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Why Your Resolution “Failure” is an Opportunity for True Success

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New Year’s resolutions have been around for awhile. 4,000 years, to be specific. Ever since the Babylonians started making promises to their gods in exchange for a favorable year, we have been making deals with ourselves that in the new year we will be different- that we will be “better”. We have had 4,000 years to get really good at making New Year’s resolutions, and still only about 8% of us actually stick to them.

In fact, we are only three days into the second month of this “new year” and already I have heard several friends say that they have “given up”. I even had a friend describe herself as a “complete failure” because she hadn’t kept her resolution to go to the gym four times a week so far this year.

Sure, not achieving a goal that you have set for yourself is frustrating, and it’s natural to feel dejected. Just like anytime we are feeling like we have failed, we have a choice: we can let the feeling of failure overcome us and become a part of who we are, or we can objectively examine our situation and use it as yet another opportunity for self improvement.

If you find yourself feeling like you have failed on your quest for self-improvement in 2017, I would encourage you to ask yourself these few questions:

Why did I “fail”?

Let’s talk about the friend I mentioned earlier that feels like a “complete failure” just weeks into the new year. I asked her why she thought she had “failed” and she responded that she had only made it to the gym four times in a week once so far. At the time, she only had three weeks of data (out of the 52 that make up a year). When I reminded her that she still had 49 weeks to improve her score, it didn’t seem to help at all. She had already resolved herself to be a “complete failure” just three weeks in.

So, I tried another approach. I began to ask her, as I suggest that you do with yourself, what she had been doing over those three weeks. It turns out that things had really picked up at work in the new year (as they often do) and she had been working 11 hour days. On top of that, she had also been sick with a terrible cold. She didn’t feel as though she could take off work, so she was exhausted when she got home from work and opted for sleep rather than early morning workouts.

In other words, she absolutely hadn’t “failed” at anything. At all.

Is what I resolved to do something that will actually make me “better”?

At the end of December, Bustle surveyed 822 millennials (97% of which identified as female) how they feel about New Year’s resolutions. The results showed that millennial women overwhelmingly focus their resolutions in two areas: to lose weight and exercise more, and to become a better, happier person.

Based on my experience as a woman for the 29.5 years I’ve been alive, I can say with certainty that many women equate the ideas of losing weight to becoming a better, happier person. And while I am a proponent of exercise for many reasons, I also believe strongly that the association between “thinness” and “happiness” is one of the biggest issues plaguing women today.

So, ask yourself- is what you resolved something that will actually make you “better”? If your reasoning behind exercising more or focusing on eating healthy foods is to improve your mood, sleep, or overall quality of life, then yes- that counts as “better”. But if all you want is to fit into smaller jeans, I can tell you from personal experience that you will never be good enough.

Would you make that resolution for your best friend?

Perhaps the most powerful statistic that came from Bustle’s survey was the answer to their question: “What New Year’s resolution would you make for your best friend?”

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Source: Bustle

Ask yourself this same question. Was what you resolved for your friend the same thing you resolved for yourself? Was it even in the same “resolution family”? According to Bustle, only two women of the 822 surveyed reported that they would want their friend to lose weight in 2017. In fact, most women want their friends to practice self care, be kinder to themselves, to go after what they want at work, and to stand up for themselves.

New research tells us that women often fight for others harder than they do themselves at work. We also know how much easier it can be to tell our friends they are special, beautiful, smart, and strong than it is to tell ourselves those same things.

But isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are all about? Making ourselves better? If your resolution for your friend is kinder than the one you have for yourself, it might be time to change your thinking. You haven’t failed because you didn’t keep your resolution. You have only failed by choosing the wrong resolution at the beginning.

It’s no longer January 1- who cares? Now is as good a time as any to resolve to be better. Be better to yourself, kinder to yourself, and more forgiving with yourself. New year, new you- and you deserve it.

If you’re interested in spreading confidence and self-love with the women you work with, let us know.

6 Life Lessons Learned From Leslie Jones’ Success Story

Image from the New Yorker

Image from the New Yorker

“I’m not perfect, but I’m starting to get comfortable, like a sweater you want to wear all the time.”  — Leslie Jones

If the name Leslie Jones doesn’t ring a bell, don’t think twice before checking out the newest Ghostbusters movie which debuted in July, a comical film from ‘98 called Wrongfully Accused, or even better — take a reach into her archives on Saturday Night Live to find Jones at her best, making laughter happen. 

However, life isn’t always so laughable as an African-American woman navigating a rather-segregated, predominantly-male career field. Ms. Jones never ceases to inspire us with her blustering courage and vibrant originality, revealing how being a badass with passion can get us places in life. 

1. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

“People get hung up on writing smart shit. To me, it’s more about performance.” — Leslie Jones

Of course it’s important to know the material before presenting or performing, but often times we become hyper-concerned with having the hardest-hitting line or most intelligent response. In reality, confidence is key and an honest remark can go a long way. If we believe in what we say, others will be compelled to jump on board too. 

As comedian Marc Maron said in an article featured in The New Yorker, “She has a presence, when you see her live, that is extremely rare and honestly, it has very little to do with what she’s saying. The first time I saw her, I was blown away, and yet I couldn’t tell you a single one of her jokes.”

2. Closed mouths don’t get fed.

To achieve our dreams, we must let go of our fears and whatever is holding us back. Believe it, feel it, live it and SPEAK UP. Ask for help when necessary, the worst they can say is no (and many times, they won’t). 

A fellow ‘80s comic who was far beyond Jones’ comedic status when they were both touring in the late in the decade, Chris Rock, saw her perform live again in 2012 after her initial impression nearly 30-years before. 

As recorded in Ready For Prime Time, Rock told Jones after her show, “You were always funny, but you’re at a new level now.”

Jones boldly and with direction responded, “You’re right,” she said. “But I’m not gonna really make it unless someone like you puts me on.” 

Rock appreciated her audacity and took a chance on Jones, adding her to his list of funny people. Soon after, Jones’ name began to fill the comedy scene of Los Angeles.

3. Know your audience. 

What sells one person may turn another away. It helps to feel out the audience before making bold propositions. Seek to understand their personal values and mentalities. Modify your tone and argument accordingly, then speak with mindfulness and purpose. 

“I can look into a person’s eyes for one second and go, ‘Don’t fuck with him — that’s somebody who won’t get over what you’re about to say’,” Jones told Andrew Marantz

4. The path to success is not always linear. 

Just after her decision to leave college and pursue comedy, Jones ran into a writer’s block and found herself struggling to develop new sets. After pondering friendly advice, Jones daringly took a 6-year leave from performing. In the meantime, she took up work as a cook, a cashier, and as a waitress. 

“I was the funniest waitress Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles ever had,” she said in an interview with Marantz. “Customers would be, like, ‘Didn’t I just see you on BET?’ I’d be, like, ‘Yep. Breast and a wing or leg and a thigh?’”

Sometimes straying from the beaten path can help us gain other practical life experiences. In whatever we do, we will find lessons within the journey. Jones’ hiatus gave her time to experience life from a new perspective and develop literature from those experiences. Eventually, her divergent path enriched her career by bringing her to a new opportunity with BET’s “Comic View”. 

Life’s a journey — embrace every opportunity with an open mind. 

5. Don’t let them steal your sunshine. 

After the premier of Ghostbusters in July, Jones was faced with extreme hate tweets which pushed her to leave the Twitter-verse. Online trolls sent racist comments along with pornographic images and heartless memes as described in The New York Times

“You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate,” Jones tweeted in response to the harassment. “I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out.” 

Jones has experienced many racist and sexist slurs for the better part of her career. In late July, Entertainment Weekly reported Jones’ strive for peace in the face of negativity — choosing to send out love and positivity with “hug someone”:

“Hurting people hurt people. Most of these people I don’t think they believe in the stuff they say. It’s just a lot of hurt, hug someone. We have to start there. So I won’t answer the trolls with hate anymore just love. And then block and report they ass lol. Won’t do hate anymore.”

6. Love always; love yourself. 

Jones told The New Yorker that though she still has extended family in Memphis, her mother, father, and brother all died within the past few years. 

“When death touches you that close, you say to yourself, ‘It’s time to start liking who the fu** you are,’ ” she said. “I’m not perfect, but I’m starting to get comfortable, like a sweater you want to wear all the time.”

After 25-years of building her confidence and career, Jones has made it through every trial and tribulation by staying true to herself, believing in her dreams and taking badass, courageous leaps which opened doors leading to her undying vision of success. 

Whatever we decide to be, let us be that well. Let us follow our dreams, be audacious, free our spirits and define ourselves.