative, and that’s probably because complaining is easy.

Think about it. It is so easy to sit back and pick things a part. We live in a society that does the same to us.

What does he/she have that I don’t have? What is she/he lacking? Why is (insert activity) so horrible?

Along with picking things apart, we complain without any tangible solutions in mind. Trust me and I am guilty of this too. Have you ever sat back and talked/thought yourself into a negative state of mind?

First you start with one thing in your life that might not be going as planned and before you know it you’re convinced that your whole life is out of control and you can’t do anything right.

I’m sure it has happened to the best of us, but one thing I know that I want to focus on this school year is compartmentalizing my life and counting my blessings.

To compartmentalize is to divide things into sections or categories. By doing this with your life it allows you to achieve more by not letting the emotions of one aspect of your life affect how you perform in other aspects of your life.

For example, if you get a bad grade on a paper in class that should not affect the manner in which you complete your task for a club that you are involved in, or how you treat your friends that day. Everything is separate.

While this is a concept that takes time and practice because we are human and emotions rather than rational govern many of our decisions, one way to help you compartmentalize is to count your blessings.

It’s easy to say what’s not going right, but on any given day you are always blessed no matter what your situation is. There is always something to be thankful for and by thinking of those things in tough moments it might just be enough to shift your thinking. It might help you realize that what your going though doesn’t mean you have a bad life, you’re just having a bad day, or maybe even just a tough moment.

So next time you are tempted to complain and talk yourself into believing you have a bad life, remember to count your blessings. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.

Summer Time Sadness

Summer

Summer doesn’t actually end until almost the end of October, but when August rolls around, we all know it’s basically almost over and school is starting soon. It’s crazy how time flies.

While many are excited for school, I can’t say I’m stoked because I just finished summer school this past Friday. #SchoolNeverStops

But there are a couple things that I am looking forward to as the school year starts.

  1. Apple Picking

One of my favorite fall activities is apple picking, particularly in the orchard not to far from my university. It is always fun to go up there with a few friends and just hang out. The view is beautiful and if you bring a quality camera, you can host a mini photo shoot just to pass time and make some good memories as well. From the apples, to the apple cider, to the apple donuts, and most importantly the apple butter, I think it is an awesome and tasty way to spend an afternoon in the fall and I will definitely spend a good amount of time there this year.

2. Fall weather and outfits

I love the fall! It’s a beautiful time of year and the weather is no exception. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. It’s easy to look good because you’re not constantly striping layers or consumed by a big coat. Nothing screams fall to me like comfy sweatshirts and I’ve definitely missed wearing mine. While being outside in the summer is fun, I find being outside in the fall is a little more enjoyable plus the leaves are gorgeous. Everything about the fall is wonderful to me and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

3. Football

With all other things set aside, I am really excited for football season! I’m from the south (Georgia) and we take our football very seriously. Enough to where some might call it a “religion” and while that is a very strong word to describe people’s commitment to a sport, let me explain to you why it is such a big deal. SEC Football is everything in the south! Saturday is the day of the week that everyone waits for. From the tailgating with friends and family to watching the game and cheering for your favorite team it is really a wonderful tradition. I am definitely looking forward to cheering on the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC, watching a lot of SEC football, and cheering on all of my friends that play at their perspective universities all over the country.

So while the summer is winding down don’t get too upset. There are a fair amount of things to look forward to this fall.

Speak Up

Speak Up

Adult (noun) – a glorified child

Recently I have realized that somewhere between kindergarten and the real world, people forget about the golden rule.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

As easy as that rule is to follow, many do not follow it. They try to cover it up with excuses like, “I’m the one in authority. I’m in charge.” Well, at this point I don’t care.

For me, your age means nothing to me, but the respect between us does. I am the type of person to give someone as much respect as they give me if not more, but as soon as I feel disrespected I will speak up about it.

Sometimes when I speak up it might seem like I have crossed the line, but is it really crossing the line if some already has? By no means am I saying that two wrongs make a right, but I am saying, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it”.

This is why I am rarely apologetic for what I say. I might feel badly about the tone I said it in or the way it was perceived, but rarely for what I actually say, because what people say isn’t an accident.

“It came out wrong”… no no, none of that.

What we say is a direct reflection of how we feel and the point we are trying to get across at that given moment. Sometimes we surprise ourselves. Maybe it didn’t come off the way you thought it would. Maybe it was too harsh, opinionated, too something, but it wasn’t wrong.

I’m sure we’ve all been told to watch what we say and hold our tongues, and I believe there is a time and place for both actions. ON the same token, sometimes holding back isn’t the answer.

To shy away from candid and emotional moments is wrong in my opinion. To not speak your mind, especially when standing up for yourself, is not right either.

We live in a society where everyone is trying to save face and very few allow us to see human error, mistakes or even genuine emotion  because perfect is the way to be. Isn’t that exhausting?

Speaking your mind and standing up for yourself is not you being anything less than perfect, it is you being real. Often because of societies rules, things will happen and instead of speaking up about them we keep to ourselves, because society says…

Well society isn’t the one going through life like you do everyday. Society isn’t the one who got disrespected. Society isn’t going to have to live with the consequences, good or bad, of you staying quiet or speaking up.

The point that I want to get across is to never put yourself or your feelings on the back burner just to fit the mold of what “people” say is the right way to act, speak, etc.

If you do not stand up for you, who will?

My mother always said, :Do what you can live with”. If you can live with people crossing your line, then by all means, stay quite about it. But if you can’t then quiet is not the way to go.

Sometimes you have to teach people how to treat you. Don’t be afraid to do that.