Confidence: Getting It and Using It

The InStyle December issue features an interview with Cate Blanchett the Oscar-Award winning actress in its I Am That Girl column:

“How do you define confidence?

I think confidence is the acknowledgment of doubt. Fear is a natural state. You can’t truly achieve a creative life without it.” – Amy Synnott

It’s true that fear is part of being creative like Blanchett says. You can only achieve great things if you risk becoming uncomfortable when you do new things.

Failure is the cost of taking risks. Not everything you try to do will work out. I bombed out big time in the gray flannel insurance field.

Fear should be welcomed–not paranoia–the kind of fear where you’re not certain you’ll succeed but you have to try because the goal is too important to you to not risk trying.

All of us should be terrified to do something that has the potential to give us a better life.

Giving ourselves a challenge is the ultimate confidence-booster.

There’s no safety in playing it safe. There’s no triumph in conformity if you ask me. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb to see how far you can go.

Shakespeare wrote: “Cowards die many a time before their death. The valiant only taste of death but once.”

That’s not how I want to live: as a spectator in my own life.

Cate Blanchett is right: acknowledging doubt is the first step in taking a risk.

The more action you take, the easier it is to keep taking action. Taking action can cure fear.

I’ll end here with this: self-confidence is a natural high.

There’s no shame in acting confident and going after what you want in life.

Cannellini and Escarole

white-beans-escarole

This recipe is quick and easy and healthful:

Buy a head of escarole and a can of cannellini and a head of garlic.

Rinse escarole thoroughly in water to remove any residual dirt and dry with a paper towel.

Cut leaves off and saute in olive oil for about five minutes until the greens are soft and not fried. Add chopped garlic. (You can use garlic powder if you don’t have fresh.)

Halfway through sauteing add the cannellini and cook.

I’ve used habichuelos here which are the tiny version of cannellini.

Voila–in under ten minutes you can cook a dinner for one.

Add a stick of string cheese for a complete protein.

 

Two Great Career Books

I recommend two great career books for their singular focus.

The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power is geared to women.

It contains the perfect example of a one-screen pitch letter that was sent to a person that another woman met at a networking event.

For this alone it’s worth buying the book.

101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again by James Reed is exactly this: a list of 101 job interview questions and how to respond to them.

It’s the best book on answering interview questions that I’ve come across. It was published this year–in 2016–so it’s up-to-date.

One curve ball question that could be asked is “If you could be an animal what one would you be?”

Here’s how I’d answer:

“I’d be a giraffe–do you want to know why–in real life I’m only five feet tall. If I were a giraffe I’d be the tallest animal in the zoo.

Walking down the street as a real person I’d only be able to see five feet in front of me. As a giraffe I could see for miles around. This would give me the benefit of seeing the big picture.

Instead of only seeing one city street I could see the grid of whole neighborhoods and how they connect. It would be a kind of global view.”

What animal would you be?

_______________________

I’ll continue to write about employment on Mondays and Thursdays.

Going forward I’m going to return to writing about health and nutrition on the weekends.

I’d like to write about health and nutrition again too since I’ve discovered some great books on the topic of fitness.

 

Mental Health in the Workplace

At the NAMI-New York State Educational Conference on November 12:

I talked quickly about my experience with disclosure on the job and requesting a reasonable accommodation under the ADA Act.

Absolutely if you need a job modification you should ask for one because this is a legally-required benefit that employers have to accommodate.

Under this national law you can obtain an accommodation:

When it doesn’t present an undue hardship on the operation of the business and when the employer is aware of the disability.

At the panelist talk after the lunch on Saturday the topic was Mental Health in the Workplace.

You should know that a lot of companies offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

This is where you can talk with a counselor before your stress gets out of hand or when the stress has gotten unbearable either way.

One of the panelists talked about how things are different now.

Like her, I’m a GenX-er–a member of Generation X.

We remember that in the 1990s you weren’t supposed to leave the office at five o’clock on the dot. You were supposed to work overtime and not supposed to leave before your boss left.

The expression to describe this dynamic was that when your employer asked you to jump you were supposed to respond: “How high?”–and jump higher to prove your worth.

Now of course long-term job security isn’t guaranteed.

The female panelist remarked that Millenials are game changers because they’re doing work aligned with their values.

They’re not staying late on the job because they prize their life–and most likely want to preserve their sanity.

The recent economic downturn most likely has given Millenials¬† the confidence to say: “We’re not guaranteed to fatten our bank accounts so why break our backs for an ungrateful employer?”

There’s a reason Google and other firms have a massage therapist and dry-cleaner on campus: they want to keep you at the office.

This has been the trend: being expected to answer from home work e-mails at midnight.

No. No. No. Taking Back Sunday shouldn’t just be the title of a rock band–it should be the manifesto of workers everywhere: we’re not going to take this intrusion into our private lives.

As a GenX=er I’ll end here with this: it might be useful and necessary to have a second job of some kind to bring in extra money.

Instead of working every night until 9:00 p.m. for an employer that won’t give you any extra money.

Peg Bundy–the wife on the TV sitcom Married with Children once said:

“If I wanted peanuts, I’d fly Delta.”

I will talk in the coming blog entries about more hopeful employment news. I will give a list of must-read career books too.

It IS possible to love your job, love [most of] your co-workers, and love your paycheck.

 

 

 

Telling Our Stories

At the educational conference I was the first person to talk at the session on: The Impact of SSI and SSDI on Going to Work.

My co-presenter detailed how to apply for these benefits and how to use the Ticket to Work and PASS Plan options to find a job so you can stop collecting SSI and SSDI.

At the start of my talk I quoted lines from the Anne Sexton poem “For John, Who Begs Me Not to Enquire Further.”

She is a famous poet who had her own mental health challenges and is no longer here. Sadly, like a lot of gifted artists, she took her own life.

Yet the lines from her poem are often quoted. She tells the reader that she has nothing else to give and that what she has to give can be hopeful in its own way.

After I quoted the lines I told the audience: “This is my story. It’s the only story I have to tell. It’s unusual and a little atypical. I tell it to uplift and inspire others.”

I’m here to say that what you feel can be healed. Pain can end. I’m a firm believer in using our pain as the catalyst for self-growth and finding out what our life’s purpose is.

I stand by the motto: “service above self.”

It’s true that you get what you give–plain and simple–you get what you give.

Other forums exist in which to spread hate of psychiatry, hate of people who are different from you, and any other kind of hate.

This blog will always be not just a hate-free zone it will be a healthy zone.

It comes down to this: my ethic is: “This is my story–it’s on the table. You can take it or you can leave it.”

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about the new dynamic of holding a job circa 2016.

5 Benefits of Taking SZ Medication

Here I’d like to talk about something I referred to in my employment talk at the 2016 NAMI-New York State educational conference.

For those of us who could benefit I want to offer a positive perspective on taking SZ medication.

In my firsthand experience and from observing others it’s my firm belief that most people diagnosed with SZ need to take medication to have a better chance at living a full and robust life.

Taking medication can give a person a competitive advantage in succeeding at setting and achieving goals in the real world.

Here now I’d like to talk about the benefits of taking medication for those of us who need to:

Side effects can be managed.

As soon as I switched the dose time to taking the tiny dose in the morning and the high dose at night–voila–I was wide awake every single day and no longer falling asleep on the job.

You’re in control.

I guy I love told me that he feels “calm, in control, and focused” when he takes medication.

Exceptional M.D.s and therapists can be found treating mental health conditions.

You can go on the Resources to Recover Website to view the directory of family-endorsed providers in the NY-NJ-CT-MA area.

True mind freedom is possible.

With clarity of thought and balanced moods it’s easier to live your life.

People who take medication can have better health and live longer.

One study revealed that peers who took medication were better able to stay on top of their health and actually lived longer.

A friend of mine with SZ is now 72 and he’s taken medication since he was 13.

On Thursday I’ll return with details about how the employment talk went and things I talked about. It was a smashing success.